Time Saving Tips at Disney World
With so many attractions to choose from, it’s important to pick the right FastPass reservations for Magic Kingdom. Which Magic Kingdom attractions are worth your FP+ reservation? Which are worth skipping? Find out in our complete Magic Kingdom FastPass+ Guide.
Having to choose between Frozen Ever After, Soarin, and Test Track can be tough. Use our Epcot FastPass+ Guide and Tips feature to pick the best strategy for riding all of Epcot’s best attractions and saving hours of time in line. Click here for more information.
Want to skip the waits at Animal Kingdom? Use our Animal Kingdom FastPass+ Tips and Guide to pick out the best FP+ reservations.
If you like rides and are planning a trip to Magic Kingdom, one of the biggest things is knowing what to FastPass. I decided to FastPass Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and a character meet and greet. Two other rides that you could FastPass would be Peter Pan's Flight or Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. I know you are probably wondering why we didn't fast pass Big Thunder and Splash Mountain, but there is a trick. Get to the park about an hour before it opens, and get your Magic Kingdom essential-rides when it first opens. A couple reasons why you should get there early is so that you can see the welcome show, and sometimes the park opens early. So as soon as the park opens head down to Frontierland and hop on Big Thunder Mountain: we rode this three times with no wait. When you are done with Big Thunder, head on over to Splash Mountain and you can ride that with no wait as well. After Splash Mountain I would go to the Pirates of the Caribbean, and then you have ridden three of the major rides in the park within the first two hours and then you are done with that area of the park. Then you can use your FastPasses later in the day for rides elsewhere. I hope this helps! Thanks to Hadlea for this tip!
Disney World is fun for everyone, but that doesn't mean that you're going to enjoy every single attraction. Since time is so limited once you start your Disney World vacation, it's super important to choose how you spend your time wisely. After our first trip to Disney, we calculated that we spent at least a quarter of our time on attractions (including waiting in line) that we wouldn't have gone on had we known what to expect. The solution for first timers is YouTube. Simply search for a POV video of the attraction you aren't sure of. You don't have to spoil the ride by seeing the entire video, you'll know within 20 seconds or so whether it would interest you or not. It can save you a lot of time throughout the parks. Thanks to Luis for this tip!
You can use online ride videos to help manage your time and plan your Disney World trip!
When watching the Festival of Fantasy Parade at 3pm, we stood on the side of the street under the train station at the front of the park. By doing so, we didn't get stuck with the crowd following the parade out of the park. We got out of the park easily and were one of the first ones to get on a monorail to Epcot. Thanks to Abbey for this tip!
Want to go on the most popular rides like Toy Story Midway Mania or Test Track more than once in the day without waiting hours in line? Try to get a Fastpass+ reservation around an hour after park opening, and make all your Fastpass+ reservations for early in the day. Enter the park when it opens and go immediately to the popular attraction and wait in the standby line. The line will be the shortest right at opening, and depending on the season, you might even be able to ride it twice before your Fastpass+ reservation is ready. Then, once your third Fastpass+ reservation is done, head to a Fastpass+ kiosk and see if you can get an additional Fastpass+ for the attraction you desire.
Make your Fastpass+ reservations for early in the day, but not too early. Lines are the shortest right when the park opens, so try to time your Fastpass+ selections for an hour and a half to two hours after opening, as this will be when the crowds start hitting the parks. Also, by making your Fastpass+ reservations early in the day, you’ll have a better chance of getting more Fastpass+ selections once your third reservation is done.
If you want to see, take pictures, or otherwise interact with Disney characters, I highly recommend that you schedule a character meal. We did breakfast at both Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Although pricey, we got into the parks before other people, ate, interacted and took pictures of at least 5 characters at each venue. This will save an indeterminable amount of time waiting in line elsewhere in the park. Thanks to David for this tip!
The lines to a lot of rides get shorter around one hour before a parade, as people start lining along the parade route. If you have already seen the parade (or don’t care to see it), this is a good time to ride the most popular attractions.
Avoid the park that is open for the early Extra Magic Hour. It’s nice for the first hour or so, but by 11:00 that park is usually packed, while the other parks are less crowded. If you are staying on Disney property, maybe go in for the Extra Magic Hour and then park hop to a less crowded park by 11.
Extra Magic Hours are a great perk, but can mean that the park will get crowded.
Before arriving at Disney World, plan what you are going to do each day. Check which parks open early and stay open late if you are staying onsite, decide if you want to go to do Extra Magic Hours. If you have a park hopper, plan on going to more than one park each day. Find out what days are for Extra Magic Hours nights for Magic Kingdom and take advantage of it. We did that on our last trip to WDW. We stayed at the All Star Movies Resort and we were able to go back there every afternoon for 2-3 hours; eat lunch, let the kids swim; take a nap. We went to all 4 parks using a 5-day park hopper, and we were able to see and do everything we planned on. So plan, plan, plan! You will be glad you did! Thanks to Debbie for this tip!
We have discovered that if a ride has a long line, we will pass it up and come back to it around lunch time. Because we eat at a irregular time, the lines at 12 are usually very short. Thanks to Patti for this tip!
