Maximize 1 Day at Disney

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mw1739
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Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by mw1739 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:47 pm

We're making a trip to Ft. Myers to see family in February and the thought of taking our youngest (5) to Disney came up since he hasn't been. The idea would be to drive up early and get there shortly after the park opens. Spend all day in Magic Kingdom, stay the night and fly home from Orlando the next day. (Brief backstory - we had to cancel an earlier week long trip to Disney for medical reasons and my son has recently been asking when we could go again. So yes, it is a lot of hassle for only 1 day, but we're probably going to do it anyway, so any suggestions would be appreciated.)

My questions are:

1. Am I crazy trying to cram Magic Kingdom into 1 day? We may also have half a day the following day before our flight home - worth it to hit another park that day?
2. Would it be worth it to drive up the night before, stay the night and get in right when the park opens?
3. Which Disney hotel would be most convenient for a full day at the Magic Kingdom for a family of 4? (Not really interested in saving a buck staying off property, and I'd like to maximize the day with Fast Pass reservations)

HomeStretch
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by HomeStretch » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:57 pm

mw1739 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:47 pm
My questions are:

1. Am I crazy trying to cram Magic Kingdom into 1 day? We may also have half a day the following day before our flight home - worth it to hit another park that day?
2. Would it be worth it to drive up the night before, stay the night and get in right when the park opens?
3. Which Disney hotel would be most convenient for a full day at the Magic Kingdom for a family of 4? (Not really interested in saving a buck staying off property, and I'd like to maximize the day with Fast Pass reservations)
Yes, IMO with young kids it is definitely worth it to arrive the night before and squeeze in a second visit the following morning. You might be able to catch a light show at hotel or a night event at the park that night. Try booking a character breakfast or dinner at the hotel or park where your kids can take pictures with characters (bring a Disney autograph book, can be ordered online).

We stayed at the Grand Floridian every year which is on the monorail so very convenient to the Magic Kingdom (plus you get early park access). It was easy to pop back to the hotel at lunch for a swim and an hour nap if needed, then back to the park. Hope you and your family have a wonderful trip.

Katietsu
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by Katietsu » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:00 pm

I don’t think you are crazy to fit Disney in to this trip. I do think you are crazy if you think you will have fun with a 5 year old while staying in the park for 12+ hours. I would pick your priorities. Get an on property hotel so you can take a break from the park and hit the pool for a couple of hours. If cash is no object, maybe stay at something like the Animal Kingdom Lodge where the hotel will be part of your experience. And I would do part of day 2 if travel arrangements worked out.

HoosierJim
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by HoosierJim » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:02 pm

Get there 1 hour before the park opens. You see more/do more in the first hour as the next 3 hours.

researcher
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by researcher » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:10 pm

mw1739 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:47 pm
1. Am I crazy trying to cram Magic Kingdom into 1 day? We may also have half a day the following day before our flight home - worth it to hit another park that day?
2. Would it be worth it to drive up the night before, stay the night and get in right when the park opens?
3. Which Disney hotel would be most convenient for a full day at the Magic Kingdom for a family of 4? (Not really interested in saving a buck staying off property, and I'd like to maximize the day with Fast Pass reservations)
If you are going to do this, it is a MUST to drive up the night before and stay onsite.
You don't want to start your visit with a ~3 hour drive from Ft. Myers.

No, you are not crazy to do Magic Kingdom in a day.
But you MUST use the crowd calendars and visit on a light day (which are plentiful in February).

And you MUST stay at one one the monorail resorts.
You can actually walk to the front gates from the Contemporary in 5-10 minutes and avoid the monorail wait, which is what I would recommend.
And as you mention, make sure to utilize the FastPass to get on the more popular rides.

Your family will have a blast.
After you check in the night before...ride the monorail and explore the Polynesian/Grand Floridian, and take the boat ride to Wilderness Lodge. My kids really enjoyed riding the monorail/boat and seeing the resorts.
And get a theme park view room at the Contemporary. Your son can watch the fireworks from the balcony/bed.

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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by nisiprius » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:10 pm

Stay flexible. 5-year-olds may have fun, but don't really appreciate the size, scale, or intensity of the park. Stay relaxed. Rest when your kid wants it. Don't insist on waiting in long lines in order to see what, for an adolescent or adult, are the big-deal attractions. Try to maximize the pleasure, not the number of what used to be called "E-ticket" rides.

Tune in on what interests the kid. Which will not be what interests you.

Seek out some places in the park that have quiet music.

Our five-year-old once had the best time at a local zoo that had a cluster of about six of those stupid quarter-in-the-slot rides--the kind you see outside mall department stores--that just kind of rock for three minutes... because I had gotten a roll of quarters and when he asked to ride again I just kept saying "yes." So he got to do the teeny merry-go-round and the dinosaur and the jeep, several times each.

The boring little Walt Disney World Railroad might be a good bet. Of course, "It's a Small World After All."

A lot of the "little" attractions have short waits or no waits. One reason that's important is that little kids often want to "do it again." (And again. And again.)

Yes to HoosierJim's "Get there 1 hour before the park opens. You see more/do more in the first hour as the next 3 hours." But only if you can do it without stressing your kid.

Yes to staying at the Contemporary. We did that one year (as grandparents with adult kids and grandkids) and agree that being able to walk to the park without even taking the monorail is huge.

We never cracked the problem of food. No matter how braced we were for the food being overpriced, it was always even more overpriced than we expected.
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GetRichQuick
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by GetRichQuick » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:49 pm

I would strongly echo the earlier advice that you need to stay flexible and rethink the trip from the perspective of a 5 year old. If you concentrate on a handful of experiences (including shows and meals) and fill in other ones depending on energy levels, wait times and crowds, you may be more successful in creating the experience you are looking for.

Other than that, if you are staying on-site, be sure to get your park tickets in advance and book your fast passes 60 days before your visit. Also give thought to reservations for a character meal for lunch or dinner - Crystal Palace is my family's favorite, but there is also Cinderella's Royal Table in the castle. You should make any dining reservations now.

