Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World? It’s known as the Most Magical Place on Earth, allowing us all to feel like kids again. But the one thing we can’t escape is those long lines!
Waiting in line for hours isn’t fun and can take away from your time at the Park. Don’t worry. There are ways to beat the lines to get more out of your visit.
I’m going to share with you my best tips on how to avoid lines at Disney World!
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There is a way to skip the lines at Disney World and that is by purchasing Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane passes. These two perks come at an additional fee but can help you skip the lines. The best way to skip lines at Disney World is by signing up for a Disney VIP tour.
One of the best ways to avoid lines at a Disney Theme Park is by staying at a Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort. By doing so, you will have access to the theme parks 30 minutes before regular ticket holders. This is super helpful in crowded parks like the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
Resort guests on a Disney Property can purchase tickets directly from their resorts and save on ticket prices. This exclusive benefit makes it easier for them to plan and get into the Park more quickly than those who don’t stay at a Disney resort.
In addition, if there’s something special going on in any of the parks, such as a parade or fireworks show, being a resort guest guarantees that you won’t miss out because you’ll be able to reserve your spot early! All these benefits make staying at Disney resort hotels worth it when avoiding long lines.
Are you an early riser? If not, consider getting up early when visiting Disney.
Getting there for rope drop – when a park opens its gates and allows guests in – can be an excellent strategy for cutting down on wait times. Ideally, get there 30 minutes to an hour before the park opening time to get a jump start on the queues for a popular ride.
The first hour in the Park will usually have the shortest lines and lowest crowd levels of the day but make the most of this time as it picks up very quickly. From 10-11 am onwards, expect long wait times.
If you need more time to get up early, consider visiting late in the day instead. Many attractions stay open until the Park closes and will often have fewer people waiting around.
If you’re looking to avoid lines at Disney, making a breakfast reservation that gives you early access is a great way. For example, if you book an 8 am reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom, you can get into the Park before it technically opens.
This means that when all other guests are waiting outside for the gates to open, you will already be inside enjoying your meal or exploring ahead of everyone else. Each of the theme parks has its restaurant that allows early morning bookings.
This perk allows guests at select Disney resorts to enter and enjoy certain attractions during designated hours before or after regular Park operating hours. To take advantage of these hours, ensure your hotel stay includes access to extra magic hours (not all of them do).
Plan for early entry; you may find short lines (or at least shorter than usual). Once inside, you can explore the Park with minimal waiting times for rides, shows, and other experiences – making it worth getting up early or staying late just for this experience!
Conversely, Extra Magic Hours are only available to selected Disney resorts. Also, availing of the extra hours means an extra long day (probably not ideal for those with younger children), and Extra Magic hours attract large crowds, which during the day could mean longer wait times.
Because of this, some people choose to AVOID the Park with Extra Magic Hours because, let’s face it, everyone will go there! Lines will tend to be shorter at the other parks on those days.
It’s Disney World, so it’s ALWAYS crowded. But it’s still a good idea to try and find a time when it’s slightly less crowded. To do this, plan and check out a crowd calendar so you know the best time to visit.
Depending on when you’re planning your trip, certain days or times of the year may be less busy than others. A crowd calendar will estimate the expected crowd levels based on various factors, including historical attendance data, school schedules, and holidays.
If you’re visiting during the summer months, try to avoid peak times such as weekends and holidays whenever possible – these will typically be more crowded than weekdays during those months. Peak seasons are usually the Spring Break, summer break, and winter holidays, and crowds are usually at their quietest in September (except for Labor Day weekend), January, and February. Anytime kids are out one school vacations the park will feel extra crowded.
The absolute busiest times of the year are between Christmas and New Year’s and the 4th of July. It’s also best to avoid Disney during big events such as Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival and the Disney Marathon – unless you are going for those events.
People flock to Walt Disney World for magical experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. However, you can find yourself standing in long lines just waiting to get inside or to go on a ride. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to reduce those wait times: My Disney Experience App.
By downloading this app onto your mobile device, you can get real-time updates on the most popular rides and the average wait times.
If you spot an attraction with shorter lines nearby, get there quickly! You do have to keep a close eye on the app, though, as queue length can change very quickly.
Single-rider lines can be an effective solution if you’re looking for a way to make the most of your Disney experience. You’ll need to ride by yourself when you enter a single-rider line. This means no friends or family members joining you on the adventure – just you alone!
But don’t worry – there will still be others who are also taking advantage of the same opportunity. And since single-rider lines tend to move faster than regular ones, it will take a little while for everyone to reunite after they ride at the exit gate.
The main rides with single-rider lines include:
Singler Rider Lkines is a free service to help reduce the ride wait time for single riders and groups.
If you have two adults and a child who cannot ride an attraction due to not being tall enough – have no fear! Disney has something called Rider Swap (Rider Switch, Child Switch, or Child Swap), allowing adults to ride an attraction without waiting in line twice.
