Let’s face it. The parks are busy almost every day if the year. Some busier than others. Whether the parks are at a crowd level 9 or crowd level 4, here are 5 great tips to use during those busy park days.
1. Don’t bring more than you need
While it’s great to be prepared, consider bringing only your essentials. This can be your phone, any cards or IDs you need and maybe sunglasses or a raincoat.
Bring less so you don’t have to carry more than you need. When you bring excess things, you’ll need a bag or purse to carry them in. If you don’t bring excess things, hopefully you won’t need a big backpack or need one at all.
Not having a bag when scanning into the parks is a big advantage because you won’t have to wait in the bag check line. On busy park days, bag check lines may have a wait time of 15+ minutes.
Bringing less will allow you to scan into the parks faster and ride Test Track before the crowds set in.
Remember, what you bring into the parks is what you’ll be carrying around the parks. There are no storage lockers except the lockers at Animal Kingdom near Kali River Rapids.
2. Arrive at the parks before they open.
If Magic Kingdom opens at 9am, don’t show up at 9am. The rush is already there and you’re going to be waiting 30+ minutes to get into the parks.
Instead, arrive 30 to 45 minutes before the park opens. Transportation usually starts 30 minutes before the parks open so be on that first bus or consider driving over. Annual Pass holders receive free parking! You can also take a Lyft in a Minnie Van.
So many choices, which one will you choose?
If you’re one of the first people into the parks, head directly to the ride that you couldn’t quite score a Fastpass+ for. Rides are less busy in the morning if you get there quick enough. Some rides have a 2 hours wait before the parks officially open!!
Parks will let people scan in and start walking throughout the main parts. Rides won’t be open yet, so you’ll have to stand in line for about an extra 10 to 15 minutes.
This is a great method to use if you didn’t snag Fastpasses for Rock n Roller Coaster or Expedition Everest.
3. Take advantage of Mobile Ordering
Mobile ordering is the best! When it works.
Sometimes Disney Wifi can be weird. It likes to kick me off every few minutes.
Once you get past the wifi, you’re golden.
Use the My Disney Experience App to mobile order food from quick service restaurants. You can order and pay all on the app. There’s no waiting in line to get food. You simply order and pick up in the designated mobile order area.
My recommendation is to order before you get the restaurant. For example, if you want to eat at Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe and you are in Frontierland, order before you start walking to Tomorrowland. That way your food will be ready as soon as you walk up!
This process saves so much time. You don’t have to wait in line to order and then another line to pick up. Its fast, simple, and easy and thats what Disney is all about!
4. Eat during odd hours
No I don’t mean eating only at 11am, 3pm or 5pm.
I’m talking about eating when no one else is.
People like to east during those normal hours like eating lunch at 12:30pm. While there’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s what every other family in the park is doing.
So while everyone is eating lunch around noon and 1pm, lines will be shorter. Take advantage of this and then eat when the wait times pick back up.
5. Plan, plan, PLAN!
Please, never ever travel to Disney without a plan!
Unless you live like 15 minutes from the parks.
Having a plan is very essential to ANY Disney vacation. Make sure you plan out your Fastpass+ reservations, dinning reservations, extra events, time to shop, etc.
Once Fastpasses come back, you’ll want to make reservations 60 days in advance. Plan out before that 60 day mark what days you’ll be at which park, and what fastpasses you would like to have.
You can make dinning reservations 180 days in advance, so check out menus before hand so you’ll know where you want to eat.
Writing down any extra or paid events you’ll be attending will help set the flow for the rest of the day. Make sure you are aware of what events are on which day!
It’s also helpful to plan when you would like to shop. I recommend after the parks close, since most gift shops are still open. You won’t have to waste riding time for shopping time.
I also love shopping last so that way I don’t have to lug all my bags around the park. We can shop and head straight to the buses, which we usually end up waiting for a while anyway. It’s the perfect time!
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