I want to take my kids (age 4, 7 and 11) to Disney World, Florida, but I can’t stand queues! We’ve got to stick to the school holidays. When is the best time to go? And any tips on how to keep them occupied while we wait?

There’s no avoiding the fact that Disney World is at its busiest when kids are out of school. Not wishing to condone absenteeism, skipping school for a week would certainly help you avoid some of the infamous two-hour-plus queues – and you could pacify Head Teacher by encouraging your children to write a report based on more educational parks like EPCOT. Your best bet for doing Disney during school holidays is probably the spring or autumn half terms, avoiding the particularly busy Easter, Summer and Christmas periods. Things do quieten down during the latter half of August, but don’t forget that even relatively uncrowded months, like September, tend to have fewer special events planned. Dedicated followers of Mickey usually think it’s worth fighting the crowds to experience Disney at its best.

To keep yourself one step ahead of the masses, make customised park maps (following the links to ‘My Disney Vacation’) before you leave home to highlight the best order to do your favourite rides.

Be sure to purchase park tickets in advance and keep an eye on opening times so you can arrive half an hour before turnstiles swing into action.

At Magic Kingdom, stake out a shady spot on Main Street in plenty of time for the afternoon parade. The bridge to Tomorrowland, meanwhile, can offer a less crowded viewpoint of the evening fireworks display. Avoid the mass exodus afterwards by chilling out with ice creams.

Don’t forget that many of the most popular rides and attractions have a FastPass facility. This is essentially a polite way of queue jumping – just insert your entrance ticket into a FastPass machine and you’ll receive a designated time when you can board the ride by a special, less congested entrance. You can only FastPass one ride at a time. Parent Switch is another nifty device, enabling parents with children too young to ride to take turns without having to queue twice.

For those inevitable times when you find yourself at the tail end of a seemingly interminable zigzag of shuffling humanity, try inventing simple boredom busters like ‘Disney alphabet’ where you challenge children to name an A-Z of characters. You could also bring a picnic and eat it while queuing – you’ll save money and time by not having to scrum down at a park café. It’s also a good idea to delve in the Disney stores early in the day (they’re manic nearer closing time) and encourage kids to choose something to keep them amused in queues.