First Time As Adults - Itinerary Advice!

Grnl706

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Hey all! Apologizing in advance for a lengthy post.

So I had a trip this June that I've chosen to push to June of 2021. We are splitting between Universal and Disney for two weeks. Although we're going with a larger group, I'm planning like it is just my husband and I and seeing how we link up with everyone else. I haven't been since 2002 and my husband since 1994! Our dates are pretty set and we will at least plan to go to the same parks on the same days but that's as far as the big group planning goes. Now that we have another year, we added more days compared to what we had this year. Before it was a 4 night/6 night split between Universal and Disney. Now we're going to do 6 nights at Universal at Sapphire Falls (Not worried about Express passes, I'm not big on rides so if my husband needs it we will just buy one) and 8 nights at Gran Destino Tower in Coronado Springs. Now that we have a chance to redo the trip, I want to make sure it is even better and get more advice from experts than I did before! Here is the current idea I have for the Disney portion. This is a super rough draft so I'm open to any suggestions!

I had purchased the 5 day 3 park - park to park Military Universal ticket that Universal is honoring for next year and we have a 7 day Stars and Stripes ticket from Shades of Green. We are flying in from Baltimore and not renting a car. We do plan to use Uber if Disney's transportation isn't to our liking.

6/12 - Move from Sapphire Falls (Will be there 6/7 to 6/12) after check out to Gran Destino. Resort time and dinner at Maya Grill
6/13 - Magic Kingdom; Ride priorities are Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Tomorrowland Speedway (I'd do this one), Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean (I'd do this one). We also want to see the parade and would like to do Be Our Guest for lunch like we had planned for this year
6/14 - Animal Kingdom; Flight of Passage; Na'vi River Journey (I'd do this one), Killimanjaro Safari (Super important to us, we'd both do), Expedition Everest. We would like to do Boma for dinner around 5:30 PM with the group like we had planned for this year.
6/15 - Disney Springs/SW:GE?; This is a break/rest day. We don't think we'll be up very early and if we are we'd move slow. We'll probably redo our reservation for Chef Art Homecomin for around 2:30PM. My husband is an enormous Star Wars fan so we thought about going into Hollywood Studios that night just so he can see Galaxy's Edge before the full park day. Not focusing on any rides but may stay for Fantasmic or the fireworks.
6/16 - Epcot; Definitely redoing Breakfast reservation at Garden Grill (Husband loves Chip and Dale). Ride priorities are Soarin and Test Track. Not sure about any of the new stuff that may be open by then so I didn't include it. We plan on spending a majority of our time in World Showcase. We plan on doing the Frozen Ever After Dessert part with the group that night
6/17 - Hollywood Studios; This is my husband's birthday! I'm just going to assume ROTR will still be boarding groups? So we plan on going early unless that changes. Ride priorities are ROTR (I'd do this), Smugglers Run (I'd do this), Tower of Terror. Going to redo reservation for Savi's Workshop to build lightsabers. Wasn't impressed with the food options at Hollywood so I was wondering if anyone has done a nearby resort instead? Like Beach Club, Yacht Club or Boardwalk? Not sure if it would take away from my husband's time in the park to do a nice dinner for his birthday (was looking at the Flying Fish or Yachtsman Steakhouse?).
6/18 - Free Day/VAH (IF they offer it); We were supposed to do the VAH event 6/19 so we're planning as if it will be available but we know that may not be the case. This is a really really relaxed/free day after going so hard at the parks. My Grandfather passed away last year and we were going to do a lunch at Benihana (His favorite restaurant) while we were down there. This day is the anniversary of when he passed. We plan on going back to the resort to relax in the pool before going to Magic at 7 for the event
6/19 - Favorite Park/Pack up; We plan to visit our favorite park again. Probably sleeping in after being up late the night before. My guess is that it will be Animal Kingdom but we shall see. Wasn't planning on making FP+ but maybe I should? Regardless of where we end up, I want to get back to the hotel in the evening to get ready to leave the next day.
6/20 - Fly home, probably in the afternoon for a late morning Magic Express pick up.


