Happy Family Touring

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Every family has ways that they like to attack a visit to Walt Disney World.  If you’ve been in the summer, you’ve seen some of them standing in the middle of the walkways, park map unfolded, occasionally looking up and pointing.  If you are visiting this site, that is not the type of family you want to be.  No, you want to be the type of family that has a destination in mind and always knows what to do next.

 There are specific touring plans on the site for that sort of family, called the “Happy Family” touring plans.  If you’ve ever tried one, you know that the description is quite appropriate.  The idea behind these plans is to allow for each member of the family to enjoy something at any given time, so that every member from young to old, is getting full enjoyment out of the parks.

 It was these plans that sparked my family’s touring strategy for our frequent short trips to the World.  As I’ve mentioned before, since we live so close, a long weekend at Disney is not a bad trip, so we take frequent short visits down.  One or two days in the parks is not a lot, though, so the key to enjoying that sort of trip is prioritizing.

 On our recent trip over MLK weekend, we did just that.  Before leaving, each member of my family picked five attractions, shows, food or experiences we wanted to do while we were down.  Our choices were: 

My son – Expedition Everest, Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, American Adventure and Maelstrom

My daughter – Mad Tea Party, Seas with Nemo and Friends, Journey Into Imagination, Country Bear Jamboree and Muppet Vision 3D

My wife – Buzz Lightyear, Rosa Regale from Italy, Tower of Terror, pastry from France and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Myself – the new Pixar Pals parade, school bread from Norway, Impressions de France, Soarin and Carousel of Progress

 A complex list, right?  Not the way we attack things.  If you look at the list, most of what we wanted to do was in Epcot, so we would need a lot of time there.  If we wanted to do Everest and the Safaris, we needed to get there first thing in the morning, so we could get in and get out.  None of the things we wanted to do at Magic Kingdom were that urgent.  The Pixar Pals parade was only on the second day, so we could hit the Studios for a few moments in the afternoon.

So, we laid out our plans as follows: 

Day 1 – Animal Kingdom first thing – do Everest and the Safaris.  Head over to Magic Kingdom – get Big Thunder Fastpasses, ride the Mad Tea              Party, Peoplemover, Country Bears – go back and ride Big Thunder – get Buzz Fastpasses, ride Carousel of Progress then Buzz and we’re done.

Day 2 – Rope drop at Epcot – ride Soarin, Mission Space, Nemo, Imagination before  lunch.  Grab lunch and school bread.  Take the boat to the Studios.   At the Studios, ride Tower and Muppets then see the parade, and back to Epcot to finish the World Showcase things we wanted to do.

Did it work?  Mostly, yes.  Of all those things, the only one we did not get to do was Tower of Terror, because a large Brazilian tour group hit the ride almost the minute we got there.  If we had timed things a little differently, we would have made it all. 

So, my recommendation to you if you’re a family with children like mine is to find out the absolute essential things you and your kids want to do, and make sure you get those things done.  If you’ve never been before, read the Unofficial Guide or the attraction descriptions on this site to get an idea of what the attractions are like.  Doing things this way has helped my family to get a lot of things done with minimal complaining. 

What about you?  What strategies do you have for making sure your family hits the right number of attractions and keeps everyone happy?

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Posted on January 31, 2011

5 Responses to “Happy Family Touring”

  • Wow! Being in the UK we have to spend at least 2 weeks in Orlando, lots of people do 3. Couldn’t imagine just 2 days. Seems like good plan but I’d have not eaten all day so long as I could ride ToT lol

  • We like the touring plan for boys 4-8, have used it the past 2 trips. We follow it pretty close, took out the attractions they didn’t want to do and replaced them with things I knew DD2 would like. Last trip to the World was three days, skipped AK, but got everything in we wanted.

  • Hey Ryan! Should we tell Sally that Rosa Regale is only like $14 a bottle at Publix? Also, love the “few moments” comment regarding the Pixar Pals parade ;)

  • We arrived at WDW over MLK weekend as well… and… on our DHS day we were ready to throttle the Brazilian tour groups. We hadn’t seen Fantasmic in a couple of years so we scheduled it for that day – it was brutal. 13+ tour groups at least. Not sure if Touring Plans ever mentions that this time of year there are LOTS of those groups around – but it’s good to be aware of!