Let’s get this out of the way: It’s impossible to do every single thing there is to do in the Walt Disney World Resort during one trip.

The good news? You can absolutely maximize your time so you don’t feel like you missed out.

What soon-to-be travelers to the Disney theme parks need are time-saving Walt Disney World tips and tricks to squeeze out every ounce of magic from their vacation. 🤗

There’s (almost) no part of any Disney park that you’re going to pass through without having the option to stop and look, eat, ride or experience. The parks are designed to be entertaining from top to bottom, front to back, themed garbage can to themed garbage can (yes, this is a thing).

How can you make the most out of your Disney World trip?

These three tried-and-tested WDW tips will help you save time so there’s more of it to spend on everything you love at WDW (which for us is…well…everything).

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Skip the dining plans, especially at Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios

Only have one day at the Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Sitting down for a restaurant meal can eat up an hour or more of your time. Dining at Roundup Rodeo BBQ took Tim Tracker, like, 2+ hours — no thank you.

One of our biggest WDW suggestions is that unless you have your heart set on a restaurant, skip it.

Talk to the hostess if you’ve already made a reservation and the time is approaching. Despite the app saying you’ll be charged, we’ve never had any trouble changing or canceling same-day reservations when we speak with someone.

The heavily themed Disney restaurants at MK and HS, like Be Our Guest and the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, are awesome to look at, but they don’t have a good reputation when it comes to food quality. (Plus, Sci-Fi’s seating is super uncomfortable.)

At MK, Casey’s Corner and the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn are our favorite quick-service spots.

At HS, the ABC Commissary is seriously underrated, and Ronto Roasters is a crowd-pleaser. For more of a sit-down feel at HS without the time commitment, check out the Baseline Tap House or Oga’s Cantina.

(Honestly, if you’re into cocktails, go to Oga’s no matter what. The drinks are excellent, and there’s a 45-minute time limit, which you probably won’t use up anyway.)

Shop on your day off

Hopefully, you’ve worked in some time off during your Walt Disney World vacation (your aching legs will thank you).

Skip souvenir shopping in the parks and save it for Disney Springs.

DS has the Marketplace Co-op and the World of Disney, two stores that have pretty much any and every souvenir you can find in the parks. Plus, the Co-op usually has some merch you won’t find anywhere else.

Alice in Wonderland bags at the World of Disney in Disney Springs to follow Disney World tips about shopping on a day off.
Alice in Wonderland bags at the World of Disney in Disney Springs.

Now, keep in mind that some of the ride-specific shops will have products you’ll only find there, like Memento Mori next to the Haunted Mansion at MK or the gift shop you exit through after riding the Tower of Terror at HS. And the World Showcase shops in Epcot have a ton of items that are specific to those shops.

But if you have the urge to go shopping in some of the larger or more standard gift shops in the parks, like the Emporium at MK or Creations at Epcot, go to DS for souvenir shopping instead.

Bonus: You’ll save yourself the trouble of carrying your purchases around the park.

Hit up popular rides during the nighttime show

If you’re cool with missing a nighttime show, that’s the best time to run around to all the rides that usually have a long line.

We even walked on to Rise of the Resistance during Fantasmic. Granted, it was the first night the show returned post-pandemic, but still. 🤯

We also rode Expedition Everest so many times in a row that we made ourselves dizzy during the nighttime show at the Animal Kingdom theme park, and we had the greatest view ever of the fireworks during the outdoor sections.

Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom in Disney World.

P.S. The earlier you decide you’re not going to attend the nighttime show, the better.

As you pick and choose your Lightning Lanes for the day, you’ll know what to prioritize.

For example, the Magic Kingdom Fantasyland rides will be easier to get on when the fireworks show is happening (and It’s a Small World is almost always line-free right before park closing). You can spend your limited LLs on something you’re more likely to miss out on.

Let’s recap these Walt Disney World tips

Everything in the Disney parks is great on some level. See as much as you can.

Our best WDW tips and tricks for saving time to fit more in are:

  • Skip dining reservations and a sit-down meal; have quick-service instead.
  • Save your souvenir shopping for Disney Springs.
  • Get on rides during the nighttime show.

Want a few suggestions for your WDW vacation packing list? Here are 19 items we brought for a month-long stay. Most of them are coming with us from now on, whether we plan to visit Disney World or somewhere else!