I split the days up in Morning, Afternoon and Evening on my planning spreadsheet. I figured that would give us flexibility but let us still do something every day even if it is small. We are not opposed to mid day breaks at all, I honestly expect us to do it at some point. I don't ride rides much but my husband does (I'm a bit of a scaredy cat and I don't mind just looking around and enjoying). We do want to try to see the fireworks/night time show at each park. We're normally early birds at home so I would imagine we would be at the parks early but I don't think we can make it rope drop to fireworks. We also don't eat much on vacation so I didn't want to make too many dining reservations. Pretty much focused on breakfast and dinner, we mainly snack for lunch. We both haven't been since we were kids so we aren't too sure what to expect as adults. Do you normally rope drop on adult trips or sleep in a little? Our goal for this trip is to go at a slower pace, enjoy without murdering our feet completely and have flexibility to go with the flow as much as we can. We don't want to be stressed and run down.

For FP+, I wanted to try to schedule the 3 in the morning. If I'm not rope dropping, how early do folks normally make them for? I know it is a personal choice/about when you wake up but I'm just curious about what others do! I do have a subscription to Touring Plans for both Universal and Disney and plan to utilize it for this trip once it becomes available for my dates!
 

winthropf

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
You should think about moving the MK day and AK day to later in the trip if 7DMT and FOP FP+ is important to you. 7DMT, FOP, and tier 1 HS FP+ are hard to get in the early days of a trip since people arriving days before you will have reserved most of them.
 


Grnl706

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
You should think about moving the MK day and AK day to later in the trip if 7DMT and FOP FP+ is important to you. 7DMT, FOP, and tier 1 HS FP+ are hard to get in the early days of a trip since people arriving days before you will have reserved most of them.
We did want to do MK first but I'm thinking if we don't get it we can try for later in the trip on one of the free days. I did switch Epcot and Animal so Animal is further back. Thanks for the tip 😊
 
  • CheshKAT

    Family <3 =Disney <3
    Joined
    May 23, 2014
    Do I understand that you also have the water parks included in your tickets? This is quite a fun and relaxing option for an off day or half day.
     

    kylenne

    Wakandan-American
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2016
    Sorry for the incoming walls of text. If you really want to go at a slower, more relaxed pace I would cut down on some of those Uni days and make some of those Disney days if at all possible. Uni really doesn't need that much time, especially if you don't like rides.

    Only 1 day in each park is also odd to me given 1) you haven't been since 2002, 2) you have 7 days of ticket to play with and 3) you don't want to rope drop. It seems like you're cool with dark rides, and only 1 day at MK doesn't make sense to me. For the other parks, FP tiers will give you some untenable choices with 1 day/park if you don't want to rope drop. The alternative is hopping in line for headliners right at park close, but then you miss the nighttime entertainment you said is a priority. Specifically thinking about Pandora here, because you want both those rides and you can only FP 1 one of them. That "free space" day is going to have to be an AK day imo--always make FPs. The worst that happens is you decide not to go to that park and you cancel them. Epcot could also be tricky because Remy will 100% be open by then and that's a dark ride you won't want to miss, but it will almost certainly be Tier 1. If you really wanted to, Soarin is easy to get as a 4th FP and Test Track you can do single rider (you miss out on making the car though)...but this is assuming things will be like they are pre-closures.

    Even setting aside the Pandora tier issue, AK can easily be 1.5 days at a slower pace given the sheer amount of non-ride attractions it has (arguably the 2 best shows in all of WDW, the animation thing up at Rafiki's, and the animal trails), and that's without leaving the park for a TS meal which further cuts into your time. Ditto with HS given that park is heavy on shows, and the scheduling can make it hard to hit all of them in 1 day if you're sprinkling rides and TS in between. In general, I worry you're underestimating the amount of time it takes to leave a park and eat TS elsewhere, then come back, even if you're not going far, and even if utilizing rideshare vs. Disney transportation. It can really take a chunk out of your day. I did this on my 1 Epcot day last August (I went to Disney Springs for lunch) and regretted it even though I really enjoyed my meal. tbqh anywhere worth eating at in the Boardwalk area isn't open for lunch anyway. Your options are basically Beaches and Cream and the Fountain over at the Dolphin (and I'd pick that over B&C every time). Nothing else is worth leaving HS for imo, cause it won't be any better than the TS in park. I would just stay and have Ronto Wraps tbh but I love those things lol.

