No one wants to waste time at Disney World or get stuck in a giant crowd. Many times I use these pathways for a more direct route to my favorite attractions. This is why I am sharing the secret shortcuts of Disney World with you! Plus if you learn a few of these you can show off to your family and look like a Disney expert!
Given the size of Walt Disney World, it should come at no surprise that there are shortcuts built into the various theme parks. It seems that the best shortcuts you can find these days are at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The Animal Kingdom has one between the newly opened Avatar and Africa but that’s about it.
So let’s take a look at the secret shortcuts of Disney World…
Magic Kingdom Shortcuts
Air Conditioned Emporium Haven
This is a secret escape in and out of the park that we use quite frequently. It comes in handy when there is a parade or fireworks or just a busy day. The greatest benefit is that you are walking in the air conditioning! If the store is busy with end of day shoppers, stay to the back wall for a clearer path to the front of the park.
Fantasyland to Tomorrowland Expressway
Not many people realize there is a walking path behind Fantasyland straight into Tomorrowland right next to Space Mountain. It’s easily accessible from the train stop in Fantasyland. Since the train doesn’t have a Tomorrowland stop this is the perfect shortcut if you are trying to get over there. Since many people don’t know about this, you can enjoy a quiet walk to Space Mountain!
NOTE: For now this shortcut is closed for the construction of the new Tron roller coaster coming to the Magic Kingdom for 2021! We are excited about the new addition but bummers this pathway is close.
Tomorrowland Terrace Shortcut
If you’re in Tomorrowland and looking to get to Main Street or to leave the park there is a nice quiet walkway right through the Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant. This keeps you out of the chaos of the hub and provides you with some shade as well as a purple wall photo-op! Alternatively, if you are on Main Street and trying to get to Space Mountain more quickly, take this path.
If it’s a very busy time be on the lookout for these backstage areas to open up and let crowds out of the park. The path runs on the other side of Main Street USA and goes from Tomorrowland by the Plaza to the front of Main Street USA. Note: this cut-through is not always available, cast members will direct you this way if it is open.
Frontierland River Escape
This shaded path is seldom used and it takes you from the Haunted Mansion to Big Thunder Mountain. Another plus is there are lots of cut-ins along the way if you need to get to it. It’s the perfect path to use when the parade crowds have taken over Frontierland. You can also use this path to cut around Splash Mountain crowds which tend to build up and clog the main pathway to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I find that you get great views of Tom Sawyer’s Island and Big Thunder Mountain, so you can snap some great pictures without tourists in them.
Adventureland to Frontierland Pass Throughs
There is actually a couple of different pass-throughs between these two lands and they can save you a ton of time. One is a cut through at the Dole Whip restaurant and the other has bathrooms and Fastpass Plus kiosks. These paths are especially handy after a parade when the majority of people just walk down the street towards the castle. If you use the cut through, you will find that there is almost no one walking down the street in Adventureland and you can then turn right at the Crystal Palace and continue to the shortcut through the Emporium!
Side Entrances to World Showcase
A lot of people don’t realize there are two side paths that run from Future World into the world showcase. These are great pathways to exit after the fireworks are done. However, during the Food and Wine festival, the path from the Land to Canada can get very congested. The large number of food booths placed along the path makes a normally dead area of the park very busy. So you may want to skip this one if a festival is going on.
Epcot’s Back Entrance
Mainly used by Epcot resort guests, there is a second entrance in-between France and United Kingdom pavilions. This is called the International Gateway at Epcot. If you are taking the boat from Hollywood Studios to Epcot this would also be the entrance you would use. Also, you have great walking or boat access to the Boardwalk. And brand new to Disney World this year is the Disney Skyliner which you can catch at this exit to Epcot. Also if you are park hopping, you can catch a bus from another park to either the Boardwalk, The Yacht Club, or The Beach Club and walk in via this entrance.
Animal Kingdom Shortcuts
Pandora to Africa Cut Through
Did you know there is a back exit to Pandora that will take you straight into Africa? I love taking this pathway in the morning. My go-to touring plan for Animal Kingdom is to head straight to the Safari in Africa and get that done first. Then that gives time for the Pandora morning rush to die off and I can head back there afterward.
Walk Straight Through the Tree of Life
Believe it or not Animal Kindom doesn’t make you constantly walk around in circles. The park is set up with the Tree of Life as the centerpiece and then each land spiking off from the center. It makes it seem like you always have to take the “long way” to get everywhere but the exit to it’s a Bugs Life actually gives you a sneaky shortcut straight across the whole park. This shortcut has to take the prize for most scenic ones too! It’s a great pathway for unique perspectives of the park and to get some pictures.
If you are looking to save even more time read How to Save Time at Disney. If getting the inside scoop on more Disney secrets is your thing be sure to join our exclusive Disney Facebook Group. Also, In the comments below be sure to share the shortcut tips you have found at Disney World.
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!