How to Outsmart the Disney Crowds This Summer
Summer season is just around the corner at Disney theme parks. The Walt Disney Company charges surge pricing during this season for a simple reason. It’s one of the most crowded periods on the annual traffic calendar. You’re going to have a lovely time when you visit, but you’ll need a plan to get the most out of your visit. Don’t worry. Your friends at MickeyBlog are here to help! Here are five tips on how to outsmart the crowds during your Disney visit.
Make a Full Day of It
Look, Disney theme parks are based in Southern California and Central Florida. It’s going to be hot when you visit. I understand why you might want to cut your park visit short. You should resist that urge, though. The beginning and end of Disney days are prime times to beat the crowds.
The start of the day is when the parks are least trafficked. I’ve previously stressed the importance of Rope Drop, the early moments of the park day. The final two hours of the night are the corollary, as most people tend to leave early. The people who stay spend their time finding good seats for the parades and fireworks exhibitions. While they’re sitting down, you should be standing in smaller lines, savoring these rare opportunities to ride more attractions in a shorter period of time.
When They Go Left…
Disney famously employs a spokes-and-hub design for many of its theme parks. Magic Kingdom and Disneyland in particular have these structural patterns. Over the years, Imagineers have perfected the ability to drive foot traffic wherever they want whenever they want. They accomplish this through subtle manipulations and faith in herd mentality.
What does all of this mean to you? It’s simple. When you see a mob of people heading in the same direction, don’t go that way. When they go left, you go right. It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed how many people, especially first-time or infrequent visitors, tend to follow the crowd. They feel comfortable that they can’t get lost as long as they’re following everyone else. Take advantage of this behavior to avoid being at the back of a very long line of lemmings.
Use the My Disney Experience App
Disney’s gone high tech in recent years, understanding that people are loath to go anywhere without their phones in hand. They’ve coded a brilliant app, My Disney Experience, that can take care of all of your park needs.
You should always have My Disney Experience at the ready when you’re visiting a Disney park. Specifically, you should check the FastPass options and attraction wait-times regularly. When you’re at Disney, you’re in the middle of a fascinating exercise in chaos theory. Unexpected things can and do happen every minute.
For example, you may be the lucky one who stumbles across a Frozen Ever After FastPass that someone just canceled because they couldn’t make it. You also may notice that Space Mountain only has a 30-minute wait-time in the middle of the day. You might even see that Haunted Mansion has a 13-minute wait, the cheeky way that Disney declares that it’s currently a walk-on ride.
Information is power at Disney theme parks. The My Disney Experience app is full of tons of information that will help you outsmart the crowds. Use it religiously when you’re visiting.
Eat Early…Or Late
You don’t like to wait in lines for rides, right? Then, the last thing in the world that you want to do is wait in a long line at Disney restaurant! First, you’ll have to wait to order. Afterward, you’ll have to find a spot to sit down, and that’s sometimes a competitive sport during regular lunch or dinner hours. While Mobile Ordering helps some, you still aren’t guaranteed a seat during period meal times.
To avoid the crowds, you should eat at irregular hours. Have a late breakfast or an early brunch. Grab some dinner at 5 p.m. and get a taste of what life will be like when you’re 70! You will snack more than usual during your Disney park visit anyway. For this reason, hunger shouldn’t be an ongoing issue.
By dining during low traffic times, you’ll get your food quicker and have no trouble finding a seat. Best of all, you’ll be standing in line for your favorite rides at times when other people are fighting the crowds to eat!
Use Extra Magic Hours
You should always stay at an official Disney resort. One of the perks that Disney provides their most loyal customers will fundamentally alter the quality of your vacation. With Extra Magic Hours, you get at least one extra hour at a Disney theme park each day.
What does this mean to you as a visitor? Let’s use Walt Disney World as an example. There are four theme parks on the campus. On some days, Disney opens one an hour early and keeps one in operation an hour late for Extra Magic Hours. These are amazing opportunities to ride the most popular (i.e. crowded) attractions at the parks.
You may wonder how much you can do in one hour. I once shared that skepticism. What I learned over time is that an hour is a tremendous amount of time when you don’t have to wait in long lines. Disney checks Magic Bands to verify that all guests in the ride queues are eligible for Extra Magic Hours. So, the only people competing for these rides are staying onsite. You’re competing against a few thousand guests rather than tens of thousands. It’s a huge difference.
Extra Magic Hours is such an important amenity that I won’t even consider staying offsite at Disney theme parks. Once you try it, you’ll feel the same way. Speak to one of the experts at MickeyTravels to book onsite and guarantee that you avoid the crowds during your next Disney visit!
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