Sure, you could certainly try to spend every minute that you're at Walt Disney World eating, drinking, or snacking, but we'll grudgingly admit that there are other attractions at the resort, as well.
While locals will often drop in for dinner at Epcot and some ride-or-die families plan elaborate weeks-long residencies in the resorts, the average visitor to Disney World tends to spend four days checking out all the parks have to offer. Here's our opinionated breakdown of the most perfect way to use your time on that trip. Haven’t booked fastpasses in advance? We’ve put suggestions below, but if you can, reserve them online or even via the app the morning before.
Day 1: Epcot
9 am: First get the three fast passes for the day: Mission Space, Soarin', and either Spaceship Earth if you need some quiet A/C nostalgia time or Turtle Talk with Crush if you want to blow the minds of some children.
9:15 - 9:45 am: Beeline straight to France (bypassing the tempting Starbucks) for a leisurely breakfast and coffee to set the tone and feel superior.
10 am - 1 pm: Head back to Future World for a couple of hours: Do Journey Into Imagination, Soarin', Living with the Land, Turtle Talk and Nemo.
1:15 pm: Walk back through the countries to Morocco's Tangierine Cafe. Get a lamb, falafel, or shawarma wrap for lunch and grab a Sultan's Colada from the stand outside to drink as you make you way to Mexico (for another drink).
2 - 3 pm: Work your way through your choice countries — the shopping in Japan, France, and China is especially on point.
3 - 4 pm: Take a tequila break at La Cava de Tequila and go on Gran Fiesta Tour, the Mexico ride.
4 - 6 pm: Finish off Future World: Mission Space, Living with the Land (hydroponics!), Test Track.
7 - 9 pm: Head to Canada’s Le Cellier for dinner. Get the cheese soup, a steak, poutine, the charcuterie board.
9 pm: Illuminations.
9:30 pm: Still have energy? Check the schedule to see if any park is offering Extra Magic Hours. If not, head to Disney Springs for some margaritas at Dockside Margaritas dessert at Amorette’s Patisserie.
Day 2: Magic Kingdom
8 am: Decide on breakfast before arriving to the park, which now allows guests inside Main Street, U.S.A. prior to opening. Character breakfasts include Cinderella’s Royal Table (Cinderella and princesses in the castle) or Crystal Palace (Winnie the Pooh et al, buffet), with a couple other options scattered across the park.
Then go straight for the fast passes: Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain (or Peter Pan's Flight for the kids because that line is always ridiculous).
You'll probably want to organize your attack based on your Fast Pass timing, the demographic of your party, and any must-see favorites. But make sure to do the following food stops: Starbucks on Main Street for a coffee reboot, an ice cream sandwich at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, and a Dole Whip or Citrus Swirl as a second snack.
Get out of there for dinner. None of the restaurants are all that remarkable and there's no wine to take the edge off. Head off to Flying Fish on the Boardwalk or California Grill at the Contemporary. Finish with a nightcap at Trader Sam's in the Polynesian resort.
Day 3: Hollywood Studios/Pool time
9 am: Arrive at Hollywood Studios and get those Fast Passes: Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster, and Toy Story Mania or Slinky Dog Dash, if either are available.
9:30 am: Caffeinate at Starbucks
9:45 am - 1 pm: See how many of the primo rides you can hit before lunch; the four above, along with Star Tours are best, and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Muppet*Vision 3D are good low-key ways to escape out of the sun.
1 pm: Lunch and drinks at 50's Prime Time Cafe.
2:30 - 4 pm: Finish up the rides you didn't get to before lunch.
4 - 7 pm: Go back to the hotel for some pool time.
7:30 pm: Have dinner at one of Disney Springs’ many spots, a hotel (California Grill) or, if you have park-hopper admission, just head back to Epcot and get some pizzas at Via Napoli.
Day 4: Animal Kingdom/Epcot
9 am: Given the new Avatar-themed land’s popularity — yes it’s a thing, and it’s unexpectedly gorgeous — your main task will be gauging when to brave the Flight of Passage line. Sort your morning meal and grab Fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest or Kali River Rapids on-the-go.
10 am - 1 pm: Hit up as many of the other attractions in between Fast Pass appointments, especially the walk-through zoo exhibits Pagani Forest Exploration Trail and the Maharaja Jungle Trek.
1 pm: Go to Harambe Market in Africa for ribs and gyro or Pandora’s Satu’li Canteen for a chicken thigh or crispy tofu-topped grain bowls. Dessert is Pineapple Whip spiked with dark rum at Tamu Tamu right around the corner from Harambe or the Canteen’s freaky orb-shaped cakes.
4 - 5:30 pm: Wrap up the attractions you missed and Fast Pass reservations. Then hop in a cab over to Epcot.
6 pm: Get an apertivo in Italy at Tutto Gusto Wine Celler. We recommend the Red Passion (Campari and grapefruit juice) or Carpano Punt e Mes with a twist of orange.
8 pm: Have dinner at Chefs de France with ice cream made next door at Les Glace.
Finish with another nightcap at Trader Sam's in the Polynesian resort.