There really is no place on earth like Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The property covers nearly 39 square miles and is made up of four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom), two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), four golf course, a shopping district (Disney Springs) and 30 + resorts and hotels, 28 of which are owned by Disney. With so much to see and do it is helpful to how some tips.
Today we will be going over tips for the theme parks, getting around WDW, the resorts, and everything in between. Do you know how to make the most of your theme park day? Where to find the best burger? How to go from theme park to theme park?
If you are looking for the answers to any of those questions and more you will find them below. You will find that these tips for visiting Walt Disney World are easy to follow and anyone can do them. You don’t have to be part of the Disney elite crowd.
Start your day early
Perhaps the most important tip I can offer you when visiting a Walt Disney World theme park is to go right at Rope Drop (Park Opening). I know it is your vacation and you want to sleep in. However, if you sleep in and don’t arrive to the parks until 10 am or later you will be missing out on a lot of rides.
As the day goes on, the wait times increase. Before the pandemic I could easily do 6 plus rides before 10am at Magic Kingdom (If they opened at 8). My daughter and I could knock out our first three with barely a 5 minute wait. Most of the time we would just walk on. We would hit up Fantasy Land and Tomorrowland rides and get most if not all of them done with the exception of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
If you are a staying at a Disney Resort you can enter the parks a little earlier. Currently this is suspended due to the pandemic and the old Extra Magic Hours will no longer be a thing. However, sometime in 2021 Disney will be using Early Theme Park Entry. Instead of select parks having extra hours each day. Each theme park will open a half hour early for Disney Resort guest. Make sure you take advantage of them.
Ride the most popular ride last
It is a known fact that the most popular rides have the longest wait times. It doesn’t matter if it is five minutes after the parks open or a half hour before the parks close. Those rides will have the longest wait times.
Don’t let that scare you at the end of the night. As long as you are in line for Flight of Passage, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, or any one of the other popular rides. You will still be able to ride it. You just have to be in line BEFORE the park closes.
Get in line before the park closes
This doesn’t just go for the popular rides either. Any ride that is open will let you ride it even if the park is closed. You just have to be in line before the park closes for the night.
Do you know what the best thing is about this tip? No it’s not that you get to ride that ride. Although that is a good thing. The best thing about this tip is the park will be much less crowded. It is almost like having the park to yourself to get some great photos with little to no people in the background.
Use Mobile Order
Disney World is full of lines. Lines for rides. Lines for shows. Lines at shops and food stands. While you really cannot avoid the lines at WDW. You can skip one if you use Mobile Order when getting ready to eat.
Pack a poncho
This tip is really helpful when visiting in the summer months. It seems to rain just about everyday in June, July, and August, even if it is only for a couple minutes. You will get showers in the other months too so it is smart to be prepared. Pack a poncho everyday you head to the park and save some money. While the Mickey ponchos are cute. They are expensive.
Have a Character Meal
If you want to see some characters but don’t want to spend time standing in line. Why don’t you eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner with them. This way you can have a good meal and see some of your favorite characters at the same time.
Order off the kids menu
Did you know you don’t have to be a kid to order off the kids menu? I don’t know about you but when I am out in the sun all day I don’t have much of an appetite or I’ll eat a big breakfast and I am good until dinner time. One thing you can do to save money and room for later is to order off the kids menu at quick service locations.
Use Rider Switch or Single Rider line
If you are travel with your spouse and children take advantage of rider switch. This is great if you have two or more kids of different ages or thrill levels and you both want to ride. Your child gets to go twice and you each get to go on with them.
Another thing you can do if you don’t mind getting spilt up is to use the single rider line. The lines are usually much shorter. The only catch is you will most likely not sit with the rest of your group. You are just filling in available spaces.
Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris early or late
If you are heading over to Animal Kingdom and want to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris make sure you ride it early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The animals are much more active when it is cooler out.
