If you’re visiting Walt Disney World during the holiday season, there will be crowds. Lots of them. In the parks, at the bus stops, at rides, at restaurants, and in gift shops. Christmas Crowds at Walt Disney World for the Holidays can’t be avoided. But, we have our top 5 Tips for Christmas Crowds at Walt Disney World and how to keep your sanity during the busiest time of year.
With a slew of holiday activities at Walt Disney World; including Epcot’s Festival of Holidays, Disney’s Merriest After Hours Party, and all the 50th Anniversary Celebrations, crowds will be at all-time highs. Go prepared! Here are our favorite Walt Disney World Crowd Strategies for the busiest times of the year.
Head to the Parks Early and Stay Late
And by early, we mean to be at the park gates really early. Think 7 AM. Check the Walt Disney World Parks Calendar for opening times. If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort you have access to Early Morning Magic Hours, which allow you access to the parks 30 minutes before other guests! Throughout the holiday season at Walt Disney World hours vary, but crowds tend to die down after 10 PM. Check the park hours and plan to stay late if you can, just grab another cup of coffee and keep going.
Invest in a Disney After Hours Party Ticket
As Disney After Hours events can range between 129-199 dollars a ticket, this Crowd Avoidance Strategy may not be for everyone. BUT, hear us out! You can skip the busy parks during the day and head to Disney Springs, do the Disney Resorts Christmas Decorations Crawl, or take some much-needed resort downtime. Plus your time during an After Hours Party at Walt Disney World usually starts at about 7 pm and gives you about 3-4 hours of low wait times, hardly any crowds and the chance to experience the parks like never before. For the holidays you can grab tickets to Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours Party. This Disney After Hours Event offers limited tickets on select nights and is a great way to enjoy Magic Kingdom without the crowds.
Know Where to Expect Crowds
Typically all the Walt Disney World Parks are busy during the holidays. But it does make a difference if you know the Best Days to Visit Each Park, which will naturally put you in the parks with lower crowds on certain days. That said there are also typically crowded times that you can avoid. In EPCOT, Epcot’s International Festival of Holidays runs between November 26- December 30th, 2021 and will be busiest from Thursday- Sunday. Avoid evenings and the weekend to make the most of this event. Magic Kingdom is the busiest park during the holidays, but the early morning before 10 am, and evenings after 7 pm are best. Avoid Mondays in Magic kingdom, as this is when everyone starts their vacations and is always extra crowded on Mondays. While Hollywood Studios doesn’t have specific holiday events that cause crowds, you will find the most crowds at Galaxy’s Edge and the Slinky Dog Roller Coaster throughout the day. Animal Kingdom’s Holiday happenings are more subdued and thankfully as the largest park at Walt Disney World won’t show crowds as much as the other parks. Crowds here tend to gather in Pandora due to the Flight of Passage ride, but most other areas here are safe.
Have Backup Transportation Options
We can’t tell you how many times we hear that the Disney buses are “supposed” to show up every 20 minutes no matter what. In reality, Disney transportation is complimentary and not set to timelines. During the holidays you can wait for an hour or more for a bus when the parks are busy, so build in this time. Thankfully, Walt Disney World has several transportation options to get you where you’re going. They include the monorails to and from Magic Kingdom, the TTC Parking Lot, and Epcot. The Skyliner Gondolas to Epcot and Hollywood Studios from select resorts, and buses to and from Animal Kingdom. You can also catch a ride on ferry boats to select resorts. While all transportation options will be busy and have waits remember you can always call an Uber, Lyft Minnie Van, or a good old-fashioned taxi. Disney Transportation is complimentary and as a result, runs when it can run to the best of its ability but is by no means obligated to get you anywhere based on your schedule.
Leave the Parks
Sure you’re at Disney to enjoy the parks but you also just want to enjoy your vacation. If you can’t handle the crowds, use the heavily crowded afternoons to take a break from the parks. Head to Wilderness Lodge by boat for some much-needed downtime and hot cocoa. Or bus over to Animal Kingdom Lodge and take part in the holiday activities and crafts they offer all day long in the lobby. Check out the Holiday Decorations at all the Disney Resorts or the Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs. There is no shortage of fun, free, things to do at Walt Disney World during the holidays.
Use All the Disney Pro Tricks
- Mobile Order your quick-serve meals throughout the day. Standing in line at restaurants, especially during meal times, is unnecessary. Check the My Disney Experience app for participating restaurants.
- Have a game plan for rides and meals. By having these booked you will have a better chance of getting on rides without the super long wait.
- Have all your Advanced Dining Reservations made. We suggest you have at least one table service meal booked for each day of your vacation. This forces you to take the time to eat, sit down, and refresh before returning to the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Check out all our favorite Disney Restaurants in Each Park to try.
- Plan rides for when people are eating and eating for when people are riding! By eating lunch and dinner earlier or later and planning to ride rides at 12 noon, you avoid the restaurant and ride lines. Aim for lunch at 10am or 2pm, and dinner at 4pm or 8pm.
- Stay at one of Walt Disney Worlds many resorts for ease and convenience to make this holiday vacation at Walt Disney World the most magical one yet. Check out all the Disney Resorts at Walt Disney World to figure out which one would be best for your family.
Christmas Crowds at Walt Disney World don’t have to ruin your vacation! Know when to go, and which parks to avoid on certain days. Get the important planning out of the way ahead of time, and you should be good to go!