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5 Best Ways to Beat the Disney World Crowds

Disney World is a busy place. Some 55 million people visit Disney World each and every year. With so many new attractions and experiences coming, that number won’t be going down anytime soon.

There used to be “off-seasons” at Disney World. The times of the year where crowds and wait times were low. Those times seem to be a thing of the past nowadays. There are “less busy” times sure, but there is no longer a true off-season. Which is why it’s important to know how to handle the crowds at Disney World. With a little planning and some strategy, you can have a great Disney day no matter the time of year. Here are the 5 best ways to beat the Walt Disney World crowds.

Rope drop is a great way to get in before the crowds and knock out a lot of must do attractions.

Rope Drop

If I could climb to the peak of Expedition Everts and sing the praises of Rope Drop I would. I hate to sound like a broken record but, Rope Drop really is the best (free) way to knock out some top attractions with little to no wait.

But, you should also take advantage of the parks being open late. Sometimes the parks can be open to 12 or 1 a.m. during very busy times. Use that to your advantage because a lot of people will leave right after the nighttime fireworks/show depending upon the park.

Disney knows the benefits of Rope Dropping too. That’s why they came up with Extra Magic Hours for onsite resort guests. It’s also why they’ve announced some pretty crazy Extra, Extra Magic Hours in the Morning for the parks once Galaxy’s Edge opens.

It might suck having to get up early on your vacation but the pros drastically outweigh the cons. You can learn about the best Rope Dropping strategies here. And if you’re worried about not getting enough sleep don’t fret because you can catch some extra z’s during our second tip.

Head back during mid-day to avoid the most intense crowds. This is a the perfect time to check out the pool or maybe even take a little nap.

Mid-Day Break

Once noon rolls around you will be in thick of it when it comes to crowds at Disney World. This is when the parks will be at their busiest (and their hottest). If you were good about getting up early you probably accomplished a lot in the morning when it comes to attractions. Which is good because that means you can take a mid-day break.

Not only will you get out of the heat and the crowds you’ll also be able to recuperate and recharge a little. Disney World vacations can be very tiring. Getting up early, walking all over and all the emotional reactions the parks bring can wear you down. Heading back to the resort or maybe grabbing a lunch reservation outside of the parks is a great way to take a breather.

As the hours go by more and more people will enter the park. Noon is generally the time when it hits a crescendo. That’s when you’ll probably want to head out for a quick breather.

Build Your Action Plan

I recommend having a plan for your Disney World vacation regardless of the crowd levels. But when the crowds are fierce, having a plan is so very important. Nowadays Disney almost forces you into creating a plan too. Which is a good thing! It’s one way they help manage people’s expectations.

So what does it take to build a plan? First I would start with dining reservations. If you want to eat at a table service restaurant every night I would start compiling a list of places you want to experience and book them as soon as possible. You are allowed to book 180 days in advance of your vacation start date. This is where you will see a plan starting to take shape.

Then 60 days out for onsite guests and 30 days out for everyone else you can start making your FastPass+ reservations. DO THIS! Disney gives you this benefit for free. You’d be silly not to take advantage of it. But this will also help you know what rides you need to head for come Rope Drop time. You can have a plan of what rides you want to go on when but also know you can add in some flexibility.

What you don’t want to happen is having you and your party standing there in the middle of the Magic Kingdom, surrounded by 1,000s of your fellow guests while you scratch your head because you don’t know where to go next. Having a bit of a plan will help you save time in the long run.

Mobile Ordering. Use it and thank me later.

Mobile Ordering

Where FastPass+ can help you save time waiting in attraction lines, Mobile Ordering can help you save time when it comes to Quick Service dining. Popular in park Quick Service restaurants can attribute to a lot of lost time as you wait in line.

Mobile Ordering has been a godsend. Now, it still has its quirks like anything in the My Disney Experience App but, when it works it’s perfect. Just open the app, select the dining location, hit Mobile Ordering and complete your purchase. The best part is you can claim a place to sit while your food is being prepared. You’ll get a notification when your meal is ready and you’ll go pick it up.

So much time is saved using this tool and that can mean the world during the busiest times of the year. Pro tip: try to eat during off-hours when it comes to quick service. Think about normal dining times and try to avoid them. That’s another good way to beat the crowds.

Don’t Get Frustrated

This one is more of an internal tip rather than an external tip but it can really help!

The busy times of the year at Disney World can be tough to get through. There are tons of people and it can sometimes feel like it isn’t actually the most magical place in the world. Getting frustrated and mad at the crowds won’t help them go away. In fact, it won’t help resolve any problems. You have no control over how many people show up on any given day.

When the crowds are getting to you, just take a deep breath and know that you have a plan in place. Many who visit Disney World have no plans at all. Some even show up and buy their tickets right before they enter the parks (which is crazy to me, so much wasted time!!).

You can beat the crowds! With a little planning, confidence and an easy care-free mindset, you’ll have a great time. Remember you’re still in Disney World, so how bad can it actually be?


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