How to manage and avoid crowds at Disney World (2023)

How to manage and avoid crowds at Disney World (1)

COVID-19 UPDATE: In accordance with social distancing recommendations, Disney World opens with limited parkassistance. Even with limited assistance, some days can be a bitovercrowded. These tips gostillaidyou handle crowds on busy days.

You've probably already researched which Disney crowd calendar is the most accurate. You have planned out which days you will visit each park and have made your dinner reservations based on that. Then you arrive and it's worse than expected.

As the years go by, it seems that the peak season for attendance at Walt Disney World is getting longer and longer. While you may get lucky for a week in January or early February, there are now generally two seasons at Walt Disney World: busy and busiest.

Just take a look at this photo below the tail of Big Thunder Mountain.

This was not taken on New Year's Eve or the 4th of July. This isn't even a phone from the typical Disney December crowds. It was Monday in March. Of course, many schools are on spring break at the end of March, but this period is generally not considered to be very crowded. Even Disney's most accurate crowd calendars didn't predict this.

In addition to the whopping three-hour wait for Thunder Mountain, many other attractions (including Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Seven Dwarf's Mine Train, the Haunted Mansion, and the Jungle Cruise) had waits that lasted over an hour.

Crowded theme parks are one reason many people looking for a relaxing vacation decide not to choose Walt Disney World as their destination.However, with a little planning and knowledge, there are many ways to enjoy all that a trip to Disney World has to offer while managing the brunt of the crowds.

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1. Plan ahead for the Disney crowds

Advance planning and reserving FastPasses go hand in hand. Check Disney's crowd calendars. There are several available online, but each one is a little different. They use historical data to try to estimate what the crowds might be like each day. However, the accuracy of Disney crowd calendars varies. If you're planning ahead, they can be helpful, but are subject to change.

You should also checkour disney audience schedule. It's not a day-by-day, park-by-park forecast. Instead, it gives you a more general idea of ​​what to expect. Since even the best Disney viewership calendar isn't accurate, it helps you plan in broader strokes and make a plan that works for your family, instead of your family trying to fit an algorithm.

Once you've decided which days you'll visit each park, you can plan your FastPasses accordingly.

If you like spontaneity on your vacation, it can seem daunting to plan most of your vacation several months in advance. However, if your goal is to avoid crowds, this advance planning is the best way.

With that said, we all know what they say about the best plans. Adjustments may be necessary due to weather or if an attraction is temporarily closed, so please maintain some flexibility.

When you can't plan ahead

If it's a last-minute trip you're making, the same is still true: be flexible. You can check Disney's crowd schedule, but make your plans based on what FastPasses you can get.

You will also want to consider purchasing park jumpers. That way you have the flexibility to move to a different park if the first one is busier than you expected. Plus, you can start at one park where you get good FastPass+ selections and dine at another where you get a better reservation.

2. Take advantage of FastPass+ to beat the Disney crowds

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The easiest way to limit your time in line (and feel like a VIP) is to take full advantage of the FastPass+ system. Set an alert on your phone for 7:30 am days before your trip (or 60 days before if you are staying at a Disney resort). These are the times you can start reserving FastPasses for the duration of your trip.

If you want to ride major attractions like the Avatar Flight of Passage, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Slinky Dog Coaster, or Seven Dwarf's Mine Train, you'll need the 60-day option to ensure you can get FastPasses for these rides and beat the Disney crowds. .

Regardless of when your window opens, reserve FastPasses for each day you have a ticket for (you may not use them all, but at least reserve them). You'll also want to schedule them earlier in the day, because once your three reserved FastPasses are used up, you can reserve them one at a time for the rest of that specific day.

There's good news about popular FastPass+ attractions. When a new attraction opens, availability for others often increases as everyone wants to experience the new ride. However, sometimes the newer ride doesn't offer FastPass+ for a while. For example, it's not offered for Star Wars Rise of the Resistance yet, but it's expected to be at some point in the future. But it is offered for the newest attraction, Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway.

For more tips on how to get the best FastPasses, read:

  • DisneyFastPass+ Tips

3. Get an early start on the Disney Crowds with "Rope Drop"

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Getting up early is the best way to make the most of the day. You will find that you manage to make more trips in the first hour than in the rest of the day, especially on a crowded day.

Arriving at the park 15-30 minutes before its official opening is like getting a fourth unofficial FastPass. You will be allowed through the turnstiles and then queue at a designated point within the park. A few minutes before the park's opening time, Cast Members will "drop the rope" and you can briskly walk (not run!) to your favorite attraction and experience it before the Disney crowds arrive with little to wait.

Head to the most popular attractions first, especially if you were unable to obtain FastPass+.

If you're planning to go rope-dropping, you may not want to get your first FastPass+ until an hour after the park opens. As mentioned, the lines in that first hour will be shorter, so don't waste your FastPass+.

All the parks have multiple breakfast options, so if you skip breakfast to hit the parks to play rope or for a few extra minutes of sleep, you can have a hearty breakfast after your first few rides of the day.