Skip Toy Story Land
Okay, don’t skip Toy Story Land completely. Just skip it in the middle of the day. There are very few shaded spots and that afternoon Florida sun can take a beating on you. It is best to visit first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Ask for the middle of Soarin’
When riding Soarin’ at EPCOT ask for the middle section (B). It gives you the best view of the screen. While the right and left still offer great views. Something weird happens. Once you see it you can’t unsee it. So we won’t tell you what happens.
Front for less intense, back for more thrills
When it comes to roller coasters in Walt Disney World remember one thing. If you want a less intense ride, ride in the first or second car. If you want more thrills sit in the back.
This is true for Big Thunder Mountain, Slinky Dog Dash, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and even Rock N Roller Coaster. Space Mountain it doesn’t matter since it is a small car. Everest doesn’t matter either since it goes backwards for a period of time.
Take the Monorail at night back to the TTC
If driving to Magic Kingdom and not taking a resort bus. Make sure you get in line for the Monorail at the end of the night and not on the boat. While the boat can fit more people. It takes much longer to travel over to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC).
After a full day of fun at the Magic Kingdom you don’t want to have to wait even longer to get back to your car. I made this mistake once and will never do it again. We didn’t get back to our car till an hour and fifteen minutes after the park closed. Worse off we couldn’t even get out of line to head over to the monorail.
Water is free
That’s right you can get free water at Walt Disney World. Go to any food service location that has a soda fountain and ask for a cup of water. You can even just ask for a cup of ice if you prefer that.
The resort will hold your luggage
Do you have an early flight in to Orlando or leaving later in the day and want to spend time in the parks before check in or check out? Have the resort hold on to your luggage while you are out having fun. They will even take it up to your room when it is ready.
PhotoPass Cast Members take free photos
After you get your picture take from a PhotoPass Cast Member you can ask them to take one with your camera or phone. Just make sure the settings are dialed in (they won’t be adjusting anything). If you hand them your phone make sure your camera app is open.
Send merchandise back
Did you know if you are staying at a Disney owned resort you can have all your merchandise you buy in the parks sent to your room? Well if you didn’t, you know now. Just don’t do it your last full day or two. It can take some time for it to find it’s way to your room.
Merchandise to the front
If you are not staying at a Disney owned resort you can get your stuff sent to the front of the park instead. It’s a great option so you are not lugging around those bags all day.
Main Street stays open
Main Street USA at Magic Kingdom stays open for about an hour after the park closes so you can do your shopping than.
When the Disney Dining Plans return (🤞), you can use your snack credits at the different food booths during the different EPCOT festivals. So don’t waste those credits on water or fruit.
Free wake up call
If you are staying at a Disney resort, you can request a wake up call. You will either get Stitch or Mickey. Now who doesn’t want to wake up to that in the morning?
Beat the heat, catch a show
If spending the day at Magic Kingdom and looking to relax a little in the afternoon check out the Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and Carousel of Progress. All of these attractions usually have short wait times and let you sit down and get a little AC.
It’s not that you can’t have gum at Walt Disney World. They just don’t sell it. If you chew gum, you better bring it with you.
Rent DVC points
Did you know you can stay at the DVC (Disney Vacation Club) resorts with out paying the high fee Disney charges. Rent DVC points and save yourself a lot of money.
Head to the back
When visiting any of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World. Head to the back of the park first since most people will be doing what is in front of them first. A great example of this is at EPCOT.
Spaceship Earth in the morning usually has it’s longest lines of the day. This is because it is the first thing most people see. If you head over to the Land the wait times are a little shorter since most people usually run to Frozen in Norway or Test Track.
We hope you find some of these tips helpful. A lot of planning can go into a Walt Disney World vacation. Having some knowledge before you go can help you plan better.
Do you have any tips to add? Let us know in the comments below. Disney World in Orlando is such a great place to visit. Having some easy to follow and apply tips makes it that much more enjoyable.
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