Many attractions have two lines – a right line and a left line. If you cannot see the end of the line, choose the left line. It’s usually shorter.
Fastpass rules! We jammed an extra day's worth of rides into our trip thanks to Fastpass. We flew by lines at Disney World's most popular rides. Mind you, the first week of February, the longest waits were 30-45 mins (that's nothing compared to summer wait times, I know), but we got to ride our favorites over and over. Since the parks close early in this low season, we more than made up for the reduced hours. Thanks to Sam for this tip!
A tip that some people don't know about is baby swap. If you have a baby or small child in your group, ask the cast member at the front of the line for a baby swap pass. One person can ride while the other person waits with the baby/child. Then they “swap” and the 2nd person can go right in the Fastpass line using the baby swap pass while the 1st person watches the child. The baby swap pass is good for up to three people, so someone in your party could go on the ride twice using the baby swap pass. We had 2 babies in our group, so 2 of us got to ride twice. Thanks to Carol for this tip!
One time we had a Fastpass for Tower of Terror and the return time was 11:00-11:50 am, but we really wanted to see the Little Mermaid show at 11:00 without standing in line. We couldn't get a Fastpass for that because we already had one for Tower of Terror, so we asked the cast member at the gate if he had any for the 11:30 show. He said yes, and gave us three of them. So we watched the Little Mermaid show, then went to Tower of Terror immediately after without standing in line! Obviously, this wouldn't work all the time, but cast members will sometimes accommodate special requests. Ask and ye shall receive at Disney World! Thanks to Dave for this tip!
Cast members sometimes will grant special requests.
We went to the four parks and Blizzard Beach during our week there, so we were pretty busy. It definitely helped to have things mapped out ahead of time. We used Fastpass 2-3 times per day for the key rides, and it worked out great. If you Fastpass the busiest ride of an area, you can usually work it out so you enjoy the surrounding attractions and then just walk onto the busiest ride during your one hour window. Taking advantage of Fastpass and planning out which attractions we would go on, we never waited more than 15 minutes for a ride. Thanks to Stan for this tip!
On Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, when you enter the first staging room (the library), immediately go to the far corner (furthest away from the door you enter the room in). After the TV presentation, the wall opens up there to the rest of the ride. At that point, choose the left line – it’s quicker.
When everyone is leaving the Magic Kingdom, the monorails tend to get very crowded. Most people head toward the Transportation and Ticket Center monorail, which is the first monorail to the right. It is always crowded. Just past that is the Resort Monorail. Use the resort monorail! This takes you to the Contemporary but stay on and you'll get to the Transportation and Ticket Center a lot faster, and without dealing with all the crowds. Thanks to Evan for this tip!
It takes a long time to get into Fantasmic, but if you eat at one of the restaurants with the Fantasmic Dining Package at Hollywood Studios (Brown Derby, Mama Melrose, and Hollywood & Vine), they offer Priority Seating for the show so you don't have to wait in the line to see the show (which was worth it if you don't have to wait for 2 hours beforehand). Thanks to Michelle for this tip!
I was at WDW with my family a few days ago. We really enjoyed Epcot, especially Soarin'. It's amazing! If you go, you will repeat as many times as you can, even though the lines can be extremely long. My advice is get to Soarin' early when the park opens, as the line will be shortest then. Then try to get a Fastpass+ for later in the day. Thanks to Walter for this tip!
When you go to the parks, get there about 30-40 minutes before the park opens because you’ll be able to ride all of your favorite rides before the crowds come. You’ll have very short waits for popular rides like Toy Story Midway Mania, Space Mountain, Soarin, or Expedition Everest.
Early bird gets the worm at Disney World.
A good way to cool off without going back to your hotel room: Head to the Hall of Presidents - 23 minutes of air conditioned relaxation. Another long, air conditioned ride: Ellen's Energy Adventure in Epcot. Thanks to Roger for this tip!
There is a lot of traffic at the Mouse Gears store in Epcot, and the lines to the cash registers can get quite long. To avoid a long wait in the line waiting to buy something, go to the jewelry section and ask one of the clerks there if they can ring up your merchandise since they are not usually that busy. They will be glad to finalize your purchase while everyone else is waiting in line. Thanks to Arlen for this tip!
Parking tip: We went to Epcot in the afternoon. There were no parking guides to tell you where to park, so we cruised up to the front to see if anyone has left and grab a close spot. We went to Epcot between 3-4 two afternoons-and parked front row both times. This should work for all parks if the parking guides are done for the day. Thanks to Ellen for this tip!
If you are spending time in another park and want to watch the fireworks from Illuminations in Epcot, drive or take the bus to the Boardwalk. Park in the visitor parking area and walk to the World Showcase entrance. (Don't worry, it's a pretty short walk). When you get into the park, head for the Bridge near France. Even if you don't get a spot on the railing, you can see most of the show because you are slightly elevated. When the fireworks are over, head back to the Boardwalk and you will beat all the crowds heading back to the Epcot parking lot and monorail. Grab a snack on the Boardwalk. The Beach Club has a great Ice Cream Shop called "Beaches and Cream." Awesome!!! Try the Kitchen Sink or the Reese's Pieces Sundae. Thanks to Sam for this tip!
