How to Avoid Crowds at Walt Disney World

Disney World FastPass
Walt Disney Parks

Nobody sets out with the goal to visit Walt Disney World when it's super crowded, but sometimes crowds are simply impossible to avoid. If you're flexible about when you can visit, plan your trip for one of the less busy times

However, if you must visit during a school vacation such as spring break, summer, Thanksgiving weekend, or at Christmastime, there's no point in sugar coating it: Be prepared for big crowds. 

Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort

Staying on Disney property comes with some very nice perks that can save you a lot of time and hassle. Consider choosing a hotel that is relatively close to the parks where you intend to spend the most time. For example, if you plan on visiting the Magic Kingdom multiple times throughout your stay, choosing a monorail resort (such as The Grand Floridian) will drastically cut down your travel time.

Guests of Disney's resorts receive complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport aboard the Magical Express, as well as earlier access to FastPass+ reservations. Perhaps the best perk of all is the Extra Magic Hours program. Each day, one park opens an hour earlier than the others and another stays open an hour later. In the morning, even the most popular attractions have virtually no line, so this is your best chance to ride Expedition Everest or Space Mountain twice in a row with little (if any) wait time.

As a bonus, you won't need to use up any of your precious FastPasses until later in the morning.

Master FastPass+

Don't wait until you're on the plane or checking into your hotel to figure out which rides and attractions are on your priority list. Soon after booking your trip, have everyone in your family come up with a list of three to seven must-do experiences so you'll know which parks are your priority.

Next, get to know the My Disney Experience app and reserve times for your family's top picks using FastPass+, a system that allows you to skip the main line at three attractions or experiences in a single park. If you're staying at a Disney World Resort, you can start programming your FastPass+ picks 60 days before your arrival.

If you visit the park with the morning Extra Magic Hour and you get the park hopper option, consider saving your FastPasses for the park you will visit in the afternoon. 

Book an Early Breakfast in the Magic Kingdom

If you don't have access to Extra Magic Hours, make a breakfast reservation as early as possible (before 8:30 am) at one of three restaurants inside the Magic Kingdom: Cinderella’s Royal Table, The Crystal Palace, or Be Our Guest.

If you finish your meal before the park opens at 9 am, you can get to your first attraction before a line forms and without needing a FastPass.

Take a Lunch Break at Your Hotel

All the parks get more crowded as the day goes on, so once the morning lines start getting long, that's your cue to spend some time relaxing at your hotel's pool. If you stay past 2 pm, you'll miss the early afternoon crowds, which tend to be the most crushing of the day.

Visit a Different Park in the Afternoon

The park with the morning Extra Magic Hour of the day tends to be more crowded than usual, all day long. If you have a park hopper ticket, you can visit a different park in the afternoon, and use your FastPasses there. This method guarantees shorter lines, just as you had in the morning in the first park.