Saving Time at Walt Disney World

When on vacation, especially one at Walt Disney, time seems to move faster than if you were at home.  It is important to save time as much as you can so you can spend more time enjoying your vacation or just relaxing by the pool.

What are some ways that you can save time while at Walt Disney World?  I’ve come up with five ways which can help you reduce time waiting and more time enjoying your vacation.

1) Take Advantage of Character Meals

Chef Donald
Chef Donald

Character meals is probably the best way to save time.  The meal gives you a chance to meet multiple characters in a very short period of time (usually four or five characters in 60-90 minutes).  Plus, everyone needs to eat when on vacation so this is killing two birds with one stone.  I didn’t realize the time savings until my daughter started to get a little bit older and we started to spend more times on attractions and less time waiting in line to meet characters because “I already met them at lunch.”  Usually, my family tries to split up our sit-down meals 50/50.  50 percent non-character meals and 50 percent character meals, however, we try to make sure there is no character overlap so we can meet as many characters as possible.  Saving any in-park character meets to those rare characters who don’t appear at meals.

Character meals do have some drawbacks namely the cost of the meal (character meals are a bit pricier than non-character meals) and the buffet food can widely vary.  However, these drawbacks are outweighed by the time you can save meeting characters.

2) Making Use of the Bus Depots

Most people think of Disney transportation as a way to get from the resort to the theme park and back.  But bus depots at the theme parks, Disney Springs, and the water parks can also be used as a way to explore the entire Walt Disney World resort.

Magic Kingdom Bus Loop

I am big proponent of “breaking up” the day when on vacation with usually some park exploration in the morning followed by a return to the resort in the afternoon before heading back to the park in the evening.  But who said you have to go back to your resort in the afternoon.  Use this time to explore other resorts (scouting for future visits).  Some of the resorts, even the moderates, have some fantastic sit-down restaurants which almost always have seating available.

It is a great way to get out and explore.  Also, these depots are the best way to hop from park to park as well.  This makes the depots very important for guests who attempting to visit all four theme parks in one day.

3) Stack your Fastpass+ Reservations in the morning

When possible, stack your three Fastpass+ reservations to the morning.  This will allow to make more and more Fastpass+ reservations as the day goes on since you can make a 4th reservation until your 3rd reservation expires, and so on.  A Fastpass+ reservation can shave off 60-75% of the posted stand-by wait time for an attraction.  For attractions with long waits, this can save a lot of time.  Time that can now be used to go on other attractions.

4) Make use of the single rider line when possible

Don’t have a Fastpass for an attraction but still want to get through the line quickly?  See if the attraction has a single-rider line.  These lines will typically save you time and if you don’t mind if your party gets broken up into three or four groups, it is the way to go.

Radiator Springs Racers #1

My daughter and I made great use of the single rider line when we went out to Disneyland last year.  Disneyland still uses the “old” paper Fastpass system but has lots of single rider lines for attractions.

Out of the ten or so times, we used the single rider line, my daughter and I were only split up twice.  And it saved us a lot of time.  A lot of times, we could go on multiple attractions in the time that it took for people to go through the main queue of just a single attraction.  If the attraction has a single rider line and you don’t mind if your party gets broken up, I recommend using the single rider line.

5) When in doubt – WALK!

By the end of the vacation or even the end of the day, walking is probably the last thing that you want to do.  However, it is one of the best time savers out there.  Don’t want to wait for the monorail to take all the around the Magic Kingdom loop when staying at The Contemporary, just walk.

Walkway to Magic Kingdom

Don’t want to wait for the boat to go from the Boardwalk area to Hollywood Studios or EPCOT, just walk.  Same with going to Disney Springs from either Port Orleans resort.  Walking to a destination is a great way to save time.  Of course, there are a lot of times where walking isn’t possible and you can forced to wait for Disney transportation.  This makes those chances to save time by walking all the more valuable.

Taking a school time Walt Disney World vacation and want something to battle resistant school administrators?  Pick up a copy of Walt Disney World for Teens and Tweens which is full of project ideas to complete while on vacation as well important information geared for the teen and tween age group about the Walt Disney World resort.  Click the book to find out more!

book cover

Thanks for reading!

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