I love going to the Walt Disney World Resort. I am fortunate to get there several times a year and rarely, if ever, turn down an opportunity to go. I am fortunate that I am able to be flexible with my travel dates. I will not, however, go the week between Christmas and New Years or the weeks before or after Easter. There is no denying that the holiday decorations and atmosphere at Walt Disney World Resort during these times are stunning and spectacular. However, I have never seen a Christmas tree – no matter how stunning – that would make me want to navigate the parks during the holidays, especially when I consider I can see the same Christmas tree earlier in the month. The crowds are unbearable and the parks often close to capacity within just a couple of hours of opening. Although guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort property will be allowed in, just think how many people have entered in the first hour or two that would force closure to those staying off property.
If you absolutely, positively, 100% feel you have to visit the World during one of these peak times, be prepared. Be prepared to wait for almost everything. Be prepared to be much closer to strangers then you had ever hoped to be. Be prepared to get bumped, banged, and bumped some more by people simply trying to get from one place to another. Be prepared to not get done many of the things you had hoped or planned to.
If you absolutely, positively, 100% feel you have to visit the World during one of these peak times be sure to do all you possibly can to make the experience as good as it can be!
MISTAKE NO. 1: Thinking the crowds won’t bother you
HaaaaaaHaaaaaa! Unless you have saintly qualities, the crowds will bother you in one way or another. Imagine waiting 110 minutes (yes, 110 minutes) or more to ride an attraction. It’s finally your turn and BAM! within 2 minutes the ride is over! Imagine getting hit in the back of your leg by a stroller or scooter – over and over and over again! Many times a day – day after day! Imagine waiting in line 30 minutes for a hot dog and then there is no place available for you to sit down and eat it! Imagine trying to leave the park at close and it takes you 2 (or more hours) to get back to your room. Imagine waiting in line for the monorail or bus back to your room and before you can get on 4 or 5 or 6 bus loads or monorail loads make it on before you. Imagine thinking you have made the bus or monorail and BAM! the door closes right in front of you! Believe me, the crowds will bother you.
MISTAKE NO. 2: Letting the crowds bother you
I know – you think I’m crazy right! But let’s face it. If you decide to visit WDW during one of these peak times and let some or all of the above make you crazy – you will ruin your vacation. Complaining about a 110 minute wait to ride a 2 minute attraction won’t make the line move any faster. In fact, it will most likely make the wait seem longer. Complaining will make your kids complain and if nothing else – that will make you crazy. Go into the park knowing what to expect and with an attitude that will help you get through it. Get upset over not having a seat to eat that hot dog on will simply delay you getting to eat that hot dog. Find a bench, find an empty stretch of grass, find a curb. Then sit down and eat that hot dog. Leave the park an hour before close to avoid the mass exit that always reminds me of cattle going to slaughter.
MISTAKE NO. 3: Not making reservations for table service meals
Major mistake. People staying on property make dining reservations 180 days before their trip. If you arrive at most any time without table service dining reservations, whether holiday peak season or not, chances are all you will eat is that hot dog you couldn’t find a seat to sit and eat. During peak times wait times in quick service restaurants can be 30 minutes or more. Eating at a table service location without a reservation is not something you will be able to do. Thinking you can walk into any of the table service locations to have dinner and thinking they will let you in is a major mistake. No, they won’t let you in. No, they won’t make room for you. Make reservations!
MISTAKE NO. 4: Not making FastPass reservations
Disney allows you to create a My Disney Experience account and for anyone staying on property, allows you to reserve FastPass access to attractions 60 days prior to arrival. Take full advantage of this service and make FastPass reservations for the rides and/or attractions that are most important to your family. You are limited to the number you can make so choose wisely. Once you use your initial FastPass allotment, you can make more in the park but during the peak periods the odds of being able to get more for the most popular attractions are slim.
MISTAKE NO. 5: Thinking your FastPass will get you on the ride immediately
During slow times – yes, this will happen. During peak holiday crowds you could wait 30 or 40 minutes to get on a ride with a FastPass. In reality this is better then the 2 or sometimes 3 hour wait for the same ride without a FastPass. Be prepared to wait even with a FastPass.
So, if you absolutely, positively, 100% feel you have to visit the World during one of these peak times, plan, research, be prepared and stay calm!