My wife and I were in Florida from December 25th of last year to January 12th of this year. That meant that we were able to visit The Vacation Kingdom both in the peak season and the off-season. In the past we’ve made it a habit never to find ourselves at Walt Disney World during the peak seasons. The over-crowding and long wait times are usually too much for us to handle!
But thanks to the overly cold temperatures and rain this year in Florida we had to make good use of the clear days when they presented themselves. So January 3rd was the day we decided to visit the Magic Kingdom. The temperature was frigid but the sky was clear and blue so we braved the day! This was the second last day that the Park would be open until 1 AM (Sunday being when the Parks would change to off-season hours). We arrived at 10 AM and stayed until almost 2 AM. Unfortunately, so did A LOT of other people!
The picture above was taken around 5 PM in the new area of Fantasyland. As you can see, the crowds were thick and getting good pictures of the new buildings and attractions was hard without having dozens of people milling around in the foreground. Rides like Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and other E ticket attractions all had wait times in excess of 2 hours most of the day. Needless to say, we avoided most of them.
One of the good things about not wasting extensive amounts of time in long line ups is the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures the Magic Kingdom has to offer. Such as:
Meet Wowzer, a street performer that was entertaining crowds (and I mean ‘crowds’) in the new Fantasyland area. His show was about 10 minutes long with some audience participation. Here he saw me lining up a shot with my camera and stopped in mid-act to pose.
The only thing we did wait for was the new Enchanted Tales with Belle. We lined up for about an hour and a half but felt it was well worth it. One tip to avoid long waits in line during peak seasons is to wait until a parade starts or go during the dinner hour, which we did to see Belle. Karen got to be Belle’s horse, Phillipe:
After participating in the show, Karen was given a book mark and a special PhotoPass card with pictures of the show on it, like the one above.
But after 15 hours in the Crowded Kingdom, we both decided that we would wait until the off-season to revisit WDW. So we visited Epcot on January 10th and this is what the crowds looked like then:
This picture was taken about 8 PM but was typical of the crowds all day. We again arrived around 10 AM and stayed until just after 10 PM. This is the new band that replaced the Beatles tribute band. They now play music from many different English bands .
The day was warm and sunny, one of the few days that had that combination during our entire trip!
Again, not many people, just a lonely Cast Member waiting for someone to visit Nemo. It wasn’t until later that I learned just why Epcot was so sparsely populated:
It appears that although Bruce considers fish to be friends and not food, he has other ideas about humans! This poor guys went missing shortly after I took this shot. Although I was appreciative of Bruce’s help in making my visit to Epcot less crowded, I was afraid to go up to him to thank him personally!
So what is your preference? Do you brave the crowds and let nothing stop your fun? Or do you prefer to wait until the off-season like me?