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7 Things To Do When First Entering Walt Disney World Parks

A Walt Disney World vacation is a big deal. Guests start looking forward to it months before leaving home and can dedicate lots of time to planning, researching, and anticipating the amazing times to come. Since there is so much to see and do in Walt Disney World, guests want to make the most of each moment of vacation and one of the best ways to do so is by knowing exactly what to do first when visiting one of the four theme parks. By following a few simple tips on what to do when first entering into one of the parks, guests can save themselves time and frustration throughout their day and end up experiencing as much as possible. Here are seven simple things to do when first entering into Walt Disney World parks that will make each day of a Disney vacation as magical as can be!

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7. Arrive For Rope Drop

The most important thing to do when arriving at a Walt Disney World theme park is planning to arrive before the park opens to the public. By arriving early, guests ensure that they are at the gates for rope drop which could involve a welcome ceremony or celebratory speech. By arriving early for rope drop, guests are rewarded by being some of the first to enter into the theme parks where they can enjoy fewer crowds, lower wait times, and pleasantly quiet and empty walkways.

6. Grab A Map & Times Guide

Before heading into the parks to experience amazing attractions, entertainment, dining, and shopping, guests should pause to pick up a very helpful item. At the front of each park are maps in many different languages which conveniently point out where important things are in the parks. While guests might lose a few minutes throughout the day stopping to refer to the map, they will never feel lost and always figure out the quickest way to move from one point to the other or easily identify dining options. A smart thing to also pick up in the front of each theme park is a Times Guide which is full of information regarding hours of operation and specific times of special events like parades and fireworks. Maps and Times Guides are especially important if you aren’t using the My Disney Experience App.

5. Go Against The Crowds

Generally when the four theme parks open to the public, there tends to be a mass of people who all head in one direction. Usually those guests are heading to the most popular attractions in the park to visit them early. While this is a great strategy for getting to experience popular attractions with lower wait times than in the middle of the day, guests who have FastPasses for those experiences or are opting to skip them should definitely go against the crowds. This tip can be followed by simply being observant of which way the crowds seem to be heading and making a conscious choice to move in the opposite direction to an area of the park that is less crowded.

4. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

When the Magic Kingdom opens for the day, guests should head directly to New Fantasyland to visit the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The attraction brings guests deep into the mines where the Seven Dwarfs work as they sway gently from side to side in swinging mine carts. The attraction is extremely popular with guests and can easily have high wait times throughout the day, so guests are smart to head there first thing in the morning when there are fewer crowds and lower wait times.

3. Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, or Test Track

The three most popular attractions in Epcot are Frozen Ever After, Test Track and Soarin’ – and can easily have wait times exceeding two hours on busy days. Frozen Ever After is a family-friendly boat ride that took the place of the former Maelstrom and follows a similar track, winding through multiple experiences up and down the river. It’s a fun attraction with beautiful surroundings, top notch animatronics, and of course… the forever popular Frozen characters and songs to sing along with. Test Track Presented by Chevrolet brings guests into the design studio where they are able to create their own SIM cars which are then tested on the track in Efficiency, Power, Capability, and Responsiveness. Soarin’ is located on the lower level of The Land Pavilion and takes guests on an adventurous hang gliding experience over the beautiful sights around the world. All 3 attractions are so popular, and can be hard for guests to experience all three in one day at Epcot without losing lots of time spent waiting in line. Since all three are on Tier 1 for FastPasses, you’ll have to pick only one to FastPass. We recommend a FastPass for Frozen Ever After late morning or early afternoon. As soon as the park opens head directly to Soarin’s standby line. After Soarin’ jump in the single rider line of Test Track. You can then use your Frozen Ever After FastPass at your scheduled time. Of course, the best case scenario would be to spend two days at Epcot and select a Frozen Ever After FastPass one day then a Soarin’ FastPass for the next, allowing you to head to Test Track as park opening either day.

2. Toy Story Land

Now that Toy Story Land is open, you’ll want to arrange your Hollywood Studios plan to focus on doing Toy Story Land first thing in the morning. Head directly to Toy Story Land where you’ll find Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Toy Story Mania. Have a blast pretending to shrink down to the size of a toy while enjoying Andy’s Backyard. You may even have a chance to meet good friends like Woody, Buzz, and Jesse. Toy Story Land attractions are very popular and you can only FastPass one so we recommend arriving well before park opening to get in line first thing in the morning when lines are shortest.

1. Pandora – The World of Avatar

Pandora – The World of Avatar is the newest land in the Animal Kingdom theme park. This is exactly why you’ll want to head to this part of the park as soon as you arrive in the morning – due to huge crowds! Here you will find two extremely popular attractions known as Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. You can expect a thrilling ride on Avatar Flight of Passage as you climb aboard a Banshee (dragon-like creature) and ride through the beautiful World of Avatar. The Na’vi River Journey is a perfect family-friendly attraction as guests boat down river and see just how beautiful the Na’vi tribe’s rainforest is with bioluminescence lighting and the latest animatronics. Outside of these two attractions, the land is almost like an attraction itself with stunning beauty and ability to interact with guests! Expect large crowds to be flocking to this area for quite some time!

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first started visiting Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of that trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning all about the history and small details of the parks and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival each fall. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York and spends her time counting down the days to her next trip.