Welcome to your magical planner. The Shay family has experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly (Disney in a hurricane, anyone), so we’ve learned the best practices when it comes down to planning your Disney World trip for success. And as exciting and even enchanting as this magical world may seem, it can be a little bit daunting.
Fear not, we are here with our treasure trove of insider tips to help you make the most out of your magical days at the parks and beyond!
- The Early Bird Catches the Magic. Arriving early gives you a peaceful glimpse of the park PLUS a head start on popular attractions. The first couple of “golden” hours feature smaller lines and cooler weather. We call this ‘rope dropping’, and we admit we may have run once or twice to our favorite attractions to beat the line (or, Starbucks on main street, let’s be honest).
- The Genie + Advantage. This paid service (worth it) allows you to skip the lines for more than 40 popular attractions. Guests can use the Lightning Lane, which features substantially shorter lines for the parks’ most attended rides. Plus it allows for you to plan your day ahead, so you’re not running from one end of the park to the next.
- Stay Hydrated, Avoid Hangry. With all the excitement, it’s easy for you to forget to drink water. But Florida’s sun is brutal! Stay hydrated for a better day, trust us. Quick-service restaurants will provide a cup of ice water for free upon request. Bring those refillable water bottles and drink up! (This saves a TON of money on water bottles too!)
- Mobile Ordering. To avoid long food lines, use Disney’s Mobile Order service via the My Disney Experience app. Order and pay for your food as you move to the next ride! Trust us, this is the BEST way to do quick service food at Disney.
- Hidden Rest Zones. As much as Disney is bustling all day every day, believe it or not, there are quiet spaces to rest and catch some shade throughout. Some of our pitstops include the Tangled rest area in the Magic Kingdom, The Pathway near Tomorrowland’s Terrace, Rafiki’s Planet Watch in Animal Kingdom, and the gardens in the World Showcase at Epcot. Catch Connor taking an afternoon nap on the people mover while Katy parks it in Tomorrowland.
- Be Parade Smart. If you’ve seen a parade already, check it off the list. Parade time is actually one of the best times to take advantage of popular rides with substantially smaller waits! Attending a party? Catch the later parade (if you can) to get the best spot.
- Whoooo are my Night Owls? Similar to the early birds, the night owls enjoy smaller wait times, not to mention the park lit at night is truly magical. Our suggestion- do both! Simply take a nap in the middle of the day to cool down, recharge, and refresh. Then, head back to the parks around dinner time, skipping the heat of the day and experiencing the best of both times!
- Characters to Meet & Greet. Check and plan for any characters on your must-meet list. Plan that location into your day, and plan to get there early so the line isn’t too long by the time the character appears. Want a unique souvenir? Bring something special, such as a mug or a customized pillowcase, to get character autographs!
- Stay Connected. The My Disney Experience app is your guide. From wait times, restroom locations, show schedules, and dining options this can help you to successfully plan and navigate throughout your trip.
- Make Magical Memories. Enjoy! Plan your day, and be ready to pivot if not everything goes as planned. You’re in the most magical place on Earth - take it in and experience everything these parks have to offer. Remember, sometimes the surprises make for the best memories!
BONUS! Access our Ultimate Planning Guide! Planning the perfect day can feel a little overwhelming, so we are here to help! We have created a comprehensive, free planning guide just for you. With years of park hopping experience and countless magical memories under our belt, we’ve created the space you need…to space out your day for the most magical time ever. Every magical journey should begin with a sprinkle of pixie dust and expert advice.
Until our next enchanting adventure,