If you’re taking the kiddos to Disney World and you’ll be there for several days, you’ll need to carefully consider which park to visit on which day. Sure, you can wing it and simply go to the park you’d like to visit, but you could end up with long lines at one park, while another park has much shorter lines. Let’s take a look at some simple tips that can help ensure you’re at the right park on the right day.

orlandovacation_vacation-home-rentalAvoid Parks with Extra Magic Hours

Guests who stay on property in Walt Disney World resorts have access to Extra Magic Hours. These extra hours take place at one or two parks per day, and allow guests to either enter the park an hour early or stay two hours late. On the surface, this seems like a great advantage, but in reality these parks end up having much higher crowds, which translates to longer lines, which makes them much less of an advantage than you might think.

If you’re planning to get the best deal by staying at a local resort hotel or renting an Orlando vacation home, you should avoid parks with Extra Magic Hours at all costs. These parks, without exception, will be busier than other parks.

Use Extra Magic Hours to Your Advantage

orlandovacation_extra-magic-hoursOne of the best times to visit the parks is the morning after there were evening Extra Magic Hours. For example, if the Magic Kingdom stayed open for Extra Magic Hours until midnight, getting to the park at rope drop the next day is likely to mean much lower crowds. Why? Because so many people stayed at the park until the wee hours of the night and are likely to A) be resting the following morning and B) not return to that park the next day.

Check a Crowd Calendar

There are several websites dedicated to predicting crowd levels at the various parks, including Undercover Tourist. There you’ll find park hours, anticipated crowd levels, and special events happening at the parks each night. Take a look at the days you’ll be visiting and try to plan accordingly. Note that you won’t necessarily be able to visit the park with the lowest crowds on each day. For example, one day may have Animal Kingdom as a 1 (the lowest crowd level) and the Magic Kingdom as a 3, but if a 3 is the lowest Magic Kingdom crowd of your trip, it’s likely the best choice for that particular day.

orlandovacation_crowd-calen

Keep Your Expectations in Check

These tips can help you avoid the worst crowds, but if you’re traveling during peak times there’s no avoiding the crowds altogether. Get together with your kids, make a list of the must-do attractions, and know that anything else you get done is a bonus.