To answer your questions:

1. Am I crazy trying to cram Magic Kingdom into 1 day? We may also have half a day the following day before our flight home - worth it to hit another park that day? With a 5 year old, you should be able to hit a lot of the highlights in just one day. Space Mountain may be out depending on your child's height, but you can hit Splash Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, etc. I would also go the 2nd day to either Hollywood Studios if you are Star Wars fans or Animal Kingdom if not.
2. Would it be worth it to drive up the night before, stay the night and get in right when the park opens? Yes - I would definitely not drive up that morning from Fort Myers.
3. Which Disney hotel would be most convenient for a full day at the Magic Kingdom for a family of 4? (Not really interested in saving a buck staying off property, and I'd like to maximize the day with Fast Pass reservations) - Walkable to Magic Kingdom: Contemporary or Bay Lake Towers (also via monorail); Monorail:Grand Floridian, Polynesian; Boat Ride - Wilderness Lodge - any of the other on-property resorts require a quick bus ride (Old Key West is my favorite).

Good luck!

retiredjg
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by retiredjg » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:56 pm

My feeling is that you are trying to get the best bang for the buck with "best" meaning quantity (number of rides or things to see or hours on the property, etc.) I think 5 year olds see it differently.

Concentrate more on quality of the visit. If you have time for a 6 hour visit, just make it a fun 6 hour visit. No need to see or experience the entire property in one day, just enjoy the 6 hours you have there.

Even if Magic Kingdom is a 20 hour experience, your 5 year old will remember the fun and stress free 6 hours better than a stress filled 20 hours if you try to "make" all the magic happen.

Chadnudj
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by Chadnudj » Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:00 pm

A couple thoughts:

1) Go midweek if possible, not weekends. The park is much less crowded during the week.
2) Get there the day before, check in to your hotel, and do the pool before hitting Disney Springs or the restaurant at your hotel for dinner. (Wilderness has a great pool with slide that my then 3 year old loved -- and they have life vests so he could swim with us supervising).
3) Stay at a hotel with easy access to Magic Kingdom and with magic hours so you can get in early -- think Contemporary/Grand Floridian/Polynesian (with access via monorail) or my pick Wilderness Lodge (boat to Magic Kingdom). The Magic Hours schedule is posted on Disney's website, so make sure you're going a day when you can get in early. (If you stay on a high floor of the Wilderness Lodge, you can even watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the hotel hallway facing the park so you can cross that off the night before)
4) Try to book everything (hotel, meal reservations, etc.) 6 months in advance (which is the earliest you can, I think). It helps make sure you get to go to the places you want to try.
5) This would include your Fast Pass rides -- be sure you're using Fast Pass wisely for the rides with the longest waits/the ones your kid will enjoy the most.
6) Others mentioned it, but if you want a character meal the Crystal Palace is really excellent, not too crowded, in the park, and has the Winnie the Pooh characters. I also like the Jungle Cruise restaurant (but it's not character meal).

SchruteB&B
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by SchruteB&B » Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:01 pm

HoosierJim wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:02 pm
Get there 1 hour before the park opens. You see more/do more in the first hour as the next 3 hours.
This! If you take nothing else away from this thread, take this. Get there before parks open. That first hour is GOLDEN!

I would agree Contemporary Hotel for ease of walking in and out of Magic Kingdom. The monorail seems to break down frequently nowadays.

Fast passes are first available to on site guests 60 days in advance. Those should be made asap. Even during slower times of the year, rides can and do “sell out” quickly.

Character meals are great and my kids did love those at age 5 but I will caution if you are only going one day, those meals take a looooooong time. I think we sat at Crystal Palace for two hours one trip trying to catch all the characters. Meals can be reserved up to 6 months in advance so certain meals may already be gone too.

rich126
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by rich126 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:54 pm

I went to Disney World when it first opened, 1970s? because we had grandparents that lived an hr or so from it (my grandparents seemed to live 1-2 hours from everything in FL including the beach). Always had a fond spot for it. I went once in my early 30s with a relative who had never gone and had a good time. Then when I moved out west, I visited Disneyland a few times and while ok, it obviously was much smaller.

After not going for a long, long, time, my GF and I went to Disney World last November. Supposedly one of the slowest times of the year. All i can say is "Wow, it is crowded." While I enjoyed the atmosphere the crowds made it much harder to enjoy it. Almost any restaurant needs reservations ahead of time. We went to some German type restaurant for lunch and it was expensive and turned out to be a buffet with group seating.

The only part I enjoyed a lot, although it cost another ~$100 was the after hours Mickey's Christmas show. The rides were open and the crowds were manageable. I can't imagine what the park is like during a busy season.

It is probably best to figure out what your child wants to do, and let him go do it. Some would prefer the beach or some other cheaper activity. I often get the sense it is more for the parents than the child.

smitcat
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by smitcat » Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:55 pm

researcher wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:10 pm
mw1739 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:47 pm
1. Am I crazy trying to cram Magic Kingdom into 1 day? We may also have half a day the following day before our flight home - worth it to hit another park that day?
2. Would it be worth it to drive up the night before, stay the night and get in right when the park opens?
3. Which Disney hotel would be most convenient for a full day at the Magic Kingdom for a family of 4? (Not really interested in saving a buck staying off property, and I'd like to maximize the day with Fast Pass reservations)
If you are going to do this, it is a MUST to drive up the night before and stay onsite.
You don't want to start your visit with a ~3 hour drive from Ft. Myers.

No, you are not crazy to do Magic Kingdom in a day.
But you MUST use the crowd calendars and visit on a light day (which are plentiful in February).

And you MUST stay at one one the monorail resorts.
You can actually walk to the front gates from the Contemporary in 5-10 minutes and avoid the monorail wait, which is what I would recommend.
And as you mention, make sure to utilize the FastPass to get on the more popular rides.

Your family will have a blast.
After you check in the night before...ride the monorail and explore the Polynesian/Grand Floridian, and take the boat ride to Wilderness Lodge. My kids really enjoyed riding the monorail/boat and seeing the resorts.
And get a theme park view room at the Contemporary. Your son can watch the fireworks from the balcony/bed.
Great answer...

BuddyJet
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by BuddyJet » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:04 pm

My grandkids aren't Disney fans so I have no personal experience but I do know that there are Disney consultants that help arrange Fastpass and route plans to maximize your one day visit. Google Disney Hacks and you should run across a few.

Another service that sounds interesting is http://www.mousesherpa.com/ . I haven't used but I saw it mentioned on a travel blog and could have used for our LegoLand visits.

