The idea behind park itineraries is to help you plan out your day to get the most out of it at whatever park you’re visiting. Having a touring plan is a really good idea, especially if you don’t visit very often. The last thing you want to do is show up to a park after its opened and fumble your way through it, losing precious time and experience. Our itineraries include strategy to tackle 1 and 2 day visits for Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom as well as ways to avoid crowds and long lines at Disneyland, Tokyo Disney and Shanghai Disneyland.
Because of COVID-19 some of these itineraries have been changed to accomodate for things like social distancing, the suspension of FastPass+, reduced park hours, changes to park hopping and reduced attraction capacity. Basically the average guest is going to have to take a new approach to getting more done during COVID with lots going against them. Don’t let this discourage you however. It’s still very possible to accomplish what you want in a day when you follow our plans.
Over the past several months many things have changed at the parks including increased resort capacity (25% to 35%), ride capacity, and attraction changes. All of these have affected the way guests are approaching the parks thus certain attractions have seen changes in wait times. All these things you’re going to want to be aware of as you read our updated itineraries.
The two biggest changes that are affecting attraction wait times are actually at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance are both clamoring for control of the crowds and it’s making a big difference in how you approach your day here.
Lastly, there are several attractions and show that are still closed due to capacity limits so you’ll need to know which ones these are and how you can work your day around them assuming they remain closed for the foreseeable future. We’ve also accounted for new attractions that will be opening sometime in 2021 and what that means for your visit.
OUR APPROACH TO TOURING PLANS
Nobody wants to feel rushed when they’re at the parks. At the same time you want to get as much done as you can, especially if you’re only visiting for a day or two (we don’t recommend visiting for just a day FYI). You’ll only catch the tip of the iceberg with visits like these. With all of us wanting the best of both worlds, how do we find a balance?
We want you to enjoy your visit which means you get to enjoy the attractions, the shows, the entertainment, the scenery and of course the dining. No park visit is complete without experiencing all of these things together. Thus our touring plans include a nice balance of each of these things. Obviously if you want to make one of them more aggressive we left room for this and will tell you things to skip when this applies to you.
This approach is applied to our Walt Disney World, Disneyland and International Park plans. We also highly recommend you see our Walt Disney World Planning Guide to help you prepare before your trip starts. It will help you get everything in order so that you’ll be ready to put our park plans to use with ease.
They are the main draw for guests and typically the reason for your visit. You’ve seen videos online, friends and family have told you about them and now you want to experience them for yourself. If you’ve been to the parks before, you probably have favorites that are a must-do. Whatever your case is, attractions are one of the most important part of any park itinerary.
Our plans typically revolve around getting as many attractions done in one day as possible. For instance, any guest who visits Magic Kingdom theme park is most likely going to want to go on Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Haunted Mansion. These are the “main attraction” attractions that guests are willing to wait in line for. Underneath these would be filler attractions such as “it’s a small world”, Tomorrowland Speedway and The People Mover.
The goal with our touring plans is to get you on the main attractions while incorporating filler attractions and shows (more on this below). Many of the big attractions can command a wait time of 60+ minutes which we would help you avoid. Our plans tend to keep your wait times under 40 minutes with an average wait time of 15-20. Filler attractions should be 10 minutes or less.
SHOWS AND ENTERTAINMENT
These are important to include in any plan as they help balance out your pace and help conserve your energy (it’s a real thing). Walt Disney World is notorious for being hot and humid, especially during the summer months. Shows are a great way to take a breather and cool off with some nice refreshing AC. So while sitting down to see a show may seem like a waste of time for some, it’s a really great way to refresh your energy and to stay cool.
While attractions are the main goal for park plans, shows have been incorporated into all of them. If there’s a show that we fill is a must see, it’s going to be included. Some parks have equal number of shows to attractions such as Animal Kingdom theme park. Here you’ll be riding attractions like Everest and Flight of Passage while enjoying shows such as The Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo.
Entertainment at the parks includes parades and fireworks. In our opinion, these are a must-see unless we feel it isn’t worth your time (very rare). Disney does a fantastic job at both of these year over year so plan on them being apart of our itineraries. Most of the parades and firework shows take place during the evening when it’s dark. The great part about this is our plans usually set you free at this point because you’ve been able to accomplish most everything. However, we do offer advice on when to arrive and how to view them for the best experience.
