If you’re traveling to Walt Disney World during the holidays, there is one thing you need to know. It is crowded. And by crowded, we mean really crowded. So how can you still have the most wonderful time of year at the most magical place on earth during the holidays? Here are our best Disney holiday tips to deal with the crowds.
Keep in mind, we don’t travel to Walt Disney World during the summer months on purpose. And we’ve never ventured there during New Year’s Eve either. So while we can’t compare this time of year to those times we can share that the last week of November and the second half of December typically have 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. Like the first two weeks of December. Here are our BEST ( birthed from frustration) Disney Holiday Tips to help you beat the crowds. Trust us, these will save your sanity, restore your faith in humanity, and actually help you have a nice holiday vacation at Walt Disney World.
Get to Disney Parks Early and Leave Late
We know, we have said it over and over again. But really how hard is it to wake up early? Or stay out late? 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 to be at the Parks as early as 7 am if possible. Maybe even earlier. If you get to your bust stop at 6 am, and the bus doesn’t arrive for 20 minutes… you’re already behind. Check the My Disney Experience App for bus arrival times at your resort, and try to be on the bus early. Take a break mid-day at a resort or at a nice restaurant for a table service meal. And plan on staying out late.
Disney Crowd levels during the holidays by 9:00 am are already long. In the mornings be there before at least 10 am if possible. In the evenings, at 10 pm people begin to leave the Parks. Ride lines get shorter, food lines get shorter, bus lines get shorter. Less waiting means less wasted time and probably less headache.
Leave the Parks
Obviously don’t leave the Parks entirely. But, during that middle morning, an early afternoon time period where the endless sea of people seems impossible to navigate, head to Disney Springs or the Resorts to escape the crowds. Even the resorts were more crowded than we are used to, but they are nothing compared to the crowds in the Parks. And they’re all beautifully decorated for the holidays, so we recommend seeing them regardless. And if you’re looking for one of the best Disney Holiday Tips, head to the Boardwalk. You can see Gingerbread creations and settle your toes in the sand on the beaches to de-stress. Or take the boat from Port Orleans Resort to Disney Springs for the Christmas Tree Stroll.
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. For the most part, the transportation wasn’t that bad during our trip around Christmas. But sometimes, waits for the buses at Magic Kingdom were over an hour. 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. The catch? At the writing of this post, Mobile Order doesn’t currently allow for use of the Disney Dining Plan, so if you’re using dining credits, you’ll have to wait in line. Read up on how to streamline your vacay with Mobile Order.
Disney Holiday Crowds Tips
Hopefully, these Disney Holiday Tips can help you navigate Walt Disney World during the season! Let us know your favorite ways to enjoy the Holidays at Walt Disney World. We’ll be adding to this post as we come up with new fun ways to tackle our favorite season at the most magical place on earth!