I started this blog for two reasons. One reason was to improve my writing the other was to write what I hoped to read on the internet.
Usually this means writing #kidmin how to’s but recently my family took a trip to Disney and I did a lot of reading on how to plan a trip well and wanted to consolidate what I learned for others and for myself later on! So here’s 7 strategies for success at Disney World!
Download the My Disney Experience App
Their app is awesome but it will drain your phone battery so bring an extra portable charger. It gives you a map of your location. As well as wait times at all the rides in the park, restaurants, show times, and a way to modify your fast passes. (Which is the next tip!)
If you’ve never been to Disney this is the greatest little feature they have. It’s totally free but it allows you to simply reserve a spot on a ride so you can skip the line. It requires some planning though as you have to kind of plan out what rides you want to get on in advance. If you’re staying at Disney property you can do this 60 days out and if you’re not (which we weren’t) you can book up to 3 FP’s a day, 30 days out.
There’s definitely a strategy to it but even if you’re not a planner you should book some because you can modify them the day of as much as you want. In fact, there were some rides that originally told me they no longer had Fast Passes available but when I went to modify I was able to quickly nab a Fast Pass for them the day we were in the park.
The other nice thing about Fast Passes is once you use your original 3 you can use the app to reserve one more fast pass at a time. A few times we would walk up to a ride with a 35-minute wait and I could find a Fast Pass while we were in line so we could basically skip ahead. Disney is jam-packed with fun so don’t wait in lines if you don’t have to.
The Disney blogging universe is huge so it has its own lingo. Rope dropping is when you get to a park an hour before opening time so that as soon as they’re open you can get on their more popular rides. I recommend it because we were able to ride a few multiple times that were 85min waits (or more) later in the day. This worked for Snow White & the Seven Dwarves Train Ride at Magic Kingdom, Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios, and Avatar Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom.
The thing about Disney World is sometimes the weather can pack surprises. Before we left and even quickly the night before we would look at the park we were visiting the next day and try to have an idea of what we wanted to fit in. This included shows (and convenient showtimes), rides that we thought would be busy, and just general park layout. The app helps a ton but the more you have a loose idea of what you want to fit in the easier it is to adapt when the wait time is longer than you thought it’d be, a ride goes down, or rain makes it a good time to see a show.
I feel like food is the harder part of Disney. It can get expensive and the lines can be long. Who wants to stand in line for an over priced hamburger? Mobile ordering is kind of a best-kept secret right now. I would use the app to see a nearby restaurant that used mobile ordering, order while I was in line for a ride with Lizzy. Say that we had arrived on the app when we got off the ride, and then walk into the restaurant with a notification that our food was ready to be picked up. Most of the mobile ordering places were on the cheaper side so it was really helpful.
Our trip was only Sarah, Lizzy, and I and the small group made it easy to be flexible and move around quickly. I’m not saying you can’t do Disney with a big group but it would make things harder. If you do take a large group, flexibility in how you break up and what rides you take would definitely help. At Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, Sarah and I were both able to use the single-rider line to quickly get through a long line for a ride.
At the end of the day, I would tell you as the person paying for the park experience to set your expectations at the lowest level for the happiest place on Earth. 😛
There’s a lot of hype and monetary pressure on a Disney trip and I saw (and at times even was) a stressed aggravated parent with a tired kid. It can be easy to not enjoy yourself if you set an expectation that the whole trip will be a mountain top. It can be a long day for a kid if you get there at opening and stay until the fireworks. Don’t be afraid to leave for a little bit and go back to the hotel for a nap (that would be the major advantage to me of staying on property- the disadvantage being the cost).
So I hope that’s helpful, have you traveled to Disney? What advice would you have?