How to Conquer a Disney Park

How to Conquer a Disney Park

"Just like every boy scout you should always be prepared"

Even with me being the huge Disney fan I am, every time I go to the parks I always want to know what I can do to get the most out of my trip. Which I am sure is also what a lot of people want as well out of their vacation. With Disney being the way it is, it is constantly finding ways to be innovative to make your experience as a guest easier. However, sometimes it almost feels like as a guest you are left in the dark about these innovations to make your experience truly magical.Here are some helpful tips on how to make your vacation the best it can be at either the Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World.

Do your research

Just like Walt said himself "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world". Which means that if you haven't visited a Disney park in about 10 years, most likely things have changed. Depending on the person, these changes can either be bad or good but it's never fun to go in blind. The parks are a bit overwhelming if you've never been to one before so my advice is to study up beforehand. There are so many resources out there that tell you what each of the parks entail, that by the time you finally get to your vacation you'll have at least a little bit of an idea of what's going on to give you the best vacation ever!

Helpful links:

My previous article- 5 Podcasts that Will Help Prepare You For Walt Disney World(all of these podcasts also talk about planning Disneyland trips as well)

Disneyland's and Disney World's Official Thing's to Do pages: Disneyland/Disneyworld

Plan Ahead

Just like every boy scout you should always be prepared. Never assume when it comes to going on a Disney trip. If you want to eat dinner at one of their sit down full service restaurants I suggest calling in a reservation before your trip just so that it is guaranteed. Attractions wise, once you've done the research, map out what you want to do and make those top rides that hold your interest your first priority of what you are going to do for the day. The main thing is to have a schedule almost to accomplish your Disney Trip Bucket List.

Helpful Links:

Maps- Disneyland, Walt Disney World

Advanced Dining Reservations Phone Number for Walt Disney World- (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463.

Advanced Dining Reservations Phone Number for Disneyland: (714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463.

Fastpass/Single Rider lines all the way

Fastpass is one of the best ways of accomplishing the things you want to get done at Disney parks. Basically the idea is that you get a fastpass that is a ticket to let you skip a part of the normal standby line at a designated time. Now Disneyland and Walt Disney World have both very different systems but they are both very helpful. Here is how they work;

Walt Disney World- They have the fastpass+ system where you can set up about three fastpasses for the day before you even get to the park. Once you complete those three fastpasses you can then begin to do one fastpass at a time for the rest of the day. However, here is something fun about the system once you've made your first three fastpasses for the day you can actually change them to something else if you have interest in a different ride halfway through the day.
Disneyland- They use the paper fastpass system where you receive a paper ticket with your a lotted return time. With this you can get as many fastpasses you want for the day as long as they don't occur at the same time as a fastpass you already have. With this you can get really lucky sometimes. Let's say you get a fastpass for Haunted Mansion that starts at 9:30-10:30 am and then you run to Space Mountain and see they have fastpasses going from 8:25-9:25 that means you can basically skip the line on almost two rides in a row!

When it comes to getting a hold of fastpasses the best idea is to use them for what is probably going to be the most popular rides or the rides you really really want to ride. Grab them when you first get into the park so you know there is a definite chance you will get on a ride.

However, let's say you aren't able to get a fastpass and the ride you really want to ride has a really long wait. This is where the single rider line comes into play. Although it is fun to ride an attraction with your family you also probably want to do more with your day than just wait in line. The single rider line is a line where you are basically a seat filler. If a cart on a ride holds four and a family of three get's on someone from the single rider line get's placed on the spot. It usually is a shorter wait time then the normal stand by but don't expect to immediately get on.

Helpful Links:

More info on fastpasses: Disneyland/ Walt Disney World

Which ride's have single rider lines at Disneyland?: link

Ask for a cast member's opinion.

Don't be afraid to ask cast members for suggestions. The people who work at the parks have a lot of knowledge usually, of where they work. As an ex cast member I can say that I visited the parks a lot and when I was working I loved getting asked for suggestions of what people should do with their. Not to mention that sometimes us cast members have little tidbits of knowledge or Disney history we would love to share with guests.

Don't forget to have fun though and wander around.

With all this planning and researching to forget that you are the happiest place on earth and to have fun!

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.


Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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A Thank You Letter To Raising Cane's, The True MVP Of The Chicken Finger World

Goodbye golden arches, hello Cane's sauce!


Dearest Cane's,

You have completely altered my existence as I have known it to be. Ever since my being stepped through the entryway of your establishment, my relationship with fast food has forever changed. Your effortless menu of fewer than 10 items makes the selection process of food so much smoother. A meal of chicken fingers, fries, a piece of toast, a drink and your immaculate Cane's sauce has no chance of being beat.

Most of the time I eat rather healthier, I eat out every once in a while but don't make a habit of it. For me, eating out is more of a social thing, not something to live off of. Anyways, I had never heard of Raising Cane's Chicken until my friend, who goes to school in the south, clued me in on this amazing place. Most fast food restaurants have cheap food and a cheap experience, but not Cane's. While Cane's may have a cheap price, their food is not cheap. Every chicken finger is perfect. Their fries and slice of Texas toast is just the right amount of food.

There is also no need for ketchup at Cane's, everything can be dipped with ease into the special Cane's sauce.

Now, not to sound crazy, but my brother and I have become a little obsessed with you, Cane's. This summer we have eaten at Cane's probably once a week. While our parents had other plans, on Monday nights, after a long day of work, we hop in the car and drive to Cane's.

That's a little crazy, I know, but if you've had Cane's you would understand.

I am telling you, as someone who has eaten more than a few times, you need to try it. The locations are limited here in the Midwest, but this meal is essential for any fast food chicken connoisseur.

So, thank you, Raising Cane's, for making excellent chicken fingers and altering the way I think of fast food.

Cover Image Credit:

Hannah Henley

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