Suggestions on avoiding the crowds during the bussiest times of year

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by texasvol, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. texasvol

    texasvol Earning My Ears

    May 16, 2011
    I know sometimes you have to travel during the bussiest times of year to Disney. And sometimes you run into long waits everywhere. Does anyone have any tricks of secrets to see and do more during these times? I know you can use fast pass, but if anyone has anything else that has worked for them, could you let me know?
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  3. newdeal

    newdeal DIS Veteran

    Apr 12, 2009
    Rope drop is key. You can take advantage of the fact that most people sleep in on their vacation
  4. disneynan

    disneynan DIS Veteran

    Feb 26, 2005
    Because I work in a school, we can only go during the busy season. My best advice is to get to your park of choice 30 min before the scheduled opening of the park. Pick 2-3 popular rides that you will try to get to first thing. The first 30 minutes after opening is the least crowded all day.
  5. lsenquiz

    lsenquiz DIS Veteran

    Aug 4, 2005
    As PP said rope drop, rope drop, rope drop. Morning EMH also helps as well as park hoppers. My DH hates getting up early but even he agrees that we need to make rope drop when we travel during peak times. We usually make rope drop for EMH and then are back at the room by lunch for a nap and then some pool time. We then go back to whatever park has evening EMH.
  6. castmember19

    castmember19 DIS Veteran

    Apr 1, 2011
    Rope drop, rope drop, rope drop. We're a rope drop family.

    I'd also suggest buying the Unofficial Guide for tips and touring plans.

    Also, some people enjoy EMH but we avoid the park that has them like the plague.

    Different families have different strategies. It's just what works for us.
  7. Niki in NJ

    Niki in NJ Mouseketeer

    Mar 17, 2011
    Definitely rope drop! The first hour the park is open you can get so much done. Another tip would be to make an early ADR for a place to eat in the park and be scheduled to finish before the park opens. For example, have a 7:30 ADR for Crystal Palace, so when the park opens at 9, you are already in the park ready to tour. You can also get great pictures in the park with barely anyone around. We also go to the back of the park first and do attractions back there because you can get a lot done since it takes longer for guests coming in the gates to make their way to the back. You can grab fastpass for something more popular in the front of the park while heading to the back.
    I would also avoid EMH's both early and late. The late EMH's are great for fireworks, etc. .. but the lines for the rides don't die down until late (like after 11). That's just our experience.
  8. Gonzo82

    Gonzo82 Mouseketeer

    Oct 25, 2010
    1. Rope Drop. Getting to a park 30 minutes or more before opening gets you a good place in the rope drop crowd. In terms of attractions per hour, the first two hours in the morning can not be beat (EMH excluded, of course). Crowds are low and FP return times are quick, allowing you to get more FPes in a shorter amount of time.

    2. Abuse the Fast Pass system. This is tied into #'s 1, 3 and 4. Disney allows you to use "expired" fast passes. In other words, as long as you arrive after the start of your scheduled FP window you will be allowed in, regardless of how long ago the window actually was. So save your fast passes for when you really need them, see other attractions in the meantime, and do your best to get another FP as soon as you are able.

    3. Know which attractions always have a short wait time. At each park, there are certain attractions that have a short wait time 90% of the time. Obviously if you're there at super peak times (Christmas, New Year's, Easter, 4th of July, or any other time when park closings threaten) lines will be long at everything no matter what, but otherwise certain attractions will always have a relatively short wait time. These can be saved for midday when crowds are the worst. IMO the are:
    MK: Stitch, Monsters inc., TTA/Peoplemover, Carousel of Progress, Mickey's Philharmonic, Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, and the Tiki Room (closed now, but I doubt it will draw significantly more people when it reopens).
    Epcot: The Seas, Figment, Captain Eo, Living with the Land (30 min, tops), Universe of Energy, any of the films in World Showcase.
    HS: Backlot Tour, Muppet-Vision 3D, Magic of Disney Animation, and the Beauty and the Beast show.
    AK: Bug's Life, Flights of Wonder, the walking trails, and the Discovery Island habitats.

