One of the biggest drags of your Disney World vacation can be waiting in lots of long lines for characters or attractions. It can be difficult for kids and adults alike to stand packed in with hundreds of other people for the next ride. So why wait in a line at all? The following is our best tips for how to avoid waiting in lines at Disney World. This lets you get more done over the course of your vacation and have some more fun.
Use Fastpass +
This is our top tip for skipping the lines at Disney World. Everyone gets three Fastpasses for each day of their park ticket. These are 100% FREE and can be booked in advance! If you are a hotel guest you can book them 60 days in advance everyone else can book them 30 days in advance.
So what is a Fastpass exactly? Fastpass is a scheduling system created by Disney so you can book your ride times in advance. When you have reached your riding window you simply arrive at the Fastpass entrance for the ride and skip to the front of the line! For a list of rides that you should not waste your Fastpass on, see our post.
Go During Off-Season
This one is getting harder and harder to do these days. As Disney runs more and more festivals and promotions it has been achieving its goal to fill the parks. There are still some times of the year where it less busy like September and January. For a full breakdown of when to expect the crowds at Disney World read our Disney Crowd Calendar.
Start Early, Stay Late
On any given day the times that the park is the least busy are the early morning and the late night hours. It makes sense because when you are on vacation the majority of the people want to sleep in. Not to mention you probably walked 8 miles the day before and need to sleep it off. To achieve maximum park time when it isn’t busy we recommend opting to take a nap somewhere right after lunch. Not a nap person? There is always that resort pool calling your name! I would say stay out of the parks from around 1 pm to 5 pm when the crowds are heaviest and it’s also some of the hottest hours of the day here in Florida.
Eat at Odd Times
What better to do during lunchtime then ride a bunch of rides? In order to do that we recommend eating lunch early before noon or after 1 pm. This will also make it easier to get seating at the quick-service restaurants.
Avoid Parks with Extra Magic Hours
Each day, one of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks opens one hour early or remains open up to 2 hours after regular closing time. Disney Water Parks even offer Extra Magic Hours during select times of the year. If you want to find out what the Extra Magic Hours are during your stay you can find them over here.
This is a great perk if you are a resort guest but it also means that park will be extra busy with all the resort guests wanting to get the value out of their stay. If you are not a Disney resort guest we recommend avoiding the Extra Magic Hour park that day. If you are a resort guest we recommend only showing up for your extra time and then park hopping to another park.
Use the Child Swap Option
If your child doesn’t meet the height requirement for a ride you can actually do a group tradeoff. How do you ask? Head to the front of the Disney attraction and ask the attendant for a rider swap ticket. Warning they only allow three tickets to be given, so that means the group waiting with those too young to ride can’t be larger than three people. The party that is going to ride gets in line first, once they have finished riding those waiting with the young ones can use their ticket to skip to the front of the line.
Go to Character Meals
If you have waited in line to see a character you know it can get really long. Make sure to pick the restaurant that has the characters that appeal most to your children, there are a wide variety of options in the parks and the resort hotels. Then you don’t have to use a Fastpass on a character meet and greet and can skip the long standby character lines.
Single Rider Lines
You won’t be able to be seated next to each other, but you will most likely be close to each other and you will be in the wait line together. I do not recommend this option if your child is not comfortable to be on the ride by themselves. Also, beware that sometimes so many people use this option that the single rider wait time can be greater than the standby line! Currently, single rider lines are available for Test Track, Expedition Everest and Rock “n” Roller Coaster.
Note Parade Times
Many people line up on the parade route for an hour ahead of the parade! If they are holding their spots on the parade route, they can’t be in line. If find it best to use this to your advantage and ride things then.
Use the My Disney Experience App
To avoid criss crossing the park to then find out that the wait times are over an hour, first check the My Disney Experience App. You can also use this to see the shortest lines as well as see all the wait times around you. I recommend using the app ahead of time to familiarize yourself with all the great information. Also, check in at different times of day and days of the week to see the typical wait times of the rides.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!