We are in the middle of Spring Break season across the country and Spring Break means school’s out. When school’s out, you can bet that Walt Disney World is packed. Since the weather is milder than the longer summer break, families flock to Orlando during March and April. Some families are Disney veterans; some are newbies who’ve done their research and are prepared with Fastpasses, dinner reservations, and some kind of touring plan.
Then, there are the others. The less seasoned guests are unprepared. They might mosey on up to the main gate around noon to purchase their one day ticket without a care in the world. Within a few hours, they’re complaining to the world across social media about what a disappointing experience they’re having.
I’ve seen it over and over. I treasure any time my family is lucky enough to spend at Walt Disney World so it truly pains me to see friends, family, and even complete strangers not making the most of their experience. What’s worse is knowing that they continue to spread that negativity by sharing with their friends and family what a waste of time and money it was. If you’re reading this, you probably already love Disney or you’re planning your first trip there. We want you to love Disney as much as we do and continue spreading positive Disney vibes. So, here are a few tips to make the most of your time there, even if you must go during the busiest seasons.
1. FastPass+ selections can be made 60 days ahead if you are staying on Disney property or 30 if you’re staying off property. During busy times, FastPass+ is the only way to guarantee you’ll get on the biggest rides without waiting in the longest rides. During busy times, there is a wait for everything. Prioritize. Make your selections for the middle of the day since the early and late hours tend to be a little less crowded.
2. If you’re really planning ahead, dining reservations can be made 180 days in advance. During peak times, it’s essential to book those reservations – especially if you’re seeking out the most popular dining locations.
3. Wake up! One of the biggest tips I give is that it’s best to maximize your time by getting there early. Arrive at the park of your choice prior to opening to enjoy the smallest crowds of the day and the shortest lines. This is especially important for people who decide on spontaneous days at WDW and are without FastPasses. Likewise, if your little ones can last, the parks tend to clear out closer to the end of the day.
4. Look at the map. Try to create a touring plan that makes sense rather than zig zagging back and forth. If you have a chance to make FastPasses ahead of time, this is especially important. If your times overlap, you don’t want to run from one side of the park and back again to make all of your times.
5. If all else fails, go with the flow and be realistic. Know that Disney parks are a magical place to be, regardless of the crowds. Enjoy the atmosphere. Make memories. Yes, the lines are long. No, you won’t be able to do and see everything in one day. Keep in mind that your kids will remember the magic, not the madness. Keep it simple and it will be special forever.
Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.