SuperSaver
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by SuperSaver » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:17 pm

Chadnudj wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:00 pm
A couple thoughts:

1) Go midweek if possible, not weekends. The park is much less crowded during the week.
2) Get there the day before, check in to your hotel, and do the pool before hitting Disney Springs or the restaurant at your hotel for dinner. (Wilderness has a great pool with slide that my then 3 year old loved -- and they have life vests so he could swim with us supervising).
3) Stay at a hotel with easy access to Magic Kingdom and with magic hours so you can get in early -- think Contemporary/Grand Floridian/Polynesian (with access via monorail) or my pick Wilderness Lodge (boat to Magic Kingdom). The Magic Hours schedule is posted on Disney's website, so make sure you're going a day when you can get in early. (If you stay on a high floor of the Wilderness Lodge, you can even watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the hotel hallway facing the park so you can cross that off the night before)
4) Try to book everything (hotel, meal reservations, etc.) 6 months in advance (which is the earliest you can, I think). It helps make sure you get to go to the places you want to try.
5) This would include your Fast Pass rides -- be sure you're using Fast Pass wisely for the rides with the longest waits/the ones your kid will enjoy the most.
6) Others mentioned it, but if you want a character meal the Crystal Palace is really excellent, not too crowded, in the park, and has the Winnie the Pooh characters. I also like the Jungle Cruise restaurant (but it's not character meal).

This is 100% correct.
1) you have to stay on monorail resort (poly/GF/Or contemporary)

2) get there night before

3) make 60day FP+ reservations

4) you can easily do 6-8 rides in first hour, and probably 10 rides by noon

5) go back and take 3-4hr nap/hotel break

6) come back for evening. If kid tired, leave before fireworks. Easily could spend 1hr leaving park

7) invest in touringplans.com app. These are data scientists that will personalize what rides you plan on doing to the minute. Will allow you to account for flexible breaks. If you abide my general principles, you can conquer Magic Kingdom in one day (from unofficial guide to WDW book authors)

8) would recommend doing 1.5 days at MK. The travel time to other parks (HS) too cumbersome

9) skip Astro orbiter, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and even 7DMine ride with 5yr old

Good luck!

njdealguy
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by njdealguy » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:20 pm

Since you mentioned that you'll have half a day the following day before going for your flight, I'd suggest staying at the contemporary resort and spending the following morning having a slow paced breakfast at chef mickeys directly in the hotel for the character meal. This way wont waste time on actual day touring Magic Kingdom just for this.

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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by Steelersfan » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:25 pm

We did four days at Disney but just one day in each park, so one day in the Magic Kingdom will work just fine if that's all the time you can spare. Best ideas:

Get there the night before
Stay on Disney property
Plan the Fast Passes you want and get them locked in 60 days ahead of time. You have to purchase your park tickets for that day before you can get the Fast Passes that early
Get into the park early

We went with grand kids aged 5 and 7 and they loved it, the 5 year old most of all because she loves the Disney characters.

BTW - both were able to go on Magic Mountain and both were terrified, and not in a good way. You might want to skip that one.

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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by Random Musings » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:46 pm

We took our girls to Disney when the oldest was in fifth grade and the youngest was in first grade, Day one at MK and day two at Epcot. Both were full days, from park open to close in late Sept when the crowds are less overwhelming. At five, not sure if can last the whole day, but you know your child. Since our kids already were hikers, no big deal walking all day. As mentioned, hit the park early to take advantage of riding a bit more. The evening eas also a bit less crowded as the stroller caravans are greatly reduced. We ate quickly and didn't do any of those extras so we could ride. I think we rode about 30 rides at MK that day which I think was reasonable. The girls did see princesses and characters in Epcot the next day; much easier there.

We stayed at a hotel close by, one of the ones that were around before all their themed hotels were in place. The shuttle drive to both parks was quick and the hotel included a really nice buffet breakfast. Saved time that way.

However, one reality to consider is that at the age of five, it is more likely the memory of being there will fade over time while slightly older kids will retain those memories forever. Unless you plan to go back.

I went to Disneyland in summer of 1970, and DW opened not too much later. I was still can remember a few things that day.

Saying that, been to DL as a kid once and took our kids once to DW. They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking.

RM
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HomeStretch
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by HomeStretch » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:20 pm

If your 5-year old has a favorite character, kids are welcome to go into the park in costume.

3504PIR
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by 3504PIR » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:21 pm

Just go and have a good time for ~8 hours or so. We used to have annual passes and while I’m not sure what “maximizing” the time of a 5 year old involves, you will be well served to just enjoy the parts of the park that you happen to stroll to at the 5 year olds pace. The magic we had in our time at the parks didn’t involve rushing to get things done, they involved watching the joy it brought our daughter, which really is priceless. Go to the Magic Kingdom and enjoy.

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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by sco » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:24 pm

Show up early, you will get more done before noon than after on a typical day.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:09 am

In addition to what others said - book a character lunch or breakfast if your kid is into the characters - its far easier to get pictures with them during these times (and its a nice break with a decent meal) versus waiting in line with others out in the park.

Unless something has recently changed - I personally would stay in the Wilderness Lodge since there is a nice direct boat-ride to/from the Magic Kingdom (no dealing with monorail or buses). I would stay the night BEFORE and the night after so you will be sure to be at the park when it opens.

smitcat
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by smitcat » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:32 am

Random Musings wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:46 pm
We took our girls to Disney when the oldest was in fifth grade and the youngest was in first grade, Day one at MK and day two at Epcot. Both were full days, from park open to close in late Sept when the crowds are less overwhelming. At five, not sure if can last the whole day, but you know your child. Since our kids already were hikers, no big deal walking all day. As mentioned, hit the park early to take advantage of riding a bit more. The evening eas also a bit less crowded as the stroller caravans are greatly reduced. We ate quickly and didn't do any of those extras so we could ride. I think we rode about 30 rides at MK that day which I think was reasonable. The girls did see princesses and characters in Epcot the next day; much easier there.

We stayed at a hotel close by, one of the ones that were around before all their themed hotels were in place. The shuttle drive to both parks was quick and the hotel included a really nice buffet breakfast. Saved time that way.

However, one reality to consider is that at the age of five, it is more likely the memory of being there will fade over time while slightly older kids will retain those memories forever. Unless you plan to go back.

