Planning Advice Needed!

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Princess Cupcake's picture
Joined: 02/12/2014
Posts: 226
Planning Advice Needed!

We will be taking our first trip to WDW in October. As our 180 day mark to make our ADR's is coming up, I was reviewing our restaurant choices, and figuring out how to get from our resort to the different restaurants. I knew WDW was big, but wow...I was shocked to see just how long the transit times can take! It can take up to 50 minutes to get from one area to another! eek That was quite the reality check for me!

We only have five short days and I want to maximize our time in the parks, but at the same time not go Disney Commando on my family. I could use some advice!

So far I have as follows:

Day One:
Arrive about 10am, check in at PORS. Lunch at EPCOT's Sunshine Seasons, then head on over to Magic Kingdom for the rest of the day. Dinner at BoG.

Day Two:
Spending the day (including meals) at EPCOT, so no big issues there. Looking forward to Tangierine and Akershus.

Day Three:
Animal Kingdom first thing in the morning, lunch at Flame Tree BBQ, then trying to squeeze some time in at HS. We would like a late dinner at Boma, which is once again back at AK (estimated 24 minute bus ride from HS).

Day Four:
Spending the Day at EPCOT again so no issues. La Cantina de San Angel for lunch and Les Chefs de France for dinner.

Day Five:
This is where I run into some more problems. My original thought was spend the morning in MK, lunch at Wolfgang Puck Express, spend some time at PORS getting ready for MNSSHP, early dinner at 'Ohana, then returning to MK for the party. However, I didn't realize that it would take about 35 mins to go from MK to DTD just to eat lunch, another 20 mins to get from DTD to PORS. Once we head out for dinner it will take us 40 mins to get from PORS to the Polynesian for dinner. Are my plans unrealistic???

I toyed with the idea of just spending the morning in DTD, doing some shopping, then lunch, return to resort, get ready, dinner, and only going to the park in the evening for MNSSHP. But is there that much to do in DTD? Or would we be better off trying to spend as much time in the parks as we could?

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make the flow better so we are eating at the restaurants we really want, without me spending hours on buses pulling my hair out?!

As well, is it realistic to think I can spend the morning in AK, afternoon in HS and still see the highlights?

Anything else I haven't considered in my master plan?

Thanks all!



crazycatperson's picture
Joined: 09/19/2011
Posts: 3718

You can't assume 24 minutes to get from DHS to AKL, or 35 minutes to get from MK to DTD, etc. You might arrive at the bus stop just as a bus is pulling out and have to stand at the bus stop for a full 20 minutes, maybe longer, just waiting for the next bus to arrive. Or there could be other transportation issues that slow you down.

So yes, your Day 5 is unrealistic, and some of the others are complicated. To simplify and cut down on travel, I would suggest starting at MK, getting lunch at MK or a monorail resort or even back at POR, then to 'Ohana and back to MK.

For Day 3, start at DHS with lunch there, park hop to AK, then a not-so-late dinner at Boma. Then if there's time and a park is still open you can go there, or fit in some Downtown Disney. Or, start at AK with lunch at Tusker House (the menu is similar to Boma, but not as varied), then DHS with dinner there.

Allie's picture
Joined: 06/26/2012
Posts: 5477

Do you have an objection to doing and earlier dinner at Boma so you can head there straight from AK and then to DHS after dinner so you're not doing so much back and forth?

As far as day 5 goes, you could definitely find enough window shopping to do to occupy a morning in DTD, however if you're really set on going to MK in the morning as well, I think you'll be fine. We only had 4 actual WDW park days on our Oct 2012 trip (2 other days were at Universal) and on our last day we did MH in the morning for EMH, went over to Epcot for late morning/lunch/early afternoon, hopped on a bus to DHS for late afternoon/dinner, then went back to our resort (CBR) to change and get ready for MNSSHP, then took a bus back over to MK and still made it there before the start of the party and I still felt like we got a decent amount accomplished that day. Should you be in the mindset that you will be on Disney transport a lot that day? Yes. Should you allow yourself plenty of time for each transportation slot to make sure you make it place on time? Yes. Is it doable? Absolutely.

EmFord's picture
Joined: 02/12/2014
Posts: 414

I think a lot of it depends on how much you want to see at each park each day. My BF and I are seasoned Disney travelers and we find no problem doing AK in the morning and hitting DHS in the late afternoon/evening and seeing everything we want to see. Actually last year we did just that and still had time to take the ferry to Epcot after DHS and hit some Food and Wine booths for dinner and drinks. Then again we aren't super crazed about seeing every attraction and have no problems seeing the ones we want to see and moving on. It also depends on your touring style. We are more laid back than most and have no problems going with the flow. If you are a scheduler I can definitely see how this might be stressful though.

I see no reason why your Day 5 isn't doable, although I wouldn't expect a ton of resort time in between lunch at WPE and then getting ready for dinner. If it were me I'd probably just grab lunch in MK and then leave myself more wiggle room at the resort for relaxing and getting ready.


alicemouse's picture
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2832

In general, I really try to eat at the park that I want to play in for that part of the day. Just because there is ALWAYS waiting involved with the transportation at some point. The monorail is the best efficiency-wise and our anecdotal experience suggests that POR is among the best resorts for bus service.

I would recommend on day 1 that if you are literally only going to EPCOT to eat at Sunshine Seasons that you pick a counter service at MK instead (unless you want to monorail across the entire property just to see the sights or you really really love Sunshine Seasons). Sunshine Seasons is very good and has a wide variety, but there are many decent CS options in MK that will save you a ton of time. I would recommend Columbia Harbor House or Pecos Bills. If you don't care for MK counter service, the food court area POR (I forget what it's called gaah) has a delicious create your own pasta and a wide variety of other things that would make a nice quick lunch option.

You may have already factored this in, but on day 5, you mentioned a possibility of busing from MK to DTD. This is not a direct route. You can only travel from a park to DTD if you use a resort as a transfer point, which will take additional time. The closest that you can get is if you board the Saratoga Springs bus from the park and get off at Congress Park and take the walking path to DTD. The path was closed in December, but last week it looked like it was either open or getting ready to open soon. You also can't bus directly from POR to Poly. You'll need to use DTD or MK as a transfer point.

Thanks for posting--trip planning details are so much fun!! Hope you have a great time!


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December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

Princess Cupcake's picture
Joined: 02/12/2014
Posts: 226

Thank you guys for all your help and suggestions...I think I may have to rethink my plans a little bit. I want to make sure my ADR's are in and that our itinerary is PERFECT this week....but I think I need to relax a little and realize I still have 180 days to look into things and tweak them a little! We did not have our heart set on Sunshine Seasons...I'm not even 100% sure how it made the final cut (I tend to do a lot of planning on night shift and then can't remember the reasons why!), but I do know that Pecos Bill was a strong contender before the final list was made so perhaps we will just switch SS for PB and be done with it! My son has his heart set on the bacon wrapped meatloaf at WPE though so I will toy around a little more with the day 5 schedule and see what I can come up with. Planning this trip has made me feel a little like one of my overseas friends who showed up to visit me in Vancouver, Canada, and then proceeded to say she would love to zip over to Calgary for lunch. lol I'm rather spatially and geographically challenged! The good things is that I will be all that much better planning our next trip!