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Florida Guide > Planning your Trip

Maximising your time in the parks.

When visiting the theme parks we all want to do as much as we can , without exhausting ourselves and the children.

Some people just go with the flow , riding on rides as they come to them. However, with some thought you can fit far more rides into your day and spend less time queuing, meaning more fun for all.

The most useful tip is to get to the parks early – ideally at opening time – you will be amazed how much you can do in the first couple of hours of the day. Also you get to park closer and do not need to wait so long for trams and monorails etc.

This has always been our plan, taking a break mid afternoon when the crowds and temperatures are at their highest and returning to the villa for a swim, before coming back to enjoy the magic of the evening. It also gives you the opportunity of making best use of the Fastpast/ Express Pass systems , which sometimes runs out of passes in the afternoon.

Head for the biggest most popular rides first thing – often these are located at the far side of the park , so most people take a while to get over to them. Going straight there often means very little queuing at all. You will have to resist all the rides you walk by with no queue , but don’t worry they will have shorter queues later on in the day than the most popular rides will already have done.

Often big/popular rides are located in pairs, such as Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear, Test Track and Mission Space. Join one queue, whilst sending a member of your group to collect fast passes for the other ride before rejoining you in the queue. Then as you come off the first ride your fast past is usually due for the next ride. In Universal you can actually pick up another fast pass as soon as the start time for the last one has passed, so you can collect one for your third ride before going on to your second ride.

Concentrate in the morning on the rides that are the most popular. Later in the day you can take a bit of a breather by visiting some of the shows such as Lights Camera Action, Beauty and The Beast or take a ride on the Paddle steamer at Magic kingdom. As these hold so many people , you often don’t have to queue at all.

By eating at slightly different times to most, you not only have less time to wait for a table in a restaurant, but the rides are quieter while others are eating!

In the evenings you will find many rides quiet whilst the parades are on, and often the rides for younger children are less busy as many have gone home. Take advantage of a nap or chill out be the pool mid afternoon ( and I don’t just mean children!) to give you the energy to take advantage of the late opening times.

The message really is dare to be different – don’t go with the crowd – head in the opposite direction. If you mix theme park days with relaxing days at the villa you will find this is a great plan which lets you get the best out of your time in the park.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 8 September 2005
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