This is part of The Comfortable Guide to Walt Disney World
OVERVIEW: THE MOST COMFORTABLE WAY TO TOUR THE THEME PARKS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
This site provides precise instructions elsewhere , including how to tour the parks at Walt Disney World. These instructions are designed for typical first time family visitors who are not sure whether or not they will ever return.
This page is one of several on how to tour the theme parks at Walt Disney World for a subset of first time visitors: those seeking the most comfortable visit.
I am publishing both series at the same time so that they also help those who are looking for bargains and deals on some things, so that they can spend more on others!! Links to everything in these two series are at the bottom of the page.
MORE ON THE MOST COMFORTABLE WAY TO TOUR THE THEME PARKS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
The most comfortable way to tour the theme parks would resolve four goals: it would
- Minimize the time you have to spend planning,
- Limit how far in advance your planning needs to be complete,
- Reduce how much you have to follow a daily schedule, and
- Eliminate the early mornings in your itinerary.
The material on the rest of this page focuses on eliminating early mornings from your itinerary.
ELIMINATING THE EARLY MORNINGS IN YOUR ITINERARY
Sensible people, while on vacation, sleep in.
If you do this on your Walt Disney World vacation, while you are in bed, a small subset of visitors will have arrived at the theme park gates before the parks even open.
Because everyone else is in bed, the parks will be relatively empty when they enter. During many times of the year, these visitors will see more of the best rides at Walt Disney World in their first hour or so than you could see in four to six afternoon hours.
So how do you maintain the comfort of being able to sleep in while still having a great visit? There’s no perfect answer, but a comfortable visit uses some or all of the following strategies to enable lots of sleeping in:
- Design off-days into your itinerary
- Take advantage of Walt Disney World’s “fastpass” system
- Limit your expectations
- Buy and use two tickets per person to double the number of FASTPASSES you can get
- Use a tour guide—or, at minimum, a good plan
- Send your kids off early with an au pair/babysitter/spouse/tour guide while you sleep in
- Suck it up and devote one, two, or three mornings
Each of these will be discussed in turn.
Design off-days into your itinerary. Doing this is good practice, even if on the rest of the days your trip you largely or entirely skip morning visits to the parks as well. Walt Disney World is not a walk in the park—but it is a walk, and a long one, filled with intense experiences, and even at its best some waits.
The best way to balance peace, quiet, and relaxation with a wonderful dose of the best of Walt Disney world is to spend no more than half of your total on-site time in the parks.
Take advantage of Walt Disney World’s FASTPASS system. Disney’s FASTPASS system comes free with your park admission. It lets you in effect “schedule” a later time in your day to see some of Walt Disney World’s highest demand rides so that you can see them with a minimal wait.
During a typical afternoon, you can get another set of FASTPASSES every 2 hours.
The strategy for seeing a park while sleeping in by using FASTPASSES works like this: you arrive and fastpass a ride, see other, less crowded, attractions while waiting for your fastpass return window to open, and get another fastpass for another high-demand ride as soon as you can.
On a perfect afternoon and evening, you will be able to see 3-5 high demand rides via fastpasses while seeing other, less crowded rides and attractions in the meantime.
However, perfect days don’t always happen. Fastpasses for your preferred rides may be out, or have too late a return time to work for your plans. (See this for more on how fastpasses work.)
Limit your expectations. This is the necessary consequence of sleeping in and the limits on what you can do with fastpasses. You won’t be able to see all you wish. Since you have the means to return another time, it’s ok to miss some of the best on your first trip.
Buy two tickets per person. As noted above and here, after you have gotten one fastpass, limits on how soon you can get another fastpass restrict how many high-demand rides you can see quickly and without long waits.
You can buy your way out of this problem by buying and using a second set of theme park admission tickets. As a result, you can hold twice as many fastpasses as you otherwise could, and typically see twice as many fastpass rides more quickly and with lower waits.
Fastpasses only are distributed for theme park tickets that have been used for admission that day.
The way this strategy works is that you get a second ticket for each person in your party. Your group then enters the park through the turnstiles using one of their tickets. It then exits the park and re-enters again using the second ticket. Each person will then have two tickets they can use to get fastpasses with.
Note that because of the way Disney theme park admission tickets and fastpasses work, you can’t simply use another “day” of a single multi-day ticket to get the same opportunity for two fastpasses, nor can you use tickets (e.g. those of your sleeping-in spouse or kids) which have not yet been used that day for admission to get fastpasses.
For more on this strategy, see this.
Use a tour guide—or, at minimum, a good plan.
(This material continues here.)