• Magic Kingdom
Choosing the right time of year is very important when you schedule your Disney vacation, but once you arrive, selecting which park to visit on which day can be almost overwhelming. Choose well, and you will breeze through the Magic Kingdom and hit all of your favorites. Choose poorly and you may find yourself waiting in line for hours to climb onto one of Space Mountain’s rocket ships.
The Evening Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom are on Fridays and Sundays; you’ll be able to stick around and enjoy some of your favorite attractions after dark on these evenings.
Since you won’t be eligible for Extra Magic Hours,the best days to visit the Magic Kingdom are Mondays and Wednesdays. Visit the Magic Kingdom on these days to avoid the influx of resort guests heading to the park as a result of the offered Extra Magic Hours.
If you are an early bird, head to the park on your chosen day about 15 minutes prior to opening Arriving early allows you to be one of the first guests to enter the park, and head quickly to your favorite attractions.
If you are more of a night owl, arrive at the park in the early evening on the day you have chosen The park crowds will usually begin thinning out as guests make their way to other locations for dinner, or head back to their resort for the evening.
Choosing the best time of year, day of the week and time of day to visit the Magic Kingdom ensures that you will have plenty of time to experience all that this location has to offer.
• Best Time to Visit Epcot
Since Epcot is made up of two distinct areas, Future World andWorld Showcase, the best time to visit may vary depending on your personal preferences. Pick wisely and you’ll breeze around World Showcase and be first in line for Soarin… choose poorly and you may find yourself waiting in a 70-minute line for Test Track.
If you want to ride Test Track or Soarin’ with minimal waiting, then head to Epcot on a Friday for Extra Magic Hours in the morning. Want some private time to explore France or Japan in World Showcase? Stay late on a Tuesday evening instead.
Avoid Epcot on Tuesdays and Fridays, the current days for Extra Magic Hours. This resort perk will draw on-site visitors to the parks, resulting in heavy crowds and long waits on these days.
If you want to explore Future World, head to Epcot when it opens. You’ll be one of the first in line for popular attractions like Test Track, and you can ride less busy offerings like Spaceship Earth later in the day with minimal waiting.
If you prefer World Showcase, arrive by 11:00 a.m. and you will be one of the first visitors to enter this area. Consider stopping by Soarin on your way past — Fastpasses are usually distributed in the morning for this attraction, and may run out by mid-afternoon.
Tip: Visit a Kim Possible World Showcase Recruiting Center and have some fun saving the world as you travel the countries of World Showcase. This free activity isn’t just for kids — adults will enjoy it too!
• Best Time to Visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios
With the 2011 opening of Star Tours and the continued popularity of Toy Story Mania and the Rock n’ Rollercoaster, it can be tough to see everything you want to see when you visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Your chance to see everything will skyrocket if you choose the right day and time for your visit. Choose poorly and your chances of riding everything on your wish list will plummet faster than a falling elevator on the Tower of Terror.
Since this park hosts Extra Magic Hours on Mondays and Saturdays, avoid visiting on those days; the park will be crowded as resort guests take advantage of this perk. Visit on a different day and you’ll see a lot less congestion, though popular attractions like Star Tours will still have a line most times of the year.
If you plan on spending the day in the park, head there first thing in the morning on the day you have chosen. Allow at least 30 minutes of travel time if you are using the Disney transportation system, and a little less if you are driving. You should be waiting when the park opens and proceed directly to your favorite attraction.
Tip: Consider sending the fastest member of your party ahead to secure Fastpasses for something to ride later in the day. Toy Story Mania typically has the longest line and runs our of Fastpasses for the day mid-morning during the busier times of year.
If you prefer an evening visit and want to catch the “Fantasmic!” fireworks show, arrive at dinnertime instead; note that during busy periods, there still may be long lines at this time of day.
When planning your Disney vacation choose the time of year that suits your needs, then focus on the day and time that works best for your travel party.
• Best Time to Visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The most important part of timing your Disney vacation is deciding what time of year is best for your needs. Once you have chosen your dates, selecting the right park to visit at the right time will help you avoid delays and long lines.
Head to the Animal Kingdom first thing in the morning on the right day of the week, and you’ll spot plenty of animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Show up just a few hours later on the wrong day and you may find yourself facing a two hour wait to ride Expedition Everest.
Extra Magic Hours on Saturday and Monday mornings will bring plenty of resort guests to the Animal Kingdom theme park, so avoid this park on those days if you are staying off-site. By the time you are admitted, there will be guests in line at every popular attraction.
While it is a good idea to show up first thing in the morning at any Disney Park, it is particularly important to head to the Animal Kingdom when it opens. If you are visiting during one of the hot summer months, you won’t see many of the animal inhabitants by the afternoon, since they will retreat to the shadiest spots in their enclosures to escape the heat. This park is not open at night, so an evening visit is not an option.
If you are visiting during a slow time of year, head to the Animal Kingdom in the afternoon without worry; the park will begin to empty out around 3:00 p.m. Skip the Animal Kingdom in the afternoon if you are traveling during a crowded time — not only will the park be packed, but most Fastpasses will have completed distribution for the day as well.
Give yourself about a half hour to reach the Animal Kingdom in the morning if you are relying on the Disney transportation system, and about 15 minutes if you are driving your own car.