There is no magic formula to enjoying the four Disney World theme parks. Some come to Disney to experience rides. Other may come to enjoy the sights and enjoy the delicious food that the parks have to offer. While it may seem daunting to attempt to cover all four parks in four days, these four tips will help you accomplish the most in the parks and enjoy your time at Disney World.
4. STAY AT AN ON-SITE RESORT
Disney has an amazing array of resorts ranging from the elegant Grand Floridian to the modest Pop Century Resort, you are bound to find a resort that appeals to your interests. However, if you’re focusing on time in the parks and only need a resort to catch some shuteye and grab a shower, I would recommend staying at any of the Value Resorts (All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, All-Star Movies, Pop Century, and Art of Animation). Each resort offers something a little different in terms of theme and decorations, but staying at any of these on-site resorts offer a multitude of benefits that will help you enjoy your time in the parks. As a guest at a Disney resort, you can make advance dining reservations (“ADRs”) up to 180 days before your trip and FastPass+ reservations for rides and attractions 60 days before your visit. Not only will these help you when your vacation finally comes, but it will also get every member of the family excited for the trip! Disney has a wonderful transportation system to get you where you want to be. Monorails, boats, and buses can shuttle you to any park or resort. Resort guests also enjoy Extra Magic Hours. These special times allow you early admittance to parks or allow you to stay late. Be sure to check which parks have Extra Magic Hours during your trip and plan your days accordingly!
3. MAKE ADVANCE DINING RESERVATIONS
With Disney making dining reservations available up to 180 days before your visit, make sure you take some time to pick out a few to try while you’re visiting. Some restaurants are very difficult to get reservations at so reserving early is key! You may not be able to get reservations at typical meal times. Don’t be afraid to eat a late lunch or early dinner. Not only will you get the wonderful experience of the Disney restaurants, but you can also enjoy the rides with less wait during typical meal times. Be sure to mark 180 days on your Disney planning calendars!! Some do fill up that quick, like Cinderella’s Royal Table or Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom or Le Cellier or Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot. Keep in mind that lunch is less expensive than dinner and Disney also has great counter-service restaurants to check out – stop by Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom for some truly inspired waffle sandwiches on the go!!
2. MAKE FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS
Gone are the days of running through the park to collect paper FastPasses. Disney has redone the system to allow you to make FastPass reservations up to 60 days in advance of your trip. Make sure you make your selections early! Some rides run out of FastPasses many days in advance. Make sure you do some research on what are and are not good uses of a FastPass. Some rides have large capacities or rarely have a line, so don’t waste one of your three on these rides. After using your three FastPasses, you can go to a FP+ kiosk in the park and get one more at a time (be warned that selections and times vary). You can make the most of your FastPasses by taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours. The parks are not as busy first thing in the morning and if you have a dedicated plan of attack, you can experience three or four popular attractions with minimal waits in the first hour. You might want to hold onto those FastPasses and schedule them later in the day when the parks are busier.
1. DOWNLOAD THE MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE APP
Disney developed this FREE app for your planning and informational needs. This app can give you real-time information on wait times at any attraction. Need to know what time the Festival of Fantasy parade is today? The app has you covered! Need a map so you can know
where to meet Belle in Epcot? Look no further than your smartphone. In addition to maps, wait times, and other general information, you can also make or change dining reservations on the go. If you get to Hollywood Studios early and there is no line for Star Tours, you can change your FastPass for Tower of Terror from the app, too! The app does use a good deal of your battery life, so make sure to bring your charger or have a extra battery on you so you stay keyed in on-the-go!
Attempting the four parks of Disney may seem like a Herculean task, but it is do-able! You just need to decide what your focus is going to be once in the parks. Are you a ride fiend trying to conquer the mountains of Magic Kingdom? Or would you rather take a leisurely stroll around World Showcase? These four tips will help you focus your energies for the most enjoyable trip to the House of Mouse. Always remember to be flexible and have fun!