I went to Disneyland in summer of 1970, and DW opened not too much later. I was still can remember a few things that day.

Saying that, been to DL as a kid once and took our kids once to DW. They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking.

RM
"They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking."
Which other theme parks?
How long since you have been back to Disney?

WhyNotUs
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by WhyNotUs » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:39 am

mw1739 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:47 pm
My questions are:

1. Am I crazy trying to cram Magic Kingdom into 1 day? We may also have half a day the following day before our flight home - worth it to hit another park that day?
No, with a 5 year old, one day is good IMO. Must admit that I personally dread it but family members love Mickeyland. I am a bit of a heretic compared to other posters but I would drive from Ft Myers in the morning and focus on being there in the evening, through the Main St. Parade and light show/fireworks, which I think would be a big memory for a 5 year old. Thus I would spend my night after the park at Disney hotel. I have stayed at Contemporary and Grand Floridian and both were fine. Hopping on the monorail after a long afternoon/evening at the park and being in bed in minutes would be my reward. If you got to the park shortly after lunch, then you would have plenty of time. As others have noted many of the 5 year old rides will not have the long lines and you can save your fastpasses for Pirates/Small World and one other depending on interests.
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by JBTX » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:41 am

Google magic kingdom in one day. You will get strategies about how to get the most done. Make sure to get tickets before you get there or pick them up at will call. Get there before park opens. If you stay at certain Disney hotels you may get to go in an hour early. As others have said you will get more done in the first hour than the next several. By 11:00 it is near impossible to do anything popular.

Get there before it opens. Go around to the left side of the entrances. Typically in theme parts it is better to go counter clockwise as most people go clock wise. You have to decide what is important with a five year old. The reaction is to walk in look at things around the park, walk in shops, etc etc. Maybe that is fine for a 5 year old. If you want to do rides that is not what you want to do.

Read up and learn about how to optimally use the fast pass. A few years ago I actually did three Disney parks in one day with two teens. It was a very long day.

What may make sense is to stay at a Disney hotel, pick a day where you get to go in earlier than everywhere else. Stay a few hours at the park, go back to the hotel,eat, swim, or even take a nap. Then go back. There are some days it stays open to midnight.

an_asker
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by an_asker » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:44 am

No Boglehead worth his/her salt will recommend this ... and I didn't even know such an option exists until a couple of months ago, though I live in the general area.

It is expensive but you can purchase tickets that let you pick and choose whatever you want to do - as many times as you want to do it - and they'll take you to the head of the line all over the park. IIRC, my friend who did this paid $1500 for a day for a family of four. At that time, it sounded atrocious to me - but then, I am viewing it with the lens of a local AND layering on the Boglehead philosophy. For those who are restricted for time - and can afford it (those who choose to pay for business class and up tickets, for instance) - I would think this is worth it.

stoptothink
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by stoptothink » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:46 am

smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:32 am
Random Musings wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:46 pm
We took our girls to Disney when the oldest was in fifth grade and the youngest was in first grade, Day one at MK and day two at Epcot. Both were full days, from park open to close in late Sept when the crowds are less overwhelming. At five, not sure if can last the whole day, but you know your child. Since our kids already were hikers, no big deal walking all day. As mentioned, hit the park early to take advantage of riding a bit more. The evening eas also a bit less crowded as the stroller caravans are greatly reduced. We ate quickly and didn't do any of those extras so we could ride. I think we rode about 30 rides at MK that day which I think was reasonable. The girls did see princesses and characters in Epcot the next day; much easier there.

We stayed at a hotel close by, one of the ones that were around before all their themed hotels were in place. The shuttle drive to both parks was quick and the hotel included a really nice buffet breakfast. Saved time that way.

However, one reality to consider is that at the age of five, it is more likely the memory of being there will fade over time while slightly older kids will retain those memories forever. Unless you plan to go back.

I went to Disneyland in summer of 1970, and DW opened not too much later. I was still can remember a few things that day.

Saying that, been to DL as a kid once and took our kids once to DW. They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking.

RM
"They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking."
Which other theme parks?
How long since you have been back to Disney?
FWIW, my kids (7 and 4) have been to Disneyland 3x, including in September, and they much prefer Knott's Berry Farm. They enjoy the movies, but could not care less about meeting the characters or the Disney ambiance, as much as my wife attempts to get them to. We've gone to Disney for my wife, my kids (yes, including my 4yr old) like roller coasters and Disney isn't even close to (much less crowded and costly) alternatives in this regard.

smitcat
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by smitcat » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:48 am

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:46 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:32 am
Random Musings wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:46 pm
We took our girls to Disney when the oldest was in fifth grade and the youngest was in first grade, Day one at MK and day two at Epcot. Both were full days, from park open to close in late Sept when the crowds are less overwhelming. At five, not sure if can last the whole day, but you know your child. Since our kids already were hikers, no big deal walking all day. As mentioned, hit the park early to take advantage of riding a bit more. The evening eas also a bit less crowded as the stroller caravans are greatly reduced. We ate quickly and didn't do any of those extras so we could ride. I think we rode about 30 rides at MK that day which I think was reasonable. The girls did see princesses and characters in Epcot the next day; much easier there.

We stayed at a hotel close by, one of the ones that were around before all their themed hotels were in place. The shuttle drive to both parks was quick and the hotel included a really nice buffet breakfast. Saved time that way.

However, one reality to consider is that at the age of five, it is more likely the memory of being there will fade over time while slightly older kids will retain those memories forever. Unless you plan to go back.

I went to Disneyland in summer of 1970, and DW opened not too much later. I was still can remember a few things that day.

Saying that, been to DL as a kid once and took our kids once to DW. They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking.

RM
"They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking."
Which other theme parks?
How long since you have been back to Disney?
FWIW, my kids (7 and 4) have been to Disneyland 3x, including in September, and they much prefer Knott's Berry Farm. They could not care less about meeting the characters or the ambiance, as much as my wife attempts to get them to. We've gone to Disney for my wife, my kids (yes, including my 4yr old) like roller coasters and Disney isn't even close to (much less crowded and costly) alternatives in this regard.
Thank you - we have been to both (Calif and Orlando) and in this case Disneyworld is the one we are asking about.

