It has been over 10 years since I have been to Disney World so I was very excited about the going to the happiest place on earth for my last Spring Break as a college student.
Joining me on this trip is my friend Morgan. Or rather, I guess I should say that I am joining her because she has been to Disney at least once a year since she was a toddler. So here is what I learned my first day at Disney World:
Utilize the Magic Hours/parking openings
Magic Hours are hours that parks are open just for people staying on Disney property where the parks are usually open an hour or two earlier. This morning, the Magic Hours were for Animal Kingdom. This involved being at Animal Kingdom at 7 a.m.
I know that may sound awful as this is a vacation but who says we can’t have nap time?
Anyways, the reason Magic Hours are useful is because it allows you to get to the popular rides early and when the park is less crowded so the wait is not as long. The longest wait we had at Animal Kingdom was for the It’s Tough to be a Bug show which was 10 minutes. Not a bad wait when you consider that during the busiest times of the day most rides take at least 45 minutes.
We got done with Dinosaur, the Safari Tour, It’s Tough to be a Bug and went on Expedition Everest twice and also got to take a lot of goofy pictures and explore the park in less than two hours.
Now for those who aren’t ever planning on staying on Disney Property, it is still a good idea to get to the parks early because even after the park opened for the everyone else, it really wasn’t crowded and wait times were not long.
Get Fast Passes for the afternoon
So Morgan and I got four day Park Hopper tickets. This allows us to go back and forth between all four parks as many times as we want for four days. This was useful because even though we knocked out all of the popular rides and attractions at Animal Kingdom in the morning, we had Fast Passes for Hollywood Studios.
We got our Fast Passes for a different park in the afternoon for three reasons:
1. We didn’t want to stay at the same park all day long.
2. Why get Fast Passes for rides you already went to that morning?
3. The afternoons are the busiest times in the parks so that is when it is best to have Fast Passes. You don’t want Fast Passes for the mornings when the lines are already pretty short.
This was great. We got Fast Passes for Star Tours, Toy Story Midway Mania and The Great Movie Ride which are all very popular rides with wait times of over 30 minutes for people on stand by while we were on the rides in less than 10 minutes. In between our Fast Pass times we also got to go on the Studio Backlot Tour, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. We also got to see the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. So with Fast Passes utilized, we knocked out all of the main attractions of Hollywood Studios. The longest we had to wait was for Twilight Zone Tower of Terror which was about 45 minutes but we didn’t have a Fast Pass and we did not mind waiting in line.
Be at buses/shuttles at least 45 minutes prior to the time you want to be at the park
The bus system runs on 20 minutes intervals but you never know when you might might make it to a bus stop. You might get there five minutes after a bus left or five minutes before it gets there. Plus, the bus has to stop at other stops before heading to the parks. So get there earlier to stay on schedule.
Bring a form of entertainment that won’t die quickly
Bring a book or a Nintendo DS or something small, light and long-lasting for waiting in line. It makes the lines go by so much faster. We had to do this when we stood in line for the Twilight Zone Hollywood Tower of Terror and also while waiting for the Safari ride to open.
Know what you want for your vacation
Morgan and I choose to wake up early and plan for certain rides and attractions. Not everyone has to follow our suit. It is a vacation so you should do what you want to do but know what you want to do. Do you want to take
your time getting to parks and you don’t mind long lines? Cool. Go for it. Just know that you want that and discuss it with who ever you are going with prior to going. It will make things go a lot smoother. You don’t want to be on different pages than your vacation buddies.