Ten Tips for Saving Time at Walt Disney World

You are going to want to get the most out of every second that you spend at Walt Disney World. Here are ten tips that will help you to do just that. If you have a favorite time saving idea, please feel free to share it in the comments below.

10. Study the Maps at Home

If you have never been to any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks, you could find them a confusing maze once you arrive. The way to stop that from happening is to study the maps before you leave home. Learn ahead of time how to quickly get from Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The first time you look at a map should not be when you walk through the front gate. Do your best to learn your way around before you leave home, and you’ll save precious time once you are finally inside a park.

9. Watch a Later Show

The live shows at Walt Disney World are all amazing and unique. You should plan to see every one of them. A good rule of thumb to follow is that the first show of the day will usually be the most crowded. You will have to arrive extra early if you don’t have a FastPass+. The crowds for most (but not all) shows tend to thin out a little bit as the day goes on. At a later show you’ll usually be able to arrive just a few minutes before it starts and still enjoy a great seat. If you’re not sure what time you should arrive, ask a Cast Member at the show’s entrance for a recommendation.

8. Bring in Snacks and Drinks

You can waste a lot of time if you need to stand in another line every time that you are hungry or thirsty. There is a way that you can save some of that time. Walt Disney World allows you to bring in snacks and drinks, so do it! You will not only save time since you won’t have to wait in line, you will save money as well. Make sure that your snacks will be able to stand up to the Florida heat. Also, glass jars and bottles are not allowed, unless they contain baby food or perfume.

7. Eat at Off Hours

Speaking of taking care of your hunger, you can also save time at counter service restaurants if you plan your meal at a time that is not a traditional meal time. Lunch at 2:30 will be much less crowded than lunch at 12:30. Use the snacks that you brought in with you to tide you over for a little while if you need to.

6. Use or Avoid Extra Magic Hours

Extra Magic Hours allow guests who are staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels to either enter a select park early or stay late each day. If you’re staying on property, take advantage of Extra Magic Hours! You’ll be surprised by how much you can do when a park is less crowded. If you’re staying off property, you might want to avoid the park that has Extra Magic Hours, especially if it is an hour in the morning. The park will already be filled with resort guests, and the lines could be longer by the time it opens to the general public.

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5. Try Less Popular Rides

If you don’t like standing in long lines, you can still have a great time at Walt Disney World. Avoid the most popular attractions, and instead make a day out of the less popular ones. Download the My Disney Experience App, and keep an eye on Wait Times. Hit the attractions with the shortest waits. You just might find a new favorite.

4. Make Dining Reservations

The table service restaurants at Walt Disney World range from whimsical to extravagant. A dining reservation is a must for any full service restaurant that you want to try. Don’t think that you will be able to walk up to a restaurant and be seated. It could happen, but that is extremely rare. You can make dining reservations up to 180 days in advance. If you realize that you aren’t going to use a reservation make sure that you cancel, or else your credit card will be charged.

3. Arrive Before Rope Drop

In order to make the most of every moment of your vacation, you will want to hit as many rides and attractions as possible. The best way to do that is to arrive a little bit before the park of choice opens in the morning. The lines are shortest at the beginning of the day. You’ll spend less time waiting and more time having fun. Hit the popular attractions that you don’t have a FastPass+ for, since those lines will grow the fastest.

2. Use FastPass+

With FastPass+ you can skip a long line and cut way back on the amount of time that you will need to wait. Take advantage of it! You can make up to three FastPass+ reservations in advance. Make them for as early in the day as possible, and make sure you use all three when you’re at the park. You will then be able to make a fourth reservation. It may not be for one of the most popular rides, but it will still be one less line to wait in.

1. Have Fun!

It is all too easy to put pressure on yourself and your family to make the most of your time while at Walt Disney World. Don’t forget to have fun! Instead of worrying so much about maximizing your time, be ready to stray from your schedule. Stop and watch Segio at Epcot, get in that 55 minute line for a Kylo Ren picture with the kids, or buy another Mickey Ice Cream Bar. When you’re trying too hard to save time, you might not be enjoying the time that you’re saving. You’re at the happiest place on Earth, so enjoy it to the fullest…..even if it does take a little bit of extra time.

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.