So, how will we as non-people people survive? Alcohol. LOL. Not really, it's a nice thought, but we aren't drinkers and my daughter is only 11. So that's out. Option 2, EXCELLENT strategic planning. My family has a great travel agent and she (me) will plan out our park days and times so that we encounter less people, and additionally will offer (spend extra $$) to do some events and added options to beat the lines and crowds.
One way we are helping with the crowd situation is our choice of resorts and room selection. As discussed previously, we are staying at The Beach Club with a club level room. The resort location puts us nice and close to 2 parks we know we will want to visit a lot during our trip. We added park hopper so that we can visit more than one park in a day. So we can run over to Epcot at rope drop, when the park opens, and ride Soarin' or Test Track or even run over to Norway to ride Frozen, and save our FastPass options for whatever other park we plan to spend more time at that day. Our resort has easy access into the other side of the Epcot main entrance. It allows access through England and France which is likely to be free of people entirely at the time we enter, whereas the main entrance will be packed. It's a great photo opportunity too and this area is beautiful and no crowds clogging up your photos.
Club level guests also have another perk available at an extra cost. *All guests visiting Walt Disney World have access to 3 FastPass+ reservations per day. However, guests staying Club Level have the option to purchase 3 additional FastPasses per day. As you can imagine, the price isn't cheap but this perk can be a huge time-saver. Disney still bills this perk as a "pilot program" or test, but as of right now, here are the details:
- Cost is $50/day per person
- 3 day minimum purchase (so you're looking at a minimum of $150/person)
- These FastPasses can be booked up to 90 days out (vs. the 60 days window "regular" FastPasses have for onsite guests)
- No FastPass+ tier restrictions in booking; however, you can't repeat the same attraction more than once using FastPass+
- If you have a Park Hopper ticket, you can book these FastPasses in multiple parks on the same day*
Now having said that, there are parks that having 6 passes in a day will be great. Hollywood Studios is one. Because with the pay ticket, Tier levels (see photo below) won't matter. We can use all 3 on the Toy Story Land rides and save our regular FP for Tower of Terror, Rockin' Roller Coaster, and Star Tours. Works out great. Magic Kingdom has PLENTY of rides with lines, so using 6 there will also save time. However, Epcot really only has 3 rides needing FP and those are all in Tier 1 (Group A). I would not waste the extra FastPasses here. However, with park hopper, we can split them. I could book Test Track and Frozen with the extra pay FP, save Soarin' for my regular FP and use my last pay FP for a ride in another park. Now THAT is the way to do it. It will eliminate 6 long lines and therefore keep us from being up in crowds all day every day.
A couple additional extra magic items we will add to beat the crowds will be returning to a dessert party, because I absolutely cannot take being wedged in the crowds waiting for the nighttime shows, plus the mass exodus is enough to send me over the edge. Also we will for sure add Early Morning Magic. I don't know that we'll ever not add this fantastic experience, no matter how old our daughter gets. It is simply A-mazing!
Adding EXTRA costs to a Disney trip may not be in everyone's budget, but I wouldn't go at a crowded time if we couldn't budget these extras in. I'd definitely pick a less crowded time and use strategic planning through an excellent planner (myself) as an alternative to what I laid out above.
This is why using a travel agent is always a great idea. Disney is really NOT a place you go to and just do with zero planning. I mean, you certainly CAN, but you will wait in LONG lines to ride everything and good luck getting table service meals, but that is a subject for another post. Have a Magical Day!!
*Special thanks to WDW Prep School for their detailed explanation with this section.