Let’s tackle one of the biggest challenges families face when visiting Walt Disney World: how to find personal space and room to breathe when Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are at, or near, full capacity.
First, please note that this article will be talking about the Disney World Crowd Calendar and how Guests should use it to determine when they visit. This writer understands that times like Spring Break feature heavy crowds for a reason: not every family can defy school and work schedules and take off to Disney World whenever the crowd level looks best.
So, for those who can only take their Disney World Vacations when the Parks are at full capacity, here are some tips on how to enjoy some personal space inside the parks.
1. Sit-Down Lunch and Dining Reservations
At the end of the day, if you and your family want a GUARANTEED chance to sit down and relax, your best bet is to make a sit-down reservation for lunch and dinner.
Each Disney World Theme Park offers several sit-down opportunities as both walk-up and reservation-accessible options. And, no, just because it is a sit-down restaurant does NOT mean you need to go deeper into your savings to make it happen.
Having lunch and dinner reservations gives me a sense of security that I have an air-conditioned table-topped island set aside for me amid the sea of other people. I do not have to fight the crippling anxiety that can come with fighting for a large-enough spot at quick-service spots. And I have found that if I order at least one drink and appetizer, I can relax for as long as need be–save places like Oga’s Cantina, of course, but at least they set an expected time limit as soon as you are seated.
Here are a few of my recommendations organized by Theme Park:
Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen, Adventureland
The Diamond Horsehoe, Liberty Square
Rose and Crown, U.K. Pavilion
Spice Road Table, Morocco Pavilion
La Cantina de San Angel, Mexico Pavilion
La Crêperie de Paris, French Pavilion
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, Grand Avenue
Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater Restaurant, Commissary Lane
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Rainforest Cafe® at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Main Entrance
Nomad Lounge, Discovery Island (Walk-up Only, but worth it.)
Breakfast and Dinner reservations can also offer special access before or after Park hours, giving you the chance to take a walk through the Parks with hardly anybody around you.
2. Get on a Ride
I know that with capacity crowds, this is easier said than done, but if you pick the right ride, it will offer a chance to relax with some personal space.
But I’m not talking about rides like Space Mountain or Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. I’m talking about slow-moving attractions with very little thrill factor. For me, the two best options are Spaceship Earth at EPCOT and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.
Spaceship Earth is a go-to nap ride. It’s cold, dark and you have your own personal car. As for the PeopleMover, it offers the same level of space–if not more so–than Spaceship Earth. It also keeps you high above the crowds so you can people watch and check Disney Genie to plan your next move.
Less popular shows, like “O, Canada,” also offer the chance to both proactively take advantage of Disney experiences while escaping the crowds outside.
3. Seek Out Less Explored Parts of the Parks
Even though the Disney Parks look packed to the gills, there are still empty pockets that you can occupy. While they are clearly not the most popular areas, they offer Guests a chance to possibly see the Park from a “New” perspective.
The best example of this, hands down, is the Morocco Pavilion in EPCOT. With its narrow winding streets and market shops, Morocco’s World Showcase Pavilion is, perhaps, the most underrated in the entire Park. Go check it out!
At the end of the day, though, only you know how to get the best time out of your Disney vacation. So whether that is only visiting when there are “moderate crowds,” staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel for the extra magic hours–or the current equivalent, or avoiding special occasions like Presidents Day weekend and Spring Break and special events, like EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival altogether.
For all those preparing to start your next Disney Vacation, we hope you have a safe and Magical experience!