Avoid Lines At Disney World
12 Ways to Reduce Wait Times at Disneys Theme Parks Attractions
Avoiding the long lines for rides is the best way to maximize your Disney experience. In this article, well take you through our top tips for spending more time having fun and less time waiting in line.
With an annual attendance of over 58 million people, Walt Disney World tops the list of most visited vacation resorts in the world. Its clear that Disney is doing something right to attract so many guests. And with a tagline of The Most Magical Place On Earth, why wouldnt anyone want to visit the park?!
But these statistics also imply something negative crowds and long lines. Unfortunately, this assumption is often the reality. Besides the cost of a Disney World vacation, the lines are really the only other major complaint.
So how do you avoid lines at Disney World?
While its not possible to avoid the lines entirely, there are several strategies to lessen your queue wait times. Here are our 12 best ways to avoid the lines at Disney World.
Stay At A Disney World Resort Hotel
Staying on site at a Disney resort is advantageous for several reasons: you have access to the parks for extended times , you have priority for park entrance during crowded seasons, and you are able to book fast passes 60 days in advance of attending a park.
The general public may book fast passes 30 days in advance, but many of the fast passes for the most popular rides will not be available at this time point. By staying onsite, a guest has the ability to book fast passes for the most popular attractions 60 days in advance. In addition, off-site guests must book each day of fast passes as the window opens for each day they plan to attend. For those staying onsite, the window opens at 60 days for the entire length of stay.
Animal Kingdom Wait Times
Disney World Animal Kingdom wait times will vary, like all other parks. However, Pandora, The World of AVATAR tends to have the longest Disney Animal Kingdom wait times. Both of Pandoras rides, Avatar Flight of Passage and Navi River Journey, are available for FastPass. However, these rides are both high in demand, so youre only allowed to book a FastPass for one of the two rides per day, therefore having the Animal Kingdom longest wait times.
Current wait times at Disney World Animal Kingdom Flight of passage, on a level 1 crowded day, typically has an average wait time of 80-135 minutes, and the Navi River wait is the next longest averaging from 30-75 minutes. Usually, Dinosaur TriceraTop Spin, and Primeval Whirl have the shortest wait times.
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Best Ways To Avoid Long Lines At Disney World
Best Ways to Avoid Long Lines at Disney World
Best Ways to Avoid Long Lines at Disney World
This article is your ultimate guide to how to avoid long lines at Disney World! There is no denying that Disney World brings joy and happiness to anyone who goes. However, the most magical place on Earth comes with its consequences, as its guaranteed to be crowded with other eager visitors. As much as we wish we could get to the front of the line in Disney World, it may seem impossible.
However, if youre looking for a way on how to avoid long lines at Disney World, weve got options! We hope you find this post helpful, and if you are planning a trip to Disney World be sure to check out our other FREE vacation planning tools. Our goal at The Park Prodigy has always been to help you save time on your next vacation and find the cheapest Walt Disney World tickets!
Heres what you need to know about how to beat the crowds at Disney World.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you are still in the process of planning your Disney vacation need help picking the best time to visit Disney World be sure to check out our Disney crowd calendar below!
Directions For Avoiding Lines At Disney World
As of February 2019, these are the steps that a Disney park visitor could take to maximize their number of FastPasses and Rider Swaps. In the next section, I break down a description of how this all could work.
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When Can You Book Your Next Genie+ Lightning Lane
This is the question that trips everyone up and causes the most confusion, but it really isnt too hard. Once you make a Genie+ Lightning Lane booking, you are prohibited from making another booking until:
You use that Genie+ Lightning Lane booking OR
You wait two hours from when you made your last Genie+ Lightning Lane booking EXCEPT
The two hour clock doesnt start running until the park opens
I said not too hard. I didnt say it was easy. How about some examples
Hollywood Studios opens at 9AM. At 10AM, I book an 11AM-12PM slot for Alien Swirling Saucers. I tap onto the ride at 11:30AM. I can make my next booking immediately at 11:30AM. I cannot book earlier, at say 11:15AM, since I didnt actually use the booking for Alien Swirling Saucers until 11:30AM.
