One of the questions I get asked most often is “when is the best time to go to Walt Disney World Disney?” While there are times during the year that are considerably busier, you can expect that Disney is always busy, especially in these post quarantine/pandemic times. Don’t let that stop you from going and having a *magical* vacation. All you need is proper planning and some time saving tricks (and maybe a little pixie dust).
Here are six ways to maximize your time on a busy park day…
Utilize Early Theme Park Entry
Guests staying at on-site Walt Disney World resorts and other select hotels have access to Early Theme Park Entry. Every day all four theme parks open 30 minutes early for resort guests. Plan to be there even before the early opening to “rope drop” and be one of the first in the park. This is the perfect time to head to those top attractions that fill up quickly and ride with substantially reduced wait times.
Skip the Regular Line with Lighting Lanes
There are two ways to purchase and select arrival windows for Lightning Lane entrances, and each option offers a different set of experiences to choose from – Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes. With Disney Genie+ service, you may choose the next available arrival window for Lightning Lane entrances at select attractions and entertainment. This unique service lets you bypass the regular line and use the Lightning Lane entrance at select attractions and experiences at the parks. For some of the most highly demanded attractions, Lightning Lane entrance access is available to purchase individually. You may purchase and select an arrival window one at a time for up to 2 attractions a day. These two services can be purchased individually or used together. When used together you really maximize your time!
Make your Genie+ Selections Early
Anyone with Genie+ may select their first arrival window beginning at 7am. Individual Lightning Lanes can also be made at 7am, but only for Disney Resort Guests. Popular attractions fill within minutes so it is important to be signed in and ready right at 7am to snag those must do rides! You will then be able to make a new selection every 2 hours or after scanning into your next scheduled attraction.
Take a Midday Break
In order to get to the parks early and make your Lightning Lane selections, you will need to wake up early. I absolutely love Disney, but let’s face it, it can be exhausting! The first day of our recent trip we walked 28,000 steps or roughly 12 miles! The busiest and hottest time in the parks is in the afternoon. This is my favorite time to head back to the resort for some pool time or a nap. Your spouse, kids, and feet will thank you for the break!
Stack Genie+ Arrival Times
You can select arrival times every two hours, even if you aren’t in the park. For example, let’s say at 10am you book a 6pm return time. At noon you make another, then again at 2pm, etc. Make sure you set an alarm on your phone to remind you of the next time you can reserve a return time. Here is an example from my most recent trip. After a successful morning in the park we returned to our resort. When we returned to the parks in the evening I had five Lightning Lane times booked, leaving a gap to watch the fireworks. We also waited in shorter lines for some rides which made for a very productive and enjoyable evening.
Utilize Extended Evening Theme Park Hours
Guests staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort or, Disney Deluxe Villa Resort or other select hotels can enjoy extended evening hours on select evenings in select theme parks. Late nights in the parks are my favorite! We were able to enjoy EPCOT from 9-11pm with only other Deluxe Resort guests. In that time we were able to watch Harmonious then rode Frozen, Test Track, and Soarin’. Test Track was the only one we actually had to wait for, and that was only about 20 minutes. We also got to take pictures in a practically empty park!