ERISA Stone
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by ERISA Stone » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:00 am

I have a friend who goes on Thursdays from 7pm - midnight. He says they're able to do everything they want to do at least twice. If that's something you might be interested in doing...

stoptothink
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by stoptothink » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:01 am

smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:48 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:46 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:32 am
Random Musings wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:46 pm
We took our girls to Disney when the oldest was in fifth grade and the youngest was in first grade, Day one at MK and day two at Epcot. Both were full days, from park open to close in late Sept when the crowds are less overwhelming. At five, not sure if can last the whole day, but you know your child. Since our kids already were hikers, no big deal walking all day. As mentioned, hit the park early to take advantage of riding a bit more. The evening eas also a bit less crowded as the stroller caravans are greatly reduced. We ate quickly and didn't do any of those extras so we could ride. I think we rode about 30 rides at MK that day which I think was reasonable. The girls did see princesses and characters in Epcot the next day; much easier there.

We stayed at a hotel close by, one of the ones that were around before all their themed hotels were in place. The shuttle drive to both parks was quick and the hotel included a really nice buffet breakfast. Saved time that way.

However, one reality to consider is that at the age of five, it is more likely the memory of being there will fade over time while slightly older kids will retain those memories forever. Unless you plan to go back.

I went to Disneyland in summer of 1970, and DW opened not too much later. I was still can remember a few things that day.

Saying that, been to DL as a kid once and took our kids once to DW. They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking.

RM
"They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking."
Which other theme parks?
How long since you have been back to Disney?
FWIW, my kids (7 and 4) have been to Disneyland 3x, including in September, and they much prefer Knott's Berry Farm. They could not care less about meeting the characters or the ambiance, as much as my wife attempts to get them to. We've gone to Disney for my wife, my kids (yes, including my 4yr old) like roller coasters and Disney isn't even close to (much less crowded and costly) alternatives in this regard.
Thank you - we have been to both (Calif and Orlando) and in this case Disneyworld is the one we are asking about.
My kids have been to both as well. If you go to amusement parks for the rides (particularly roller coasters), Disney (land or world) is not the place.

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sk2101
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by sk2101 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:17 am

1 day is good enough for Magic Kingdom. I would book a room at the Contemporary Resort or at the Bay Lake Tower so you are within walking distance and can take a break and relax mid-day.
Book the hotel early so you can get fastpasses right when the 60 day window opens.
There is a lot of walking, so a stroller may be very handy for a 5 year old to hop in when legs gets tired. I walk close to 10 miles, 25-30k steps in a day at MK (I don't take trolleys).

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djpeteski
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by djpeteski » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:18 am

The most important thing is to set your goals and understand your limitations. For example, would your 5 year old be interested in Space Mountain? Is he tall enough? Same thing for the Dwarf mine ride. Prioritize your rides and things you want to do. Character dining may be a way to do something that he/mom/dad is interested in while you do something else that is necessary (eat).
1. Am I crazy trying to cram Magic Kingdom into 1 day? We may also have half a day the following day before our flight home - worth it to hit another park that day?
IMHO not at all. You can cram everything you want to do in one day with early park entry, use of fast passes, and targeting the things you really want to do. Remember, you will have opportunities in the future, so if you miss something you can always come back.
3. Which Disney hotel would be most convenient for a full day at the Magic Kingdom for a family of 4? (Not really interested in saving a buck staying off property, and I'd like to maximize the day with Fast Pass reservations)
The most convenient would be to stay in one of the monorail hotels: Contemporary, Grand Floridian, or Polynesian. Jump on the monorail, and you are in the front gate. Have your passes ahead of time. It always shocks me watching people buying their tickets, around noon, and then going into the park. They "wasted" half the day. I believe staying in the resorts allows you early entrance into the park.
2. Would it be worth it to drive up the night before, stay the night and get in right when the park opens?
Absolutely, and you may want to come even earlier. The resorts are kind of an incredible experience. They have guided activities for the kids, and the pools never really disappoint. Often times they are the younger kid's favorite things to do. Although I live locally, staying at Animal Kingdom lodge was a truly amazing experience. The rooms are standard rooms, but you look out of the balcony and see all kinds of wildlife.

I'd call up the Disney vacation planners and see what they have to say. Please drink/bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

BTW MK has a pretty good chicken and waffles place that is quick serve.
Last edited by djpeteski on Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

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djpeteski
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by djpeteski » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:19 am

posted twice...sorry please delete admins.

smitcat
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by smitcat » Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:47 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:01 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:48 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:46 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:32 am
Random Musings wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:46 pm
We took our girls to Disney when the oldest was in fifth grade and the youngest was in first grade, Day one at MK and day two at Epcot. Both were full days, from park open to close in late Sept when the crowds are less overwhelming. At five, not sure if can last the whole day, but you know your child. Since our kids already were hikers, no big deal walking all day. As mentioned, hit the park early to take advantage of riding a bit more. The evening eas also a bit less crowded as the stroller caravans are greatly reduced. We ate quickly and didn't do any of those extras so we could ride. I think we rode about 30 rides at MK that day which I think was reasonable. The girls did see princesses and characters in Epcot the next day; much easier there.

We stayed at a hotel close by, one of the ones that were around before all their themed hotels were in place. The shuttle drive to both parks was quick and the hotel included a really nice buffet breakfast. Saved time that way.

However, one reality to consider is that at the age of five, it is more likely the memory of being there will fade over time while slightly older kids will retain those memories forever. Unless you plan to go back.

I went to Disneyland in summer of 1970, and DW opened not too much later. I was still can remember a few things that day.

Saying that, been to DL as a kid once and took our kids once to DW. They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking.

RM
"They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking."
Which other theme parks?
How long since you have been back to Disney?
FWIW, my kids (7 and 4) have been to Disneyland 3x, including in September, and they much prefer Knott's Berry Farm. They could not care less about meeting the characters or the ambiance, as much as my wife attempts to get them to. We've gone to Disney for my wife, my kids (yes, including my 4yr old) like roller coasters and Disney isn't even close to (much less crowded and costly) alternatives in this regard.
Thank you - we have been to both (Calif and Orlando) and in this case Disneyworld is the one we are asking about.
My kids have been to both as well. If you go to amusement parks for the rides (particularly roller coasters), Disney (land or world) is not the place.
Sorry they are not for you guys - I would avoid them then in that case.
Opinions vary.

