Disney World is an incredible place to visit, and you want to make the most of your visit when you go. My family and I just returned from a visit to Disney World, and my son and I had the opportunity to go to Disneyland in the summer. These, combined with our visit to Disney World last year and my brother’s excellent knowledge on the parks (I was picking his brain before we left this time), have given me some insight on how to make the most of your trip.

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Choosing your time to visit

I prefer to visit Disney World during the slower times of year. This means taking the kids out of school, so I know it may not be ideal, but we take school work along and we make the trip a learning experience of its own! You can find out what the high and low times are, you can read the FAQs on the Disney website.

You may also want to consider waiting to book your trip when Disney is offering free dining programs. They announce them on their website, and it can be a great way to save money on your trip.

Once your trip is booked, you will want to decide what parks you will visit on which days. The Undercover Tourist crowd calendar is perfect for this. If you look at the calendar, you will see that each week, day and park is colour coded to correspond with how busy it will be. The coloured bar down the left of the month shows red for busy, yellow for moderate and green for low attendance. Each day has the same coding, and then each park is colour coded for each day. It was very accurate for us, and I will use it again.

What to bring to the parksHollywood studios

  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and sun hats
  • A backpack, fanny pack or shoulder bag – it can get hot with a backpack on all day, so I prefer the smaller bags
  • refillable water bottles, and a strap to carry them
  • If you have a child who will get tired walking all day, bring a stroller. They have strollers at the parks, but it can get expensive to rent a stroller each day while there. There are discounts for renting multiple days though, so if you must rent, make sure they know how many days you need it for.
  • Bandages. I have never been to a theme park yet when we didn’t need a band-aid.
  • Snacks. Make sure you have fruit, granola bars or some other snack that is easy to carry.
  • Your smartphone. I downloaded the Undercover Tourist app, which showed us the wait times for rides and helped us know where to head next. Another app, called Mobile Magic, also showed us wait times and provided maps so that we could not only look at the park as a whole, but also see where we were located on it.
  • Walkie talkies or cell phones. It is easy to get separated when the park is busy, especially during the fireworks or other times when large crowds are trying to get somewhere. Always have a way to reach one another if this happens.

Making the most of your visit

  • Use the apps mentioned above to decide which rides to go to while at the park.
  • If there is rain in the forecast, plan to see shows when the rain is predicted.
  • Use the fastpasses. You can only have one fastpass at a time, so choose the newest and busiest rides first so that they don’t run out of fastpasses for the day before you get one.
  • Plan to eat lunch early and take advantage of the slower times when everyone else is eating.
  • Use the Mobile Magic app to look at show times and plan which shows you want to see.
  • Take part in pin trading! It’s fun and a great way to talk to cast members at the parks. The pins make great souvenirs too.
  • Have your autograph book ready for when you run into your favourite Disney characters.
  • Make a game out of finding Hidden Mickeys! You can purchase books that will help you find them, but it is fun to just keep an eye out while you wander the parks.

Have a great visit!