PlanningThe ParksTips

A Busy Disney World? No Worries, We Have Tips To Help!

As we head into the holiday season, we anticipate crowds to start building at Walt Disney World. If you have a planned Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Day trip, we have tips to help you beat those crowds.

Planning Disney
Credit: Fab5

Make a Plan

The first step to beating the crowds is to arrive with a plan. The days of showing up at Disney and going with the flow are long gone. Take some time before your trip to create an overall strategy. What top rides, shows, and dining do you want to ensure you experience?

Knowing these must-dos before arriving will help you navigate the crowds and head to your top experiences.

Grand Floridian

Go Early

Everyone would prefer to sleep in during vacation, but if you want to beat the crowds getting to the Disney Parks early is critical. Take advantage of early entry if you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

Early entry allows Guests of Disney Resorts to enter any of the four Disney Parks thirty minutes before posted opening. This is a fantastic way to get ahead of the crowd. Plan on arriving at your Theme Park of choice 45 minutes early. Doing so can make a huge difference in wait times.

Credit: Disney

Purchase Genie+

Another option for beating the crowds is to purchase Genie+. This is a paid option on My Disney Experience. Guests can add Genie+ to their Disney Park day starting at midnight. Cost ranges depending on the time of year from $15 to $22/day.

By purchasing this feature, Guests are given access to the Lightning Lanes that allow them to bypass the Standby Lanes and therefore cut Wait Times. This is a fantastic way to beat the crowds during these busier times of year in the Walt Disney World Resort.

credit: Disney

Use Individual Lightning Lanes 

To avoid the long waits for the top attractions at Walt Disney World, consider purchasing an Individual Lighting Lane. In each Disney Parks, four rides are not included with Genie+.

Avatar Flight of Passage, Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train are the four rides that can be purchased al-a-carte. The price ranges per day, starting at $7 and going up from there.

If you are headed down for a Disney vacation during a busy time of year, we recommend using this feature for a few of these headliners. If your group needs to experience one of these rides, consider purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane so you won’t have to spend an hour plus in line.

Batuu at Night
Batuu at Night

Stay Late

If you are traveling with a group that can stay late at the Parks, this is another way to beat the crowds. Typically crowds start to lower following fireworks and as the evening progresses. Staying late at the Parks can give you access to rides with lower wait times.

Guests staying at a deluxe Disney Resort can also enjoy extended evening hours. These happen on select nights, usually at either EPCOT or Magic Kingdom. During this time, the Parks remain open to those specific Resort Guests giving them lower wait times throughout the Park.

Evening hours are a great time to experience lower wait times, even during the busier times of the year.


Take Breaks

If you take advantage of those early mornings at the Theme Parks, we recommend beating the crowds by taking an afternoon break.

The Parks get extremely busy from 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., so avoid those times by heading back to the Resort to rest or enjoy the pool. If you aren’t staying nearby, consider visiting a Disney Resort to remove yourself from the busy crowds.

During the holiday season, there is much to see and do outside the Disney Theme Parks. Take time away from the Parks to enjoy the amazing trees, the gingerbread decorations, and the holiday spirit found throughout the Walt Disney World Resort Property.

Credit: Disdining

Plan Your Dining Early

When Disney Parks gets busy, it can be hard to find food quickly or tables to relax and enjoy a meal at. To help navigate this, plan out your dining ahead of time.

If you don’t plan to serve table meals, make sure you can mobile order on the My Disney Experience app. This is how you are going to be able to easily order your quick service food throughout the Parks and Resorts. You can place orders early on, and then when you return window opens up head to pick up your food with ease.

To avoid crowds, consider eating during off times or at less popular locations. Eat an early lunch or supper, so you don’t have to fight the crowds. Consider leaving the Parks and having a meal at a nearby Disney Resort. These dining locations tend to be less busy when compared to Disney Parks.

MK Map

Make a Touring Plan

We aren’t saying that you need to have a minute-by-minute schedule of where you want to go, but have a general plan. When the Parks are busy, you don’t want to be crisscrossing back and forth across the Park. Avoid this by having an overall plan for the day, so you know how you will quickly move through the Parks.

Have a general idea of where you want to go and think about how you will move through the Park to get there. Doing this will set you up for success when you arrive at Disney.

Don’t worry if Disney will be busy when you visit. Use these tips to stay ahead of the crowds and be ready for a magical time.








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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