My personalized itineraries and daily touring plans contain TONS of tips for how to effectively tour the Walt Disney World theme parks. Today, I'm sharing my favorite ones with you!
#5: Purchase Theme Park Tickets Ahead of Time: Do not waste time standing in line at the theme park ticket windows. Purchase your tickets online before your trip or at any Disney resort hotel once you arrive in Orlando.
#4: Eat Meals Early (or late) – Eat lunch in the theme parks by 11:45am (or after 2:00pm); have dinner by 5:30pm (or after 8:30pm). You’ll enjoy a relaxing meal in a relatively uncrowded restaurant. Then, when everyone else is eating, you’ll be enjoying attractions!
#3: Avoid Parks with Extra Magic Hours: "Extra Magic Hours" is a perk reserved solely for guests who are lodging at a Disney resort hotel; each day, a theme park opens early or stays open late for them. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, avoiding them will save you a mountain of frustration. Extra Magic Hours draw large crowds, often negating the benefit of getting into the theme parks early or staying late. Instead, enjoy lighter crowds at one of the other parks that day.
#2: Take a Mid-Afternoon Break: Disney’s theme parks are miserable in the afternoon. Lines for attractions are long, the sun is blazing, and people are tired and grumpy. Retreat to your hotel and go for a swim, take a nap, or enjoy a good book. Return in the evening when the parks are cooler and the crowds are more manageable. Keep in mind, however, that there are two exceptions to this rule. First, in the off-season, the parks close earlier than normal (Animal Kingdom almost always closes early, regardless of the time of year). When parks close early, it doesn’t make sense to take an afternoon break. Second, if you are visiting Disney World during the holidays (specifically during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day), do NOT leave the parks. The theme parks frequently close due to capacity; if you leave, you may be denied re-entry.
#1: Get to the Theme Parks Early: This is my #1 most important touring tip. You can experience more attractions in the first hour of the day than you can in an entire afternoon. Arrive 30 minutes prior to park opening (45-60 minutes prior during peak and holiday seasons) so that you have ample time to get through security and line up at the gates.
Above all else, the key to a successful vacation is to have a touring plan (see last week's post). Design one yourself or hire a travel professional to create one for you. A logical itinerary and daily touring plans will allow you to "stay ahead of the crowds". This means you'll wait in line less, experience more attractions, and spend more time making memories!
Disney Specialist, Ginger's Getaways