Happy Holidays, Disney Fans!!!!
So by this point in December, I am sure you are so full of holiday cheer, you could BUST! And maybe, if you've been really good this year, Santa will be bringing you a little MagicBand, putting you at the top of all of the best FastPass lists, and getting you hooked up with ALL of the best Disney dining reservations. (And if not, no worries... the crew here at Kingdom Konsultant Travel has got you covered!)
Here, in Orlando, my fam is psyched to get to enjoy all of the holiday fun that the parks have to offer... BUT... we know what comes with it. The price that we pay for getting to celebrate at Disney.... CROWDS. We are officially in one of the busiest weeks of the calendar year for the Disney parks and I thought it may be helpful to cover what some of my favorite things to do are when the crowds are big. So whether you are an Annual Passholder, looking for a break from the out-of-state and out-of-country crowds, or a first-timer feeling a bit overwhelmed and maybe needing a moment to regroup, I feel ya, and I have some help. These are just some of the attractions and areas that you may find to be less crowded when the rest of the park is slammed. Check 'em out!
- Let the little ones chill out at the Baby Care Center. There is a snack room, which has books and shows a Disney movie on a small TV. There are also changing stations, and a relaxing, darkened room with rocking chairs, where mothers can breastfeed.
- Enjoy the Main Street entertainment that we sometimes might skip, like the Trolley Show, the Dapper Dans, and the Flag Retreat Ceremony.
- Get a hair cut at the Harmony Barbershop.
- Sign up to play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, (Main Street), or A Pirate's Adventure, (Adventureland). They are card-based scavenger hunts and they are super fun!
- Hop aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad.
- Enjoy a relaxing ride on one of the Main Street vehicles.
- Get up and dance for the Move It, Shake It, Dance and Play It! parade/rolling dance party.
- Relax in the grassy gardens in the area in front of the Castle.
- Check out the NEW Castle show, Mickey's Royal Friendship Fare.
- Explore the Swiss Family Treehouse.
- Relax in the Tiki Room.
- Learn how to be a pirate from one of the best, Captain Jack Sparrow, at Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial.
- Take a trip out to Tom Sawyer's Island, so the kids can run around and play in the old fort and on the barrel bridge.
- Visit the Country Bears in Grizzly Hall.
- Test your aim at the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade. (Additional fee.)
- Go for a leisurely float down the Rivers of America, on the Liberty Square Riverboat.
- Soak up some history at The Hall of Presidents.
- Hop a ride on Prince Charming's Regal Carousel.
- Let the kids play at Casey Jr.'s Splash and Soak area. (You may want to bring a change of clothes and a towel!)
- Let the little ones play around in the waiting area of Dumbo the Flying Elephant. You don't have to be waiting for the ride to play.
- Take a spin around Tomorrowland on the People Mover.
- Get that song stuck in your head at the Carousel of Progress.
- Get a snack and have a seat at the Tomorrowland Terrace, and enjoy incredible Castle views.
- Let the little ones chill out at the Baby Care center. There is a play room, which has books, coloring and shows a Disney movie on a small TV. There are also changing stations, and a relaxing, darkened room with rocking chairs, where mothers can breastfeed.
- Play some futuristic games in the exit area of Spaceship Earth. You don't have to ride to play the games.
- Have a snack and enjoy a fountain-side seat at either the Starbucks location, or Electric Umbrella.
- Drum up some fun with The Jammitors, performing in Future World.
- Recharge in the D-Zone. This area, inside Innoventions West, has charging stations for your phone, as well as seating and food and beverage carts.
- Go romp with the dinosaurs on Ellen's Energy Adventure.
- Check out some awesome cars in the exit area of Test Track. You do not have to ride in order to tour the exhibit.
- Tour Sea Base Alpha at the exit of The Seas. You can usually go right through the exit doors, into the large aquarium area.
- Learn about the environment from Simba and his pals at the Circle of Life movie in The Land pavilion.
- Get animated at the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival, in the Imagination Pavilion.
- Let your imagination run wild at the game area at the exit of Journey into Imagination with Figment. You do not have to ride in order to play.
- Go undercover with Perry the Platypus and play Agent P's World Showcase Adventure scavenger hunt game.
- Buy the kids one of the "passports" from any of the major gift shops. Let them collect stamps in the various countries. They can also make their own Duffy paper puppet on a stick and add stamps and color to it in the many Kidcot Fun Stop locations throughout World Showcase.
- Enjoy a performance by Mariachi Cobre, in the Mexico pavilion.
- Try the School Bread at Kringala Bakeri in the Norway pavilion. Seating is directly behind the cafe.
- Marvel at the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats in the China pavilion.
- Experience the beauty of China in the Reflections of China movie.
- See the latest exhibit, all about Disney's newest park in Shanghai, in the small museum area, in the waiting area of the movie in China. You do not have to watch the movie in order to enjoy the exhibit.
- Shop your way through the awesome offerings in the gift shops of the China pavilion.
- Let the little ones bang the drums at the African Outpost.
- See the model trains come and go in the adorable display in the Germany pavilion.
- Enjoy the a cappella sounds of American Music Machine or Voices of Liberty in the American Adventure.
- Learn from the historic exhibit on display in the American Adventure.
- Take a trip through history in the American Adventure attraction.
- Watch amazing drumming artistry of Matsuriza in the Japan pavilion.
- Check out the fun pop culture exhibit in the Japan pavilion.
