Shorten Your Wait Times Using These Tips

When planning a trip to Walt Disney World, one of the main goals is to have a magical trip with the shortest wait times. No one wants to arrive at the Magic Kingdom and spend their whole vacation waiting in long lines instead of experiencing all the rides, shows, and attractions. There are various steps that Guests can take to help limit their wait times in each of the four main theme parks on their Disney vacation. We hope this information will help you have a magical trip with short wait times!

Credit: Matthew Cooper –

Arrive Early

A big tip that all Guests can use is arriving early at the theme Park of choice. If a theme Park is scheduled for a 9 am Park opening, make sure you arrive before this time. We highly recommend arriving typically an hour before Park opening to get a true head start on the crowds. In Magic Kingdom, Guests are typically allowed onto Main Street, U.S.A. early, allowing them to get a Starbucks, shop, and enjoy the new welcome show. A Disney vacation can start off successfully when you get a head start in the morning. It can make for a magical Disney experience.

Purchase Genie+

On October 19th, Disney released Disney Genie, Genie+, and Individual Lighting Lanes. Genie+ is a paid option that Guests can choose to add to their Disney Park ticket. This feature is $15/per person per day. With this access, Guests can bypass the stand-by line by using the Lightning Lane (old FastPass lanes) to short wait for specific attractions. If you need more information on this feature, we have a lot of information HERE. This is a great way during busy times to avoid those long waits. This is an addition to other Disney tips that we are used to learning more about as we all get more familiar with it in the theme Park.

Buy Individual Lighting Lane

Not all rides are included in Genie+. In each theme Park, two rides are part of the Individual Lightning Lane. Guests can choose to purchase two of these rides a day (in Magic Kingdom, it is Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain, for example) to access the Lightning Lane for these specific rides. These rides run from $5 to $15 per ride per person. For highly popular rides, this option is a great way to ensure you get to ride it without the extremely long waits that these popular rides typically have throughout the day. A Walt Disney World vacation can feel complicated with all the options, but we have help for you here.

Use Early Entry

Disney is currently offering two ways for those Guests staying at a Disney Resort to access the theme parks during extended hours. There is an early entry for all Disney Resort Guests (value, moderate, deluxe, deluxe villas). This is when all four theme parks open a half-hour early each morning. This is a fantastic way to get a head start on the crowds, hit up a couple of the main rides, and get a long wait throughout the day. This can be a fantastic way to hit some of those Individual Lightning Lane rides without having to pay for a shorter way. As it is available to ALL Resort Guests, we would refer you to point number one- arrive early. Make sure that you are still arriving before the 30 mins. This means if Magic Kingdom opens at 8:30 for early entry, you want to be hitting the park around 7:30 to 7:45 to be in the front of the crowd. This is a feature that just Disney Resort Guests can take advantage of, so really think about it for your next Walt Disney vacation.

Credit: Disney

Use Extended Evening Hours

Suppose a Guest is staying at one of Disney’s deluxe resorts or Disney’s Deluxe Villa Resort. In that case, they have access to extended evening hours. These hours are offered only at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT on specific evenings throughout the week. During this time, Guests of these Resorts are given two to three extra hours in the theme Park. This is very similar to an after hours event without the additional cost. Wait times have been extremely low, and it is a wonderful time to check out the parks. Keep in mind that not all rides participate, so double check the list from Disney to stay up to date.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at night with the moon shining bright over Frontierland in Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif.
(Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

Wait Until Park Closes

Another trick that can get Guests shorter wait times is to wait until the Park is getting ready to close. A little secret is that Guests are allowed to get into line up until the official Park closing time. This means that if Disney’s Hollywood Studios is closing at 9 pm, Guests can jump into line for Slinky Dog Dash right at 9 pm and be allowed to ride. The last hour a Park is opened can see reduced wait times. In the Magic Kingdom, following fireworks, a lot of the crowd leaves, allowing those that stay to take advantage of very short wait times for some of the big headliners. If your traveling party can hang in there, really consider sticking it out until the Park closes to hit some rides. A bonus is some of the rides are fantastic at night under the lights. Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Slinky Dog Dash, and Test Track, to name a few, are so fun at night.

Single Rider Lines

Our last tip for skipping the lines is to check out the single rider line when offered. Although these are not offered for all the rides in Disney World, they can be extremely helpful when they are an option. In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can do a single rider to Expedition Everest, and over in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you will find it for Rock n’ Roller Coaster as well as Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Over in EPCOT, Test Track offers a single rider option as well. Although there aren’t a lot of rides that offer this option, if you can take advantage of it where it is offered, it can cut down on your wait times.

We know that the last thing any Guest wants to do on their Walt Disney World vacation is to wait in line. We hope these tips will help you reduce your time in line during your next vacation.

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.