Planning Your Disney Itinerary: Managing Crowds

We’re approaching one of Walt Disney World’s busiest times of year, Christmas and New Year’s. Visiting during Walt Disney World’s most crowded times of year presents challenges, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few itinerary tips for managing high crowds during your visit.

1. Arrive early, arrive early, arrive early. Try to get to the park entrance an hour before park opening to give yourself the best chance to experience some rides in the morning before the crowds build up. Getting there well before the park actually opens will put you at the front of the crowds trying to enter once the park opens.

2. Have a plan for your time in the parks. In order to take advantage of that first hour of shorter lines, know which rides you want to visit, and which of these will be your first stop after the park opens. Since guests can now make their FastPass selections in advance, you should already have your FastPasses set for rides to visit later in the morning, when lines are growing longer.

3. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. If the parks are crowded, the roads and Disney’s transportation system will also be crowded. Plan an hour of transportation time for most Disney transportation, and give yourself an hour and a half if you need to transfer.

4. Take regular breaks from the parks. Touring Walt Disney World already takes a lot of walking, and having to navigate large crowds can drain everyone’s energy. After your early morning visit, retreat from the crowded parks for the afternoon. Go back to your resort to relax, or maybe visit some nearby resorts and check out the holiday decorations.

5. Plan your itinerary realistically. At its busiest, some of Walt Disney World’s most popular rides will have multi-hour waits, and there will be lines for nearly everything. You won’t be able to do everything in the parks, and you don’t need to in order to have a great vacation. Discuss which rides and shows you really want to see, and focus on visiting your must-do attractions first thing in the morning or by using a FastPass.

Find out how the FREE services of a Disney World travel agent can make planning your Disney vacation simple and STRESS FREE! PLUS from December 1-31, book a Disney World, Disneyland or Disney Cruise vacation package with me and I will make a donation in your name to charity. Learn more about the charities that The Affordable Mouse is supporting this year and please help us “pay it forward”!

Elizabeth lives in Kansas City with her wonderful family. Elizabeth first visited Disney as a child, and when she prepared to visit Walt Disney World as an adult, she foolishly thought she may have ‘outgrown’ Disney. Happily, Elizabeth was proven wrong – but she also realized how good planning can make such a difference for having a fun, relaxing vacation! Elizabeth became her family’s go-to resource for Disney planning. Now she is dedicating her planning skills to helping other families create vacation memories as a travel agent specializing in Disney destinations. She will plan your trip as if it were her own. Her blog,, has tons of advice on how to plan your next Disney trip, including trip planning instructions, sample itineraries, dining tips, and more. Visit her on Facebook or Twitter for more planning tips and theme park news. Contact Elizabeth at

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Related posts:

  1. Planning Your Disney Itinerary: Late Arrivals
  2. Planning Your Disney Itinerary: Park Hopping
  3. Planning Your Disney Itinerary: Busy and Crowded
  4. Christmas and New Years at Disney World: Planning for the Crowds
  5. Planning Your Disney Itinerary: In Summer
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