Planning your line strategy for an awesome day in the park
The lines at Disneyland and Disney World Resorts are often long. This is of course because the payoff is so big at the end of them. When your family visits the parks, it is useful to have a strategy in place to manage your time using the queues and have as much fun as possible. Below is a list of ideas to help you plan for your family’s time in line.
Go during the off-season
Disney parks tend to be extremely crowded during holidays particularly spring break. They are also very full during most of the summer months. If you are able to visit during the off peak season, you will reduce your wait time for most attractions. This will only work for a small percentage of people as by definition, most people will be there when its crowded. Its a subscription site but www.touringplans.com has tons of crowd information.
Prioritize which rides you most want to ride
Know what rides are most important to your family and plan when you will visit them. The Anaheim resort has over 60 attractions and Orlando has over 80. Seeing them all would take several days even if you were the only guest and had good running shoes. One way to accomplish this is by obtaining a trip planning guide book but it can also be accomplished by visiting your old friend the web.
Use the Fastpass system
Fastpass is a wonderful option provided at the Disney resorts for some of their most popular rides. With your prioritized list of rides in hand, Fastpass should be an important part of your overall line strategy. The idea is that you go to the ride and obtain a pass to return at a later assigned time, normally several hours later. Once you have a Fastpass, you will not be able to get another until you have used that one. This means that you will be using the standby queues most of the time. With this in mind you will want to decide ahead of time what Fastpasses you wish to get. Fatpasses maintain their usefulness by having limited quantities per time slot. For very popular rides and attractions Fastpasses can be all used up by early afternoon during peak attendance times.
Have something to occupy bored kids in line.
Regardless of what strategies you use, eventually you will have selected a line to wait in and thus it is time to wait. Now if you are going to Disnaeyland, I would certainly suggest having Lots To Do In Line Disneyland for that purpose. See the rest of my webpage for details. Toys and games can be brought with you but remember that their interest will only last so long, and most toys are hard to play with properly in a queue environment. Most importantly, do not bring along anyone’s favorite stuffed animal or toy car. This can be a very distracting place and such things will be easy to lose. You do not want to spend your time at Disney hunting back through the queues to try to find where your child put down Mr. Bunny.
Check the wait times.
You can find them posted outside each ride. You can also find mobile apps that will provide you with that info. The parks are constantly shifting and people will change their interest based on the look of the lines. Disney tries to stay on top of expected line lengths and some of this information is tracked and generated through numerous Disney-oriented smartphone applications.
Use rider switch passes to handle scarier attractions
If some members of your group are not yet old enough for a ride that the others are dying to go on, you can get a rider switch pass. They are easy to get. Just stand in line as a group as you would for any other ride, when you arrive at the loading attendant ask for a rider switch pass. It will allow you to take turns riding so that the kiddos are never left alone.
Use available single rider lines
Sometimes attractions, especially roller coasters, may have a single rider line. The single rider line helps with odd numbered groups, filling seats that might go unfilled with groups that want to sit together. For example Mom can take the kids on a ride of their choice while dad visits the rollercoaster he has been dying to see. If such a line is available, he can pop right on with a much shorter wait. Then of course it is Mom’s turn.
Carry snacks with you
Standing in line can make you hungry. If you want to make sure that the snacks you end up with are healthy choices, packing them can help. This way you can nibble in the queue when snack time arrives.
Visit popular attractions during parades
When there is a parade going on it will draw a significant number of guests away from the rides. Now is your golden chance, run straight for Star Tours.
Don't stand in the first line you see
When you arrive at the park, remember not to get on the first ride you come to. So for example if you arrived in Tomorrowland via the Disneyland by monorail early in the morning, do not make a bee line to Finding Nemo even though it is right there. Everyone else is doing that as well. Come back to Finding Nemo. Start with something a bit farther away.
Stay at a Disney resort
There are two benefits of staying on site at Disney with regard to wait times and line strategies. First Disney Resort visitors gain admittance to portions of the park at a few special times per week where the only visitors will be Resort guests. These are usually an extra hour before opening to the general public. Additionally, staying close lets you maximize your time in the park and minimize daily travel and parking.