Category Archives: Touring Plans
I get a lot of questions and emails on Chip and Company asking me the best ways to tour the parks. I wanted to share with you my Magic Kingdom Touring Plan to help make your Disney World Vacation more enjoyable. I posted this last week on Couponing to Disney and thought it would be great to share it here too! If you missed my last Touring Plan click here to read about Touring the Magic Kingdom.
I stated off the last article about the Magic Kingdom by saying “Get there early.” Epcot unfortunately is not a park you can get there early, unless they have Extra AM Magic Hours or you have a ADR for Breakfast at Akershus. Most days Epcot is going to open at 9am and World Showcase around 11am. Our last trip we made breakfast reservations at Akershus Princess Storybook Dining around 8am, which I think is the perfect time to eat and hit the rides just when the park opens.(We eat fast)
Start off slow
While most people want to run and jump on Test Track when the park opens again we avoid the biggest attraction an opt for something else entirely. My family and I are big fans of the ocean and Nemo so we start off at The Living Seas with Nemo & Friends. Its a very relaxing ride and helps digest your breakfast nicely. We love getting our pictures taken with Bruce and checking out all the sea life. If you have little ones with you be sure to stop by and do Turtle Talk with Crush.
Quick Tip – Have your child sit on the very front row to interact with Crush, also something identifiable like a hat seems to get Crush’s attention. Teach your kids the word “Dude” before you go and have them use it for an additional laugh.
Off to The Land
Next door to the seas is “The Land” and our next stop “Soarin.” I suggest riding Soarin twice in a row cause later in the day you will see some of the longest lines for this ride. Avoid Living with the Land for now and when your done head up to Imagination.
Quick Tip – Use Fastpass for Soarin as your first of the day. Return time should be around lunch time.
Journey to Imagination
I am one of the few fans of the Journey to Imagination ride so its a must for us. Some people dislike that ride and avoid it at all cost. That I leave up to you. Again avoid Captain Eo (Honey I shrunk the Audience) for now. Also I would wait on the games outside of Imagination at this time. You can come back later in the day for a quick cool off.
At this point most of the Rope Drop people will have been on Test Track once maybe twice so now is your chance to get in there. Your food should be well digested and ready for some excitement. Hit Test Track up first and then if your ok with spinning rides visit Mission Space next. If your still full from breakfast head down to Universe of Energy and check out your first show. Be prepared its a LONG show.
Quick Tip – There are restrooms on your way to Test Track if you look on yourfor the exact location.
World Showcase Opens
If you timed it right World Showcase is now open, and it should be warming up in Epcot. Now is a good time for a pitstop before heading out to World Showcase. Club Cool is a great place to sample free Pop from around the world. Check out my article Epcot’s Club Cool is to HOT to pass up here.
If your a little early still or skipped a few rides head to Spaceship Earth or get some Autographs/Pictures at the Disney Character Meet & Greet. Tooling around in Innoventions is fun but we usually do that later in the day.
Once World Showcase opens head directly to Norway first. The Maelstrom is another ride that is going to have some seriously long lines. We skip the Norway show after the ride like most people do. When are they going to upgrade that thing? Seriously..
Around the World
After Norway we double back and visit one of my favorite places in Epcot..Mexico. Grand Fiesta Tour is a great boat ride and hardly ever busy. If your hungry stop off at San Angel Inn for lunch or if you have little ones stop by the Kidcot Station and start your fun journey around the world.
Quick Tip – Kidcot is free and is a lot of fun for little ones. Our daughters mask is still up on her wall minus the paint stick of course There is a Kidcot station in every pavilion.
Take off Eh
We like to double back to Canada and go counter clockwise around the World Showcase. You can leave Mexico and go clockwise if you want. The choice is yours. I feel that most people go Clockwise for some reason and I am a rebel when I go backwards.
Take your time and enjoy the stroll
The World Showcase is a place you want to relax and enjoy. There is no need to rush, just take your time and explore everything you can. The food in each of the pavilions are some of the best at Walt Disney World. It usually takes us the better part of the day to walk all the way around Epcot. We make sure to stop at all the shows, attractions, and little shops that are available. For more on the Food around the World Showcase checkout our Guide to Walt Disney World Section here.
Quick Tip – Another great stop for little ones is in Japan. Our little one loved Miyuki the Japanese Candy Artist. Be sure to stand near her so she can ask your favorite animal. Check out this article for more.
