Summer is one of the busiest times at Disney World. Between the crowds and the heat it is very easy for a fun vacation to turn into a not so fun experience. Here are some tips to help reduce the stress of summer Disney vacations.
Don’t Pack Too Much Into the Day
There is so much to see in Disney World. Even if you go at the slowest time of the year you won’t be able to see everything that Disney has to offer. With the four theme parks, Disney Springs, Disney’s BoardWalk, the two water parks, the golf courses, the mini golf courses, and the numerous resort hotels, there is so much to see and do at Disney World.
My advice to clients is to choose what you really want to see and plan for those first. We make a list of the “must do” attractions and shows and then add things in order of priority. It sounds like a lot of planning, and it is, but for the busy times it definitely helps.
If there is time to see more then that’s great, but don’t pack too much in. Trying to see too much, especially when it is crowded and hot, can lead to a lot of meltdowns from both kids and adults. It’s a good way to bring down the whole day and that’s not fun.
Don’t Spend Too Much Time on Your Phone
This past trip was a little busier, because it was right around Memorial Day weekend. One of the things I noticed was that a lot of people were walking around looking down at their phone. Not only do they miss all the fun details in the parks, but they are not watching where they are going either, which in a busy park can be a little dangerous. I saw a few near misses of people running into strollers or scooters.
If you need to look something up then step to the side, out of the main flow of traffic. Walking around and staring at the phone is a good way to accidentally knock into someone and that can lead to a less than magical interaction with another guest.
Also, looking at a phone so much will take away from experiencing all that’s happening around the park. Disney is great with details and with keeping guests entertained and staring at a phone while walking around the park makes it easy to miss all those fun Disney touches.
This one is very important. It gets very hot in Florida during the summer. The temperature was already rising to around 95 when I was there over Memorial Day weekend. I drank quite a bit of water to make sure I was hydrated. You can bring water bottles with you (or your refillable mug), buy water in the parks (a bottle of water is usually around $3 or so), or you can go into restaurants and ask for a cup of water. I can’t stress how important this tip is.
If you need to cool off while you are in the parks there are some options.
- Head to one of the gift shops for the air-conditioning.
- Try one of the indoor attractions with a quick moving line (like Living with the Land in Epcot).
- Enjoy one of the misting stations located around the parks.
- Buy a misting fan (you can get these on Amazon, but Disney also sells them in the parks).
- Bring cooling towels with you.
I bought two different cooling towels to try during my last trip and they worked great. It was still warm, but I was not sweating, which was a big bonus in the Florida heat. I won’t go to Disney World during the hotter months without a cooling towel now. You can buy them on Amazon, but Disney also sells cooling towels in gift shops.
Eat at Off Times
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner get crowded around the typical times for each meal, but if you choose an off time to go then the crowds are usually lower. This tip is best for those that are not making dining reservations for every meal. However, if you make dining reservations for buffets you can look at off times so the buffet isn’t as crowded.
Try to be at the Parks for the Opening
The earlier you can get to the parks the better. The parks tend to be less crowded for the first hour or so of opening. If there are early Extra Magic Hours (EMH) then that’s even better. Some people say to avoid EMH, but it worked out well for me this past trip. I was able to see five different princesses and have them record messages for my daughter (the cast members were awesome, as usual) before 9:30 am. The later EMH might be a different story, but I think the earlier hours help you to get in more rides and attractions before the park gets crowded.
Leave Some Time to Relax
Disney World vacations can be very, very busy. It’s always a good idea to leave a day or two where you can just relax. A lot of people have days that are designated pool days and that helps to break up the busy park days. Plus, the main pools at Disney Resort Hotels are fun, because they are themed to the resort. If you are staying at a moderate, deluxe, or deluxe villa resort then the main pool will have a water slide. Adults can go down the water slide too, so it’s fun for the whole family. Each main pool will have a pool bar that sells drinks and food, so you can spend the day at the pool without having to leave for anything.
Consider Taking a Taxi if Bus Lines are Long
I have done this a few times when I didn’t feel like waiting in line and it’s never been that expensive. The most recent experience was May 27 for the opening of Pandora. I didn’t want to deal with the bus system from Coronado Springs, so I booked a cab for that morning and I am so glad I did. She was early and got me to the park in no time. The cost was less than $10 (Coronado Springs is close to Animal Kingdom).
Mears Transportation is who I used and they are used a lot by people shuttling between Disney World and Universal. If you are worried about the cost they have a fare estimator on their website, so you will know ahead of time about how much it will be.
When the parks close there are usually taxis in the parking lot. If you want to skip the bus lines you can ask a cast member where to go to get a taxi. There are usually a bunch lined up waiting for fares. Taking a taxi will guarantee that you have a seat and will get you back to your hotel faster than waiting for a bus.
Uber is also a popular option for transportation around Disney World.
Try the Express Transportation Bus System
This is an option that can be added to your Park Hopper ticket. It allows you to get a bus inside the main gates of the parks and get dropped off inside the main gates. The buses depart every half hour and will take you directly to the next park with no extra stops. A single day ticket costs $19 and a multi-day ticket (up to 7 consecutive days) costs $29. So for a faster transportation in between parks the Express Transportation option is not a bad idea.
During the busy summer months with the heat it is very easy to lose it (both kids and adults). So try to be patient with the lines and with other people. Unfortunately, you will come in contact with other guests that will be rude and not very magical, but don’t let that ruin your day. Disney World is a great place to have conversations with people you don’t know, just think about all the time waiting in lines or being on Disney transportation.
Cast Members are There to Help – Please be Nice to Them
This is another important one. The cast members are there to help make your vacation magical and they do a fabulous job of it. I always make it a point to say hello, good morning, good bye, or any other greeting when I pass by cast members in the park. They are there for hours, yet they are smiling and happy to help, so it’s always nice to acknowledge them. If you need help finding something in the park or have general questions about the park they can help you. Plus, you never know, you might get a little pixie dust from a cast member. They are a group of very hardworking individuals who are happy to help make your vacation fun. Definitely do not just pass them by, the interaction can help brighten your day and their day too. A smile and a greeting can go a long way.
Hope these tips help! Are you traveling to Disney World this summer?
Thanks for reading!