7 Best Tips for Avoiding the Holiday Crowds

The holiday season is upon us, and that means it’s a busy time for Walt Disney World!

It’s the holiday season!

There are dozens of celebrations to enjoy around the resort for the season, with everything from snacks to decorations to entertainment. And during the holidays, the parks will be extra packed, so how do you avoid those crowds? We’ve got the best tips!

Arrive Early

First of all, you’ll want to make sure to arrive early on your park days. We highly recommend making it to the parks for rope drop, which means 30-45 minutes before opening time. You may need to add a few extra minutes as a buffer if you’re heading to Magic Kingdom and planning to park, since you’ll need to take Disney transportation from the TTC. If you’re among the first to arrive, you’ll be among the first to get in line for the big attractions and you can start knocking things off your to-do list!

Rope drop crowds at Magic Kingdom

Use the Resort Perks

If you’re staying at a Disney World Resort hotel, there are some perks that you should certainly take advantage of. All resort guests get the chance to enter every theme park 30 minutes early each day with the new Early Theme Park Entry. And if you’re staying at a Deluxe Resort, you can stay late in Magic Kingdom and EPCOT on select nights, earning you an extra two hours of park time!

Early Theme Park Entry

Eat During the Off Times

If you want to avoid the crowds when eating, then you’re first going to need to plan meals for “off” times of the day. This means that you shouldn’t head to lunch between 11AM-1PM or dinner between 5PM-7PM. During those hours, the vast majority of people are going to be flooding the quick service spots and snack stands, and you may have to wait a while to get your order.

Pecos Bill at Lunchtime

If you hope to dine at a table service restaurant, you’ll definitely want to make dining reservations before you go. At this point, your options may be limited if you’re looking for the holiday season. For those dining quick service, we recommend making your Mobile Orders in the morning and just choosing a time later in the day for when you want to eat. Those time windows will disappear quickly on busy days.

Make your Mobile Orders early in the day!

Avoid the Obvious Busy Times

Some parks are just going to be particularly busy on certain days. For instance, Magic Kingdom is always the most crowded on Christmas Day, and Magic Kingdom and EPCOT are typically packed on New Year’s Eve. EPCOT will also be busy on the weekends during festivals, as many locals come by to enjoy dinner in World Showcase.

Crowds at EPCOT on the first day of a festival

Anticipate the Crowds

Certain areas of the parks will be more crowded than others, including places like Fantasyland, Toy Story Land, Galaxy’s Edge, and Main Street, U.S.A. In addition to these places, the parks will be very chaotic before parades and fireworks shows, so you may need to stake out a spot ahead of time during the holiday season.

Toy Story Land can be utter chaos.

Shop Smart

When you’re doing your souvenir shopping, you’ll want to make some smart decisions, avoiding the big stores like World of Disney and The Emporium if you can. Instead, shop in the smaller stores in-park or do your shopping at your resort. You also want to avoid shopping at the end of the day, because that’s when the stores will be most crowded.

The Emporium

You’ll also want to make use of the Mobile Checkout feature that is now available in several gift shops around the parks. With this addition, you’ll be able to skip the checkout lines and instead use your phone — getting out of the store much more quickly!

Mobile Checkout

Consider Using Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selections

Disney’s new system for skipping the lines can be very helpful when you’re visiting during a busy time. It’ll cost you $15 per day to use Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selections have their own pay-per-ride prices, but it might be worth it to save a significant amount of time on a busy day. 

Goodbye FastPass lane, hello Lightning Lane!

If you purchase Genie+, make sure to log on at 7AM to make your first selection for the day. For Individual Attraction Selections, resort guests can make their purchases at 7AM, but offsite guests will have to wait until park opening time. You definitely don’t want to miss those windows — otherwise, you’ll be left with fewer (and possibly less desirable) choices.


Those are the important things you need to know if you’re heading to Disney World during the crowded holiday season! We’ll make sure to keep you updated on all the crowd news, so stay tuned to AllEars.

Click Here to Check Out the Crowds We Saw During Thanksgiving Week!

Have you ever been to Disney World during a holiday break? Let us know in the comments!

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