Take a boat ride
As your feet get sore from walking around Epcot we find a riding the boat from Epcot to Hollywood Studios and back again is great for relaxing or letting little ones nap. I myself have fallen asleep a few times on board for a few minutes. We are staying at the Boardwalk Villas on our next trip so this might be a good time to head back to the room for a quick nap. Here are some tips on re-energizing.
Quick Tip – If you are a late eater you will want to skip the boat ride and move onto Fast Pass Time area.
Refreshed and ready to go
After the boat ride and a recharging of our batteries we are ready to go again. At this point it is getting close to dinner. We like to have an early dinner to avoid the crowds. There are some Good Eats in Epcot so depending on what kinda of food your in the mood for its just a short walk away.
If you are a drinker I suggest trying out our Drink Around the World Showcase or DAWS. It is a lot of fun and something you will want to try once in your lifetime!
Fast Pass Time
Depending on what your feel like riding this is where some strategy comes into play. This late in the day there is going to be lines for everything. Pick a ride that has a long line and go get a fast pass for it. Now with Fast Pass in hand go back to The Land and take in the Living with the Land, Captain EO, and any other shows you might have missed. You can head over to Innoventions and play with all the cool exhibits they have there. Basically you are killing time till your fast pass is ready.
Do some shopping or Pin Trading near the rotary in the center of the plaza. Its a great inexpensive hobby and perfect souvenirs to take home with you. For on Pin Trading check this article out.
Around this time it should be getting dark and the last thing you will want to do is watch Illuminations. Seating is up to you as there really is no bad seat. Check out this article for Best Fireworks locations.
Quick Tip – Depending on which way the wind is blowing be sure to sit up wind so the smoke doesn’t blow on you from the fireworks.
Time to head home
Wow that was a busy day now go back to your room and relax. Your earned it!
Well that is our attack plan for Epcot. How do you tour Epcot? Have any tips or tricks to share? Let us know in the comment section below.
- Top 5 Disney World Dark Rides (chipandco.com)
- Free Epcot Touring Plan With Kids – One Day – 11am Arrival (easywdw.com)
I get a lot of questions and emails on Chip and Company asking me the best ways to tour the parks. I wanted to share with you my Magic Kingdom Touring Plan to help make your Disney World Vacation more enjoyable. I posted this last week on Couponing to Disney and thought it would be great to share it here too!
Get there Early
I like to get to the park at rope drop or plan an early breakfast at Crystal Palace to grab some photos of the park before all the people come in.
Quick Tip – Be sure to make your Disney Advanced Dining Reservation far enough in advanced for the Crystal Palace, ask for seating before the park opens for some spectacular photos of yourself and your family on Main Street USA.
And were off
Once Disney drops the rope I have noticed most people are making a mad dash towards 3 rides.
- Space Mountain
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Thunder Mountain
I myself am guilty of being one of those people way back when. I would hurry off and try to ride Space Mountain atleast 3 times before I did anything else.
First Stop: Fantasyland
Over the years I have learned when you get into the park the first place you want to go is Fantasyland, especially with kids. You walk into Fantasyland on any day around noon and it will be PACKED! So we have always made it a point to hit up the rides in Fantasyland first.
Start on the Peterpan side and work your way clockwise towards Tomorrowland. We usually just go from ride to ride with no wait time.
Quick Tip – Wait on Mickey Phillharmagic till later in the day when you need a break and want to sit down for awhile. There is plenty of room so there is no need to rush it.
Onward to Tomorrow
By the time you are done in Fantasyland most the people who ran to Tomorrowland first are done and moving onto new locations. So there is usually a decline in people for a short period. This is your chance to check out Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Speedway, etc.
Quick Tip – Hold off on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. I find this ride is the best later in the afternoon or around dusk with all the neon in Tomorrowland islit up.
Journey to Adventure
At this point most of the people who slept in late are arriving to the park and they are going towards Fantasyland or Tomorrowland which means this is the best time to attack Adventureland.
Ride the Jungle Boats, Carpets, Pirates, etc. The lines should be short but the day is starting to heat up. This would be a great time for a Dole Whip!
Quick Tip – Wait on the Swiss Family Treehouse as we will get to this ride later in the day since it is just a walk through anyway.
Give us Liberty
Most people think at this point I would head up to Frontierland and hit up Thunder & Splash Mountain since we are so close, but they would be wrong. We take a short detour through Liberty Square and hit the Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents. This is also a good time to have lunch at a few of my favorites Liberty Tree Tavern, Peco Bill’s or Sleepy Hollow for a snack.
Or if your not eating lunch and want ayou can get a Turkey Leg right on the edge of Frontierland.
