How to Enjoy Walt Disney World Parks When They're Most Crowded

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Sometimes you have to travel at one of Walt Disney World’s most crowded times, and let’s face it- the “off season” doesn’t exist the way it did in the past.  If you’re traveling at a peak time, you’ll want to take advantage of a few of these tips to minimize your wait times and crowd-navigating. Don’t be discouraged if the parks are crowded; you can absolutely have a magical time even on the very busiest days.  

1. Temper your expectations

For guests who are not as familiar with how crowded Walt Disney World can be, perhaps the worst thing about the crowds is the shock of it all.  Knowing what to expect during your intended travel time is useful in tempering your expectations and knowing how much planning you really need to do.  A well thought-out park touring plan is more critical during Spring Break, for instance, than during the 2nd week of September when most children have just gone back to school.

2. Take advantage of extended park hours, if available

Park hours tend to be a bit longer during the busiest times of year, i.e. Spring Break, holidays, etc.  If you can close down the park at night when it’s open until midnight, you’ll enjoy some far less crowded time.  Similarly, try to rouse your family out of bed to “rope drop” in the morning. Arriving at the park 30-60 minutes before opening means you’re ahead of the rest of the day guests who are rolling into the park at 10am.  Ride the big-name attractions first, and you’ll be ahead of the crowds all day. Extra Magic Hours are also a great benefit for on-site guests, but don’t attend the park with Extra Magic Hours if you don’t think you’ll get there early enough to actually use that time.  These parks tend to get more crowded because many families choose to attend on the Extra Magic Hours day, even if they don’t arrive in time for the “extra” piece.

3.  Invest in a Park Hopper

Adding the Park Hopper option to your theme park tickets is not always necessary, but if you’re travelling at peak times, you might want to consider it.  If the park you’re in turns out to feel way more crowded than you’d like, the option to hop to a less crowded feeling park might be just the break you need.  For instance, all the parks can be equally crowded, but a sprawling park like Epcot can feel a bit less crowded than Animal Kingdom. Frustration is a fun-killer, so having extra flexibility can be key.  Consider combining this tip with #2, and enjoy Extra Magic Hours and then hop to a different park for the rest of the day.

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