The summer months and the holidays are peak season at Walt Disney World. For many families, these times are the only times of year when everyone’s schedules work out just right for a family vacation. Because of this, the parks are often very crowded during these times, especially during the weeks of 4th of July and the week after Christmas. If you’re thinking of visiting Disney during peak season, don’t let the crowds discourage you. You can still have plenty of fun at Walt Disney World during peak season. In fact, 4th of July and Christmas my two favorite times of year to visit Mickey! Let’s take a look at the top 10 tips for visiting Disney World in the peak Season.
10. Stay On Property - There are many benefits for staying at a Walt Disney World resort. Not only do you get to stay at a uniquely themed hotel, but you are also eligible for several great Disney perks. Free transportation is provided to nearly anywhere you would want to go on Disney property. As a Walt Disney World hotel guests, you can also take advantage of extra time in the parks through Extra Magic Hours.
9. Bring A Mister Fan - If you will be traveling to Walt Disney World during the summer months, you will definitely want to bring a mister fan with you. The temperature in Orlando can get quite high in the summer, even reaching over 100 degrees on some days. A mister fan filled with ice water is a great way to combat the heat while waiting in line for your favorite attraction or walking around the parks.
8. Bring A Poncho - Rain is fairly common at Disney World. Most days, especially during the summer, it will rain at least once. Usually the rain doesn’t last long; however, sometimes it does. Bring a poncho with you to the parks. When it does rain, you can continue having fun in the park instead of waiting out the rain inside.
7. Arrive Early - A great way to get ahead of the crowds at Disney is to arrive at the parks early. Mosts guests won’t arrive at park opening, so arriving early will allow you to experience greatly reduced crowds. If you arrive at Magic Kingdom about 15 minutes prior to the park’s opening, you will even get to experience the Rope Drop – a great little show which I highly recommend seeing.
6. Extra Magic Hours - As I mentioned before, guests of Disney hotels can experience extra time in the parks called Extra Magic Hours. Find out which park will have Extra Magic Hours each day of your vacation and use it to your advantage. Generally, the park having Extra Magic Hours will be more crowded on that day. If you have a park hopper, you can go to a different (and hopefully less crowded) park during the majority of the day and then park hop to the Extra Magic Hour park for some extra time in that park.
5. Eat At Off-Hours - The lines at quick service restaurants around Walt Disney World can get quite long at common dining times. To avoid these long lines and get the most out of your time at Disney, I recommend eating at unusual times. This trick also works great if you’re having trouble getting the ADR you want. Since most people will eat at the normal times, you may have more luck requesting an ADR at an off-hour. If you do get hungry prior to lunch or dinner, just grab a snack to tide you over until meal time.
4. Find Your Parade Viewing Location Early - The parades at Walt Disney World are popular. In order to get a great viewing location, you will need to arrive early – especially for the Main Street Electrical Parade. In fact, I recommend claiming your spot for the Main Street Electrical Parade at least an hour ahead of time.
3. Character Dining - The lines to meet character in the parks can get quite long, especially for characters from newer films. Waiting in these lines can take up a good bit of time which could be spent visiting attractions. A great way to avoid these long lines but still get to meet your favorite characters is to make ADRs for character dining. You can find a list of Disney World character dining options here.
2. Go To Popular Attractions First - When you arrive at the parks in the morning, be sure to visit some of the more popular attractions first. For the first hour or two the parks are open, many of the popular attractions will have a much shorter wait than they will later in the day.
1. Take Advantage of Disney’s FASTPASS - As a Disney park guest (whether or not you are staying on property), you have FREE access to one of Walt Disney World’s greatest services – FASTPASS. This service allows you to come back to certain attractions at specified times for a greatly reduced wait time. Using Disney’s FASTPASS system will allow you to experience a greater number of attractions throughout your vacation since you won’t be spending so much time waiting in long lines.
Do you have any other great tips for visiting Disney World in the peak season? We would love to hear them in the comments below!