Welcome back to DADventure Disney’s round table of some of my favorite Disney Fan Parents on Instagram.
Every week, I work alongside this merry band of Disney fan parents to find our Top 10 favorites in all things Disney. See ALL our lists by clicking HERE!
This week, the Disney Parent Panelists are: @daddingatdisney, @disneyblogmomma, @dismoms, @disenchanted.dad, @disneymommingsohard, @milehighdisneymom, @suburban.artsy.mom, @that_disneyworld_dad, @thediaryofadisneydad, and yours truly @dadventuredisney.
Our topic this week: Top 10 Wastes of Your Time at Disney Parks!
There is a lot to love about Disney – as you can tell from all our accolades in past Top 10 lists.
However, we have to be truthful too, as a lot of the ‘darker side’ of Disney has to work into your planning, as well. Part of that is the amount of time you can lose in MANY different ways, while you’re visiting the parks.
Rides that aren’t worth the wait. Spending time on a burger. Not using the amazing amount of advice in the world – about The World!
Now, we can’t list all the things that will hold you up, but let’s take a look at what made our Top 10 and give you some tips on how to avoid them, too!
Waiting in Line for a Dole Whip
Top 10 Score: 1.44, nominated on 3 of 10 ballots.
Yes. Everyone says they LOVE the Dole Whip. Yes. It’s delicious and refreshing. No. Waiting for a Dole Whip for 45 minutes is NOT worth your time. Heck, that’s how long it takes to get on Splash Mountain – go do that instead – it’s refreshing, too.
Avoid The Line:
Try Mobile Ordering! What’s that?
Whether you’re waiting to hop on an attraction, strolling through a land or find yourself directly in front of a restaurant you’d like to try, we want to make it easier for you to order, pay for and pick up fresh food throughout Walt Disney World Resort. All you need is your phone and the My Disney Experience app. – Disney Website
Click this photo to read all about it!
Other snacks that had nominations on the list include: Candy Apples and Bottled Water.
Under or Over Planning
Top 10 Score: 1.67, nominated on 3 of 10 ballots.
This is a planning site, so yes, I tend to over plan. [Read: When Your OVER Disney-ing Your Life]
You can OVER schedule your day. That will make everyone exhausted as you try to squeeze everything in. Running from ride to ride is not fun on anyone.
There are also people I know that don’t plan enough. They think they can just go to Disney and walk on to the best rides or sit down at the best restaurants.
Fall somewhere in the middle. Plan some meals and some rides (FastPass). But build in time to rest. Time to head back to your resort and swim or nap. Keep the flexibility in your day and you’ll be ok.
Some tools you need to use include the My Disney Experience App, FastPasses, Mobile Ordering, Advance Dining Reservations and of course, reading this blog. 🙂
You can also use a professional Disney Travel Agent! One of our own – @dismoms just happens to be one! Contact her at Mickey Travels!
Post Fireworks Transportation
Top 10 Score: 2.00, nominated on 3 of 10 ballots.
The fireworks go off. You (and 10,000 of your new friends) all do an about face and head for the gates. You pile into the monorails, friendship boats, skyliners, or your cars. And you wait. And wait. The joy of the fireworks is quickly melting into despair.
Take Your Time
Unless you’re watching the fireworks FROM the exit gates, don’t rush to the gates from where you are. A lot of times the park shops will still be open for a while. Some rides may still be running. If it’s extra magic hours and the park is open later – go back and enjoy some more while the sea of humanity streams home.
Entering The Parks
Top 10 Score: 2.11, nominated on 3 of 10 ballots.
You have to wait in line and have your bags checked. You have to wait in line and use your pass or Magic Band to get in. Not much to do about this one, it’s a big necessity. However, it takes a chunk out of the beginning of your day – or middle if you’re park hopping.
On Your Left!
It’s a very popular trick of Disney ‘experts’ to push around to the left side of the lines waiting to get in the parks. Human nature sends us right, so, go left and you may find a shorter line.
If you’re going in the morning, get up and out in the morning and make it for opening of the parks – less folks than will be there a couple hours later.
Have your bag open and ready for the security checkpoint. Use clear bags or bags with organizing pockets to make it easier for security to go through it quickly. If you can go without a bag, that’s the quickest way through the line.
The BEST trick is to book an early morning ADR for breakfast (before the park officially opens) and then you get your own line to walk through!
Top 10 Score: 2.11, nominated on 4 of 10 ballots.
All the shopping at Disney is a beautiful thing. The stores look magical. The merchandise feels like one of a kind. But, if you’re spending hours searching for the perfect Tigger statuette for your curio cabinet, you’re missing out on the world outside the doors. OR you’re lugging around your goods all day and taking the time to store them in and out of every ride and attraction.
Avoid Buyer’s Remorse
A few things you can do here. Shop at home! ShopDisney.com has much of the same merchandise. You can also shop from your My Disney Experience App. Target is helping out too, opening mini Disney Stores IN many Target stores.
If you do shop save it till you’re leaving the parks. If you buy earlier in the day, have it sent to the front of the park to be waiting for you when you leave (this could take a few hours). If it’s early on in your trip, have the goods sent directly to your resort where you can pick up in a day or so.
