It’s no secret that Disney World is a popular place and that you’re going to have to wait in lines at some point. What may come as a shock is just how long the wait times can be. One ride maintained a 3 ½ hour wait throughout the month of April. Sure, it was Spring Break, but wow! We feel bad for those people because they clearly don’t follow WDW Vacation Tips! Today we will teach you Disney World longest wait times and how to avoid spending your entire vacation waiting! We will be sharing tips on using Genie+, and general WDW tips that we have learned over the years.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page for fun ways to kill time in the lines for those times when you have to wait!
What is Genie+
Genie+ is the “new FastPass”. Well, sort of. This is not a free service, but if you are interested in skipping lines, or fitting in as much fun as possible in a day, then you might find it to be a really useful tool. Also, $15 for Genie+ is a steal when comparing Disney to some of their competitors. Starting June 8, 2022, you will not be able to pre-purchase Genie+.
Instead, you will buy it the day of, starting at 12:00 EST. At 7:00 you can choose your first Lightning Lane (think fast pass) and/or Individual Lightning Lanes,( the pay-per-ride service for select attractions). If you want the full details about Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, click here.
How Do you Find the Disney World Wait Times?
There are still a few people out there who don’t live with their smartphone connected to their hand. Crazy, right?! Disney World has the My Disney Experience App that is crucial for a Disney Vacation. Here you can see your vacation package, tickets, park reservations, order food, and yes, see ride wait times. You can choose to see wait times by park, and you can choose from map view or list view.
Rides with the Longest Wait Times by Park
Ever since it opened in 2014, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has had lines typically exceeding one hour. In 2022, this ride has an average wait time of 87 minutes, according to Queue Times. Mine Train is a smooth roller coaster and dark ride all in one that will have you singing “Heigh Ho” all day long. Imagineers must have known that this was going to be a real hit because they made a great interactive queue. You can play games on gems in the queue, and if you spin them all at the same time, a surprise will appear on the ceiling!
How to Beat the Line – Individual Lightning Lane
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is one of the “special attractions” that you can pay a fee to specifically skip this line. Remember, you do not need to buy the $15 Genie+ to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane. This special pass to skip the line will cost you, though. The average ILL for Mine Train is about $10 per person. For a family of 4… ouch! That being said, if this is your family’s favorite ride, this ILL guarantees that you will get to ride (as long as it is running) and they will not spend so much of their day in line.
Tips for Line
Do. Not. Rope. Drop. Mine Train. I know, rope drop is the biggest tip for getting on most rides. That may be true, but if you go to Magic Kingdom at rope drop, everyone and their mother is speed walking granny-style straight to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Within minutes you’re caught in a 65+ minute line! In that time in rope drop, you could have ridden 3 rides and taken a break for breakfast!
Use the free Genie Tip Board in My Disney Experience to check the forecasted wait time. Choose the lowest time of day and prepare for some fun family bonding time in line. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is located right across from Storybook Treats, so be Fun Mom and order everyone a bowl, dear lord, a bowl and not a cone because of the heat.
Fun fact: you can eat in line at Disney World. Your treat just has to be gone by the time you reach the building. Don’t worry, there are trash cans throughout the queue, but bring baby wipes for clean up! Trust me on that bowl hack. Those sweet angelic faces will make you want to cave and buy a cone, but on a hot Florida day, that is just a giant sticky mess.
It shouldn’t be a shock that Rise of the Resistance has taken Hollywood Studios by storm. This is the most technologically advanced ride that Disney has ever created, and it puts you into the Star Wars story. Can you believe that ROR has over 5 million lines of computer code?!
Disney knew that this ride was going to make a Star Wars fan out of everyone, so for the first year, they used Virtual Boarding Groups for guests to ride. Slowly, they began to add in a stand-by line and now the boarding groups are gone and replaced with Individual Lightning Lane. You will notice a trend, that the most popular ride in every park is the attraction that sells ILL. The average stand-by wait time is between 2 and 3 hours. TWO and THREE hours. As in, you can watch Titanic during this wait time. That is redonkulous. Don’t do that. Just… don’t.
How to beat the line – Individual Lightning Lane
This is tricky because Individual Lightning Lanes are offered to resort guests at 7:00 AM EST and all other guests at 9:00 AM EST. I hate to tell you that so far, the 9:00 AM crowd is not having great luck snagging the coveted ILL. If you are one of the lucky few, you will spend around $15 per person. Don’t even worry about this price. I’m telling you it is 100% worth it, and I’m not even slightly a fan of Star Wars! It is amazing and exciting. It’s even better when you don’t wait 3 hours.
