How to Save Time at Disney

Let’s be honest…this article may be different than anything else that you’ve read about how to “save time at Disney”.

In previous years, we have focused our efforts on “saving time”, with things like the old FastPass system which would require you to get to the parks early in order to get a paper reservation card. We also put an emphasis on things that other guests didn’t know…like Rope Drop and Staying on Property.

These have all changed!

Let’s look at the 2020 version of “How To Save Time at Disney”

To start, we have to look at how much we’re spending on a vacation to Walt Disney World. Putting your hotel, food, transportation, airfare, and all the other categories together…it’s a substantial amount for a family, couple or even a solo traveller.

This means that you should be on top of ways to maximize your time AND NOT worry about every individual dollar.

I’m going to start with the Number One way to Save Time at Walt Disney World

PLAN!

Magic Kingdom Park Maps
Magic Kingdom Park Maps – Photo by Steps to Magic

I’m a planner (ask my partner), so it’s difficult for me to imagine walking down Main Street USA and not know which way I’m going to turn when I get to the Hub.

But the number of times that I’ve been sitting down for a meal and wondering what’s next…that’s where the real planning comes into play. Knowing what’s on your checklist of attractions/activities to do and what you can skip is all part of the current state of Walt Disney World vacations.

FASTPASS+

EPCOT FastPass+
EPCOT FastPass+ – Photo by Steps to Magic

When FastPass+ was introduced, folks thought that it would be micro-planning to an uncomfortable level. Well they were right…but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of the offering.

My preferences move with the changing additions of the program, so it’s all about having a plan 30 days out (or 60 days if you’re staying at a Disney Resort) and planning one or two FP attractions that you want to experience.

You can always change things closer to your trip, but knowing that each park has an attraction (or two) that has lines that could creep as high as 300 minutes is enough to pre-plan a few things.

  • Magic Kingdom – Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train
  • EPCOT – Frozen Ever After
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Toy Story Mania & Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Attractions
  • Animal Kingdom – Flight of Passage

Related Article – Fastpass Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make



TRANSPORTATION

EPCOT Bus
EPCOT Bus – Photo by Steps to Magic

Knowing when to use a ride-sharing service, like Uber, is all about reading a situation that’s always evolving.

What does that mean? Well it’s simple.

  • Are you early for your next reservation or do you need to cut things a little close by maximizing your time?
  • Has Disney Transportation under-estimated a situation and not been prepared for it? (ie a Monorail shut-down or when all the All-Star Resorts turn from 3 bus routes into 1)
  • Are you doing a mid-day nap and want to get back to a Park and see that the bus won’t be at your resort for 15-20 minutes?

Each of these are causes to open up the Uber App and see if there are no surge prices…and how far away a car is. It also gives you the opportunity to price out a trip.

I’ve become a fan of the Uber App in the following situations

  • Disney Springs —> To your Resort at the end of the night
  • Your Resort —> Contemporary Resort before an evening at the Magic Kingdom
  • Your Resort —> A dinner at another Resort, as Disney doesn’t offer that style of transportation.

Related Article – Worst Disney World Advice

MOBILE ORDERING

Cosmic Ray's Mobile Order Pick-up
Cosmic Ray’s Mobile Order Pick-up – Photo by Steps to Magic

To say that this is a game-changer would be underselling the phrase “game-changer”.

I’ve never fallen in love with a feature on the My Disney Experience app faster than this. On our last trip, we walked up to Restaurantosaurus and saw that the line was out the door. We peeked in and saw a Cast Member and he laughed when we asked about the timeframe of the line. As soon as we mentioned Mobile Ordering, he pointed to a line that had 1 person ahead of us.

We had the same situation at Satu’li Canteen, where the Mobile Ordering saved us around 45 minutes.

Walked in and saw the line was close to the door and asked to “see a menu”. Did a quick read-through and asked the Cast Member about the Mobile Order line and couldn’t recommend it fast enough. Apparently it’s such a hidden feature that folks just don’t understand that it’s the same thing as standing in a line and paying with your credit card…just that it’s done through the app like at Starbucks.

This means that it’ll save you time!

Related Article – What You Should Know About Mobile Ordering



HAVE A GOAL

EPCOT Character Spot Mickey Mouse
EPCOT Character Spot Mickey Mouse with Dustin – Photo by Steps to Magic

The final piece of advice that I’ll give with regards to Saving Time at Disney is simple….

Now this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be sporadic or fly by the seat of your pants. It’s really focused around the concept of finding a way to save time by not stressing and running all over the place.

  • If you goal is to meet Mickey, then get a FastPass to the EPCOT Character Spot and you’ll meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald through the same reservation.
  • If your goal is to be in the parks from Rope Drop to The Kiss Goodnight, then be prepared to have some down time and nap mid-day when lines and stresses are at the all-time high.
  • And if your goal is to make the most memorable vacation of your life, don’t listen to all the talking heads

Hope this helps your Trip Planning for your next Disney Vacation! šŸ™‚

How to Save Time at Disney World - #StepstoMagic
How to Save Time at Disney World – #StepstoMagic

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