Happy Labor Day everyone! Can you believe that it is already the end of summer, and we are in September? Walt Disney World® can be a crowded place at certain times of the year including the summer, Spring Break, Christmas week, and holiday weekends. Labor Day is no exception, and let’s face it – you don’t want to spend your whole vacation waiting in line for attractions. So, let’s check out some ways to avoid the crowds when you find the parks to be a little too packed on your vacation.
- 1. Early Mornings and Late Nights – If you are able to do so, get up as early as possible and be there for rope drop at your park of choice. You’ll get a head start on non-morning people and lines tend to be less crowded. Be sure to head for your favorite or most popular attraction first. Also, utilize late nights when families with children have headed home for the day and others have headed to sleep. Some of the most enjoyable times to experience a few attractions are at these offbeat times, so be sure to get up early and stay up late!
- Extra Magic Hours – In addition to early mornings and late nights, if you are staying in a Walt Disney World® Resort, be sure to utilize Extra Magic Hours. Usually including one extra hour in the morning and three extra hours at night in different parks, this extra time allows you lower crowds and shorter wait times. Be sure to take advantage of it if you can.
- FastPass+ — As soon as you figure out your vacation timeline, be sure to book FastPasses! You can book sixty days in advance if you are a Walt Disney World® Resort guests or thirty days in advance if you are staying off property. FastPasses allow you to choose up to four attractions per day to enjoy with little to no wait and can be edited even from the parks. Using these efficiently allows you to experience those big ticket attractions without the heavy crowds or waits.
- Skip Parades and Fireworks – Okay, don’t skip them every day – they are definitely worth seeing once. However, during parades and fireworks most of the parks’ crowds tend to be occupied watching the show leaving most attractions to have low wait times. A great example is to experience attractions in Fantasyland® during parades and fireworks, as many families with children are stationed on Main Street, U.S.A.® checking the displays out.
- Visit Less Popular Attractions – Everyone knows the most popular attractions like Space Mountain® and Toy Story Midway Mania! have the longest wait times. So, aim to visit less popular attractions during the busiest times of day. Some examples of attractions that often have little to no wait time are Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Journey Into Imagination with Figment, Studio Backlot Tour, and the Maharahjah Jungle Trek®.
- The Rain Is Your Friend – Most guests are afraid of the rain and will retreat into stores or even back to their resort on a rainy day. If you don’t mind getting a little wet, a rainy day can be a great time to beat the crowds and experience a lot of attractions in a short period of time. Be sure to have a trusty poncho on hand and avoid those puddles! (Although all of your vacation pictures are going to look a little poncho-awkward like mine above!)
- Visit Stage Shows – On a very crowded day, the attractions that can accommodate higher numbers of guests are obviously going to have shorter wait times. A great way to beat the crowds is to visit one of the live stage shows on property which can usually seat hundreds of guests at once. Some examples of shows to see are Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage, Finding Nemo the Musical, and Festival of the Lion King.
- Focus on Dining – If you are really averse to crowds and find yourself visiting during a very busy time, why not focus your vacation on dining experiences? Walt Disney World® has dozens of dining options to meet every cuisine craving and can offer up some unique experiences without having to wait in line or deal with crowds. Just be sure to make reservations!
While heavy crowds can sometimes put a damper on a Walt Disney World® vacation, there are plenty of ways to avoid the masses and still enjoy your vacation! While these are some of my favorite tips to avoid crowds, I would love to hear some of yours as well so be sure to comment below!
(Photo from the author’s personal collection.)
How do you beat the crowds when the parks are busy? Have you ever used any of the tips I mentioned above? Let me know by leaving a comment below, I would love to hear from you!
Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.