Spring Break Travel Tips 2021

It’s here, the moment we have all waited for…. better weather and time off from school or work! With so much optimism these days, many are looking to escape for some much needed (and desired) fun and relaxation. This is obvious when looking at the upcoming Park Pass Reservation System Availability calendar on Walt Disney World’s website. Many dates are completely blacked out to travels or limited to one park option. Therefore, if you did not plan to travel to Walt Disney World in the coming weeks but are now considering it, your park options may be extremely limited or not available at all.

For those who previously booked your Park Pass Reservations, you are good to go! Beyond Park Pass Reservations, there are a few other recommendations and tips that I highly suggest in order to make the most of your Walt Disney World Spring Break vacation. The same can be noted for Universal Resort Orlando; I will highlight tips specifically for Universal Orlando at the bottom of this article.

Check Park Hours

For both Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World, always be sure to check the posted hours for the parks. For Disney, park hours are being extended and altered as late as one week prior.

Make the most of your on-site hotel: Transportation and Logistics

Take advantage of the perks of being an on-site guest. If you have booked a Walt Disney World hotel, you should fully leverage your proximity to the parks. While not posted, the parks are opening about 45-60 minutes before posted opening. Buses, Skyliner and parking lots are opening around 45-75 minutes before park open (with the Skyliner, then buses, then the parking lot in order of earliest opening). I suggest going to get in the line for the Skyliner or the bus at least 1.5 hours prior to park open in order to leverage that early morning hours (if not earlier) when everyone is sleeping in or driving in because they are off-site. You can Uber or Lfyt but your arrival time will vary on how early you get your ride share and when the parking lot actually opens. I only recommend this if the bus line where you are looks extremely long and you didn’t make it to your bus stop early. This mainly applies to park opening as during the day the demand for busing to and from locations goes down as folks are already at their destinations. Consider that the time of day, social distancing and amount of people at your resort going to the theme parks all play a role in bus availability. (In the very near future, Disney will be rolling out extra magic time prior to park opening ONLY for on-site guests but has not implemented at this time.)

It is not uncommon, even during lighter seasons, to be at the bus stop up to 2 hrs before park open in order to get earliest bus and earliest access to the parks.


Social Distancing requires distanced queuing. Gone are the days of being crammed into tight spaces with anyone and everyone. Even during non-peak times, the lines loop and spread out far. For example, Peter Pan’s flight winds through Columbia Harbour House and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run wraps behind the show building before making your way into the main queuing area. Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train line wraps completely around the outside of the attraction before even being inside the queue. All this considered, these lines are typically an hour or less waits even with the lines appearing to be incredibly longer than past lines. When watching the wait times vs. actually being in the lines the accuracy of the wait times is all over the place. For the most part, the times are slightly inflated (i.e. higher than actual wait) but are highly dependent on ride operation and cleaning cycles.

Meal Planning

No advanced dining reservations? Consider mobile ordering quick service or “To-Go” from many popular table service restaurants. You may also join “walk-up wait-lists” to many popular table service restaurants at the parks and resorts. And you can always go and ask the Cast Member at the host stand if there is a wait-list option available. Mobile ordering, to-go ordering and walk-up wait-list options are all available from the My Disney Experience app.

I recommend building your mobile orders for meals early. You can do this easily in the My Disney Experience app. I typically build my order and schedule my time for pick-up while on transportation or waiting in line for a ride. The worst is waiting until the last minute and standing in a long line outside of a restaurant trying to mobile order. What’s even worse is not having a place to eat. So, I highly recommend having someone in your party grab your food and the other scout your seats.

Examples of mobile and to-go ordering

Pack your patience with the pools.

More people willing to travel means more people staying at the resorts. This is amazing news as more people are able to finally go on their much needed vacations; however, it doesn’t mean that social distancing and Disney’s health and safety protocols are out the window. It is possible for pools to be at capacity and entry denied at peak times. Currently, Disney does not have any time limits to pool utilization so their may be long waits for popular pool locations depending on resort demand.

