Long lines, up to two hours or more, can be avoided with planning
When is the best time to visit Disney World and Universal Studios?

Aside from the obvious “anytime”, the off season at Disney World provides the greatest value and the shortest lines.   The off season runs from the last two weeks of August through early March-- with some notable exceptions. Among the busiest weeks of the year are Thanksgiving, late December, Presidents Day and Spring Break.  In between those dates you will find nearly empty parks and fantastic bargains on hotels and Disney area rental homes. Take advantage of the low crowds, low prices, short lines and cooler weather while visiting Florida theme parks including Universal Studios, Sea World, Disney World and Legoland. 

Imagine being able to ride all of the biggest attractions to your heart’s content!  Because of such short lines in the off season, you can ride the most popular rides like Splash Mountain, Soarin’, Toy Story Mania and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with minimal wait.  No need for fast passes or the magic wristbands!   No long waits in the hot sun!  Low season provides many opportunities to ride your favorite rides multiple times.

Making the most of this quiet time also includes being able to relax and check out the newest attractions in the parks.  You can enjoy the minimal crowds and take your time while visiting the New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom.   Dinner at the new Be Your Guest restaurant often requires reservations months ahead of time during high season.  Riding Toy Story Mania in Hollywood Studios has proven to be almost impossible during the busy months due to Fast Pass running out most times by mid-day!  Otherwise you have no choice but to wait in line sometimes up to 2 hours or more.  The newly refurbished Test Track in EPCOT will surely be a very popular ride in the high season.

Low season is a great way for little ones to spend extra time with the characters. They will be delighted with pictures, autographs and spending a little extra time interacting with the characters without getting antsy standing in the hot sun and long lines.

At Universal Studios, imagine being able to roam freely in Harry Potter’s Wizarding World, enjoying a delicious butter beer or selecting your very own magic wand without getting stressed out that hundreds of others are trying to do the same. The newest 3-D attractions, Despicable Me, Minion Mayhem and Transformer are very popular. In the winter months, you can practically walk right on!

Other advantages begin even before you leave home.   Many airlines offer discounted tickets during this time, and many hotels and vacation rental homes offer discounted rates. For instance, the specials at Disneyarearentalhome.com can be nearly half off the weekly rates for prime season. Picture your family in your spacious vacation rental home a few minutes from Disney, being able to sleep late, have a leisurely breakfast at your house before venturing out to the parks.  You have no fear of trying to beat the crowds and feeling stressed out.  At the end of the day, you have plenty of time to come home, have a relaxing dinner or maybe take a ride to Downtown Disney.  Enjoying the heated pool, taking in a movie or bowling at Splitsville are some of the many options available because you would have already fulfilled all of the rides and attractions your family wanted to visit that day. 

Off season saves you money on tickets as well. During the high season, you often need a multi-day pass to ensure that your family can enjoy all of the rides and see all of the shows. During the off season, you can probably get everything in that your family wants to see in half the time.  This allows you to save the money you would have spent on additional days in one park to explore other neighboring attractions such as Sea World, LegoLand or even the beautiful Florida beaches. 

Mid Novemeber and no lines at Harry Potter, by Christmas you can count on two hour lines.
In early to mid November the lines at Wizarding World are nearly non-existent. By Christmas this will be the start of a two hour wait. Certain weeks are best, early November, early December, the last three weeks of January and all of February except for President's Day week. A great resource is the calendar offered by Undercover Tourist. This helps you plan not just the week but the specific park to go to on any specific day.

Plan ahead and visit Disney World in the off season if you can. You will be amazed at how much you can do in a day and still have time to enjoy the Florida sun!

Magical Disney World tech changes wristbands
In August of 2012 Disney unveiled its My Disney Experience app for Apple products and then followed shortly thereafter with the Android version.  This new app heralds a change in the way Disney World will do business at its parks in the future. While the app is not yet truly magical, it does allow guests to see wait times at Disney World rides, use maps with gps and make reservations for dining.  Enhancing the utilization of this app is Disney's new free WiFi access in the parks. The My Disney Experience app will start becoming truly magical as Disney unveils the larger project, MyMagic+.

MyMagic+ is being rolled out in phases and will be available to resort guests first. Ultimately, the new program will utilize wrist bands with RFID technology instead of the paper passes. Resort visitors will use these bands for room entry and park entry. Eventually, the rest of us will have access to the wrist bands where we will be able to purchase meals and souvenirs, enter the parks, plan pre-scheduled FastPass+ times and much more.

Not everyone is happy with MyMagic+. Concerns abound regarding security of the wrist bands and letting Disney have too much information. The wrist bands can be programmed so that your name, or that of a child, is accessible to cast members thereby, in theory, creating a more magical experience as you are greeted by name.  Magical to some, creepy to others.

The new enhancements will clearly benefit the planners among us. FastPass+ will let you book ride times months in advance and the new web applications will let you plan and coordinate itineraries with others.  Walt Disney Parks chairman Tom Skaggs released only sketchy details of the new MyMagic+ in his blog. Nonetheless, it is clear that Disney is moving towards a technologically linked park that will allow users to plan and spend effortlessly in the future. As with all Disney innovations, those that learn how to use them best will benefit most.  In a few more months we should have a better idea of how to optimize your trip with the new MyMagic+. For now, don't be afraid to download the iOS or Android app for My Disney Experience and start doing a little planning. Looking for affordable luxury in a rental home near Disney?  Visit us.