Monday, December 7, 2009

Avoiding the Crowd Clobber - Especially During The Holidays

I agree with a multitude of Disney/Orlando/Central Florida travel experts regarding theme parks: avoid peak times of the year. Well, beck in 1996, I had faced the worst crowds ever - and to make matters worse, I did Disney dead on Christmas Day, that's right, on the day proper.

On that fateful day, my ex-cousin, Muetti, and Vatti all decided to go to the Magic Kingdom to see the cake version of Cinderella's Castle (It was WDW's silver jubilee at that time - remember?), and little did we know that we were bracing for the worst crowd-wise. The park was packed to the brim - we tried virtually every ride (with the exception of Splash Mountain, which was unsuited for cold weather of the time), and had no luck save for Snow White's Scary Adventures and "it's a small world" to boot. Anyway, we had shows, two parades, character greets with princesses, and such (like arguing the validity of the cake-castle) to pass away the time. Even with that castle cake and all, it was pure crowd horror!

(with courtesy of the YouTuber who posted his experiences pertaining to the evils of Christmas Day capacity crowds at the MK)

Even the planning guide for the Mouse, the Dad (I asked him a question about turismos a while ago), had his share of high-capacity crowds too - on Chrismtas Day 2007, his family wanted another spin on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (which had a three-hour wait), but they had an hour to spare before they flew home. He experienced another set of them on New Years Day - he and his family were on Soarin' at Epcot, their last ride, and they waited 120 minutes for that ride! I wholeheartedly agree with him - no ride is really worth a 2-hour wait!

Even those visiting foreign theme parks (Disney ones, of course) must have been feeling the pain each New Year's holiday. A few months after Hong Kong Disneyland opened, the park promoted their tickets that were discounted for mostly mainland visitors, and that caused them trouble - big trouble. Along came Lunar New Year 2006, and the evil faces of the discounts manifested themselves in that peak season, causing capacity in the park. Even if the would-have-beens purchased their tickets on time, many had to be detoured away from the park, causing tears for their children. The holidays are what the park dubs them as "special days," or their terms for peak seasons, and the tickets can be used for six months with the exception of them. The Lunar New Year of 2006 came as a surprise for them, as well as a curse.

And that's the lesson learned from those horror stories - avoid the most crowded times of the year. Recently, I have published the whens of going on Hubpages, The Many Months of Disney Crowds, and I found the's calendar on crowd levels uber-useful and a slice of nirvana. (Make that two, Mickey!) Oh, and didn't I mention that breaks and the all-important Fastpass are essentials?


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