23 Time Saving Tips for Disney World in 2023

Looking to save time at Walt Disney World? Time is extremely valuable during a trip to Disney’s theme parks. Most families spend thousands of dollars on their Disney World vacation, so time is money, even at the most magical place on Earth! Our tips and tricks will help you maximize your time, avoid long lines, and save precious hours during your WDW vacation.

Our Disney World time saving tips come from our decades of experience visiting the four theme parks, plus advice that Guide2WDW readers have shared with us over the years.

Our tips are organized into the following sections:

  • How to Save Time in Line at Disney World: Nobody likes lines! Here are our tips to spend less time waiting in line.
  • Tips for Saving Time with the Disney World App: The My Disney Experience App can be a great resource to help you save time in the parks.
  • Time Saving Transportation Tips: Walt Disney World is MASSIVE. Getting from point a to point b can eat up a lot of your vacation. Save time by following these transportation tips.

How to Save Time in Line at Disney World

Line at Dumbo - Disney World

1) Go left. 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, as most people will subconsciously pick the right line.

2) When lines at Disney World are the shortest. Lines at WDW theme parks will always be shortest in the morning and in the evening. So if you want to get the most out of your day at the parks, try to rope drop the park — which means getting to the park 30-45 minutes before park opening. You’ll have short waits for popular rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Frozen Ever AfterAvatar: Flight of Passage, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (if you can get there early enough). If you missed any popular rides first thing in the morning, try again in the evening when wait times go down.

Guide2WDW readers Jocelyn and Mike used a morning/evening strategy to avoid long lines and take a nice break in the afternoon.

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!

3) Use Lightning Lane. The replacement for FastPass, Lightning Lane is a way to pay to go into a much shorter line at dozens of Disney World attractions. It can be well worth the money, if you know how to use the system. Check out our Guide 2 Disney Genie and Guide 2 Lightning Lane at Disney World for a complete rundown of how to save hours in line during your WDW vacation.

Guide2WDW reader Sam recommends Lightning Lane, even during less busy days at Disney.

Tip: Use Lightning Lane to save time – even during slow season! We jammed an extra day’s worth of rides into our trip thanks to Lightning Lane. 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 all our favorites. Since the parks close early in this low season, we more than made up for the reduced hours.

  1. Be strategic about which rides you Lightning Lane. While many attractions feature Lightning Lane, some will save you much more time than others. For example, a Lightning Lane reservation on Slinky Dog Dash can easily save you over an hour in line, while a Lightning Lane for Muppet Vision 3D will save you almost no time at all. Know which Lightning Lane attractions to prioritize with our park-by-park Lightning Lane guides:

5) Use the Single Rider Line. If you don’t mind riding alone or being split up from your party, try using the Single Rider line at Test TrackRock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, and Expedition Everest. Disney uses this line to fill in empty seats on these rides. Your party will go through the line together, but most likely will go on the ride separately. However, your wait time will be dramatically reduced.

6) Families with small children: know about Rider Swap. Rider Swap lets everybody in your party experience rides with height limits without the person or people who watched your kid having to wait extra in line. This works if a child either doesn’t meet the height requirement or  just if they don’t want to go on the ride. From Disney: “If a Guest doesn’t meet the boarding requirements or doesn’t wish to experience a particular attraction, it’s not a problem for family and friends who do! With Rider Switch, one adult or supervising Guest (14 years or older) can wait with non-riders while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. Then, they simply switch roles to allow the supervising Guest to experience the attraction without waiting in the regular queue again.” Simply approach the cast member at the entrance of the ride and say that you’re interested in Rider Swap, and they will take care of you. This also works on rides that have Individual Lightning Lane like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Avatar: Flight of Passage.

You can find more Tips for Taking Kids to Disney World here.

7) Rides operate past closing time. If you want to ride a popular ride, but couldn’t get a Lightning Lane reservation and the standby lines are too long during the day, get in line right 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 the ride until after the official closing time, and 2: there will be very few Lightning Lane riders entering (none after closing), so the actual wait time will be MUCH shorter than the posted standby time.

8) Save shopping for after park closing. Many Disney World shops stay open one hour after park closing. So you can save your last minute shopping to the very last minute and not miss any late night rides, when the lines are shortest.

9) Enjoy EPCOT Festival Booths early in the day. The EPCOT Festival food booths don’t typically open until 11 am, although sometimes some will open early. Whatever the case, late morning and early afternoon are the best times to sample their offerings. Lines can get looooong at the food booths around dinner time. They are usually much more reasonable in the morning, especially in off dining hours. Try for an early or late lunch, or just do what we do and graze throughout the day.

10) Take advantage Extra Hours – or avoid them! One of the perks of Disney World Resorts and certain Good Neighbor Hotels is Early Morning Entry. This lets you get into the park 30 minutes early, which is great (and almost required) for taking advantage of short lines at popular rides. However, for guests who don’t have this perk, you might want to avoid rope dropping rides like Rise of the Resistance, as the lines will already be long by the time you’re able to get into the park.

Certain parks will also have Extended Evening Hours on specific nights. This perk is only for Deluxe Resort guests (as well as guests of a few pricey non-Disney resorts). It’s a great perk if you can use it. However, if you don’t have access to Extended Evening Hours, you might want to avoid the parks on those days, as crowds will be higher.

Guide2WDW reader Heather G shared her experience with extra hours at WDW.

