ORLANDO — home of the nation’s best theme parks, water parks, and attractions. The rides alone in the nation’s funnest city would take the better part of a month to experience if you did them eight hours a day (and that’s not counting the time waiting in line!) You only need a few things to enjoy places like the Magic Kingdom, SeaWorld, Epcot Center, and Universal Studios: tickets, some spare cash, some comfy shoes, a few days’ time, and the desire to enjoy awesomeness. That said, you can achieve an even greater level of enjoyment if you follow a few simple tips:
The parks might not open until 9, but the crowd starts gathering at 8:45. If you want to be the first in line for the highest-traffic rides (Escape from Gringott’s, Minion Mayhem), you have to have your Universal Studios tickets in hand, be the first in line at the front gate, and then you have to make a beeline straight for the ride you want. Save the lower-wait rides for later and be happy knowing that you saved yourself an average of 45 minutes by being clever with your timing.
Get a Hotel with a Shuttle
Staying off-park is often a great deal in terms of money, but if you set yourself up to have to wake up, slam breakfast, and start driving, you’ll have a lot harder of a time implementing our first tip. Hotel shuttles usually cost either nothing, or $5 — less than one-third the cost of parking. The only wrinkle is that you have to be very careful not to miss your hotel’s final pick up, or you’ll have to take a taxi — and lose every dollar’s advantage that you just gained.
Don’t Hesitate to Go Solo
If someone in the family wants to go on a particular ride and they’re the only one, check for a ‘singles line’ — most rides have one, and they tend to move much faster than the group lines. If you can’t identify a singles line, ask the attendant — they’ll either point it out, or keep you in mind for the next car that has an empty space. The rest of the family will appreciate not waiting around, and the solo will get the ride they want.
Keep those Universal Studios tickets close by, keep your alarm clock on your nightstand, and pack a quick breakfast, because if you heed our tips, your days at Universal Studios are going to be packed, stacked, and all that!