Some times of the year are busier than others at Disney World. Holidays such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving bring out huge crowds. Crowds are typically largest between Christmas and New Years. Basically any time that kids are out of school, the parks get more crowded.

If your schedule allows you to visit outside of these busy times, you will enjoy more room and see more things. However, many folks need to visit around this crowded holiday times.

If the crowds are so big, is it even worth visiting the parks? Fortunately the answer is yes, but you need a plan to maximize your time.

Follow these five tips and you will see and do more than the average guest, even when crowds are huge:

1 – Arrive Early

Most people like to sleep in on their vacation. I don’t blame them one bit. However, if you want to see and do more at Disney World especially when there are big crowds you might want o become an early bird. Be sure to arrive at the entrance to the park 30 minutes before it is scheduled to open for the day. Beyond covering more shows and attractions in your first few hours than others might do all day, you may just get a special surprise – like seeing the sun rise or taking in the wonderful Magic Kingdom Opening Ceremony.

Arriving early allows you to see and do more, even when the daytime crowds are huge.

Arriving early allows you to see and do more, even when the daytime crowds are huge.

2 – Stay Late

Perhaps even better than showing up early is staying late. Many people will be tired and head back to their hotel rooms at 9pm or 10pm. Because you have insider knowledge and will also follow tip number 3 below, you will still have energy to spare late into the evening. That is good since Disney often keeps its parks open until well after midnight during the busiest times of the year. Late at night, the lines are very short, and in many cases, non-existent. That means that, again, with this tip, you might see and do more in the late evening hours than other folks can do all day long.

3 – Take A Mid-Day Break

At this point, you might be thinking, “Hey, am I really supposed to get up early and stay up late?
Won’t I soon be exhausted?” The answer would be yes if it were not for this tip number 3: take a mid-day break. The middle of the days is normally the busiest and hottest time.  Do yourself a favor, and avoid the whole situation by taking a mid-day break. Head back to your hotel (see tip number 4 below) to relax, take a nap, or go for a dip in the pool. This way you will be well rested and able to stay late that night, or arrive early the next morning.

4 – Stay On-Site

There are plenty of advantages to staying in a Disney resort hotel – you get a quality experience and 24 hour Disney magic. However, the advantage of staying on Disney property grows even larger as the crowds get bigger. You can use Extra Magic Hours where you can visit a selected park early or late and, at times, reserved exclusively for Disney hotel guests. This means that the potential crowd is smaller since it eliminates the general public. In addition, staying at a Disney hotel may allow for quicker transportation. That means you don’t need to get up quite so early to arrive when a park opens, and you don’t have a long drive to get back to your hotel after a late night. It also means that taking your mid-day break (tip 3 above) may be faster and easier.

Staying at a Disney resort, like Port Orleans Riverside, make it easier and faster to take a mid day beak.

Staying at a Disney resort, like Port Orleans Riverside, make it easier and faster to take a mid day beak.

5 – Be Prepared

The last tip is easily summarized in one word: relax. Keep in mind that visiting Disney World during a peak season will have longer lines, bigger crowds, and (unfortunately) some cranky and rude people. Be prepared for it mentally, and then just relax. If you don’t get to ride on Dumbo a second time, it won’t mean the end of the earth as we know it – really. Do what you can, don’t get too worked up over unexpected annoyances, and enjoy your vacation.