What would a touring plan be without some amazing Disney Dining? A very bad one. Dining at Disney World is an experience in and of itself. We’ve literally gone to Disney World several times with our focus on dining and nothing else. There have been days where we didn’t touch a single ride because we were enjoying the Food and Wine Festival all day. Needless to say, we make sure that each of our plans include dining.
When you have the goal of getting everything done in a day, it may seem like a waste to stop and dine somewhere right in the middle of it. There are some out there who can just snack their way through the day and it’s no big deal. We don’t feel this way personally which is why each of our plans include lunch, snack and dinner breaks. We offer ideas for where to dine including quick service and table service restaurants while helping you stay in close proximity of where you’ll continue your day afterwards.
We also like to suggest snacks that are easy to eat and can be enjoyed while walking to your next destination. Overall this will give you an energy boost, keep you from getting hangry and keep you on pace to finish your perfect day.
WALT DISNEY WORLD ITINERARIES
Because Walt Disney World is a massive resort, there’s a lot to do and we always encourage guests to try and spend at least an entire day at each of the 4 parks. The more days you can do the better as this lets some pressure off of trying to see and do it all in one day.
Outside of the 4 parks there are two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Both are currently closed due to COVID but they are aiming for a spring 2021 reopening. It will most likely be that only one reopens and the the other one closer to mid-summer.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex isn’t really a full day experience but you may have some in your group who want to check it out. We suggest doing so in the morning and then leaving in the afternoon as you’ll want to get back to the parks, or, if it’s your day off head over to Disney Springs for some shopping.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom 1-Day Itinerary – It’s technically the largest park at Walt Disney World and covers a lot of land. This means there’s a lot to do for a guest in one day. With COVID-19 changes, things are squeezed even more tightly time-wise. You’re going to want to get Pandora done quickly so you have time to explore and experience the rest of the park plus enjoy some seriously good dining.
Magic Kingdom 1-Day Itinerary – It’s not the largest park but it’s the busiest in the world. More visitors pass through these gates than any other theme park so it’s important to have a plan before you get there. Look for advice on entertainment, attractions, dining and more. It is possible to do it all in one day; but it’s going to be the busiest day in your life! We don’t suggest doing it this way as you’ll miss the scenery and magic of the park so look at our 2-Day Itinerary below.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios 1-Day Itinerary – Updated to include Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, this park has grown a ton, especially with the additions of Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. Don’t fear though. We can get you through it all in a busy day but, like Magic Kingdom, you may want to split it up into 2. Whatever you choose we’ve got you covered on dining, entertainment and attractions.
Epcot 1-Day Itinerary – As far as attractions go, this park is a breeze compared to the others. However, when it comes to dining, it’s impossible to experience even the best of the best in one day. There’s a good mix of entertainment, dining and attractions as well as time to enjoy any festival that may be running at the time. If there isn’t, you’ll get a fantastic look around Epcot like never before.
TOKYO DISNEYLAND ITINERARIES
Of all the Disney Parks in the world, Tokyo DisneySea is the best one in our opinion. It’s one of the most inventive, creative and masterfully planned parks ever. Tokyo Disneyland has two parks for guests to enjoy and both require a full day to see most of it. Because most people don’t travel to Japan just to visit Disney, we understand that 1 day may be all that you have. If this is the case we recommend you visit Tokyo DisneySea over Tokyo Disneyland as it’s the better park.
If you’ve never been to this resort or any international park in general, be sure to check-out our guide for Tokyo Disneyland as well as our guide on how to purchase and save on your tickets. A lot of planning goes into visiting an international park so be prepared.
Below you’ll find our recommended 1-Day itineraries for each park. If you do have two days to spend we recommend one day in each.
1-Day Tokyo DisneySea Itinerary – It’s the great theme park in the world and one that should not be missed. We’ll walk you through how to avoid the crowds here, great places to dine and must-do attractions to help you see and do it all in one day.
1-Day Tokyo Disneyland Itinerary – While very similar to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, it’s also not. We’ll walk you through each attraction and show, when to take a break, the best places to dine and how to work in Fastpass to get even more done with your day here.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.