Animal Kingdom opens at 9AM. At 11AM, I book a 4PM slot for Navi River Journey. I can make my next booking at 1PM, two hours after I made my previous booking. I dont have to wait until I ride Navi River Journey, and even if I make another booking, I wont lose my Navi River Journey booking.
Magic Kingdom opens at 9AM. At 8AM, I book a 1PM slot for Peter Pans Flight. I can make my next booking at 11AM, two hours after the park opens. I cant make a booking at 10AM because the two-hour clock does not start running until the park opens.
Individual Lightning Lane Strategy
There isnt as much strategy around individual Lightning Lanes as Genie+ because you simply have to pick you up-to-two rides and the times you want to ride them. Here are some tips.
Dont miss your return time. Early reports are Disney is being very strict with these return times. Do not book them in conflict with dining reservations etc.
Know when bookings run out. As with Genie+, individual Lightning Lanes can run out of return times. Generally youll go into your day knowing what rides youre going to book, and youll do that ASAP. But some days you might decide to wait and see how your morning goes. In those cases, you need to be sure you have an idea of when return times will run out.
We talk more about these in the individual park posts, but you can look up the recent data on Thrill Data.
Try to ride between 12PM and 4PM. This is when waits are at their peak, so you wont be missing out on anything else in the park. An individual Lightning Lane that has you riding at the very start or very end of the day makes little sense since you could be getting on rides with short waits during those times.
Be careful when park hopping. Related to Dont miss your return time, if youre park hopping you might not want to book a 2PM-3PM slot in case youre delayed getting between parks.
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How Can I Use A Lightning Lane
The primary ways to use Lightning Lane are through Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane purchases. With these serviceswhich we cover in much more detail in this postyou will book a return time, consisting of an hour-long window, for a ride.
During your return window, you can approach the Lightning Lane at the ride you booked, tap your Magic Band or park ticket on the touchpoint. The touchpoint should turn green, and youll be let through. You may have to tap at a second touchpoint later in the queue. If the touchpoint turns blue, it means something has gone wrongmaybe you arrived too early or youre at the wrong ride, for example.
The Lightning Lane will generally be a much shorter wait than the regular line, but it merges with the regular line usually a few minutes before you board the ride. This means a wait of around 5 minutes is very common, even with Lightning Lanes.
Other services, like DAS and rider switch, also use the Lightning Lanes, but they arent the subject of this post.
Tap points for Slinky Dog Dash
Ride During Meal Times And Fireworks Shows
If there are multiple rides you want to get on with lower lines in addition to your Fastpasses and ones you can hit at rope drop or park close, try to hit those rides during popular mealtimes .
Whether people have made dining reservations at restaurants like Boma, Beaches and Cream or Be Our Guest, or have just found a spot to enjoy their pre-made sandwiches, many families do take time out of the day to eat and arent just shoving Goldfish in their kids mouths as they run from ride to ride.
You can take advantage of the shorter lines at these times and adjust your meal times to earlier or later.
Similarly, if youve already seen the Fireworks or nighttime show, consider skipping these to ride rides if youre hoping to find the shortest lines at Disney World.
These shows soak up a large number of people, especially ones like Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom where almost the entire park stops to watch and find a spot on Main Street or in another area.
The lines will start going back up again if you wait until after the Fireworks shows , so make sure to be taking advantage of the period leading up to the shows as well where some people will stop getting in lines in order to go snag the perfect space.
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Premier Access Ultimate Line
Disneyland Paris has officially announced Disney Premier Access Ultimate, a new line-skipping service. This post shares details & pricing and how the Express Pass-style paid FastPass will work. Plus, potential implications for Walt Disney World, which previously followed in the footsteps of DLP.
You might recall that last summer, Disneyland Paris replaced FastPass with the paid Premier Access. This digital service allows guests to buy a la carte access to skip the regular standby line for popular rides, including Peter Pans Flight, Ratatouille: LAventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
From anywhere inside the parks, guests can use the Disneyland Paris App to purchase an assigned time slot for the aforementioned attractions. Pricing for Disney Premier Access will be per ride, ranging from 8 to 15 depending on the attraction and day of visit. In essence, this is Walt Disney Worlds Individual Lightning Lane option, but for every popular attraction.
