If you’re traveling to Walt Disney World there is one thing you need to know. It is crowded. And by crowded, we mean really crowded. Whether it’s for a new ride opening or something special like the holidays, or just when everyone else seems to be visiting, it can get crowded. So much so that ride lines become unbearable. But there are things you can do. So how can you still have fun during crowded times? Here are our best tips.
Keep in mind, we don’t travel to Walt Disney World during the summer months on purpose. And we’ve never ventured to Disney on New Year’s Eve either. But, we have still visited during times of unbearable crowds at Walt Disney World. So unbearable, that from day one we quickly began to come up with ways to get there at a less crowded time. Thankfully, the cheapest times to visit Walt Disney World typically also have the fewest crowds. So there are better times to visit, than you may think. But, if you are up against crowds that are ruining your vacation, here are our best tips.
Early Theme Park Entry
Take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry. We know, we have said it over and over again. But really how hard is it to wake up early? It’s such a simple fix to a major problem!!! Drink that Coffee for goodness sake and just do it! This will continue to be one of our TOP STRATEGIES! Get there as early as you can. And by early we mean plan to be at the parks at least 30 minutes before early theme park entry. Check the My Disney Experience App to confirm park hours and bus arrival times at your resort. Better yet, plan to just walk to the resort if you’re staying at a Disney World Resort Within Walking Distance.
Ride Popular Rides Between 12-2 pm
Between the hours of 12 noon and 2 pm, people are typically eating lunch, or park hopping to their next park. Since park hopping is allowed at 2 pm, those traveling between parks will do so between 1 pm-2 pm, making this the best time to avoid crowds and ride rides.
Take a Break Between 3-4 pm
Disney parks are the busiest between 12 pm – 4 pm. For this reason, we recommend you be anywhere else. Especially during the hot summer months at Disney when the afternoons are hot and crowded. Because of this, we recommend you leave the parks between 3-4 pm. During this time of day, people are flooding in from other parks, trying to get in their last rides before heading off to dinner, or back to the resorts with tired children. Here are our best recommendations for where to break from Walt Disney World Parks. Here are places to take a break from Disney Parks.
- Magic Kingdom: Head to the Monorail Resorts for gift shopping, a meal or to browse the grounds.
- EPCOT: Walk through the International Gateway to the Disney Boardwalk to discover Disney Resorts, restaurants, shops, activities, and beaches.
- Hollywood Studios: Within walking distance of the Disney Boardwalk, you can also take the Disney Skyliner for an easy ride, and access to fun resorts offering a variety of restaurants, grounds to browse, and shops.
- Animal Kingdom: Hop on the Animal Kingdom bus and go to Animal Kingdom Lodge. This resort is only 10 minutes from Animal Kingdom and offers views of animals roaming the savanna. A nice place for a break, you can also head to one of our favorite restaurants, Sanaa, for bread service.
Grab Lunch or Dinner at a Disney Resort
We found that wait times for restaurants at lunch and dinner were considerably shorter at the Disney Resorts. This is not surprising, and by no means less fancy. In fact, we often like the resort restaurants better! You can head to Contempo Café at the Contemporary Resort, Captain Cooks at the Polynesian or even Grand Floridian Cafe! Check out all our favorite quick-service restaurants at Walt Disney World.
Reconsider your Disney Transportation Choices
Were you really looking forward to that free Disney transportation during your stay? Consider other options during the busiest days. Waits for the buses can be over an hour during busy times. Yes, an hour. And there was a Saturday that we literally waited in line at the Contemporary for the monorail for close to an hour as well. In retrospect, we should’ve just walked to Magic Kingdom to grab a bus, but we’re just so sure it wouldn’t take that long. When the lines get too long, remember there are a bunch of other ways to get where you are going. Skyliner, Monorail, Uber, Minnie Van, and Walking Paths are options. Disney Transportation is always complimentary and not obligated to get you ANYWHERE at a certain time. Please be mindful of this and respectful of the bus drivers too.
Make Mobile Order your new best friend
Once upon a time, we had the option of losing out on our Flight of Passage spot in line (not ever an option btw) or waiting 40 mins to eat at Satuli Canteen. As we are not people who wait in lines for 40 minutes, Mobile Order arrived in time to save the day. We were able to order our food while standing in the Flight of Passage line, ride on the back of a Banshee through the beautiful world of Pandora, and pick up our food when we were done. No waiting is required. We felt like superstars- which is what happens when you know how to push buttons in the Disney App. Not enough people know about or even use Mobile Order, but on days when Columbia Harbor House has a 50-minute order line, Mobile Order can save you a ton of time. Read up on how to streamline your vacay with Mobile Order.
Use Mobile Check-Out at the Gift Shops
Disney Gift Shops are now equipped with a form of Self-Check Out that is oh so convenient! All you have to do is scan the QR code to check out and scan the items you are purchasing. This saves time because you don’t have to stand in line. And all you have to do is grab a bag at a Mobile Checkout station on your way out.
Take the Secret Shortcuts at Each Disney Park
From pathways near the Tree of Life that help you avoid the midway crowds to hidden walkways in Hollywood Studios. From heading into the giftshops to turning left instead of right, there are ways to avoid the packs of people. Check out the Secret Shortcuts at Walt Disney World that can help you get from one place to the other.
We’ll be adding more tips to this post as we find them! Stay tuned for more ways to avoid the crowds at Walt Disney World.