How to Sleep In and Still See Everything at Walt Disney World

by on May 9, 2016 15 Comments

Filed under: Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Hollywood Studios, Trip Planning, Walt Disney World (FL)

Castle (12)With miles of walking, heat, and humidity, Walt Disney World is the kind of vacation that you need to get some rest to enjoy. The paradox has always been that to get the most for your money, you’ve got to arrive early and stay late.

Now, with the Animal Kingdom’s longer evening hours and Hollywood Studios’ construction closures, it’s possible to sleep in and still see everything in those parks in one day. That means you can alternate full days in Epcot and the Magic Kingdom with relaxed, late starts at the others – even on short trips. A sample 4-day, long weekend might look like this:

  • Full day at Magic Kingdom
  • Sleep late and visit the Studios or Animal Kingdom
  • Full day at Epcot
  • Sleep late and visit the park you’ve not yet seen

The key to those sleep-in days is setting up a touring plan with the right FastPass+ choices and times. To get you started, we’ve created new late-start touring plans for the Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios below.

Seth Kubersky and I have tested versions of these plans in the parks already, with different combinations of FastPass reservations. Let us know how they work for you.

Late Arrival Animal Kingdom Touring Plan (link)

Get FastPass+ reservations for these attractions and general times:

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris 12:00 noon to 1 p.m.
  • Expedition Everest 5:00 pm to 6:00 p.m.
  • DINOSAUR 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Skip or substitute any attractions that don’t interest you. If you’d like to experience the new nighttime version of the safaris, change the time shown above to something around dusk or later. Then  move the safari step in the plan to an evening time.

  1. Arrive at the Animal Kingdom around noon. Pick up a guide map and Times Guide. Sign up for the Wilderness Explorers game as you cross the bridge to Discovery Island.
  2. In Africa, take the Kilimanjaro Safaris. Use your FastPass+ reservation.
  3. Take the Wildlife Express Train to Conservation Station and Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
  4. Tour Conservation Station and Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
  5. Take the Wildlife Express Train back to Harambe.
  6. Walk the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
  7. Earn more badges with the Wilderness Explorers activities in Africa.
  8. See Festival of the Lion King in Africa
  9. Tour the Discovery Island Trails. One entrance is at the end of the bridge between Africa and Discovery Island. The trail ends near the Discovery Island bridge to Asia.
  10. In Asia see Flights of Wonder.
  11. Ride Expedition Everest using your FastPass+ reservations.
  12. Walk the Maharaja Jungle Trek.
  13. Eat dinner. My favorite nearby place is Flame Tree Barbecue on Discovery Island.
  14. Ride DINOSAUR in Dinoland U.S.A. using your FastPass+ reservations. After this, check FastPass+ availability for Rivers of Light or Kali River Rapids.
  15. Ride TriceraTop Spin if you have small children in your group.
  16. If time permits before Finding Nemo – The Musical, take a spin on Primeval Whirl. Otherwise, ride after seeing Nemo.
  17. See Finding Nemo – The Musical.
  18. Ride Kali River Rapids in Asia.
  19. See It’s Tough to Be a Bug on Discover Island.
  20. See The Awakening, the Rivers of Light show, or The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic.

Here’s the Studios plan:

Late Arrival Disney’s Hollywood Studios Touring Plan (link)

Get FastPass+ reservations for these attractions and general times:

  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Toy Story Mania 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 2:30 pm to 3:30 p.m.
  • (Fourth Fastpass, while in the park) The Great Movie Ride 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Skip or substitute any attractions that don’t interest you.

  1. Arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios around noon. Pick up a guide map and Times Guide.
  2. See For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration using your FastPass+ reservations.
  3. Ride Toy Story Mania using your FastPass+ reservations.
  4. See the Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away show at the park’s center stage.
  5. See Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage on Sunset Boulevard.
  6. Ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith on Sunset Boulevard.
  7. Experience The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror using your FastPass+ reservations.
  8. Tour the Star Wars Launch Bay in Animation Courtyard.
  9. Take The Great Movie Ride using your FastPass+ reservations.
  10. Eat dinner. Backlot Express is a decent nearby choice.
  11. See the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular in Echo Lake.
  12. See Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream on Mickey Avenue. You’ll exit in Animation Courtyard.
  13. If time permits, see Voyage of the Little Mermaid in Animation Courtyard.
  14. See Star Tours: The Adventure Continues.
  15. See Muppet*Vision 3D.
  16. See any evening fireworks and the Fantasmic! nighttime show.
Posted on May 9, 2016

15 Responses to “How to Sleep In and Still See Everything at Walt Disney World”

  • by ThoroughbredOfSin on May 9, 2016, at 7:14 am EST

    How are you supposed to get a FP for both Toy Story Midway Mania AND the Great Movie Ride when they are both tier one (at least according to touring plans’ fast pass+ info page)?

  • by Karyn Bixby on May 9, 2016, at 10:11 am EST

    Being from the West Coast we are always running behind the first few days. We did just this last month at WDW. It helped to let everyone sleep in and avoid the dreaded tantrums of a tired family.

  • Any chance of a Crowd Level review post for the week of April 24th-30th? I was there that week and was hoping to see a debrief.

  • I’ve already done my August TP but still go in weekly to move things around – hoping these hours are going to be good for August too but I won’t bank on it.

  • With so much of EP still under construction for our early June trip, I feel like our touring plan should be:
    Step 1–Ride Test Track using your FP+.
    Step 2–Proceed to La Cava del Tequila.
    Step 3–Stay at La Cava del Tequila.

  • Are people still able to get Great Movie Ride as a 4h FP, now that they’ve made it easier by putting it on your mobile device? I had heard that 4th FP availability has gone way down since that was instituted.

    • Yes. As of 2:15 p.m. today, there were these GMR FP times still available for today: 3:25pm‑4:25pm · 3:55pm‑4:55pm · 4:15pm‑5:15pm · 4:40pm‑5:40pm · 5:10pm‑6:10pm · 5:50pm‑6:50pm · 6:25pm‑7:25pm · 6:45pm‑7:45pm · 7:05pm‑8:05pm

      • by ThoroughbredOfSin on May 9, 2016, at 4:37 pm EST

        I suppose it depends on when you go. Did a late arrival on Saturday in April, and no Great Movie Ride FP were available after 4pm for 2 people.

  • Thank you so much for this article! As a West Coaster, I agree with the other poster that mentioned it is hard to make every day an early day.

    Do you think these plans would work well next March? That is our next trip.

  • One of the many benefits of fastpass plus over the old paper version. The rope drop race for the fastpasses is no longer necessary. I’ve seen mothers run over their children who fell out of strollers stampeding for Toy Story mania paper fastpasses.