I recently wrote about ways to avoid stress at Disney World and discussed avoiding the crazy Disney crowds as one way to beat stress. I thought I’d explore a bit more on how to avoid crowds at Disney, because, believe it or not, it is possible!
1. Choose your dates carefully – When people ask me the best time to visit Walt Disney World, I always tell them to go when school is in session. People, understandably, visit Disney over school breaks and during the summer. So, those times are going to be jam packed with people. If you can go when school is in session, you’ll be in a great position to beat the crowds.
2. Can’t skip school? Still choose your dates carefully – I know not everyone can skip school for a Disney vacation. We are willing to take the kids out of school for a day or two, because as a wise teacher once told us, “don’t let school get in the way of your education.” I’m sure as the kids get older we won’t be able to afford this luxury. If you can’t miss school, try to go at the beginning or end of the summer when crowds are lighter or go over a less busy holiday weekend.
3. Avoid Extra Magic Hours – Resort guests love being able to enter the parks an hour early and love being able to stay later in the evenings. This “perk” draws in many resort guests which translates to larger crowds. We always choose a different park than the one offering Extra Magic Hours to avoid crowds.
4. Look for special events – Events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party close the Magic Kingdom to guests without tickets in the early evening. Guests who are not park hopping won’t want to go to a park that closes at 6 or 7 p.m. if it is the only park they will be in that day. So, those days are typically a lot less crowded and a great choice for a visit.
Also, attending special events is also a great way to get on your favorite attractions with low waits. The parties have fantastic parades, dance parties and treats that pull people away from the attractions. Plus, ticketed events mean less people in the parks, so there are often smaller crowds.
5. Arrive early – We’ve said it 100 times. Get to the parks BEFORE they open. Give yourself time to get through security and get to the front of the line. Many of the parks open a bit earlier than their publicized time and have fun welcome shows. The main perk is that you can get a lot of touring done in the first two hours the parks are open. Crowds tend to arrive later so when they arrive, you can grab a snack or head out for a break when the parks are most busy.
6. Stay late – After a mid day break, my family always heads back to the parks for the evening. Some nights are, of course, crowded in the parks, but the waits do go down as the evening progresses.
7. Tour the Parks Counter-Clockwise – People naturally go to the right (because most are right-handed, we drive on the right-side of the road, etc.… it’s an observation Walt Disney himself made – which is why the Tomorrowland walkway is twice as wide as Adventureland’s walkway.) So, do what’s unnatural and head to the left whenever you can! You’ll find areas are less busy, especially in the mornings, when you go against those natural tendencies to go right.
Now, of course, Disney World is always going to be busy and there will always be crowds, but with some simple planning you can steer away from some of the large crowds. What’s your best tip to avoid crowds at Disney?