All you have to do is get a Cast Member to give the second adult a return time so they can watch the child while the first adult enjoys the ride. The second adult can go through a lightning lane so they do not have to wait the whole time.
While the second adult waits with the child – I highly suggest getting some snacks to figure out where you will go next!
Disney Genie+ is an option with a separate fee that allows guests to use the Lightning Lane entrance at select attractions for shorter wait times. Guests can purchase Genie+ through the My Disney Experience app, book attractions from 7 am on the day, and use the Lightning Lane to access the rides quicker.
Lightning Lane is a separate entrance at select attractions that allows guests to bypass the standby line. This entrance is only available to guests who have purchased Disney Genie+.
Only some of the attractions are available with Genie+ and Lightning Lane, and some attractions may require a separate individual Lightning Lane purchase. Some available with Genie+ are Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land, Space Mountain, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and more. For the highest traffic rides, such as Avatar Flight of Passage and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you must purchase the individual lighting lane.
Rides that you can purchase individual lighting lanes:
Virtual Queues are for top-tier attractions that almost all guests would want to ride. Instead of having a regular standby line, guests can get into a Virtual Queue for two attractions at Walt Disney World. One guest from your group will log into their Disney app at 7 am and try to get a return time for the virtual queue. If unsuccessful at 7 am, you can try again at 1 pm to get into a virtual afternoon queue.
It hasn’t been proven, but crowds tend to go right every time people go through the Park’s entrance. If you want to escape the crowds during Rope Drop, try taking a left when you enter the Park.
Most people head straight to the rides closest to the entrance, and they work their way toward the back of the Park. That allows you to go straight to the back and work your way forward.
If you get into the Park at the very beginning of the day, you will find a few rides closer to the back that are quieter in the first hour.
Let’s face it. A Disney World Theme park vacation is exhausting. You typically have early mornings, late nights, and Florida’s heat and humidity. With park hoppers starting to switch parks at 2 pm, why don’t you take an afternoon break?
The time waiting in lines will increase in the afternoon, and if you want to get a little nap in, this is the perfect time to go to your Disney resort hotel and hit the snooze button. You could even go to a different park in the afternoon if you see that it has lower lines.
This is a little bonus tip, but rides are not the only thing you have to wait in line for! Yes, even some of the food lines at Disney World can get crazy. If you want to skip the lines regarding food, put in a mobile order, and your snack will be ready for you quickly!
If you do not want to eat a quick snack, make sure you book your dining reservations ahead of time so you do not have to wait too long for a meal.
When it comes to standing in lines, the early birds might get a great seat at one of the shows, but they probably had to stand in line for 30-45 minutes to get that seat! Generally, you can walk up to a show about 10 minutes before it starts and still get a pretty good seat, as long as there are no special events or holidays.
Yup! If you are buying anything in a store at Disney World, check around to see if there is another register! Once you pick up the perfect souvenir, you do not want to have to wait in line to pay for it!
If Character Experiences are one of your or your child’s favorite things to do at Disney, consider booking a Character Meal. You can meet your favorite Disney characters during a meal rather than queue to meet them in the Park later in the day.
These tours provide exclusive access to popular attractions and front-of-the-line privileges in select locations. You’ll be assigned your VIP tour guide, who will create an itinerary based on your interests, ensuring that you make the most out of your visit.
With this tour, you can discover unique experiences like special character meet and greets or backstage visits within each Park.
Your private VIP Tour also includes meals throughout the day and complimentary snacks and beverages for everyone in your group. Best of all, no waiting in line!
All arrangements are made ahead of time, so there’s no stress when finding places to eat or locating rides before they close. Your personal tour guide will take care of everything while providing you with a truly magical experience – one that won’t soon be forgotten!
Disney World holds different After Hours Celebrations and Parties throughout the year for a ticketed fee. These events have almost all of the rides operating with fewer guests. If you go to an After Hours celebration, get to the Park on time! The Party may say it is open from 7 pm – 1 am, but sometimes guests can enter the Park as early as 4 pm!
Guests will have a special wristband distinguishing them from those who didn’t pay for the extra event.
If you are not one for parades or fireworks – skip them! Many people gravitate towards Main Street to see the entertainment, but if you want to ride rides, this is one of the best times to get a lot of rides in.
If you took an afternoon break, head back to the Park about an hour or two before it closes. If you are refreshed, you can pick up as many rides as possible before heading back to your Disney World hotel room.
It’s no secret that long lines at Disney can ruin a magical day. Unless you’re dedicated, you’ll probably never hit the front of the line for the popular rides, but with the right strategies and tips, you can reduce those dreaded waits and make the most of your time in the theme parks!
Get there early to avoid the longest lines, and if it’s your first time on a Disney vacation, consult a touring plan and plan your queuing strategy in advance. You are always guaranteed a great time at Disney despite the ride lines.
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