1. The weather is hot much of the year in Central Florida. Okay, DUH! However, if you’ve never been at a theme park for twelve hours a day in the sun, you don’t realize how exhausting it can be. The sun itself, the humidity and standing in line can poop anyone out!
2. Walking around the theme parks takes stamina. If you’re not used to walking a lot, I’d suggest taking walks every day for a few months before your vacation. Get two (in case one gets wet) good pairs of walking shoes that you’ve broken in for at least a few months. I can’t tell you how many blisters it took me to learn that!
3. Open yourself up to chatting with other guests. Standing in line can get monotonous. If you take the time to chat with your fellow guests, you’ll make new friends and ride buddies. Some of the best experieces I’ve had on ride are after talking to someone in line about how "scary" or fun the ride is. If it is your first time on the attraction and you are a little leery, ask someone in the queue what their experience has been. Conversely, if you have been on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster for the third time today tell someone who hasn’t been on it, especially a little kid, how much fun it is!
Chat with Cast Members too! Cast Members love to interact with guests. Ask them about their job. They’ll share some great info with you.
4. Take full advantage of the FASTPASS system! Did you know once you reach the window of time on your first FASTPASS you can get a second one? I have waited until my FASTPASS time and then headed to another ride to get a second FASTPASS. Then, I rode a third ride with a short line. I ended up on three rides in a row with little to no wait. It takes a little maneuvering but it can be done!
5. Don’t be afraid to walk into an empty line. If there are two lines for a ride (and there isn’t one designated as a FASTPASS line), and both lines are open, use the empty one! I’ve saved myself a lot of time with this one. Guests seem to be comfortable following others. Often everyone will head for one line. Many say it’s the line to the left that usually has less people, but I’ve found that sometimes it can be the line on the right side! This also works at the security check points (in some of the parks) and the entrance lines. Keep your eyes open. Any turnstile at the entrances with a lighted green arrow (and not a red X) is open for business! Go through! Most counter food service lines have two sides. You can order on the right or left of the cashier. Use which ever line is shortest.
6. Don’t worry about missing anything. You may hear that an attraction is "not to be missed". I say, if the line is long, miss it and find another time to go! Try early in the morning, just before closing or during a parade.
7. Don’t expect to relax unless you schedule it. I came back from my first trip needing a vacation! Take time to look at all the work the horticulture department puts into the beautiful landscaping. Watch kids running through one of the many fountains. Watch the fountain "show" at the big fountain in Epcot. Just people watch. You’d be surprised at how entertained you can be by that!
8. Packages….gooood! Disney is excellent at making your experience as guest-friendly as possible. Purchasing a package that includes your resort room, theme park tickets and dining makes your vacation carefree. It saves you time and stress because it is all taken care of in advance. It’s a great value too! Do the math (or let us do it for you)!
9. Getting up early to get on a lot of rides quickly is a great idea. But if you get to the parks before opening, you get to enjoy the "opening show". Characters come out and sing and dance at some parks and stop to pose for photos at others. It adds to your whole experience and is a great way to start your day.
10. Take the time to see the other resorts. Disney’s theming is worth the trip. (This is especially true at Christmas.) Getting there can be fun too! Ride the monorail and see the resorts on the line, for example. You may discover your "home away from home" for your next trip or a great restaurant you’d like to try on this one!