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Disney in a Day
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Disney in a Day

Minnie & Mickey Mouse

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

By Rhonda Crone

If you're planning a family trip to Orlando, it's likely a part of your vacation includes Disney World. But, Disney doesn't have to be a weeklong excursion. Whether you're driving over from the condo you rented on the Gulf or live in Florida, Disney can be a day trip, if you do your homework.

There are four major Disney theme parks: The Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, the Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. There are also two water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. To experience all six of these attractions, yes, you would need a week, but if you are short on time and on cash, your kids can get a little Disney experience in only a day.

A one-day Magic Your Way pass gives you access to one of the four major theme parks, and since there is no logical way to do all four in one day, you have no choice but choose. (For an additional sum, roughly $50 per person, you can hop parks and see more than one. The Park Hopper and Water Park options, charged separately, when combined offer access to all 6.) The Magic Kingdom is the classic Disney park, and if your kids want to see Cinderella's castle this should be your pick.

Magic Kingdom opens at 9 a.m. (8a.m. on some days in summer), the car park opens one hour earlier. The trip from the car door to front gate is roughly 15 minutes. Thus there is there is really no reason to arrive at the crack of dawn! Note: remember your parking section, which will be named "Goofy," or the like.

Once you're in, a map is a must! Locate the rides and attractions you want to hit and smartly plot your route. If there are any shows you want to see, check the map for times, and plan accordingly.

Maximize your day. Buy your tickets online and Fastpass to avoid queues. To use the Fastpass system insert your admission ticket (one at a time) into the Fastpass machine at the desired attraction. Collect your Fastpass tickets. Return to the attraction, be sure to enter the Fastpass line, during the one-hour window marked on each ticket. But before you Fastpass for an attraction consider the following:

  • You can't Fastpass a second time unless your return window for the first has elapsed or 2 hours have passed.

  • A limited number of Fastpasses are offered for each attraction. They go quickly at popular rides.

  • Split tasks. Have one parent obtain Fastpass tickets while the stands in line with the kids for a different attraction.

  • Don't discard your Fastpass tickets; you need them to access the attraction.

Oh, and have fun, and make sure you allot at the very least 8 hours to do Disney in a Day.

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