To Help Navigate the Most Popular (Crowded) Times of Year
This year, we visited Disney during a very busy time of year and experienced all of our favorite attractions as well as the newest draw, Pandora. Here are a few tips to making the most of your stay, even if there’s a 100 minute wait for Splash Mountain.
Do use the My Disney Experience App – Whether we are spending one day or four days in the park, we always use the My Disney Experience App. The app has everything from wait times, to dining reservations, to Fast passes, to Photo Pass pictures. Even when we aren’t planning a trip to Disney, I still keep the app on my phone. I check it periodically and it gives me a good idea of wait times at various times of year. I keep the lowest times in mind for future trips!
Do get to the parks at rope drop – Especially if you plan on experiencing Pandora in Animal Kingdom. During our Thanksgiving week trip, wait times would creep up to 200 minutes in the afternoon for the newest attraction, Flight of Passage. We entered Animal Kingdom park 15 minutes before opening on an Extra Magic Hours Morning. By 8 am (it took us 15 minutes to walk to the BACK of the line) we were officially in the Flight of Passage queue. At exactly 9:15 am, a mere 15 minutes after Animal Kingdom’s official opening, we were walking off of the ride. (And so hyped up because it was AMAZING!) The rest of the day, we were able to ride anything we wanted with minimal wait times, and some attractions we had time to do twice! So, yes, waking up early on your Disney vacay is a must!
Don’t be shy about booking dining reservations – Because sometimes it’s hard to know what you will be hungry for 6 months from now. Can’t decide whether you will want Italian or French cuisine at EPCOT? Book both! Don’t know whether you will be in the mood for a character breakfast at Crystal Palace or a buffet dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern on Magic Kingdom day? Go ahead and put in an Advanced Dining Reservation for both. As your trip gets closer and you start reserving Fast Passes and making more detailed plans, you can go back and cancel any reservations you won’t need. However, you must do this at least 24 hours before the reservation. Luckily, Disney sends you a reservation reminder 48 hours before your reservation. And if you don’t plan your Disney trip 6 months out and feel like you missed out on getting the reservation you want, wait until that 48-24 hour window. You won’t BELIEVE what becomes available!
Don’t fret over wait times – I think one of the best pieces of advice is to relax and enjoy. You can find that signature Disney magic everywhere. When faced with ridiculous wait times for Space Mountain, take time to explore some of the other lesser known attractions in Tomorrowland. We recently rode the Peoplemover for the first time. We had no idea it actually went through Space Mountain! It was a nice. long, relaxing ride and gave us a view of the park we had never seen before. And just because a line is long, doesn’t guarantee that the attraction is amazing. Peter Pan’s Flight, which rarely dips below the 45 minute wait mark, is a short ride that is basically a classic dark ride that gives you an (obstructed view) from above instead of at ground level. Unless you have a die hard Peter Pan fan (or a Fastpass) take a literal pass and try the Liberty Square Riverboat, Tom Sawyer Island, or the Enchanted Tiki Room. None of these are thrill rides by any means, but they are attractions to appreciate and discover and will have little to no wait – even on the busiest days of the year.
What are your Disney Do’s and Don’ts?