17 Ways to Avoid Long Lines at Walt Disney World (PHOTOS)

Lee Allport | Jul 22, 2015 Home & Garden
17 Ways to Avoid Long Lines at Walt Disney World (PHOTOS)

Vacations at Walt Disney World are many wonderful things, but efficient is not always one of them. One of the biggest complaints people have is in regards to wait times at major attractions, stage shows and restaurants. If you visit during one of Disney's high seasons, the lines can be unbearable — unless you're armed with insider knowledge, of course. 

These insider tips will ensure you reap the most from your Walt Disney World vacation, and spend the least amount of time as possible waiting in line.


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  • Avoid Peak Meal Times


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    Pack snacks and avoid eating during busy meal times, when order lines are longest (usually 8-10; 12-3; and 5-8). If you're looking to eat at the new (and ultra busy) Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom, take advantage of Advance Order Dining. You simply pre-order your meal online up to 30 days in advance, check in upon arrival, then sit and relax while a waiter brings the food to your table. It definitely beats waiting in line at a kiosk!

  • Take Advantage of Extra Magic Hours


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    Guests staying in select Walt Disney World Resort hotels can take part in Extra Magic Hours. Each day a different park opens its doors early so that hotels guests can enjoy a handful of attractions before the general public. Rise and shine and make a bee line for the mine (train)!

  • Ride in the Rain


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    In Florida it's bound to rain at least once a day. Grab a poncho or an umbrella and keep moving. Most people will run for shelter, leaving lines short. Indoor Disney rides such as the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios will continue running, so make the most of the time and enjoy yourself. It's just a little water, right?

  • Research the Best & Worst Times to Visit Walt Disney World


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    There are busy times at Walt Disney World and times that are much more calm. Do your research to find out what time of year might be better for your visit. Mid-September through mid-November as well as mid-January through February are much less crowded than summer, spring break and the holidays.

    More from The Stir: Best Times of Year To Visit Walt Disney World (PHOTOS)

  • Buy Tickets to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


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    Perfect for little kids who love to dress up, only a limited amount of tickets are sold for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on select nights September through October. As a result, wait times drop significantly, making it worth every penny.

  • Plan Your Day to the Most Crowded Park


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    Most people think Magic Kingdom is the busiest park, but Hollywood Studios tends to have the most crowds. For one thing the park offers a lot of shows, such as Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage, Fantasmic and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. You'll want to see everything, so plan ahead by looking at the show schedule online, and reserving a spot using FastPass+ reservations.

  • Use Alternate Entrances


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    Few people know this, but there are alternate entrances to both Disney's Animal Kingdom and Epcot theme parks, so if the turnstiles are backed up at the main entrances, try the Rain Forest Cafe at Animal Kingdom and the Boardwalk entrance at Epcot near the World Showcase. 

  • Sign Up for a VIP Tour


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    It's a bit pricey, but hiring a Disney VIP Tour Guide is worth it if you want to go to the front of the lines at all the attractions, enjoy special seating at shows and fireworks displays, and learn plenty of fun Disney secrets. 

    More from The Stir: 15 Inspiring Disney Quotes That Will Guide You Through Life (PHOTOS)

  • Skip the Fireworks & Parades


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    Once you've seen a couple of the parades & fireworks shows at the Disney theme parks, skip them and take advantage of the short wait times for rides and character meet-and-greets. Chances are you'll have time to do both.

  • Buy Tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party


    Image via Ryan Wendler/wdwnews.com

    Only a limited amount of tickets are sold for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party on select nights between November and December, so the wait times for rides and character meet-and-greets are cut in half. Couple that with the free hot chocolate and cookies at every turn, and it's worth the special event ticket price!

  • Dine with the Characters


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    If character meet-and-greets are top on your priority list, book a character dining experience, such as the Akershus Royal Banquet, which features all of the Disney Princesses. It's a much more enjoyable alternative to standing in line at the different character spots throughout the parks. Some of the character dining opportunities don't even equire advance reservations. 

    More from The Stir: 14 Prom Dresses Inspired by Disney Princesses (PHOTOS)

  • Tap the My Disney Experience Mobile App


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    Download the My Disney Experience app to your phone or tablet for use while in any Walt Disney World Resort or theme park. It will help you stay on track with up-to-the-minute wait times for attractions and shows as well as parades and fireworks displays. It also allows you to modify existing FastPass+ reservations, so you don't have to trek over to the guest relations desk.

  • Make Dining Reservations Early


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    Disney Dining reservations can be made up to six months before you arrive at the Walt Disney World Resort. It's recommended you make your reservations as early as possible so you know where and when you'll be eating. This will help you plan out the rest of your days and save you a ton of time.

  • Stay Until the Park Closes


    Image via Kent Phillips/wdwnews.com

    If it's near closing time at Disney, the crowds thin out considerably. Now's a great time to get in one last magical flight on Dumbo — or to run like a mad woman from one thrill ride to the next. During the late-night parades and fireworks shows are also good times to ride with minimal lines. 

  • Take Advantage of Rider Switch


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    If you have a kid who doesn't want to ride something or is simply too young to ride, he or she can sit out with an adult while the other members of your party ride the attraction. Once those riders return, the adult who sat out goes directly onto the ride with no wait. Many attractions offers this Rider Switch option.

    More from The Stir: 16 Disney Planning Tips for the Best Trip Ever (PHOTOS)

  • A Trick To Get You On Disney's Most Popular Ride


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    Epcot's Soarin' has one of the longest waits in all of the Walt Disney World theme parks. The only way to avoid it is to arrive at Epcot the minute it opens and walk as fast as you can to the attraction. Otherwise you could be looking at a solid two-hour wait time — sometimes more!

  • Make FastPass+ Reservations Before You Arrive at the Parks


    Image via Matt Stroshane/wdwnews.com

    Once you book your trip, take full advantage of Disney FastPass+ planning. If you purchase a ticket or an annual pass, you can make ride, show and meet-and-greet reservations 30 days in advance. Hotel guests can make reservations up to 60 days out.


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