One destination with no shortage of itineraries or suggestions is the magical world of Disney. Here's hoping that this one helps give ideas to some of the adults that still haven't really grown up!
I could say planning is the best part of a trip to Disney World, but that would be a lie because Disney World is amazing.
So, if you haven't taken a look already, check out our planning guide for Disney World here first to make planning as easy as possible! This will also help explain Fast Passes and anything else you might want to know before you go!
Everyone will have a different idea of which parks will be their favorite, and different ideas of which order to do them in. Our best advice would be to utilize the Extra Magic Hours and plan your days accordingly, and if you can organize it so that the parks you are most excited for are at the end, even better.
We recommend staying at the Fort Wilderness campsites, as it has something for everyone! As the least expensive stay in Disney, this is a great choice because you still get ALL THE PERKS.
Give yourself an evening in advance to get checked into your accommodation before your Disney adventure. When you check in, make sure to ask for your "First Visit" badge, or let them know if you are celebrating anything!
If you do stay at Fort Wilderness, you will be taking a bus to Hollywood Studios (approximately 20 minutes), and we recommend leaving an hour before the parks open, as you can generally get into the park earlier than the official open.
For rope drop, visit Slinky Dog Dash if you were unable to get a Fast Pass. Otherwise, Toy Story Mania is a great choice to start if you managed to get the Fast Pass for Slinky Dog Dash. If lines are low, try to get both in! After Toy Story Mania make sure to stop for some pics at the Checkerboard Wall and Block Wall! Don't forget to look for Green Army Men while in Toy Story Land.
In the later morning, try to set up Fast Pass 1 as Slinky Dog Dash. AFTERNOON
Spend your afternoon taking in the shows offered in Hollywood Studios, double checking the times before your visit as they are scheduled performances.
Start with Star Tours, before using you Tier 2 Fast Pass 2 on Beauty And The Beast - Live On Stage. Right after, use your second Tier 2 Fast Pass 3 on Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! Don't forget to try to snag a fourth Fast Pass on the Disney app if any are available after you finish! The last show you will want to make time for is the Voyage of The Little Mermaid.
You aren't out of time yet, make sure you go on some of the best rides in Hollywood Studios, the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror. If the waits aren't too bad, it might be worth going on a second spin of your favorite! Afterwards, you'll still have some time to visit your favorite characters like Mickey and Minnie! We made sure to see them in every park!
Make sure you do not miss the night show of Fantasmic!
BREAKFAST: Woody’s Lunch Box while in Toy Story Land
SNACK: Mickey Ice Cream Bar
LUNCH: Sci Fi Dine in Theatre (Table Service, reservation required)
DINNER: Backlot Express
*Get Pixie Dust
There is a cast member that hangs around the Center Stage area of the park (straight up Hollywood Boulevard) that passes out little bags of pixie dust!
*Character Palooza (check every hour between 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM)
We weren't able to find this, but we heard that you might be able to meet some uncommon characters at Character Palooza if you are lucky. Right outside the gate beside the entrance to Hollywood Studios before Fantasmic. Look out for people heading to Echo Lake, Streets of America, or Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
From Fort Wilderness, day two will be another bus to get to Animal Kingdom (approximately 25 minutes), and we again recommend leaving an hour before the parks open, as you can generally get into the park earlier than the official open.
MORNING If you managed to get a Fast Pass for Flight of Passage, rope drop Na’vi River Journey (or Flight of Passage if you instead got Fast Pass for River Journey). These will have some of the longest waits in the park, even at rope drop.
Afterward, head over to Kilimanjaro Safaris before 10:00 AM: animal activity is best outside of the heat of the day when the animals are hiding out. Use your Fast Pass 1 on Expedition Everest after your safari.
You'll want to spend the rest of your morning visiting Finding Nemo: The Musical (double checking the times as this is a scheduled performance), Primevil Whirl, and DINOSAUR.
Any spare time you have is time you could spend becoming a Wilderness Explorer like Russell from Up!
Use Fast Pass 2 on Flight of Passage
Don't miss out on Festival of the Lion King or UP! A Great Bird Adventure, keeping in mind the shows have specific times and to check before you go. Your last Fast Pass 3 is for Kali River Rapids. Try to get a 4th Fast Pass once you are done!
