Take it from someone who has been to Disney many times and still gets occasionally lost (directionally challenged) navigating Disney’s theme parks can sometimes be a difficult task. Not to worry, I have some tips to consider as you plan your trip.
Make an Itinerary – I wrote a whole section on this topic – find it here. Still, I am going to reiterate the importance of planning ahead while at Disney. Remember it is much bigger than most people realize (over 40 square miles) and ‘winging it’ might lead to wasted time, stress and frustration.
Grab a Map – At the entrance to all the theme parks you will find park maps. Even if you are a macho guy who never needs directions do yourself a favor and grab a map. It will assist in not only finding the rides you want but also locating things such as bathrooms and guest services. Lastly, each theme park has daily parades and the park map will let you know the times and the route the parade will take.
Pacing is everything – This is especially true if you are traveling with little ones. You should have reasonable expectations as to how much of the theme park you can see in a day. This is coming from a man who spent an hour trying to convince my son that the water fountain at the entrance to the Little Mermaid was not the only reason we went to Disney Word – he disagreed. In general kids will be overwhelmed and easily distracted while at a theme park. Just too much to see and do! They will move at their own pace which will undoubtedly be MUCH slower than you want. This is one reason why I advocate bringing/renting a stroller. It will help speed things up and give them a break from all the walking.
Get there early – We love getting to a theme park just as it opens. The weather is cooler, kids happier (not tired) and crowds lighter. We then head directly to the most popular attractions and ride them before the lines get out of control. Disney offers early entry days for resort guests which will allow you entry into select parks 1 hour before they officially open. Details can be found here.
Go West Young Man – This was a tip that I read about before our first trip to Disney and thought it was ridiculous – boy was I wrong. When you are entering a theme park and come to a fork in the road – turn left. People’s natural instinct is to go right so that is where the masses will go. If you go left you will experience less crowds and smoother sailing. Trust me, this actually works.