The Final Frontier
Now is the time to head over to Frontierland and visit the Mountains – Thunder and Splash. Head out to Tom Sawyer Island to work off that lunch. If you have a little one there is a play area right underneath the Walt Disney World Railroad. Hang out here after you are done with the rides in the area till the train comes. There is also a great place to charge your cell phone near the Play area.
Quick Tip – There are bathrooms here as well so if you need to go this is a great pit stop location.
Riding the Rail
We like to take the train around Walt Disney World at this point and head back to the entrance of Disney World.
Time to Relax & Take in a Show
After you are done riding the rail head back to Fantasyland and check out Mickey’s Phillharmagic. Usually from there we Ride the Tomorrowland Transit and Carousel of Progress, etc stuff where we can sit down and relax. Most times my feet are tired at this point so taking in the shows seems to help restore my used up energy. Here are some tips of re-energizing.
Walk to Adventureland and do the Tree House and Tiki Room (when it opens). Along with any other shows you want to do.
This is also a good time to check out a parade or any other shows you might have missed. I like using this website WDW Info during my planning to give me an idea when and where the shows are.
Ride Rinse Repeat
You have done just about everything in the park by now. This is when you whip out your smart phone and bring up my favorite tool – Lines from Touring Plans.com. Check wait times on rides you may want to ride again.
Time to Eat
So we like to take a early dinner. Most times we are going to leave the park and visit one of the Resorts. This would be a good time to do that. You could always leave and hit another park, go back to the room to freshen up, or if you are really hardcore go back through my Plan of Attack all over again.
Parades & Fireworks
Usually by the time we leave for dinner and come back it is starting to get dark, there is where you will try to find a good seat for one of the nighttime parades and shows. If you are a little early you can always window shop on Main Street till it gets closer to the time.
Check out my past article Best Fireworks Viewing Locations at Walt Disney World for an idea on where you want to sit.
Extra Evening Magic Hour
I love Extra Magic Hours especially in the evening. Most times the park starts out crowded then they seem to dwindle down to nothing. I can remember being at WDW at 3am one time..It was fabulous!
As far as an attack plan goes during EMH I usually go clockwise around the Park. We usually walk a little slower and take in being in the Magic Kingdom at Night. I love all the lights and sounds of being there after dark!
There you have it
Well there is my Magic Kindgom Touring Plan. There are tons of books out there that charge big bucks for what I just gave you for free. If you have any suggestions of want to share with us your Touring Plan let us know in the comment section below.
If you are making your first trip to Walt Disney World, or your first trip in a long time, there are a few things you should do to prepare yourself and your family for your magical vacation.
1. Familiarize yourself with the park layouts-you should have a general idea of how all the parks are laid out and what major attractions your family would like to experience. Don’t forget to check the height restrictions on the major attractions. Nothing is worse than getting up to the height check and finding out your little one doesn’t hit the mark. This can be devastating, if you know your child isn’t going to be able to ride a certain attraction, start preparing them for it ahead of time.
2. Work in a pattern-When you are looking at your park map, try to pick a route that maximizes your time and minimizes your running from one land to the next. You’d be surprised how much time you lose crossing Mainstreet U.S.A. countless times to go to Space Mountain, then Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, then back to Space Mountain, etc. Try to tour the lands by land and do and see what you can in that land before heading to another one.
3. Plan for a break-Disney is a big place and you won’t realize how big until you’re on your feet all day. In the summer months the heat and humidity can suck the life out of you in no time. Make time to take little breaks for a healthy snack (a piece of fruit or a bottled water are a great idea) to re-charge and re-fuel. The little 5 minute “break” you just took could save you from a day’s worth of exhaustion, aggravation and frustration.
4. Plan a Character Meal-If you have family members who want to meet the Big Cheese and friends, plan a character breakfast. It’s a great way to start the day, you get a hearty meal and Mickey and his friends will come visit you, at your table in the lovely air conditioned restaurant. You won’t have to stand in line outside in the blazing inferno of the heat and risk not getting your autograph and picture and characters will generally take more time with your child during a character meal where things are less rushed and more controlled.
5. Extra Magical Hours: If you are staying in one of the Disney resorts, you will have Extra Magical Hours, this means you’ll be allowed into a park either an hour early or you’ll be able to stay late. The times and days rotate for the parks so check the calendar of events to find out when your extra magical hours are. The parks are far less crowded during this time and you can get a lot of ground covered. If you have late magical hours, take a break at your resort in the afternoon (the pool is a great place to cool off and have fun!) and then head back into the parks for dinner and your late night magic. The rides will shut down at park closing, but you can enjoy a nice slow walk out of the parks.
