1. Purchase your ticket before you get to the park. If you know you’re going to have a free day, buy your tickets online or at one of the many ticket centers around Lake Buena Vista’s hotels, restaurants, and shops. If you’re in the military purchase your tickets ahead of time at your nearest ticket exchange or if you’re in Orlando you may go to the Shades of Green resort at Disney.
2. Get to the park first thing in the morning.If you have the choice of which day you can go to the park, go on a weekday as there are less lines, unless it’s the summer and holiday season. Once you get into the parking lot, catch a tram to the main transfer station which gives you the option of taking the Disney Ferry Boat or the Monorail. Although they say it’s the same amount of time, the Monorail is usually quicker.
3. Pick up the park schedule and map at the entrance and hop on the Disney Railroad Train. As soon as you enter the park you’ll see the train station above the entrance. Enter on the right, grab a map and walk up the stairs to your left. Once you’re on the train enjoy the scenery, get oriented to the park by looking at the map and going around the entire park once. You’ll then know which “land” you’ll want to go to and where you can get off the train to save you some walking time.
4. Decide what you MUST see at Magic Kingdom before the day ends. Decide if you must see a show or go on a ride, do that first, or schedule everything around the time of the show or parade that you want to see. If you love roller coasters – then plan to go on every coaster ride in the park and everything first.
5. Use the Fastpass ticket system.Think of the park as Big Ben Clock with the stem being the Main Street you walk towards the Castle, which would be considered the center of the clock. All the Disney themed “lands” revolve around the clock. Enter Tomorrowland and get a Fastpass to whatever ride you must go on – usually available for Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, and the shows with Stitch and Monster’s Inc. Then go to the next “land” that you want to ride that ride. Once you’re done, go to another ride and get another Fastpass (your Fastpass ticket will tell you the time when you can get another Fastpass) and run back to Tomorrowland to ride whichever Fastpass you got. If you keep doing this you’ll most likely get to ride all the “must” rides and then you can enjoy the rest of the park between waiting in lines.
6. If you have young children – they will definitely want to see Mickey’s Toontown so be sure to make a stop there. In reality you could spend 2-4 hours in each land, not including stopping to eat.
7. Eating: Tips, if you’re on a budget for time and money – eat a hearty breakfast before you get to the park and pack snacks in your backpack. Don’t stop to eat at a sit down restaurant go to the fast food stations and walk to your next destination.
8. Taking a break: There are attractions that you can go on when you just need to sit down, but at least you can keep enjoying the park and keep moving. One of those rides is the Transit Authority People Mover in Tomorrowland. It takes you on a nice leisurely ride through many of the attractions in Tomorrowland and the lines move quickly – located in the center of Tomorrowland, go up the moving walkway and enter. If you need some air conditioning and would like to continue experiencing the magic – check out The Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland. You’ll be able to see The Magic Carpets of Aladdin ride, mostly for kids, and everyone’s favorite the Jungle Cruise. If you’re a fan of the movie series, you must go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, usually there’s a wait so if you can get a Fastpass if you can.
9. Purchases:If you’re staying at a Disney hotel you can make purchases and have them sent to your room. If not, you should be able to make purchases early in your day and leave them for pick up when you’re leaving the park, ask the clerks. The stores are packed at the end of the day.
10. Best time to go on the rides: If you don’t care about parades and fireworks – the best time to get all of your last minute rides is when everyone is watching the mid-day or last parade and watching the fireworks. Lines are shorter and kids are tired, parents aren’t as cooperative to go on a ride, one more time. So enjoy and send pictures. You can have a great day at Disney World even if you only have one day!