When traveling to Walt Disney World, you will quickly realize there is just never enough time to see and do everything. A plan to save time at Disney may not seem as important as saving money- but it is. We are not locals, but as Disney Annual Passholders, we have enjoyed being able to slow down a bit on our trips because we know we will be back! That being said, we always face the ever-daunting task of finding a cheap flight so that we can enjoy all that Walt Disney World has to offer, since we don’t always know when we will be back. Saving time, or rather not wasting it, is always a top priority of ours. So we can make the most of the little time we do get there!
How to Save Time on Your Disney Vacation
Regardless of whether you’re a Florida local, a Disney Annual Passholder or a first time visitor, you’ll want to make sure you’re not wasting time on unnecessary stuff. Things like standing in lines and not knowing how magic bands work can make or break your trip!
We see a lot of guests making the same time-costing mistakes when we are traveling to Walt Disney World and wanted to share our tips to help you save time, so you don’t make these mistakes too.
Mobile Order at Quick Serve Restaurants
Quite possibly the easiest, yet most overlooked, way to save time at Disney is by mobile ordering! Not sure how it works? No problem, we have you covered here. While not all quick serve restaurants have mobile order, whenever eating at one that does, we highly recommend it. Order from your phone, pick up when you’re ready and avoid those long food lines. A word of caution; be prepared to get dirty looks from fellow diners who simply don’t know the system. You know the look similar to the looks we all got used to when we used FastPasses in the days before magic bands were a thing.
Don’t Use Disney Transportation
Ok, I’m sure we’ll get some resistance on this one, but hear me out. Yes, we know Disney transportation is free. But if time is money, then it’s a “free” perk that you’re way overpaying for. As nice as it is to know that you can take Disney’s transportation for free anywhere on property, its a huge time suck. We have waited over an hour just for buses to arrive, and that’s not including travel time or the oh-so-charming traffic that exists in Orlando, Florida. We have almost missed flights, and have missed dinner reservations, Fastpasses and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointments waiting on Disney transportation. And when the monorail breaks(which, let’s be honest guys, is A LOT) may the odds be in your favor, because the rowdy crowds turn into a scene reminiscent of The Hunger Games. If you’re not in a hurry, Disney transportation will be just fine. But if you’re trying to save time, we recommend having a car, or using a ride share service, like Lyft, Uber or the Minnie Vans. There are of course time when Disney Transportation is a time-saver, like using the Magical Express from the airport so you don’t need to wait on bags or a car. So take this with a grain of salt, and may the odds ever be in your favor.
Have a Good FastPass Strategy
If you’re hoping to get in all the rides on your trip, be sure to have a legit FastPass strategy. Be sure to make your FastPasses at your 60 or 30 day mark for the best selections, and don’t waste a FastPass before 10:00am. The wait times don’t justify it. Once you’ve used all of your FastPasses that you planned, keep searching for more throughout the day. During busy times, many of the Fastpasses will already be taken by lunchtime, but it never hurts to check!
People change their plans all the time and you never know what FastPass you could score at the last minute. Our recommendation? Before getting on any ride, if you have the ability to make a FastPass, check the My Disney Experience app to see if there are any available before committing to waiting in the line.
Check-in to your Resort Online
While there are definitely some perks to checking in at the desk, if you’re on a time crunch or just not a “line person”, be sure to check in online. You can generally skip the front desk entirely. You can do this starting 30 days before your trip. Have a credit card linked to your Disney account for incidentals as well as your cell phone number. When you get to the resort, you can skip the line and go straight to the Parks or straight to your room if it’s ready. You’ll receive a text when your room is ready or you can always check the My Disney Experience app for updates on the status of your room. It’s like magic!
Don’t Bring a Disney Day bag into the Parks
When Disney gets busy, you can count on long bag check lines. Add in large strollers, guests who aren’t quite sure how the process works and large backpacks with 3 days worth of outifts and you could be waiting a very long time just to get through security. If you’re daring, don’t bring a bag at all and bypass the bag check lines. The “guests without bags” line is always shorter, moves very quickly and will save you a ton of time when getting into the Parks.
…or bring a smaller Disney day bag
Ok, so we know completely forgoing a day bag can be quite the challenge, especially if you’re toting little ones or if you have a long day planned. But you can still save time by being smart about the bag check process. Arriving early is always our number one tip for Disney, and if you can beat the crowds to the Parks, bag check won’t be such a bear to tackle. Bringing a smaller bag, or even a clear bag into the Parks can help you get through security quicker and save you a ton of time.
What are some strategies you like to use to save time at Disney? We would love to know!