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11 Ways To Survive A Crowded Day At Walt Disney World

Every guest who visits Walt Disney World wants their vacation to be jammed packed with magic and fun from the very first attraction to the last moments on Disney property. With lots of planning and so much to see across the four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs, and dozens of Disney Resorts, Walt Disney World is a fairly immersive vacation that guests truly enjoy. Since Walt Disney World is so popular with guests, many times of the year tend to be particularly crowded, especially the summer months and holidays. Crowded days in the parks can lead to long lines, busy walkways, packed restaurants, and more which can all leave guests cranky in the most magical place on Earth. While it can be easy to be aggravated by high crowd levels, there are plenty of ways that guests can avoid the crankiness and make the most of their time in the busy parks. From some simple planning ahead of time to strategic moves once in the parks, guests can certainly enjoy every moment of their Walt Disney World despite crowd levels. Here are eleven ways for guests to survive a crowded day at Walt Disney World.

1. Get Up Early

Even though a trip to Walt Disney World is a vacation, guests who want to avoid the crowds should plan on setting alarms and being up an out of their Disney Resort rooms bright and early. Getting up early allows guests to arrive to the parks well before others who have decided to sleep in a little bit. By arriving to the Disney Parks before they officially open each morning and enjoying the first few quiet hours, guests can check out some of the most popular attractions and entertainment with much lower crowd levels than during the late mornings and afternoons.

2. Utilize Extra Magic Hours

Some of the best times to enjoy in the Disney Parks are available only to guests who stay on property in a Disney Resort. Extra Magic Hours occur each day and typically entail one park opening up to an hour early and another remaining open several hours later than normal. During these special times, Disney Resort guests have exclusive access to the parks and can enjoy quiet areas and low wait times on popular attractions. Extra Magic Hours are one of the best ways to avoid heavy crowds during busy times in Walt Disney World.

3. Book FastPasses

One of the easiest things that guests can do to save themselves time and avoid crowds in Walt Disney World is book FastPasses. FastPasses act as reservations to attractions and entertainment and assign guests specific times to report to the experiences to enjoy them with little to no wait time. Guests who stay on property can book their FastPasses up to sixty days in advance and guests who stay elsewhere can book thirty days in advance. All guests are entitled to book three FastPasses in advance per day in one theme park, but may book additional ones for any theme park one at a time after using the initial three. FastPasses are an amazing way to avoid crowds and save lots of time that would have otherwise been spent waiting on lengthy queues. Some of the best attractions to book FastPasses for are Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Slinky Dog Dash, Seven Dwarf Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Soarin’ Around the World, Frozen Ever After, and Avatar Flight of Passage.

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4. Visit Underrated Attractions

While there are plenty of popular and amazing attractions that guests consider to be must dos in Walt Disney World, there are just as many experiences that tend to be overlooked and are considered to be underrated. Despite their underrated status, these attractions are all amazing in their own ways and shouldn’t be skipped, especially on crowded days in the parks when they are sure to have relatively low wait times. Some great underrated attractions to enjoy are Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, the Country Bear Jamboree, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, Living with the Land, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, Muppet Vision 3D, and It’s Tough To Be A Bug.

5. See Shows

While the attractions in Walt Disney World are what many guests flock to the parks for, there are plenty of amazing live shows that are sure to wow them. Live shows are a great option to enjoy on a crowded day in the parks as they can typically seat many guests in their theaters, allowing for lower wait times and great views from any angle. Some great live shows to enjoy include the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, Beauty and the Beast – Live On Stage, Finding Nemo – The Musical, and The Festival of the Lion King.

6. Single Rider Lines

Several thrilling attractions in Walt Disney World feature lengthy standby lines and the option for FastPasses, but also a third option that can save guests lots of time on crowded days. Single Rider Lines allow guests to enjoy the same experience with a typically much shorter wait time so long as they do not mind their parties being split up at the loading platform. Attractions in Walt Disney World that feature Single Rider Lines are Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Expedition Everest, and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.

7. Time To Relax

When Walt Disney World experiences high crowd levels, the quietest times in the parks tend to be the early mornings and late nights and the busiest times are midafternoon. In order to avoid the high crowd levels midday, guests should instead plan on heading back to their Disney Resorts to relax a bit. Each Disney Resort features at least one amazing pool to cool off in and many also offer unique recreation opportunities including watercraft rentals, bike rentals, walking paths, and much more. By taking the time to leave the crowded parks each afternoon and relax, guests are sure to be energized and ready to enjoy the less crowded early mornings and late nights.

8. Enjoy Full Service Meals

A great way to avoid high crowds in Walt Disney World is by stopping to enjoy Full Service Meals. Walt Disney World is home to countless Full Service locations which offer up unique atmospheres and menus for guests to enjoy. Guests who would like to avoid the crowds for a bit and enjoy a Full Service Meal should plan on booking Advanced Dining Reservations which can be made up to one hundred and eighty days in advance.

9. Utilize Mobile Ordering

If you aren’t able to dine full service, we highly recommend using Mobile Ordering at numerous Quick Service Restaurants throughout Disney World Property. Order and pay for your food from the MyDisneyExperience app and pick up your food when you arrive. It’s awesome! Quick Service locations accepting Mobile Ordering are located throughout the four theme parks, Disney Springs, and even at some Disney Resorts.

10. Visit Disney Springs

Disney Springs is brimming with unique shopping, dining, and entertainment options that guests are sure to love. Those guests who are looking to avoid heavy crowds in the theme parks can easily spend plenty of time in Disney Springs enjoying all of the amazing experiences offered there. From countless full service restaurants to the largest Disney store in the word, Disney Springs has something for every guest.

11. Stay Up Late

Just like early mornings are quiet times in the theme parks, late nights are also a great time to avoid the crowds. Many guests who have young children or who have spent the entire day in the parks are burned out and ready to return to their Disney Resorts, leaving the parks less crowded and popular attractions with lower wait times. Guests who visit the theme parks late at night are sure to be rewarded with low crowds and easy wait times on popular attractions!

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first started visiting Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of that trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning all about the history and small details of the parks and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival each fall. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York and spends her time counting down the days to her next trip.