4. Make dinner reservations or cell phone orders in advance to avoid crowds at Disney

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(Video) 50 Ways to Avoid the Crowds in Disney World

Quick-service restaurants are some of the busiest places you'll find in all of Walt Disney World. You will have to wait in line to order (especially at peak meal times) and then wait in another line to receive your food. Once you have your trays, it's time to look for available seats.

While that sounds daunting, Disney has streamlined this process for tech-savvy guests. The My Disney Experience app (more information below) allows you to order mobile meals at select quick-service restaurants. Just place your order, pay and let the restaurant know when you are around so they can start preparing your food. This app is a great way to avoid long lines caused by the Disney crowds.

You will receive a notification when your order is ready and you will go to a separate area to pick up your food. This eliminates the need to wait in two lines and also gives you and your group more time to find a place to sit without having to maneuver around tables and chairs while balancing a full tray.

You can also go ahead and avoid the lunch and dinner rush by making a few dinner reservations. Every park and resort has plenty of table service offerings, while Disney Springs and the Boardwalk are full of additional options.

Being able to sit back, take your time, and enjoy the air conditioning of a restaurant can do wonders for your relaxation levels. if you are usingDisney Dining Planas part of your stay, enjoy these restaurants whenever you can and plan your reservations based on FastPass+ locations and hours.

5. Take an afternoon break from the Disney crowds

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Turn your trip to Disney into a Disney vacation at your own pace.

Especially if you are enjoying the "rope fall" you may need an afternoon break. However, this is a good idea no matter when you arrive at the parks. The Florida sun is most intense between noon and 3 p.m. m., and during the rainy season in the summer months, you can almost set the clock on time due to the thunderstorms that occur most afternoons.

Before things get too hot, sticky, and humid, consider taking the bus or boat back to your resort for lunch, playing in the pool, or taking a nap. You'll feel refreshed to head out and enjoy the evening when it's a little cooler and less crowded, as the afternoon storms have passed. Also, these storms have been known to send many people out for the day.

On the park's busiest days, Disney schedules the parks to stay open longer hours. Taking a break in the afternoon, during the time when the Disney crowds are at their peak, will not only get you out of the crowd, but also allow you to catch a second wind for the evening.

The Disney parks are beautiful at night and many people are alone until the fireworks. On busy days, the park opens later. You can have a great time in the park for the last hour or two without the Disney crowds.

6. Take a private tour to avoid the Disney crowds

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Of course, the easiest way to avoid the Disney crowds is to feel like a VIP and take a guided tour. Disney has increased offerings in this area over the years and it's a great way to experience the magic in a unique way.

Tours are a great way to experience all that Disney has to offer.(and then some!) at a slower pace. Some tours offer access to behind-the-scenes areas not accessible to the public and where you can learn a lot about Disney history. Others allow immediate access to many of the best attractions, which also often have the longest waits. So even if there is an additional cost, the memories you create may be worth it.

While some tours can be expensive, like private VIP tours, there are others, like the Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot, that are inexpensive and offer an engaging and educational experience in a small group setting.

A private VIP tour is a very special experience and an additional expense. While expensive, it can be worth it, especially if your goal is to do everything in the parks or if you're short on time. The price is the same for groups of up to 10 people, so if you have a large group it might be more reasonable.

If you are working with a Disney travel agent, they can advise you on the best VIP tour option for your group.

To learn about some of the special attractions and experiences Disney has to offer, read:

  • VIP visits
  • disney excursions
  • special experiences

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What could be even more sophisticated than a private VIP tour? The world tour of dreams! Two guides, 12 hours, visit to Cinderella's Castle. To learn more about this special tour, readVIP visits

7. Avoid the crowds and enjoy the parks earlier and later than everyone else

There are 2 ways to get additional park time with fewer guests.

Extra Magic Hours

First, if you're staying at a Disney resort, you can participate in Extra Magic Hours at no additional cost. They are held one hour before the park opens or three hours after the park closes.Check the Disney Calendar to see which parks offer Extra Magic Hours during your visit.

Keep in mind that parks that offer extra magic hours, especially extra magic mornings, tend to be the busiest parks on that day. This is mainly for visitors who do not have a Park Hopper ticket and want to enjoy every minute of the park that they can.

special events tickets

Disney after hoursis another option to consider. On select nights, one of the four theme parks offers after-hours access. There are a limited number of tickets sold for each of these events, limiting the number of guests.

FastPasses are not offered, which may be a good thing. This way, the lines move steadily for everyone.

Tickets are currently around $125 for the event, which typically lasts around 3 hours. However, you are allowed into the parks several hours early, so you still get to experience the parks for a good part of the day.

If you arrive take advantage of early entry, it can be a great option instead of paying for a full day ticket.

If you're weighing free and paid options, keep in mind that due to the high number of guests at Disney resorts, lines during free Extra Magic Hours may not last longer than anticipated. the lines inafter hours partiesare usually much shorter than during Extra Magic Evening events

(Video) How To Avoid Crowds at Walt Disney World

8. Download the app!

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OMy Disney Experience Appit is a treasure trove of information and convenient services. We've already talked about ordering mobile meals at quick-service restaurants. You can also check wait times at any attraction in any park to plan your next move and avoid the Disney crowds.

