PlanningThe ParksTips

Top 10 Tips for Avoiding Crowds in Walt Disney World

Crowds seem to be the norm at Walt Disney World right now as Guests are once again ready to head back to the magic.  Although we are glad that Walt Disney World is getting back to normal (hello hugs!) this also means that you will experience larger Disney crowds, longer wait times, and an overall busier Walt Disney World Resort.

You don’t need to shy away from heading to Walt Disney World during these busier times; however, you should head in with a plan.  We have the top 10 tips for avoiding crowds in Walt Disney World for you.


10.  Get There Early

We know that most of us prefer to sleep in when it comes to vacations, but a Walt Disney World isn’t the vacation to get that extra rest.  If you are wanting to beat the crowds, you will want to set that alarm and be ready to hit the Parks early.

For those staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, take advantage of the early entry offered at all four Disney Parks.  Guests of these specific Disney Resorts are allowed to enter any of the four Theme Parks 30-minutes prior to Park opening.

Although this might not seem like a lot of time, taking advantage of the 30-minutes can put you ahead of the crowd all day making a huge difference in your wait times.

We highly recommend getting to the transportation area at least 60 minutes prior to early entry to make sure you are at the Park, through security, and the touchpoints before the Park opens to Guests.  This will give you the biggest advantage.

Even if you aren’t staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, we still recommend getting to the Theme Parks during the morning.  As you can imagine, not all Guests want to set that alarm so the first few hours are less crowding making those wait times a lot shorter.


9.  Stay Late

On the flip side, consider staying late at the Parks.  As we get into the summer months, we will start to see the Park hours extend.  If you are able to stay up later, consider using these later hours for lower crowds and shorter lines.

Guests staying at a Deluxe Resort at Walt Disney World should consider visiting the Parks during the extending evening hours that are offered.  Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Magic Kingdom all offer deluxe resorts Guests the ability to stay at the Parks two hours after Park closing on specific days.

This is a fantastic way to be in the Parks with low crowds during the evening.

8.  Skip the Weekends

This isn’t always easy to do when on a Walt Disney World vacation; however, if you are able to skip going to a Disney Park during the weekend you will avoid the larger crowds that show up during weekends.

Use the weekends as a pool or a Resort day.  Take time to experience all that your Walt Disney World Resort has to offer.  Consider visiting other Walt Disney World Resorts for great shopping and food.

As the weekends are the busiest time of the week in the Parks, if you can plan around these two days it can really help avoid large crowds.

7.  Activities Outside of the Parks

We already mentioned taking time to enjoy your Resort and other Disney Resorts, but consider doing activities outside of the Parks when it gets busy.

Disney has both mini-golf courses and regular golf courses for some fun family bonding.  There are also water activities such as finish and boat rentals that can be a lot of fun.

Over at For Wilderness, Guests can visit the horses at Tri Circle-D Ranch as well as participate in a variety of activities as more and more experiences come back.

Taking time outside of the Theme Parks is a great way to see more of what Walt Disney World has to offer.

mobile order
Credit: Disney

6.  Know When to Eat

When the Disney Parks become crowded, it is important to know when to eat to avoid large crowds in the dining areas as well as long waits for food.

First, make sure you know how to mobile order when you head to Walt Disney World no matter when you visit, but mobile order is even more important when the Disney Parks are busy.  This will allow you to schedule your dining times, and location and order your food.

When thinking about when to eat, consider off times.  Looking at lunch early before noon or after one can really allow you to miss the big crowds.  For supper, avoiding the 5 to the 7-time frame can help you have fewer people.

Pluto and Grand Floridian
Credit: Disney

5.  Know Where to Eat

Not all dining locations are created equal when it comes to dining and crowds.  If you really want to avoid crowds while eating, consider leaving the Disney Parks for meals outside of the Theme Parks.

When in Magic Kingdom, you can have fantastic meals at all of the Magic Kingdom Resorts (Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge).  It doesn’t matter if you hope to have a sit-down meal or a quick meal, these Resorts offer some outstanding options.

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT, consider heading to Disney’s Boardwalk, or Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts.  Again, they have some of the best dining locations on the property.

If you are wanting to stay in the Disney Parks to eat, consider looking at those out-of-the-way, less popular options.  In Disney’s Hollywood Studios, if you can avoid eating in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or Toy Story Land you will have lower crowds in the rest of the Park.

Knowing where to eat to avoid crowds will help you have a less stressful dining experience.

Gorilla Exploration Trail
Credit: Disney

4.  Find the Quiet Spots

Even when the Theme Parks are super busy, there are still hidden areas that are quiet.  Take some time before you head down to find where these places are throughout the Parks you plan to visit.

On How to Disney, we have places where you can escape the crowds in each of the four Theme Parks.  Use this as a starting point for finding those hidden areas.  Being able to escape from the crowds on rides such as the People Mover in Magic Kingdom or walking the trails in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can extremely refreshing.

My Disney Experience App

3.  Check the Wait Times

Before heading to a ride during busy times, make sure you are using the My Disney Experience app to check the wait times.  Don’t add extra steps to your day if you don’t have to.  Instead, check to see what the wait times in the app are so you know if you are willing to wait.

By checking out the wait times on the app, you can see the overall wait times in the Park and then determine where you want to head from there.  This will save you time and frustration during your visit.

Pop Century Main Pool
Credit: Disney

2.  Take Breaks

During busy times, it is extremely important to schedule breaks away from the crowds.  These breaks could be in the Disney Parks or back at your Walt Disney World Resort.  Taking time away from the Parks can really help you refresh, reset and be ready to go for the evening.

Like dining, nearby Resorts are also a great option when it comes to taking breaks.  There are some great shopping areas, lounges, and dining that can allow you to relax outside of the crowded Parks.

Disney's Hollywood Studio Chip and Dale
Credit: Jennifer Retzlaff
  1.  Be Flexible

Finally, when the Disney Parks are crowded, make sure you are flexible with your plans.  Even though we highly recommend having a plan when it comes to your top rides also be ready to adjust those plans.

Be willing to adjust when you want to experience rides and shows depending on the crowd levels.  Check those wait times and be willing to adjust your schedule according to the crowds.

By being flexible, you will be able to maneuver through the crowds a lot easier.

Crowd levels are back in Walt Disney World so make sure you know how to avoid those crowds is key to a successful vacation.   Know these tips so you can navigate the crowds and have 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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