Thursday, May 17, 2012

How to avoid long lines at Disney.

I am reminded of a recent episode of 'Modern Family' that was filmed in Disneyland. A son is super excited to ride Indiana Jones for the first time with his father because he finally makes the height requirement. They cheer as they run towards the back of the line only to discover that there is a 45 minute wait. Talk about killing the mood! But it doesn't have to be that way. At least not if you do a little bit of planning. Here are a few tips that have worked well for us.

1. The number one trip? Don't go during Christmas, Spring Break or any other major holiday. I know what your thinking, "But then my kids would miss school and I don't want that!" But here's the thing, everyone else is thinking that too. If you hate crowds, this is the easiest way to avoid them. Period. The best time of year we have found for low crowds is January/February or September/October. I realize this just isn't an option for alot of people. Don't worry, there are other things you can do.

How nice does this look for crowds? credit to:

2. Don't plan your whole trip around a weekend. You should definitely be in the park for at least one day of a weekend as there are more shows, parades and entertainment on these days. But don't pick your park days to be Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Mondays can be busy too. Ride lines are at there lowest on Tuesdays through Thursdays, so plan accordingly.

Rope Drop: credit for photo

3. Get up early. This is one of those times that having children who wake you up at the crack of dawn has an advantage. Get to the park half an hour before opening. You will be let through the gates and onto mainstreet. When the rope drops, you are free to head straight to one of the most popular rides with a very minimal (if any) line up. Usually before 11am the park is fairly quiet, so its a good time to get on those coasters. We tend to head one of two directions; Adventureland (for Indiana Jones) or Tomorrowland (for Space Mountain.) These two rides tend to have the longest line ups throught the day. Fantastyland is another smart destination, as Peter Pans flight can get a pretty long line up too and its not really worth it considering the ride itself is about a minute long.

4. Stay late. Pretty self explanatory. Just realize when I say late, I mean laaate. As in an hour before closing (which may be midnight.)Not usually doable if you have young children, but great if you are a group without kids!

credit wikipedia for photo

5. Take advantage of the Fast Past system. To give you a quick idea, its a card that you can collect at some of the more popular rides that has an hour time window written on it. You return when that time comes and you get to enter a separate line that bypasses most of the wait. Our general rule is that if a line up is over 25 minutes, we get a fastpass to return later. I will elaborate on this system more in a later post.

6. Go when it rains! A little rain never hurt anyone, right? I must admit, I am not a fan of this one.  But it really does work! If you and your children are game to wear ponchos or don't mind getting soaked, then you will get on alot of rides! Main reason for this is that locals wont go when the weather is poor, because they don't need to. And if vacationers have a few days to play with, they will often choose to just try again tomorrow.

I know alot of these things seem like common sense, and they are. But believe it or not, alot of people give zero thought whatsoever to things like this and just go go go. By doing a little bit of planning ahead you can save yourself a whole lot of wasted time.

Hope Ive helped.

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