How to Avoid the Crowds in Magic Kingdom

by | Jul 10, 2024 | Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

Wondering how to avoid Magic Kingdom crowds? We’re sharing our expert tips and tricks for making the most on a crowded Magic Kingdom day.

Nowadays, it can seem like there’s never a “slow season” in Disney World. Sure, you can try to plan your trip outside of Disney’s peak season or avoid being there on weekends, but that doesn’t guarantee you won’t walk into a busy park. So, when it feels like there’s no getting away from the masses of people, here’s our secret to avoiding (most of)  the crowds in Magic Kingdom!

Magic Kingdom Crowd Tips

Arrive Early

They say “the early bird gets the worm,” and that stands true at Magic Kingdom! One of the best ways to avoid the crowds is to beat them into the park, which means arriving right when it opens. And, we don’t mean arriving at the parking lot, we mean, actually being parks, through security, and onto Main Street, U.S.A. before the park officially opens so you can be one of the first people in line for whatever attraction you choose to start your day with (we recommend hitting one of the most popular rides if possible). So, really, you’ll be starting your Magic Kingdom day about 30-45 minutes before the park opens.

This key to avoiding crowds is even more valuable if you’re staying at a Disney World Resort hotel because you’ll qualify for Early Theme Park Entry every day of your trip. This lets you start riding Magic Kingdom’s attractions 30 minutes before the park opens to the general public. Be sure you’re at the park early enough to fully take advantage of this perk! In our experience, you can usually get one to two rides in before regular-day guests can even get in.

Don’t Start Your Day in Fantasyland

Fantasyland has the most little kid-friendly attractions in Magic Kingdom. And, you know who’s up and headed to the parks bright and early? Little kids and their parents. Because of this, Fantasyland tends to be where families start their day making lines longer and crowds generally higher.

The best place to start your day is Adventureland or Frontierland, as the second busiest land in the morning tends to be Tomorrowland. 

Know Where the Quiet Spots Are

When you just need to get away for a few minutes, there are a few spots in Magic Kingdom off the beaten path where you can hide out. If you’re towards the front of the park, there’s a small side street just off Main Street, U.S.A. that has a few tables and chairs (plus some shade!). It’s located between Crystal Arts and Uptown Jewelers on the right side of the street if you’re walking into the park.

If you’re closer to Adventureland, Frontierland, or Liberty Square, we recommend resting near the Gazebo in Liberty Square. The gazebo sometimes has character meet-and-greets, but the whole area is so tucked away that many people don’t even realize it’s there, making it a great place to find some peace and quiet.

And, lastly, if you’re near Fantasyland or Tomorrowland, head to the back of Storybook Circus near the train station and Pete’s Silly Sideshow. There are quite a few tables with umbrellas here and it’s removed from the hustle and bustle of the park.

Don’t Eat at Popular Meal Times

Lunch and dinner crowds can really put a damper on your park day, especially if you’re hungry. But, there’s a pattern to these rushes! Instead of eating during the most popular mealtime windows, eat a bit earlier or a bit later. The lunch rush tends to happen around 12PM, so we recommend eating a bigger breakfast or grabbing a snack to hold you over until it’s closer to 1-2PM. And, for dinner, you’ll want to avoid eating between 5-6PM.

If you end up timing your meals wrong and end up hungry when the quick service restaurants are busy, consider snacking or see if there’s a mobile order window available. This will at least save you from having to wait in line to order. And, if you prefer to eat lunch during what you consider the “lunch hour,” plan ahead and make a dining reservation for a table service restaurant to avoid the crowds.

Check Wait Times

While your step count for the day might thank you for walking all the way to an attraction just to find that the wait time is too long, your legs and feet certainly won’t. Luckily, Disney makes it easy to see how long the waits are at all the attractions in the parks no matter where you are in the My Disney Experience app. Just navigate to the “Tip Board” in the app and be sure you have Magic Kingdom selected. You can then scroll through and see what the standby lines are like and decide where you want to go next. And, if you click on the attractions, you can even view forecasted wait times which can let you know if the line will likely be shorter later in the day.

Disney Genie is also another helpful planning tool in the My Disney Experience app that will give you a suggested itinerary based on what you want to accomplish in the day. It takes into account forecasted wait times to help you avoid the longest lines and maximize your time.

Purchase Lightning Lane Multi Pass

It can be hard to decide if you should buy a Lightning Lane Multi Pass during your trip. But, if there’s one park that we suggest splurging on, it’s Magic Kingdom. With over 30 rides and attractions, the Lightning Lane Multi Pass can help you do more when the park is busy. And, with the ability to book three Lightning Lane selections before your trip, it can also take away some of the stress of having to get to the park early to beat the crowds at the most popular rides.

Avoid the Parades and Cavalcades

If there’s one thing that’s sure to draw a crowd in Magic Kingdom, it’s parades and cavalcades. And, the worst part about them is that you’re not just dealing with all the people, you can also end up stuck if you’re on the wrong side of the road. So, don’t let them sneak up on you! Check the My Disney Experience app for the parade and cavalcade schedule on the day of your visit and plan to avoid the areas where they travel about 20 minutes before and during that time.

If you want to watch them yourself, we suggest finding a spot at the front of Main Street, U.S.A. near the park entrance. This area tends to be less crowded.

Don’t Leave the Parks After Fireworks

The most crowded place in Magic Kingdom isn’t Tiana’s Bayou Adventure or TRON Lightcycle / Run and it’s not even in the park. It’s actually the exit of the park after the fireworks show. Once the last firework has gone off, most families turn around and head to the park exit. This translates into massive crowds and long wait times for the monorail, buses, and ferry back to the Transportation and Ticket Center. But, you don’t have to leave Magic Kingdom with everyone – the park is usually open for a few more hours.

So, instead of ending your day battling the crowds on tired feet, plan to get in line for a couple more attractions, do some shopping, or grab a late-night snack. This is actually one of the best times to ride the most popular attractions (as lines tend to be shorter) and you’ll likely find that your wait times for transportation are much shorter when the park does finally close compared to leaving right after fireworks.

Prefer to try to avoid the crowds by planning your trip at the right time? Check out the best and worst times to visit Disney World in 2024 here and see when the holiday crowds are at their lowest here.

Posts by Jenna Saxton

Jenna is a contributing writer at WDW Magazine and stay at home mom. When she's not chasing her toddler around the parks, you can find her out for a run or curled up with a book. She has contributed to multiple Disney and travel blogs including Eat Sleep Cruise, 365 Atlanta Traveler, Disney Food Blog, and AllEars.

Authored by
Jenna Saxton

Jenna is a contributing writer at WDW Magazine and stay at home mom. When she's not chasing her toddler around the parks, you can find her out for a run or curled up with a book. She has contributed to multiple Disney and travel blogs including Eat Sleep Cruise, 365 Atlanta Traveler, Disney Food Blog, and AllEars.
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