In an ideal (Walt Disney) World, it would be great to always have low crowd days. And, sometimes to matter how much you plan, you walk into the park and shake your head at the massive crowds. So, apart from rides and attractions, what can you do instead and still have fun? From hanging out with Castmembers to free games, here are eight things to do at Magic Kingdom when it’s crowded.

Looking out from Cinderella Castle at the crowd in Magic Kingdom. Yep, you'll find days like these, no matter how much you plan.

Yeah, crowds like this one at Magic Kingdom can be a bummer, but there are things to do to save your sanity. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

But, sometimes when we visit, there’s a glitch in the crowd calendars and actual crowds are much higher than any crowd calendar notes. It’s these days that we use our FastPass+ selections and then don’t even bother waiting in standby queues for rides and attractions. What does my family do instead? Here are our top eight things to do at Magic Kingdom when it’s crowded to keep our sanity and still have fun.

  • Play a Free Interactive Game
  • Get Off Your Feet and Take a Train Ride
  • Hang Out with The Citizens of Main Street
  • Hunt for Hidden Mickeys
  • Take A Break in The Hub
  • Cool Off
  • Catch a Parade Where It’s Not as Crowded
  • Dude, You’re in Magic Kingdom. Just Be.

Headed to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and aren't looking forward to the crowds when you go? Here are our eight best tips to beat the crowds at Magic Kingdom! #Disney #TDAD #DisneyTips #MagicKingdom #FamilyTravel

1.Play A Free Interactive Game

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an interactive game for all ages. The goal is to hunt and eradicate Disney Villains throughout the park, and it can be played as quickly or slowly as you’d like. As the game progresses it does get harder, so you’ll end up using two, three, or even four cards to beat the Disney Villains – that’s where having multiple cards comes in handy.

To sign up, you’ll need to head to the Fire Department in Town Square. Once your Magicband is activated to play the game, you’ll receive a free five-pack of playing cards that will open playing portals. Each day you’re at Magic Kingdom, head back to the Fire Department to get a free packet of collector cards.

2. Take a Train Ride

If you’re not familiar Magic Kingdom, a trip on the Walt Disney World Railroad is a good way to to get the lay of the lands. There are three stops (Main Street U.S.A., Frontierland, and the New Fantasyland), with 7,920 feet of train ride if you make the entire loop. Even better: you can stay on it as long as you like.

Bonus: it takes about 20 minutes to complete the loop and it’s a great way to get off your feet.

Take time to talk to the Citizens of Main Street, crowded day at Magic Kingdom or not.

My daughter loves chatting with the Citizens of Main Street, especially Miss Hildegard. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

3. Hang Out with Citizens of Main Street U.S.A.

My teen daughter is a massive fan of the Citizens of Main Street U.S.A. Generally, you can find them hanging out on the street from rope drop to after lunch and they love interacting with guests. Each has its own backstory and you can feel free to ask as many questions as you’d like.

They also love taking photos and we always have such a great time chatting with them. Keep an eye out for Hildegard, Smokey the Fire Chief, Jim the Piano Player, and The Dapper Dans.

Have you checked out the Hidden Mickeys around Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride in Magic Kingdom? There are some fun ones!

Once your Fastpasses are used, start looking for Hidden Mickeys. There are plenty in New Fantasyland. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

4. Hunt for Hidden Mickeys

First of all, what are hidden Mickeys? In a nutshell, they’re cute Mickey heads that Imagineers add to walls, walkways, and painted areas of the parks. They can be overt or very tough (check out my wife’s favorite Hidden Mickey in Magic Kingdom.) They can be three painted bubbles that, combined together, to make a classic Mickey head and ears. Getting it now?

Hunting for Hidden Mickeys is a hoot even on high crowd days. They’re all over so look up, down, on rides, in the queues – everywhere. And though we’ve visited Magic Kingdom dozens of times, we still find new ones with each visit. If you really want to find them all, look online before you visit for Hidden Mickey hunting guides.

We love taking a break in The Hub area near Cinderella Castle, even when it's crowded.

The Hub (the areas that surround Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom) is an ideal spot to take a break, get off your feet for a few, and people watch. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

5. Take a Break in the Hub

A couple of years ago, the area around Cinderella Castle was redesigned to include plenty of grassy spots to sit and take a break. They’re large enough for folks to take a rest but small enough that you won’t be chasing your younger kids a football field.

It’s also the place where there are FastPasses for nightly Happily Ever After fireworks and light show, so if you haven’t made one, don’t even try to grab a spot there. Without a locked-down FP+ for Happily Ever After, you’ll be nicely asked to find another location.

Crowded at Magic Kingdom? Head to a waterplay area or misting station to cool off.

There’s no age requirement for running through Casey Jr. Waterplay area in New Fantasyland. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

6. Cool Off

Even in the cooler months, we get sweaty and need to cool off pronto. And, there are a couple of ways to do it right. We have no problem heading to Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak in New Fantasyland. It’s a fun place with plenty of water fun and both kids and adults enjoy the downtime. Yes, it’s technically for younger kids to get soaked, but my wife and teen daughter have no problem running through it to cool off.

Another way to cool of is with the in-park misting stations. Right now there are two: the Cool Scanner in Tomorrowland and the Tiki Totem Poles in Adventureland.

7. Catch a Parade Where It’s Less Crowded

If it’s your first time catching a Magic Kingdom parade, yeah, you’ll probably want to catch it in these two areas: in front of Cinderella Castle and down Main Street U.S.A.. Most times, however, there are way less crowds in Frontierland and Liberty Square. Truth, you’ll catch a side view of the parade and not a straight-on shot. But, it’s nice to not be shoulder to shoulder while having a kid on your shoulders.

Why is the rum always gone? "Shopping" for souvenirs at Magic Kingdom.

I found a souvenir, Honey! We love moseying around the park and shopping on a crowded Magic Kingdom day. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

8. Dude, Just Be…You’re at Walt Disney World, After All!

We’ve been caught off guard with high crowd levels and it throws our touring plan into a spin. It’s these times where I simply step back and think, “I’m at Magic Kingdom” and it’s an instant calm feeling. All of the crowd frustration goes away, not to mention it’s the most magical place on earth. So, head into a quick service restaurant and grab a drink or just walk around and people watch. Or sit on a street curb and let your kids play with bubbles. Take family photos. Take advantage of Mobile Ordering to grab a Dole Whip. You get the idea.