Hey Dad, My family and I are going to Walt Disney World for 13 days from 7 august and staying offsite. This is our first August visit after doing 13 days from 7 April 2008. What will the crowds be like and do you have any tips for us, we really cannot remember it from before. Oh we are also off site so no onsite benefits.
Doesn’t this just look cool? Photo by Express Monorail
Dad’s Hot Hot Hot Answer
August is a great time of year to visit when we’re talking about crowd levels – you’ll find that the parks will be moderately busy, with crowds decreasing over the course of your stay (weekends will be the worst). While it won’t be so busy, it will be SO HOT that the crowds and lines will seem worse than they are – so today we’re going to focus on avoiding crowds at the worst times and keeping cool so you can stay out longer and see more!
Like I said, August crowds aren’t too bad. The month starts out busy and the crowds disappear by the end of the month as kids head back to school. Since you’ll be visiting mid-month you’ll experience slightly higher crowds that will dwindle each day. But make no mistake, there will be crowds.
So, how can you avoid the crowds? Since you’re staying offsite you won’t have access to Disney hotel benefits like Extra Magic Hours. But that’s okay – you can still use some of Dad’s favorite beat-the-crowds strategies. By making sure you arrive early and visit the busiest rides first, using the FASTPASS system, and eating at odd times, you’ll be able to avoid a lot of the worst lineups. Most importantly, make sure you have a great PLAN.
Years of experience have convinced Dad that having a terrific PLAN is the best way to avoid the crowds. You may want to consider getting some professional help. The folks over at Touringplans.com know everything there is to know about Disney crowds. They have detailed projections about crowd levels for each day of the year, and even have suggested plans to help you see more in less time (you can save hours standing in line with one of their plans). Check them out!
Staying offsite during summer, means that having a plan which allows you breaks to cool off is especially important. Make sure you build time into your PLAN so you can either cool off at your hotel, spend time at indoor shows, or visit the Disney Water Parks – Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. You’ve never seen water parks like this – they are incredible theme parks in and of themselves.
If you plan to visit Animal Kingdom, make sure you get there as early as possible. Better yet, if you have Park Hopper passes, visit Animal Kingdom over 2-3 mornings – by noon this park is especially hot because of the lush jungle foliage and minimum air-conditioning (it’s an eco-friendly park after all!).
Make sure you’re sun smart – sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and LOTS of water will go a long way to keeping you cool. Even the nighttime is hot – but it’s more manageable since the sun isn’t beating down on you. Bringing a fresh set of clothes so you can change when you get sweaty will help to keep you refreshed – put them in a backpack and take turns carrying it or store it in a lock at the front of each park you visit. This is particularly important if you don’t plan to return to your hotel mid-day.
Dad’s final tip is to make sure you have a car at Disney World. Dad says this all the time, but in your case it will be a lifesaver – you’ll have the freedom to leave mid-day, you won’t have to wait for hotel shuttles to get to the park early or leave late, you can easily pop over to the water parks mid-day and have somewhere to leave your wet swimsuits. Rent a car, you won’t be sorry – trust me.
Dad’s Bottom Line
Harry, summer isn’t Dad’s favorite time to visit (I’m not a fan of the heat) but that doesn’t mean it won’t be yours! Come ready with a PLAN to have fun in the sun and you’ll have a great trip!