Character Meet & Greets
Top 10 Score: 2.22, nominated on 4 of 10 ballots. 1 first place vote.
Having characters meet you and your family is a ton of fun. It’s the BEST when it happens naturally on the street. But, sometimes you’ll find yourself waiting in a super long line to get 2 minutes with Elsa, Pooh or Elena of Avalor. This is all time you could have spent on the rides. It ends up being a real mess when you run into Mickey Mouse in Epcot or meeting him at the Garden Grill Character Meal for a quick picture after having spent 50 minutes waiting to do the same on Main Street in Magic Kingdom .
Have a Strong Character (plan):
The best thing to do is know where the characters are and when they are there. Know which you can see at character meals. Also, know which ones you can FastPass for.
Lucky for you – we have a very comprehensive Character Meet & Greet Guide here on DADventureDisney.
Not Using FastPass (Correctly)
Top 10 Score: 3.11, nominated on 4 of 10 ballots. 1 first place vote.
I know, I know. FastPasses can be stressful. But they work. They help you avoid lines. They help plan your day a bit. They ensure you can get a chance to get on the best rides or see the best shows. But people use this wrong, or worse, not at all!
How To FastPass
We have a few stories on FastPassing and you can read them all HERE.
Some great tips when using the FastPasses – don’t schedule your rides far apart in one day. Try to bunch them up. Don’t schedule rides that are across the parks from each other. Keep them together to maximize your time. Schedule them early in the day. Once you use the 3 FP you’re given, you can quickly jump on to My Disney Experience and see what others you can add. You can add the next FP as soon as you check in on your 3rd – just keep doing it RIGHT away!
Saving a “Good” Spot For A Parade or Fireworks
Top 10 Score: 3.44, nominated on 6 of 10 ballots.
Parades are fun. Firework shows are magical. Sitting on the curb on Main Street to be sure you have a ‘good’ spot for hours, is not fun. It’s wasted time. Think of all you could be doing other than having your entire family sit on the curb.
They’re All Good Spots
Try seeing the parade in Frontierland. That’s where it starts. You’ll be the first to see it, and first to see the end. You can jump right into line at Big Thunder Railroad while the other chumps are still sitting on the curb on Main Street waiting for the parade. For the fireworks – they’re in the AIR. As long as you’re near the focal point, you’ll see plenty.
Watching the fireworks while riding Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a special treat!
Waiting In Line For (Bad) Food
Top 10 Score: 5.78, nominated on 8 of 10 ballots. 2 first place votes.
All the Disney parks are FULL of amazing food. Heck we have not ONE, not TWO, but THREE lists of amazing snacks to hunt down. So, why are you waiting in line for bad pizza or a plain ole burger? You COULD be standing in line for something special.
Use your head when it comes to food. Bring your own snacks in. Eat breakfast in your hotel room – they all have fridges and you can Amazon Prime yourself some cereal and milk and yogurt and fruit directly to your room. Use Mobile Ordering (like we explained in #10). Schedule your Advance Dining Reservations (keep refreshing the My Disney Experience App while you’re in the parks for people who cancel or don’t show up!)
Top 10 Score: 5.89, nominated on 10 of 10 ballots. 2 first place votes.
There are rides that everyone says you HAVE to go on. The lines are wrapped around the parks. You wait and wait and wait (missing other rides with much shorter lines). Some may be worth the wait. We did that list a few weeks ago. But many of the long line rides, in our opinion, just aren’t worth the time.
Our biggest time wasters (meaning the experience isn’t worth the wait) are: Peter Pan’s Flight, Journey into Imagination, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and The Tomorrowland Speedway. If there are short waits, or you have some extra FastPasses to use – go for it. There really isn’t a BAD ride in Disney – but these aren’t worth your wasted time.
Enjoy The Ride
Know what your family likes and don’t like. Know what they HAVE to go on. If it’s Peter Pan – then yeah, FastPass it! The big rides (Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog Dash) NEED a FastPass to be worth it, too. Your day is too short to spend it waiting for only 3 or 4 rides.
Other Rides that our gang fearlessly stated aren’t worth the wait (or worth seeing at all): Tough To Be A Bug, Flight of Passage, Tower of Terror, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Frozen Ever After, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Hall of Presidents, Caroussel, Epcot Film Fest, Galaxy’s Edge, Small World, Navi River Journey, Space Mountain, Indiana Jones Stunt Show, Jungle Cruise and all of Dinoland U.S.A. You can use THIS FORM to send us your hate mail. 🙂
Other big “time sucks” for us include: Waiting for Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom, Light Up Toys, Not Using Memory Maker, POSING for Memory Maker ‘magic’ Photos, Park Hopping, Pin Trading, Rope Drop, Bad Packing for the Parks, Finding a Phone Charging Station, and Broken Rides.
What did you think of our list? What do you feel wastes the most time in the parks? What tips do you have for keeping everything going smoothly? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Instagram and Facebook pages.
Thanks for reading and always remember – DADventure is out there!