- As both a former employee and a frequent guest, I’ve seen lots of tourists ruin Disney vacations.
- Going during peak season, missing rope drop, and misplanning FastPasses can waste time.
- All four parks are worth the visit, and I saw too many people ignore all there is to do at Epcot.
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Lines are longer, people are typically grumpier, and dealing with the Florida heat in a swarm of crowds is no joke.
Generally, the least-crowded and cheapest times to visit are January through February and August through September — as long as you avoid Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Labor Day.
The Disney parks have some incredible shows, parades, and street performances.
I tend to plan for a show after lunch. When it’s running, an indoor, air-conditioned option like Animal Kingdom’s “Finding Nemo – The Musical” is a refreshing, 40-minute break from the afternoon heat.
They’re all tempting, but as someone who’s suffered more than her fair share of sugar crashes at Disney, I always encourage tourists to indulge sparingly.
Packing some non-sugary snacks and having a good serving of protein with your meals can be a lifesaver in between treats.
Whether you’re visiting the parks in the rainy season or not, it’s always good to be prepared so you’re not caught off guard by a change in weather.
Pack rain jackets, ponchos, or small umbrellas, and have an indoor backup plan — like a show or a meal — so a little shower doesn’t ruin your whole day at the parks.
I won’t spoil all the details, but it’s the perfect way to start your day. Plus, it doesn’t change much from day to day, so you only have to worry about getting up extra early once during your trip.
Being there at the park opening can also help you make it to your first ride before a big line forms.
Even though you’re sure to see plenty of people wearing unsupportive sandals or flip-flops, or even high heels if they’re going for a dapper look, I always recommend opting for sneakers or other shoes that you know you’ll be comfortable walking around in all day.
By the end of the day when you’re tiredly waiting for transportation out of the parks, your feet will thank you.
These slots usually open up around 180 days ahead of time, and some of the more popular restaurants can fill up that far in advance.
Planning six months before your trip will give you the most options, but just try to make them as soon as you can.
When they’re available, some of my favorite activities outside of the parks are the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness Resort, Yehaa Bob Jackson’s show at Port Orleans’ River Roost Lounge, and Magic Kingdom fireworks viewing at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill.
Although it was temporarily suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, the most recent iteration required that passes be scheduled in advance using the My Disney Experience app or kiosks around the parks.
At the start of any day at the parks, you could schedule three FastPasses, but you had to use all of them before you can make more.
To optimize your time, it’s best to schedule all three early in the day so there’s a chance you can make more. It’s also a good idea to look at your meal reservations and general plans for the day so you’re not constantly rushing from one side of the park to the other to catch a FastPass window.
Those parks don’t have quite the same reputation as Magic Kingdom and Epcot, but they’ll add so much fun to your trip.
The first half of the park is dedicated to technology, space, and the Earth, and the back half is a showcase of 11 different countries.
It’s definitely a park you can spend a whole day at, so if you only plan for a half day, you may be scrambling.