Thursday, September 20, 2018

Disney Plannin'.


I have been so distracted lately when it comes to sitting down and blogging, y'all.  And here's why.  We are planning our very first trip to Disney World in November with both sets of grandparents and I feel like it's time to start doing my research.  And when I sit down to type out a new blog post I keep finding myself completely and utterly distracted by "14 Dollar Store Must Buy Items for a Disney Vacation", "Tips for Magical Disney Nights" or "52 Genius Disney World Hacks" on Pinterest.  Sigh.


Today I decided to just go where my mind is.  And that is DISNEY.

So...where are all my Disney World peeps??  I need your opinions! #pleaseandthankyou

(Also, if you have no Disney knowledge and have no interest in Disney, I'll see you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.  haha)


Of course, our trip is in capable hands.  You didn't think we'd plan our Disney trip without my girls at the Mix & Match Travel Agency did you?!  #Ithinknot

(Updated to add that we're going during the end of Thanksgiving week so maybe no water rides since it might be a little cool.  We're staying at The Art of Animation in a Cars family suite.  And dining reservations are done.  I had a lot of those questions in DMs and comments so I wanted to just answer that here.  And again, I'm just wanting to hear from #allthepeople about rides so I can get a general consensus.  Consider it a poll. ;)  My Disney planners are on top of everything I never even knew had to be done, thank goodness!  And have answered every single question I've had, given great advice and then some.  They are awesome.  And they are not paying me to say this.  hahaha.)

But what I need help with is more opinion based.  It's Fast Pass decision time.  And I've been on YouTube so much looking at all these rides and trying to decide which ones to go for.

My general thoughts so far?  Magic Kingdom looks like they have the best rides!  I have a feeling that day is going to be exhausting.  Thankfully, we are skipping all the character meet and greet type things.  My boys are not interested.  So we've got plenty of time to just GO...and stand in line.  ;)

But there are so many good ones at Magic Kingdom.  Which ones should I choose for my Fast Passes?  My initial thoughts were the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train (definitely), Big Thunder Mountain and ????  At first, I had Space Mountain penciled in because I am all about the fast and furious.  And in the dark?!  Bring.it.on.  But then I started reading comments under the YouTube video for that ride where people were saying how scared they were when their parents made them get on it when they were 8 years old or how it was pretty rough and you come out super sore and sometimes sick...and of course, it's all in the dark.  I'm worried my 8-year-old may not enjoy it THAT much.

So my question is, what do you think I should choose for my 3rd Fast Pass at the Magic Kingdom?  My boys are 8 and 10 and love a roller coaster but Space Mountain may be pushing it.  Pirates of the Caribbean maybe?

Also, I need opinions on Epcot rides.  We've crossed out Mission Space because the reviews I read on that one scared me.  People were talking about feeling like they couldn't breathe, how they couldn't wait to get out of there and how they were having mini panic attacks.  So we'll pass on that one.

I thought Soarin' looked amazing and something all 8 of us would like.  We also want to do the Test Track of course but since they are both Tier 1, we have to choose one for our Fast Pass.  (And Frozen is Tier 1 as well but no way I'll be able to get them to use a Fast Pass on that one. Although I fully intend on riding it.)


We get to choose 2 more for our Tier 2 choices and I'm thinking Living with the Land and ????  All the others in Tier 2 look kind of (dare I say) lame.  I am a total ride snob.

What were your favorite rides at Epcot??

We've got our Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios rides picked out though.  We're going with Flights of Passage, Everest and Dinosaur at AK and Slinky Dog Dash, Tower of Terror and Rockin' Rollercoaster at HS.

*These are our first choices.  We'll see if we get them all.  Also, we fully intend on riding as many rides as possible.  These are just our Fast Pass choices.

What do you Disney girls think?  I've asked a ton of my friends and have gotten conflicting reports so I wanted more opinions!  Whatcha got for me?!


