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Is it possible to spend one day at Disney World in Florida? Is it worth it? Do Disney World one day tickets even make sense? Yes! If you don’t need to see every parade and show, ride every ride, or eat at every restaurant, then one day at Disney World saying hi to Mickey might be just enough. However, you will need a plan. Here are 9 tips you need to make the most of your Disney vacation, no matter how short it is.
9 Tips For The Best Way to Spend One Day At Disney World
When your kids tell their friends they went to Disney World, they won’t say how many days they spent at the Orlando theme park. They won’t care about the things they didn’t do. They will just be happy they got a chance to go to the Happiest Place on Earth! There is honestly nothing more magical than seeing the Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom in person.
Many people wonder if they can really do all they want to do and see all they want to see in a single day at Walt Disney World. They also may not be sure if it is worth the cost of the ticket to spend only one day there. While those are decisions every person has to make on their own, I strongly encourage families to try it out. One day at Disney World is way better than no days at Disney World in my book!
But if you do decide to do one day in Disney (and, yes, you should!), then follow these nine tips to make the most of your magical visit.
1. Make a Plan.
Before you head out for your one day at Disney World, be sure to make plan! Start with a list of the things you must do at Walt Disney World. Is it experiencing the Pirates of the Caribbean? Giving yourself a scare at the Haunted Mansion? Seeing a parade on Main Street? Or maybe just hanging out in the new Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios? You have to decide the top picks for your family. Once you have a list of what everyone wants to do, have a discussion to see if you reasonably can get to them all before moving to the next tip.
2. Pick Your Parks.
You will have to decide how much of the Disney Parks you can logically experience with your family. You could go all out and use a Park Hopper ticket to hit all the parks. Or, you could spend a more leisurely day experiencing just one park. To help decide how many parks to visit, be aware of the predicted crowds on the dates you have chosen to visit. Wait times should be taken into account.
Ideally, go in September, November, January, and May, as they are the months with lower crowds. Check the crowd calendar for the date you are going and see if that changes your mind as to what parks to visit. Also take into account the ages of your children. Little ones may not be able to keep with an intense plan to park hop. Teens might be bored with only staying in one park.
Bringing little ones to Disney World? You need to check out these awesome tips for experiencing Disney with preschoolers.
3. Buy Tickets Online in Advance.
Don’t wait to get to the parks to purchase your Disney World one day ticket. Buy it in advance online. The last thing you want to do is spend precious time waiting in a line to buy a ticket or even to pick them up at Will Call. You can now have your tickets linked to your Magic Band when you buy them in advance. This means you can breeze right through the gates as soon as you arrive. Dole whip here you come!
Traveling Mom Tip: We recommend purchasing your Disney tickets through Get Away Today. Not only does the company have the lowest prices, it offers a best price guarantee. If you ever find park tickets cheaper, Get Away Today won’t just match the price, the company will beat it.
4. Schedule FastPasses ASAP.
As soon as you can, schedule FastPasses via the My Disney Experience app on your mobile phone. Take into consideration your travel plan and must-dos and try to get those FastPasses first. Very popular rides like Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, or the terrific Slinky Dog coaster in Toy Story Land can have waits of up to two hours without a FastPass.
Traveling Mom Tip: Schedule FastPasses for the morning if possible. This will leave you time to schedule more throughout the day if they are available. Also, don’t see the availability on the rides you want the first time you look? Keep checking! Things change by the minute!
5. Arrive Early. Stay Late.
You only have 1 day at Disney World, so make the most of it! Plan to arrive at the parks as early as you can. Always factor in at least one hour to get to the parks. This is especially important if you are driving to the parks. If you can get your family going early in the morning, try to arrive an hour prior to the park opening. You might get to see the Opening Show and experience a “Rope Drop.”
Even better, make breakfast reservations inside the park It’s the secret to early entry at Disney parks!
And if your family can keep going, stay as late as you can. The only way you will be able to get in a lot of rides in one day is to take advantage of how long the park is open. Try to arrange to be there on a day when the parks stay open late!
TravelingMom Tip: Want to save money on food while at Disney World? You can. Here is the best cheap food at Disney World for your family travel on a budget.
6. Stay at a Disney Resort.
I always like staying at a Walt Disney World Resort if at all possible. It eliminates the complications of driving and parking and you can take advantage of the WDW transportation. You can stay at a Disney Resort Hotel and only go into the parks for one day. The other days you can spend by the pool or taking advantage of what the hotels have to offer (which is a lot).
Also by staying on property, you can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours offered only to resort guests. One park each day opens early and/or stays open late. Be sure to check out the schedule for the day you plan to go. Getting extra park time may mean being able to ride a few more rides you couldn’t get Fast Passes for!
7. Don’t Make Dining Reservations. (Except for breakfast.)
Unless dining at a signature restaurant is imperative to you, avoid having a sit-down meal during your day at Disney World. On average, a table service meal can take up to two hours from the time you check in until you walk back out the door. That’s valuable ride time you’d be spending! The only exception is breakfast. If you can get a breakfast reservation before the park opens to the public, that means you get to go in even earlier than the “Rope Drop” people!
Traveling Mom Tip: Avoid eating at peak dining times and you won’t have to wait in long lines for food. Ideally, we like to eat breakfast at the hotel or on the way to the park. We wait to have a big lunch around 2 or 3 p.m. I usually bring a small soft-sided cooler into the parks with snacks, items for lunch, and bottled water. It is faster and cheaper. Here’s how to save up to $50/day on snacks at Disney. We then splurge on a yummy quick service dining meal later in the evening.
8. Use Lyft.
This may sound crazy since Disney Parks transportation is generally so good (and free!). However, if you have limited time, take Lyft between parks. It will cost you less than $10 and may save you an hour or more. If you have bought a pricey one-day Disney World ticket, then you want to make use of it the best you can!
Plus, Disney Parks now has Minnie Van Service! Your Lyft driver might turn up in a polka dot van (which seats up to 6). You can also use Uber (but no Minnie-anything will show up).
9. Take Advantage of Single Rider Lanes.
At Disney Parks, there are a few rides that have single rider lanes. These rides include Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, and Test Track. If you don’t absolutely have to ride with your family all together, take advantage of this option. Most of the time, your wait will be half as long as the regular line. Just make sure your children are tall enough to ride the ride alone first.
Unless dining at a signature restaurant is imperative to you, avoid having a sit-down meal during your 1 day at Disney World. On average, a table service meal can take up to two hours from the time you check in until you walk back out the door. That’s valuable ride time you’d be spending! The only exception is breakfast. If you can get a breakfast reservation before the park opens to the public, that means you get to go in even earlier than the “Rope Drop” people!
Chances are that in 1 day at Disney World, you will not be able to do everything that was on your list. But look on the bright side. You’re at Walt Disney World! Some people may think that a Disney World 1 day ticket is a waste. I disagree. If you have a lot of stamina and want to see the parks, I encourage you to try it! I have done it with my family several times and we have always enjoyed it.