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Where to spend our extra day? MK, Legoland, or Universal?

Marie123

New Member
Original Poster
Hi there! My family (DH, DS-8, DD-5 and me) will be making our first trip to Disney (and the Orlando area) in February. We are trying to decide where to spend our 5th park day---it will actually be our first day in the area.

My son really wanted to go to Legoland when we started planning, but his interest in Legos has really diminished. He says he is not interested in going anymore, and is most excited about all the Star Wars things at HS. Even though I would rather spend my time at the other parks, I did think Legoland would be a calmer entry for our family to theme parks. Our kids have never been to any kind of theme park (only county fairs), and are a little timid with bigger rides and movies with any remotely scary element.

But if he really is not interested, I feel I would rather save the drive to Legoland and enjoy Universal or Disney an extra day. Based on our plan, what would you recommend we do that day? The day in question is the second Saturday in February.

1. Extra day at Universal? We are mostly going for both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Plan to hit Dr. Seuss Land and Marvel area for our single day as well. Two days would mean we move at a slower pace and spend partial days at the park versus full. This is of course convenient because we are staying on property. Although, there isn't a lot at Universal that our kids are excited about.

2. Magic Kingdom? This is the park where I feel like we have to be very selective on our attractions (and have had to fight my fear of missing out.) There is a lot I think we and our kids would love and you can only do so much in a single day. With an extra day, we can fit more in. Would it be weird going from Universal resort one day for this, then moving to Disney later in the week? How will this affect our Fast Pass planning? Would it be a mistake kicking off our vacation at the busiest park on a Saturday?

3. Stick with Legoland? A nice ease into the theme parks for us. The only thing that excites me about this park is potentially lower crowds and the excitement my son used to have, and the thought my kids may feel braver to tackle and warm up to rides. Otherwise, very little interest, especially if that day could be spent elsewhere.

(I considered Animal Kingdom, but don't feel the kids would find any interest in the rides besides the Safari. And we would love the Lion King show! But that seems it at this age? Feel free to convince me otherwise.)

Our original plan looks like this:

3 night stay Cabana Bay at Universal
First full day-Legoland (day in question)
Second full day-Both Universal Parks for Harry Potter World
Third full day- Rest and transfer hotels, late breakfast with characters at Disney

3 night stay Art of Animation
Fourth full day- Magic Kingdom (open to close)
Fifth full day-Hollywood Studios
Sixth full day-Half day at Epcot, and drive to accommodations near beach

3 night stay in St Pete Beach
Last two days relaxing near beach.

Help with our interests: Our son seems most excited about Star Wars attractions, meeting Spiderman at Universal, and the Toy Story Land. Our daughter is excited about everything Princess, and Frozen is the number one reason we chose Epcot over a second day at Magic Kingdom. My husband is most excited about the Harry Potter Lands, and is not a huge thrill ride person. He prefers a slower pace and more relaxing vacations---so this trip will be pushing some of his limits. I love thrill rides, but will likely avoid most in favor of enjoying the parks with the kids. I am most excited about Magic Kingdom, especially the parade and nighttime show/fireworks. (My husband's one and only trip to Disney was at 4 years old, and mine at 14 years old---both single day visits to MK.)

Thanks for any seasoned wisdom you are able to lend! I am new to the board, but have been reading them for a month now. :)
 
Last edited:

ToInfinity

New Member
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I am an absolute Disney lover, and I’ve been going my entire life. Personally, I would recommend definitely spending the extra day in a Disney park. Magic Kingdom has a ton of things to do, and can easily take two days to see it all, especially if your kids are interested in doing a lot of character meet and greets in addition to the rides, parade, and fireworks. Out of all the rides, the vast majority are calmer, family-oriented rides that your family would enjoy. The only things there that are more “thrilling” are Space Mountain, Big Thunder, and Splash Mountain. The only “scary” one is Haunted Mansion, but it is much more of a “fun” scary. Even of those though, my sister and I were riding them from about ages 4 and up and loved it.
 