JBTX
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by JBTX » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:42 pm

smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:47 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:01 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:48 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:46 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:32 am


"They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking."
Which other theme parks?
How long since you have been back to Disney?
FWIW, my kids (7 and 4) have been to Disneyland 3x, including in September, and they much prefer Knott's Berry Farm. They could not care less about meeting the characters or the ambiance, as much as my wife attempts to get them to. We've gone to Disney for my wife, my kids (yes, including my 4yr old) like roller coasters and Disney isn't even close to (much less crowded and costly) alternatives in this regard.
Thank you - we have been to both (Calif and Orlando) and in this case Disneyworld is the one we are asking about.
My kids have been to both as well. If you go to amusement parks for the rides (particularly roller coasters), Disney (land or world) is not the place.
Sorry they are not for you guys - I would avoid them then in that case.
Opinions vary.

If Rollercoasters are their thing then I'd recommend Busch Gardens in Tampa. At least a half dozen roller coasters and not particularly crowded and no long waits.

Atilla
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by Atilla » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:23 pm

Definitely rent a stroller. Back in the day they were big plastic monstrosities a 5-year old could lounge in while you make time from one thing to the other without the kid getting tired.
Moderator Warning-Free Since 2017.

stoptothink
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by stoptothink » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:27 pm

JBTX wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:42 pm
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:47 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:01 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:48 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:46 am


FWIW, my kids (7 and 4) have been to Disneyland 3x, including in September, and they much prefer Knott's Berry Farm. They could not care less about meeting the characters or the ambiance, as much as my wife attempts to get them to. We've gone to Disney for my wife, my kids (yes, including my 4yr old) like roller coasters and Disney isn't even close to (much less crowded and costly) alternatives in this regard.
Thank you - we have been to both (Calif and Orlando) and in this case Disneyworld is the one we are asking about.
My kids have been to both as well. If you go to amusement parks for the rides (particularly roller coasters), Disney (land or world) is not the place.
Sorry they are not for you guys - I would avoid them then in that case.
Opinions vary.

If Rollercoasters are their thing then I'd recommend Busch Gardens in Tampa. At least a half dozen roller coasters and not particularly crowded and no long waits.
Or in California, Six Flags. Some of the best coasters in the country and you'll literally walk onto 90% of them as long as you don't go on a summer vacation Saturday. Not to mention, 1/3 the price of Disneyland. Unfortunately my kids are too small for Six Flags, so we've gone to Knott's instead.

We went to DisneyWorld once with the kids (wife and I had both been, separately, before), we have no interest in visiting (the park or Florida) again...well, wife would love to but she gets vetoed 3 to 1.

smitcat
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by smitcat » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:26 pm

JBTX wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:42 pm
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:47 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:01 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:48 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:46 am


FWIW, my kids (7 and 4) have been to Disneyland 3x, including in September, and they much prefer Knott's Berry Farm. They could not care less about meeting the characters or the ambiance, as much as my wife attempts to get them to. We've gone to Disney for my wife, my kids (yes, including my 4yr old) like roller coasters and Disney isn't even close to (much less crowded and costly) alternatives in this regard.
Thank you - we have been to both (Calif and Orlando) and in this case Disneyworld is the one we are asking about.
My kids have been to both as well. If you go to amusement parks for the rides (particularly roller coasters), Disney (land or world) is not the place.
Sorry they are not for you guys - I would avoid them then in that case.
Opinions vary.

If Rollercoasters are their thing then I'd recommend Busch Gardens in Tampa. At least a half dozen roller coasters and not particularly crowded and no long waits.
Thank you - We liked Bush Gardens as well as 6 flags , Hershey park, U- Studios Orlando as well. Have not been to 6 Flags in Tampa yet.

JBTX
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by JBTX » Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:28 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:27 pm
JBTX wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:42 pm
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:47 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:01 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:48 am


Thank you - we have been to both (Calif and Orlando) and in this case Disneyworld is the one we are asking about.
My kids have been to both as well. If you go to amusement parks for the rides (particularly roller coasters), Disney (land or world) is not the place.
Sorry they are not for you guys - I would avoid them then in that case.
Opinions vary.

If Rollercoasters are their thing then I'd recommend Busch Gardens in Tampa. At least a half dozen roller coasters and not particularly crowded and no long waits.
Or in California, Six Flags. Some of the best coasters in the country and you'll literally walk onto 90% of them as long as you don't go on a summer vacation Saturday. Not to mention, 1/3 the price of Disneyland. Unfortunately my kids are too small for Six Flags, so we've gone to Knott's instead.

We went to DisneyWorld once with the kids (wife and I had both been, separately, before), we have no interest in visiting (the park or Florida) again...well, wife would love to but she gets vetoed 3 to 1.
As we got older I'd swore we would never go back. But last time heading to FL my young teen daughter insisted we go (she had a friend). We got there and quickly did a few of the major rides in about 90 minutes and they were done. So I got an extended ticket and went to the other 2 parks. And that kept them busy. They'd mostly just do roller coasters over and over again. Then we went back to magic kingdom at night.

There is something about the allure of going there but once there there is only a few things of interest except for small children and from about 11:00 am to late afternoon it is a complete madhouse.

smitcat
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by smitcat » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:23 pm

JBTX wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:28 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:27 pm
JBTX wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:42 pm
smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:47 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:01 am


My kids have been to both as well. If you go to amusement parks for the rides (particularly roller coasters), Disney (land or world) is not the place.
Sorry they are not for you guys - I would avoid them then in that case.
Opinions vary.

If Rollercoasters are their thing then I'd recommend Busch Gardens in Tampa. At least a half dozen roller coasters and not particularly crowded and no long waits.
Or in California, Six Flags. Some of the best coasters in the country and you'll literally walk onto 90% of them as long as you don't go on a summer vacation Saturday. Not to mention, 1/3 the price of Disneyland. Unfortunately my kids are too small for Six Flags, so we've gone to Knott's instead.

