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  • Writer's pictureCollin Brazan

How to successfully navigate the holiday crowds

Updated: May 16

Walt Disney World® Resort is infamous for its crowds during all time of the year, but especially the holiday season. It’s not uncommon to see some of the parks close admissions after filling to capacity on the busiest days, but it’s still more than possible to an a great vacation.

Manage Fireworks Time

If you’ve seen the fireworks before at any park, consider skipping them and hopping on one of the rides with a typically longer wait time. Wait times are going to be longer than usual during the holidays, so saving that big attraction you missed the Fastpass for during fireworks time could be the perfect way to still get on your favorite ride.

Consider watching the fireworks from one of the neighboring resorts instead. If they’re a must-watch for you or any guests in your party in the park, stake out your destination ahead of time. Spots fill up quickly, and you don’t want to be stuck unable to view them in a reasonable location. It’s also a good idea to pick a spot close to a shop or attraction you’ll want to hit next. You won’t have a centered view of the show, but safely navigating out of the middle of the fireworks crowd, especially during the holidays, can take a long time.

Plan Ahead

Of course, always schedule your Fastpass selections and dining reservations on time. Just as importantly, look at park operating hours and get through the check-in process at least a half hour, if not an hour before the park opens. Know which areas you’re headed to as soon as you enter the park, and go straight there instead of wandering around in the early hours. Utilize Extra Magic Hours so that way you can stay in the parks for longer, or consider avoiding those parks and go to the less crowded ones that day.

Don’t Park Hop

Whether you decide to go to the less crowded park or the one with longer operating hours, stay there. Park hopping in the middle of the day already takes a significant amount of time during busy holiday traffic, and then you’re entering a park where lines have already backed up and guests are already staking out spots for the nighttime shows. Once you pick your park for the day, stay put.

Be Prepared to Miss Things

Even with advanced planning and great time management, don’t expect to get to do everything during the holidays. That shouldn’t be the appeal of the parks around Christmas, so have patience and be at peace with missing some of your favorite attractions. If you’re going to Walt Disney World® Resort for the first time, consider going at a different time of year so that you can experience everything there is to offer, or at least speak with another guest or travel agent who has been during the holidays and can give you a plan

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