Tips and Secrets for Surviving Your Walt Disney World Vacation

4 Tips for Surviving Your Walt Disney World Vacation

Going to Walt Disney World is, for some folks, that once in a lifetime trip that you spend a couple of years planning.

It's the dream trip that's going to thrill your kids and make them think you're the best parents ever. Frequently though, parents aren't prepared for how truly massive the Walt Disney World theme parks are and just how exhausting a vacation there can turn out to be.

In order to avoid your trip ending in misery, here's some of my best Disney World tips and tricks for Surviving your Disney vacation and enjoying your magical trip of a lifetime. You'll have lots of fun at WDW without any stress if you just keep these ideas in mind.

Disney's Pop Century Resort

One of Disney's Value Resorts
One of Disney's Value Resorts

1. Stay at a Disney Resort

If you can afford it, I think it is worth spending a little extra money to stay on property at the Disney resorts.

For some, the primary advantages are the extended morning and evening hours that are offered at a different park each day for Disney resort guests, but personally I think the real advantage of staying on site is the transportation system and being immersed in the Disney experience. If you're gonna experience Disney, go all the way!

Instead of worrying about renting a car, driving, following maps, parking and remembering where you parked, you can leave all of the driving to the Disney cast members because transportation within WDW is free to all resort guests.

With frequent bus services to each theme park from the resorts all day and return trips that run well after park closing, transportation is one less thing to worry about on your vacation. The advantages are even better now that Disney is providing free transport from the Orlando airport to the resorts.

You can take the money you are saving on car rental and put it towards the increased room costs.

2. Spend Lunchtime back at your Hotel

The theme parks are best explored early mornings, late afternoons and early evenings. Depending on what time of year you travel, the hot Florida sun is at its worst in the middle of the day and while many of the rides in the parks are indoors, there's not a lot of outdoor shade available.

Instead of staying in miserable mid-day lines, take the time to head back to your hotel for a few hours. Enjoy an inexpensive lunch in your room, then put the kids down for a nap. Take a dip in the pool or watch some television. Just take a time-out to relax and get off your feet.

Best time to head back to the parks is after 3 p.m. You'll find many other visitors have already departed by then and you'll experience shorter waits for getting on attractions and a lot less crowding.

3. Use Fastpass

Fastpass for the most popular theme park rides has been in operation at WDW for several years and yet so many guests don't take advantage of it that it amazes me. Fastpass is free for all Disney park guests and it means not spending an hour or two in line at the most popular rides.

The best way to use it is to take a look at your theme park guide and figure out what rides you want to go on the most, then grab Fastpasses for your favorite ride for each member of your party as soon as you enter the park. While waiting for your Fastpass time to arrive, you can go ahead and jump into line for other rides, sit down and have a meal or do a little shopping.

When your fastpass time rolls around, go ahead and get a fastpass for your second favorite ride before heading back to the first one. It isn't always feasible to use Fastpass for every ride for which it is availabe, but even using it once or twice a day will save you significant time in lines at the parks.

4. Relax and Enjoy yourself!

Remember that this is your vacation and you're supposed to be having fun! So when the kids get tired, leave the park for a few hours. Don't worry about seeing everything or getting onto every single ride.

Also, just accept the fact that your kids will be more impressed by the pool at the hotel than they will be with Mickey Mouse and you will be able to enjoy your Disney vacation without tears and/or arguments!

Photo by Embitca
Photo by Embitca

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Comments 15 comments

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Good advice, embitca, and a nicely done hub. It's been many years since I've been to Disney World (my daughter worked there for about a year) so I know it looks a lot different today. Anyone who follows your advice will have a good time.

embitca profile image

embitca 8 years ago from Boston Author

In a plane, it is about 5 hours or so.

Addie 8 years ago

I agree completely about the fast passes - they ARE underused. We found that if you're travelling with a large party with little tots throught to thrill-seeking adults you can really use the fast passes to good effect. If there aren't rides for the little ones to fast pass in the morning then get fast passes on their tickets for the thrill seekers to use later. We found this especially helpful at Animal Kingdom - as soon as we arrived we sent two guys off with all the tickets to get enough fast passes for all those who wanted to ride Expedition Everest AND Kali river Rapids by using everyone's tickets. Everyone else walked straight over to the first Lion King show and we met them there. By the time the show had finished (and it's MUCH less busy than the later ones) the fast passes were ready to go!

wmd profile image

wmd 7 years ago from South Jersey

Great article. I just returned from Disney a couple of weeks ago and it can be very overwhelming, even with all the guidebooks that are out there.

I had a great time, but their transportation system leaves a lot to be desired. Check out my thoughts

Shane Belceto profile image

Shane Belceto 7 years ago from WA USA

Great info and I agree with it all ... love your tips.   I feel #1 was placed up top for a reason huh?  One of the best tips you can provide and a great time saver.   Do you ahve more tips for us? I am eager to get back to WDW myself.  


~Expect Miracles

vacationguides profile image

vacationguides 6 years ago

Great hub on Disney World! I have not been there since I was younger, but it was hectic even back in those days...

I can just imagine how crazy it is now!

talfonso profile image

talfonso 6 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

Being a Disneyphile who lives an hour from the resort, I can't agree more with your helpful tips! We visitors to Walt Disney World have been there - long lines and chanting turismos (Brazilian tour groups and Argentinean youth herds) that cut them drive us nuts. It's a great idea to avoid peak seasons when visiting Mickey!

wpexplorer profile image

wpexplorer 6 years ago from USA

I love Disney! And yes, if you have the money the Disney resort is the way to go.

harajukuglam profile image

harajukuglam 6 years ago from Colombiana, USA

Surviving at Disney World to me means not having burning, hurting feet at the end of the day, or worse..during the trip! Info please, lol! :)

embitca profile image

embitca 6 years ago from Boston Author

Harajukuglam, the right shoes and socks make all the difference. Make sure the shoes are comfortable and broken in and don't rub against spots on your heel or toes. And the socks should either have no seams or seams that don't rub between your toe and the shoe. I find that natural fiber socks are best -- cotton, wool or the new bamboo material are all great.

PS: Crocs, WITH SOCKS, are very comfortable if your arches can handle them.

Joy56 profile image

Joy56 6 years ago

this is good advice,we went last year, and i could not agree with you more, everything you said is valid, well done.

rcrm89 profile image

rcrm89 5 years ago

Good advice - thankyou!

lisa42 profile image

lisa42 5 years ago from Sacramento

Good advice, particularly about Fastpass. Anyone who doesn't use Fastpass is going to spend a lot more time standing in line.

dmdiaz profile image

dmdiaz 4 years ago

Another good time saving tip would be to use the "single rider" lines where available. (Everest, Test Track, Rock N Roller Coaster).

embitca profile image

embitca 4 years ago from Boston Author

DMDIaz, I completely agree. The Single Rider lines are great. I wish they had one at Soarin'. They have single rider at the California attraction and I use it several times per day when I am there :)

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