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Spring break is one of the most hectic times to visit Disney World. Here are 8 tips my family swears by to make crowded park days better.

Spring break is one of the most hectic times to visit Disney World. Here are 8 tips my family swears by to make crowded park days better.
  • There are certain times of the year, like spring break, when Disney World can get really crowded.

  • The crowds often make for long lines, and the skip-the-line service for rides can sell out.

  • With a little advanced planning, I think most people can still have an enjoyable time.

Spring break is one of the most popular times of year to visit Disney World. The weather is usually mild, and many kids across the country are off school, making it extra convenient.

When my family went last spring, it ended up being a wonderful experience, and it was nowhere near the most crowded we've ever felt at the Disney parks.

Here are some of the tips we used to navigate the unavoidable crowds.

Find fun ways to pass the time in line.

crowds walking through the fantasyland attractions at magic kingdom during spring break
The lines in Fantasyland tend to get really packed in the middle of the day.Sarah Gilliland

Genie+, Disney's trip-planning service, can sell out on the busiest days. The only ways to get expedited-line passes are through Genie+ or purchasing individual Lightning Lanes for certain attractions.

Even if you snag Genie+, return times for popular rides can disappear quickly, which might mean you can't get passes for your favorite rides. Rides that offer individual Lightning Lanes can also sell out ahead of time.

Beyond waiting in lines for attractions, which is pretty much unavoidable during spring break, there are also queues for dining, shopping, and occasionally the restrooms. Prepare yourself and your family to wait.

We like to play games or search for "hidden Mickeys" (three circles that make a Mickey shape) to pass the time.

Prepare to splurge on line-skipping services if rides are important to you.

exterior shot of remy's ratatouille adventure ride in epcot
Lines for newer rides, like Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, can be especially long.Fiona Clair

Paying extra on top of ticket prices can sting, but if you're short on time, the extra expense may be worth it.

On our trip, we couldn't get spots to ride Tron: Lightcycle / Run during the free virtual queue at 7 a.m. We could've waited to try again at 1 p.m., but we opted to pay $20 a person to secure our ride later that day.

When it came time to redeem our Lightning Lane pass, we overheard that virtual-queue guests were waiting over an hour, and we simply walked on.

Magic Kingdom can be especially crowded, but moving clockwise around the park can help.

crowds in front of cinderella castle at magic kingdom
Magic Kingdom is pretty much the most popular park all year.Sarah Gilliland

Since it opened in October 1971, Magic Kingdom has pretty much been the most popular (and most crowded) park at Disney World.

It's family-friendly in terms of having the most rides without height restrictions. But it also has several "pinch" points where those attractions and crowds bottleneck.

We try to avoid the crowds in Magic Kingdom by starting to the left and riding Adventureland attractions in the morning. After years of visiting, we've found that most people naturally go to the right more often.

We also avoid Main Street and the area in front of the castle during fireworks if at all possible.

Take advantage of the free Disney transportation options.

skyliner
We found the Skyliner to be the most efficient transportation option.Orlando Sentinel / Getty Images

We stayed on the property at Disney's Art of Animation Resort and drove to the parks some days. But we also took advantage of Disney-provided transportation.

Since we were on the Skyliner route at Art of Animation, we found that to be the most efficient way to get around outside of driving ourselves.

Relying on the buses leaves a little too much up to chance. Even though you can now track Disney buses on the My Disney Experience app, we still spent valuable time waiting for them and hoping they wouldn't be full before we boarded.

Make sure to get there really early if you're planning on rope-dropping.

Disney World Magic Kingdom entrance
There are certain windows of time you want to avoid heading into a park.Katherine Welles/Shutterstock

All guests staying at Disney hotels receive a 30-minute "head start" to enter the parks before they officially open for the day. If you're prioritizing attractions, take advantage of this extra time.

But be aware that a lot of other people are going to rope-drop, or get to the parks early to be some of the first people in. The park entrance lines can be long, and you may end up spending half the bonus time just getting through the turnstiles.

Stay late for rides or shows if you can.

half-filled stadium for 10pm fantasmic show at hollywood studios during spring break
The later Fanstasmic was a little less crowded than the first time slot.Sarah Gilliland

Parents with young kids are more likely to leave early at the end of the day. Sticking around until the park closes typically earns you shorter wait times.

This also applies to nighttime shows like "Fantasmic" at Hollywood Studios. We stayed for the 10 p.m. show instead of going to the 8:30 time, and it was significantly less crowded later in the evening.

Use the app instead of waiting in line when you can.

my disney experience
You can use the app to mobile-order food and check out at some stores.PREMIO STOCK/Shutterstock

Within the My Disney Experience app, guests can mobile-order food and opt for mobile checkout at certain stores in the parks and Disney Springs.

When you mobile-order food, you can focus on finding a table first before your order is ready, which prevents you from standing around with a full tray trying to find a spot.

Using the mobile-checkout feature while shopping is also a time-saver. You just verify your purchases with an employee, grab a bag if you need it, and go on your way.

Consider planning a rest day during your trip.

Disney Springs
The hecticness of the parks during spring break isn't exactly relaxing.DavidMartinPhotos/Shutterstock

Rest is not usually synonymous with a Disney vacation, but it can be. Our last trip was six days, and five nights, so we planned time to decompress and actually use the pool at our resort for a change.

If you just can't sit still, try visiting Disney Springs, the free-to-enter shopping, dining, and entertainment district. Stroll through stores, catch a movie, or watch the newest Cirque du Soleil show.

The crowds there tend to be a little easier to navigate than at the parks.

This story was originally published in April 2023 and most recently updated on March 4, 2024. 

Read the original article on Business Insider