We went to DisneyWorld once with the kids (wife and I had both been, separately, before), we have no interest in visiting (the park or Florida) again...well, wife would love to but she gets vetoed 3 to 1.
As we got older I'd swore we would never go back. But last time heading to FL my young teen daughter insisted we go (she had a friend). We got there and quickly did a few of the major rides in about 90 minutes and they were done. So I got an extended ticket and went to the other 2 parks. And that kept them busy. They'd mostly just do roller coasters over and over again. Then we went back to magic kingdom at night.

There is something about the allure of going there but once there there is only a few things of interest except for small children and from about 11:00 am to late afternoon it is a complete madhouse.
"There is something about the allure of going there but once there there is only a few things of interest except for small children"
There are many that we do like including but not limited to: Animal Kingdom animals, Pandora, shows there , Water parks, EPCOT rides and shows, World showcase, Studios shows, Studios rides, Galaxies Edge, Disney Springs etc.
But - its not for some folks and then it makes no sense to go there.

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fortfun
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by fortfun » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:46 pm

Get there early. Be first in line.

Fast Pass.

Go on a night that stays open late. Stay till closing.

Sign in on the rides that allow you jump inline (might be part of fast pass).

Skip the crazy long lines.

Not sure if disney offers singleton lines but they are much faster at Universal and you often end up riding with your friends anyway.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by White Coat Investor » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:09 pm

mw1739 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:47 pm
We're making a trip to Ft. Myers to see family in February and the thought of taking our youngest (5) to Disney came up since he hasn't been. The idea would be to drive up early and get there shortly after the park opens. Spend all day in Magic Kingdom, stay the night and fly home from Orlando the next day. (Brief backstory - we had to cancel an earlier week long trip to Disney for medical reasons and my son has recently been asking when we could go again. So yes, it is a lot of hassle for only 1 day, but we're probably going to do it anyway, so any suggestions would be appreciated.)

My questions are:

1. Am I crazy trying to cram Magic Kingdom into 1 day? We may also have half a day the following day before our flight home - worth it to hit another park that day?
2. Would it be worth it to drive up the night before, stay the night and get in right when the park opens?
3. Which Disney hotel would be most convenient for a full day at the Magic Kingdom for a family of 4? (Not really interested in saving a buck staying off property, and I'd like to maximize the day with Fast Pass reservations)
Pay the extra for the guided tour thing where you go to the front of every line. It's well worth the price. If you can't afford it, you can't afford Disney. Otherwise, you're paying hundreds (thousands when you include travel costs) to stand in line. $100 to stand in line or $400 (or whatever) to actually go to Disney and do Disney stuff. Your choice. I showed up when it opened and spent 2 hours+ in my first line. Not fun. The next day we went to Universal Studios, paid twice as much to get the fancy fast pass or whatever it is called and never waited in line. Saw two parks in one day and rode everything. The biggest problem was motion sickness. You'll never get that at Disney World with an hour wait between every ride.

Seriously. I hate theme parks, but that day was pretty awesome. It turns out I don't hate theme parks. I just hate standing in line all day.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

stoptothink
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by stoptothink » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:14 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:09 pm
mw1739 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:47 pm
We're making a trip to Ft. Myers to see family in February and the thought of taking our youngest (5) to Disney came up since he hasn't been. The idea would be to drive up early and get there shortly after the park opens. Spend all day in Magic Kingdom, stay the night and fly home from Orlando the next day. (Brief backstory - we had to cancel an earlier week long trip to Disney for medical reasons and my son has recently been asking when we could go again. So yes, it is a lot of hassle for only 1 day, but we're probably going to do it anyway, so any suggestions would be appreciated.)

My questions are:

1. Am I crazy trying to cram Magic Kingdom into 1 day? We may also have half a day the following day before our flight home - worth it to hit another park that day?
2. Would it be worth it to drive up the night before, stay the night and get in right when the park opens?
3. Which Disney hotel would be most convenient for a full day at the Magic Kingdom for a family of 4? (Not really interested in saving a buck staying off property, and I'd like to maximize the day with Fast Pass reservations)
Pay the extra for the guided tour thing where you go to the front of every line. It's well worth the price. If you can't afford it, you can't afford Disney. Otherwise, you're paying hundreds (thousands when you include travel costs) to stand in line. $100 to stand in line or $400 (or whatever) to actually go to Disney and do Disney stuff. Your choice. I showed up when it opened and spent 2 hours+ in my first line. Not fun. The next day we went to Universal Studios, paid twice as much to get the fancy fast pass or whatever it is called and never waited in line. Saw two parks in one day and rode everything. The biggest problem was motion sickness. You'll never get that at Disney World with an hour wait between every ride.

Seriously. I hate theme parks, but that day was pretty awesome. It turns out I don't hate theme parks. I just hate standing in line all day.
We went to Disney(World) on a Thursday in October of last year. The calendar said it was a slow day. The rides with fast passes, we waited at least 15min still; without, at least an hour. Nothing like ruining an experience by spending almost $1k to wait in lines for 98% of a day. If we ever go back, I'll pay for the guided tour in a second.

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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by White Coat Investor » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:14 pm

https://luxerecess.com/disney-vip-tours ... vate-tour/

Here you go. $425-600 an hour. Split that 10 ways and maybe it's only $300-400/head. WELL worth the price. No way I'll go back without getting that.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

Finridge
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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by Finridge » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:26 pm

If you want to maximize your experience, I suggest at least 2, or maybe even 3, days.

I also agree with the poster above who recommended being there well before opening. The early bird gets the worm.

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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by Random Musings » Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:01 pm

smitcat wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:32 am
Random Musings wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:46 pm
We took our girls to Disney when the oldest was in fifth grade and the youngest was in first grade, Day one at MK and day two at Epcot. Both were full days, from park open to close in late Sept when the crowds are less overwhelming. At five, not sure if can last the whole day, but you know your child. Since our kids already were hikers, no big deal walking all day. As mentioned, hit the park early to take advantage of riding a bit more. The evening eas also a bit less crowded as the stroller caravans are greatly reduced. We ate quickly and didn't do any of those extras so we could ride. I think we rode about 30 rides at MK that day which I think was reasonable. The girls did see princesses and characters in Epcot the next day; much easier there.

We stayed at a hotel close by, one of the ones that were around before all their themed hotels were in place. The shuttle drive to both parks was quick and the hotel included a really nice buffet breakfast. Saved time that way.

However, one reality to consider is that at the age of five, it is more likely the memory of being there will fade over time while slightly older kids will retain those memories forever. Unless you plan to go back.

