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7 Quick and Easy Ways to Enjoy a Crowded Walt Disney World

We saw some of the largest crowds as April started at Walt Disney World. We anticipate the crowds will remain large as we head into the summer. Although this might not be ideal for your family vacation, you can be prepared for and manage the crowds in numerous ways.

We have seven quick and easy ways to manage the crowds at Walt Disney World during your next vacation. Use these for a magical time, even when the Park is busy.

EPCOT Mornings
Credit: V Mills

1. Arrive Early

Setting the alarm during a vacation isn’t ideal, but managing crowds at Walt Disney World can make a huge difference. If you can be at the Parks early in the morning, you can get ahead of the afternoon crowds.

If Magic Kingdom is scheduled to open at 8:30, we highly recommend being at the Park at least by 8:00. This gets you through security, past the touch points, and heading towards your first ride before the Park officially opens.

When staying at a Disney Resort, head to the bus stop or transportation at least an hour before opening. This gets you one step ahead of the crowds, making a huge difference throughout the rest of your day.

2. Take Advantage of Extra Hours

If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, take advantage of the extra time you get in the Parks. All Guests staying at any of the Walt Disney World Resorts can enjoy an additional thirty minutes at any of the four Disney Parks.

You might think thirty minutes is a little time, but it can make a big difference in Walt Disney World. You can hit some top rides in the Park during those thirty minutes before it gets hectic. Using this time during a few mornings of your vacation will allow you to experience some of the top attractions with lower waits.

Look into extended evening hours for those staying at a Deluxe Disney Resort. These are offered on select days at either Magic Kingdom or EPCOT. Guests of these specific Resorts can enjoy the Parks for an additional three hours after closing.

Having this extra time in the Parks can be a huge benefit when the Parks are busy.

Couple looking at phone in front of Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle

3. Use Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes

We know this isn’t a popular option, but the reality is Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lanes help you manage the crowds. If you don’t want to stand in lines, consider looking into purchasing Genie+ for some of your days.

Genie+ allows you to bypass the standby lines for over forty attractions throughout the four Disney Parks. It is a significant investment with costs ranging from $15 to $35 per person. We have much additional information on Genie+ and how it works at How to Disney. Read those to help determine if this would be a good investment for your trip and avoiding crowds.

The same goes for Individual Lightning Lanes. If it is important to you to ride some of Disney’s top attractions, such as Tron Lightcyle Run, you might want to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane. Not only does this help ensure you can ride, but it also helps avoid long lines that can build for these popular attractions.

Use these options during busy times to avoid long lines at the Parks.

Topolinos Terrace
Credit: Disney

4. Plan Dining

When the Parks are busy, you must ensure you have a food plan. If enjoying a sit-down meal is essential to your vacation, book those at the 60-day mark. Top dining experiences such as Topolino’s at Disney’s Riveria or Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom book up extremely fast. With a plan, you can enjoy these experiences even when the Parks are busy.

If you don’t want to book table-service dining during your vacation, you will still want to have a dining plan. Make sure you know about mobile ordering through the My Disney Experience app. This tool will help you bypass the long lines that form during mealtime.

Crowds can make finding food difficult. Go in with a plan so you can easily manage them.

Coronado Springs Pool Area
Credit: Park Savers

5. Take Breaks

No matter how well you plan, the Parks will get busy. Know this ahead of time and plan in breaks. Take some time to head back to your Walt Disney World Resort. Enjoy the pool and afternoon activities. Take a nap or have a nice meal. Taking a break allows you time to step away from the crowds. Doing this can make it a lot more enjoyable during the evenings.

Breaks can be done in the Parks as well. Find a quiet place to sit and have a snack. We also enjoy visiting nearby Resorts for breaks. Visiting a lounge such as the Steakhouse 71 Lounge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a fun way to see new Resorts and enjoy a break.

Carousel of Progress, Tomorrowland
Credit: Disney

6. Enjoy the Underrated

Take time while in the Parks to enjoy the underrated attractions. These are still part of the magic and don’t get as busy as the main rides and attractions.

Over in EPCOT, take some time to explore the seas pavilion. This area is full of amazing animals that are so much fun to watch. Also, in EPCOT, enjoy the pavilions back in the World Showcase. Although the main areas might be crowded, you will find quietly hidden regions if you take the time to head into them.

See Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Journey Into Imagination with Figment, or walk the paths in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Knowing where some of these underrated attractions are throughout the Parks can allow you to keep enjoying the magic while avoiding some of the crowds.

Guests outside Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World
Credit: Disney

7. Enjoy the Small Things

Our final tip for managing the crowds at Disney is to enjoy the small details in the Parks. Getting wrapped up in rushing from line to line and seeing how many attractions you can get in can be easy. Instead, skip some rides and enjoy the details that make the Parks magical. Slow down and take in those details while having a snack or drink. This can be an excellent way for the crowds to pass you by.

Those are the seven quick and easy ways to enjoy a magical time at Walt Disney World, even when it is crowded.

Related: Top Places to Avoid Crowds at Disney

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Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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