A family vacation to Disneyland or Disney World is never a bad idea. You can have a great time at either resort, no matter when you go. Visiting during peak times like summer and spring breaks may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you may have even more fun when the parks are busier because it means longer hours and fewer ride closures!
We get asked all the time about how to do Disney when it’s packed and we’ve gathered the best tips for you. First and foremost, make sure to visit our friends at Get Away Today ) when planning your Disney vacation. These folks love Disney and visit the parks on a regular basis. They have a ton of information and tips for both Disneyland and Disney World. PLUS they work directly with Disney to get you the best prices all while giving the best service. The experts at Get Away Today live and breathe Disney, so you can count on them for all the tips and tricks of navigating the parks. Don’t forget to mention How Does She when booking your vacation and to use promo code HowDoesShe HERE.
Now that you know where to go for your package, check out our tips on how to do Disney when it’s packed:
Fastpasses are one of the best ways to get the most out of a Disney trip during peak times. With these, you’ll be able to return to your favorite rides at a specified time to essentially skip the line. There are so many rides that have the Fastpass option now, so we recommend choosing your favorites and must-rides when using this service. The Fastpass system differs in each resort, so here’s a closer look at how it works in Disneyland and Disney World.
Disneyland: At Disneyland, you can’t get your Fastpass tickets until you are in the park. You’ll insert your regular park ticket into the Fastpass machine (across from the main line entrance unless noted otherwise) and it will print out a Fastpass ticket for you. Simply return to the Fastpass lane within the hour printed on that ticket and you won’t have to worry about spending your time waiting in line. Tip: Have one family member take all your tickets to get the Fastpasses while the rest of your party heads to a different ride or grabs a treat.
Walt Disney World: At Disney World, you’re able to make your Fastpass reservations online ahead of time via the My Disney Experience. You can make your Fastpass selections on your desktop, the My Disney Experience app on your phone or even in the park at the touch-screen kiosks. If you’re staying at a Disney World hotel, a Magic Band is included for each person in your party. The Magic Band will be your room key, ticket, credit card and Fastpasses during your stay. Plus, you can make your Fastpass reservations up to 60 days in advance.
If you’re staying off property, you can purchase a Magic Band separately or simply use the regular ticket form. You can make your Fastpass reservations 30 days ahead of time. Either way, you can reserve up to three rides at a time with the Disney World Fastpass system, so plan wisely. Whether you stay on property or off, you will be able to select more Fastpass reservations via the My Disney Experience app or the kiosks throughout the park after you’ve used your original three, based on availability.
Taking advantage of extra hours offered throughout the parks is a must when you’re visiting Disney during peak season. The extra hours are a great time to ride some of the most popular rides! Extra hours vary throughout each park and resort, so here’s what you need to know:
Disneyland: In Disneyland, the extra hours are known as Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hour. The Extra Magic Hour is only available for guests staying at one of the three Disneyland hotels. It enables you to enter Disneyland or Disney California Adventure an hour early every day with your park ticket, depending on the schedule. It’s another great reason to stay as close to the magic as possible!
The Magic Morning is a perk included on 3-day or longer tickets and allows one entry into Disneyland an hour early on specified days. Disneyland’s Magic Morning is typically available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Don’t forget to check Disneyland’s calendar before you go to make sure, though!
It’s important to note that not all tickets offer the Magic Morning at Disneyland. You always get the Magic Morning when you buy a 3-day or longer ticket from Get Away Today . Plus, they’ll be able to give you tips and tricks on how to best use your extra hour in Disneyland.
Walt Disney World: In Disney World, extra hours are only offered to guests staying on property. Extra Magic Hours rotate throughout the parks so it’s important to check Disney World’s calendar before your trip. Typically, you’ll have the chance to experience an extra hour in the morning as well as an extra hour or two in the evening at different parks during peak times. Sometimes Disney World will even offer “Extra” Extra Magic Hours for new attractions or lands on top of the usual Extra Magic Hours.
Remember, this perk is only offered to guests staying on property at the Walt Disney World Resort. There are so many hotels on property, making it easy to find one for nearly every budget. You can always call the Disney experts at Get Away Today to find the best Disney World options for your family.
It’s always a treat to take a break from the crowds to rest your feet. Now, just imagine that break with yummy food, air conditioning and your favorite characters coming to meet you. That’s exactly what Character Dining at the parks is like. It’s a great chance to see Disney characters without waiting in line for them, plus a break from the busy park.
Disneyland: You can choose from five different Character Dining experiences at the Disneyland Resort. Ariel’s Grotto in Disney California Adventure offers both breakfast and lunch with a chance to meet some of your favorite princesses. Goofy’s Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel offers breakfast and dinner while meeting Goofy and some of his most memorable friends. You’ll be able to spend breakfast with a variety of characters at the Minnie & Friends Breakfast in Disneyland, the Surf’s Up! Breakfast at the Paradise Pier or the Chip ‘n Dale Critter Breakfast at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
Reservations are available 60 days in advance online or over the phone, and should be made as soon as possible when visiting during busy times. To get a discount on these tickets – and have your taxes and gratuities paid ahead of time – make sure to purchase them from Get Away Today .
Walt Disney World: At Disney World, you’ll have over 20 options for Character Dining experiences, ranging from meeting princesses at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot to meeting Mickey and friends at Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Reservations open 180 days in advance for Character Dining at Disney World. We recommend making reservations as soon as they open since some restaurants – especially the Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom – fill up fast.
Pro tip: If you’re not finding anything online, don’t be afraid to give the Disney World Dining number a call. Often times they’ll have a few open reservations held aside for those that call, making this a great tip for those looking for a specific Character Dining experience.
Peak times at Disney parks mean long park hours with even more entertainment for the entire family! You’ll be able to choose from an array of parades and shows each day and night. This is the perfect time to rest your feet and enjoy some Disney magic, especially when waiting for your next Fastpass time.
Disneyland: The times for parades and shows are released about 30 – 45 days in advance on Disneyland’s calendar. A lot of the entertainment is seasonal, but you can almost guarantee on a parade and fireworks in Disneyland, and Frozen – Live at the Hyperion and the World of Color show in California Adventure. You can even take advantage of dining packages that include a dinner or dessert party with preferred seating for the parades and shows. Just remember that reservations for these open the same time as other dining experiences; 60 days in advance.
Walt Disney World: The times and dates of entertainment are subject to change throughout Disney World’s four parks. The Walt Disney World Resort typically has a loose schedule available up to 180 days out, with a more concrete schedule up to about 90 days out. The parades and shows change just as often as they do at Disneyland, but you can almost always count on a showing of Fantasmic! in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom and IllumiNations at Epcot. There are dining packages available for certain shows that can be booked up to 180 days in advance, just like the Character Dining options.
Taking advantage of the Fastpass systems, Extra Hours, Character Dining and entertainment options will help you navigate even the busiest of days at Disneyland or Disney World. After all, there’s never a bad time to experience the magic of Disney! There’s always something to do and enjoy at the Disney parks, no matter the crowd level.
Again, If you’re thinking about heading to Disneyland or Disney World, visit our friends at Get Away Today HERE. They work directly with Disney to get you the best prices all while giving the best service. The experts at Get Away Today live and breathe Disney, so you can count on them for all the tips and tricks of navigating the parks. Don’t forget to mention How Does She when booking your vacation and to use promo code HowDoesShe HERE.