I went to Disneyland in summer of 1970, and DW opened not too much later. I was still can remember a few things that day.

Saying that, been to DL as a kid once and took our kids once to DW. They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking.

RM
"They have no interest to go back as they want to go to other amusement parks where they find the rides more to their liking."
Which other theme parks?
How long since you have been back to Disney?
Went to Disney four years ago as a small portion of our FL trip. Since we like to travel all over the U.S,, no plans to hit a Disney again. However, we know a good number of people who visit WDW on a regular basis, be it every few years, every year or more than once a year. Different strokes......

I will reframe, they prefer other amusement parks - Cedar Point, Kings Island, Hersheypark, Busch Gardens near Williamsburg and Dollywood. If we get out to CA, I would like to take them to Knotts Berry Farm which was the day after I went to Disneyland in 1970. I've been to many others over the years, some still in existence and some not (like Astroworld). I'm just glad we went to Dusney World when our kids were younger but can still remember the experience as well as being there during the slower late Sept period. We did have to wait in line 45 minutes once for the Haunted Mansion, but that was during the busy afternoon when strollers are everywhere. I could not imagine being there during the peak seasons, but many must enjoy that type of experience, otherwise, they wouldn't do in.

RM
I figure the odds be fifty-fifty I just might have something to say. FZ

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Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by SuperSaver » Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:45 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:09 pm
mw1739 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:47 pm
We're making a trip to Ft. Myers to see family in February and the thought of taking our youngest (5) to Disney came up since he hasn't been. The idea would be to drive up early and get there shortly after the park opens. Spend all day in Magic Kingdom, stay the night and fly home from Orlando the next day. (Brief backstory - we had to cancel an earlier week long trip to Disney for medical reasons and my son has recently been asking when we could go again. So yes, it is a lot of hassle for only 1 day, but we're probably going to do it anyway, so any suggestions would be appreciated.)

My questions are:

1. Am I crazy trying to cram Magic Kingdom into 1 day? We may also have half a day the following day before our flight home - worth it to hit another park that day?
2. Would it be worth it to drive up the night before, stay the night and get in right when the park opens?
3. Which Disney hotel would be most convenient for a full day at the Magic Kingdom for a family of 4? (Not really interested in saving a buck staying off property, and I'd like to maximize the day with Fast Pass reservations)
Pay the extra for the guided tour thing where you go to the front of every line. It's well worth the price. If you can't afford it, you can't afford Disney. Otherwise, you're paying hundreds (thousands when you include travel costs) to stand in line. $100 to stand in line or $400 (or whatever) to actually go to Disney and do Disney stuff. Your choice. I showed up when it opened and spent 2 hours+ in my first line. Not fun. The next day we went to Universal Studios, paid twice as much to get the fancy fast pass or whatever it is called and never waited in line. Saw two parks in one day and rode everything. The biggest problem was motion sickness. You'll never get that at Disney World with an hour wait between every ride.

Seriously. I hate theme parks, but that day was pretty awesome. It turns out I don't hate theme parks. I just hate standing in line all day.
If you stay on property at a Universal “premier” hotel, you get:

1) express passes included for free
2) walkable/short boat ride to park
3) express passes work on both check-in, and check-out day
4) universal express pass > Disney FP+

criticalmass
Posts: 1280
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by criticalmass » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:56 am

researcher wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:10 pm

Your family will have a blast.
After you check in the night before...ride the monorail and explore the Polynesian/Grand Floridian, and take the boat ride to Wilderness Lodge. My kids really enjoyed riding the monorail/boat and seeing the resorts.
And get a theme park view room at the Contemporary. Your son can watch the fireworks from the balcony/bed.
Good ideas, but I would also ride the Sky gondola around during your free time the night before, rather than limiting to just monorail/boat. Excellent views of the property and it's pretty fun way to move. Sort of like a flat ski gondola.

Marylander1
Posts: 212
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:18 pm
Location: Baltimore & DC

Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by Marylander1 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:17 am

3504PIR wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:21 pm
The magic we had in our time at the parks didn’t involve rushing to get things done, they involved watching the joy it brought our daughter, which really is priceless. Go to the Magic Kingdom and enjoy.
I've been to the Magic Kingdom exactly once, when I was five years old. My memories are warm and delightful, centered around my dad letting me lead the day, including planning months ahead and on-site deciding whether to go through Pirates of the Caribbean a third time (short line) or Haunted Mansion a second time (long line). (Space Mountain was closed for maintenance.) I didn't care about interacting with characters in costume, so we didn't. We also talked about how expensive the food and gift shops were, and he helped me decide to wait to get other better toys later. I remember a LOT from that day (and our next day at Kennedy Space Center).

I'm not saying this is true for everyone, but my dad's approach was perfect for us. If he had pushed us to do everything he planned and wanted, I don't think I'd have such memories. Giving me the opportunity to make decisions with his guidance was a wonderful young learning experience in planning and logistics, spending prioritization, and maximizing happiness instead of checking off as many rides as humanly possible.

Marylander1

3504PIR
Posts: 823
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:46 am

Re: Maximize 1 Day at Disney

Post by 3504PIR » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:48 pm

Marylander1 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:17 am
3504PIR wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:21 pm
The magic we had in our time at the parks didn’t involve rushing to get things done, they involved watching the joy it brought our daughter, which really is priceless. Go to the Magic Kingdom and enjoy.
I've been to the Magic Kingdom exactly once, when I was five years old. My memories are warm and delightful, centered around my dad letting me lead the day, including planning months ahead and on-site deciding whether to go through Pirates of the Caribbean a third time (short line) or Haunted Mansion a second time (long line). (Space Mountain was closed for maintenance.) I didn't care about interacting with characters in costume, so we didn't. We also talked about how expensive the food and gift shops were, and he helped me decide to wait to get other better toys later. I remember a LOT from that day (and our next day at Kennedy Space Center).

I'm not saying this is true for everyone, but my dad's approach was perfect for us. If he had pushed us to do everything he planned and wanted, I don't think I'd have such memories. Giving me the opportunity to make decisions with his guidance was a wonderful young learning experience in planning and logistics, spending prioritization, and maximizing happiness instead of checking off as many rides as humanly possible.

Marylander1
What a great memory! You had great parents.

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