    Real talk, I'm hesitant to start mapping out park days period until we know more about what Disney's protocols will be going forward. Our canceled trip from this May we rebooked for the end of May 2021 and we're going to be in a holding pattern of sorts until we get more information. All we have are rumors about virtual queues vs FPs and capacity caps. As an example I'm not assuming anything about hard ticket events. And RotR may well be on FP by then. It's just too early imo.

    tl;dr: if you want slow and stress free touring, 1 day per park ain't it. Give yourself more time.
     

    Grnl706

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2019
    Sorry for the incoming walls of text. If you really want to go at a slower, more relaxed pace I would cut down on some of those Uni days and make some of those Disney days if at all possible. Uni really doesn't need that much time, especially if you don't like rides.

    Only 1 day in each park is also odd to me given 1) you haven't been since 2002, 2) you have 7 days of ticket to play with and 3) you don't want to rope drop. It seems like you're cool with dark rides, and only 1 day at MK doesn't make sense to me. For the other parks, FP tiers will give you some untenable choices with 1 day/park if you don't want to rope drop. The alternative is hopping in line for headliners right at park close, but then you miss the nighttime entertainment you said is a priority. Specifically thinking about Pandora here, because you want both those rides and you can only FP 1 one of them. That "free space" day is going to have to be an AK day imo--always make FPs. The worst that happens is you decide not to go to that park and you cancel them. Epcot could also be tricky because Remy will 100% be open by then and that's a dark ride you won't want to miss, but it will almost certainly be Tier 1. If you really wanted to, Soarin is easy to get as a 4th FP and Test Track you can do single rider (you miss out on making the car though)...but this is assuming things will be like they are pre-closures.

    Even setting aside the Pandora tier issue, AK can easily be 1.5 days at a slower pace given the sheer amount of non-ride attractions it has (arguably the 2 best shows in all of WDW, the animation thing up at Rafiki's, and the animal trails), and that's without leaving the park for a TS meal which further cuts into your time. Ditto with HS given that park is heavy on shows, and the scheduling can make it hard to hit all of them in 1 day if you're sprinkling rides and TS in between. In general, I worry you're underestimating the amount of time it takes to leave a park and eat TS elsewhere, then come back, even if you're not going far, and even if utilizing rideshare vs. Disney transportation. It can really take a chunk out of your day. I did this on my 1 Epcot day last August (I went to Disney Springs for lunch) and regretted it even though I really enjoyed my meal. tbqh anywhere worth eating at in the Boardwalk area isn't open for lunch anyway. Your options are basically Beaches and Cream and the Fountain over at the Dolphin (and I'd pick that over B&C every time). Nothing else is worth leaving HS for imo, cause it won't be any better than the TS in park. I would just stay and have Ronto Wraps tbh but I love those things lol.

    Real talk, I'm hesitant to start mapping out park days period until we know more about what Disney's protocols will be going forward. Our canceled trip from this May we rebooked for the end of May 2021 and we're going to be in a holding pattern of sorts until we get more information. All we have are rumors about virtual queues vs FPs and capacity caps. As an example I'm not assuming anything about hard ticket events. And RotR may well be on FP by then. It's just too early imo.

    tl;dr: if you want slow and stress free touring, 1 day per park ain't it. Give yourself more time.
    this is some solid advice, thank you so much. I reallyyyyyyy don't know what I'm doing! I don't like rides as much but my husband does so I'm planning mostly for him. I nixed the dinner outside of Hollywood. My husband enjoys Star Wars too much to pull him away from it.

    I wasn't sure how to gauge the timing either. Although my husband likes to ride rides, he's not hellbent on riding EVERYTHING. We do plan on using a Uber wherever we need to.

    And I totally agree, I'm pretty much getting this planned out and plan on adjusting as we find out more information on what 2021 will look like. We just sort of copy and pasted our 2020 trip and expanded it. Because I copy and pasted the 2020 trip, I sort of just made the assumption about those ticketed events (dessert party, villian event) but I know that they may not happen.

