With peak travel season to the most magical place on earth swinging into high gear, there’s lots of information out on the web to help prospective visitors. The husband was under the impression that much of the information was being published by Disney, and much of it is, but also, there are many folks, just like me, offering suggestions on how to manage and navigate a location that draws nearly 32 million people annually.
On Mouseplanet.com, the Parenting Panel gave varying perspectives on how to handle waiting in line which is almost inevitable while on a Disney vacation. After encountering lines at the airport to board your plane, the next lines would be for Disney’s Magical Express or at your rental car counter.
There are various ways we have learned to combat waiting while at Walt Disney World. Here they are:
- Waiting for Disney’s Magical Express while at Orlando International Airport. While, the wait typically isn’t very long, it can feel like forever as this is the last part of your journey to get you to your Disney Resort and into the Disney bubble. We manage this wait with food. Yep, grabbing a bite to eat on the way or pulling out snacks from our own stash seems to help this wait go faster. The boy has been known to sit on the floor in the line, enjoy his snack, and watch the video monitors installed just for this purpose. The husband and I try to guess which lines and buses will try to move next and of course, the people watching is great!
- Waiting for a Disney bus, or any transportation, from your resort to your destination. This wait is usually in the morning and we master this wait by talking to other Disney guests. That, and food. I’m usually grabbing my breakfast as we head out the door of our resort, so I finish it while waiting for the Disney bus. The husband has his Mountain Dew bottle in hand which often stirs a conversation. And, the boy, will talk to almost anyone waiting for a bus, but is drawn to other families. He asks them where they are going and what they have planned for the day. Yes, I know where he gets that! Of course, our ears are alert for the familiar sound of the Disney bus and our eyes strain to read the destination in anticipation that it is “our” bus. Again, this wait typically isn’t more than 20 minutes and rarely that long.
- Waiting to get into a park at rope drop. Yep, that’s us, waiting near the turn styles for the park to open. We manage this wait by talking to other guests and Cast Members, taking pictures, electronic games, and sometimes food. The boy is usually ready for another bit of sustenance by this time, so snacks are good. And, we are known to put his hand-held electronic game in a bag and this is a great time for it to be used. Often, the game draws a small crowd of other waiting kids, and parents who are grateful for the distraction.
- The most often addressed wait at Walt Disney World is in line for rides and attractions. The best strategy is to avoid these waits and use FastPass +, but there are some cases when that is not possible, so ways to make the time pass faster include enjoying any interactive queues that are available, talk to other guests, enjoy a snack, take pictures, and my personal favorite—plan what you are going to do next! This will eliminate the need for stopping at the exit of the ride or attraction to plan and therefore blocking other guests. Okay, this is a park peeve of mine, so again, use that time waiting in line to pull out that trusty park map or electronic device and figure our your next move.
- Waiting for parades and fireworks. This are my least favorite things to wait for, so my recommendation is don’t. With reserved seating and/ or space available for every parade and nighttime spectacular at Walt Disney World, take advantage of these opportunities. Otherwise, have someone from your traveling party stake a claim 2 hours prior while the rest of the group enjoys more rides and attractions.
- Waiting in restaurants, either to be seated or for food. With Advanced Dining Reservations, most guests experience little to no waits for tables at dining locations. And, the restaurants that do often have waits, even with ADR’s, offer guests portable pagers that have a significant range for the signal—for example, Rose & Crown’s portable pagers are good throughout the United Kingdom Pavilion. So, grab the pager and go explore. Otherwise, whip out the electronic game, grab the crayons and draw on the menu, take photos, or visit with other guests. I’ve also been known to ask for a menu so that we can decide about our selections prior to seating—gotta love multitasking!
- Waiting at the airport for your return flight back home. This is one wait that we both dread and enjoy. Yes, it feels good to be going home and yet, we are leaving Disney. The boy has this wait down pat. He opens his backpack on the floor and plays with his toys while other kids come and join him. Seems that our “on the go” vacation didn’t give him much “down” time to play, so he enjoys this wait very much. The husband and I slowly transition into the real world, by listening to the news on the overhead monitors, getting glimpses of newspaper headlines, and possibly checking emails. Of course, snacks and/or food, are typically part of this wait as well, depending on the time of day. And, people watching at the airport is always a great way to pass the time waiting for your flight.
There you have it. . . how the Williams family handles various waits while on a Disney vacation. The only wait we don’t have any advice for is waiting for the day of your trip to arrive!