Most people that know me know that I bring up the Disney Parks in casual conversation with alarming frequency. Disney is like a crazy addiction that I can’t get enough of: I’m an adult, and I’m not ashamed to be in love with Walt Disney World. A Disney vacation is something to look forward to. Whether you take annual trips, or your family has saved for one trip over a long period of time, the parks are special. But there’s nothing that can ruin the magic of Disney quicker than standing in overwhelming lines, or getting crushed in throngs of people in sweltering heat. Huge crowds and long lines can make tempers flare, and disappointment creep in. We’ve compiled a list of some of our best strategies at avoiding long lines and WDW crowds, to try to make your stay at the happiest place on earth even more enjoyable.

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1. Go early, Stay late

This truth is preached on every Disney blog on the planet, and that’s because it’s crucial to avoiding the crowds and lines. If you’re looking for a vacation where you can sleep in and go to bed early, Hawaii is great. But at the Disney Parks, getting there at rope drop is key. The early morning hours will be the time that you can accomplish the most, with the shortest lines. The temperatures will be ideal, and you’ll be eating lunch and heading back to your hotel for a mid-afternoon nap while everyone else is standing in atrociously long afternoon lines. Hit the parks again after your nap, refreshed and ready for the night. Stay after the nighttime shows and the crowds will once again be lighter, as most people will head out.

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2) Utilize Fastpass+

Fastpass+ has had its fans and its critics, but if used correctly, it can save you a lot of valuable vacation time. For starters, make sure that you plan ahead, and make your Fastpass+ reservations as soon as you can. Also, don’t use your Fastpass+ reservations on ‘throwaway’, or short wait time rides. Make your reservations for later in the day, because lines are short enough to wait in during the morning hours.

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3) Eat During Odd Hours

Most of us have a designated meal time that we tend to stick to – but if you can deviate from that while at the Disney Parks, it will help you avoid crowds. By eating lunch and dinner at non-peak times, not only will the restaurants be less busy, but also the Parks will be less crowded during meal time rushes.

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4) Be Flexible In Your Travel Dates

I know sometimes you can’t be flexible, but when you can be, it will make a huge difference in Disney crowds. For example, the difference between the Magic Kingdom on a Monday, and on a Saturday is significant. Traveling on weekdays vs. weekends will not only save you money but you won’t be fighting as many crowds. The same principle is true in avoiding Holidays in the park, when many of them reach capacity or close to it.

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5) Be Willing To Do Lesser Known Attractions

No matter how busy the parks are, there are attractions that will almost always have a short line. Examples of these are People Mover, Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree, Impressions of France, O Canada, Ellen’s Universe of Energy, Captain EO, Living with the Land, and One Man’s Dream.

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A trip to a Disney Park should be a magical experience that crowds and lines shouldn’t interfere with. Use some of our tips and tricks for dealing with WDW crowds to make the most of your vacation, at our favorite place!

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