Save yourself the struggle and watch the Magic Kingdom parades from Liberty Square or Frontierland. If you still insist on a spot on Main Street, try near the barber shop.
If you want to watch the Electrical Parade, plan to catch the second parade of the night, you'll be waiting an extra hour with the lines for the monorail and trams anyways since everyone lives after fire works.
I honestly didn't want to go through all 15 pages of the thread so here are a few tips I always share with Disney folks.
You can ride Test Track via the Single Rider line and still design your own car. Just go through the exit gift shop area into the "Design Studio" and there are a few kiosks in there that you can design your own car just as you do in the main queue. Save it to your MagicBand or pass and go through the single rider line. Your design will be accessed just as anyone else in the main queue.
Walk between Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Instead of wasting time on the boats or buses, just walk between the two parks. You can get to each with a 20 minute walk. This is perfect if you are leaving one for another to watch fireworks, etc. You just exit out and walk the path that follows the water way the boats use and you are there. Saves a LOT of time.
Watch Illuminations from beside the Rose & Crown. There is a small patio with about 15 tables that is NOT a part of the Rose & Crown dining room or pub. It offers unobstructed views of the entire show and can seat around 20-30 people. The tables do not move though the chairs do. It's usually pretty easy to get a spot here as many think it is a part of the Rose & Crown dining room. Still get there at least 30 minutes prior to the show.
LOL. Once, when our boys were teenagers and didn't want to get up early for rope drop, DH and I (probably more excited to be there than they were) simply told them we'd meet them wherever it was we had a ressie for lunch and not to be late. If they wanted breakfast, they could buy it (with their own money) downstairs, the shuttle left at 20 till the hour, and don't forget their tickets for the park. They got up in time for rope drop every morning after that.
I'm sure that this has been mentioned about a million times but...ROPE DROP. Hands down. Not only do you get onto some of the best, most popular rides with little to no wait, you also can take in the magic of morning light on a quiet park. There is nothing quite like Main Street USA right after rope drop, it's pure magic. And the welcome show at Magic Kingdom is always one of the highlights of a day spent in Magic Kingdom for me. Rope Drop is still great at the other parks, but it's best at Magic Kingdom.
This is just a quick tip. I find the lack of iced coffee at the resorts...just strange. Having hot coffee at breakfast in the summer humidity doesn't cut it for me. So I usually pick up an iced coffee at Starbucks when leaving the park at night, and keep the iced coffee in the room fridge overnight. Good iced coffee for breakfast!
Good tip! The iced coffee at the parks (both Starbucks and Joffreys) are really great, and easy to find. But even deluxe resorts seem to have zero iced coffee, which in subtropical Florida is just bizarre!
I almost hate to second this tip, because I don't want to give away one of my favorite secrets. But yes, the Rose & Crown is my favorite Illuminations spot. It's so close that you can feel the heat from the inferno barge.
My #1 tip for doing WDW in the summer: GO HOME in the afternoon. Get there early, do some rides, get a snack, and then leave around noon or 1. Go back to the resort. Sit in the A/C, have a sandwich, swim in the pool, take a nap, and cool down & recharge. Go back to the parks in the evening, have dinner, and do stuff until it closes. There are few places more hot, humid, crowded, and draining than a Disney park on an August afternoon. It's quieter and cooler in the morning and evening.
This is true! I'd forgotten that there is (was) a Joffrey's coffee bar in the downstairs lobby of the Contemporary. I hope it's still there. My attempts at finding iced coffee at Saratoga Springs, the Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Resort, etc have been futile.
The best tip I ever got was from these boards...eat at some table service places! WOW. Not only is it nice to take some time out of the day to enjoy sitting down/being served/air conditioning...but some of the food in Disney is phenomenal! Before these boards...we might eat one sit down per trip...we are super heavy on counter service because we are always on the go. Now my boyfriend and I eat a bunch of table service every trip. Sit down dinners, baby! So good! And it's the thing that has my boyfriend wanting to go back year after year...so that's a priceless tip!
Boy, should I have listened to that. In all the trips I have made, I have never done the attraction except for my last trip, thinking "what's the harm, might as well experience it once before they tear it out".
I seriously wanted to gauge my eyes out halfway through, and I wish I could demand Disney give me my 8 minutes back. It is beyond horrible.
Absolutely one of my favorite things! Main Street is truly magical at closing....or about 1 hour after. After the "elbow room only" crowds have dried up, walking down Main Street, lights twinkling, reveling in the sights and sounds of the day, doing a little wind down before going to back to your resort for some shut-eye....priceless!!
It's not really a secret or anything but the shortcut through Adventureland/Frontierland. My dad showed me that when I was a girl (I thought he was the coolest for knowing that!) and ever since it's always his go to if we're hustling. He still gets a big smile when we rush through that area!