In this article, we are going to break down some secrets that we’ve learned from the four major theme parks in Walt Disney World. At the end, I guarantee you’ll learn a few things. Let’s get started with the Magic Kingdom.
Do You Want to be the “Family of the Day”? Get there early! Strike up a conversation with the cast members. Maybe you’ll be chosen!
The key to touring Fantasyland is being at the park 30 minutes before open. When you are let in, head straight to Fantasyland. In the first hour, you can knock out 3-4 rides immediately! Later in the day, you’ll wait 30 minutes at most rides. Make Peter Pan an early choice! This ride fills up quickly later on.
Want a bigger head-start? Dine at Cinderella’s Castle an hour before opening. When you are done, you’ll be at the front of the line for park opening, and can finish Peter Pan before the crowds even arrive!
Want to score big on the Buzz Lightyear ride? In the first room, there is a big robot with arms. Turn your car around and shoot the BACK of his arms. Hit the target and get 100k points. Then immediately swing around and focus everything you have on the volcano.
The firework and parade show are huge draws at Disney, for good reason. But if you have seen them, use this time to tour the parks! Rides will be deserted while these events are going on!
Arrive early and eat early. If you can, head into a restaurant at 11am. If you arrived at gate opening, you will likely be hungry by then. The restaurants will be empty. If you wait an hour, you won’t be able to find a seat! Make sure and grab a fastpass before you sit down to eat though!
Didn’t get a “Be Our Guest” dinner reservation? Check the stand-by line. If your party is small enough, they may let you in! Be ready at 4pm though!
Sunday night is usually a late night Magic Hours and is a lot of fun. But most guests are too tired out to take full advantage. Take long naps and plan, and this will be the best night of your vacation. Make sure and schedule a leisurely morning for the following day though! You’ll need it!
When Disney closes and you are heading to the transportation center, stop once you exit the gates and look at the two monorail stations. One is completely full and the other will be almost empty. Don’t let the words “Express” fool you. Take the resort monorail, which will make a stop at the Contemporary before dropping you off at the transportation center. It’s one of the biggest time saving hints we can give you!
Don’t miss one of the best rides in Epcot! The Sum of All Thrills is a roller coaster that you design yourself. Ok, well it isn’t really a roller coaster! It’s a simulation! But it’s a blast, and the fact that it’s hidden in Innovations East, makes it an often overlooked ride.
The single rider line at Test Track is a great way to get on quick if you don’t want to wait in line.
Epcot is really dead early in the morning. However, people are usually rushing to the big rides, Soarin and Test Track. If you are near the front, you can get on those rides quick. We recommend sending someone to Soarin to get quick fastpasses, and meeting the group over at Test Track to ride ASAP. Yes, this is a very long walk!
If you get sick easily, don’t ride Mission Space: Orange. It could ruin your day.
Club Cool is a great place to do some soda tasting for free! Can’t beat free at Disney World!
The World Showcase is a favorite of most adults. The food, the beer and the culture make this part of Disney quite a contrast to the Magic Kingdom. However, be careful about dragging kids through the World after lunch. It’s a very long walk around the World Showcase, and there is little shade. It can be hot and crowded. We prefer dining in the evenings and walking around the lagoon when it’s not quite so hot.
A park hopper is a must if you want to try a number of restaurants at Epcot. You probably don’t want to spend 3 or 4 full days at Epcot. But you might want to try 3 or 4 of the restaurants. Epcot is great at night. Eat, watch Illuminations, and stroll the lagoon afterwards. Very relaxing.
Do you need a full Epcot day? If Epcot isn’t really your favorite park for rides, consider an alternate strategy. Come to Epcot 3 or 4 times for dinner about 2 hours early. You can knock out most of the rides in that time period, and save a morning for a different park.
As with the other parks, getting to the park early can be very beneficial. Animals are often more active in the early morning, so the Safari makes a great first ride, especially on Magic Hour mornings.
Be careful when you ride Kali River Rapids. You could get absolutely drenched. If you don’t mind that, then this tip isn’t for you! But buying panchos ahead of time will save you money. Also, bring Ziploc bags for cellphones and cameras.
Festival of the Lion King is our favorite show in Disney. There so much going on, our kids often just stare in amazement. Try to get there early and sit on the front rows. Your children might be chosen to take part in the show! If you aren’t a big fan of shows, this is one you don’t want to skip.
If your kids love animals, take some time to relax and look around. In the middle of the day, the big rides have long lines. Use this time to walk around the paths around the tree of life, and to explore the Conservation Station. Sit down, have an ice cream, and stop worrying about fastpasses for an hour!
Animal Kingdom closes at 5 or 6 during much of the year. This means the afternoon parade (usually between 3:45 and 4) signals the “end of the day” for most of the guests. This represents the absolute best time to ride Expedition Everest. On many days, it’s possible to ride Everest over and over with little to no wait at the end of the day. Act surprised and tell your kids you figured out a big secret. They won’t forget the “endless Everest” afternoon!
The best counter service restaurant lies in the heart of the Animal Kingdom. If you are a first-time guest at the AK, don’t waste your counter service on pizza or a burger stand. Because when you roll around to the Flametree BBQ, you will be angry with yourself. Or you’ll just eat another lunch! Ribs and chicken represent a big change from the usual counter service meals.
Toy Story mania is STILL a madhouse. If you want to ride, as you know, you still need to be there at rope drop, make the dash and get your FP tickets.
We recommend getting your fastpasses for Toy Story Mania and then immediately hopping in line to ride the rides. The wait will already be 20-25 minutes, but it’s worth it.
Be careful with personal belongings on the Aerosmith roller coaster. Any hats or loose items will be long gone! Also be prepared. The 0-60 is…..quite fast.
There are many shows at Hollywood studios. If you aren’t really into shows, you might run out of things to do by about 2pm. Knowing this in advance can help you plan your day better. On a long trip, we typically plan two early mornings to Hollywood Studios, followed by different destinations in the evenings.
Evening magic hours at Hollywood Studios are tough. Since there are only four headliners, all the crowds disperse between these four rides, lines are long, and fastpasses are long gone.
Fantasmic is universally considered one of the best evening shows in all of Disney. We highly recommend booking this event!
These are a few of our favorite Disney World tips and secrets from the four major parks! Have any of your best Disney secrets to share? Please do so below!
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