Disney World Theme Parks Tips
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My niece reserved breakfast at Tusker House for 10:45 a.m. She realized that we could take advantage of early FastPasses and have more available later, PLUS breakfast starts to turn into lunch a little after 11 a.m. so we had the best of all worlds. - Helen F.
My niece made a breakfast reservation at Askerhus in Norway for 9:15 a.m. We were sent to a special queue to check in and entered before the park opened at 9. When we arrived at the restaurant, we were told we could go on the Frozen ride before everyone else got there. It was fantastic! - Helen Friedlander
As great as zipper-top bags are for holding snacks, you might want to think about hard plastic storage containers for them or something equally sturdy. I've witnessed a squirrel literally rip a hole in a reusable supermarket bag to get at the chips inside, no matter how many times we shooed him away. Anytime you're in a show or a ride with a long line the squirrels and birds have PLENTY of time to mess with your stuff that you've left in your stroller or scooter. - Aren
Going through the metal detectors at the park entrances, you have to remove celebratory buttons and put them in the little bins with other metal objects. This can be a pain, especially if you're park-hopping! Consider wearing buttons on a lanyard or bag strap to make it easier to take them on and off. - Gilly R.
My tip is regarding going through the security lines at the parks. We carried a small backpack everyday. I had put my cards and money and a few other items in a clear cosmetic bag. When it was my turn I would pull out the clear bag and set it in front of the backpack so it was easier for security to search the rest of the backpack. I had more than one security person tell me what a great idea it was to put things in clear bags because it made their job easier to do their search. I was happier to get through that line faster and get into the parks. Love the tips and information I find on your site. I always suggest it to people planning a trip. Thank you. - Laurie T
I carry a mini-backpack into the parks and I keep everything inside in separate, small, clear plastic baggies. Sunscreen in one baggie, tissues and wipes in another one, etc. Several security officers complimented me on the plastic bags. They said it made it so much easier to check my backpack. Also, with only two compartments to check (that I had opened for them as I approached the counter), I breezed through. Other guests had huge backpacks with multiple zipped compartments and then opaque zipped bags inside, and those guests took forever in bag check. And if you have a choice of lines, look for one with no strollers -- stroller parents bring so much more stuff into the parks than adults with older kids or no kids, so their lines move more slowly. - Stacey I.
I have read several tips about using water mister fans in the parks, but my family has found a way to cool off that we think works just as well with the added benefits of being cheaper and more convenient. We use the small (about 4" tall) pump-type bottles one can usually find in the "travel and trial size" section at the grocery store or pharmacy. The bottles are inexpensive ($1-$2) so it is not a big deal if one is lost (as happened to me on Tom Sawyer Island) and require no batteries. They are very lightweight, just a couple of ounces even when filled with water, and small enough to fit into a pocket. One or two quick spritzes on the face, back of the neck, arms and legs is all it takes to make even the hottest day enjoyable. To make it even better, the bottles can be used for other things after vacation is over, which really can't be said about the mister fans. - K.
A tip "for when you are almost on the ride and it gets stopped for bad weather": This happened on our last visit. We were just about to board Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the ride was stopped due to storms. Although the wait was around an hour, my wife and daughter got chatting to others in the queue, and soon one of the girls opened up a game app on her phone. It kept quite a few people busy and the wait just flew by. It's worth loading a couple of games onto your mobile device for delays like this, especially if you have young children, to keep them occupied. - Tony M.
To survive large crowds, I suggest that you go out early, at the time the parks open. Bring just a snack for breakfast if you can't manage to get up early enough to eat breakfast at your resort. You then will have 3-4 hours of park time before lunch. Since lunch is when the crowd volume really picks up, this is when you should go back to your resort to refresh and relax by the pool, or you could go shopping. Then go back to a park after you eat dinner. Leave the park before any fireworks shows to avoid long waits at the bus stops. Of course, if you want to experience more, then you will have to get out in the crowds. I've been so many years (at all times of year) and I've learned my lesson. The one thing that will drain your energy and make you more ill and fussy, is fighting a crowd daily. That's no vacation. Find time to rest and relax. - Melody Moore
If you love to raise your hands during high-intensity rides (or any that take a photo during the ride) please consider sitting at the back of the ride vehicle. If you sit at the front or even in the middle you block out the faces of the people behind you, ruining their pictures. Keep in mind this may be the once-in-a-lifetime trip for those people and they may only have time to ride that once. - Nicole
Lockers are available to rent at the 4 Theme Parks and 2 Water Parks.
A Large Locker (17.5"h x 12"w x 16" d) is $10/day plus key deposit. The Small Locker (11"h x 9"w x 16" d) is $8/day plus key deposit. When visiting more than one park per day, simply return your locker key to receive your original $5 deposit. Then, present your receipt (plus the deposit) at the second theme park to gain access to another locker for the remainder of the day at no additional cost.
Single-use, coin-operated lockers are located near Epcot, Disney's Animal Kingdom Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios bus Information booths. The cost is one dollar. Quarters must be inserted each time the locker is locked.
Larger-sized luggage lockers (23"h x 16"w x 29" deep) are also available for rent outside the Main Gate of Epcot.
If you need to drive to the park to drop someone off, Disney provides very convenient guest drop-off areas at each of the four parks. It's as easy as telling the toll booth cast member at the main parking entrance that you're dropping someone off. They'll give you instructions on how to get to that park's area. At the Magic Kingdom, you need to be in the lanes on the right and they'll direct you down the road going to the Transportation and Ticket Center. At the other three parks, they'll send you into the regular parking area where you'll tell the second cast member you're dropping someone off, and they'll direct you to the spot at the front of the lot near the entrance. - Laurie Jennings
Remember, if you forget where you parked your car, tell a parking attendant about what time you parked. They can then usually tell you about where you parked within a row or so. - Fred
I think most people going into the parks don't realize just how much they walk. I recommend stretching out all your muscles at the end of the day, holding the stretches for 20 seconds. Going hard a full day in Disney could leave you sore, especially if you're not used to walking 5+ miles a day. - Shannon Ashleigh
Just learned that if you go to a park prior to checking in to your Disney resort they will reimburse you for parking! Did this myself this past weekend when we stayed at Art of Animation and worked perfectly! Couldn't quite get up early enough to do check-in before park opening and I didn't want to waste any of my theme park time! - Mary
EDITOR'S NOTE: this is also true if you are going to purchase an annual pass that includes parking. Just bring your parking receipt to the Guest Relations window and they will credit what you paid for parking that day towards your annual pass.