A visit to the Disney Parks is something which is fun for the young and the young at heart. Where you can let your imagination soar and forget about the outside world. Let’s face it, you know that a trip to Disney will entail spending a lot of time queuing up to enjoy the attractions, shows, and even to get something to eat. All of that can lead to a bit of a stressful ordeal at the happiest place on earth.
Today I’d like to share with you some of my favourite tips for visiting the Disney parks.
Download the official Disney Parks App
Before your visit, make sure you have downloaded (or updated) to the latest version of the Disneyland, Walt Disney World or Disneyland Paris mobile-apps for Apple and Android devices. It’s a great thing to have where you’ll be able to check the attraction wait-times, entertainment schedule, and a lot more!
Thrillseeker? Here’s how to minimise your queuing time
If you enjoy some of the intense rides, but don’t partake to waiting in queues for longer than an hour; a simple tip is to experience these attractions first thing in the morning or late in the evening. Typically, this is when the lines should be at their shortest, but during special events this might not be the case.
Parades and Fireworks not your thing? You might find the wait-times might be slightly shorter then too!
Don’t forget to utilise Disney’s FASTPASS service to. It’s a great way to skip the waiting around in the standby queue and enjoy other experiences in the parks whilst you wait for your return time to roll around. When it does, simply enter using the designated FASTPASS entrance and you should be enjoying the attraction/show within a few short minutes.
If you’re visiting Walt Disney World, remember you are able to schedule up to three FASTPASS+ options in advance of your trip. It’s 30-days in advance for everyone and 60-days for guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel.
Plus, the Disneyland Resort is Southern California recently launched Disney MaxPass. Basically the service is a combination of unlimited PhotoPass downloads for one day and digital FASTPASS selections too, for one add-on price. At first many were sceptical about the service, but my friends who have used it say it is actually very handy.
Stow your belongings in a locker
From day to night, the temperatures can vary by a considerable amount – so I always take a light jacket and store it in my bag for later in the day. All of the Disney theme parks feature locker rental areas where you can stow your belongings. On average these cost between $7-$10 per day and you can use it as many times as you like. Perfect for keeping those souvenirs safe whilst you enjoy Splash Mountain or go upside down on California Screamin’.
At Disney Parks in the United States, you’ll find locker rental locations within the theme parks. At Disneyland Paris, they are located just outside the gates to the theme-parks.
Drink plenty of Water
Not only can it get pretty warm at Disney, but being de-hydrated also shortens your attention span - so it's important to stay hydrated with some good old H20. That is unless you're part of the world famous Jungle Cruise where 02H is the speciality.
Did you know that you can simply walk up to any quick-service dining location and pick up a cup of iced water for free? Well now you do, and it can save you from spending almost $4 a time on sodas. My advice is to always arrive at the parks with a bottle of water as you'll probably need it.
Bring things to do
There is a very good chance that we have all waited in a line (or on the parade route) for more than an hour at some-point during our trips to Disney. Dare I say but it is actually part of the Disney Experience. Before the invention of mobile-phones I can’t really remember how I passed the endless minutes waiting in a queue. Be sure to have a few fun apps, books and games on your personal electronic devices so you can keep yourself busy; but remember to bring your phone chargers too. I usually carry two with me in my backpack, usually that lasts me for a full-day in the parks.
Another great tip when waiting in line for the attractions is to enjoy the queue itself. The Disney Imagineers are very good at putting a lot of detail into the show buildings. Try to spot the infamous Hidden Mickey’s (there are loads), or even nods to previous attractions such as on the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland Park in California.
When it’s too hot, seek the shade!
I don’t know about you but when the temperature hits 100-degrees, I need to find a shaded-area ASAP. Air-conditioned would be preferable. Although limited, such places do exist within the parks. My favourite would be the Animation Academy within Disney California Adventure. It’s a large, dark space with some seating, comfortable carpets and an area where you can rest and enjoy clips from your favourite Disney/Pixar animated movies. At Disneyland Park in Disneyland Paris, the Liberty and Discovery Arcades along Main Street, U.S.A. are the perfect places to hide away from the sun.
Other good places to seek the solitude of cooler temperatures include the shops, restaurants and indoor-attractions.
Share food with your travel party to save some $
Any food at Disney tastes magical; but if you’re looking to save some extra cash for that Remy plush, why not consider sharing your meal with someone else?
A perfect example would be the famous Monte Cristo Sandwich at Cafe Orleans in Disneyland Park. The portion-size is certainly enough for two or even three-people to share, that I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone finish the dish on their own. Unlike the American theme-parks, many counter-service restaurants at Disneyland Paris offer French Fries as an additional option, so you could always order a portion of fries to share and save a bit of money that way too.
If you’re an Annual Passholders, remember that you may be eligible for discounts of food, beverages and merchandise too.
Pay with your Starbucks Card
Ever since the first Starbucks opened inside a Disney park, it’s been a popular hit with many – that’s why you’ll find at least one location inside each theme-park in Florida and California. A little known secret is that you can actually pay for your purchases within these outlets with your Starbucks Card/App. Whilst you are unable to redeem any rewards, it’s a great way to carry less cash and you may even earn a few stars too!
If you have a Starbucks account registered in another country, you can actually use it abroad. For instance, I am able to use my UK Starbucks Card in the USA as long as I have enough credit to cover the cost of my purchase. Very handy if you ask me.
There you have just a few of my favourite tips for visiting the Disney theme-parks. Do you have any others you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below!