Planning Your 1st Visit Part 4: Planning Your Day or Hey, These Lines Sure are Long?

disneylibrarian (NDD#270) (17 Posts)

Riley McDaniel grew up in Corpus Christi, TX in a low-socioeconomic household and one of the favorite family activites was to watch The Wonderful World of Disney (along with it's other reincarnations) on Sunday nights. Although the family couldn't afford to take a trip to Disney World made it his dream to one day see that magical world. This dream served as one of the many aspirations to do well in school and attend college. Today, Riley has a masters degree in Library Science and serves as a librarian at Red Oak High School in Red Oak Texas where he continues to give Disney as a source of inspiration to students. His family, a lovely wife, eleven year old son and seven year old daughter, lovingly refer to themselves as Disney Geeks. They can regularly be found hosting Disney parties whether it's for simply the premier of the Phineas and Ferb movie or a child's birthday party. As members of the Disney Vacation club (Wilderness Lodge home resort) the family can be found at Disney World once a year and Riley gives mini-seminars on planning the perfect Disney vacation.


Let’s start by deciding what park you want to visit each day of your trip. You would want to consult touringplans.com ($12 subscription for a year but well worth it) again for each park’s crowd level for the given day; they even suggest a certain park for the day. Although one of the positives of staying at a Disney resort are the extra Magic Hours at a particular park each day, those parks tend to have larger numbers on their appointed day and may be best to avoid.

Now gather those dining reservations and the event schedule available at: EVENTS

Begin building an itinerary (samples to follow). RELAX!! You do not have to go by it step by step, but it will help you ensure you do all of the things you want (which you won’t but good try!).
Remember: Start off planning for two days at Magic Kingdom, and one day for each of the other parks. For each extra day you have add them in this order: Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney Studios. Example: Seven Night Stay – 2 at Magic Kingdom, 2 Epcot, 2 Disney Studios, 1 Animal Kingdom. Another option is to spend your last extra day park hopping to do your favorites once again.

Some of the best, most varied, and detailed itineraries are available at: Touring Plans Itineraries (subscription required)
Here are some free sample itineraries listed by your week of arrival: Free Plans

TIME TO DASH – When you and your family arrive at the park, in theme park fashion dash to the ride you most want to ride and get in line. When your first ride is over, no time to reminiscence, dash over to your next desired ride or show and grab a FASTPASS. Now breathe!

For the uninitiated, a FASTPASS allows you into a faster queue solely for FASTPASS holders. Each FASTPASS you obtain will have a time to return to the ride for your FASTPASS entrance. You can obtain another FASTPASS two hours after your first or when the first pass expires. WARNING: FASTPASSES run out. Don’t think you can wait until late in the evening for a FASTPASS to Space Mountain.
For More on FASTPASS and where they are available, visit: FastPass Tutorial

My Favorite Guide Books 

Here are my favorite Disney World Guidebooks. “The Complete Walt Disney World” I believe gives the best, honest information on restaurants and events. “PassPorter’s Walt Disney World” gives the best descriptions/ratings along with age appropriateness of rides and activites. Passporter also comes with a fill-in-the-blank type log that serves as a keepsake you could include in a scrapbook or as it is in the guide (I am no way associated with these two publications nor do I receive compensation for recommending them, but maybe I should :).  I am sure some of our readers have their own favorites and will leave their ideas in the comments.
I hope this helps any of you planning your first trip, remember it will rain just enjoy the thinner crowds.
In the next and final installment I will discuss packing, helpful info. and some money saving tips. Please, control your excitement.
Now, I am off to finish preparations for our Thanksgiving trip to the Parks.