By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Coping with Disney World Holiday Crowds

By Dave Shute


Coping with Holiday Season Crowds at Walt Disney World from yourfirstvisit.netAt the end of this week the 2013 holiday crowds will begin to slam Walt Disney World.

Crowds will be a mess through January 1, 2014–and not that great the rest of that week either. There won’t be any real slow-down until Saturday January 4.

Multi-hour waits will be common on the best-loved rides (waits crossed 3 hours at times last year), senior managers will be bussing tables, and park closures are possible.

Yes, there will also be a wonderful Christmas program and fun stuff on New Years Eve, but all in, because of the crowds and waits, this is a lousy time for a Disney World vacation.

But for the hundreds of thousands of you who will be there then, here’s some thoughts on how to make the best of it!


The approach to the holiday crowds is the same as that for any day, with a couple of added twists.

Follow the basics:

  1. If you are eligible, take advantage of FastPass+ (And note that everyone will be able to use FastPass+ at the Animal Kingdom as of 12/18–and all legacy FASTPASS there will be shut down… See this for more)
  2. Stay up-to-date on opening times and morning Extra Magic Hours–including checking the evening before…
  3. …so that you can arrive at the parks well before opening
  4. At open, head for the rides that build lines quickly first. FASTPASS one, and ride others
  5. Continue to pull FASTPASSES until they run out, filling the time between FASTPASSES with non-FASTPASS rides
  6. When the FASTPASSES are out and the lines cross 90 minutes, head back to your hotel, planning to return for evening celebrations at MK, HS or Epcot

Consider some added twists:

  1. At this time of year, legacy FASTPASSES disappear quickly.  There’s an effective–but expensive–solution to this issue here.
  2. Be open to very late night visits, especially post-midnight evening Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom

None of these suggestions will make the crowds go away. But strictly following the basics, and incorporating some of the added twists, sure will help!

For more help, see also Josh’s day-by-day discussion towards the end of this long post on December 2013.

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