Aside from creating magical memories and having the time of your life, there is one guarantee that you can bet on for your next Disney trip; crowds! Even through tough economic times, families are still finding ways to travel to the happiest place on earth. Crowds can put a major damper to your plans. It can be challenging to work your way around them, but not to fear! Here are 8 ways to beat the crowds on your next trip to Disney!
8. Stay on Disney Property
If you choose to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort, not only will you be in the magic throughout your whole vacation, but you will be closer to the parks at all times. Traveling to the parks from outside resorts can cause a major delay in getting the fun started. When you stay on property, you are minutes away from the parks. You don’t even have to take your own car, which means less traffic! By taking the Disney busses, you will automatically beat the crowds when entering the parks in the mornings or on busy holiday days.
7. Make Reservations
I can’t tell you how many times reservations have saved me from having to disappoint my family with not being able to dine at our favorite restaurants. It is very difficult to just walk into most Disney property restaurants as a walk-in. Most restaurants have been reserved for guests weeks and even months in advance. Chances are if you don’t reserve at a Disney restaurant, you will have a ridiculous wait time or may even be told that there is no availability for the rest of the day. Beating the crowds when dining is simple. Just reserve your place at your favorite restaurant as soon as possible, and you are sure to beat the crowds!
6. Ride While Shows and Parades Are Taking Place
Who doesn’t love a great Disney show or parade? There is truly nothing like it, however, these are the best times to take advantage of those rides with killer wait times. Most of the parades and shows are only put on once or twice a day. You may have to miss seeing them if beating the crowds on rides is your priority. If you are visiting the same park twice on your visit, designate a day when you can see the parades or shows that you missed while riding the rides. This way, you can have your cake and eat it too!
5. Grab A FastPass+
This may be the very best invention since sliced bread. Fast passes are a great way to beat the crowds at popular rides as well. For those guests that haven’t been to Disney since the new My Disney Experience app has been introduced, you will need to know that you can select your FastPass+ 30-60 days in advance by linking your tickets to the app. Since this has been introduced, many park guests have taken advantage of this option weeks prior to their visit. The down side to all of this is that guests that arrive at the park and select their Fast Passes there for the first time will most likely not be able to snag one for the popular rides since they were already scheduled in advance by most guests through the app. Since there are a limited number of FastPass+ options per ride per day, this is something you will want to look into doing before your trip. Having a FastPass+ for the popular attractions will be a great way to beat the crowds on busy days!
4. Head out Early or Stay Very Late
It can be difficult to wake up early or stay up very late when visiting Disney. After all, you are on vacation and sleeping in isn’t usually the norm of most daily routines. When the parks are open very early in the morning and/or stay open late in the evening, there are fewer crowds. Most guests visit the parks at a decent hour in the morning and leave as it starts to get dark to enjoy festivities at their resort or at another location. Others arrive later in the afternoon to enjoy the nighttime parades and fun. No matter what the schedules of other guests are, the early morning hours and late night hours are your best bet to beat some of the crowds!
3. Take Advantage of Extra Magic Hours
Speaking of arriving early and staying late, another great advantage of staying at a resort on Disney property is the extra magic hours. Every day, a different Walt Disney World theme park is chosen to offer on-site guests an additional hour or two in the morning or at night. Since they only allow on-site guests to take advantage of this additional time, this is a great opportunity to beat some of the crowds on rides and attractions. Just show your room key or scan your magic band and you can enjoy extra hours of fun and feel like a V.I.P!
2. Check out the Second Parade/Show
Some parades and shows are only shown once a day, so if watching them is your priority you may have to just deal with the crowds for that particular event. Depending on the parade and/or show, there are sometimes multiple showings of each. My biggest advice is to check out the second showing of the shoe or parade. Most guests wait hours in line and head over to the first showing of shows and/or parades so that they can move on with their day. There is usually more of a demand for the first show than there is the second show, so if you can hold off, check out popular attractions during the first show time and then head over to the second showing. Chances are you will be able to enjoy attractions with smaller wait times and enjoy a show or parade with less of a crowd.
1. Visit During the Slow Season
This may seem like the obvious, but it is by far the best way to avoid crowds. There are certain months of the year where crowds are typically lighter than usual. I personally enjoy visiting in January through early March, and then again at the end of August through September. At the beginning of the year, many people are paying off their credit cards from holiday gifts and many have already visited the parks during the holiday season. Most of us spend more money than usual for the holidays, so it can be hard to travel in January-February. During the months of August and September, kids are back at school. If you are able to save a little for these times of the year, or have a flexible work schedule, chances are you will enjoy the parks without a large crowd.
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