4 day disney world itinerary school age elementary kids

Heading to Disney World with a school age kid (aka school kids, primary school kids, or elementary schoolers)?

This is our 4 day Disney World itinerary and comprehensive plan for school age kids.

(Looking for our 1 day itineraries for school age kids instead?)

This plan will help you get the most out of a short stay at Disney World.

We have a Disney World base planning process here, that ties into this plan. If you are trying to figure out the best time of year to go, we recommend checking our Disney World Crowd Calendar.

You’ll see some options for each plan in each of the steps below. You can pick the ones that fit your family the best.

We’ve included dinner and evening options as well, so that you can get the most our of a short trip.

We’ve packed a lot into 4 days. You’ll  may be ready for a break by the end. Our longer plans have a less intense schedule.

We recommend getting into the park early, preferably by using a breakfast Advance Dining Reservation.

If you can’t get an early morning ADR, then we recommend arriving for rope drop, 30-40 minutes before the posted opening time.

At Magic Kingdom, we start off at the back of the park in Fantasyland, where lines tend to be shorter as crowds trickle in.

Ok, on to the plan!

Step 1: Pick your park

(Note: this step ties into step 3 of our base planning process.)

Use our Park Selector table for school age kids to chose your park.

1 Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary for School Age Kids - Park Selector Table

As you can see, for this two day plan for school age kids, we will be at Magic Kingdom on day 1, Epcot on day 2 and Animal Kingdom on day 3.


Step 2: Make your Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs)

We’ve made recommendations for our favorite character dining.

Keep in mind:

these dining reservations are completely optional

They may not fit your budget or the rest of your plans.

However, the breakfast recommendations get you into the park early. If you skip them, make sure to arrive before rope drop.


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Day 1 ADRs

Make an early morning 8:00 am ADR at Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest Restaurant.

Cinderella’s Royal Table is a character dining meal in Cinderella’s iconic castle in the middle of Magic Kingdom.  You will meet Cinderella and a rotating cast of princesses.  We met Jasmine, Ariel, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow White.

Be Our Guest is not a character meal, and thus will be faster.  This will get you out sooner to get on rides early before lines form.

Magic Kingdom doesn’t hit peak crowds until 10-11 am. By getting into the park early, you can get onto several rides with little to no wait, before you even have to use a FastPass+.

Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest are both notoriously hard-to-get ADRs, so use our instructions to get it.

Make a 12:00 pm ADR at Crystal Palace for lunch.

This will give you a chance to take a break, cool off, and reenergize over lunch. And you’ll meet Winnie the Pooh and friends from the 100 acre woods.

Make a 5:30 pm dinner ADR at Chef Mickey’s in the contemporary.

Or choose from any of the following monorail restaurants:

Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey’s (table service, character dining, ADR required) [editor’s choice]
The Wave…of American Flavors (table service)
Contempo Cafe (quick service)
California Grill (table service, ADR required)

Disney’s Polynesian Resort
‘Ohana (not a character meal, ADR required) [editor’s choice]
Captain Cook’s (quick service)

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
1900 Park Fare (table service, character meal, ADR required) [editor’s choice]
Grand Floridian Cafe (table service, ADR required)
Narcoossees (table service, ADR required)
Gasparilla Island Grill (quick service)
Cítricos (table service, ADR required)

Day 2 ADRs

Make an early morning early morning 8:00 am ADR at Garden Grill.

You will meet Mickey, Pluto, and Chip and Dale. This ADR will get you into Tomorrow Land before rope drop.  Arrive before 8:00am (even if your reservation is is for 8:30 am. Seating is in order of arrival.

Make a 1:00pm ADR at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for Lunch.

You will meet a rotating cast of princesses including Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, and Ariel.

Make a 6pm dinner ADR at any restaurant in the Epcot World Showcase:

Via Napoli (Italy Pavilion, Pizza and Italian)
Le Celllier (Canada Pavilion, Steakhouse)
Chef’s de France (France Pavilion, Family friendly dining)
Monsieur Paul (France Pavilion, Gourmet dining)
Biergarten (Germany Pavilion, German buffet style)
Spice Road Table (Morocco Pavilion, Mediterranean)
San Angel Inn (Mexico Pavilion, Mexican)
Teppan Edo (Japan Pavilion, Japanese)

Or stop at any of the many quick service restaurants.

Day 3 ADRs

Important notes:

  1. Due to the popularity of Pandora: Land of Avatar, we recommend getting to the park for rope drop so you can head directly into that land. Once you get into the park, head left for Pandora.
  2. This itinerary includes an evening dining package to get premium seating for Rivers of Light, which would otherwise use a FastPass.

Make an an evening ADR at Tusker House

We recommend purchasing this as a Rivers of Light Dining Package (a great use of Disney Dining Plan credits), if you want to see Rivers of Light in the evening. However, you should consider whether your kids will be up for an evening show after a full park day. It may be too much to handle.

