These are tried and true and used on every Walt Disney World vacation we take. Some are obvious, some are not. Some have taken us a while to realize, some have been with us from the very beginning (and I do mean from the VERY beginning!). I can still hear my dad shouting, "Left side, Amy!" I hope you enjoy them and they come in useful for you and your touring party too.
- Stay To The Left. This may be the single most important tip we have. Our American tendency is to stay to the right. And most tourists will choose the line or the attraction that is to their right. As we've continued to travel to WDW this rule has morphed somewhat into, take the path farthest from the door (or humanity). You'd be surprised how much faster you can get your burger and fries if you just move to the farthest line.
- Wait To Leave The Parks. It sounds a little nutty, but if you don't have toddlers having historic melt downs, then stay a bit after the fireworks and linger in the shops or buy one last sweet treat. Let the transportation crush happen without you. Waiting to leave the park (especially the Magic Kingdom) can make everyone's night much better.
- Arrive Early. If you can't manage the late nights, consider arriving for rope drop. The MK has a fun celebration prior to opening and all parks are clean and sparkling early in the morning; often you can get some nice photos with just your family in them.
- Make A Dining Reservation For The Hour Before Park Opening. Some character meals allow for early entry to the parks. You must have a reservation and all the members of your party before you can go in, but you can eat in the park before it is officially open. This has two advantages; obviously you can maximize your time in that first line or two and you can get some really great photos without the crush of humanity.
- Get A Haircut At The Harmony Barber Shop. This is strictly a Magic Kingdom experience, but I love doing this! Our first kid had the privilege of having his first haircut there. I HIGHLY recommend this! There was all sorts of kitsch and celebration and they are excellent with a wiggly kid.
- Watch The Parade From Frontierland. Again, this is specific to the Magic Kingdom, but we have had excellent luck finding a good spot for viewing the parade and it's usually much less hectic. This is not the best plan if you want to see the fireworks after the parade. And as an added bonus, we can hit the Pirates of the Caribbean on the way out!
- Hit Your Favorite Rides During the Evening Entertainment. If you are not watching the parade, the fireworks, or Illuminations, this is an excellent time to ride your favorite (usually crowded) rides. E-ticket rides were the most expensive and usually most desired rides when Disneyland and Walt Disney World opened. We still have a tendency to refer to them as such around the cottage.
- Use The Single Rider Lines. If you are not opposed to riding next to someone you don't know, the single rider line can be a great time saver. Usually Mr. Photos From The Parks and Doc can ride the same coaster, or consecutive coasters and come out beaming.
- Grab A Button At Guest Relations. Especially if you are celebrating a birthday, first visit, or anniversary, get a button! The cast members are wonderful at making a little extra magic happen. You can even request a birthday phone call at your resort when checking in!
- Talk To Cast Members. They are incredibly willing to help, share Disney trivia, tell jokes, trade pins, hand out stickers and trading cards, and just in general make your trip enjoyable. One of my favorite interactions was with a street sweeper in Animal Kingdom who kept my kids entertained with jokes as we were all headed to the exit together.
Remember to try and stay positive while you're touring and enjoy the time you have, even in the small moments. It's the happiest place on Earth, and you deserve a great vacation! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!