Thrifty Thursday: Saving Time When it’s Busy

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who dreams of having Walt Disney World all to themselves – but that’s unlikely to happen. Because time is money, if you want to make the most of your time and avoid crowds when you can, it makes sense to plan for some crowd control. One of the best ways to do this is to visit during a less busy time of year, but not everyone can visit anytime they want. Here are some itinerary tips to help avoid the crowds and do more on your vacation.

Arrive early – Yes, you are on vacation, but the first hour or so of park opening also has some of the lowest crowds. This is a great time to visit some headline rides with little to no wait. Under the FastPass+ program, guests can make 3 initialFastPass selections per day – and then more later, once those first 3 are used. I know that doesn’t always cover the headline rides I want to visit, so get there early and you can accomplish a few headliners early, and FastPass the rest later.

Eat at unusual times – Restaurants become very crowded during typical meal times, and lines at counter-service restaurants can be long. But, if you visit before 11:30 am or after 1:30 pm for lunchtime, you won’t have to deal with the same crowds. If you can take a little snack with you and wait until later for lunch, you can have a more relaxing meal while everyone else is waiting in the long afternoon lines for rides.

Have a parade/fireworks strategy – The parades at Walt Disney World are a bit divisive – some love them, others can do without them. And the same goes for the evening shows and fireworks. If you’re not a parade or fireworks fan, or if you’ve seen Wishes so many times you know the music by heart, then try visiting rides during this time. Many guests line up to see the fireworks or parade early and so lines are typically shorter at these times. But what if you do want to see the fireworks or parades? Sometimes they will have two showings, and if so the later one is much less crowded. Visit rides during the first show, and then go to the second to keep away from the crowds.

Plan your days carefully – Lots of different factors contribute to different parks having different crowd levels. Extra Magic Hours can give you some extra time in the park, but parks are more crowded when they have Extra Magic Hours, so if you don’t plan to use them, visit a different park that day. Try visiting a park the day after it’s had Evening Extra Magic Hours – not much in the way of crowds. Special events also bring more people into the parks. If you’re visiting a continuous event, like the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, try to visit on a weekday. The Magic Kingdom is frequently the most crowded park, so try to visit it on a weekday, as well.

Even if you have to visit during a busier time, a little extra planning can help you exercise some crowd control.

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I’m Elizabeth, and I’m a planner, a vacation enthusiast, and quite the nerd. Even better, I’m dedicated to helping you plan an unforgettable vacation without all the stress. I like to say that I specialize in nerd travel – to me, being a nerd has always meant being unashamedly passionate about the stories I love. This is why I love planning for my favorite destinations – these are places that can take you right into the world of your imagination and make it real. If you’re just a grown-up kid like me, you’ll love these destinations, too. Whether you’re imagining fairytale castles or adventures with wizards and dragons, I can help you make it happen! I’m putting all that I’ve learned about vacation planning and my nerdy love of fantasy to work for you, so that you can write your amazing vacation story. Visit my to learn more about how you can get help planning your next adventure, and come visit me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for even more vacation fun and tips. Contact me at to start planning.

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