Do you want to make the most of your time in the parks at Disney World? Check out our Top 5 Disney Park Tips in today’s post!
Don’t Go In…
Tee Hee, just kidding… what I mean is…
Don’t go in without knowing what you want to do there and when things are happening. Research your park before arriving and go in with a plan. Now I personally do not use detailed step by step plans that some do, but I have learned that if I don’t know what I want to see before I go in, I usually miss something really special that we would have loved.
Every park has a times guide available at the gate, but you can research and plan ahead by visiting Disney’s Parks Calendar and clicking on the park you want to research. Be sure to change the date to the day you plan to visit and it will tell you what attractions are available and the times associated with any activities.
Before going in I have a list of any time specific activities –including dining reservations, parades, fireworks, shows, etc.–we want to make sure to attend and a list of other must-dos for the day.
We then head out on our day and let spontaneity be our guide, with a few exceptions (I am looking at you Toy Story) where we know we HAVE to go there first to get a Fast Pass (more on FP in a minute).
If your family prefers structure, you may want to plan step by step. But if your family is like ours and resists structured vacation time, don’t make the mistake of not planning at all for your day.
Leverage Your Fast Pass
Many folks tout the free Fast Pass system that Disney has in place to allow you to take the speedy lane to a ride at a specific time. If you have ever been in the regular lane and seen these happy folks zip right past you, Fast Pass is how they are doing it. Disney explains the system in the link above so I won’t.
What I do want to share is how to leverage those passes for more fun. There is a common misconception about the Fast Pass. Many think you are only allowed to have one at a time. This thinking leads to a huge missed leveraging opportunity. While you can’t just go rack up a bunch of FPs, you can have more than one at a time, when it is time. Your Fast Pass will actually tell you when you can get another set of passes on the FP ticket. That time is a very important time for us, even more important than the FP return time.
We always– ALWAYS– get our second set of Fast Passes before getting in the speedy lane to use up our first.
More rides, less time.
If we waited to get our next Fast Pass until we got off our first Fast Pass ride, we would have a longer wait to get on the second. By going and getting the next FP as soon as we are allowed to, we are using our awesome fun time on the first ride as part of our waiting period.
Keeping cool is kind of a no-brainer, but if you aren”t used to the Florida heat you might be surprised how just standing in line to see Merida can zap you flat.
Tips for staying cool (or cooler):
- Wear a brimmed hat.
- Take advantage of the water features the parks have like Casey Jr.’s (Either pack a bathing suit or extra set of clothes for the kiddo in your trusty backpack.)
- Take advantage of the free ice water available (you have to ask about it) at any quick service food station.
- Check out the shows even if you aren’t a show person. Disney shows are so well done and some of our favorite attractions.
- Make your table reservations for lunch instead of dinner to cool off mid-day– the hottest time of day.
- Take a mid-day break…
Take a Mid-Day Break
The pressure is on to squeeze every bit of fun out of a day at Disney, but everyone will be happier at the Happiest Place on Earth if you take a mid-day break back at your room. This is especially true if you are doing several days at Disney.
Mid-day naps are mandatory for ALL princesses on a GOODe trip. We usually head back to the room at about 2 -3 pm and rest for an hour or two before heading out for an evening of dinner, fireworks and extra magic hours– our favorite time of all at the parks.
Sure we could push it, but what fun would those late night hours be if everyone was tired and cranky?
Don’t Wing Your Eats
Disney dining experiences are not created equal.
From the snacks to the quick service meals to the table service meals–some are ah-mazing while others are down right duds.
Do your homework and know what you want to eat (and where it is located in the park). Don’t wait until everyone is hungry (and tired) to start seeking out something that sounds good… because nine times out of ten you will end up not enjoying it as much as you could.
I keep a list of where we want to eat and potential snack locations so we don’t miss out on yummy fresh-baked cookie ice cream sandwiches and the Butterfinger Cupcake… and… well you get the point
Speaking of snacks, does the family have a favorite regular everyday snack? Pack it in your backpack. It could help everyone tide over a long wait or give your little one’s tummy a break from all the new and rich foods you may be enjoying during the week. We even pack lunches sometimes when we are planning on having a big dinner.
I could go on and on and on about park tips, but then this series would never end ;). Stay tuned next time as we dive deeper into Fireworks and Parades.
- Part 1: Lodging (Onsite or Off and Choosing a Disney Resort)
- Part 2: The Parks (When to Visit and Which Park Which Day)
- Part 3: Top 5 Parks Tips
- Part 4: The Parks ~ Fireworks & Parades
- Part 5: Food Options
- Part 6: Characters
- Part 7: Our Favorite Places
- Part 8: Transportation Options
- Part 9: The “Extras”
- Part 10: Apps We Love