Fast-forward to this year, when Disneyland Paris confirmed that it will launch Disney Premier Access Ultimate Service in Summer 2022. Buying this service will provide guests one-time expedited access to 12 of the most popular attractions in both Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park.
- Ratatouille: The Adventure
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Basic Rules Of Individual Lightning Lanes
The individual Lightning Lanes are on a completely different set of rules from the Genie+ Lightning Lanes. Lets quickly talk through them.
You can make individual Lightning Lane bookings through the Genie Tip Board in the Disney World app. There are different ways to get to the purchase screen, but my preference is just to find the ride on the Tip Board in Disney Genie and tap into it there.
You pay for individual Lightning Lanes once you select them. You dont buy these in advance or as a package like Genie+. You pick one, pick a time, and then make the payment.
Everyone who wants to use an individual Lightning Lane needs to have it booked. If three of you are hoping to ride Rise of the Resistance at 3PM, all three of you need to have an individual Lightning Lane booked that allows access at 3PM. You cant book for one person and bring more peoplethats not how it works.
There are two individual Lightning Lane options at each park. These are not a part of Genie+. You dont get to pick from all the Lightning Lanes. There are two rides at each park with individual Lightning Lanes. Those lanes are not a part of Genie+. You cannot buy any Genie+ lightning lanes individually. As noted above, the current individual Lightning Lanes at each park are:
Guests of Disney hotels, can purchase individual Lightning Lanes for the day beginning at 7AM. This gives them an advantage over other guests, as theoretically a ride could run out of slots during this booking window.
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Get To The Park Early
Even if youre not an early riser, one of the best ways to cut down on your wait time for popular rides is to plan to get to the parks early. And by early, we mean really early before the park even opens.
Disney lets resort guests into the park half an hour early for Early Park Entry, and that is when youll find the shortest line because, well, people dont love to wake up too early on vacation.
Genie Versus Genie+ Versus Individual Lightning Lane
Both Genie and Genie+ are contained in the free My Disney Experience app. At its simplest, the core Genie functionality allows you to plan your day based on some selections, and the app will fill in gaps with what it thinks you’ll like and will have short lines.
In a recent expedition to the parks, we never used the basic Genie functionality. It is, however, the foundation for the paid Genie+ service.
Genie+, for that $15 per person, per day, allows the user to hold two Lightning Lane selections. These operate in much the same way that the old Fast Pass did, allowing the holder and the holder’s party to enter a much shorter Lightning Lane line, and merge with the existing Queue much deeper into the process.
And when you’ve checked into the ride using your admission card, Apple Watch, iPhone, or Disney-sold Smart Band, you can make another Lightning Lane selection on the app. This will not always be right after the ride you’re on, and may be much later, depending on how many people before you have selected a Lightning Lane window.
As far as actual line wait times with Lightning Lane, this depends greatly on the ride itself. On a recent visit we were experiencing sub-10 minute waits in line, versus an hour or more in the regular line for some of Disney World’s most popular rides.
Confused yet? So were we.
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Save A Popular Attraction For The Evening
If were really trying to tackle all the popular rides in Disney World without a wait, then were arriving early and staying late! Thats because ride lines typically start to go down in the late afternoon and early evening.
Plus, if youre willing to stay a little past park close, the wait times dip even more. How can you ride after the park has closed? As long as youre in line one minute before the park close time, you can wait and ride. Magic Kingdom closing at 9PM? Be in line for Space Mountain by 8:59PM, and youll likely have a shorter wait time and be able to make it your last ride of the day!
Well, there you have it use our secret to NEVER waiting in long lines in Disney World! And, you can see whether or not its worth it to use Genie+ at EPCOT!
And, stay tuned for more Disney World planning tips and tricks!
You Can Change Your Reservations At Any Time
When you make your initial FastPass reservations in the app youll notice that you basically just pick the rides you are interested in and then are assigned a time.
If one of your ride choices isnt available then the app will even assign you a different ride.
Dont worry about this, you can change it all later as many times as you want. Once you have selected your initial 3 FastPass reservations you can click on a ride and look through which other times are available to modify your selections as desired.
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