There are many ways to experience the magic of a Disney vacation but I guarantee you a pixie perfect plan will give you magic beyond compare!
In celebration of Star Tours officially opening today we bring you this great post from our writer Michele on surviving Star Wars Weekends. Enjoy..
If you live in this Galaxy, chances are you have not escaped “the force” of Star Wars. If you have ever come in contact with the male species, chances are, you know about Star Wars. If you have a son, nephew, brother, husband…you know about Star Wars.You know that every pointy object can become a light saber, the Yoda voice is imperative when quoting the famous movie lines, and in their opinion…all women should look like Princess Leah in Return of the Jedi.
If you have a Star Wars fan in your family, It’s virtually impossible to escape attending a Star Wars Weekend; so i’m here to prepare you, my fellow females, to survive the force.
Even the most prepared vacation planners can be left with shoe prints on their plans during Star Wars Weekends. Everything you know about vacationing, touring plans, lines and character meet and greets is not valid here. This weekend is a marathon, not a sprint and it’s not for the faint of heart. In order to survive, you must use the force, the female force. Don’t head into Star Wars Weekends without these guidelines to the galaxy.
“Fear is the path to the Dark Side”: Don’t be intimidated. Aside from the level of the crowds at these events, the intensity is also very high. Hollywood Studio’s is filled with a very diverse crowd: families looking to share a unique experience with their children, groups of friends who are Star Wars Fans, adults who are intense FANatics, groupies, grown men acting like little boys and people you will think truly are from another galaxy. Don’t let this detour or distract you from what you want to get accomplished, the experience is what you make it!
“A Jedi gains power through understanding”: Know what you want to accomplish. If you have little one’s who just want to interact with characters, participate in Jedi training and just enjoy the event, then keep your map, autograph book, cameras and sharpees out and ready; characters can pop up anywhere, anytime; BE READY! If Jedi Training is on your priority list, head there in the morning to register, this is very popular and there are only a certain number of participants per show. Padawans must be between the ages of 4 and 12 and must be present to be registered. If you are interested in the limited edition merchandise, you’ll need to head to the backlot first thing in the morning as well. While the specific merchandise varies every year, special items include boxed pin sets, t-shirts, posters, artists renderings, etc. Each year the host of Star Wars Weekends changes and the visitors can vary from week to week. If you are interested in special guests, check the Disney website to see which weekend has your favorite star; but beware that these can change without notice! In the past, tickets for celebrity autographs have been distributed at the Indiana Jones show location. Ask a cast member for ticket distribution and autograph locations.
“The fear of loss is a path to the dark side”: set realistic expectations. Battling the crowds with a small child isn’t ideal; don’t plan to get everything done in one day; it won’t happen and you’ll spend your day being frazzled and disappointed instead of participating in the fun. Have in mind which things you’d like to accomplish on what day. For example: “today we want to do Star Tours, Jedi Training, visit the merchandise shop and meet Darth Vader”. Leave room and time in between to wander around the parks and peek for other characters. Don’t forget to look for Jedi Mickey, Princess Leah Minnie, Darth Goofy, and Storm Trooper Donald. If you see these guys appear, get in line FAST! They are hard to catch, the line fills extremely quickly and they are only out for a limited amount of time.
“Truly wonderful the mind of a child is”-if you gather only one useful piece of advice from this article, let it be this. You will see amazing things if you see the world through your child’s eyes. Although the thought of spending a weekend in Disney celebrating Star Wars didn’t thrill me; I have to admit, it was one of my favorite Disney trips. The memories we made that trip are so special, my step-son fought Darth Maul at Jedi Training, we met every single character that was in attendance and danced with them all at the Hyperspace Hooplah, Princess Leah recognized our little one at various times throughout the day, (he was smitten!) we saw celebrities, met some great Star Wars FANatics and built our own light saber. Our favorite part of the whole weekend came at the end; Hyperspace Hooplah; the “closing ceremony” of the weekend is a fun filled show with characters representing both sides of the force; including a small stage “variety” show, complete with a dance contest and all the fun a galaxy can hold.
Ladies, i’ve given you the guidelines to surviving the galaxy but it’s up to you to make your trip out of this world. Whether you have previous knowledge of Star Wars, are just trying to appease the men in your life, or couldn’t care less, I guarantee you’ll leave knowing the name of every creature in the galaxy and have a slew of extraordinary experiences to share.
- Live From Star Wars Weekends! (cookingwithmickey.blogspot.com)
- Sorcerer Radio’s Coverage of Star Tours/Star Wars Weekends Begins (chipandco.com)
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