EVENING Before heading over to It’s Tough to be a Bug, which should be only a quick wait, visit Mickey and Minnie at the Adventurer's Outpost! Then you have the evening to wander around the exotic lands of Pandora at night before the Rivers of Light light and water show and the Tree of Life Awakenings begin. Wrap up your evening with another spin on Expedition Everest if you can!
BREAKFAST: Starbucks (or bring your own), there are not many options for breakfast
LUNCH: Harambe Market
DINNER: Satu’li Canteen while in Pandora in evening
Fort Wilderness to Epcot is approximately 15 minutes, though leaving an hour early is not entirely necessary. Leaving 45 minutes early should give you plenty of time in Epcot, and you will be doing a lot of walking as this park is deceptively large. Since there are less rides in Epcot, you will have time for drinking, eating, and meeting lots of characters!
MORNING Rope drop the Test Track, making sure to stick to the single rider line to get through in no time at all. With the saved time, you will be able to do Soarin’ Around the World (which is absolutely stunning!). Your Fast Pass 1 should be for Frozen Ever After because the waits can get quite long.
Use Fast Pass 2 on Mission: Space, sticking to the Mars track if you like adventure (and don't suffer from motion sickness). Afterward, visit the Rose Gold Wall for a picture, then head for Fast Pass 3 on Spaceship Earth. Do try to get a 4th Fast Pass, and stop at Bubblegum Wall and Blueberry Wall to snap some pics! Wander the World Showcase, starting with O Canada followed by the Rose maze and butterfly garden in the United Kingdom (where you might run into Alice if you time it right). If you love Beauty and the Beast, go to France and meet Belle and visit Impressions de France. Are you more of a Mulan fan? Meet her and visit Reflections of China in China, and finish up your round the world trip by meeting Donald and visiting the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico.
If you feel adventurous, make sure to try a drink in each country to attempt the Drinking Around the World challenge.
Where are my Big Hero 6 fans at? Go meet Baymax, he might not speak, but he says a lot with his blank stares, and if you haven't had enough liquid, there are free soft drink samples nearby at Club Cool for the Coca Cola fans.
Swing by The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Turtle Talk with Crush. At the Seas, make sure to check out the aquatic life, especially the manatees! The Toothpaste Wall is nearby if you haven't gotten your fill. If you aren't out of time, don't forget to say hello to Minnie and Mickey.
The IllumiNations Fireworks Show has a few views to offer: if you get an extra Fast Pass, then use it to sit Front of House. Otherwise, check out Italy Isola (if not hosting a private function), Mexico at La Hacienda (near the boat dock, some guests are selected to sit out there each night), Canada Pavilion (at the top of the main staircase take a step to your right and there will be a chest high rock wall), or the Mitsukoshi Department Store for a spot to claim. End your evening with a post fireworks stroll through World Showcase.
BREAKFAST: Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie: Visit before 10:30 for a calmer, more enjoyable experience
LUNCH: Katsura Grill in Japan
DINNER: Tangerine Cafe: Eat outside in the Moroccan pavilion
Fort Wilderness gives the added perk of a free cruise to Magic Kingdom that takes approximately 15 minutes. Definitely make sure to head to the park an hour early so you can take in the Magic Kingdom fantasy early, as they let you go to the Hub prior to park open. There is a welcome show that you can watch while you wait for the park to officially open that is a great start to the day!
Peter Pan’s Flight has some great moments, but lines build up crazy fast so rope drop this one and save the Fast Pass for the better rides in Magic Kingdom. Stick around Fantasyland and visit The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Enchanted Tales with Belle (grab a free bookmark at Enchanted Tales with Belle for a cute souvenir).
Try to get your fast passes done in the early afternoon to get your best shot at getting a fourth: priority should be Fast Pass 1 Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Fast Pass 2 Space Mountain, and Fast Pass 3 Splash Mountain.
Stop by the Firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A. to sign up for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and receive your Sorcerer Key Card, Merlin’s mystical map, and spell cards. Really fun souvenirs, and a great game to play in between the bustle of the iconic park. While here, you could wait to visit Mickey and Minnie at the Town Square Theatre.
