There are some days that are going to be busier than others at Walt Disney World. Late June, the entire month of July and most of August will be packed. Three day weekends will be crazy. Spring Break weeks and holiday weeks are also going to be crowded. You can have fun on a peak day but you need to be prepared for the crowds. If you have a game plan you will end up having a great time, even on crowded days.
There are a few common sense things that you need to remember that did not make this list. Show up at the park of choice early, you should try to be there well before the rope drops. Arrive early for shows as well if you want to get a seat. Make your dining reservations well in advance, 180 days if possible. Write down where you parked so that you’re not wandering around the parking lot late at night. Plan a break in the middle of the day, even if you just sit on a bench for half an hour. Wear comfortable shoes as well! All of these suggestions will help you to cope on a peak day.
10) Bring Snacks
Long lines make people bored, which will also make them hungry. You do not want your kids to start to complain about hunger and want to get a snack when you’ve been waiting in line for 80 minutes for Toy Story Mania. If you bring some small snacks with you, you can give them something to do and also ward off hunger while in the line. You will also buy time until your next meal if you have snacks.
9) Use Park Hopper
It is important to be flexible if you want to have a great time on a crowded day. Park Hopper gives you the flexibility to change parks when you want to. If you’re at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and are tired of the wall to wall people, you might want to head over to Epcot. It will also have wall to wall people, but since there’s more room to walk it might feel a little bit less crowded. Park Hopper will allow you to change plans in a moment if you need to. If you’re staying at a Disney Resort, use Park Hopper and Extra Magic Hours on the same day. You might be able to get more done.
8) Talk to Your Kids About Waiting
Most kids do not handle boredom well. Let’s face it, waiting in a line for an hour or more for a two minute ride is going to get boring. Talk to your kids about waiting and how to behave ahead of time. Bring a couple of books or maybe a few small toys to occupy the kids. You might also want to download an app with wait times like My Disney Experience so that you can keep an eye on the lines while in the park. Don’t promise to hit Space Mountain if your kids aren’t going to be able to handle a 120 minute wait. If you use an app, you will have an idea of how long the line is before you head over there. Remember that the wait times on the apps and also in the parks are an estimate, sometimes they are wrong.
One more word about kids and lines; remember that there are some lines that now have interactive queues. If you and your kids waited forever to ride Peter Pan’s Flight, take them next to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The play area for the line will help to pass the time much faster.
7) Use the Restroom Before Getting Into a Long Line
You would think that this tip would be common sense, but it isn’t for some. There are plenty of restrooms in the parks. If the line for a ride is long, you might want to find one before you and your family get into that line. You can avoid an uncomfortable or even embarrassing situation by making a quick stop. Remember that some of the restrooms have more than one entrance. Make sure you go out the same side that you entered through. Otherwise, you might not be able to find the rest of your family.
6) Use the Mobile Order Option
It’s super simple to use Mobile Ordering at numerous Quick Service Restaurants throughout Disney World Property. Order and pay for your food from the My Disney Experience app and pick up your food when you arrive. It’s awesome! Quick Service locations accepting Mobile Ordering are spread throughout Disney property. Just check your app in advance to select a quick service that accepts Mobile Ordering.
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5) Be Prepared for Entry
On a crowded day the cast members at the front gates are going to do all that they can to get the mass of people in as quickly as possible. You can do your part to help them by being prepared. Have your bags open and on the table when you reach the security guard at bag check. Yes, he does need to check that bag that is under the stroller, don’t leave it there and wait for him to say something. You also cannot have the bag on your body, so take it off of your shoulder and undo the fanny pack. Once you’re through bag check, step out of the way so that people can pass you if you need to get your things back together. As you approach the front gate, have your ticket or Magic Band ready. It’s not fair to anyone if you’re the next person in line and you’re digging through a bag for your ticket.
4) Use FASTPASS+
On a busy day you are not going to be able to do it all. Use FASTPASS+ so that you can do more things while you’re there. Remember that the most popular rides are going to run out of FASTPASS+ on crowded days. The FASTPASS+ system is making it easier for some people to experience favorites on crowded days. If you have reserved a ride time, make sure that you don’t waste it.
3) Buy Your Tickets Ahead of Time
If there is a way to skip one line on a crowded day, you are going to want to do it. Buy your tickets ahead of time. That will be one less line that you need to stand in, especially if you are there when the parks open for the day. Tickets are for sale online and you can also purchase them once you arrive in Central Florida at many different places.
Remember, though, to only buy tickets through authorized sellers. The places with giant balloons near the gates that proclaim “Cheap Tickets” are not always the best place to buy them. Used tickets, even if they have days left on them, will not get you into the parks. Tickets are not transferable. Don’t disappoint your family or waste money by buying used tickets.
2) Set a Meeting Place
If the members of your party want to go off in different directions, make sure that everyone knows when and where to meet. You will also want to have a meeting place set in case you get separated from your older children by accident. Don’t say “We’ll meet by Cinderella Castle after we’ve all finished with our rides”. Have you looked at Cinderella Castle? It’s huge! That makes it a pretty bad meeting place. Everyone might also be done with the rides at different times. Instead, say something like “We’ll meet across from the entrance to The Hall of Presidents at 6:15”. That will give everyone a firm idea of where they should be and when. Make sure that everyone has a map so that no one will get lost while trying to find the meeting spot.
1) Give Younger Children Your Contact Information
This tip comes from a Disney Dining reader, and it might save a lot of hassle and heartache if you’re on vacation with small children. Write down your name and cell phone number, and put it in your child’s pocket. Make sure that the kids in your family know how to identify the cast members by teaching them what the name tags look like. Tell your kids to find a cast member and give him or her the paper if they can’t find you. The cast members at Walt Disney World are great at reuniting lost children with their families, and knowing how to immediately contact you will save a lot of time and trouble. Do not think that you can’t get separated from your child. Be prepared, just in case.