A lot has changed at Walt Disney World—celebrating its 40th anniversary this month—but what hasn’t is its popularity. Kids think of rides, characters, and parades while parents contemplate crowds, lines, and exhaustion. While it can be challenging, these tips will help you zip-a-dee-do-dah your way through the park.
1. Master Fastpass
essentially holds your spot in line while you see other attractions. Take park tickets to kiosks usually located next to the ride’s entrance and get a free pass to return later when the line is shorter.
2. Enjoy extra Magic Hours
Extra Magic Hours
are available only to Disney-owned hotel guests. Each day parks open an hour early or stay open three hours later.
3. Visit Off-Season
Parks are far more crowded during summers and holidays when school isn’t in session. See more and stress less by coming in January, May, or September.
4. Stay On-site
Staying at Disney-owned hotels means free, no-hassle transportation—and at the Magic Kingdom off-site guests park remotely, take a tram, and then a ferry or monorail. The added bonus? Convenience for a midday nap or swim.
5. Plan in Advance
Decide which attractions are must- sees to use Fastpass to its full advantage. Make dining reservations and buy tickets in advance. Everything you prearrange from home is a line you don’t have to stand on later.
6. Split Up
It’s unlikely everyone will always want to see things at the same. Let older kids occasionally break off on their own to explore, or take one child to meet the princesses while another adult escorts the rest to ride Space Mountain for the third time.
7. Consider a VIP Tour
If time is a big issue and money isn’t, hire a VIP tour
). Prices vary by the season and can be steep, but these Disney employees pick you up at your hotel and have the power to bypass lines at every ride—that’s right—all of them.
Photo Credits: Fastpass and Monorail courtesy The Walt Disney Company, VIP tour courtesy Gene Duncan / The Walt Disney Company