FastPasses are very helpful for a number of highly sought-after rides at Animal Kingdom. Two of the most sought after are Avatar: Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. These are both category A FastPasses, which means you can only book one of them on any given day. For thrill seekers, we recommend Avatar: Flight of Passage. For those who want a more relaxed experience, go for Na’vi River Journey

Day 4 ADRs

If you have Disney Junior fans, breakfast at Hollywood and Vine, where you can meet Jake the Pirate, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Handy Manny. If your kids are older, you can skip this one, unless you want to do the Fantasmic Dining package (see below).

We recommend trying getting a reservation for lunch at 50’s Prime Time Cafe.

If you plan to stay at Hollywood Studios all day, consider eating at one the restaurants for dinner that offer the Fantasmic! Dining Package. These are reservation packages that will let you get prime seating for the Fantasmic show. Participating restaurants are Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, Hollywood & Vine, or The Hollywood Brown Derby. You will need to call Disney Dining in advance to make these reservations.

If you do not want to stay for Fantasmic! but you do want to eat a nice meal in at Hollywood Studios, the Brown Derby gets high marks from AJ over at Disney Food Blog. She has pretty darn good ‘taste.’

 

 


Step 3: Make your FastPasses

We cover FastPasses here.  This is how you will select your rides and attractions for the day.

We recommend making your FastPasses between 10am and 3pm.  You won’t need them any earlier because crowd levels will still be low.

At Epcot, FastPasses are tiered. You can only make 1 FastPass in Group A, which includes the 3 most popular rides: Test Track, Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After.

That’s ok, because we will take advantage of low crowd levels immediately after park open to get on these rides.

Day 1 FastPass+

Make these FastPass+ reservations:

  1. 11:00am – 12:00pm FastPass Space Mountain
  2. 1:00pm – 2:00pm FastPass Big Thunder Mountain (40 inch height requirement)
  3. 2:00pm – 3:00pm FastPass Splash Mountain (40 inch height requirement)
  4. As soon as you activate your 3rd FastPass, you may schedule a 4th, but options are usually limited. If you are coming back for the after dinner option, you will probably be able to find something you want.

Day 2 FastPass+

Make these FastPass+ reservations:

  1. 11:00am – 12:00pm Spaceship Earth 
  2. 12:00pm – 1:00pm Mission: SPACE Orange
  3. 2:00pm – 3:00pm Frozen Ever After

Day 3 FastPass+

As of May 27, 2017, Animal Kingdom has a tiered FastPass+ system. Essentially, this means you can get only get a FastPass+ for either Avatar Flight of Passage or Na’vi River Journey, but not both. This itinerary takes this into account.

Make these FastPass+ reservations:

  1. 10:00am – 11:00pm Avatar Flight of Passage
  2. 1:00pm – 2:00pm Kilimanjaro Safaris
  3. 3:00pm – 4:00pm Expedition Everest

or

  1. 11:00 – 12:00 Na’vi River Journey
  2. 1:00 – 2:00 Expedition Everest
  3. 3:00 – 4:00 Kilimanjaro Safaris

Day 4 FastPass+

  1. 10:00 – 11:00 Toy Story Midway Mania
  2. 11:00 – 12:00 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  3. 2:00 – 3:00 Rockin’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

In the summer of 20178, Toy Story Land will be opening. For those trips, we recommend switching your Rockin’ Roller Coaster FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash.

Once you have used your third FastPass+, you can secure more.

 


Step 4: Execute the schedule!

Day 1

7:00 am - Head to Magic Kingdom 

7:20 am - Go through the Early Advanced Dining Reservation Line (usually to the far left)

7:30 am - Get photos taken on empty Main Street on the way to breakfast

7:45 am - Early Morning Advanced Dining Reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant or Cinderella's Royal Table. If you eat relatively quickly, you should be able to get to your first ride with very little wait.

8:50 am -  Finish breakfast and walk to the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train Ride (Fantasyland, 38 Inch Height Requirement)

9:00 am - Ride 7 Dwarfs Mine Train Ride as it opens (this would usually require a FastPass, but you should be able to get on quickly if you head there directly from breakfast.

9:20 am - Peter Pan's Flight (Fantasyland)

9:40 am - Barnstormer with the Great Goofini (Fantasyland)

9:50 am - Head over to Tomorrowland. 

10:00 am - Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

10:30 am - Tomorrowland Speedway (54 inch height requirement for drivers, 32 inches for riders)

11:00 am - 12:00 pm - First FastPass+ - Space Mountain. Arrive towards the end of your reservation period

12:00 PM - Lunch ADR at Crystal Palace (or wherever you like)

1:00 - 2:00 pm - Second FastPass+ - Big Thunder Mountain (40 inch height requirement)

2:00 - 3:00 pm - Third FastPass+ - Splash Mountain (40 inch height requirement)

Get More FastPasses - You make these in your app or at a FastPass kiosk. There is a kiosk between Liberty Square and Frontierland, between the Frontier Trading Post and the Diamond Horseshoe.

If staying on property, consider heading back for a rest or swim.

More Recommended Rides for the afternoon: 
     Haunted Mansion 
     Pirates of the Caribbean 

5:00 pm - Head to the monorail to your dinner ADR.

5:30 pm - Dinner ADR at Chef Mickey's or other restaurant of your choice.

