Maximizing Your Disney World Experience: Vacation Planning Tips
Disney World is a place where dreams come true and memories are made. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned pro, the magic of Disney World never fades. However, with so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how to maximize your Disney World experience, so you can make the most of your vacation.
Plan Your Trip in Advance
Planning is key to maximizing your Walt Disney World experience. The more you plan, the less time you’ll waste on figuring out what to do and where to go, and the more time you’ll have to enjoy the magic of the park. Start by deciding when you want to visit, as park attendance can be affected by the time of year, holidays, and special events. Once you’ve picked your dates, research park hours, shows, and attractions to create a rough itinerary.
Get a Park Hopper Ticket
A park hopper ticket allows you to visit multiple Disney World theme parks in one day. This ticket option is great if you’re spending less than 4 days at the Resort but want to experience all the parks. With a park hopper ticket, you can hop from park to park, enjoying the attractions, shows, and experiences that each park one has to offer. Keep in mind however, park hopping takes time. It could easily take up to an hour from the time you exit one park and make your way to the entrance of a 2nd park. So Park Hopping is not necessarily a good strategy to save time, but could give you more time in the parks if you use it wisely. For example, you could spend all day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and leave around 6 pm, then make you way to the Magic Kingdom where the park closes at 11 pm on that day. A Park Hopper ticket should at least be considered as part of your vacation planning.
Make Use of the official Walt Disney World Resort App
The MyDisneyExperience app is your one-stop-shop for all things Disney. It allows you to view park maps, wait times for attractions, and make Genie+ and ILL reservations on the go. You can also use the app to order food, make dining reservations, and find characters throughout the parks. If you qualify for a DAS (Disney’s Disability Access Service), you can make attraction reservations directly in the app. The app is a must-have for maximizing your Disney World experience, so be sure to download it and get to know it before your trip.
Take Advantage of Early Theme Park Entry if Staying at an Eligible Disney Resort
Early Theme Park Entry allows guests staying at select Disney Resort hotels to enter any of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks 30-mimutes before regular park opening hours, giving these guests an exclusive opportunity to experience select attractions and amenities before the park opens to the general public. This allows eligible guests to beat the lines and enjoy some attractions with much shorter lines before major crowds make their way in.
Early Theme Park Entry is a great time to visit the must-do headliner attractions that will have much longer waits later in the morning and afternoon. Keep in mind that only select attractions and lands are open at each park as part of Early Theme Park Entry. For example, in the Magic Kingdom, only Tomorrowland and Fantasyland are open during this 30-minute window. So plan accordingly.
Make Use of Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes
FastPass+ has been replaced by Genie+, a paid service offered by Walt Disney World that allows you to make reservations to skip the regular line at select attractions and shows. While it is an extra expense, Genie+ will save you time, so you should be able to enjoy more attractions and experiences in a given day. Genie+ can be purchased each morning at 7 am for the current day.
Likewise, save time by purchasing up to two Individual Lightning Lanes (ILLs) each day at 7 am if staying on-site at a Disney hotel. Guests staying off-site can only purchase ILLs at park opening. Each ILL allows you to skip the regular line of one headliner attraction at each of the theme parks; these select headliner attractions are not included with Genie+. Again, time is money, so purchasing ILLs can save you significant time from waiting in a long line as these are the 4 most popular attractions (one in each park) in all of Walt Disney World.
If you are going to use Genie+ and ILLs, make sure you read up on how these work before your trip to Disney. The pricing of Genie+ and ILLs fluctuate based on day and time of year, similar to Uber surge pricing. Note that Genie+ and ILLs are independent of each other, so you can purchase just one or both. There are strategies to use to get the most out of these services, so do some research online ahead of your vacation!
Use Disney’s DAS Service If You Qualify
Disney World’s Disability Access Service (DAS) is a program designed to help guests with disabilities experience attractions at the theme parks. The program provides eligible guests and their party (up to 6 guests total) a return time for attractions, so they can wait outside the regular queue. When their wait time is over, the whole party can enter the attraction using the Lightening Lane. If anyone in your party is eligible for a DAS, do not hesitate to request it at Guest Services or online up to 30-days ahead of your vacation.
Take Breaks and Pace Yourself
Walt Disney World can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget to take breaks. This is especially true in the heat of the summer months, as well as when travelling with younger children. Taking breaks is crucial for maximizing your Disney World experience, as it helps you avoid burnout and ensures that you have enough energy to enjoy all the park has to offer. Be sure to take breaks throughout the day, and pace yourself by not trying to do too much in one day. If spending multiple days at Disney World, try squeezing in a break day or two to relax and enjoy yourself at your hotel or Disney Springs.
Experience the Nighttime Magic
Disney World is magical during the day, but it truly comes alive at night. With stunning nighttime shows, parades (on select nights for special events), and fireworks displays, there’s always something to see and do after dark. Whether you’re watching the “Disney Enchantment” fireworks show at Magic Kingdom, “Harmonious” at Epcot, experiencing the “Fantasmic!” show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or just visiting the land of “Pandora – The World of Avatar” as it comes to life at night at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the nighttime magic of Disney World is not to be missed.
These tips will help you maximize your Walt Disney World experience and make the most of your vacation. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today and experience the magic for yourself!