"Hi, Dad. I have booked my 2019 Orlando holiday for myself, my husband, our two boys, 6 and 10. It is our first family visit, and we will be staying at Disney in the All-Stars Resort from the 13th through the 25th of April, so right over Easter, followed by three nights at the Hard Rock in Universal, followed by six nights in Clearwater.
Easter was the only time we could work it out with schools and holidays. Prior to booking, I did read that this is chaos at this time of year. Please tell me how we can ensure that we have the best time possible.
Thanks very much, a Frazzled Mum."
Dealing the Madness of Easter at Disney World
Some of the Easter Eggs are pretty cool - Photo by Cliff Wang
Well, Frazzled, first off, congratulations. YOU'RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!!
This is going to be fun. Now, let me see if I can help you with the KAOS thing (I just had to throw in a Get Smart reference).
In 2019, as you said, Easter is on Sunday. Yeah, right. It's always on Sunday, but Easter is on Sunday, April 21st. The first thing I would recommend is, if you can, that you reorder your trip. Don't be at Disney World on Easter. That's the worst time you can go.
Go to the Universal first. Go to the beach second. Go to the beach first. Go to Universal second. Then go to Disney World last.
The further you can get your trip away from Easter, the less chaos you're going to have. The busiest time of that whole month of April in 2019 is going to be that weekend, that week of Easter. Actually, because Easter is so late in 2019, the crowds won't be quite as bad as the crowds were this year.
WDW Magazine did a tour of Disney's Hollywood Studios this morning (March 30, 2018) It was like an hour and 30 minutes for Star Tours. STAR TOURS. That's incredible and that was at 10AM.
Easter is a huge weekend, one of the busiest weekends of the year, one of the, probably, top five busy weekends of the year. That's what Easter always is.
Now, next year, they won't quite be as big with Easter being so late, but after Easter, they will go down quicker. This year, the crowds will stay longer. For example, this year, Sunday will be huge. Monday will be huge. Tuesday will be not as huge. Wednesday will be really busy. Thursday will be busy ... and then they'll just dwindle off from there.
Next year, Sunday will be huge, Monday will be huge, Tuesday will be really busy, Wednesday will be busy, Thursday will be nice. Crowds won't be as big next year because Easter is so late. Just my projections.
Okay, so if you can rearrange your trip, don't be there on Easter. Now, if you can't, the second thing you've got to do is learn Dad's Three Rules for dealing with crowds. This comes right out of my book.
What are Dad's three rules for dealing with crowds?
Get to the Parks Early
The first one is get to the parks early.
Last week, I was in the Magic Kingdom at 9:00 in the morning. It was Spring break week, one of the busy times. I was in the Magic Kingdom at 9:00 in the morning, and I won't say there wasn't anybody there, but the crowds weren't bad at 9:00 in the morning. I was the only person riding Tomorrowland Transit Authority at 9:00 and at 9:30 there was a 5 minute wait for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. (Basically walk right on.)
People just don't want to get up and get to the parks at 9:00 in the morning. Now, at 11:00 as I was walking out, a wall of people were coming in. By 11:00, the crowds were crazy, so get to the parks early. The difference between the lines at 9:00 and the lines at 1:00, night and day. Get to the parks early. That's rule number one.
Have a PLAN
Number two, or number one "A", is to have a plan. You always need to have a plan. The worst thing you can do is not have a plan.
This happened to me last week. I didn't have a plan when I went to WDW. At breakfast I decided to go to the Magic Kingdom and see the new Pirates show and the new Hall of Presidents. But didn't make a plan. Instead of going straight to Pirates, I went over to Tomorrowland and did TTA and Buzz. Then I wondered over to Adventureland, got a Dole Whip and watched The Enchanted Tiki Room.
I could have gone straight to Pirates in the morning, but instead, I waited until about 10:00, and there was a 30-minute wait at Pirates, but if I'd have gone first thing, I would have walked right on, so have a plan. Know what you're going to do when you get there. That's number one A.
Ride the Busy Rides First
Number two is ride the busy rides first, so ride those rides like Space Mountain, like Toy Story Mania, like Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, like Expedition Everest, ride those rides first. That way, you get to get through with them when the lines are short.
The last thing is to use FastPass+. You get three FastPasses a day. Use them for those busy rides so you don't have to jump back and forth across the parks. Plan your day out. Pick your FastPasses based on what time you're going to be in that section of the park. It's not rocket surgery. It's pretty easy.
The bottom line is if there's any way possible, reorder your trip to where you're not as Disney over Easter weekend. If you're there a week later, you'll be walking on rides almost. It's almost that big of a change, just night and day the crowd level, the chaos, as you say, between the Easter weekend and they next week, a week away after that.
Number two, if you can't do that, then follows Dad's rules. Get to the parks early, have a plan, ride the busy rides first, and use FastPass. Those two things will help you deal with the KAOS that is Easter time.