Home » Beating the Blackout Blues: How to Survive Passholder Blackout Months

Beating the Blackout Blues: How to Survive Passholder Blackout Months

350 Minute Wait in Fantasyland

It’s that dreaded time of year again: the blackout months.

For Disney Annual Passholders with Silver or Weekday Select passes, June marks the beginning of an annual two month Disney famine, at least when it comes to getting into the parks. While this may not affect DVC passholders who live abroad, for Florida residents who’ve been taking advantage of regular off-the-cuff Disney excursions, the switch to summertime can prove a depressing one.

Finding yourself with a serious case of the blackout blues? Resist the temptation to upgrade your pass. Here’s a few tips to make the time fly—or at least keep your sanity until August arrives…

1. Find solace in crowd calendars (and air conditioning)

350 Minute Wait in Fantasyland

Image: HarshLight, Flickr (license)

Silver and Weekday Select passes have a special appeal for introverts and guests who don’t like massive crowds. Blackout dates generally are the most insanely busy times to visit the parks. While June is unpredictable (but still busy), July is a famously miserable time for the unprepared to brave a Disney trip. A quick look at a crowd calendar like the one updated regularly at TouringPlans.com can give you some encouragement as to what you’re missing.

Namely long waits, surly tourists, and blistering heat waves.

Long Wait at Haunted Mansion

There’s a reason many seasoned park visitors avoid Disney during the summer time. Even if you arrive at opening gate, lines are bound to be longer in June and especially in July. For attractions with outdoor queues, Florida’s impressively sticky heat can sap the energy out of any family or even send visitors scrambling to find First Aid when heat exhaustion kicks in. The increased tension can make kids antsy, and it’s an unfortunate truth that the added stress brings out the cringeworthy habits in many adult visitors. With the parks packed near to capacity, it’s almost impossible to avoid unpleasant encounters with at least some guests.

All in all, remember that during the blackout months, you’re not missing the normal serene experience of visiting the parks on a quiet weekday. So long as the summer holds, here there be dragons

2. Get your scrapbooking on

Colorful scrapbooks

Image: How I See Life, Flickr (license)

While there are plenty of constructive ways to pass the time during the summer months, if you’re looking for a project to feed your Disney fix, scrapbooking might be just the hobby for you. Turn that bursting box of old ticket stubs, celebration buttons, and other Disney mementos into an artful masterpiece. It’s also a great opportunity to print your best pictures, ensuring you have a physical backup should Skynet fall upon us and obliterate all your digital memories.

Image: Rob Marquardt, Flickr (license)

You don’t have to be Martha Stewart or a Pin(terest)head to put together a decent scrapbook. If you have the budget, get a decent binder and some scrapbook pages that appeal to you. You can even find Disney specific ones. Start simple, like pasting photos into collage templates. You can add mementos for embellishment later. Thrift stores are also great hubs to find odds and ends to dress up your book. When the time arrives for your next trip, you’ll have treasured storage of memories your family can add to for years to come.

3. Enjoy a good web freefall session

Peoplemover Tunnel

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega (@mykingdomforamouse Instagram)

Guidebooks used to be the best Disney fanatics could do to feed their vacation blues in between trips. With the explosion of travel guides on the web, one could easily fill hours picking up tips, chatting with other Disney superfans, and learning park history online.

While the best medicine for the Disney blues is some sunshine and fresh air, if you’re really looking for a Disney fix, have a web freefall session. Start on a site or article you particularly enjoy (ahem… perhaps, Theme Park Tourist?) and just see where link-hopping takes you. Learn about the latest park news, trip hacks, and even brush up on your nostalgia. Your next trip will be enriched by the extra knowledge!

4. Go resort hopping


Don’t mind risking some heavy crowds? Head to Disney World on a weekday to go resort hopping. Pick a Disney property of your choosing (you may need to confirm if parking is available) or start your journey at Disney Springs. Hop on Disney transportation and take a personal tour of Disney’s resorts. Ride the monorail loop to Grand Floridian, The Polynesian, and The Contemporary. Take a bus to the Epcot resorts and have a stroll on The Boardwalk (just try not to stand there pining outside the security check at the International Gateway). If one’s available, you may even be able to rent a boat to visit some on-the-water resorts like Port Orleans.

Even without a foray into the parks, Disney’s resorts offer beautiful walkways, fantastic dining, great shopping, and magical atmosphere. Have you explored them all?

5. Hit up Disney Springs (and other out-of-park entertainment)

Disney Springs Characters in Flight Balloon

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega (@mykingdomforamouse Instagram)

I’ve noticed that on our family’s dedicated Disney trips—not short jaunts, but true week-long excursions—we almost always miss Disney Springs. In the hustle of enjoying full days in the parks, it’s easy to miss Disney’s out-of-park experiences.

While feelings have been mixed on changes to the former Disney Village Marketplace and Westside, overall the upgrades have added a pleasant atmosphere and wide variety of dining and shopping experiences to Disney Springs. Catch a movie at AMC or pick up a few souvenirs at the World of Disney. Have some chocolate samples at Ghirardelli. Feed your pin trading addiction throughout the district—some of the best pin caches can be found outside of the parks, particularly at Disney Springs and resorts. Try some poutine, fish n’ chips, or Japanese street food. Passholders also have access to some last-minute discounts on Disney Quest as the mega-arcade sings its swan song this summer.

Fantasia Gardens Statue

Image: Loren Javier, Flickr (license)

If Disney Springs isn’t your flavor, visit Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland for a round of mini golf. Rent a Surrey Bike or play a few carnival games on The Boardwalk. Take a hike at Fort Wilderness, or watch the fireworks from one of the Magic Kingdom resorts. There’s plenty to enjoy at Disney World, even without stepping foot in the parks.

6. Explore beautiful Florida

Beautiful Florida bird

Image: Chad Sparkes, Flickr (license)

If you’re a Florida resident and haven’t explored the state, the blackout months are a great chance to do so. Take a road trip to one of Florida’s beautiful beaches on the Gulf or Atlantic Coasts—Daytona, Cocoa Beach, Clearwater, and Madeira Beach are all within a several hour drive. Learn pirate history at St. Augustine, take a fishing trip, watch a taping of WWE’s NXT developmental division, or visit one of the state’s many national parks.

If you prefer to stay in Orlando, there’s plenty to explore. While many are familiar with Disney’s primary competition—Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, and Sea World—Orlando has dozens of entertainment offerings beyond theme parks. Hit up some laser tag or an escape room. Bend your mind at Wonderworks or the Orlando Science Center. Have a quiet day at the American Art Museum or the Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens. Many are surprised to learn just how much the city has to offer beyond theme parks.

Are you a passholder? How do you pass the blackout months?