Also, if you have ANY good Disney tips, please let me know in the comments.  All the tips on Pinterest are a little overwhelming.  It'll help if you're speaking directly to me.  I've gotten plenty of them from so many of my friends but you can never have too many good tips, right?

Sound off in the comments, girls!  I want to make the most of our trip (obviously) and I need all the help I can get.  :)

And before I go, if you're planning a Disney trip, a Disney planner is sooooo nice to have!!  I honestly had no idea what exactly they did or what to expect because I've never used a travel agent before.  But having someone hop online at the crack of dawn and deal with the stress of trying to get first choice dining reservations and fast pass stuff...yes girl.  I would hate doing that myself.  Plus they know a lot so all questions are answered.  This is just asking for opinions on rides and the more opinions I get, the easier it'll be for me to make a decision on which ones might not work my kiddos.

Drop those suggestions below and see you over in the FB group today and/or back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites!


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44 comments

  1. Kerri4:07 AM

    There is sooo much Disney information in can be so overwhelming! If you are considering going on space mountain I would get a fast pass for it. If you decide the boys don't want to go on it, you can always try to switch your fast passes for something different once you're there (depending on how busy of a time you're going. We have generally had luck being able to switch fast passes for other things). I would also recommend splash mountain as an alternative.
    for epcot soarin is definitely good for the whole family and the line gets crazy so it would be most worth doing as a fast pass. You could try to do test track first thing in the morning when the line hopefully isn't too bad yet.

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    1. Since we are going in November, I think we are going to skip any rides where we get wet unless it ends up being a hot day. But normally, we would be all over Splash Mountain! Thank you for the tips, Kerri!

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  2. You guys are gonna have so much fun!! I can’t wait to hear what you decide!

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  3. Y'all will have a blast at Disney. In my opinion, if your kids can handle Everest and Rockin' Roller Coaster, they should be ok on Space Mountain. I think my son rode it when he was in kindergarten. I did a big blog post on Disney tips last year. Disney Tips - The Other Side of the Road

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    1. I think I'm more worried that Mason is going to freak out in the dark. He's not a fan of the tube slides at waterparks where they are pitch black and feel like they're never going to end!

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  4. We are big Disney fans and have been six times. I would recommend Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin for your third fast pass in Magic Kingdom. It's interactive and I think your boys would definitely enjoy! I personally love Mission Space (and there are two versions--more intense and less intense). But I would go with Spaceship Earth in tier two. You probably wont need a fast pass for living with the land, as it isn't usually crowded but it can't hurt! Where are you staying? And do you need restaurant recommendations? So excited for you!

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    1. Good to know that there are two versions of Mission Space! We are staying at the Art of Animation. And we've got our reservations all set! I don't even remember what we decided ended up getting. But I haven't planned out any quick service dining. Do I need to decide that or can I wing it when we get there?

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  5. I didn't think that the Mission Space was that bad and they do have an option for a less...aggressive experience. Soarin' is a MUST. Probably don't need a fast pace for Livin' the Land (no harm in getting it but every time we've been the wait has been pretty low). I love Space Mountain but I think it depends on whether the boys are afraid of the dark. Although I personally think Tower of Terror is a lot scarier then Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain. Pirates and Haunted Mansion are always a must do for us and we tend to get fast passes for those (depending on the time of day they may or may not be needed). My biggest tip is rest when you need it. Sounds logical but you wouldn't believe how many people try to push their kids to stay at the park all day. We always take a break in the middle of the day to rest and cool off and get some down time.

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    1. I also agree that Tower of Terror was much scarier to me than Space Mountain! If you like roller coasters, what about Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain in Magic Kingdom?! I loved it, but my husband turned a little green because you end up going backwards upside down. :)

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    2. Thank you! I'm a little nervous about Mason in the dark. He's not a fan. For some reason, all they can talk about is Tower of Terror! I think it's a hot topic at school when Disney comes up. Thank you for the tips!! I'm hoping it won't be hot when we go (Thanksgiving) but we do have dining reservations for either lunch or an early dinner on each day. So hopefully that'll be a good break!

