Posted by : Jameson Durall Sunday, May 01, 2011

The most important thing to know about getting the most out of a day at the Disney Parks is to get there at least 30 minutes before park opening.  During the first hour the park is usually pretty empty and you can get in a ton of attractions right away.  The benefit of staying at Pop Century (or any on property resort) is that it took us under 10 minutes to travel to Epcot, saving some sleeping time.
The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2011 (Unofficial Guides)
On each trip to WDW, we use the The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World Adult One-Day Touring Plan which we customize on  This allows us to go full speed and see pretty much every attraction at the park on the first day and then subsequent days we take it a bit easier.  This tactic will not work for some families with small children, but we are lucky that our son doesn't nap and wants to see as much as possible.
Tip: When you need to get FASTPASSes for an attraction, send one person with everyone's ticket.  As the park was about to open, I headed to get FastPasses for all three of us, while my wife and son met with the characters at the front of the park. This is one of the few places you can actually meet with Daisy in all of Disney World.
We spent the first part of the day riding attractions in Future World including the best ride in all of Disney World... Soarin' (which we rode twice using FASTPASS).  We also rode The Seas and then while waiting for Turtle Talk w/ Crush...Kian made an interesting friend.  The fish shown above would follow him all around the tank and stare at him.  He got a big kick out of it.
As lunch time came around, we headed over to Sunshine Seasons which is a fantastic counter service restaurant near Soarin' that has many different options.  I highly recommend checking out The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining E-Book.  AJ from The Disney Food Blog is such a fountain of knowledge and this book gives everything you need to know about dining at WDW.

We had our first ever rain experience at WDW in the late morning, but once things cleared up in the early afternoon it was time to head into the World Showcase.  We made our way around visiting each of the countries and my son had an absolute blast getting his Epcot Passport filled out...but I'll have more details on that in another post :)  
The busy first day Touring Plan coupled with early rain meant we didn't get a ton of time to explore World Showcase, but luckily we had plans to spend much more time there on our next day at Epcot.  As evening arrived, we found a good spot to see Illuminations which is a fantastic fireworks show that centers around the World Showcase Lagoon.  We found a great spot along the water in between Canada and the bridges leading back to Future World.  Kian found a light up sword that he just had to have...and still plays with 3 months later.  There is a video of it on the Facebook Page.
We hung out for about 20 minutes after the show to allow the rush of people to head out first.  This did give us a bit of time to shop around and get some extra pictures.

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