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Getting the most out of our Walt Disney World trip


by paula


Hello Dad. Finally decided the right time for a trip to Disney World for our family would be May 18 til May 27.


First half day that we arrive Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney. Then one more full day of Animal Kingdom and the other Parks two days each. We will have the Saturday and half day Sunday at the end of our vacation unscheduled.


Which park/Parks would you suggest that might need to be visited an additional day to get the most out of our first trip? Was also thinking about letting the kids see the castle for the first time the night before we visit the park. Maybe a ferryboat from Fort Wilderness to Magic Kingdom during wishes? Do the ferryboats run during wishes?


Thanks for all your information.



The boats do run during Wishes

Will you be able to ride? Photo by Jeff_B.

Dad’s most complete Answer


Paula, I admire your research and preparation – it’s great to hear about first timers getting so involved in planning to get the most out of their trip. And I promise I’ll answer your questions, but in order to really help you I’m going to make a few suggestions to your plan that will really help you to have the most magical trip possible.


First of all you should definitely check out crowd projections so that you can plan which park is best to visit on which day. Dad’s May Crowd Calendar can help with that. You should also be aware that on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in May, Disney Hollywood Studios hosts Star Wars Weekends. If you’re a huge Star Wars fan like Dad, this is something cool to check out, but if not, avoid that park (and the crowds) those days.


For your arrival day, consider that a half-day at Animal Kingdom followed by Downtown Disney, and a stop at the Magic Kingdom to see the castle is a big day. Animal Kingdom is better in the morning, and won’t take a full day to do. Plus, you’ll want to get a good sleep to gear up for your first full day. My advice is to visit Magic Kingdom that day, saving Animal Kingdom for the 19th and Downtown Disney for another night.


Dad recommends starting a trip at the Magic Kingdom with kids if possible because it’s the main event, and even a few hours there will satisfy then enough to enjoy the other parks! You can then pick and choose which parks to visit on which days based on crowd levels, or even spontaneously pick what you feel like doing that day. 1 full day at Animal Kingdom and 2 full days at the other parks will be lots of time to see everything!


To determine what the best use of your time will be, there are lots of things to consider: Extra Magic Hours, park hours, crowd projections… so I’d suggest stopping over at They can help you plan in detail when to visit each park, provide touring plans so you see more with less time in lines, and even help monitor crowds while you’re there!


Dad’s Page


In terms of picking what you should do on your final day and a half – I’d play it by ear! The beauty of Magic Your Way tickets is that you can pick any park on any day, so I’d wait and choose based on what park you would like to spend more time at. Get the kids involved in this – it’ll make them real happy to help decide where to end your trip.


And because I promised to answer all of your questions (Dad’s a man of his word) – yes, the ferryboats do run during Wishes!

Dad’s Bottom Line


Paula, planning is a great thing. My best advice is to get all the info you can to make the best decisions possible, and then be flexible and maybe even a little spontaneous. You’re on vacation after all – don’t forget to stop and enjoy it!


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