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  6. My advice on Magic Kingdom is get there when the park opens and you can do lots before lunch when the lines get long. Have a plan and you can get lots checked off your list quickly! Definitely a fast pass on 7 dwarfs. My husband did Space Mountain by himself and said it was not the same as when he was a kid...hurt his back lol. Also- once you are done with your fast passes for the day you can get more on the app, a great option to not wait in line if you aren't super picky on your rides. Good luck!

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  7. Soarin' at Epcot is AMAZING! If you're interested in scheduling any particular meals/restaurants book them as soon as you know what you're interested in.....but if you can't get a reservation keep checking especially right before your trip because they have cancelations. Schedule your fast passes for as early in the morning and close together as possible. Once you use your original 3 you can schedule one more, then one more, etc. on the Disney app. Also, the Disney app will show you approximate wait times at the rides while you are there and you can make/modify any reservations, schedule fast passes, etc. It's very helpful. Buy the Memory Maker photo package ahead of time....it's $30 cheaper.

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    1. We've had dining booked for awhile so we're set on that. I can't even remember what all we ended up with. And thanks for the tips on the Fast Passes and Memory Maker! I'm taking notes. haha

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  8. I live an hour away from Disney and am an Annual Passholder so I LOVE giving Disney tips. For Epcot, FP Test Track 100%. For some reason that ride has been super popular lately and has had the longest wait times. Soarin is great and I definitely recommend going but since they added a third theater you can usually get on it in under 30 minutes. Living with the Land and Spaceship Earth are probably your two best bets for Tier 2. For Space Mountain, I really think it depends on the kid. I see younger kids on it all the time but if you want to err on the side of caution I would do FP for either Pirates or Haunted Mansion.

    While you are in Epcot make sure to check out Holidays Around the World! Last year was the first time they did it and it was so much fun. Each country has a story teller that does a great performance of how their country celebrates the December holidays along with fun food booths. Another fun thing to do is the Scavenger Hunt. You pay about $7 for a map at the start of World Showcase and you have to find whatever is on the map in each country. When you find all of them, return your completed map and get a prize! World Showcase is a ton of fun for adults but sometimes boring for kids so these little things definitely help keep them entertained along the way.

    My biggest piece of advice whenever someone asks though is just remember you cannot do everything and roll with the punches! There is so much to do it can feel overwhelming at times. I've been 40+ times and still haven't seen everything. At some point someone is going to have a melt down, some ride you had a FP for is going to be closed, etc. Just remember you are there to have fun and a stressful day in Disney is better than a great day anywhere else :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Laura!! That is excellent advice all around! So jealous you get to go so often!

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  9. MK rides I would definitely do Big Thunder over Space Mountain. Space Mountain has never scared my kids but they enjoy Big Thunder more. We as adults enjoyed it too- you would LOVE Soarin'...crowd pleaser for sure. My kids love it! Test Track is awesome and the boys would love it so I would def wait the line for which ever ride you choose to not fast pass because both are so much fun at Epcot. We have been to Disney numerous times and I think you're in good hands-have a blast!!!

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  10. If they can handle rockin rollercoaster they can handle space mountain. But Big thunder Mountain is one of our favorites. You never need a fast pass for living with the land. Mission space "orange" removes all the intense stuff and you are just riding a spaceship without the g-force and intensity of the green version. My 20 something year old boys loved frozen so there's that. They were super annoyed I didnt get fastpasses so we got there first thing at park opening and headed straight there to wait in line. Soarin is great but try to get seats in the middle section

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    1. I'm actually a little nervous about Rockin Rollercoaster for them too. They just keep talking about it so I just went with it but watched the video of it last night and now I'm nervous. haha. Thanks for the tips, Cathy!!

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    2. They will love rockin rollercoaster!

