Disney World is an exciting place right now.
It seems like we’re getting new rides, new restaurants, and new snacks all the time! But, unfortunately, that means Disney can feel awfully… peopley. It’s starting to feel like Disney might not even have slow seasons anymore. But don’t worry! We have some tips to help you survive if you are DREADING the crowds.
We’re in the parks all the time, and we know how crowded it can get. That’s why we have some important steps we take to avoid the crowds as much as possible! Here are six tips you need to know if you want a break from all of the people.
1. Take Advantage of My Disney Experience
If you’re one of those folks who prefers to order your take-out online rather than over the phone, and loves self-checkout lanes at stores to avoid human interaction, you will have similar options in Disney World! The My Disney Experience app lets you make Advanced Dining Reservations, Join Virtual Queues for select rides, check into your resort hotel, and much more. If you want to avoid the long lines in sometimes-crowded dining locations and shops (who doesn’t), you should definitely be using this app to your advantage. Some of Disney’s merchandise locations are set up for Mobile Checkout, so you don’t have to wait in a lengthy line to get your souvenirs!
Simply tap “Merchandise Mobile Checkout” in the app, select your store, and scan your items! After you pay (on your phone), you just look for an exit with a Mobile Checkout counter and show the Cast Member the receipt on your phone.
You can also use My Disney Experience to Mobile Order food at most quick service locations. Just tap “Oder Food” and find your desired restaurant, choose a pickup time, and place your order. When the time arrives, let the app know you’ve arrived at the restaurant, and when your food is ready you simply have to pick it up at the counter.
No need to stand in a crowded line to order and then hover around the counter with a bunch of other people while you wait for it to be prepared.
2. Eat (or Just Sit) in Peace
Speaking of eating, one thing we always make sure to do after we pick up our food is find the best spot to eat it! Some restaurants have lesser-known dining rooms that we like to take advantage of. At Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom, there’s an upstairs seating area that is usually pretty quiet, not to mention well-air-conditioned.
The upstairs area at PizzaRizzo in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is also quite a bit more relaxing than the rest of the restaurant.
There are small, similar spots in both Pinnochio Village Haus and Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, although the upstairs area in the latter is typically only open during the busiest times.
But keep in mind, sometimes it’s a good idea to walk away from the actual dining area of a restaurant, too. Sleepy Hollow has some tables that do have a great view of the castle, but they are crowded! Take a few steps away to the area behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe (next to the gazebo), and there will be far fewer people disturbing your meal. This is also a great place to eat those delicious Cheeseburger Spring Rolls, too. (What? You don’t know about Cheeseburger Spring Rolls? Check them out here.
In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the area behind Tamu Tamu Refreshments is also a nice, usually quiet place to grab a seat.
It has plenty of tables and a bit of shade. You can even walk your Starbucks from Creature Comforts down here for a more peaceful spot.
3. Don’t Skip the “Boring” Things
With TRON Lightcycle / Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind to check out, along with all the other tons of famous attractions Disney World has to offer — it can feel like hitting the less desirable spots is a waste of time. Please don’t make the mistake of skipping them! Many of these areas of the park are not only way less busy, but they’re also actually very entertaining. In EPCOT, Awesome Planet is an “on-screen exploration of the realm we call home.” Here you’ll be able to sit in some comfortable seats, in an air-conditioned room, and watch a stunning film about our, well, awesome planet! And guess what? There’s almost never a crowd here!
In Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney Presents is a quiet area with a gallery exhibit and guided self-tour of Walt’s legacy. Not only is this a great place to escape the crowds, but you’ll also find some unique artifacts — from one-of-a-kind sketches to costumes, models, and more.
In Magic Kingdom, Tom Sawyer’s Island is a great place to explore if you want to escape the crowds. There are a lot of trees for shade and some seating outside of the (usually closed) Aunt Polly’s.
And lastly, don’t sleep on the Oasis Exhibits in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
They can truly feel like an oasis compared to the rest of Disney World, and you’ll get to see some pretty neat animals while you’re at it.
4. Find the Secret Quiet Areas
If you know where to look, you can also find some pretty relaxing areas throughout the parks. In the World Showcase in EPCOT, many of the countries have areas behind the main storefronts that are like little oases. One of our favorites is the garden area behind the UK Pavilion. At times, this can get a little crowded because there are shows in the gazebo occasionally, but typically it’s very peaceful back there. There’s a hedge garden, a tea garden, and sometimes you’ll even spot Mary Poppins with a very short line.
In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Discovery River Amphitheater (where they used to show KiteTails), is a large seating area where you will definitely be able to find some space to yourself. Occasionally, you can even see a fun flotilla pass by with characters like Mickey and Minnie in safari gear or Russell and Doug from Up.
In Magic Kingdom, there is a little side street off of Main Street U.S.A. — Center Street — that has some tables and chairs that usually aren’t too busy.
When Main Street crowds become overwhelming, you could pop over here!
5. Avoid the Most Popular Fireworks Viewing Areas
This probably won’t come as a surprise, but one of the most crowded places you’ll encounter in Disney World is in front of Cinderella Castle during the fireworks. Happily Ever After has just returned, so it is especially popular right now. But, you’ll probably feel like a sardine if you watch the show from in front of the castle or down Main Street U.S.A.
While you won’t be able to see all of the castle projections, there are a few other areas that make great viewing locations away from the crowds. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is directly behind the castle and the area typically isn’t too crowded. You can find some tables outside of the Tangled bathrooms that can even make for a romantic setting to watch the fireworks, surrounded by lanterns. The Frontierland walkway is also a pretty quiet spot to watch, and you get a pretty great, unobstructed view of the fireworks.
But, if getting the full fireworks experience isn’t a must-do for you — you could also use this chance to get on a few rides with a low wait! A lot of people are busy getting food and grabbing a spot before the fireworks, so wait times generally go down.
If you’re lucky, you might even get to see the fireworks from the ride itself. Some attractions, like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Astro Orbiter, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad have a great view of the fireworks if you time it out right.
6. Don’t Rush out at the End of the Night
Finally, after you do catch that fireworks show, do not — I repeat, DO NOT — try to leave the park immediately. Ok, if you gotta go, you gotta go. But seriously, the crowds trying to get back to their cars, Monorail, or resort bus? CRAZY.
At Magic Kingdom, especially, Cast Members start setting up the pathways to get back to the monorail hours before the park closes. The number of people trying to leave the park at that time is intense and requires a ton of planning and direction from the incredibly patient Cast Members. So, you’re probably going to want to wait for this to die down before you make your way out of the park, or else you might find yourself squished into a pretty packed Monorail.
Well, there you have it. Six secret ways to get away from people when the crowds are just too much. We’ll keep bringing you all of our favorite Disney tips, so stay tuned to DFB for more!
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Have you tried any of these tips? Let us know in the comments below!
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