    Should I consider rope dropping? I really want to see the fireworks (if they have them) but I'm worried we would get burnt out going all day. I 100% agree on Animal for the free day, that's what I had in mind but I just wasn't sure so I didn't right it down. Glad I had the same thinking! I've added it.

    The issue I run into is that we're sort of aligned with a larger group. I'm helping everyone plan but it is a mixture of folks. I'm going to look into moving a night from Universal and adding it to Disney, even if it is just my husband and I.

    You've given me a lot to think about, thank you again :)
     

    syderial

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 17, 2020
    That looks like a great trip! I always use the ouring plans app so I can stay organized and not have to think about it but next time I think we will just wander.
     
  • shoegal9

    Living my best DVC lyfe
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2018
    dinner at Maya Grill
    Great choice with Gran Destino Tower! But a few notes:

    I do not recommend dinner at Maya Grill. If you want to stay at CSR for dinner I would suggest Three Bridges or Toledo. There are also two other lounges at CSR (Barcelona and Dahlia) that offer an adult vibe.

    Flying Fish is amazing. It might be my favorite on property, right up there with California Grill.

    Not sure if you want Benihana specifically- but Teppan Edo in Japan in World Showcase is the same hibachi experience (if you didn't want to leave property).

    As adults, I also highly recommend Trader Sam's at the Polynesian, The Wave at the Contemporary, Nomad Lounge in Animal Kingdom, and Victoria Falls at AKL.

    Also, we rope drop. Parks are much less crowded in the morning. Usually we take an afternoon break, clean up, and head back out for the evening. If I don't rope drop I tend to start my fastpasses for whatever time I want to get to the parks. If you rope drop, its like getting an extra fastpass. I usually rope drop Flight of Passage (if I can't get a FP b/c my trip isn't long enough) and then I make FPs for the Safari, Expedition Everest, and something else. For DHS, I rope drop ROTR, and make fastpasses for RRC, TOT, and Slinky Dog or Toy Story Midway Mania. For MK, I rope drop 7 Dwarves (FP usually not available if a shorter trip) and then I FP BTMR, Splash Mtn, and something else. For EPCOT, I generally FP Soarin' and get the others at Spaceship Earth and Living w/ the land.
     

    Grnl706

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2019
    Great choice with Gran Destino Tower! But a few notes:

    I do not recommend dinner at Maya Grill. If you want to stay at CSR for dinner I would suggest Three Bridges or Toledo. There are also two other lounges at CSR (Barcelona and Dahlia) that offer an adult vibe.

    Flying Fish is amazing. It might be my favorite on property, right up there with California Grill.

    Not sure if you want Benihana specifically- but Teppan Edo in Japan in World Showcase is the same hibachi experience (if you didn't want to leave property).

    As adults, I also highly recommend Trader Sam's at the Polynesian, The Wave at the Contemporary, Nomad Lounge in Animal Kingdom, and Victoria Falls at AKL.

    Also, we rope drop. Parks are much less crowded in the morning. Usually we take an afternoon break, clean up, and head back out for the evening. If I don't rope drop I tend to start my fastpasses for whatever time I want to get to the parks. If you rope drop, its like getting an extra fastpass. I usually rope drop Flight of Passage (if I can't get a FP b/c my trip isn't long enough) and then I make FPs for the Safari, Expedition Everest, and something else. For DHS, I rope drop ROTR, and make fastpasses for RRC, TOT, and Slinky Dog or Toy Story Midway Mania. For MK, I rope drop 7 Dwarves (FP usually not available if a shorter trip) and then I FP BTMR, Splash Mtn, and something else. For EPCOT, I generally FP Soarin' and get the others at Spaceship Earth and Living w/ the land.
    I'm looking at food now, these are awesome suggestions! Thanks for the heads up at Maya Grill, I'll check out those other two. I wasn't set on staying at the resort, I guessed it would be easier but I don't think we would mind exploring around.

