Tips and tricks for Disney

Ways to Make Life Easier at Disney


Ways to win at Disney

Josh Murphy, Staff Writer


Disney: the happiest place on earth, or is it? Here are some tricks and tips to get the most magic at Walt Disney World Orlando. From fast pass, to when to ride a ride, or when or where to eat,  it’s all here.

    It all starts at home with planning. Use the Disney website for special offers like a free or reduced cost dining plan, reduced rates on resorts, or packaged deals that combine hotels and tickets to the parks at reduced prices. The advantages to staying on Disney grounds are free transport to all four parks, Disney Springs (a shopping center on Disney grounds), special hours at the park exclusive to resort members, and free Disney themed events at each hotel. Another advantage is early access to online dining reservations and fast past, which will be explained a little later.  Resort stays will allow up to 180 days before arriving for dining reservations and 60 days before arriving for fastpass, which comes in handy because there are thousands of others vying for the same perk. 

    Now with the options of where to stay figured out, let’s talk about how long to stay. According to Chris Murphy, a constant traveler to the Disney parks, “ With all the activities available at any one park, you should try to visit one park a day. That means you should really stay a minimum of four days not including travel.” Another advantage to visiting multiple parks in on trip is the cost per ticket per park goes down. Another option with tickets is park hoppers. Park hoppers allow a ticket holder to visit multiple parks per day for more magic because one park may be open longer than another or dinner reservations may be at another park. With Disney transportation, it is easy to get from one park to another with the park hopper option. While it does cost more per ticket, the cost is significantly lower than buying another ticket to get into another park.  

With hotel and tickets out of the way, next comes taking advantage of early access to dining reservations and fast pass. Dinning first: According to Disney, there are two types of dining options at a Disney park or resort. Quick counter service is just what it sounds like: order at a counter (a fast food style) and have a seat.  No reservations are required at a quick service location and the Disney app or park maps will indicate which restaurants are quick service. Likewise, apps and maps will show sit down/tabled restaurants in which reservations are highly recommended.  Tabled dining reservations can be secured 180 days before arrival. It might be strange to know eating locations before the trip, but in the long run, it will make the trip less stressful, help with less waiting for dinner, and allow more time for family fun. Browse the restaurants online and review their menus to plan ahead for the park the ticket holder will be in. If planing only counter meals skip this step. If a meal plan is purchased or free per a special, check for requirements on which meal types a ticket holder has. For instance, a fine dining location may take 2 credits per person instead of 1 credit for a middle range location. 

    According to DFB GuidesFastpass is free to all ticket holders. Fastpass is a system that allows a visitor to set a time to have a shorter wait for a certain ride or attraction. If a resort ticket combo was purchased, 60 days prior to arrival fastpass rides  can be picked out . If you do not purchase a package, Fastpasses can only be scheduled 30 days prior to arrival. But there is a caveat: there are two tiers of rides at each park, which means you have to make a choice for top tier rides. For instance at Magic Kingdom, the top tier rides include Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Dwarfs Mine Train. Using a Fastpass to reserve one of the rides limits the ability to reserve the others, which means you will have a wait awhile for the other ones not chosen.  Second tier rides do not disappear like the top tiers, but there are only 3 fastpasses available per day, including the top tier. Zach Murphy, another seasoned traveler, recommends “Get fast passes in the afternoon because attendance is light in the mornings and evenings.” 

So, how to keep track of this? Don’t bat an eye, as the Cheshire Cat would say: use the Disney app called “My Disney Experience,” which can be found in your phone’s app store. This app provides maps, wait times, fast passes, dining reservations, and much more. It can even open a resort room door. This versatile app will help manage time to keep you on track to enjoy the magic. 

    Great!  You have it all planned out. You’re strapped in ready for takeoff to Orlando Florida, ready to face what Disney throws at you. With a few tricks and tips and the Disney app, you will look like a travel pro when you get there.