    4. Know the ebb and flow of crowds. Some attractions have low crowds at certain times of the day and short lines at others (ignoring the pre-noon hours when everything is low).
    MK: Pirates and Jungle Cruise: low crowds before lunch and after dinner. Save these for one of those times.
    Epcot: Spaceship Earth and Maelstrom. Spaceship Earth is busiese in the afternoons. I'd suggest saving it for later when most guests have entered the park and have already done it. Maelstrom has one of the most under-utilized fast pass machines in the parks, so either do it early/late, or just get a fastpass and spend 40 minutes enjoying the rest of World Showcase.
    HS: The Great Movie Ride (and maybe Star Tours). TGMG is like Spaceship Earth: everyone wants to do it when they enter the park, no one wants to do it later. Do the big 3 early, then save this for when you're waiting for your fastpasses. Star Tours right now is up in the air. So far the only data we have is for the Star Wars Weekend crowd, who normally artificially increase the wait time for this attraction anyway. It will take a while before the effects of the refurb are seen, but historically the attraction has been open in the mornings and nights and busy in the afternoons.
    AK: The dearth of attractions here generally gives everything a long line, but there are a few tips. Flights of Wonder usually fills up late, and the fast pass machines at Dinosaur and the Safari and under-utilized, so the make good use of fastpasses for those attractions.
  9. Stinkerbell317

    Stinkerbell317 LOSTaholic

    Mar 13, 2007
    We usually avoid the amEMH parks, but take full advantage of the pmEMHs especially if it's a night MK is open until 2-3am. Not all kids can handle those hours I realize, but if you can swing it, we LOVE being at MK that late.

    If you're more of morning people, make an 8am bfast reservation at a non-amEMH park. You'll be inside the park at rope drop, and be ahead of the crowds lined up back at the turnstiles.
  10. Carrie in AZ

    Carrie in AZ DIS Veteran

    Mar 18, 2003
    I can suggest two things:

    Rope Drop: Plan to arrive at the park 40+ mins prior to park opening during busy times. We did that last week for six rope drops in a row and it made a HUGE difference in our day. We were able to walk on many attractions and others with very little wait.

    Tour Guide Mike: I highly recommend subscribing to TGM and participating in the Forums on his site. The detailed itinerary and touring plan help you will receive from the "experts" there will help you more than I can say. Again, we hardly waited at all last week in all four parks. (HS was the exception and is the trickiest park)

    And, of course, read read read all you can here on the DISBoards and your trip will be MAGICAL!
  11. Wadecool

    Wadecool DIS Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    Ditto! :thumbsup2
  12. ToddRN

    ToddRN Mouseketeer

    Jul 27, 2008
    I'd say avoid EMH- gets really busy! Also, check out a site called Touring Plans- very cool and lots of great hints. They know their Disney!!! For a small subscription fee, you have access to crowd levels, and best/worst days to visit specific parks. They also have an app called, "Lines." CHeck it out, its helped me out a lot!!!!
  13. KrysiaG

    KrysiaG Mouseketeer

    Jun 8, 2011
    and are eating at breakfasts & things as well! ;)
  14. buffettgirl

    buffettgirl The whole tag thing, so 1990's internet.

    Dec 26, 2008
    rope drop and learn how to use FP .

    We normally go in July and we rarely wait more than 20 min for anything because we know where to be, on what day, and we know how to use the FP system.
  15. soulmates

    soulmates traveling through life, with the one I love DVC Gold

    Oct 20, 2008
    I guess we're going against the flow here.;) We plan to sleep in late, and lounge by the pool all day. Fun in the sun, renting a boat here and there and going at a slow pace. All our ADR's are for around 5pm and THEN we'll hit the parks. We plan to avoid the major heat this way plus the parks are EXTRA magical in the evenings!:wizard: This is our first time doing it this way but having been once before in Aug I KNOW the heat & humidity took the energy right out of us. We're looking forward to relaxing on this trip! :cloud9:
  16. Dayton Flyer

    Dayton Flyer Mouseketeer

    Jul 7, 2010
    It is hard to send a runner to that thing because Epcot is so spread out. It's like "OK, you go get a FP for Maelstrom, we'll ride Soarin'. On standby. Twice. See you then!"

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