7 Things to Know Before Your Walt Disney World Vacation

  1. You will walk and be on your feet a lot. Walt Disney World is big and even getting from the transportation to the turnstiles will be a walk. Of course while in line you will also be on your feet.  The best help for this is to wear comfortable broken in shoes and socks and make sure to take breaks!  Check out Shannon’s article on prepping to walk.
  2. You cannot avoid the lines. You can use FastPass, but you will still be standing in lines for your FastPasses. You’ll definitely spend time waiting in the standby lines and if you need food, chances are good you will wait in line for a little bit there as well.  Just go in knowing that you will stand in some lines just about everywhere at Walt Disney World.
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  3. FastPass is free and easy to use. FastPass is included with your park ticket, so use them! And they are indeed easy to use.  You get to choose an initial 3 but after that you can make more, one at a time.  FastPass gives you a lot of flexibility to change plans on the go using the My Disney Experience app.

 

  1. There are a few ticket options. Choosing the best ticket option for your party can require some planning, but knowing what options are available are important. There is the base ticket which is 1 park per day, or the Park Hopper which allows you into multiple parks per day.  Then there is the Water Parks, Fun, and More ticket which allows you entrance into the two Disney water parks as well as mini golf, Disney Quest and other extras.  Knowing what you will use on a vacation can save you a lot of money.

 

  1. Check the park hours and know about special events. You will want to do some research on these events as they can have an effect on hours and closures. For instance starting in September and October Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and in November and December, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will cause the Magic Kingdom to close at 7pm.  This can really change your plans if the park closes much earlier than expected and you will be unable to see fireworks during your visit.  Other special event such as Food and Wine, and Flower and Garden can have an effect on crowds as well.

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  1. Don’t overlook attractions. It is easy to judge an attraction but a spin on the People Mover can be relaxing and fun. These smaller attractions can end up becoming favorites if you give them a chance.

 

  1. You can and should enjoy your resort. The resorts are so well themed, they have amazing pools and some cool amenities. Many resorts have multiple restaurants and bars so there are great places to get bite to eat or drink.    It is very tempting to spend all your time in the parks, but the resorts have great activities such as movies under the stars, campfires with s’mores, and fun games around the pool that you should make the time to check out.

 

 

 

Don’t Wait In Long Lines!

Continuing the theme of common questions we receive as a travel agents, one of the things people want to know most is how they can reduce the time they spend waiting in lines at Disney. It’s actually not that difficult! With a little bit of planning you can avoid those 60 minute plus wait times and breeze through the line. How? Here’s how!

1)Time of year One of the biggest factors in wait time is how big the crowd is expected to be in general. Disney has three designations for their ‘seasons’; value, regular and peak. These seasons correspond with crowd levels. For example, peak times would be the week of July 4th and the week of Christmas, when most people have time off of work and school. Value season is time when less people are expected to visit the parks: January, September, and parts of other months. The good news is that in addition to lower crowd times during value season, Disney usually offers extra incentives and discounts to stay during those times. It’s win-win!

2) Rope Drop Even visiting at one of the busiest times of year doesn’t mean you’ll be forced to wait in long lines your entire trip. Getting to the park as soon as it opens (called “rope drop”) can make all the difference. During the first hour or two of the park the wait times are usually very low and you can often accomplish much of your ‘to do’ list before others have even woken up at their resorts. Then you can relax and enjoy a nice breakfast while you watch the droves enter the parks, knowing all that you’ve already accomplished that morning. Sounds nice, doesn’t it!

3) FastPass Plus One of my favorite things about Disney is their new FastPass Plus system. Unlike other parks who charge for their line jumping services, Disney’s FastPass Plus is available to anyone who has purchased a park ticket. Guests staying on property are able to make three ride reservations at one park per day 60 days before their trip. Guests staying off property are able to make those reservations at 30 days prior to their trip. Guests purchasing their tickets the same day are still able to make those reservations, at kiosks in the park. The reservations are for a one hour window, leaving enough flexibility for an unexpected snack or bathroom break if needed!

4) Extra Magic Hours If you’re staying on property you’ll be able to take advantage of Disney’s Extra Magic Hours, where one park per day is open either an hour early or a few hours later for guests of Disney resorts only. The morning extra magic hours magnify the benefit of “rope drop”, because if people don’t like getting up early, they especially don’t like getting up even earlier! Extra magic hour mornings are one of the very lowest crowd times, even during busy times of year. If you’re more of a night owl, don’t lose hope! Even when the park is normally open until midnight sometimes the extra magic evening hours at Magic Kingdom can go until 3 am! As you can imagine, this is also a very low crowd time and you can even sometimes ride your favorites several times in a row with little or no wait. Keep in mind that crowd levels at a park with Extra Magic Hours are expected to be higher overall during the day, so you may want to plan on doing just the extra hours, not spending the day there!

Things to do while waiting in line at Disney!

Never be bored in line at Disney again! Here’s how:

1) Hidden Mickeys: Sprinkled throughout Disney property you’ll find “hidden Mickeys”; small, subtle Mickey designs hidden in decorations, signs, attractions, even sometimes in walking paths. Hidden Mickeys are not often obvious, though they were placed there purposefully by Disney Imagineers. While you’re in line, see if you can spot any hidden Mickey’s during your wait! You can also use a Hidden Mickey Field Guide or Hidden Mickey App (from The Hidden Mickey Guy) to give you some hints, and warn you of Mickeys you should be looking for on the ride and in the surrounding area too!

2) Plan Of Attack: I often use my time in line planning what I’m going to do next. Using my park maps and Times Guide, which tells you when the days parades, character meetings and shows are, I like to plan out my next few stops. With the help of the My Disney Experience app I can even see how long the wait is at my next ride or attraction or check to see if there are any last minute fast pass + openings for a sit down meal near me.

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3) Make Friends: Everyone in line is in the same position as you, you might as well commiserate together! If you’re a pin trader, use this opportunity to trade pins. Pins are always a good way to start conversation since most pins have a story behind them, or people have a reason for displaying certain pins.

4) Interactive Queues: Some rides at Disney are specifically designed to stave off boredom while you wait. At Space Mountain there are video game stations, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh features an interactive play area, at the Haunted Mansion you can play an organ and read witty tombstones, plus interactive features are being added at Big Thunder Mountain to enhance the ride with more backstory from the mine. Hopefully Disney will continue to expand their interactive queues and soon enough waiting in line will painless… or maybe even as fun as the ride itself!

What do you do while you wait in line?