If you’re heading to the parks for the first time in a while, there’s tons of new stuff to take in. For example, visitors can now breeze onto the newest attractions (and grab the very best seat!) as well as cool off with all things frozen, both slushies and princesses.
If it seems like too much to handle, don’t worry—our insider tips are here to help.
Here are our proven tricks for living it up like an expert in Disney World this summer:
Grab the very best seat on Frozen Ever After.
The brand-new ride has garnered one of the longest queue times at EPCOT, but for Frozen fanatics, it’s totally worth it. Get up close to your favorite characters by requesting certain seats within the attraction’s boats. Olaf fans should sit toward the right, where all three of the warm-hug-loving snowman’s appearances will be, and any Elsa-obsessed young’ns should sit in the front to get the very best view of her mid-ride rendition of “Let It Go.” Impartial to either? Sit toward the back. You’ll get the best perspective of the ride as a whole, even if it includes other guest’s cell phones.
Leave yourself plenty of time to experience the new Norway.
The Frozen-themed ride has been experiencing sporadic mechanical difficulties since it opened in June, causing wait times to fluctuate. Head over to Epcot’s Norway Pavilion first thing in the morning to line up before the waits top out, and be sure you don’t have any lunch reservations for early that afternoon in case of any malfunctions. Afterwards, enter Royal Sommerhus to meet Elsa and Anna face-to-face in their summertime cabin. (This is the only place for meet-and-greets with the princesses; Olaf meet-and-greets currently take place at Hollywood Studios.)
Beware the Anna and Elsa gift shop.
The merchandise game is strong at Epcot’s newest attraction, and the ride shop is packed with become-a-princess kits that will transform your child into Arendelle’s young royals. There are gloves, purses, wigs and full-on gorgeous gowns for both Elsa and Anna—and they’ll cost a pretty penny. If you don’t have your Halloween costumes in order and are bad at saying no, consider this your warning!
For Star Wars fans, the force — and the wait — will be with you.
If you’re ride or die for the Rebel Alliance, you’ll definitely want to experience Hollywood Studios’ brand new nighttime show Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular—and if you want the full experience, you’re going to have to get there early. The show, which employs pyrotechnics and plenty of visual surprises is a sight worth seeing, but because there are more projections than fireworks (it’s said this was changed in order to avoid wildlife disruption at Animal Kingdom), you’ll need to be within closer range to see everything that’s happening. Plan to arrive at least an hour beforehand if you want to see it without obstruction.
Brace yourself for the heat.
If you’ve never been to the Florida parks in the middle of summer, it can sometimes be even hotter than you planned for. Shade can be minimal within the parks, so pack hats, sunscreen, and cooling towels. A portable fan is a good idea, too, and as counterintuitive as it may sound, an extra layer in case the indoor AC is too strong. Try your best to take sit-down breaks for lunch—it’s a great opportunity to recharge and stay out of the afternoon’s strong rays.
Experience Magic Kingdom’s new stage show late in the day.
Try to attend each afternoon’s final performance, when the crowd may be smaller and the temperature will be at least a few degrees lower. And, if you have to stave off some young Frozen obsessives to enjoy the show instead of naptime, feel free to give them the promise of princesses.
Cool down with some delectable frozen delights.
There are plenty of ice-cold treats that’ll keep you cooler longer than a melty cone of frozen yogurt. Opt for a frozen pineapple-coconut slushy at Epcot’s Electric Umbrella, or head over to the World Showcase for Japanese shaved ice at Kabuki Cafe. At Animal Kingdom, visit Harambe Market for a strawberry passion fruit Frozen Flamingo. And, at Magic Kingdom, try a raspberry-lemonade slushie at Cheshire Cafe or the signature frozen apple Lefou’s Brew Gaston’s Tavern. Over in Disney Springs? Pop by the Yesake kiosk for sake slushies, or Morimoto Asia’s Street Food counter for a pick-a-flavor black tea slush.
See the new Soarin’ how it was intended...
In case you haven’t heard, the beloved virtual hang glider now flies over monuments and landscapes across the world instead. Soarin’ Over The Horizon showcases monolithic buildings and global scenery, zooming past plenty more than the more simple, scenic version park guests are used to. To see it in its full glory, request to sit in the front center section. This way, the castles, pyramids, and monuments can be seen without the curvature of the massive domed IMAX screen skewing their appearance.
...unless you’ve got little ones in tow.
Believe it or not, young children may be a bit scared of this new take on Soarin’. While the previous version was more tranquil, the new quick cuts between segments can somewhat intense. Small children or ones who frighten easily may be more sensitive to the newer film, so be sure to take it into consideration.