My Disney Experience is also available online. The online version often works best when you're trying to reserve your initial FastPasses, link your reservations, and make restaurant reservations.

As wonderful as the app is, it can be a bit quirky and doesn't always work as expected, especially when there is a high volume of traffic. You may want to take a screenshot during the day to quickly see your travel times.

The My Disney Experience app can also double as your room key. You can avoid the check-in line at your resort by checking in days in advance, going directly to your room (you'll receive an email or text when it's ready), and using the app to unlock your door. If you have a MagicBand linked to you and your reservation, you can also use it as your room key.

By checking in online, you can skip the front desk and head directly to the resort.

9. Make the most of waiting in line when dealing with Disney crowds

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Waiting in line is unavoidable. Make the most of the time you have with your family. Consider playing a game that everyone can participate in, such as 20 Questions. Or download some party game apps that can get everyone involved, likeAttention.

Disney also has its own free app:Play in the Disney parksApp that promises to connect family and friends to the theme parks with unique experiences and activities that bring the surrounding environments to life. There is trivia, games and Disney music. Also, there is a new Star Wars addition to the app that will allow you to interact with droids.

Whatever games you choose, remember to keep them family friendly as there are plenty of little ones around.

For more tour tips and recommendations, read:

  • The best tours for young children
  • The best tours for the whole family
  • The best tours for adventurers.
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One of the best ways to make your Disney vacation more relaxing is to schedule some downtime at your resort. Many travelers spend a full day or two away from the park and relax at their hotel.

While the number of amenities varies depending on the level of resort you stay at, even budget resorts have plenty going on. All resorts have large pools (with swim-up bars), places to eat, places to walk or run, game rooms for the kids, and more perks like free movies nightly poolside. Bring some books, a deck of cards, or some board games to enjoy some quality downtime in your room, too.

If you are staying at one of the Deluxe Villa Resorts, most have a Community Room. There you will find books, games, puzzles and crafts for children. Some also have table tennis or video games. On rainy days, you might even get a visit from one of the Disney Characters.

Many people return home from their Disney World vacations more exhausted than they were before their trip, but scheduling in a few days of R&R (rest and relaxation) is a good idea. Your legs and feet will thank you, plus it will give you more energy to visit the parks and strength to deal with the crowds.

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The foundation of a luxury vacation begins with a fabulous resort. well, it's not missingAccommodationswhich is Disney World.

11. Check the amenities at other resorts

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You don't have to be a guest of a particular resort to enjoy its amenities. At no additional cost, you can do things like set up a tent on the beach at Polynesian Resort or see animals in the bush at Animal Kingdom Lodge. These are all things you can do at your leisure and at a much more relaxed pace than the hustle and bustle of the theme parks.

However, using the pools at any resort other than the one you're staying at is the only activity prohibited by Disney.

If you don't have your own transportation to get from one resort to another, consider taking a bus from the theme park or the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center). You can also take a scenic boat ride from the Magic Kingdom to various resorts like The Grand Floridian, Polynesian, or The Wilderness Lodge. In addition to the leisurely walk along the lake, you can take a break from the park's crowds and enjoy a relaxing lunch at one of the luxury resorts.

(Video) How to Outsmart Disney World in 2023

12. Explore the great outdoors and get space from the Disney crowds

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If you want to completely escape the Disney crowds, consider spending quality time outdoors. Take a day trip to the Fort Wilderness. You can start your trip with a relaxing boat ride from the Magic Kingdom to the camp, where you can partake in a variety of low-key activities.

Canrent a bike, enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride, kayak, take archery classes and much more.

You can also join alobina fishing towera Bay Lake etcrent a boatfor a day on the water. Fishing and boat rentals are available at several of the resorts beyond the Fort Wilderness. They are a great way to escape the crowds for a few hours.

At night, you can roast marshmallows and sing.campfire songs along with Chip and Dale

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To help plan the perfect vacation, Disney trip planners are available to make sense of each option. Many offer free services when you book with them. For more information, readDisney travel planners.

Bonus Tip: Remember, You Can't Do Everything

A common mistake people make when going on vacation to Disney World is trying to do everything. In addition to the four theme parks, there are two water parks, two miniature golf courses, and the gigantic Disney Springs. You can spend your entire vacation at Disney Springs; things you can do there include shopping, eating, watching a movie, and bowling.

It is important to remember that it is practically impossible to do everything. Choose the things that are important to you and that will make your vacation fulfilling.

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For more helpful planning tips, check out these articles:

  • What to do at Disney when it rains
  • Pack a backpack for park day
  • Using a Disney trip planner


What to do on a rainy day at Disney

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magical destinyTravel agents specialize in all Disney trips. They will help you plan and book amazing vacations for:

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(Video) 5 Tips to Avoid Crowds at Disney World

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(Video) How to Beat the Crowds at Walt Disney World in 2022


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