Walt Disney World is always busiest during the holidays, and 2019 will be no exception! With a slew of holiday activities, a festival, a new ride opening and more, crowds will be at all-time highs. Here's 5 Tips to Handle the Holiday Crowds at Walt Disney World.
Head to the Parks Early and Stay Late
And by early, we mean be at the park gates really early. Think 7 AM. Check the Walt Disney World Parks Calendar for opening times and Extra Magic Hours. If Extra Magic Hours happen during your vacation plan to maximize your time and be there when they start. With crowds and crowds ahead of you at the gates, ride lines fill pretty quickly as soon as the parks open, generally at 9 AM. Additionally if there are Extra Magic Hours in the evening, plan to stay late. Crowds die down after 10 PM, and it's the best time to grab another cup of coffee and just keep going.
Know Where to Expect Crowds
This year there are a few big things that can impact your Walt Disney World visit. On December 5th the new ride, Rise of the Resistance, at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge in Hollywood Studios opens. Avoiding Hollywood Studios on opening day may be in your best interest. But, if you're focused on being there, aim for evening hours when the crowds are lower. On December 7th the Grand Floridan Resort and Spa hosts the Statesman Dinner. An extremely high-profile event, expect security to take longer the days leading up to and after this event. You may also want to avoid Magic Kingdom on the 7th or any of the monorail resorts which will also be affected. You may also run into crowds at Epcot's International Festival of Holidays running Nov 29- Dec 30 and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, select nights Nov 8- Dec 22.
Have Backup Transportation Options
We can't tell you how many times we hear that the Disney buses are supposed to show up every 20 minutes no matter what. In reality, Disney transportation is complimentary and not set to timelines. During the holidays you can wait for an hour or more for a bus when the parks are busy, so build in this time. Thankfully, Walt Disney World has several transportation options to get you where you're going. They include the monorails to and from Magic Kingdom, the TTC Parking Lot and Epcot. The Skyliner Gondolas to Epcot and Hollywood Studios from select resorts, and buses to and from Animal Kingdom. You can also catch a ride on ferry boats to select resorts. While all transportation options will be busy and have waits remember you can always call an Uber, Lyft Minnie Van or a good old-fashioned taxi. Disney Transportation is complimentary and as a result, runs when it can run to the best of its ability but is by no means obligated to get you anywhere based on your schedule.
Leave the Parks
Sure you're at Disney to enjoy the parks but you also just want to enjoy your vacation. If you can't handle the crowds, use the heavily-crowded afternoons to take a break from the parks. Head to Wilderness Lodge by boat for some much-needed downtime and a cocoa. Or bus over to Animal Kingdom Lodge and take part in the holiday activities and crafts they offer all day long in the lobby. Check out the Holiday Decorations at all the Disney Resorts or the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs. There is no shortage of fun, free, things to do at Walt Disney World during the holidays.
Use All the Disney Pro Tricks
Mobile Order your quick serve meals throughout the day. Standing in line at restaurants, especially during meal times, in unnecessary. Check the My Disney Experience app for participating restaurants.
Have ALL your FastPasses scheduled ahead of time. By having these booked you will have a better chance of getting on rides without the super long wait.
Have All your Advanced Dining Reservations made. We suggest you have at least one table service meal booked for each day of your vacation. This forces you to take the time to eat, sit down and refresh before returning to the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
Plan rides for when people are eating and eating for when people are riding! By eating lunch and dinner earlier or later and planning to ride rides at 12 noon, you avoid the restaurant and ride lines. Aim for lunch at 10am or 2pm, and dinner at 4pm or 8pm.
Bonus Tip: Stay at one of Disney’s many resorts for ease and convenience to make this holiday vacation at Walt Disney World the most magical one yet.
Make sure to get your Walt Disney World and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets here at BestOfOrlando.com!