Sometimes, some people underestimate just how much thought goes into the “perfect” Walt Disney World Vacation.
“You pay for your Park Tickets and go to whichever Park you feel like going to that day, right?”
Well, technically, you could do that. Multi-day tickets aren’t attached to specific parks, so if you’re in the mood for a little Expedition Everest, you could just decide that today is an Animal Kingdom day.
But, sometimes there’s a little fault to not planning ahead…
When there is a Ticketed Event, Parks will close early to the General Public. This could cause a lot of disappointment if you didn’t plan for this ahead of time. No one wants to be having a magical time, just to find out that they have to leave.
If you don’t plan on attending these Ticketed Events or want to maximize your Park time, then you will want to plan around them.
Have a Park Hopper? Knowing that there’s a Ticketed Event usually drives some Guests away from going to that Park, especially if they have Base Tickets (one Park per day), because other Parks will be open longer. If Magic Kingdom is having Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at night, you could take advantage of some lower crowds and visit Magic Kingdom during the day and then hop to another park later that night.
Extra Magic Hours
Extra Magic hours is a Perk only offered to Guests who stay on-site. Every day, a Park entitles these Guests the opportunity to enter either one hour early or stay two hours late. During Peak seasons, more than one park offers Extra Magic Hours.
“We all know how much those Park Tickets cost, so choosing the Park that offers the maximum amount of hours in a day sounds good, right?”
The problem with Extra Magic Hours, though, is the crowds of people it draws to that specific Park for the entire day. So, I try to plan the opposite. I choose one of the Parks that doesn’t have Extra Magic Hours that day. At most, you’re only gaining an hour or two of extra time in the Park (most of which will be spent waiting in lines due to the additional crowds). And at the end of the day, you may be too tired to be able to take advantage of that late night, so you’ve spent your entire day in the most crowded park for nothing. As much as I like to maximize my times in the park, I like lower crowd levels more.
Again, if you have that Park Hopper, you could always use the Extra Magic Hours, and then spend the rest of your day in another Park. That’s the beauty of Park Hoppers…
FastPass+ and Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR)
Planning your days ahead of time will enable you to properly take advantage of FastPass+ and Advanced Dining Reservations, especially if you want to get some of those super popular Reservations. You don’t want to end up with Dining Reservations at Biergarten in Epcot around the same time you have a FastPass+ for Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom. It just won’t work, so you will want to take some time to make a workable plan.
How to Plan your Park Days
Before you purchase your Park Tickets, you should decide which of the FOUR Theme Parks you would like to visit and how many days you would like to spend in each Park. Keep in mind that the more days you purchase, the less it will cost per-day, so if you’re on the fence about adding another day, do the math (or ask your Travel Agent). It may not be as expensive as you think.
Once you decide how many days you will be spending in the Parks, you can start trying to make a plan for which days you want to be in what park. I like to use these two Crowd Calendars for a quick glance into what is going on in the Parks. Their recommendations are helpful, as well.
**A good rule of thumb is to have these days pinned down as soon as possible. If you’re new to Disney Planning, it may seem silly to have all this planned out so far in advance, but it does come handy when it comes to making Reservations. Making these reservations can be a bit stressful and overwhelming at the beginning, so knowing where you will be on any given day will help narrow down your choices.
As always, enlisting the help of a Disney Travel Agent (for FREE) can help you plan all of these things with you, so you never have to feel overwhelmed. This is only one of the benefits of using someone who is Specialized in all things Disney.
What tools do you use to help plan your Disney World Vacations?