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Old 10-01-2009, 12:51 PM   #1
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August during Free Dining Crowds

Next year I decided to try and minimize the amount of school my kids would miss so I booked our BB on August 15 thru the 28. For anyone who was there this year how were the crowds? We plan to have some non park days at Disney Quest and the Water Parks, so I hope to be able to plan the park days when the Dining crowd isn't as bad.
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Old 10-01-2009, 02:12 PM   #2
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This past August, I arrived on Friday, Aug 14. Free dining started on Sunday, the 16th. This was my fourth trip at almost the exact same time in August, give or take a day either way. In previous years, free dining started the weekend we left, so about the 21st of so. This year, the crowds in MK were nightmarish. I have never, ever seen such huge crowds. I would say the crowds were similar to Thanksgiving day or the day after. The other parks weren't quite as bad but they were pretty crowded as well.
I doubt I will ever go back at this time of year again if they offer free dining at the same time. Just way to hot and humid to put up with crowds like that.

But, with that all being said, you are going for almost two weeks. You should be able to get to the parks really early and just stay for a bit. No need to try to cram it all in all at once. That makes you lucky. You can take your time.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:23 PM   #3
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We were at DW this past August from the 17th-27th. This was during the first week of free dining. In the past, we always went to WDW in late April/early May. This time that time period was no longer an option for us since two of our boys are in high school now. There's just NO getting away during school anymore!

We were nervous about the heat mostly, but I can honestly say we handled it fine. We're from Massachusetts and it gets quite humid here...it just doesn't stay that way for long. We took lots of breaks, used our snacks for frozen drinks and such, went back to use the pool some, and did the AC rides/shows when we needed a break. We did carry misters/fans and drank a lot of water. It really wasn't as horrible as I was expecting. The crowds were heavy at times and very light others. I really think it just depended on which park you picked on any given day. Most of the time it seemed that we picked the right one to go to. The one mistake we made was going to DS on a F! day. DS was really busy that day! Even on that day though we did everything we wanted to by getting to the park by opening and using FP. We didn't do any EMH (I have teenagers!) but did get to park by opening or 15 min. after. We park-hopped most days to break up the day. No commando touring for us.

We had an awesome vacation!! I'd definitely do it again.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:32 PM   #4
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We were there from 8/20 - 8/29 this year. While I found the resturants crowded I really didn't find the parks to be that bad. I've been at the beginning of August and it was definately worse then. The first few days (the first week of free dining and probably the last week before lots of kids went back to school) was pretty busy, but not unmanagable. The second week was very doable. Wait times for most rides were either non exsistant or maybe like 15/20 minutes. The larger rides were still over 45 minutes for most. The heat, yup it's hot. But as others have said, drink lots of water and take breaks in cool buildings or on cool rides. That's what we did. With DD in school I would never pull her out and I would definately do the end of August again.
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:40 PM   #5
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We are going to the World next year too.

Looked at the last week in August for the first free dining week.
Many schools still are not in session yet and I believe with the free offer families headed to the world for a last minute before school vacation.

So we opted to go 2 weeks later. Reports about crowds for this week were all over the place. some reported crowds= some reported its managable.

Crowded conditions can vary from person to person-(guess that what happens with expectations.)

reading reviews about people trying to get ADRs for that week gave me a headach-- the number 1 reason I decided to wait.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:16 PM   #6
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Ok, so we had a different experience than some of the others. We went 8/15-23. We had the best vacation ever. We found the crowds do-able. We used fast passes, went to rope drop and left at lunch, then went back at night. We followed the Best/Worst park on UOG's website. We had such a good time, we booked for 11 days for 8/20-31 next year. We can hardly wait.

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