How to make the most out of a bad week of high crowds at Disney World parks

Disney World's Magic Kingdom - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Photo courtesy Ashley Schwarz
Disney World's Magic Kingdom - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Photo courtesy Ashley Schwarz /

High crowds at Disney World parks is becoming quite the norm but sometimes, they can be so bad you want to just go home.

For many Disney World guests, the opportunity to run home when they realize they planned the wrong week at Disney isn't possible. So you have only a few choices. You can spend more money and wake up early to make sure you get Lightning Lane passes or Genie+ options.

You could also just bite the bullet and deal with the long extended stand-by lanes and the incredible amount of people who believe that they are the only ones in the park. You know the ones, who stop in the middle of traffic to take a picture or to look at a building. They turn around and go the other way in the middle of the flow or, as my wife found out this week, they will literally push you out of their way. Oh, the resolve I needed to display.

There is another way. It isn't as much fun as say, riding a bunch of rides, meeting a bunch of characters, or even getting a cup of coffee at Joffery's or Starbucks, but hey, it's called making a bad situation better.

Earlier this week my family and I went to the parks. It's Spring Break and we thought we had missed it by a week. We didn't. As a result, there was no option to experience attractions without a 90-minute to 2-hour wait.

So we redirected. Instead of waiting in line, we took in shows that we normally wouldn't have done. We made dining reservations that we normally are too occupied with attractions to enjoy. At Hollywood Studios I took advantage of the 20-minute waits to let my kids meet Chewbacca and Darth Vader.

We pin traded, drank some beer, paid more attention to the architecture, and then got in line early for Fantasmic.

At EPCOT, we gave up SOARIN and even the 40-minute wait for the Nemo ride and spent more time investigating the countries of the World Showcase. We took in more of the topiaries and found ourselves enjoying more time at the food kiosks' menu boards for the Flower and Garden Festival.

We also took the time to just sit down. Something we rarely do unless we are eating. The kids ran through the water pad but didn't stand in it and get soaked. They followed different pathways and guess what? They survived.

Disney is far more than rides and attractions and sometimes you have to shift. Take in the Hall of Presidents or one of the three 360/180 shows in EPCOT's World Showcase. Simply revel in the fact that you are there with no set times to join a stand-by lane or a queue or anything else.

Simply explore.