When you’re at Epcot, go to the World Showcase as soon as it opens at 11:00 am. Finish Future World in the late afternoon. This will help you avoid the crowds.
If the line for Test Track is long, and your party doesn't mind being separated (or not being able to fully design a car), go through the single rider line. You will all go through the pre show together, and when it is time to get on a car, they fill you in one by one into the empty 3rd seat when 2 people sit. Sitting in different cars (usually one behind the other) was a small price to pay for this time-saver! And sometimes, two of you will even end up in the same car! Thanks to Laura for this tip!
Use single rider at one of Epcot's most popular rides.
If you want to ride a popular ride, but couldn't get a Fastpass+ reservation and the standby lines are too long during the day, get in line within a half hour before park closing. Two reasons for this. 1: Disney policy is that anyone in line at park closing gets to ride, even if they don't get on until after the official closing time, and 2: there will be very few Fastpass riders entering (none after closing), so the actual wait time will be MUCH shorter than the posted standby time. Thanks to Joel for this tip!
When using the Walt Disney World transportation system (mainly the buses from the resorts to the parks), make sure you catch the right bus. Ask the driver where he/she is going and what stops if any there are: you may be farther away from your goal then you think. Be careful if a bus pulls up and the scrolling destination in the window changes. Ask the driver where he/she is going. Don't EVER assume a bus is going somewhere, you may be taking a long ride. Finally, during really busy seasons, try to get to the bus before the park closes...jockeying for a seat with 100 other tired, sunburned guests as everyone leaves can be a nightmare...this is especially true if you have small kids. Leave the park early and it is much smoother. Thanks to Jason for this tip!
We put our clothing together in outfits and packed them that way. When we got ready each day, we weren't trying to figure out what we wanted to wear and what would go together. This is great for everyone, but especially people with kids. Let your kids put together outfits before the trip, pack them so that when you pick it up you have the whole outfit together, you dress, and you're off! Thanks to Becky for this tip!
To save time in the morning, I brought my own cereal, bowls and spoons. My husband went to the food court to buy milk for the kids' breakfast and coffee for us. We would take turns in the shower while the others ate. This took us about one hour each morning, and we'd be ready to head into the parks. It sure beats sitting at a table waiting to place orders and get fed. The kids thought it was fun too. We also brought along snacks (zip-lock baggies with trail mix) so that during the day we weren't spending a lot of money on junk food. We usually skipped a sit down lunch and opted only for a sit down dinner. It worked great! Thanks to Mike and Gina for this tip!
Order your Disney World tickets before you leave for your vacation. You can do this by either going to your local Disney store, through a travel agent or AAA, or on Disney’s website. This saves you valuable time once you are at the park.
At the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, the shops stay open one hour after the last attraction has closed- so you can save your last minute shopping to the very last minute and not miss any late night rides! Thanks to Sue for this tip!
Shop after the park has closed!
If you are in a group with teenage children, definitely do the single rider lines. You will probably all be on the same ride anyway, and if you don't care about the group ride photo it is a great time saver. Thanks to Jennifer for this tip!
Here's a tip that works best at Magic Kingdom: If you want to save time, get to the park as it opens, and go to the rides in the back first. Usually there are shorter lines that way. Thanks to Diane for this tip!
When going into the parks around mid-day, check your schedule to see which park opened 1 hour early that day. It will be the most crowded park for the remainder of the day! Thanks to Randy for this tip!
Try using the single rider line at Test Track, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Expedition Everest. If you don’t mind riding alone or being split up from your party, your wait time will be dramatically reduced.
We just recently went to Disney World in the first week of February. Towards the end of the week, Magic Kingdom was getting pretty crowded and, needless to say, so were the lunch spots. Since we had park hoppers, we took the monorail to Epcot and ate in the World Showcase without hardly any crowd at all. We even had enough time to go on a couple of rides. Thanks to Rick for this tip!
When we go to the parks, we try to get there early in the morning before the big crowds hit. We usually stay for a couple hours depending on the crowds, when it gets busy we head back to the resort and relax by the pool and catch an early dinner. We then return around 5pm (depending on which park and when it closes) the lines are considerably shorter and as the evening wears on the lines keep getting shorter, it is cooler and less humid. Last year we rode Splash Mountain 4 times in a row. The last time they did not even make us get out of our boat! Thanks to Jocelyn and Mike for this tip!
Taking a break in the afternoon can be the perfect way to relax and avoid lines!
My fiancée and I have been to Disney World a total of 5 times since 2000 and it was really just last year that we started to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours benefit offered to guests of Walt Disney World Resorts. What a difference going a bit early or staying a bit late makes in terms of waiting in lines! First of all, it’s much cooler than in the middle of the day when the sun is its warmest. Second of all, the waits for rides are cut in half!! There aren’t as many people around at these hours, especially at night, so a normal wait for Splash Mountain might take 2 hours, but at night you might only wait ten minutes. I understand that staying late might be difficult for families with young children, but if you can manage it, then I highly suggest you do it. Thanks to Heather G for this tip!