Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety affects 40 million adults or roughly 18% of the population. If you suffer from anxiety like I sometimes do, the thought of exploring a Disney Park can be somewhat scary. Going to a Disney Park doesn’t have to be scary if you have anxiety, even on crowded days. Today I am sharing some of my tips on how to handle anxiety and crowded Disney days.
Anxiety and Crowded Disney Days
Don’t let crowded Disney days keep you away from the most magical place on Earth. To me, going to Walt Disney World is therapeutic and it can be for you as well. Here are some ways to deal with high crowds that lessen my anxiety. One of my tips is not going to be avoid going on high crowd days. If you could avoid that you probably would not be reading this article. Sometimes the only travel times that are available are during the summer and Holiday time. A lot of my anxiety is social anxiety, so some of these tips are more helpful towards that type of anxiety.
Get to the Park 1-2 Hours After Opening
Everyone is so excited about going to Disney World and they want to get in the park as soon as possible. Unless you are super, super early then you are not getting into the park without lots of other people wanting to get into the park as well. Bag check and entrance lines will be long and very crowded. If you plan on getting there an hour or two later then you miss the opening rush.
Use the Monorail Loop Monorail to get the Magic Kingdom from the TTC
Most people use the direct monorail and the monorail loop one is less crowded. It might take a little longer but it is more peaceful.
Watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade from Adventure Land
Most people want to watch the parade from Main Street or around by the castle. Those areas become really crowded. I can’t handle that sometimes and watch the parade in Adventureland. Usually, there are fewer people and you get a better view and better character interaction.
Make Fastpasses ASAP
Fastpass ques are less crowded and overall are more calming. As soon as your window opens to make Faspasses, get them.
Go at a Slower Pace/ Take Breaks
If you need a few minutes to calm down and take a breather, do it. You can find uncrowded areas at the First Aid stations. At Animal Kingdom, there are quiet places along the river & around the tree that are usually pretty empty. At the Magic Kingdom, around the Splash Mountain exit/bathroom area, Tom Sawyer Island, and the bathrooms near the Carousel of Progress. At Epcot, the Seas Pavillion at the aquarium part is usually peaceful. The Muppets area at Hollywood Studios is usually quiet as well.
Practice deep breathing techniques, take a moment to listen to music, or to concentrate on an object of your choosing. If you are tired it is harder to deal with anxiety.
Leave Earlier or Later
A lot of people exit the park after fireworks. Leave slightly before the fireworks are over or stay for the Goodnight Kiss and leave an hour or so after park closing.
Eat at Off Times
Have lunch around 2 and dinner around 7-8. You will miss the big rushes and be able to find a table.
Don’t Leave Shopping for Park Closing Times
If you find something you want to buy you can buy it during the day. If you are not wanting to lug around your purchases all day long you can either have them delivered to your resort or can pick them up at Guest Relations on your way out. Everyone seems to attack the gift shops while at closing and they get too hectic.
During Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival Visit Monday-Thursday
Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival can be a bit crowded and rowdy. It is even more so on weekends when locals come to drink. It is a much calmer Monday through Thursday.
Have a Comfort Items
I am not a fan of Fidget Spinners (did you know there are Disney Fidget Spinners) but I have a couple other objects that bring me comfort when I am stressed out. Even if that “object” is a game on your phone, it is something that can bring you peace in a hectic environment.
Try calming scents and lotions for even more anxiety relief.
Ask Disney Cast Members for Assistance
Disney Cast Members want you to have a memorable vacation. If you have a small request that will make your trip a little more doable, don’t be afraid to ask. For example, I was going from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Epcot. The monorail was really crowded. I politely asked the Cast Member if I could be in a less crowded monorail car. The Cast Member said sure and let me in an uncrowded car that had a couple wheelchair using guests in it. It was a small gesture, but it made my trip over to Epcot a lot nicer. They might not always be able to say yes, but it does not hurt to ask. Sometimes in theaters, I tell the Cast Members I prefer to have an empty seat next to me and even on crowded days, they usually let me have that space I need.
Please tell a Cast Member if you feel an anxiety attack coming on. They can get help for you.
Do Lots of Research
Part of my anxiety stems from not knowing what to expect. Once I read up on an experience and watch YouTube videos I am somewhat better. It took me quite awhile to get on Big Thunder Mountain because I did not know what to expect. I have two more coasters to try at Disney World, Expedition Everest and Rockin’ Roller coaster. Hopefully soon I can get past my anxiety and get on those soon.
Do you have anxiety while at Disney Parks? What things do you do that help makes your vacation wonderful? Let me know in the comments!
Bonus Tip: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like A2M Travel. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice, and their services are totally FREE!