When you have to wait
So, you’re a huge Star Wars fan and you just have to ride Rise of the Resistance. As in, your whole vacation would be incomplete without it. Here’s what you do! Stay in a Disney Resort Hotel, or one of the few selected partners that offers early park hours. If you are staying at a Good Neighbor Hotel, be sure to call and ask if this hotel has this perk. Not all Good Neighbor Hotels are created equal!
Arrive to the park one hour BEFORE your early park hours. You don’t want to be rushing to get a parking spot and stress. You’re on vacation after all! If you do not have a car, use an Uber. DO NOT USE DISNEY TRANSPORTATION today. It will not get you there as early as you would like. Get up to that gate as early as you can. Bring yourself an ice coffee because you go up early during vacation and you earned it.
As soon as they start letting people in, make a bee line for Galaxy’s Edge. Not sure where it is? Don’t worry, you can follow 2,000 of your new closest friends. Yes, everyone is going to go to the same place, BUT your wait time is going to look a whole lot different than waiting during the day. If you follow these instructions, you are looking at a 30-45 minute wait, and that’s nothing!
What about waiting until the end of the night to hop in line right at park close? Yeah, that’s a huge risk. First of all, you’re still going to have a long wait because it’s Rise of the Resistance, not Space Mountain. Second, remember all those lines of code I mentioned before? All 5 million lines? Between that and the 15 animatronics, this ride has a lot of fail points, which means it breaks down a lot. Like a lot a lot. So, if you wait until the last possible minute to ride ROR, there is a chance that you might never get to because of technical difficulties.
When the world of Pandora opened in 2017, Disney knew they had just created an area that would really draw everyone to Animal Kingdom. Pandora boasts two rides and a fully immersive land. Avatar’s Flight of Passage is the most popular ride in Pandora, and is by far the most popular ride in the park!
This is one of Disney World’s most advanced rides, combining ride vehicles and simulator technology to help you hook up to a banshee for the ride of a lifetime.. Don’t let the word “simulator” fool you, you will feel so connected to your banshee that by the end of the ride, you might even have named him! You truly feel like you are flying. You will feel the wind in your hair and even feel your banshee breathing from under you! For 2022, the average wait time is 96 minutes (https://queue-times.com/parks/8/rides/4439) .
How to beat the line: Individual Lightning Lane
An individual lightning lane is around $10 per person, but unlike Rise of the Resistance and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, you can usually snag an ILL even after they open up at 7:00. If this is a must do, (and it really should be!), buy an ILL early so you can choose the time that you want. If you wait to purchase it during the day, you will be faced with just getting whatever time is left.
Wait Smarter, Not Harder
According to Queue Times, the longest wait times for Avatar’s Flight of Passage are between 9:00 – 11:00 AM. If you are a resort guest, take advantage of early admission to get the lowest wait time, usually between 35 – 45 minutes. If you are not a resort guest, stick around until park close, and ride before park close, jump into line! As long as you get in line before the park officially closes, you will get to ride no matter how long the line takes. Bonus: The world of Pandora really comes alive at night with bioluminescence! It is truly breathtaking.
There are so many details in the queue that guests miss if they do have the Individual Lightning Lane. Have you heard about Frank in the tank?! You don’t have to be a huge fan of the movie, which let’s face it, it’s blue Pocahantos, to really love and appreciate the land, the ride, and even the easter eggs in the queue line. For funzies: How many references and easter eggs can you find of Joe Rhode, the father of Animal Kingdom?
This week EPCOT opened its newest attraction, and arguably Disney World’s most intense thrill ride. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a reverse launch roller coaster that also rotates the ride vehicles to turn towards simulator screens. In addition to having an epic soundtrack, this ride is now the second attraction in EPCOT to include barf bags in the ride vehicle. Take that as you will…
How to Skip the Line – Boarding Groups & Individual Lightning Lanes
As of the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in May 2022, Disney has utilized the boarding group process that became famous when Rise of the Resistance opened. This is a FREE way to ride the attraction, but it can be tricky to get. First, you must have a park reservation for EPCOT for you and everyone that you are trying to get a boarding pass for. You can try to obtain these boarding passes from anywhere, hotel, parking lot, cruise ship, etc. As long as you have a park reservation for that day, you’re good. Next, use the World Clock app on your phone to notify you when it is 6:59 AM. From there, you will open the My Disney Experience App and find the attraction under “My Day” and click “Join Boarding Group”. It officially opens at 7:00 AM EST and typically will run out within 2 minutes. Keep refreshing until you get it. Good luck!