KCheatle

Well-Known Member
Honestly, this is sort of a tough question. Definitely a first-world-problem question, but tough nonetheless. My gut reaction was extra day at MK. MK is amazing, and if you're kids are hesitant of big rides or scary interactions, then MK is the place to be. Plus, an extra day's cost added to a Disney park ticket is going to be less expensive than a ticket to another theme park for 1 day. Plus, MK has A LOT to do, and is definitely worthy of 2 days devoted to it. That being said, I personally think it would be difficult to go to MK, be immersed in the magic of MK, and then have to leave it again. I personally would not want to do that.

I'm actually thinking you should go to Animal Kingdom on that day. It would again be just an added day to your WDW ticket. AK is a 1/2 day park for me anyway, so arriving late is no biggie. The vast majority rides and attractions are not scary or overwhelming for your kids. Pandora has 1 fantastic ride and 1 nice calm ride, the safari is great, the Lion King show is great, Rafiki's PLanet Watch with the new animation show would be cool, the river rapids ride might be a bit cold in February.... the Nemo show is fun, Dinosaur is fun (a bit intense...), a Bug's life is fun. Plus---It's a full Zoo. So, there is a ton of animal experiences, and the WIlderness Explorers that they can sign up for, which my kids love. It's like a scavenger hunt around the park and they can earn badges and stuff. Expedition Everest might be a bit much, but there's plenty to do there for little kids or kids who aren't into thrill rides.

I would hesitate to advise another Universal Day. My experience is that the vast majority of the rides are pretty intense. There are a number of simulators, but not enough to fill up an entire extra day.

I've never been to Legoland in Orlando. I've been to the one in Kansas City, and I was not impressed. If your son is not really into legos anymore, then I would take that off the list of considerations.

In sum, if I were in your shoes, I'd go to Animal Kingdom.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
Being this is your first time at a park other than country fairs... definitely GO to MK. Theres so much there to entertain you, to experience and to wow you and your kids. Weve done all the parks in all kinds of order so doing Uni first will only give you a comparison between the two. There is a different feel and atmosphere to both. IMHO Legoland is blaah in comparison to WDW & Uni. Dont sell AK too short... look into it more, it may surprise you in whats really there. There is a lot young kids can and do enjoy. Lion King show is good and the Finding Nemo is excellent.
 

danlb_2000

Premium Member
Hi there! My family (DH, DS-8, DD-5 and me) will be making our first trip to Disney (and the Orlando area) in February. We are trying to decide where to spend our 5th park day---it will actually be our first day in the area.

My son really wanted to go to Legoland when we started planning, but his interest in Legos has really diminished. He says he is not interested in going anymore, and is most excited about all the Star Wars things at HS. Even though I would rather spend my time at the other parks, I did think Legoland would be a calmer entry for our family to theme parks. Our kids have never been to any kind of theme park (only county fairs), and are a little timid with bigger rides and movies with any remotely scary element.

But if he really is not interested, I feel I would rather save the drive to Legoland and enjoy Universal or Disney an extra day. Based on our plan, what would you recommend we do that day? The day in question is the second Saturday in February.

1. Extra day at Universal? We are mostly going for both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Plan to hit Dr. Seuss Land and Marvel area for our single day as well. Two days would mean we move at a slower pace and spend partial days at the park versus full. This is of course convenient because we are staying on property. Although, there isn't a lot at Universal that our kids are excited about.

2. Magic Kingdom? This is the park where I feel like we have to be very selective on our attractions (and have had to fight my fear of missing out.) There is a lot I think we and our kids would love and you can only do so much in a single day. With an extra day, we can fit more in. Would it be weird going from Universal resort one day for this, then moving to Disney later in the week? How will this affect our Fast Pass planning? Would it be a mistake kicking off our vacation at the busiest park on a Saturday?

3. Stick with Legoland? A nice ease into the theme parks for us. The only thing that excites me about this park is potentially lower crowds and the excitement my son used to have, and the thought my kids may feel braver to tackle and warm up to rides. Otherwise, very little interest, especially if that day could be spent elsewhere.

