Every time I look up at that little plaque while entering Disneyland, it brings a smile to my face. It reminds me of Walt Disney, the man who started it all. After reading the quote, I always pay careful attention to the classic and retro-classic attraction posters that line the tunnel that follow.
To me, these posters represent the best about the parks, past and present, and how so much has changed over the years–and how much has stayed the same over the years. Not only do these posters represent the best, but their some of the best, themselves. They may just be “simple advertisements” to the average guest, but I see them as so much more.
To me, they’re brilliantly designed pieces of art, and yet another example of the great Disney Details that make the parks amazing. They are one of the many reasons I find myself going back to Disneyland and Walt Disney World again and again and again. As much as other things, like Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, might bug me–and encroach on the suspension of disbelief that sign invites–it’s the totality of this themed design and attention to detail that keeps us coming back.
Have a question about planning a trip to Disney or something you’ve read here? Hopefully this blog can help! We’ve visited every Disney theme park around the world, from Walt Disney World to Disneyland Paris to Shanghai Disneyland. Not only that, but we’ve also have stayed in almost every Disney-owned hotel in the world and many of the nearby off-site ones as well. We’ve also dined at and reviewed the majority of restaurants in the Disney parks & resorts–over 300 and counting!
Presumably, most of you coming to this site are here for Walt Disney World or Disneyland vacation planning guidance, especially as visiting these parks becomes increasingly complicated due to reservations, various booking windows, and the necessity of preparing in advance. Common questions you have can probably be answered by posts we already have written that pertain to these topics and contain links to most critical vacation planning info.
If you’re trying to plan a Walt Disney World trip, visit our 2022 Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide. If planning a Disneyland trip, check out our 2022 Disneyland Trip Planning Guide.
As pent-up demand continues to drive attendance higher, strategy to beat the crowds is particularly important if you’re visiting Walt Disney World or Disneyland in Summer 2022 or beyond. To that end, be sure to use our Disney Itineraries & Touring Plans for step-by-step order-of-attractions advice, with options now with and without Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.
Speaking of which, we have a comprehensive Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQ for those who want to thoroughly master the new paid FastPass system. If you’re visiting California, we have a Guide to Genie+ at Disneyland & DCA, too.
It is worth noting that in in the last couple of months, Genie+ is becoming less useful and is not the end-all, be-all of park touring strategy. See Genie+ v. Savvy Standby Strategy at Walt Disney World, which is the result of extensive ‘testing’ to determine the best and worst ways to beat the crowds right now. (We put a lot of work into that, and it should be incredibly useful for planning, while not being too overwhelming.)
The only park where Genie+ was the clear-cut winner was Magic Kingdom. Everywhere else, there were superior strategies for saving time waiting in line. That’s true even with Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where we had previously strongly recommended buying the Genie+ service. For DHS, we called Genie+ the “option of last resort” because it’s headache-inducing, but not any more so than standby lines, which are just brutal at DHS.
Looking forward, you can expect heavy crowds through at least mid-August 2022. Consult our 2022 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendars for updates on attendance, wait times, and more. (As covered recently, Disney Park Pass availability is incredibly limited for the rest of this month and parts of May 2022.)
Since mid-February, every week except one has been a crowd level 9/10 or 10/10 at Walt Disney World (that one exception was an 8/10). The average wait time has ranged from 44 to 51 minutes during that time. Let that sink in: a 7 minute range over the course of 2 months. That’s not insignificant (it all adds up!), but it’s also not on par with normal times, when could swings of 10 minutes week-to-week were common.
For now, the only thing I’m reasonably comfortable predicting is that crowds will fall off around mid-August and remain that way through at least late September. That’s always a safe bet, and the lone window of time that has yet to buck conventional wisdom on crowds. (Knock on wood.) Whether May through early June will see a slowdown is less clear, as is pretty much everything after the fall.
With that said, it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s easier to beat crowds at Walt Disney World right now than it has been in a long time. Significantly earlier opening times provide a huge advantage to early risers, and savvy strategy or advanced-level know-how with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes can be a gamechanger. Setting aside congestion, we’ve honestly found it easier to tackle Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom since these extended hours started in early March.
With Disney Park Pass reservations booking up on a daily basis, crowds are largely being leveled and not reflective of actual, organic demand. That presumably does vary much more day-to-day or week-to-week, but that’s not playing out with the capacity caps in place.
As we often say, pack your patience and arm yourself with savvy strategy if you’re visiting Walt Disney World in the coming weeks or months. The bad news is that it’s going to be very busy with “feels like” crowds and wait times among the highest we’ve seen in the last two years. The good news is that these crowds are more “beatable” than those of this winter or last holiday season.
What draws you to Walt Disney World and Disneyland? When you pass under the train station tunnel and see the sign that says “Here You Leave Today And Enter The World Of Yesterday, Tomorrow And Fantasy” do you likewise enter a different world? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!