Disney resorts offer many pools besides their signature “feature” pools. In the case a feature pool is at capacity, consider one of the alternative pools at your resort until the crowd levels at the feature pool lighten up. With a little bit of patience, you will have the opportunity to swim, slide and enjoy the hot tubs available at your resort. There are cast members at the gates of each pool that you can ask about availability and capacity. Each resort will vary on amenities and pool capacities, especially with some resorts only being partially opened at this time.

Take an afternoon break.

If you take advantage of the early morning park times, be sure to also take advantage of the afternoon down time at your resort (or Disney Springs) when the parks are at peak crowd levels. This helps give your family the much needed R & R and allows a break from sensory overload. Take a shower, take a nap, get a snack to go and eat in your room or around your resort. Take a walk around your resort, visit Disney Springs, go for a swim, play on your resort playground or splash pad. Get a drink from your pool or resort bar. Seriously, there are so many options of things to do outside of the parks, leverage them!

Rise of the Resistance

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance remains a virtual queue and requires getting a boarding group via the My Disney Experience app at 7am EST on the day of your reserved Hollywood Studios day. If you are unable to get a boarding group at 7am an additional drop of boarding groups happens at 1pm EST. Guests must be inside the park during the 1pm release. Only one boarding group per person, per day (i.e. you cannot get a group at 7am or 1pm). Additionally, park hopping does not begin until 2pm; therefore, park hopping guests who did not start their day in Hollywood Studios are not eligible for a Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding group. To read my tips for obtaining a Rise of the Resistance boarding group, click here.

Park Hopping

If you have purchased Park Hopper tickets for Walt Disney World it is important to remember that you MUST scan into your original theme park that you reserved for that day. This must be done BEFORE 2pm in order to hop to another theme park. If you skip your original park, Disney WILL NOT allow you to hop to another park. This is VERY IMPORTANT to remember.

You may ask a Guest Services Cast Member or call the Park Hopper/Park Capacity Line (407-560-5000) to check the status of available parks to check before you hop to your next park.

Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort is not operating with a reservation system and capacity is handled on a first come, first serve basis. This means staying on-site at Universal is a huge benefit with the early park entry. I highly suggest calling the park capacity phone line (407-817-8317) to check the status of the parks before heading out. If you are not staying on property but booked your tickets through me, you still get the advantage of one hour early park admission.

Be sure to also have the Universal Orlando App downloaded and updated on your phone before heading out to the parks. Just like Disney, having your app up to date and knowing where to find things on the app is so important!

Express Pass Unlimited (which you can get at an additional cost or is an included benefit of staying at one of Universal’s Premier category hotels: Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific or Loews Portofino Bay resorts)is important for getting the shortest waits on some of the most popular attractions.

If you are staying on property, you can pick up your tickets at the Vacation Planning Center in the hotel lobby prior to your park day as well as ask be able to get questions answered by staff.

Moral of the story for both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort is to arrive to the parks early, pack your patience with other Spring Break travelers, have your apps up to date and have a game plan for your family’s eating habits. If you head to the parks with these tips, you will be prepared and have a much more enjoyable vacation!

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About Crush on the Magic

I'm a Midwestern mom that embraces fun whenever possible! Crush on the Magic is focused on all things Disney and Universal Destinations. I'm here to provide insights for all Disney/Universal vacationers, from the theme park regular to the once-in-a-lifetime trip goer, this site is for you! Thinking of booking a trip? I am happy to provide my expertise at no additional charge. Contact me at Blair@WickedMouseTravel.com or complete my no obligation form at https://us18.list-manage.com/survey?u=b62311de7c042ab679f0a7199&id=0e36980940&attribution=false&fbclid=IwAR0dF1h9z_nYDe8o1YyioqcEFp1TksK-ugt5r3NeNdxn5Iodetb-hEB33Ys