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  11. My best advise is not try to do everything. The last time I went I felt like we were pressured to do EVERYTHING in every park because we were short on time...will not do that again. Also, if you have a day to just "chill" I highly recommend it. Being on the go constantly wears anyone out!
    Good luck-there are so many tips it is hard to know which ones to follow.

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  12. best tip I've read is get to MK at rope drop and run left to the back. You can likely do haunted mansion and minetrain with FP. We did it and were able to cancel the FP we booked for haunted mansion. If you get to a ride and the line is short, you can cancel the FP and rebook it! Don't forget after you use your three FP, you can book 1-2 additional. Download the app and start playing with it:) have fun! we don't have kids and still love Disney lol.

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  13. Bryana10:23 AM

    I remember being TERRIFIED of Dinosaur even as a 13 year old kid. I HATED it and I am pretty sure my little brother who was 9 at the time was traumatized. On another note, the Lion King show at AK is fantastic! Soarin is my favorite Disney ride!

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  14. I have 2 boys the same ages as your boys. We stayed a week and were able to go to Magic Kingdom and Epcot twice. We did easy rides the first two days and then by the end of the week, they were braver and did some of the bigger rides. We would show up at the park early and were able to ride some of the rides without fast passes. Magic kingdom by boys loved the big thunder mountain, seven dwarfs and pirates of Caribbean. One loved splash mountain while the other never went on it. My boys loved test track, soarin and believe it or not the frozen ride at epcot. At AK they loved the river rapids..you get soaked! They also loved dinosaur. We did fast past for the easier Avitar ride as one boy could not do the bigger ride because he was too short. While the ride was beautiful, it was a let down. Ar hollywood studio the only ride my kids really liked was the toy story mania. I believe they opened the other section so there might be more rides. They still talk about these rides months later and are so ready to go back. We are trying out a disney cruise in January!

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  15. Jessie11:30 AM

    We live about an hour away and our Annual Passholders. We're at Disney at least once a month and do a full week trip late October/early November. It's a great time of year to be there! Hands-down best piece of advice for Magic Kingdom is to get there EARLY. If the park opens at 9am, I'm at the gate by 8:15am. They let you in to Main Street at least 30 minutes early and you'll get to catch a cute welcome show at the castle stage. Starbucks is open and it's the BEST time for pictures in front of the castle and to just check out all the details without crazy crowds. You'll be able to do more in the first few hours the park is open than most people do all day. We always head straight to Big Thunder Mountain and ride it 3 or 4 times without waiting. My kids love this. I don't recommend scheduling Fastpasses for earlier than about 11am. You just don't need them that early, unless it's for the Mine Train. You can pick up more Fastpasses after you use the first 3, but there probably won't be anything too exciting available. You're much better off to maximize the early, less crowded hours and use your Fastpasses a little later. I'd go with Buzz Lightyear over Space Mountain. The race cars are a good option for a Fastpass, too, if you want to ride them. The line is kind of miserable to wait in.

    Epcot Fastpasses are funny because you really only need them for the top tiers and, of course, you can only get one. Test Track would be the best option for your first time. If your kiddos are okay after the first ride, you can do single rider for Test Track with little to no wait. My kids love to do this over and over. Also, while you're at Epcot, get some ice cream from the France pavilion. You're welcome. ;)

    Another important piece of advice - if you have breakfast or lunch reservations for Be Our Guest (I hope you do because it's the best food at Magic Kingdom!) order your meal ahead of time. You can do this right from the app, but it needs to be at least the day before. You'll get a "fastpass" so to speak to skip the ridiculously long line of people waiting to order. Reservations are required to get in, but you'll still wait for up to an hour to order if you haven't done the preorder. You can still verify and change your order once you're in if you need to, but this will save you so much time. I always feel terrible for people who are standing there waiting because they didn't realize!

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    1. Anonymous2:17 PM

      100% agree with getting Fast Passes for midday. They are a complete waste first thing in the morning as if you at the park before it opens, and you really should be to enjoy it, you can walk on most rides. Lines start to get long after 11am. And if you are getting FPs for 4+ people, then the choices later in the day can be pretty dismal. But do keep checking after you used your 3, because stuff does pop up minute to minute.

