Disney Done Right

061025_DISNEYmainstreetF.jpgWalt Disney World is supposed to be the happiest place on earth, but if you’re new to the park and don’t know your way around, it can easily become the world’s most miserable place. To avoid wasting time, do some research before you go. Figure out what things you really want to see and know where they are. To help out, we’ve listed some of the most popular attractions at WDW along with tips that will help enhance your experience.

Magic Kingdom

Top Attractions

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Mickey’s PhilharMagic
Space Mountain
Splash Mountain

Magic Kingdom Tips

1. Most families hit the Magic Kingdom early in their visit, so try to go toward the end of the week instead. Avoid weekends, since that is when locals tend to visit the park.

2. If you’re staying at a Disney resort, arrive when the park opens and stay until early afternoon, then head back to the hotel for a nap or swim. You can return to the park mid- to late-afternoon refreshed and ready to soak up more magic.

3. Check Disney’s Tip Board at the end of Main Street for good information on wait times — fairly reliable except for those moments when everyone follows the “See It Now!” advice and the line immediately triples.

4. See or ride one of the star attractions while the parade is going on, if you’re willing to miss it, since lines ease considerably. But be careful not to get stuck on the wrong side of the parade route or you may never get across.

061025_DISNEYmissionspaceF.jpgEpcot

Top Attractions

The American Adventure
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
Mission: SPACE
Soarin’

Epcot Tips

1. Don’t try to do it all. Epcot is so vast and varied that you really need two days to explore everything. If you only have one day, visit just the attractions and pavilions that most interest you.

2. The best days to go are early in the week, since most people tend to go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom first.

3. Walk fast, see the exhibits when the park is at its emptiest, and slow down and enjoy the shops and the live entertainment when the crowds thicken.

Disney-MGM Studios

061025_DISNEYMGMTwilightZoneF.jpgTop Attractions

Fantasmic!
Twilight Zone of Terror
Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure
Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Disney-MGM Tips

1. It’s best to go to Disney-MGM Studios early in the week, while most other people are rushing through Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom.

2. Be at the Fantasmic! amphitheatre at least 60 minutes before showtime if you didn’t book the Fantasmic! dinner package.

3. If you plan to have a fast-food lunch, try to eat early or late. The Disney-MGM counter-service places get especially packed between 11 and 2:30.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Top Attractions

Expedition Everest
Dinosaur
Kilimanjaro Safaris

061025_DISNEYanimalkingdomF.jpgAnimal Kingdom Tips

1. Try to visit during the week. The pedestrian areas of the park are relatively compact, and the park is often horribly packed on weekends.

2. Arrive a half hour early before the park opens to get a jump on the crowds and to see the wild animals at their friskiest.

3. Set up a good rendezvous point and time at the start of the day, in case you and your companions get separated. Some good places include the outdoor seating area of Tusker House restaurant in Africa, in front of DinoLand U.S.A.’s Boneyard, and at the turnstile of the Festival of the Lion King.

Planning a trip to Disney? Check out our Fodor’s Choice recommendations for hotels and restaurants in Orlando.