How to avoid the crowds on your Disney World spring break vacation
Walt Disney World is the most popular vacation destination in the world. And spring break is one of the busiest seasons for the resort. There are ways to avoid the worst of the crowds and lines for which Disney World is known. With a little planning and preparation, you can have a wonderful family vacation at Walt Disney World even when it is crowded!
- arrive early
- take breaks
- use FASTPASS
- eat early
- have a plan
- try to do it all
- forget sunscreen
- wait until the last minute to book
- overlook the hotel
- forget to have fun
Do arrive early
Do a little research before you travel and find out what time the parks open each day. You will want to arrive 20-30 minutes before the scheduled opening each day. You will be able to accomplish more in the first two hours the park is open then you will the rest of the day.
By arriving early, you will be ahead of the crowds. As the day goes on, more and more people will enter the parks and get in line for the rides. When you arrive early, you can beat the crowds at the most popular rides.
Do take breaks
When you arrive early, you get more done than the average guest, and you will be able to take an afternoon break. Most kids rate the hotel swimming pool as one of their favorite parts of vacation. After a morning filled with rides and then a nice lunch, head back to the resort for a couple of hours to swim or nap.
By getting out of the parks during the most crowded (and hot) afternoon hours, you give everyone a chance to relax and recharge. This will also help you from hitting the wall halfway through your vacation.
Do use FASTPASS
Disney offers a free, virtual queue option called FASTPASS. It is offered for most of the headliner rides in each park. All you do is go to a FASTPASS machine, put in your park ticket and then the machine will give you a FASTPASS with a 1 hour return window.
For example, you can get a FASTPASSES for Space Mountain at 2 p.m. and our return window was 4:50-5:50 p.m. When you return, you will enter a special line for FASTPASSES. This allows you to enjoy other attractions, shop, or eat instead of waiting in the lines. Always be sure to note the return time.
Do eat early
Plan lunches for before noon and dinners for before 5:30 p.m. At around noon, the crowds start to realize that they are hungry, and the lunch locations will get very full. The same thing happens around 5:30 p.m. with the dinner crowds. By eating earlier, you will be able to have a more relaxing meal. Also, since you will be up and at the parks early, chances are you will be hungry early.
Do have a plan
Over 90% of the people who visit Walt Disney World have no plan at all. By doing a little research or hiring a Disney trip planner, you will be way ahead of the game. The average family spends over 4 hours per day waiting in line or looking at their park maps.
If you have a plan that includes the park you want to visit, order of rides, dining reservations, FASTPASS attractions and best viewing locations, you will be amazed at how much you can do. Walt Disney World is not a cheap vacation, so be sure to get the best value for your dollar with a plan.
Do not try to do it all
Walt Disney World Resort is twice the size of Manhattan with 26 hotels, 4 main theme parks, 2 water parks, an indoor gaming park, two shopping and dining districts and much more. You will not be able to do everything in one trip. Instead, focus on the must do attractions for your family.
Is eating in the castle a must do for your daughter? Does your son want to ride Space Mountain? Does mom want some time at the spa? Does dad really want to do a dinner show? Do a little research and then ask yourself what you absolutely want to do on the trip. Be sure to include those attractions in your plan and then fill in with the rest. You can’t do it all and will only make yourself miserable if you try.
Do not forget sunscreen
No matter what time of year it is or how cloudy it looks, you will need sunscreen. A bad sunburn can stop a vacation faster than just about anything else so don’t risk it. Apply in the morning and bring it with you to reapply during the day.
Do not wait until the last minute to book
The longer you wait to book your trip, the more limited the availability. The Disney resorts and restaurants book quickly so contact your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner as early as possible to get the best options. Last minute trips are possible, but your options will be more limited.
Do not overlook the hotel
Walt Disney World hotels are amazing destinations even without the parks. Be sure to spend some time enjoying the pools, dining, and activities at the hotel. Disney puts a lot of time into creating a theme for each of the hotels on property.
With 26 different hotels to choose from, you will be able to find the perfect match for your family. The Animal Kingdom Lodge has amazing animal viewing. The Polynesian has a cool volcano-themed pool. Fort Wilderness has a campfire. You spent a lot of money on the resort, be sure to enjoy it.
Do not forget to have fun
Sometimes we get so caught up in the rides and attractions that we forget to relax and have fun. This is your vacation so be sure to enjoy it. If you want to do an attraction more than once, fine, just skip something else on the plan. If the kids really want a down day at the resort, grab your book and stake out a chair by the pool. There is no one attraction, meal, or park worth stressing everyone out. Take the fun as it comes and enjoy your vacation.
Walt Disney World is a wonderful vacation destination. As long as you do a little planning, you can have a magical trip even during the busy spring break season. By putting in a little time before you travel, you can enjoy the parks and attractions without getting stuck in long lines.