3 Ways to Beat the Crowds at Disney World

beat the crowds at Disney World

Wait in the long lines at Disney World? No thanks! (photo credit: Chris Harrison via Flickr)

It’s no secret that people like to complain about the crowds and long lines at Disney World.  I’ve heard everything ranging from, “Well, we want to go, but my cousin said everything was just huge waits all day long, so my kids need to be teens before I’m willing to do that,” to “It’s so not worth it.  You can barely fit in five rides with how long the lines are.”  The reality is that it is indeed possible to experience that version of a Disney World vacation, but, it’s also possible to experience low waits in lines – it just takes more than simply showing up in the park and deciding what to do at that moment!  As you start your Disney vacation planning, know that you have three options for beating the crowds in Disney World:

1. Hire a VIP tour guide

This is, by far, the most expensive option, enough so that many people are priced right out of this option.  That said, there is a lot of value behind the cost.  If you hire a Disney VIP tour guide, usually running between $300 and $600 per hour with a 6 hour minimum,  you will enter Fast Pass lines for each ride that has them, as well as some expedited entry to other attractions as available.  Plus, you’ll have a knowledgeable guide telling you stories about the parks and attractions as you go.  There are also non-Disney employed tour guides offering services in the Orlando area.  These usually cost less, often around $150 per hour, but they do not get you expedited entry to the attractions.

2. Hire a Disney vacation planning expert

A specialist in Disney vacation planning will custom tailor an itinerary just for you, taking into account the attractions and shows that matter to you, children’s heights, meal times, and more to create a daily line by line touring plan to keep you out of the long lines.  This service is a small fraction of the price of a VIP tour guide. A good plan can create a very similar effect to a VIP guide, when following it closely.  For example, our touring plans help our clients wait no more than 15 minutes on average for their rides and are completely personalized for each family.

These are carefully crafted using strategies and park touring knowledge combined with the Fast Pass+ reservations we choose and the preferences of each family.  Keep in mind – not all Disney focused travel agents offer this specific service.  Some offer itineraries but not custom touring plans, so be sure to find out exactly what is offered.

3. Set aside hours of time to learn how the parks work

It is possible to learn how to navigate the parks to beat some of the crowds if you truly want to invest the time in it.  To do this, you will want to learn all about Fast Pass+ and the priority of which rides are best reserved for your particular family.  You will want to learn which parks are the least crowded on each day, and how Extra Magic hours will or won’t help you with crowds for the parks you plan to visit.

You will want to analyze the park hours and watch wait times to start plotting out plan of attack.  There are some books out there that give some general tips for avoiding crowds, and you can join Disney fan forums to read years worth of posts on the topic.  It’s a LOT of work for one person, but it can be done if it’s something you enjoy!

These three options are your best choices for avoiding the crowds at Disney World.  Any of these three will be better than simply showing up and hoping for the best, or assuming the crowds and waits won’t bother if you.  If you have the budget to do so, you can choose Option 1 and hire a private guide.

If you adore researching many, many small details and plotting out a method of your own, Option 3 will serve you well.  And, if you are like our clients and you are a busy person who values exceptional services and wants a more smooth, enjoyable vacation service, then Option 2 is going to serve you best (and we’d love to talk to you)!


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