Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Theme Park Secrets!

Do you remember your first visit to a theme park?  Do you have magical memories of the mouse?  Are you excited to explore Harry Potter World?  It is so much fun to share these moments with your kids.  Here are some insider theme park tips.

10 Theme Park Secrets to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios

  1. Work the park!
  • Start at the back or opposite end of the park and work forward.  This is a great way to get on several rides first thing without waiting very long. Being able to get on rides right away helps satisfy the initial over excitement of being at Universal Studios or Walt Disney World.
  • Go see indoor shows first thing in the morning.  Generally, theme park goers wait until the heat of the day to see indoor show, so if it is a popular show, first thing in the morning can have a lower wait time.
  • Do popular rides during lunch, late at night or during the parades.  If you don’t mind the heat, eating at off times or staying late, you can beat some of the long lines.
  • Make at least one air conditioned full service restaurant reservation.  At some point it is necessary for everyone to have a chance to relax, cool off and discuss or review the day.  The best time to make reservations is before you come, when you check, first thing in the morning when you enter the park at guest services or a computer kiosk.
  1. If you kids are little, let them lead.  Rushing your little ones to get on every ride isn’t fun for them.  It won’t be on their radar to maximize time and get the most value.  The order of how they want to do things won’t make sense either.  Don’t worry about it because what they will remember most is the feeling of the day.  Go with the flow as much as possible.
  2. At the Magic Kingdom don’t miss the Haunted Mansion—it is a classic and usually the wait is tolerable.  Also, Frontier land is usually deserted late at night, especially during the parade.  This area has fun rides that you might consider cheesy, but are fun for the whole family. Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise and Swiss Family Robison Tree House are located here.
  3. If you are going to Epcot, consider skipping the ball.  The line is very long and the ride itself gets mixed reviews by park goers.  The Lands is a water ride that takes you on a tour of Epcot’s hydroponics’ gardens.  It is very interesting, usually has a short line and it is air conditioned!
  4. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a blast.  It is a small park and the lines are typically short.  Don’t miss the Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show.  It is a pleaser for the whole group.
  5. Islands of Adventure which is one of the Universal Studios’ Parks has something for everyone.  They have plenty of rides for kids of all ages from Dr. Seuss to awesome roller coasters.  And of course, Harry Potter World is something that is not to be missed.  However, skip the wand show at Oleanders wand shop.  It is a sales show that for the wand gift shop.  The show itself is short and the line is very long.
  6. Get the fast pass!  Both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios offer fast pass and ride while you wait.  Usually there is an additional charge for the fast pass service that allows you to wait in a different shorter line.  The ‘ride while you wait’ option lets you get a ticket to come back at a different time for a shorter wait.  If you are staying at a resort, the fast pass is included in some packages. 
  7. If you are staying at a resort take advantage of the extra park hours where you can get into the parks before or after it officially closes.  Also, enjoy what is on the resort property.  Pools, playgrounds, kid camp, mini golf, golf, paddle boats, surrey rides etcetera are on most resort properties.  It can be just as fun as going to one of the Theme Parks without fighting the crowds and waiting in line.
  8. Get the meal plans! Universal Studios and Walt Disney World offer meal plans that can save you a bundle while you get to sample all the delicious food the parks have to offer.
  9. Keep it simple.  The kids will have just as much fun climbing the sculptures at the Lego store, playing in the free fountains, and running around the many playgrounds in Downtown Disney and City Walk.  Do the pace that suits you and take the time to share happy nostalgic moments you can all treasure for years to come.