- Shop for crazy Japanese candies, unique beauty products, toys, and kimonos in the Japan pavilion.
- Spend some time meditating, reflecting, or just enjoying the quiet in the beautifully tiled Moroccan courtyard.
- Take in the splendor of France in the Impressions de France film.
- Eat an authentic French pastry, or a creamy ice cream and enjoy the French surroundings in Les Halles and L'Artisan des Glaces.
- Run through the hedge maze in the back of the UK pavilion.
- Rock out to the sounds of British Revolution in the UK pavilion.
- Head north for a fun-filled adventure in Canada, at the O Canada film.
- Grab a seat lagoon-side in World Showcase, to enjoy some people watching, and usually a nice breeze.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Let the little ones chill out at the Baby Care center. There is a small sitting area with a Disney movie on a little TV. There are also a couple of changing stations, and a small area where mothers can breastfeed.
- Catch the acts of the funny and entertaining Streetmosphere performers on Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards.
- See a performance of Beauty and the Beast: Live On Stage. It's a large theater and usually has room for walk-in Guests.
- See which celebrities you match up to, when you measure your hands and feet against the prints in the courtyard of the Chinese Theater.
- Kick back and relax, with one of the best cupcakes you've ever had, at Starring Rolls bakery.
- Meet Disney characters ALL OVER the park! The Studios is one of the BEST places for character meet and greets. You won't find many princesses here, but lots of rarely seen characters, including the gang from Toy Story, Disney Junior friends, and even Olaf!
- Discover Star Wars Launch Bay, a walk-thru exhibit featuring Star Wars props, displays, and even character meet and greets.
- Learn about the man who started it all: Walt Disney. You can stroll through One Man's Dream at your own pace, and check out original Disney memorabilia, movie clips about Walt, Disney family artifacts, and Disney Park models and designs. It culminates with an (optional) preview of the latest Disney films.
- Watch the newest recruits train to be Jedi at Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. 4-12 year olds can even register to participate on stage in the training!
- Check out your favorite Star Wars characters from all 7 films, appearing in the stage show, A Galaxy Far, Far Away. And for an even cooler, more unique experience, watch the show from backstage!
- Of course the main attraction at Animal Kingdom is the ANIMALS! And they are all over. Take time to walk through the Oasis, the Tree of Life walkways and even the paths in Dinoland, to enjoy views of some unique and lovable animals. Don't miss the two best animal viewing areas, the Maharajah Jungle Trek and the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
- Become a Wilderness Explorer! Sign up at the front of the park, just before the Tree of Life, and then stop at the stations throughout the park and complete tasks to earn your badges.
- Kids will love running, playing, climbing, and even digging at The Boneyard. It's a huge playground area but there's also a buried dinosaur fossil area, where young dino-lovers can use a shovel and pail to uncover the bones of a huge beast.
- There are plenty of carnival games to keep you busy for a while in Dinoland. It can get expensive though, since they are all an additional charge.
- Take the Wildlife Express Train out to Conservation Station and Affection Section. The train ride itself is fun and includes some potential animal viewing. Conservation Station houses the animal clinic and nutrition areas, as well as exhibits on conservation. Out back, the Affection Section is like a petting zoo, filled with goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs and more. It's the only place in the park where you can touch the animals.
- Lots of unique character meet and greets here, too, like Tarzan, Flik, Pocahontas, and Russell and Dug.
- Animal Kingdom's live entertainment is awesome! Not only are to two main shows amazing, (Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Musical), but the musical performers rock! Burudika leads a street party in Harambe. Chakranadi is in Anandapur and features the sitar. There are lots of great live options, so check out the times guide in the park!
Of course, outside of the parks, there's tons to do too! Here are a few examples...
- Check out all of the new shopping, dining and entertainment at Disney Springs.
- Take the plunge at Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach and enjoy slides, swimming and more.
- Get interactive at DisneyQuest.
- Stay on par playing a round of mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens or Winter-Summerland.
- Rent a bike or a boat and cruise around one of the Deluxe or Moderate Resorts.
- Stroll along Disney's BoardWalk, where you can shop, dine and enjoy vaudeville-style entertainment.
- Indulge in a spa treatment at Saratoga Springs or The Grand Floridian.
- Use Disney's transportation system as entertainment. Travel along the monorail, or cruise around on a boat. Who says the journey can't be as enjoyable as the destination?
- Speaking of the monorail, do a monorail crawl and visit the monorail resorts, enjoying the sights and sounds of the various lobbies.
- Visit Fort Wilderness, where you can stop by the petting farm, kiddos can ride ponies, you can rent bikes, boats and more, and you can even enjoy a campfire.
- Venture over to Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, and enjoy the breath-taking views of the savanna, and check out the animals.
- See the sights from up above, by riding the Characters in Flight hot air balloon at Disney Springs.
- Just want to sit and enjoy some A/C? Catch a flick at AMC Theater at Disney Springs.
- Or why not cheer on your favorite team at the ESPN Club on The BoardWalk.
- Or quite possibly the best option.... enjoy the pool at your resort!!! You know... like actually RELAX on vacation???
There you have it, Disney Guys and Gals! Some of the best options for when the parks are crowded. What about you? Do you have a favorite park activity, or place to spend time when the parks are slammed??? I'd love to hear all about it!
And don't forget, for all of your vacation planning needs, contact the gang at Kingdom Konsultant Travel. They'd love to make YOUR vacation dreams come TRUE!
- Jenn aka "Tink"