Top theme park tips of the week: Where to start and what to buy

December 3, 2008, 11:09 PM · Two reader tips from the past week stood out among those submitted by Theme Park Insiders.

From the Walt Disney World Tips:

"Fast passes go very quickly at Toy Story Mania and Soarin. Get there early. Take advantage of the single riders line at Rockin Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest and Test Track. The line is usually short with hardly any wait."

And from Tips for All Parks:

"Oldie but a goodie - Always work your way backwards through a park instead of stopping at the first attraction you get to. You will beat 60% of the crowds."

I've done a couple of media interviews in the past week about annual passes, so I thought I'd throw a little love toward two more tips about APs that you'll find down toward the bottom of that Tips for All Parks page:

"If you are going to visit a park more than once in a year, look into buying an annual pass. Most include discounts on food, merchandise and parking and some can pay for themselves in as little as two visits."

"If you're going to get an annual pass, add parking to at least one pass. It seems expensive at first, but at over $10 a pop for parking at most parks it pays off in the end."

As always, you can submit your favorite tips for visiting theme parks, and vote up or down on those submitted by others at

Replies (4)

December 4, 2008 at 8:21 PM · Single Riders at Test Track is rarely available, but is definitely a huge time saver. I find Everest's line moves quite quickly, and there's lots to see, so I recommend either waiting with friends, using FastPass, or going during Extra Magic Hours.

As for "starting at the back of the park", this works well if you enter the park quite some time after opening (30 mins +). If you wait at the entrance for park opening, hit the major headliners first. I recommend buying Frommers' Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. Their touring guides are generated from an amazing algorithm-based program which literally tests millions of possibilities and determines the biggest time saving plan.

December 4, 2008 at 10:56 PM · Going towards the back of the parks seem like a good idea in Disney, especially EPCOT.
December 4, 2008 at 10:59 PM · That used to work before Disney started doing delayed openings for World Showcase.
December 5, 2008 at 10:04 AM · Also, per the second part. I agree fully with the Season/Annual Pass idea. Six Flags is pretty much set up that it almost is a better deal than just buying a ticket. Passes at Six Flags run about $80 with optional $60 parking pass. This last year at Six Flags Great America, it was $35 to enter the park and, if you didn't want to have to walk from the back lot, it cost $25 to be in the front lot making it around $60 every time you went there. Now for $140 for the whole pass thing, you would have to go at least 3 times for it to really pay for it all. The other nice thing is that it works for Fright Fest which tends to be more expensive and you get coupons and free tickets for your friends throughout the season!

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