When most people think of Walt Disney World, they imagine crowds and hot weather. However, Disney Insiders know there are tricks to avoid crowds and manage the heat! Long lines, crowded walkways, and traffic can all be avoided by following these simple 10 tips.
10. Stand Behind Cinderella’s Castle for Fireworks
If you don’t need to see the Celebrate the Magic show projected onto the castle, or you’ve seen it before, avoid the massive crowd by standing behind Cinderella Castle. The area between Fantasyland and New Fantasyland is virtually empty and gives you a different prospective of fireworks coming from the castle and from beyond the Be Our Guest Restaurant. It puts you right in the middle of the show and you’ll even find a few places to sit down.
9. Ride During Parades
Lines are typically shorter during both the afternoon and evening parades, so if you don’t need to see them, or have seen them before, utilize the time that most park guests spend waiting for the parade to visit some attractions located away from the parade routes.
8. Eat During Off-Peak Times
Likewise, lines are shorter during the main dining hours, particularly 12pm-2pm for lunch and 5:30pm-7:30pm for dinner. When choosing a dining time, try to go before or after these hours so you can go on rides when others are eating. This works two ways as you can usually get shorter lines on some attractions and have better dining availability when making reservations.
7. Dine at Disney Resorts
Another way to avoid crowds is by eating at the many restaurants offered at the Disney Resorts. Each of the four parks has several resorts nearby so there is always something a short bus, monorail or boat ride away. Restaurants in the hotels don’t tend to book as quickly, with the exception of the character dining experiences and the California Grill. If you can, step away from the parks and dine at a resort where you’ll have a chance to explore more of the Disney property and avoid the large crowds.
Using your allotted three Fastpasses per day lets you cut the line and have little to no wait on the busiest Disney World attractions. Once you use your first three Fastpasses, you can use the kiosks around the parks to sign up for another one depending upon availability. (The attractions must all be in the same park for that day.) Using your Fastpasses lets you visit more rides without having to wait on the long lines that typically form for the major attractions.
5. Get There Early
Getting to the parks early is the best way to avoid the major crowds year-round. You may still have some crowds during the summer and holiday periods, but they’ll be much worse after the park has been open its first hour. Arriving about a half hour before rope drop allows you to get your spot in line and go through security for bag checks so that when the park does open, you’ll be one of the first inside and can have your pick of park attractions with no lines.
4. Embrace “Bad” Weather Days
Chances are at some point it will rain during your Disney World vacation. Don’t let that keep you from enjoying a day at the parks. Don your rain gear, throw on a sweatshirt and get out there. Outdoor rides will have shorter lines in bad weather and if you’re going to get wet anyway, you might as well have some fun. Ever try Expedition Everest in the rain? So long as there is no lightning or hurricane winds, rides will stay open as long as they can.
3. Use Extra Magic Hours
If you’re staying on property, Disney Resort Hotel guests have access to Extra Magic Hours that allow guests to visit select parks either before opening or after closing. Some late night Extra Magic Hours can go as late at 2am. The later you stay, the smaller the crowds will be.
2. Avoid Major Holidays
The three busiest days for the Disney World parks are Christmas Day, New Years and the 4th of July. During these days, the Magic Kingdom tends to be the busiest with the park sometimes closing due to reaching maximum capacity. If you are vacationing during these holidays, visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom instead. You can also take this time to visit other attractions the resort has to offer such as the mini golf courses, Downtown Disney, and resort entertainments.
1. Go Off-Peak
Of course the best way to avoid crowds is to visit during off-peak times. Mid-January through February and late-August through September tend to be the least busy times of the year. If you can take the kids out of school, planning your trip during weekdays works even better. To minimize crowds, avoid special events such as the Epcot festivals, the runDisney events, and Show Your Disney Side promotional days.
With cooler temperatures and less people, you’ll be able to see more of the resort at a more relaxed and comfortable pace.
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Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper