When planning a Walt Disney World vacation, it’s important to look at the crowd forecast for the time of year you’re planning to visit. There are some times of the year that are always going to be busier than others, like the weeks of spring break, summer vacation, and holiday breaks. In a perfect world, you would be able to visit the parks in-between those chunks of time, and experience rides and attractions in the parks with little to no wait. More often than not, however, that is not the case, and you may find yourself only making it on a few attractions each day due to the mile-long lines.
Although there are many popular attractions you may want to enjoy, there are also several experiences in the park that almost always have a shorter wait time and are perfect to check out during the peak times of the year. Here are eight attractions that may normally be overlooked, but make for a great experience on busy days at the parks!
Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor
One of my favorite attractions in Magic Kingdom on busy park days (and in general) is Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor. You’re taken into Monstropolis, where you have the chance to interact with Mike Wazowski and a few other monsters face-to-face. They choose audience participants to help them tell jokes and do improv, so each show is a completely new and hilarious experience. This attraction usually has a minimal wait, but it’s especially great for days when the park is at capacity, because the theater the show performs in is quite large—and even if there is a wait, the majority of the queue is inside where there’s air conditioning!
The American Adventure
I think a lot of Guests forget this attraction exists when visiting EPCOT because it’s tucked away at the very back of the park, but The American Adventure is an awesome attraction to experience when lines are long. The show explores America’s history, covering topics such as the Civil War, the Women’s Rights Movement, and The Great Depression using animatronics as well as video and audio clips. It’s a very informative and interesting show, and a great way to take a break from walking World Showcase and get some AC. The show is housed in a massive theater, so it’s perfect for a packed park day because no matter when you see it there will always going to be seats available. And if you make it to the theater early enough, you can catch The Voices of Liberty performing, which is a treat in and of itself!
If you’re someone who loves going to the zoo and watching animals go about their lives, definitely check out the various animal trails Disney’s Animal Kingdom has to offer. There are many animals to see as you’re first entering the park, but there are a couple trails further into the park that are worth exploring. The Maharajah Jungle Trek, located behind Kali River Rapids in Asia, houses everything from tigers to Komodo dragons, while Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail in Africa allows you to view dozens of birds and various savannah animals in addition to gorillas. Since these trails are a continuous walking experience, they do not have any sort of line or wait time, which is refreshing after visiting other areas of the park (like Pandora, for example).
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is largely made up of thrill rides and live entertainment, both of which are perfect for specific audiences. One attraction that’s great for the whole family, however, is MuppetVision 3D. A lot of people overlook this experience for the more popular attractions, but I think this is a perfect show for when the park is busy (especially as new projects are still being worked on and there aren’t as many things to do) thanks to the large theater and pre-show entertainment to make the short wait enjoyable. The Muppets spend the show debuting “new” 3D technology, and although it’s a little outdated, it’s still a hoot. Kids will enjoy the silly jokes and gags the Muppets are famous for, while adults can enjoy their favorite Muppet characters from their childhood. And again, it’s a great way to get some AC on a hot day!
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority is my favorite way to relax after a long day in Magic Kingdom. This “highway in the sky” is a relatively slow-moving train that takes you on a tour of all the different hot spots throughout Tomorrowland, bringing you inside Space Mountain and above Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, among other highlights. Although it may have a bit of a wait during busier times, because it’s a continuously moving ride the line usually moves pretty steadily, so it’s almost always a fairly quick one. If you’re looking to get away from the massive crowds that can pile up on busy days in Magic Kingdom, this is the ride for you!
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
The Seas with Nemo and Friends is a great place to go when trying to escape the crowds in EPCOT. There is a ride that is part of the pavilion, but that can rack up long wait times during busy seasons, so if you’re looking to avoid waiting in lines, go exploring around the rest of the building. There are tons of aquariums and places to view all kinds of sea life, everything from manatees to stingrays, and there are many different programs put on for all ages to learn about the world’s oceans. Turtle Talk with Crush, an interactive show similar to Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor where audiences can speak with Crush and some of his friends from Finding Nemo, is also located inside this pavilion, and that typically does not have a long wait either.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Rafiki’s Planet Watch is an entire section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom that is often overlooked, but it is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of a packed park for a while. After you take the Wildlife Express Train to get out to the area (which is a fun little attraction all on its own), there are all sorts of things to see and do, including a petting zoo, several different character meet-and-greets, and an animal trail. There are a variety of exhibits that teach you all about wildlife conservation and animal habitats as well, and you might even have the opportunity to watch Disney’s veterinarians take care of some of the park’s animals!
One Man’s Dream
If you’re a Disney history nerd like me, you will definitely want to check out One Man’s Dream in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Yet another attraction that tends to be passed over for the big, flashy rides in the park, this little gem is a walk-through exhibit (making it perfect for when the crowds are bustling!) that tells Walt Disney’s story. There are all sorts of trinkets and memorabilia from throughout his life, as well as clips from his earliest animations to his final work. At the end of the exhibit, there is a movie that wraps all of the information up in a neat little bow, and if you’re an emotional sap like me you’ll have so many feelings throughout the whole thing!
What do you like to do in the parks when they’re packed? Let us know in the comments below!