Five Ways to Not Let the Diverse Crowds Get You Down at Walt Disney World


I do not actually know the exact number of people who visit Walt Disney World each year; the Disney Company does not publish those numbers. I would venture a guess in the millions, though. People come from all over the globe to experience the Happiest Place on Earth, because let’s face it: it’s really fun!

Walt Disney World has become a major must-do on many people’s bucket-list. It is no longer just “average” middle-class Americans that flock to the gates and flood the queues of America’s favorite theme park attractions. People from all walks of life and all cultural backgrounds can be found in all Disney parks each and every day of the year.

Some months, such as July and October, have been known to have very large groups of South American tourists; but, in my experience, no matter when you visit there will be all kinds of people from all kinds of places. It can be a great experience to share this fantasy world that Walt Disney created with people from all over the “real world.” If you think about it, Walt wanted us to experience cultural diversity. He gave us It’s a Small World and Epcot’s World Showcase as models.

As wonderful as cultural diversity is, and how amazing it would be for that diversity to work together smoothly, it is easy to become frustrated and annoyed by having to share space and experiences with large crowds of people who do not practice similar cultural etiquettes and behaviors as those we are used to sharing our space and time with every other day of the year. Let’s be frank, though: it is not just international tourists who can do something annoying or rude that (in the moment) can seemingly ruin a great day in the parks. To be honest, I have been that annoying person many times. I am so mesmerized by the experience, and anxious to fulfill an anticipated dream with my family, that I forget to notice that I am standing on someone’s toe or blocking their toddler’s view of the parade. It happens, folks. I can almost guarantee that something will happen during your trip that you will find annoying or odd, so I have compiled a list of five things to keep in mind for the times you want to crinkle your eyebrows or clench your fists.

These five tips will help you enjoy your trip while sharing the parks with a diverse crowd.

1. Make a plan before you get to the park: know which rides you absolutely cannot miss, and make an itinerary. Include your preferred (or reserved) dining choices. Hop on the train and head to Frontierland or New Fantasyland to avoid the crowd walking down Mainstreet USA. Check the online times guides and plan for parades and shows accordingly. Yes, when it is crowded you will need to stake-out a parade and fireworks spot hours  (at least 1.5) before it actually begins. Be prepared to defend that spot. I don’t mean literally fight for it. I mean one person cannot realistically hold eight spots on the curb in front of Cinderella’s Castle while the other seven people go ride Space Mountain. Even if you have eight backpacks, four Goofy hats, and two popcorn buckets, it will be hard to maintain a large space without actual bodies. I suggest all eight of you pick a spot and stay there. It isn’t efficient or as fun as asking Grandma to wait and hold a space, but it will prevent frustration over someone pushing your bags and hats aside to claim the spot for themselves.

2. Get to the parks early, go back to your hotel or visit Downtown Disney or another resort for a couple hours in the afternoon, and come back to the parks in the late afternoon and evening. Another option is to experience the lower-wait attractions during the hottest hours of the day. Country Bear Jamboree, Finding Nemo the Musical, and Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular all offer shaded or air-conditioned seating. Seeing the shows and less popular attractions will get you out of long lines and out of the hot Florida sun. Taking that little break makes a load of difference in dealing with frustrating crowds. During July, it gets really hot in the mid-day. The heat adds to the frustration. Do yourself a favor and find a place to relax for a little while. Don’t make your dining reservations at peak meal times. A great time to ride the popular attractions is when the crowds are stuffing into the restaurants.

3. If you cannot ignore or shake off an irritating moment, do not engage in confrontation. Always locate a cast member if someone has done something exceptionally annoying or rude. Cast members work very hard to uphold policies, but they can’t see everything. Disney has been increasingly hiring bilingual cast members to instruct and assist international visitors. If something has happened, tell a cast member. Place the burden of upholding park policies on the cast members rather than making it your responsibility to enforce the rules yourself. Cast members are trained to handle these types of situations. They are also trained (and very willing) to make sure you have a positive, happy, and wonderful visit.

4. Use your smartphone to attempt a friendly conversation with international visitors while waiting in line. Most phones have a translator app. The grammar will come out all wrong, but it can be a fun way to meet new people and pass the time away during peak wait times. Learning a bit about the people and their country and culture might help you to understand the diversity of behavior and characteristics going on in the parks. Even if you think you don’t have anything to say, you have at least two things in common with them: you are both waiting to experience the same attraction; and you both are excited to be on vacation at Walt Disney World.

5. When things seem to be getting you down and extremely irritable, sing It’s a Small World to yourself (or out loud). Grab a Mickey ice cream bar or churro and try to remember that Walt Disney World is meant to be fun for everyone; try not to let the cultural differences prevent you from having fun, too. It is a small world while you are at any Disney park. It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears; a world of hope and a world of fears. There’s so much that we share that it’s time we’re aware: it’s a small world afterall. Sing it again and again.

How do you manage crowds while visiting during peak season? Share your thoughts and help others have a magical trip!

This post comes to us from Kelly L.

Please note: some posts may contain affiliate links which means our team could earn money if you purchase products from our site


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