With more than a decade of scientific study of Walt Disney World wait times and travel logistics, we share some of our best general tips below. Enjoy!
Use a Touring Plan
The single most important thing you can do to minimize your time in lines is arrive at a theme park prior to opening so that you are among the first to enter the empty park. Then visit the attractions that have the worst lines first. If you move quickly, you will have experienced most key attractions before the masses arrive.
When parks are crowded, use FASTPASS to avoid waiting in line. Go shopping, eat, or see high-capacity, less popular attractions (which should have short waits) while you are waiting for your FASTPASS return window to begin.
Plan Your Dining
Disney restaurants are popular, and there are times of year when it is nearly impossible to eat in a table service restaurant without a reservation. Include dining in your planning process, and note that dining (both quick service and table service) will be less chaotic if you eat during off-hours (before 11:30 a.m. or mid-afternoon).
Mid-Afternoon Breaks are Great
A mid-day break can be marvelously refreshing, letting you escape the heat and crowds. Consider heading back to your resort for a meal, a nap, or to spend some time in a pool or air conditioning. This lets your family recharge and be ready for nighttime parades, fireworks, and rides.
Cars Are Faster
If you are staying at a Disney hotel, Disney Transportation is great, but it generally takes more time than driving (except when traveling to or from Magic Kingdom). If you value time and enjoy driving, travel by car; otherwise, be patient and enjoy the bus ride. Cars can be rented affordably at Orlando International Airport, and taxis can be found throughout Walt Disney World. Scheduled transportation provided by non-Disney hotels is generally inconvenient and does NOT work well with Touring Plans.