How To Save Time At Walt Disney World

You will want to get the most out of every second of your Walt Disney World vacation. The problem is, it is way too easy to waste time. Here are some suggestions that will help you to manage time more efficiently, which will lead to a better vacation. Feel free to share your favorite time saving tips in the comments below.


9) Have a Plan

If you arrive at a park without a plan, you’re going to spend a lot of time standing around, trying to figure out what to do next. Have a general idea of the layout of each park. Know the show times, they’re available on the Walt Disney World website. If you have an idea of where you’re going and what you want to do, you’ll spend more time riding and less time trying to figure out your next move.

8) Make a “Must Do” List

Your research of the parks should include looking for information on the rides, attractions, and restaurants. Make a list of everything that you must do. Chances are that you’re not going to be able to hit every ride and show in all four parks, so don’t waste your time on things that aren’t all that interesting to you. If there are any table service restaurants on your “must do” list, make the reservations as soon as you can. You don’t want to have to wait for a table.

7) Stay on Property and Use Extra Magic Hours

While there are many great non-Disney hotels in the Orlando area, if you want to save time staying on property is the way to go. If money is no object consider staying at a Deluxe Resort. They are closer to a park, some are even within walking distance. Even if you stay at a Value Resort you should consider taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours. Only resort guests are allowed in at that time, so there will be less waiting. Add Park Hopper to your ticket so you can leave for another park if it gets crowded.

6) Drive

Sometimes having a car at a park will save you a lot of time. You won’t have to wait for a crowded bus from your hotel, plus you’ll have the freedom to come and go as you please without waiting for another bus. While it’s true that parking can get a little bit congested (especially first thing in the morning), the Cast Members know how to safely get everyone parked and onto a tram as quickly as possible. If you’re flying into Orlando, consider renting a car. If you use Disney’s Magical Express you can still rent one from your hotel, just ask a resort Cast Member for more information.

5) Use Mobile Ordering 

It’s super simple to use Mobile Food and Beverage Ordering at numerous Quick Service Restaurants throughout Disney World Property. Order and pay for your food from the My Disney Experience app and pick up your food when you arrive. It’s awesome! Quick Service locations accepting Mobile Ordering are located throughout Disney World property from the parks to Disney Springs.

4) Check Wait Times on the My Disney Experience App

If you have a smartphone the My Disney Experience app is essential to your vacation. You can make dining reservations, change FastPass+ times, and see where the characters will be. You can also check the Wait Times while you are in a park. There are other Wait Time apps out there, but My Disney Experience is the official one, which means that chances are it will be the most accurate. You’ll be able to see how long the wait for Splash Mountain is while you’re in line for Astro Orbiter. Then you’ll know whether or not it will be worth your time to hike across the park once your ride is finished.

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3) Use FastPass+

Using FastPass+ is one of the best ways to save time during your day. You can make three reservations in advance per day, and they all need to be in the same park. Find three popular must dos so you won’t have to wait in those lines. After you’ve used all three you might be able to get a fourth reservation by using your My Disney Experience App or by visit a FP+ Kiosk. After you’ve used your fourth FastPass, try for a fifth and so on until the park closes. The initial three FastPass+ reservations can be made 60 days in advance if you’re staying at a Disney resort and  30 days for everyone else. Some of the attractions will go quickly, so reserve them as soon as you can. You can change times and choices later if need be.

2) Arrive Early

One of the simplest ways to avoid the crowds is to arrive before they do. Get to the park early, at least half an hour before it opens. You’ll be through the gate before rope drop, which means that you’ll then be able to hurry to a popular attraction that you don’t have a FastPass+ for. You might even be able to ride twice. You’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish the first hour a park is open. Beat the crowds and save time.

1) Travel During the Off Season

The best way to save time on a Walt Disney World vacation is to travel when there are less people there. Smaller crowds will lead to shorter lines, which means less time waiting. You’ll have more of a chance of getting some of the difficult FastPass+ and dining reservations, although some might still not be easy. There will also be shorter lines at the quick service restaurants and in the shops. The parks might have shorter hours, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you arrived early. You’ll still be able to hit all of your must dos, and you’ll be better rested. The busiest times of year are summer (especially July and August), near the holidays, Spring Break weeks, and three day weekends. If you want to save time it’s best to not plan your vacation during one of those periods.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.