Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Maximizing Your Park Time at Walt Disney World

When guests travel to Walt Disney World, many times their main focus is to spend time in the four theme parks.  While it is nearly impossible to do every attraction on one vacation, I have some tips for making the most of your park time for your next Disney vacation!

1. The Park Hopper
When people ask me if I recommend the Park Hopper option,I don't even hesitate to tell them I do.  For my husband and myself, having the Park Hopper option on our Magic Your Way tickets is a necessity.  While every guest has their own park touring style, we tend to go to a park in the morning, take a mid-day break and have dinner and then hop on over to another park that evening.  Having this option on your ticket will allow you the freedom to do as much or as little as you want each day.  So you can start your day on a safari through Africa at Disney's Animal Kingdom and end the evening with a stroll around the world at Epcot!  It also allows you to go back to one of the parks to catch up on the attractions you may have missed, or even those you loved so much you want to do them again! 

2. Extra Magic Hours
One of the best ways to maximize your park time is Extra Magic Hours.  Throughout the week, one of the four theme parks opens up an hour early or stays open a couple of hours after closing for guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.  Extra Magic Hours are a great way to get some extra park time, with lower crowd levels.

3. Be an Early Bird
Now, not every morning will offer Extra Magic Hours at the park you may wish to visit on that day.  However, even on those mornings that don't offer Extra Magic Hours, being at the gates at park opening can still be very effective.  Before you get to the park for opening, have a plan of what you absolutely must do that day.  When the gates open, head straight there!  Once you get your must-do's done, then you can slow down a little and enjoy the rest of the park.  This is also a great time to grab a FastPass for your favorite attraction. Speaking of FastPass...

4. FastPass
Take advantage of the attractions with the FastPass option available.  It's simple - you slide your park ticket into a kiosk for the attraction you want and the machine will print out a small pass for you.  On this pass you will find a time window.  Return to the attraction within that window and voila - you get on with minimal to no wait!  While you're waiting for your ride time window to approach, you can take advantage of that time and go to some of the attractions that may have a lower wait time.  Oh, and the best part is? It's free with park admission!

5. Plan your Dining
While there are those who like to snack their way around Walt Disney World and have a smaller, lighter meal here or there, a nice dinner is something my husband and I look forward to daily.  It's a time to back away from the busy flow of the park crowds, sit down, unwind and enjoy each other's company.  So how does this maximize our park time?  Well, technically it doesn't.  But what does help is if you plan your dining reservations to be in or around the park you plan on visiting that evening.  For instance, if you're spending the evening at the Magic Kingdom, plan on having dinner at one of the restaurants in the park or at any of the monorail resorts.  Maybe breakfast with Disney royalty is in order at Akershus?  Plan that for a morning you will be at Epcot!  This cuts down on travel time, which leaves you with - you got it - more park time! 

So there you have it!  Just a few tips on how to maximize your park time on a Walt Disney World vacation!  Do you have any park time tips you use?

Jessica


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