Taking the family on a trip to Disney World in Orlando can be an enchanting experience. However, to get the most out of it, ample planning and prep work is often required. Knowing ahead of time which rides to ride, which places to eat, and which attractions can’t be missed could make a big difference in the event’s success.
Below are some words of advice to help you minimize the downtime and maximize the fun of a short family adventure to Disney World.
Important Time-Saving Steps
The first big decision is where to stay. There are many benefits to staying on-site at a Walt Disney World Resort. For instance, it eliminates the time spent finding parking and it can uncomplicate driving demands, as transportation is included. The resorts offer numerous dining options, and some include character visits, which could help cut down on interaction time within the parks. Also, there are Extra Magic Hours offered only to resort guests. These times of reduced capacity can offer shorter lines and better access to a specific park.
Speaking of parks, there are four: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Universal Studios. If time is limited, it can be challenging to see all of them. One tip is to prioritize. While they all boast unique rides and attractions, researching the park that appeals the most to your group can help determine a more detailed game plan. Additionally, Park Hopper tickets can help you see multiple parks. Lastly, it’s advised to either end or start the day with Magic Kingdom, as it is typically the most congested.
There are lots of restaurants, food vendors, and snacks scattered throughout the parks. To save time and reduce the chances of overeating, it’s recommended to plan your day by hitting eateries at certain times. This could involve eating lunch early or late to avoid the rush or opting for quick-serve food instead of sit-down meals. If dining with princesses and other beloved characters is on the agenda, be sure to book in advance, as these encounters are very popular.
Download the App
The My Disney Experience App offers so much to visitors. You can create an itinerary with the Genie service, check on estimated wait times for rides, and look up the showtimes for attractions, fireworks, and character greetings. You can even mobile-order meals while in line. Upgrading to the Disney Genie+ Service grants access to paid “Lightning Lane” reservations to skip long lines.
- Book a guided VIP tour for no lines and a more personalized, stress-free experience.
- Arrive early and stay late.
- Buy tickets in advance and get there well before park opening.
- Gain entry before opening through a breakfast reservation inside the park.
- Check out virtual rides beforehand to help narrow down the must-ride list.
- Take advantage of ride-sharing services to get you to and from the park.
- Optimize Lightning Lane reservations by using them at peak wait times.
- Avoid standing in line at midday when it’s hottest and crowds are at their peak.
- Utilize single rider lanes if your group doesn’t mind splitting up.
- Save souvenir shopping for when you need a break from the rides or sun.
- Consider going in September, November, January, or May for smaller crowds.
Remember the Wise Words, “Hakuna Matata!”
Ideally, a Disney vacation would be leisurely and extensive, but that can’t always be the case. What matters most is the joy that Disney brings to your family and the memories made together. As you embark on a brief trip, it’s important not to stress about seeing everything. Instead, try to focus on certain highlights and embrace the magic of Disney at the moment.
Karina Dike is Disney Agent of Royal Family Tours, providers of personalized experiences and private guided tours of Disney and Universal parks. She is passionate about family, empowering women as entrepreneurs, and all things Disney — and has been spotted with her Minnie ears from Magic Kingdom, Paris, and Anaheim.