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Whether you are heading to Disney World for your first or your hundredth visit, one thing is certain: you do not want to spend your whole vacation waiting in lines! But, is it even possible to avoid the masses? Just because the parks are crowded doesn’t mean you are doomed to stand in endless lines. Make the most of your time in the parks by using these tips to beat the crowds at Disney World.
Tip #1: Have a plan.
The best way to beat the crowds at Disney World is to have a plan before you get to the parks.
A lot of people waste time once they arrive standing around trying to decide what to do next. So, take some time before getting to the park each day and make a list of the first 10-15 things you are going to do. Then, when you get there, you won’t have to stop and think about it.
Having a plan will help you make the most of your time in the parks, which goes a long way to staying in front of all the crowds.
Now, having a plan doesn’t mean that you must follow it at all costs. Instead, think of it as a guideline for your day. You sometimes will need to adjust and adapt as you go.
We usually follow a plan in the morning and then get a little more spontaneous after lunch.
Tip #2: Get there early or stay late.
Another great way to beat the crowds at Disney World is to get to the parks early or stay late.
Most people do not want to get up early on vacation. So, if you are willing to sacrifice some sleep and get to the parks before they open, you can avoid the hordes. The first hour or two after park opening tends to have the lowest crowds. This means you will have little to no wait at the most popular attractions.
My family arrives at the park about a half hour before they open each day, so we are some of the first people through the gate. We ride as much as we can before lunch with short waits. Then, we go back to the hotel and take a nap during the afternoon when crowds are at their highest.
Alternatively, if you are just not a morning person, stay in the parks late. Many people leave as soon as the fireworks are over. But, many times, one or more parks will be open later than that. Staying in the parks until midnight or later will usually reward you with much lower crowds.
Plus, the atmosphere in the parks is a lot of fun at night.
Tip #3: Take advantage of EMH.
My third tip is to take advantage of extra time in the parks. One of the perks of staying at a Disney resort is that you get access to the parks either before opening or after closing.
Staying at any of the Disney hotels will allow you to enter any of the parks a half hour prior to official opening each day. If you are staying at one of the deluxe hotels, you can, on select nights, stay in one of the parks after the park closes.
If you are staying on property, definitely take advantage of these extra hours in the park to avoid the throngs of people. The extra time in the mornings is especially beneficial for experiencing the attractions with short lines. It’s basically getting a head start on riding the rides.
Tip #4: Do things in the right order.
The last tip to beat the crowds at Disney World is to do things in the right order. To truly save time, you don’t want to walk through the gates of the Disney World parks and just do things as you come to them.
Some attractions have long wait times, while others don’t. Maximize your time by doing the more popular things first. Save the attractions that always have short waits for later in the day when the parks are the most crowded.
This mean walking back and forth across the park, but it will save you a ton of time waiting in lines.
Having a good strategy for how you approach your day will allow you to avoid the flock of people for a large portion of your trip.
I recommend using Touring Plans to help you come up with a good plan. They spend a lot of time researching crowd flows at the parks, so their plans will save you a ton of time! I use them for all of my trips.
Even though there is no longer a slow season, it is possible to beat the crowds at Disney World. And with the help of these tips, you can improve your family vacation by spending less time waiting in line and more time having fun.
For more Disney World tips, see how to save time, tips for extra magic, secret to a great Disney World trip, how to stop meltdowns in their tracks, rookie mistakes to avoid, and tips for a rainy day at Disney World.
P.S. Are you planning a trip to Disney World and not sure what you need to do or when? Do you feel completely overwhelmed by it all? My Disney World Trip Planning Checklist can help! It will guide you through every step of the planning process! And it’s FREE! Grab yours in the box below!