Home Disney Planning Tips Seven Tips for Maximizing Your Time in Walt Disney World

Seven Tips for Maximizing Your Time in Walt Disney World

7 Tips for Maximizing Your Time In Disney World

I have heard more times than I can count how disappointed first-time visitors are because they just couldn’t seem to fit it all in.  While it is true that there is so much to experience you can’t possibly do it all in one trip, read on for my seven tips on how to maximize your stay in Disney!

Disney time is valuable!  I always say I don’t go on vacation to relax, I want to see and experience as much as possible.  

Eat breakfast before the park opens

Don’t waste valuable Disney time by dining during park hours! You can always eat before you get to the park.

Before booking your dining reservations, study the park hours and plan your breakfast accordingly.  If you prefer to dine at a table service restaurant, many offer pre-park opening reservations so you can enjoy your meal without rushing to get to the next attraction. In fact, you may be done with your meal a little before or right as the park opens!

Which brings me to my next tip..

Rope drop!

Rope drop is the term used for the park opening.  Rope drop is the single most invaluable tip I can offer anyone for getting the most out of your stay.

Many people like to sleep in on their vacation (who are these people?) but I prefer to sleep when I get home from Disney!  I like to arrive at my park of choice about 1 hour prior to park opening.  This allows me the time to go through bag check without wasting that precious time I have spoken so much about!  

Pirate tip: *Sometimes, Disney has been known to open a little early.  It is possible you can be in line for an attraction even before the posted park open time.*

Make a plan and stick to it

The parks are massive.  Study the maps and know where the attractions you want to experience are.  Make a plan to work your way around the park, stopping at attractions as you go.

Character Locator will be your best tool for making a plan because there are so many premade touring plans available for you to use!

There is nothing worse than weaving your way back and forth through the parks, trust me, your feet will thank you later.  You will save time and experience more attractions this way.

Hang out in the park after the fireworks

After Fireworks Dessert Party coming to Magic Kingdom

Similar to rope drop – after the evening entertainment show is over, many people rush for the exit. Again, who are these people?  If the park’s closing time is later, then I prefer not to fight the stampede running down Main Street.

In this instance, I head to my favorite rides and enjoy them with little to no wait!  One memorable trip, after the Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After Fireworks show, we ran for Big Thunder Railroad Mountain, and rode it twice before heading over to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!  

Do your shopping when the park is closed

The park will close at the posted time, which only means no more attractions.  The shops will stay open much longer, so why waste valuable time shopping?

Get all of that shopping done while the crowd is rushing off for the buses.  You’ll thank yourself when only needing to lug your shopping bags back to your hotel at the end of the night, instead of carrying them around the parks all day.

Take mid-day breaks

Around lunchtime, the crowds really pick up.  So does the sun!  Since you already know about the power of rope drop, you’ve already hit most of your to-do list for the day.

Do yourself a favor and head back to your hotel for some swimming or relaxing in your air-conditioned resort room.  You can head back to your park of choice later in the day, when both the crowds and sun have died down.

Get the best Disney World and Disneyland planning tools with this great Character Locator discount!

Use Character Locator to maximize FastPass+

I have learned countless invaluable tips from Character Locator for how to maximize the use of FastPass+.

Thanks to the information I’ve learned here, I’ve used up to 17 FastPases in a single day, visiting every attraction I had on my list – some even more than once!  I wouldn’t do a day at Disney without it. Trust me, it is worth it!

Which tip are YOU looking forward to trying out?  Do you have any tips for me? Share with other readers on Kenny the Pirate’s facebook page.

Jamie Fonseca

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”-Walt Disney

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  1. What about party days? Can you shop after the park “closes” then? The park closes at 6 and party starts at 7. Do we have to rush out at 6?!

  2. We LOVE our midday breaks. Even though it takes us out of the park for a few hours, it helps us enjoy the evenings. Thanks for the great tips!

  3. Don’t skip around all over the Magic Kingdom at random. Save your walking times to go from one attraction to the other in an orderly design. I set up a spreadsheet with attraction times, dining times, and free times for each “side” of the Magic Kingdom. For instance, the 1st day, we went clockwise around the park, starting from the Crystal Palace for b’fast. Then the 2nd day, we went counterclockwise around the park. We saw just about everything in 3 days by adhering to our circle of plans. Do the same for Animal Kingdom–clockwise the 1st day and then counter-clockwise the 2nd day. Make a spreadsheet that will keep you on schedule. We laminated it and attached it to the stroller.

  4. We’ve cruised through our fast passes and keep on adding more, however on our upcoming trip to Hollywood Studios, we snagged a coveted Fantasmic Fast Pass. Should we suck it up and hold on the the Fantasmic pass or drop it and hope to find one that day?

    • Hi Brad! When I’m planning, I hold on to Fastpasses that are important to me, but frequently check in to modify it to see if I can snag one that will benefit me more. I notice at the 30 day mark, and then again in the week leading up, new fastpasses often pop up and I will modify them at that point. Hold on for now but keep checking!

  5. I love all of your tips and as much as I would love to try the ones that require early morning arrivals, that’s just not us! We prefer to try to limit wait times and maximize FP+. Which leads me to another question, on our next trip we will be a party of 9. How successful do you think we can be with not only adding on additional FPs after our first 3 are used, but attempting TGM? I am a little frightened as this is the largest group we have had for a trip. Any advice you can offer will be appreciated!

    • I would maybe try and split up your group to five and four. When you make your additional fast passes and TGM try to have them in a window where you can all go. So they don’t all have to be 2-3 they can be five for 2-3 and four for 2:30-3:30. And everyone scans in at 2:30! Happy planning!

    • Hi Gina,
      My last trip in August we had a party of 9. I typically travel with a party of 5, so this was a challenge! However, I am happy to report I was able to all of the Fastpasses I attempted, even a same day Flight of Passage and a same day Slinky Dog fastpass for 9! My advice for you is yes, this is doable, with persistence! Let me know how it works out for you!

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