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 extended 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.

11) The Tower of Terror line trick. 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.

12) The Haunted Mansion line trick. Here’s where to stand in the stretching room on Haunted Mansion. This is the room with “no windows and no doors” that has all the painting that stretch. You’ll enter this from a room with a fireplace and a creepy portrait. As you enter, stick to the side closest to the fireplace. There are actually two stretching rooms side by side, and the exit is always between them. This will help you board the ride faster.

The other way to find this spot is to stand directly under the painting of the woman holding a parasol on a tightrope.

13) Look out for a 13 minute wait at Tower of Terror and Haunted Mansion. If there’s a posted wait time of exactly 13 minutes, it’s code that there’s almost no wait at all. This usually means you can walk straight through the line and into the stretching room almost immediately, so a 13 minute wait may actually mean a 5 minute wait or shorter.

Tips for Saving Time with the Disney World App

Disney World Restaurant Mobile Ordering - WDW Tip

14) Always use Mobile Order when available. Many counter service restaurants offer mobile order via the My Disney Experience app. This is a great time saver, especially since you can plan out and order your lunch or dinner while you’re waiting in line.

15) Mobile Order Speed Trick. Click “I’m here” as you’re heading to the restaurant. Many times I’ll do this, and the food will come out just as I arrive. Otherwise, you may have to wait a few minutes for your order to be prepared.

16) Link all tickets to MagicBands or app beforehand. One of the big benefits of Disney World’s MagicBands is their ability to be your park ticket. Tapping your MagicBand at the park entrance or to get in to the Lightning Lane removes a lot of friction, and saves you time from fumbling through your wallet or bag for your tickets. Link all of your tickets and MagicBands to your Disney World account before your trip, so you don’t have to mess around with it once you get to Orlando.

17) Confirm Your Virtual Queue Party. Ever since Disney World debuted a virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance, they have tweaked the process for securing a boarding pass. Within the MyDisneyExperience app, you can now confirm your party up to 1 hour before the virtual queue opens up. You can do this by going to the menu in the app (bottom right button with three lines), tapping “Virtual Queues,” clicking “Join Virtual Queue,” then clicking “Confirm Your Party.” You can select all of the guests linked to your account that you will be securing a boarding group for. This will make it easier to join the virtual queue with the correct group selected, and you can avoid having to waste precious seconds by deselecting a guest who isn’t eligible. If you’ve linked your Disney World account to a lot of different family members and friends like I have, this will make a big difference.

It should be noted that while the ability to confirm your party opens up 1 hour before the virtual queue opens (so starting at 6 am for the 7 am queues at Disney World), you don’t have to get up at 6 am to confirm you party. You have all the way up until the virtual queue opens up to confirm your party, so you can wait until 10 minutes before to confirm.

Read more about how to use the Virtual Queue at Disney World here.

18) Choose your Lightning Lane priorities as “Top Picks.” When you sign up for Disney Genie, you’ll be asked what your Top Picks are in each park. This lets Disney Genie know your preferences and give you smart suggestions throughout the day. But for power-users, there’s an even more useful way to use Top Picks. The Tip Board section of Disney Genie lists all attractions alphabetically, but it places your Top Picks at the top of the list. The Tip Board section is also where you will be booking your Lightning Lane reservations. You can save yourself a lot of scrolling and put the attractions that you’re most interested in getting Lightning Lane reservations for as your Top Picks. That way when you scroll to refresh the Tip Board, you’ll see the updated Lightning Lane slots for the attractions you’re interested in first. This tip could be the difference between snagging that elusive Slinky Dog Dash Lightning Lane slot and missing out.

Time Saving Transportation Tips

Monorail - Walt Disney World

19) Use the Resort Monorails at Magic Kingdom. 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.

20) Don’t miss the bus! Guide2WDW reader Jason shares this tip for using Disney World buses.

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.

21) Consider using Ride Share. You can use Lyft and Uber to get around Disney World, and it can save you a lot of time compared to Disney’s busses. Disney has a fleet of ride share vehicles called Minnie Vans that you can order through Lyft, but both Lyft and Uber have cheaper options. When you consider resort and theme park parking prices, taking ride share vehicles can make financial sense versus renting a car.

22) Know the bus schedule at your resort. Official Disney World busses come every 15-30 minutes, but third party hotels may only have transportation once per hour. Familiarize yourself with the bus schedule at your hotel so you don’t have to wait a really long time to get to the parks.

23) The Skyliner after Harmonious. If you can, avoid leaving EPCOT via the Skyliner after Harmonious. It is extremely crowded. Instead, try to take a bus or ride share, or walk around World Showcase for a bit to let crowds die down.

How to Have a Terrific Time at Disney World

Best Days to Visit EPCOT - Guide2WDW

Planning a trip to Disney World? These Disney World trip planning tips are just the beginning. Get in touch with our friends at Vacationeer for free Disney World vacation planning. Their travel agents can help you plan your vacation for no extra cost. They are Disney experts, so they’ll have their own recommendations and advice. Plus, they can help with dining and hotel reservations at Disney World.

If you want to be as prepared as possible, check out our Disney World Guides, including an in-depth Disney Genie Guide. Our resources will help you plan your Disney World trip and get the most out of your vacation. And don’t miss our other Disney World Tips and Tricks. We have hundreds of quick bits of advice for visiting WDW.