      I hate the new Test Track. The old version was excellent, the new one-I just don't get it. The fast ride around the track is the only fun part. I love Soarin', it was my favorite ride at Disney until Flights of Passage opened.

      Are you going Thanksgiving week or the week before or after? Thanksgiving week is going to be very crowded so, if then, be prepared.

      Also, doesn't that travel agency charge an extra $200 to just start planning? Maybe I'm wrong, I had investigated them earlier and moved on when I saw that. If so, then bombard them with all these questions, they need to earn their money!

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  16. Pirates of the Caribbean has ALWAYS been one of my favorite rides--a great starter ride for the park!

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  17. Melissa12:48 PM

    We took a 6 and 8 year old in June and they both did great on Space Mountain. The 6 year old isn't that adventurous and was nervous and did great. I would suggest Jungle Cruise as your 3rd FP, the line was always long when we were there.

    We used a travel agent for our first couple of trips and they were so helpful. I loved that the services were free and all that they did for us! One time we even got free waterpark tickets! So cool! Now I like/enjoy planning so do it mostly myself but really encourage newbies to utilize the free services!

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  18. Daniela3:38 PM

    We are annual passholders so we go often. Just yesterday I was in Epcot for the food and wine festival. In November they have around the holidays festival which is so fun! I definitely recommend visiting every country and their cute stores and shops. So fun! For the rides...Soaring is a must! I wouldn’t do fast pass for living with the land...you can do it without fast pass. I would do Spaceship Earth instead.
    Magic Kingdom....definitely Thunder Mountain, mine train and Splash Mountain....depends on the weather, usually it is still pretty hot but we had some colder days in past years. I have a 8year old who loves Space Mountain so I wouldn’t eliminate it. The rest of the rides are slower but still fun...buzz Lightyear, pirates, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Haunted Mansion are our favorites. Also People Mover is fun, and Carousel of progress - it’s a nice break from the heat. Both my kids (8,4) love it.
    I would get there early and hit the “less”popular rides and utilize fast passes throughout the day.
    AK...definitely Avatar,Yetti and Safari. We hate Dinosaur, it’s a dark and very jerky, bumpy ride.
    I think it’s the only ride we don’t like from all 4 parks. Try and do the shows, lion king is great.
    HS - slinky dash dog is so fun! I’m not sure about the tower of terror, I didn’t let my 8 year old on it yet. Star Wars is great and that goes from someone who never seen even one movie haha.
    AK and HS is definitely slower paced than MK or Epcot. But there’s so much to see! I love all the details everywhere.
    My advice is don’t stress! You will not get to do everything in one day...definitely not in MK. Be prepared for crowds. Thanksgiving is always so busy there. Bring in extra drinks and snacks. That’s what’s great about Disney, they let you bring your own food and drinks, it can get pricey.
    Where are you staying?

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    1. Art of Animation! Cars family suite. :) And stress is my middle name! Ahhh! haha

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  19. For EPCOT I would definitely fast pass Soarin’ and try to Rope Drop Test Track. We took our kids when they were 5 & 2, 8 & 5, and then 10 & 7. They loved Rockin’ Roller Coaster and Space Mountain but Space is way jerky and you’re right, sometimes I felt sick coming off of it. Thunder Mountian and Mine Train are for sure great picks. If you get a warm day I wouldn’t pass you Splash Mountain, it’s my absolute very favorite. Something about it just makes me happy. Maybe because my youngest loved it so much when he was 5 and couldn’t ride much else. Flight of Passage is breathtaking. It may be hard to get that Fastpass, I would try and make Animal Kingdom one of your last days, you will have better luck. Also October we rode without a Fastpass after rope drop and only waited 40 minutes and then another day 2 hours. Are you going during Thanksgiving or right after? After tends to have lower crowds before the Christmas crowd. Do you plan to go to the Christmas party? We love the Halloween party, but have never been during Christmas. We are doing Universal this Fall Break and I’m a little sad thinking about getting on the plane and seeing all the Magic Bands people will have one.

