Disney World is such an awesome place that you may get there and decide you never want to leave. Unfortunately, we all have to leave at some point. Therefore, you may as well make the most of the time you have there.
If you’re looking for ways to ensure you squeeze every tiny drop of fun out of your time in Disney World, boy do I have some tips for you! The simple yet effective tips and tricks below are sure to up your touring game and have you seeing and doing as much as possible, no matter how much (or little) time you plan to spend in the most magical place on earth.
Maximizing Your Time in Disney World
Have a Plan
First and foremost, you simply must have a plan when going into a Disney park. Without a plan, you’ll likely end up wandering around trying to decide what to do, and that’s a waste of time. Get your hands on a map beforehand, figure out which rides and attractions are most important to your family, and draw out a logical path.
This isn’t to say you should never stray from the plan. There is plenty at Disney that is absolutely worth straying for. However, having a basic plan in mind will help you avoid meandering or getting lost, and helps ensure you see everything that’s important to you and your travel buddies.
FastPass+ is a super awesome Disney World perk, and one you absolutely must take advantage of. This sweet system costs you nothing, and allows you to go straight to the front of the line of your favorite attractions.
That said, you can only schedule three FastPasses in advance, and the passes for each ride are limited. Therefore, it’s crucial that you schedule your rides as soon as your booking window opens—30 days if you’re staying offsite, and 60 days if you’ll be in a Disney resort hotel.
To maximize your FastPass usage, be sure to schedule passes for the most popular rides, as these tend to have the longest lines. Additionally, you’ll want to schedule these fairly early in the day. This is because you can actually schedule additional FastPasses throughout the day, but only after the initial three have been used, and only one at a time.
I highly recommend staying on top of the FastPass system and snagging as many as possible as you go.
It may be tempting to stay somewhere outside of Disney property to save money, but if you’re wanting to maximize your time, staying onsite is the way to go. Staying in an onsite hotel ensures that you’re as close as possible to the magic, both reducing drive times and getting you into the parks as quickly as possible.
If your budget can handle it, I recommend staying in your choice of the Boardwalk Resort, Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort, or at the Contemporary Resort. These hotels put you within walking distance of the most popular parks.
Can’t stay in one of those super-close hotels? I highly recommend driving to and from the parks rather than taking the buses, if time is of the essence. However, if relaxation is more important to you, then the provided transportation is definitely preferable.
Arrive Before Opening
If your kids are early risers this one should be easy, but even if they’re not, you’ll want to make an effort to arrive at the parks 30 to 60 minutes before they open. Being present at opening time puts you first in line for the most popular attractions, meaning you can ride those early and tour the rest of the park at a leisurely pace.
This is a fantastic tip for all of the parks, but I feel it’s most important at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, where getting FastPasses for all of the popular rides likely won’t happen.
This may sound super silly, but when you start your day in a park, head left from the hub. People tend to head right first, meaning by going right, you’ll be staying alongside the biggest crowds. Heading left first means you’ll avoid the worst crowds at least for a while.
Make Use of Downtime
Waiting for rides and shows happens often while you’re at Disney. Instead of moaning and groaning about it, go in expecting it, accept it for what it is, and use the downtime well. You might pull out your phone to find out what time a show you want to see is playing, or you might use your phone to schedule a FastPass.
On the other hand, many families will use those times in line to drink plenty of water or eat a snack (or even a meal).
Schedule Character Meals
If your kids—or let’s face it, you—are into meeting characters, you might want to save some time waiting in lines by scheduling character meals. You have to eat anyway, and a character meal will allow you to eat some delicious food and meet favorite Disney friends at the same time.
You can get autographs, take pictures, and have all the usual interactions without ever queueing up. How great is that?
Finally, you will want to stay late. For many families this will mean going back to the hotel during the afternoon hours for a quick rest, and that’s fine. The afternoon is hot and crowded anyway, and the last two or three hours before park closing are some of the nicest weather-wise and some of the least crowded.
Often, I use late nights as a time to go on rides I would never wait in line for otherwise, so keep that in mind if you can’t snag a particular FastPass, or if you miss one early morning and need to make up for missed rides.
Those are my best time-saving tips folks! Use them well and have a blast making memories that’ll last a lifetime!
Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com