Wait! I almost forgot! Before you make those dining reservations, you have to check the MAGIC HOURS! If you stay on property, you get to enter the parks early, before the masses, or stay later, and I mean way later! But you have to refer to the calendar on the website for the days of your stay because the Magic Hours are different for each park. Not to mention the hours the parks are open change all the time. But the calendar is pretty accurate, even six months in advance or more.
The reason I say to check the Magic Hours is to help in planning your days. For instance, look for a night EPCOT is open late and plan to have a fabulous dinner at one of the countries there. Then you can see the laser show and still ride a few more rides while everyone else has to leave. A note that my sister observed and I concur with is that on days a park opens early, visit it then go to another park because for some odd reason the park seems extra crowded on those days. Also, on a day when there are no AM Magic Hours is a good time to book a character breakfast.
Here is a sample of a few days...
Day 1 - no Magic Hours in AM
go to Magic Kingdom
ride lots of rides, get fast passes!
lunch at park, counter service
back to hotel, pool, relax, change
Hollywood Studios has PM Magic Hours
make it to dinner & fantasmic reservations
see show and ride rides
Day 2 - EPCOT has AM Magic Hours
go early, ride rides
leave to make it to Down Town Disney lunch reservation
go to room to relax, have dinner there
go back to Magic Kingdom (usually open later than other parks)
Then there's always a day like
Day 3 - No AM Magic Hours
go to Animal Kingdom for character breakfast
ride rides, get fast passes
closes earlier than most parks
no PM Magic Hours
go to room, freshen up, go off property for dinner or stay at hotel
if you're up for it, there's mini golf or movies
Like I said, this is a sample, you do what you want. If your goal is to ride rides, stay all day at one park. And if you are limited on time, the rides are priority. But I'm telling you, that break in the afternoon, at least for one of the days, is worth it! And avail yourself of the FAST PASS! The rides with the longest lines have kiosks out front dispensing fast passes. They allow you to come back at a designated time and enter the ride without waiting in the 30, 40 or 60 minutes in line through all the ropes.
I also have to say that getting there is part of the fun. We love riding the monorail. The kids always ask if we can ride in the front with the driver - don't know if they still do that. And the boats are fun too. My kids even like the bus rides sometimes, especially if we get a good, animated driver.
Countdown to next trip (Nov 2011): 129 days 8=)
Disney website and Birnbaum Guides to Walt Disney World (2010) which I use for much of my planning.
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