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    1. We get there on Thanksgiving Day and will hit up our first park that Friday. Love all y'all's tips! I've decided to use a FP for Splash Mountain b/c last year it was in the high 70s/low 80s during November. So we'll go for it!

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  20. Skip Space Mountain! Everyone in our family hated it, and I think the fact that you can't sit next to anyone on the ride, it made it really hard on my youngest child. I felt a little unsafe on it, too. That being said, Rockin Rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios was SO fun and was very smooth in the dark. I had a blast! Back to Magic Kingdom though- get there for rope drop and head left to Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion so you don't have to use your fast passes on them. You have to do Splash Mountain & Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (and you'll need Fast Passes) Unfortunately Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was a HUGE disappointment! It was a nice smooth coaster, but it lasted less than 60 seconds, so if you are going to ride it, it has to be a fast pass. You'll be so disappointed if you actually wait in line for that one. I know you said you aren't doing any character meet and greets, and we thought we weren't either until my kids got there. If you meet anyone, you have to meet Stitch (if you guys love him) He was a fabulous interaction and something everyone in our family will never forget. In that same area, go to Monsters Inc Laugh Floor- it is so fun! Buzz Lightyear was super fun there too. Finally, we also really enjoyed Mickey's Philharmagic to cool off and be entertained between rides. Have so much fun!

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  21. We’ve been a ah duck of times. The first time we went, our travel agents helped us pick our fast passes, but here’s what we chose: http://theweltefamilyblog.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-weltes-at-disney-magic-band-fastpass.html?m=0

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  22. Be Our Guest in MK has a great quick service and the restaurant is beautiful!! I would recommend getting a reservation if you can.

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    1. We enjoyed our lunch at be our guest! So yummy and the restaurant is gorgeous!

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  23. I could talk Disney all day long but one tip that I haven't seen mentioned: after you use your 3 fastpasses in a park you can hop on the app and book another. As soon as you finish, you can book another etc. etc. This is good for many rides that will still be available as the day goes so that you can eliminate the wait. It looks like you have a solid group of rides already! The only bad part of Space Mountain is that you sit singly on that ride which may be hard with a hesitant 8 year old. My 8 year old loves coasters but does not want to ride if I'm not right next to him. I would FP the Mine Train, Big Thunder mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. You don't get that wet on Splash Mountain, but late November can be cool. Definitely do Space Ranger Spin and Haunted mansion also. As for Epcot, Soarin is my favorite with Spaceship Earth being a close second. It's definitely considered more educational but the interactive part at the end of the ride is a favorite of my boys. Can't wait until you share all about it!

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  24. What does a travel agency offer that the free, Disney-authorized planners do not? I'd love to hear your take on this as we are starting to look into a Disney trip and are completely clueless! It's definitely overwhelming! Thanks!

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    1. Oh gosh I have no idea! You should email them! [email protected] I don't exactly know the difference but they've been great to work with and I know they'll be able to answer all your questions!

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  25. Your going to have so much fun! My kids loved space mountain but I was so scared because I felt l was going to fall out. It was just rough. Dinosaur was a lot of fun. You have to get a fast pass for Avatar. We waited 2 hours but it was sooo worth it. Also, the Safari is a must. Expedition Everest is so fun. We downloaded the Disney World App so we would be constantly checking the wait times. Sometimes we would switch out fast passes if we were able to get on a ride that didn't have a wait.

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  26. We arrive the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I really thought we were on to something with a visit that week, but I think everyone else is on to it, too. Hoping it's not like spring break or summer crowds. At least it will be cooler, right?!?!?!

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    1. Ha! Me too!! I'm not sure there are any times when it won't be crowded! Maybe January and February? It's going to be a madhouse wherever we go I'm sure!

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