Disney is expensive, which should come as no surprise to anyone. There are very few deals for one or two day trips (unless you're willing to sit through a timeshare sales pitch). And for the amount you pay, parents want their kids to stay as long as they are able, so that they can get their money's worth.
So with wait times that can approach up to 4 hours at some of the rides, be prepared to find creative ways to keep the little ones occupied. Inevitably, you're going to deal with cranky, whiny kids by late morning into the afternoon. Here are a couple of ways to minimize this for your children:
1. Use Fast Pass. And if you plan ahead, you can reserve your first Fast Pass rides up to 30 days in advance (and modify if needed). You should download the Disney app on your smartphone so that you'll have easy access to your Fast Pass itinerary on the phone. Getting to the front of the line while everyone waits for up to hours is HUGE! Once you've done your three Fast Pass rides for the day, you can add one more at a time. I would suggest that you immediately reserve your next ride after scanning your Disney card. Don't wait till after you complete the ride. Your options will be limited and there will probably be about an hour to 90 minutes between the two rides. Also, reserve your first three rides as close to each other as possible. You're not allowed to reserve Fast Pass times that overlap.
Second, you can leave the park and return. It might be best to stay at one of the Disney resorts, since there's a monorail that will take you to the park. You can go to the hotel, rest for a while, and return to the park later in the day. Paid parking lasts for the entire day, so you can even leave for a hotel/resort outside of Disney (after all, why would you want to give more money to Disney by staying in the park).
Lastly, if you're not a parade person, lines do thin out while the parades are going on. I didn't stay long enough for the fireworks, but I would imagine the same holds true during that time as well.
Disney does allow outside food and drink, so you can save some money by packing your meals and bringing it into the park.
Overall, we went during a peak time...spring break on a Tuesday. I know it gets worse, but the crowd was bad enough for us.Having a ton of strollers makes the walkways incredibly difficult to pass through. Waiting hours for rides that only awestruck kids will really enjoy makes an adult's experience frustrating.
And don't get me started on parking and getting to the actual park! But we had to go. After all, it's really for the kids, right?
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