Another fun way to spend the afternoon is to partake in Treasure of the Seven Seas. If you do two versions of this scavenger hunt throughout the day, you receive a free anytime Fast Pass to Pirates of the Caribbean! If you manage to complete two versions, head to Pirates of the Caribbean (sit on the left for best views!).
Make sure to dedicate some time to get on Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. The Jungle Cruise is worth a ride, and It’s a Small World is a classic that can be done at any time (especially if you want to escape the heat).
Make sure not to skip the Happily Ever After Fireworks, as they are by far the most iconic show of Disney World. Dedicate a bit of extra time to get a spot and wait for the show to begin. You will not be allowed to sit, and will be moved forward as long as there is space.
End the day on the Tomorrowland Peoplemover to get a peaceful night view of Magic Kingdom.
BREAKFAST: Sleepy Hollow for Mickey Mouse Waffles
SNACK: Peter Pan Float at Storybook Treats
LUNCH: Gaston’s Tavern
SNACK: Mickey Pretzels at the Lunching Pad
DINNER: Casey’s Corner
Take your boat to Magic Kingdom (approximately 15 minutes) an hour early so you can get into the park early.
Go visit Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Tea Party, beside the spinning teacups and then give the teacups a go. Afterwards, you can meet Gaston outside Gaston's Tavern!
Beside the Carousel in Magic Kingdom, you can find the Sword in the Stone and watch a short performance. Maybe you'll be the one to pull it out of the stone?
AFTERNOON On your way to Tomorrowland, snap some photos at the most iconic wall in the parks. The Purple Wall is on the right when entering Tomorrowland over the bridge (near Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor). Then head for Fast Pass 1 at Space Mountain.
If you didn't get a chance to go on Pirates of the Caribbean or complete the Treasure of the Seven Seas, complete it today to get your free anytime Fast Pass to Pirates of the Caribbean. Then, continue on to Fast Pass 2 at Splash Mountain, followed by Fast Pass 3 at Big Thunder Mountain. Don't forget to check for any additional Fast Passes in the app.
EVENING Don't miss the cute Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride, and ask for your “Disney License” as a cute souvenir. Although it is a cute ride to take photos on, if you miss them make sure to snap a couple on the replica Dumbo gondola after.
If it is getting close to dusk, check out the Tangled Lanterns by stopping at the Tangled restrooms right before dark (there will be a pop up PhotoPass photographer who will take photos with you and the lanterns). Now that it is appropriately dark and spooky, head to the Haunted Mansion. Don't miss the Happily Ever After Fireworks, even on night two in Magic Kingdom. Then, wrap up the evening by visiting Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. If you want to be a Galactic Hero, shoot the inside of the left arm of the robot on the left in the first room. When you are in the largest room, aim for the "Zs" on the volcano. When you get to the room with moving targets, spin your vehicle around and aim for the "Z" under the large Zurg. Finally, when you're on Planet Z and you see evil Zurg, aim for the target at the bottom of his space scooter for another 100,000 points. Get enough points and maybe you will become a Galactic Hero!
BREAKFAST: Be Our Guest (very popular Table Service, reservation required)
LUNCH: Pinochio Village Haus: Go upstairs on the balcony for quiet views of the castle
SNACK: Aloha Isle Dole Whip
DINNER: Turkey Leg at Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland, Prince Eric’s Village Market in Fantasyland, or Liberty Square Market
*Visit Tony’s Town Square Restaurant and search for the Lady and the Tramp paw prints
*We did not, but we heard that at the Castle Couture shops, behind Cinderella Castle, you can get staged princess pictures. Most visitors are entering from the Bibibidi Bobbidi Boutique (ask for pixie dust!), but anyone can walk in Castle Couture and have their princess pictures take, where a PhotoPass photographer is on-hand
Every moment of the 80+ hours we spent in the park was completely filled with magic, and we hope by following this itinerary, your trip to Disney World will be just as special! Check out our instagram for a few photos from our trip!
As always, please feel free to drop a comment with questions, suggestions, or anything else you can think of!