Walt Disney World is enormous and filled with so many magical things to do but not everyone realizes that time management is the most effective skill to have in Disney. In order to maximize your time in the parks, there are some things to remember to do while you are there. Here are some easy steps that anyone can follow on how to spend your time wisely in the Disney parks.
7. Advance Dining Reservations
If you want to spend your time wisely then you will want to make Advance Dining Reservations. You are able to make ADR’s 180 days in advance, and it is important to do so as many popular spots fill up at that half a year mark. Discuss with your family if you will do table service meals or quick service meals, and if you want to eat in the parks or at the resorts then make those reservations!
Fastpasses are extremely important to get the most out of your time in the parks. They are especially useful for if you are going during a busy time and wish to bypass the majority of a line to your favorite attraction. You can start booking fastpasses 60 days out from your trip if you are staying on Disney property and 30 days in advance if you are not. Fastpasses are broken down into Tiers, where the most popular rides are in Tier 1 and the typically less crowded rides are Tier 2. Decide as a family what is on their list of “must do’s” and book your passes. TIP: do not book your fastpasses for first thing in the morning if you are doing rope drop as there will likely be little to no wait for that ride! They are better utilized starting late morning through dinner time.
5. Rope Drop
Of course it is vacation and we would like to sleep in every now and then, but in order to get the most out of the money you paid for your Disney park tickets, you will want to do rope drop in the parks at least a few times throughout your trip. Wake up early, eat breakfast in your room, and head to the parks for at least a half hour before open. This will allow you to ride a few more popular rides at minimum wait before the rest of the crowds come in and leave you more time later on to use your fastpasses and enjoy the different shows and parades without having to spend an hour or more waiting in lines.
4. Extra Magic Hours
Utilizing Extra Magic Hours in some form is a great way to maximize your time in the Disney parks. Generally, there are morning hours where a select park of the day opens an hour early for Disney resort guests, or evening hours where a select park stays open two or three hours later. This can be a great time saver, especially if you have park hopper tickets. You can enjoy the Extra Magic Hours for a park and then hop over to a different park that might be less crowded. If you do not have park hoppers, consider what Extra Magic Hours might do for you or how it will influence your day. You can spend your morning in Downtown Disney, for example, or at your resort, then go in the late afternoon to the park during the Extra Magic Hours at night. You will get there just as much of the crowds are leaving, and can enjoy the parks at night with the same amount or more time to enjoy your favorite rides. Be sure to check ahead to see when the Extra Magic Hours are and plan accordingly.
3. Map it Out
Take a look at the maps of each of the parks and try to plan your day according to what makes sense. If you are really into effective time management, it doesn’t make sense to run back and forth across the parks because you planned your fast passes out that way. Figure out what parks you want to go to on which days and how you will tackle each park. Maybe you want to spend two days in Epcot and break up the half of the World Showcase with half of Future World. Figuring out something like that will be a good basis for your preliminary game plan.
2. Have a Plan
With all of that being said, it is time to plan it out! Planning your trip is going to be one of the most effective ways to getting the most out of your time at Disney. There are many things to consider: fastpasses, dining reservations, park hours, special events, character meet and greets, and more. Take the time to look at crowd calendars and recommended parks for the day and plan your days out accordingly. This is going to help you make the most of your time in the parks for a smooth and stress free vacation.
1. My Disney Experience App
The My Disney Experience App is going to be the single best way to save time in the parks. It will tell you how long the estimated wait times are in the park, you can change your fast passes through the app, you can view your dining reservations, and you can see what sort of entertainment is available near you as well. With free Wi-Fi in the parks, there is no excuse for you not to download and use this app. It will end up being the best (free!) investment that you make!
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!