A Magic Holiday: Getting the Best Out Of Walt Disney World
Visiting Walt Disney World is a holiday unlike any other. This is an attraction the size of Manchester, home to four separate theme parks, three waterparks and more than 20 hotels. It employs more people on one site than any other company in the US, and the Magic Kingdom alone receives over 17 million visitors each year.
So, although thinking of Florida holidays may at first conjure up images of sipping cocktails on a palm-fringed beach, if you’re heading for Disney’s largest resort, think again – images of queues, buggies and crowds might be more apt. Unlike other holidays, a trip to Disney’s dreamland can be far from relaxing if you don’t take the right approach but fortunately, we’ve done the legwork for you – follow these five top tips and you’ll get the very best out of this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
1. Don’t try to do too much
This is the golden rule when it comes to Disney. Each of the four theme parks (the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom) can easily suck up two days of your time and once you add in the water parks and other attractions suddenly even two weeks isn’t nearly enough. Do some research before you leave home and decide which rides and attractions are the real must-dos for you and your family, then be sure to head to those first so you don’t miss something you really wanted to do. Top picks include the Magic Kingdom’s infamous Space Mountain, EPCOT’s nightly IllumiNations show and the Tower of Terror ride at the Studios.
2. Stay within Walt Disney World
Disney’s on-site hotels may be more expensive than those away from the parks but guests staying within the resort gain one key benefit: magic hours. These extra hours of admission either before or after the park is open to other visitors allow you to visit the most popular attractions when they are less crowded and mean you can fit more in – whether it’s that once in a lifetime meeting with Mickey or that second ride on Space Mountain.
3. Make use of FastPass
Many of the most popular rides are signed up to the FastPass system. This means that you can turn up, take a timed ticket from the machine and return at that time to ride without queuing. You’re effectively waiting in a virtual line so you’ll be able to fit in another attraction while you’re waiting.
4. Don’t eat at normal times
Almost everyone eats lunch around 1pm meaning the lines at many rides and shows diminish around this time. Eat earlier or later and you’ll find less congestion not only on the attractions but also in the restaurants. Even better, bring snacks to eat while you queue – a real money saver too.
5. Travel off-season
If you can, avoid the school holidays in both the UK and USA, especially the Christmas and Thanksgiving breaks and the Easter period. Visitor numbers are lowest in January and September so if you are able to be flexible, a visit around these times will be repaid with smaller crowds and shorter queues.