Mickey Mouse Watch - Disney World Tip

7 am is a very important time for Disney World guests. With virtual queues, Genie+, and Lightning Lane, you'll want at least one person from your party up at 7 am with the MyDisneyExperience app open to be able to plan your day.

Here's everything that becomes available for your Disney World day starting at 7 am:

  • First draw for Virtual Queues open up at 7 am for all guests. Currently, a virtual queue is used at Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (once it opens on May 27). Disney World previously used the virtual queue at Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Disney has announced that they might use virtual queues at certain popular attractions even on a temporary basis, so be sure to check the MDE app to see what attractions are using virtual queues at Disney World and plan accordingly. If you miss the 7 am draw, more virtual queue spots open up at 1 pm (and 6 pm for Deluxe Resort Guests on Extended Evening Hour nights). You can read all the details you need to know in our Disney World Virtual Queue Guide.
  • Genie+ Lightning Lane access becomes available for all guests at 7 am. You'll be able to make your first Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation of the day starting at 7, so this will be your best shot at getting early Lightning Lane access to a popular ride like Slinky Dog Dash or Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run.
  • Individual Lightning Lane Selections become available for purchase for resort guests at 7 am. Not included in Genie+, these are a la carte Lightning Lane purchases available at the two most popular rides in each park - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot, Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios, and Flight of Passage  at Animal Kingdom. You can pick which time of day you'd like to purchase your Lightning Lane reservations, and you can purchase up to two per person per day.

If you have multiple people who are up and have the MyDisneyExperience app open, designate one person to focus on Virtual Queues, one person to focus on Genie+, and one person to focus on Individual Lightning Lane Selections. If you are the only person setting all the plans for your party, we would recommend prioritizing Virtual Queue (if the attraction is one of your must dos), Genie+, then Individual LL selections, in that order.

Tower of Terror - Disney World

If you're superstitious, 13 can be a spooky, scary number. But if you're at Magic Kingdom or Disney's Hollywood Studios, 13 can be a green light to go on one of Disney World's best rides with no wait. At both Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror, if there's a posted wait time of exactly 13 minutes, it's code that there's almost no wait at all. When there's a 13 minute wait posted, it usually means you can walk straight through the line and into the pre-show room almost immediately, so a 13 minute wait may actually mean a 5 minute wait or shorter. This is a fun way that Disney adds theming even to the wait times, and it's a nod to Disney World pros that they should put a dead stop to their current plans and go on these spooktacular rides.

Rise of the Resistance Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Ever since Disney World debuted a virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance, they have tweaked the process for securing a boarding pass. We've shared a lot of tricks to reliably securing a spot in the virtual queue, and familiarity with the system is only getting more important as Remy's Ratatouille Adventure is debuting at Epcot with the same virtual queue system. Disney just added a new way to save a ton of time while trying to join a virtual queue at Disney World. While this might seem minor, this could be the difference between getting a spot on the ride or missing out entirely, as the virtual queue can fill up within seconds on busy days.

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 5 minutes before to confirm.



Slinky Dog Dash - Hollywood Studios - Roller Coaster - Disney World

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.

Magic Kingdom

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.

Frozen Ever After - Epcot 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.

Toy Story Land - Disney's Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World

Extra Magic Hours are a great perk, but can mean that the park will get crowded. 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. If you are not staying at a hotel that is eligible for EMH, definitely avoid the park that is open for the early Extra Magic Hour.

Space Mountain Exterior - Magic Kingdom Attraction

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.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - Roller Coaster- Magic Kingdom Attraction

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!

POV - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - Magic Kingdom-Attraction

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.

Festival of Fantasy - Dragon - Disney World Parade

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.

Toy Story Midway Mania - Hollywood Studios FastPass

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, use the Disney World app 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.

Space Mountain Line - Magic Kingdom Attraction

Here's a great tip for riding the 3 Mountains at Magic Kingdom! Get in line for the mountains later at night right before the fireworks start, so probably around 7:30 the lines will die down somewhat because of people eating dinner and getting ready for the fireworks. Leave Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain for the night and ride Space Mountain during the day. This is a good plan, because standing in line for Splash and Big Thunder can get HOT during the day where as Space Mountain has an indoor line which is air conditioned. This will pay off because there are no lines the Fireworks at night on any of the Mountains! So hit the smaller rides during the day, and save the mountains for later at night! This really does save on time and you get more rides out of it! Another perk: You can actually get some pretty cool views of Magic Kingdom's fireworks from Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain if you get lucky with your timing.

Festival of Fantasy - Dragon - Disney World Parade

The lines to a lot of rides get shorter around one hour to a half 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.

Eric's Castle - Journey of the Little Mermaid - Magic Kingdom Attraction

Tip: Planning can be the key to your Disney World vacation. 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!

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.

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.

Tower of Terror - Fastpass Plus

Tip: Use Fastpass to save time - even during slow season! 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.

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!

Tower of Terror - Fastpass Plus

Tip: Make a plan before you head to Orlando. 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.

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.

Monorail - Walt Disney World

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.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - Train - Magic Kingdom Attraction

When entering the Magic Kingdom while the 3:00 parade is going on, hop on the Walt Disney World Railroad train at Main Street. You can take it to Frontierland, and you will miss all the crowds leaving after the parade.

Avatar Flight of Passage on Pandora Ð The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Early bird gets the worm at Disney World. If you want to get the most out of your day at 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, Frozen Ever After, or Expedition Everest. Avatar: Flight of Passage will still have a relatively substantial wait if you get there before park opening because of the demand (sometimes as much as 45 minutes to an hour as soon as the park opens), but this will still be significantly shorter than the standby wait later in the day (which can stretch over 2 hours easily).

Spaceship Earth - Exterior

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.

If you are spending time in another park and want to watch the fireworks from Harmonious 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). Alternatively, you can take the Skyliner to Epcot to get to this entrance. 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.

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!

Walt Disney World Bus

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.

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!

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!

Dumbo the Flying Elephant Up Close - Magic Kingdom-Attraction

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.

Epcot Crowd - Disney World

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!

Test Track - Epcot Ride

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.

Splash Mountain - Drop- Disney World

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!

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.