Don’t worry if you didn’t get a boarding group in the morning, there are two other options. Okay, technically 3 other options but we’ll get to that in a minute on why it’s sorta kinda 3 options. At 1:00 PM there will be another set of FREE boarding groups slotted. The process is exactly the same as the morning, except now you must be physically in the park.
Didn’t land a boarding pass or just not interested in the stress that goes with trying to get a coveted pass to ride the newest and latest attraction? Can’t blame you there. Disney is also selling Individual Lightning Lanes for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Prepare yourself for some sticker shock, though. It was announced that the latest ride out of EPCOT will boast the highest ILL price to ever be offered. $17 per person is what is going to cost to skip the line and the boarding group process. Ouch. Currently, there is no stand-by line for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
Okay, remember that third-ish option? For the select few who are not only staying on Disney property, but more specifically at a Deluxe Resort, they will have the benefit of added evening hours in select parks on select days. Be sure to contact your hotel to find out when those EPCOT extra hours are so you can line up your park reservation! For those guests, there will be a third set of boarding groups given at 6:00 PM EST. Considering how empty the parks are for the extra evening hours, you shouldn’t have any issues getting a boarding group at this time.
Important to note: You can only get ONE boarding group per day!
What to do While you Wait
So you weren’t able to skip all of the lines that you wanted to have to wait. Now what? Here’s the top 5 things to kill time while waiting in line:
Get a Snack!
Disney allows you to eat in all of the queues as long as you are outdoors. Great snack ideas are a dole whip float while waiting in Adventureland, ice cream sundaes and buffalo chicken totchos in Fantasyland, iced coffee in Tomorrowland, and corn dog nuggets and Mickey pretzels in Frontierland! Don’t forget Mobile Order!
Play Disney Park Games on your phone
Disney has created a gaming app that helps you interact with the land that you’re in . For example, if you are at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Magic Kingdom, the games will all be themed to the old wild west. Be sure to check this app out while in Galaxy’s Edge! You can translate the Aurebesh around the land, interact with hidden features, and even become part of the underground resistance! Be sure to have a way to charge your battery if you play these games, however. The location feature is a real battery suck! (The Tangled bathroom area in Magic Kingdom has phone chargers in the tree stumps.)
Plan the Rest of Your Day
You don’t want to spend your whole vacation on your phone planning what to do next, so take this time of waiting and walking the line to check out the latest wait times, check for your next Genie+ selection, or plan what to eat for dinner. I would usually put in our Mobile Order dinners hours in advance by doing it while in line. No one felt rushed this way. We had the time to read the menu and pick what we wanted. Don’t worry, you can always modify or cancel later, and the food isn’t prepared until you tap the “I’m here!” button.
Dollar Tree Goodies
I don’t believe in over packing because everything you bring you have to carry! But some things I always bring for my kids are a notebook, pen, and a pack of stickers. It’s amazing how much time kids can kill just scribbling. I do not recommend crayons or pencils. Pencils can break and crayons are made of wax. It’s Florida. It’s about as hot as the surface of the sun, so those wax crayons can get sticky and messy.
Side note: did you know you can get Dollar Tree alternatives for autograph books? We love the Disney Parks official autograph books and pens, but when you’re looking to save a few bucks, this is a great place to start. Dollar Tree is filled with officially licensed items, and among them is usually a nice selection of notebooks and big, fat, character-friendly pens.
On our latest visit we saw a selection of Mickey and friends, Disney Junior Pals, Toy Story, Lightning McQueen, and of course, Disney Princesses. While these are lined pages unlike the clean white pages of the notebooks in the parks, these are spiral bound, which is a little easier for kids and characters to handle.
Play Heads Up
This is a fun interactive game to play with a group. It is a family vacation after all, right? You can find this game in the app store, on the Disney app for a full on Disney version, or you can play the dollar tree version. What’s that dollar tree version? Remember that pack of stickers I suggested? Designate one person to put a different character sticker on everyone’s forehead and have them ask questions to guess what sticker it is. We love the Disney stickers at Dollar Tree for this. Plus, kids just think it’s funny to see mom or dad with stickers on them.
Looking for more ideas on what to do while waiting in line? Check out this article here…
We want to know, how long would you wait in a line for your must have attraction?
I am a mother of three that has refused to grow up. Adulting is for the birds, so I go to Disney World every chance I get for that magical escape from reality. I believe that Haunted Mansion is the best ride in all of the Disney Parks, and I am fervently in team Happily Ever After for fireworks spectaculars, (sorry, not sorry, Enchanted). Finally, I hope I never grow tired of skipping down Main Street, USA, and my dream come true would be “friends with” the Fairy Godmother in my old age.