Crowd Management: Part 1

Alright, so I already told y’alls to head down during the holiday season to see how magnificent Mickey looks when he’s decorated for Santa. Only snag with that plan is it can get super crowded this time of year. Think Walmart on Black Friday.

To give you an idea…

Fun fact: At park’s opening, in order to avoid a wildebeest stampede, the cast members used to hold a rope across the street and lead the massive mob to the attractions at a brisk walk. Didn’t work. Just like Mufasa, the cast members were taken over by the ravenous beasts. So Disney decided to use small children to hold the ropes instead. Risky. But, thankfully, effective. The children remain un-trampled and humanity retains a small amount of dignity.

But, with a few tricks of the trade (which I will impart to you over the next few days), you can avoid the mayhem and have a truly magical day.

Today’s Tip:

Get up Early.

I mean it. Try and get there before the park opens. I know it’s your vacation and you want to sleep in, but Mickey’s waiting! Sleep can wait. I personally like to order a wake up call because (since I stay in the parks) it comes from the Mouse himself! That’s enough to get any Disney fan jumping out of bed. Or at least stumbling with a little more enthusiasm.

To give you a little extra incentive, the parks have fun little opening ceremonies. My favorite is the one at The Magic Kingdom. The mayor of Main Street welcomes you, there’s some signin’ and dancin’, and then the train brings you all your favorite characters. It’s a little cheesy, but it’s also adorable and super fun to get caught up in.

Once that’s finished, you follow the mosh pit inside like the obedient sheep you are. Don’t worry, the crowd will disperse¬† and you can usually get on any ride you want with little to no wait. How long the short-wait grace period will last generally depends on the time of year. October, you’ll probably get about two hours. Easter week, you’ll probably get 30 seconds. If you run. But in general you’re guaranteed at least one ride wait-free.

My family and I like to go in late January, which is one of their off seasons. We actually spend the first hour at Disney Studios going back and forth between Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster with practically no wait. Although the Tower of Terror listed wait time always starts at the ominous 13 minutes…makes me happy.

It’s also the best time of day to haggle with the cast member so he lets you wait for the front. And the front seat of the Rock n’ Roller coaster? Worth getting up early for.

However, even if it’s a busy time where the “short-wait grace period” isn’t very long, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth getting up early for. That makes it more important. Because, even if the waits aren’t short at 9:30 AM, I guarantee you that they will be unbearable at 12:30.

On these extra crowded days, as you enter the park you can send one of your party off to get FastPasses while you get in line somewhere else. The earlier in the day you get the FastPass, the shorter the wait before the return time and the sooner you can get another FastPass. There’s also a possibility that the attraction could run out of FastPasses completely if you wait too long. Especially with newer attractions, such as Toy Story Mania.

Now, when you’re going hard core like this and waking up early (presumably after a sleepless night of pre-Disney anticipation), you will crash. I guarantee it. Probably around midday.

That’s okay! Because that’s when the parks are the most crowded. Making it the perfect time to head back your hotel and take a nap or a refreshing dip in the pool (especially if you have kids). Then you can head back to the parks later in the day refreshed and ready for Round Two.

More tips to come!