Avoid the queues and make the most of your day at the happiest place on earth. From booking restaurants ahead of time to understanding the FastPass+ system, here you’ll find the best tips to make your Disney World experience truly magical.
Even though you’re on holidays, this is one day when it pays to get up and out the door early. Try to get to the gate at least half-an-hour before opening time to ensure you beat the worst of the crowds. This is especially true if you haven’t reserved any FastPass+ slots for your day, as the most popular rides quickly fill up.
Get the My Disney Experience app
Download the My Disney Experience app to make restaurant bookings, reserve FastPass+ times and organise your day. I recommend using it to book seats at one of the Disney Character Breakfasts, where you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat breakfast and meet your favourite characters away from the crowds. However, get in quick, as they often sell out months in advance. Don’t forget to take your smartphone along as the parks have free wi-fi to help you manage your bookings throughout the day.
Knowing about the new FastPass+ system can be the difference between spending hours queuing and bypassing the crowds. And best of all – if you buy your ticket before you leave home you can organise it all online. Alternatively, as soon as you get to the park, head to a FastPass+ kiosk and select up to three experiences and the times that suit you. Once you have your scheduled time, proceed to the ride, scan your pass at the FastPass+ line and skip the queue. Some of the best features of the new system are that you can link multiple people’s passes to the one booking and alter the bookings if your schedule changes.
Use the rider switch
One of the best tips for parents of young children is to make the most of the rider-switch system, allowing you to line up once for both of you to ride. To use it, simply have Parent A line up and ride while Parent B stays with the small children. Then, on the next go, they swap places. Make sure you tell the attendant at the front of the line that you want to use the swap to secure your place.
Stay at a Disney hotel
They may cost a lot more, but if you’re short on time, consider staying at one of the onsite Disney hotels. My pick is the Polynesian Resort, where you can cool off in the pool and pretend you’ve escaped to a tropical Disney-themed oasis complete with palm trees and a private beach. Aside from free parking and airport transfers they also offer Extra Magic Hours, granting guests access to a different park each day for one hour before and after it is open to the general public. If you’re only staying one day, make sure it corresponds with the park you want to visit to reap the benefits of this extra time.