Orlando Guide: Five Tips to Avoid Long Lines at Disneyworld

By kellogvanderhague on January 20, 2011 In Travel

Before you ever touch down in Orlando, download maps of the parks you will be visiting. Research the rides, pick your “must see” attractions and know where they’re located. Check the height requirements for each ride you plan to visit if you’re taking a family with young children.

Having a clear vision of how you will navigate the park will allow you to experience more in less time, keep everyone happy and conserve your energy. Florida is a hot and humid and while Disney has done a marvelous job of trying to provide shade, relief, comfort and entertainment in the long ride lines; hours in the hot sun can still drain you and make the experience feel more like misery than fun.

Here are few strategies you might employ to maximize your family fun time:

? Arrive when the park opens and head toward the back of the park. Those who failed to plan will likely be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds and find themselves in a state of “theme park paralysis,” unsure of where to start. If you move directly to the rear of the park, you’ll have it to yourself for a while. At the Magic Kingdom park, riding the Disney World railroad is a great way to reach the back of the park quickly without wasting a lot of energy.

? Many Disney rides offer the FastPass where you can use your ticket at a kiosk to get a ride pass to be used at a designated time, usually an hour or two from the time you redeem it. Return with your fast pass and you will go through a special line that usually results in no more than a 5 minute wait. These are essential to make sure you are able to ride as many rides as possible. Fast passes print out with a time range (12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.) for you to return and ride, but can be used at any time after the initial return time. You can only have one active FastPass, so you won’t be able to get one for a different ride until you’ve used your first.

? Got a surly teenager who’s complaining he’s not getting to ride any rides? Send him through the single rider line. He’ll back in less than 15 minutes, satisfied with a thrilling experience. The single rider line is great for bypassing long lines and right to the good stuff, but it’s not available on every ride.

? For families with very young children, Disney offers a Child Swap. This way, parents can both enjoy one of the attractions by taking turns. To obtain a child swap pass, just ask the first cast member you encounter at the ride. For big families, this is great since each parent can usually take a long two riders – meaning the older kids get to ride some of the rides twice. Ask the cast member exactly how child swap works for the attraction you’ll be riding. Some rides have special child swap areas inside the attraction, others require you to wait at the exit or another area. Know the procedure to keep from getting separated.

During our visit we noticed that we only had to present one FastPass to get the Child Swap ticket. So we began to use dad’s ticket to get a FastPass on one ride and mom’s to get a FastPass for another ride. We’d then take the FastPass up to a cast member at the first ride and get a child swap ticket. The child swap ticket would get us through the line and we’d be able to go directly to the next ride and do the same thing. Who said kids were useless?

Kellog Vanderhague is an author and fan of Eastern Philosophy and Feng Shui. One of his favorite stores online is Big Buddha where he finds unique Asian Decor and Buddha Statues for his home.