(I considered Animal Kingdom, but don't feel the kids would find any interest in the rides besides the Safari. And we would love the Lion King show! But that seems it at this age? Feel free to convince me otherwise.)

Our original plan looks like this:

3 night stay Cabana Bay at Universal
First full day-Legoland (day in question)
Second full day-Both Universal Parks for Harry Potter World
Third full day- Rest and transfer hotels, late breakfast with characters at Disney

3 night stay Art of Animation
Fourth full day- Magic Kingdom (open to close)
Fifth full day-Hollywood Studios
Sixth full day-Half day at Epcot, and drive to accommodations near beach

3 night stay in St Pete Beach
Last two days relaxing near beach.

Help with our interests: Our son seems most excited about Star Wars attractions, meeting Spiderman at Universal, and the Toy Story Land. Our daughter is excited about everything Princess, and Frozen is the number one reason we chose Epcot over a second day at Magic Kingdom. My husband is most excited about the Harry Potter Lands, and is not a huge thrill ride person. He prefers a slower pace and more relaxing vacations---so this trip will be pushing some of his limits. I love thrill rides, but will likely avoid most in favor of enjoying the parks with the kids. I am most excited about Magic Kingdom, especially the parade and nighttime show/fireworks. (My husband's one and only trip to Disney was at 4 years old, and mine at 14 years old---both single day visits to MK.)

Thanks for any seasoned wisdom you are able to lend! I am new to the board, but have been reading them for a month now. :)
I love Universal, but being your first trip, I would recommend staying at Disney. The way I normally do my Disney trips is to plan parks for the earliest days of my trip, and then leave the last one unplanned so I can go back to a park or parks where I might have missed something or to hit things I want to do again.
 

Marie123

New Member
Original Poster
Thank you all so much! I am really considering Animal Kingdom now (or MK), and not making it a full day. Can anyone help me understand how our FastPass+ would work in this situation. I would buy a four day pass good for Feb 8-Feb 14, but we would only be staying on property starting Feb 10. Would we still get 60 day out FastPass+ reservations?
 

KCheatle

Well-Known Member
I don’t know for sure, but my best guess is the 60-day window will apply to those days you’re staying on WDW property, and the 30-day window will apply to your arrival day. I don’t believe their system will allow you to make FPs 60 days out on a day that they don’t have you in their system as a hotel guest.
 

Nemo14

Well-Known Member
The 60 day window applies to your stay at a Disney resort, so it would not apply to that first day, but that first day is early enough in February that the lines won't be extremely long. It will be a good way for you to get a feel for the lay of the land if you choose to do MK, but personally I think I'd go to AK that day anyway. JMHO
 

dav23

New Member
Would recommend Universal. With a park hopper and express pass you’d be able to do a lot more in a single day there than at any of the Disney parks.
 

Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
Considering the ages of your children, I would suggest MK, hands down...nothing is more Disney then the Magic Kingdom...just remember that UNI has a lot of intense rides. You didn't mention if you have park hoppers. If you do, I would suggest starting that day in AK, back to the resort for a few hours, then finish the day back at the MK. If you don't have park hoppers, I think you can purchase a one day hopper to add to your tickets. Have a GREAT trip!
 

nickys

Premium Member
Another vote for MK.

You will only get a 30 day window for that first day, but that’s fine. You can still get decent FPs, especially for that age. Buzz, Pirates, Splash, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Dumbo, Speedway should all be possible.

Overall, only 7 dwarfs and Peter Pan will be dicey, even for your 4th day (2nd day after check-in).

I would plan a nice calm day at MK. Leave rides like Splash and Big Thunder for your second MK day. Do things like Speedway, Dumbo, Small world, Jungle Cruise, Pirates. All gentle rides (there is a drop right at the start of Pirates, just warn them about it as they’re not used to rides. Grab Peter Pan if you can though.

Maybe see if you can get a lunch at Crystal Palace with Pooh and friends and watch the parade to break up the day. If they need time to let off steam, allow an hour for Tom Sawyers Island.
 
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