Easter is past and summer is just around the corner. The Spring Break crowds were a mere taste of what lies in store for summer at the Disney World theme parks. How do you cope with crowds so heavy that Fastpasses for the most popular rides are gone by noon, and so many people that the parks sometimes close because they have reached their capacity? Here are survival tips:
1) Get moving as early as possible. You might not be a morning person, or you might be exhausted as the days of your vacation wear on, but early morning time is very valuable during the summer season. It ensures you get into the park and allows you to get Fastpasses for the rides you really want. You might even get to enjoy a couple of rides with minimal lines. Pack breakfast snacks like granola bars in your luggage so you don’t waste valuable time eating.
2) Have an alternate plan. Disney does close down its parks if they reach a certain capacity, so if you’re paark hopping or get a really late start, you might find yourself shut out. This is particularly common with the Magic Kingdom, especially on holidays. Decide on an alternate park or activity, like a water park, miniature golf or even stopping at a resort to rent watercraft. The closed-down park might reopen in the evening, when the crowd dies down. Don’t leave your must-dos till the end of your trip if you visit in summer because you might find yourself unable to do them.
3) Go to water parks late in the day. This is a trick that I use a lot as a local. Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon get packed on hot summer days and even reach capacity, but people tend to get tired out from all the stairs, sunburned and generally ready to call it a day by late afternoon. Take advantage of that by visiting in the last hour or two that the park is open and the lines will be greatly reduced.
4) Stay hydrated. This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget about drinking when you’re busy battling the crowds and hurrying from one ride or show to the next. Carry a water bottle and refill it at the plentiful fountains scattered around the parks rather than waiting in long lines and spending money to buy beverages throughout the day (yes, I know Florida water tastes “funny,” but it’s much better than getting sick from lack of hydration). On a particularly serious day of theme parking, I buy an occasional sports drink as an added precaution.
5) Take advantage of air conditioning. Most shows at Disney World have a large capacity, and some rarely have lines (such as Carousel of Progress in the Magic Kingdom, which I think is very under-rated), so they’re a good way to see something without a long wait and to cool off in a climate controlled environment before you head back out into the sun.
What about the other Orlando theme parks? Click here for info on staying cool on the water rides at Islands of Adventure. Click here to read about another summer option: Disney’s Vero Beach resort. Click here to read more of my articles, and click here to follow me on Twitter.