    That makes a lot of sense about rope dropping. Funny thing is, my husband and I are both early risers. Do you find that the mid-day breaks make it difficult to go back? I was heavily considering doing exactly what you said, rope drop, break, then back in the parks but I got unsure about leaving the parks, to be honest. I think my husband and I would enjoy touring that way much better but without having done it, it was hard to gauge if it ACTUALLY made sense. You go back to your resort, right? Getting out of the heat and refreshing sounds very very nice!

    I am making sure to save your fastpass/rope drop notes. Those all sound solid.
     

    shoegal9

    Living my best DVC lyfe
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2018
    I'm looking at food now, these are awesome suggestions! Thanks for the heads up at Maya Grill, I'll check out those other two. I wasn't set on staying at the resort, I guessed it would be easier but I don't think we would mind exploring around.

    That makes a lot of sense about rope dropping. Funny thing is, my husband and I are both early risers. Do you find that the mid-day breaks make it difficult to go back? I was heavily considering doing exactly what you said, rope drop, break, then back in the parks but I got unsure about leaving the parks, to be honest. I think my husband and I would enjoy touring that way much better but without having done it, it was hard to gauge if it ACTUALLY made sense. You go back to your resort, right? Getting out of the heat and refreshing sounds very very nice!

    I am making sure to save your fastpass/rope drop notes. Those all sound solid.
    Yes! If you're on property and you get an early start, going back to the resort for a break is doable. Depending on the time of year, sometimes I am so sweaty and gross by 2 pm I just can't imagine going to dinner in the same clothes. So, the mid-day break works for us really well. And we usually spend our evenings/2nd half of the day in the park with later evening hours. Like EPCOT.
     

    Grnl706

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2019
    Yes! If you're on property and you get an early start, going back to the resort for a break is doable. Depending on the time of year, sometimes I am so sweaty and gross by 2 pm I just can't imagine going to dinner in the same clothes. So, the mid-day break works for us really well. And we usually spend our evenings/2nd half of the day in the park with later evening hours. Like EPCOT.
    I don't do very well when I'm hot so I'm sure I will just want to shower and change in the afternoon! I hope you don't mind me asking but do you make ADR's for your trips as well? I'm floating between not doing any dinner (on park days) and sticking to breakfast or lunch just in case our breaks go longer or we want to go somewhere else for the evening than where we were in the morning. BUT some of the dinner options just look amazing. I don't plan to make more than one ADR per day we decide to make one ( I don't anticipate every day).
     
  • shoegal9

    Living my best DVC lyfe
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2018
    I don't do very well when I'm hot so I'm sure I will just want to shower and change in the afternoon! I hope you don't mind me asking but do you make ADR's for your trips as well? I'm floating between not doing any dinner (on park days) and sticking to breakfast or lunch just in case our breaks go longer or we want to go somewhere else for the evening than where we were in the morning. BUT some of the dinner options just look amazing. I don't plan to make more than one ADR per day we decide to make one ( I don't anticipate every day).
    I do make ADRs for the popular restaurants (Ohana, Cali Grill, Garden Grill, Be Our Guest etc). And I just cancel them if I don’t want them. A sit down lunch can be nice as a breather/break. But if I don’t have an ADR, I find that I can always find something last minute on the app. We tend to grab something light for breakfast, snack for lunch and sit down for dinner.
     

    cobenz

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 11, 2020
    I definitely agree with skipping Maya Grill. When I was at gran destino, we got a drink at three bridges before going for a dinner reservation at Toledo. The view from the top floor is amazing and the food there was fantastic! The favorite park day: I would recommend making FP+ reservations for whatever park you think you might like to go back to. If you change your mind on the trip, you can always try to change them, but if you end up going to the park you made the FP reservations at, you'll have more luck getting on the hard-to-get fastpass rides
     

    DisDest

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2016
    I second the concept of Rope Drop then afternoon break. My friend and I went in July 2019 and every day that week it rained between the hours of 2-4 pm. So we would stay in our room (onsite) then go back out for a few hours at night.

    And since you are going in the summer, I recommend getting fast passes for rides with queues that are largely outside. Example, in DHS if you dont rope drop Slinky Dog Dash id definitely search for a fast pass because if that line gets long you are mostly in the heat for a long time.
     





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