When Traveling in Disney World, Always Arrive Early!

DSCN9444One thing I always try to be is early.  It doesn’t always happen, but I try hard to arrive early for meetings, appointments or opening times at Disney.  This was particularly important this past weekend when our family was at Walt Disney World.  Sunday morning Disney’s Hollywood Studios was posted to open at 9:00.  We were passing through the turnstiles and in line at Toy Story Mania at 8:52.  There was no rope drop performance or any announcement about the park opening early, it just happened.  We were also surprised with an early opening Saturday morning at EPCOT and were able to get on Soarin’ right at park opening time.

Here are a few tips to help you get to the parks on time (or better yet – early!):

  • Lay out your clothes the night before.  This sounds simple but by having things all laid out the night before, things seem to move much more quickly for our family.
  • Pack at night.  In addition to laying out your clothes, pack your bags the night before with things you can.  If you’re taking cold or frozen items, gather them all in one place in the fridge or freezer so you won’t forget anything.
  • Plan for travel time.  Things happen – there’s traffic, the bus is already full, someone forgets something and has to run back to the room.  Plan a few extra minutes in your routine to allow for these things if they happen.  If they don’t, you’re just at the bus stop or park a few minuets earlier which isn’t a bad thing!
  • Set your alarm.  Getting up and moving is one of the best ways to see the parks and attractions in my opinion.
  • Plan breakfast.  If you’re going to have a sit down meal for breakfast, plan it early enough that you’ll be finished in time to still make it to the park.  Most take about an hour from start to finish (the time you sit down until the time you’ve paid).  Servers are very conscious that you’re trying to get to the park for the opening in our experience.  Not having a big meal, grab something you could eat while you’re in line waiting for the park to open.

If you happen to arrive early and need something to do, here are a few ideas:

  • Look for Hidden Mickeys.  These could be anywhere and our family loves looking for them!
  • Check out the details.  One thing Disney does incredibly well is the details.  Take a few minutes and look at the landscaping, decorations or other scenery around you.
  • Take some pictures.  In my opinion you can never have too many pictures! Take some you might not normally take since you have the extra time.  Break out the Mickey ears, take a silly picture or something else you might not stop your busy day for.
  • Chat with the Cast Members.  They’ve got to be there working so why not learn a bit about them or have them answer a question if you need information about the park or a specific attraction.

Do you like to arrive early?  What are your tips for getting up and moving in the mornings?

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About Natalie H.

I live in Tennessee as a wife, mother, writer, and CPA. I enjoy writing articles about Disney and other favorite travel destinations. Find me on Twitter and Facebook. Also, be sure to check out my book Strategies for Paying for Disney where you can learn how to save your money so you can afford the Disney vacation you want!
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