Disney parks are known for their magical experiences and fun for the whole family. However, they can also be overwhelming and tiring, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. To help you make the most of your Disney vacation, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips and tricks for navigating the parks like a pro.
Plan Ahead for your Disney vacation
The key to a successful Disney trip is planning ahead. Before you even arrive at the parks, do your research and make a rough itinerary of the rides, shows, and attractions you want to visit. This will help you make the most of your time and avoid wasting precious minutes deciding what to do next. You can also use the My Disney Experience app to make FastPass+ reservations for popular rides and schedule dining reservations in advance.
Expert Tip: Arrive Early
The early bird catches the worm, and this is especially true at Disney parks. Arrive at the park before it opens to get a head start on the crowds and avoid long lines. This is also a great time to take photos and explore the park before it gets too busy. If you’re staying on property at the Disney Resorts, you will be granted early access to most of the major parks and areas.
Expert Tip: Bring Snacks
Food and drinks can be expensive at Disney parks, so bring your own snacks and drinks to save money and keep your energy up throughout the day. You can also pack a small cooler with sandwiches, fruit, and other healthy snacks to enjoy in the park.
Expert Tip: Wear Comfortable Shoes
Walking is a big part of the Disney experience, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes that can handle long periods of standing and walking. This will help you avoid blisters and foot pain, and make your time at the park more enjoyable.
Expert Tip: Use the Single Rider Line
If you’re traveling with a small group or don’t mind riding alone, use the single rider line to bypass long wait times for popular rides. This is a great way to save time and get more out of your visit to the park. Just make sure to have a plan to meet up after the ride because you will more than likely get separated from the traveling party.
Expert Tip: Take Advantage of Extra Magic Hours
If you’re staying on Disney property, take advantage of extra magic hours to enjoy the park before or after regular operating hours. This is a great time to ride popular rides without the crowds and enjoy the park at a more leisurely pace. Be sure to pace yourself, sometimes these extra hours can last until 1 AM! Which means if you are like our family, you’ll want to both rope drop the opening and stay extra late, so make sure to plan for some rest times throughout the day.
Expert Tip: Visit During the Off-Season
If possible, plan your visit for the off-season when crowds are lower and prices are more affordable. This typically means traveling during the winter months or early fall. You can expect shorter wait times for attractions, cooler weather, and fewer crowds during this time. This is especially helpful if your traveling party does not intend or enjoy the more water-based activities.
Expert Tip: Use the Rider Switch Pass
If you’re traveling with young children or others who can’t ride certain attractions, use the rider switch pass to allow one person to wait with the non-riders while the other rides the attraction. This allows both people to experience the ride without having to wait in line twice. In our experience, the person who gets to go with the rider will get to experience the attraction multiple times, great for those extra special rides such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!
Expert Tip: Take Breaks
Disney parks can be overwhelming, especially for young children. Take regular breaks throughout the day to rest, recharge, and regroup. You can also take advantage of air-conditioned areas like shops and restaurants to cool off and take a break from the sun. If you’re in Magic Kindgom, a popular area to rest is actually over at Tom Sawyer Island because it is a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the park.
Expert Tip: Stay for the Fireworks
No visit to a Disney park is complete without seeing the fireworks show. Make sure to stay until the end of the night to enjoy this spectacular display of color and sound. You can also stake out a good spot early in the day to ensure a good view. Be sure to be mindful of gathering anything or taking care of business you might need to before hand (use the rest rooms or get a snack refill) as the crowds and the controls for them make freely traveling somewhat difficult.
By following these tips and tricks, you can make the most of your visit to Disney parks and enjoy a magical experience that will last a lifetime. Remember to plan ahead, take breaks, and savor every moment of your time in the park. With a little preparation and some insider knowledge, you can make the most out of your trip and create memories that will last a life time.