See below for evening option.

Day 1 Evening Option

6:30 pm - Finish Dinner and take monorail back to Magic Kingdom (or walk if you ate at Chef Mickey's)

7:00 pm - Ride anything you missed during the day. Night time favorites:
          Jungle Cruise
          Haunted Mansion
          7 Dwarfs Mine Train
          Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

9:00 pm - Watch the Fireworks - Prime viewing spots:
          FastPass area (make a FastPass for the fireworks)
          Main Street, U.S.A
          On Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Other Notes about Magic Kingdom

  • Check out our tips on staying cool at Disney World here.
  • Check out our best rides and attractions for school kids at Magic Kingdom here.
  • Park hours often change from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. Check the day before to ensure you know what time the park is opening.
  • If you don’t have an early ADR, being at Magic Kingdom for Rope Drop is important in order to get a head start on the crowds.
  • Magic Kingdom generally lets guests through the turnstiles, but not all the way into the park, 15 minutes before park opening (usually 8:45 am). If early crowds are large enough, Disney may let people in early or open the park early.

We really hope this helps you make the most out of your day in Magic Kingdom with your school age kids. Please let us know in the comments what you think of the itinerary. And if you put it in to action, definitely let us know!

Day 2

7:00 am - Head to Epcot 

7:20 am - Go through the Early Advanced Dining Reservation Line

7:30 am - Get photos taken in empty park

7:45 am - Check in at Garden Grill for breakfast ADR. If you eat relatively quickly, you should be able to get to your first ride with very little wait.

8:50 am -  Finish breakfast and walk to Soarin'

9:00 am - Ride Soarin'

9:30 am - Test Track (Use single rider line if possible)

10:00 am - Sum of All Thrills (in Innoventions East)

10:30 am - The Seas with Nemo and Friends

11:00 am - 12:00 pm - First FastPass+ - Spaceship Earth

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm - Second FastPass+ - Mission: SPACE

12:30 pm - Walk from Tomorrow Land to Norway Pavilion of World Showcase

1:00 pm - Arrive for Lunch ADR at Akershus

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm - Third FastPass+ - Frozen Ever After

3:00 pm - Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (in Mexico Pavillion)

4:00 pm - Continue touring World Showcase as desired

5:30 pm - Dinner in World Showcase

Day 3

7:00 am - Head to Animal Kingdom

7:20 am - Go through the early morning Advance Dining Reservation line

7:30 am - Head towards Africa; get photos taken in empty park

7:45 am - Check in at Tusker House (Africa) for breakfast ADR

8:50 am - Finish breakfast and walk to Kilimanjaro Safaris

9:00 am - Kilimanjaro Safaris (Africa)

9:20 am - Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail (Africa)
 Note: skip this and head strait to Na'vi River Journey if checking out Pandora is a higher priority than checking out Africa

9:45 am - Na'vi River Journey  (Pandora)

10:30 am - Explore Pandora

11:00 am - 12:00 pm First FastPass+ - Avatar Flight of Passage (Pandora, 44" height requirement)

12:00 pm - Eat lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue (Discovery Island) - some of the best quick service in all of Disney World

1:00 pm - Walk to Asia

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Second FastPass+ - Expedition Everest (Asia, 44" height requirement)

1:30 pm - Kali River Rapids (Asia, 38" height requirement)

2:00 pm - Maharajah Jungle Trek

2:20 pm - Flights of Wonder (show time is 2:30)

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm - Third FastPass+ - DINOSAUR (Dinoland, 40" height requirement)

3:30 pm - Primeval Whirl (Dinoland, 48" height requirement)

4:00 pm - Wilderness Explorers (Adventure Island)

Day 3 Evening Option

5:30 pm - Festival of the Lion King (6:00 show time)

6:30 pm - Dinner - Yak & Yeti or Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes (Africa) or Harambe Market (Asia)

8:00 pm - Tour Pandora after dark. You may be able to get back on Flight of the Avatar or Na'vi River Journey

9:15 pm - Rivers of Light

Day 4

8:00 am - Head to Hollywood Studios

9:00 am - Enter the park and go directly Star Tours

10:00 am - 11:00 am - First FastPass+ - Ride Toy Story: Midway Mania

11:00 am - 12:00 pm - Second FastPass+ - Ride Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Eat lunch  - 50's Prime Time Cafe

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm - Third FastPass+ Rockin' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Try to get additional FastPasses as available.

3:00 pm - 3:30 pm - Star Wars Launch Bay

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm - Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away

4:00 pm - 4:30 pm - Star Tours: The Adventure Continues

4:30 pm - 5:00 pm - Walt Disney Presents

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm - Eat dinner

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm - visit other attractions

7:30 pm - 8:30 pm - have dessert

8:30 pm - Fantasmic!

 

That’s it!

It’s a very full 4 days. We don’t recommend necessarily trying to squeeze in everything, particularly the evening options.  .

We really hope this helps you make the most out of a 4 day stay with your school age kids.

Leave us a comment right now to let us know what you think of the itinerary. And if you put it in to action, definitely let us know!

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