8 Ways to Avoid Crowds at Disney World

8 Ways to Avoid Crowds at Disney World

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, 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 Avoid Crowds at Disney.

Keep in mind, that 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 on principle.  But, we have still visited during times of unbearable crowds at Walt Disney World. So unbearable, from day one we quickly came 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 and are also the times we can most afford to go. So if you’re up against Disney crowds that are ruining your vacation, here are our best tips to Avoid Crowds at Disney. 

disney castle rose gold

Take Advantage of 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. 

Peter Pan at Disney World Magic Kingdom

Ride Popular Rides Between 12-2 pm

Between the hours of 12 noon and 2 pm, people are typically eating lunch, or finishing their day at their first park and park hopping to the next. Even with Park Hopping at Disney World returning as an all-day option, people do typically use afternoon hours to switch parks. As a result, those traveling between parks will do so between 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., making this the best time to avoid crowds and ride rides. 

Big Top Circus Area at Magic Kingdom Seating

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 at Walt Disney World Parks. Here are places to take a break from Disney Parks.

Magic Kingdom

At Magic Kingdom, there are loads of places to take breaks. From shaded seating areas to tree-lined walkways, and small alcoves behind shops, you can typically find privacy. But on busy days, we recommend heading to the Monorail Resorts for gift shopping, a meal or to browse the grounds. This helps you stay close to Magic Kingdom but gets you out of the crowds. 


If you’re at EPCOT Park and looking for a place to get out of the crowds, you’re in luck! Just walk through the International Gateway exit at the back of the park. From here can head to the Disney Boardwalk to discover Disney Resorts, restaurants, shops, activities, and beaches. You can even walk over to Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf for some time away from the parks. The mini golf course is just across the parking lot from the Swan Reserve Hotel and an easy walk from the BoardWalk.

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is a small park but still has a variety of places you can take a break. 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

Animal Kingdom is Disney World’s largest park and has loads of places to take a break. We especially like Harambe Market for its ample shaded seating, and the You Are Most Beautiful Wall. But, if you really need to get away, just 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.

Contempo Cafe Quick Service Disney Sandwich

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 Resort Restaurants. 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 for an easy lunch. Or you can grab dinner at a Budget-Friendly Restaurant at Disney World, for casual dining and a chance to get out of the crowds at Disney.

Monorail Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween

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. 

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Use Mobile Order for Meals

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 minutes 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 My Disney Experience 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 vacation with Mobile Order.

Disney gift Shops at Magic Kingdom

Use Mobile Check-Out at the Gift Shops

One of the places you will see the most crowds at Disney are the gift shops. Thankfully, Disney Gift Shops are now equipped with a form of Disney Mobile 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. 

what is retricted at walt disney world capacity

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.

Avoid Crowds at Disney

If you’re visiting Disney World during a busy time of year, then be sure to plan ahead with how to avoid the Disney Crowds. From taking shortcuts through the parks, to just leaving when it gets too bad, there are options! Stay tuned for more ways to avoid the crowds at Walt Disney World. 

How to Avoid Crowds at Walt Disney World


Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website

Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .

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