There is a lot to do at Disney World. A LOT. It’s sometimes difficult to squeeze everything on your list into one trip. With that being said, I’ve come up with a few time saving hacks to help you make the most of your vacation. No, these probably won’t save you a ton of time, but enough to get you where you need to be just a little bit faster.
This is tough, especially for photographers and families, but if you can go without any bags, this will save you from having to wait in the bag search line. Depending on what time you get to the parks, sometimes the lines aren’t that bad. But you are guaranteed not to wait if you don’t have anything for them to search. Cargo pants, my friend. Cargo pants. 🙂
Use the Secondary Screening Stations at DHS and EP
Yes, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot, there is actually a secondary security screening/bag check station that will take you a lot less time. At both parks, the buses, parking trams, and monorail (Epcot only) all dump guests into the same main bag check areas, but if you are walking from your car in the parking lot, you can easily get to them. You can also get to the second one at Epcot pretty quickly if the main one has long lines.
At Hollywood Studios, the secondary bag check is located right next to Guest Relations outside the entrance to the park. At Epcot, it is a mirror image of the main screening station on the other side of the monorail ramp. Definitely a huge time saver if you can’t make it into the park without bags and the lines are long at the main screening stations.
Skip the Parking Tram
Maybe you want to save your energy for the park. Maybe it’s a zillion degrees outside and you want the breeze to cool you off. Maybe you enjoy the spiel of the tram announcer. Whatever your reason may be for riding the parking tram, it most likely isn’t to get to the park sooner, especially if you get on an empty tram. The tram will often wait until it is either completely full, or there is another tram ready to take its place. If you jump on an empty tram, chances are you will be waiting for several minutes before it actually starts moving. And then there’s always that one family that jumps on after the safety speech, so they have to play the entire speech again. Then there’s the fact that if you are a family with a stroller, you have to break it down, load it on the tram, then put it all back together when you get to the park. It’s just easier and often times much faster to just get out of your car and start walking. This is especially true for Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Use the Resort Monorail When Leaving MK at Peak Times
Most guests at the Magic Kingdom like to call it a day after the nightly showing of Wishes. Even if the park is open later than the fireworks show, most people will leave the park when it’s over. This creates huge traffic jams for the buses, boats, and monorails for guests wanting to get back to their rooms. If you are planning on taking the monorail back to the TTC, take the Resort Monorail rather than the Express Monorail There is only one resort stop between the Magic Kingdom and the TTC. You will bypass the long line of people thinking “express” means faster, you won’t have to cram you and your family into a packed car, and there just might be enough room for everyone to sit down!
Use Both Sides of the Ordering Kiosk When Dining at Quick Service Locations
In the US, we’re used to all traffic moving on the right. Whether it’s in vehicles or on foot, we tend to veer towards the right when we walk or enter a line. Did you know that the ordering booths at most quick service locations actually service guests on both sides? I don’t know how many dirty looks I have gotten when there’s a line 5+ deep on the right side of the booth, and I walk right up on the left side and get my order taken next because there is no line on that side. No, the cast members won’t usually openly tell you to fill both sides, so this is usually a tip you have to just know. The cast members will switch off on each side and take one order from the right, then the left, then back to the right, and so on, and so on. Save yourself some time and get your food faster by taking advantage of the left side of the ordering kiosk.
Book an Early Breakfast Reservation Inside the Park
Sure, the Magic Kingdom might open at 9, but the Crystal Palace, Be Our Guest, and Cinderella’s Royal Table will begin serving breakfast at 8AM. There is a special line all the way to the left after you enter the turnstiles where you will check in for your reservation. You can enter the park as early as 30 minutes before your reservation. This is a great way to get some fantastic family photos in an empty park. You can even find PhotoPass Photographers there to help you out! This is a great time saving hack, especially during holiday events, such as Halloween and Christmas, when there is a constant line at the front of the park to have photos taken with the decorated Main Street and castle in the background. Plus, you are already inside the park when you are finished.
Tables service reservations for breakfast can also be made at Akershus and Garden Grill at Epcot, Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Tusker House at Animal Kingdom. Most of these are character meals, so you are also knocking out quite a few character meet and greets for your children so you won’t have to wait in other lines throughout your vacation.
Do you agree with these? What are some time savings tips you’ve used in the past that have worked for you?