As you can tell, our family LOVES Walt Disney World, but we hate waiting in line.
The biggest complaints I hear about going to Disney World are “we waited for hours to ride this ride” and “I liked it, but the waits took forever.”
Waiting is a pain, it takes time away from the fun, and well, it's HOT in Orlando, so that makes the wait seem even longer.
Our family has some Disney World hacks that we use on each trip to help make our Disney Vacation more magical.
Are you ready to learn how we do it? And the eight Walt Disney World hacks that will minimize your wait times in allow you to do more?
HERE WE GO!
The 30 Minute Rule
Our family has a rule that we will wait in no lines over 30 minutes long. This started when we lived in the Orlando area for a year, and it just stuck through the years.
This is one of the smartest ways we have found to squeeze in more magic.
Do we stick to this rule?
YES! Well for the most part.
If the ride is new and we haven't ever ridden it before, we may bend the rule a little and wait 40-45 minutes but no longer than that. For rides we have ridden before – we absolutely stick to this rule.
If this means we miss a ride because the line was too long, we miss the ride. We know we'll be back again and can ride it next time (even if next time is in 4-5 years), and there is so much more to do that we don't feel the need to spend time on ONE ride.
Rides are great, but they aren't the only things that make Disney the most magical place on Earth.
How to make this work for your family?
Sit down and figure out a time that works for you. It can be 30 minutes, like my family, an hour, or anything in between.
Stick to that time!
Trust me when I say you will NEVER see everything at Walt Disney World.
I've been at least 100 times, and I still have never been on Tom Sawyer's Island in the Magic Kingdom, and we haven't seen Mickey Mouse in Disney's Hollywood Studios and many other things around the parks.
You can't do it all, and by sticking to a ride wait times rule like ours, you'll be able to do more and have more fun.
FastPasses are a MUST
To get the most out of your Disney Vacation, you NEED FastPass+ Experiences, and you need to learn how to use them to your advantage.
This is the biggest key to minimizing your wait times during your Walt Disney World Vacation.
The popular misconception is that you only get three FastPass+ Experiences per day. This is WRONG.
You get three FastPass+ Experiences per day that you can book in advance of your trip. Once those are used, you can book more FastPasses one at a time.
I have some great tips and tricks that will help you game the FastPass+ system. Check it out.
Rope drop refers to park opening.
Rope dropping popular rides like Soarin' and Frozen Ever After in Epcot, Slinky Dog Dash in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom, and Seven Dwarf's Mine Train in Magic Kingdom is a great way to ride them without the normally long wait.
One way to make sure you are at the park before rope drop is to make an early morning dining reservation.
Another way is to get to the park about 60-90 minutes before opening and then walk very quickly to your first attraction once the park opens.
By the way, before you do this, make sure the park you are going to doesn't have Morning Extra Magic Hours that morning, especially if you aren't staying at a Walt Disney World Resort.
Extra Magic Hours
Extra Magic Hours are one of the best perks for staying at a Disney Resort! In fact, they are my favorite on-site perk.
What are Extra Magic Hours?
On select days of the week, one of the parks will open an hour earlier or close two hours later for resort guests.
While EMH can get busy, the parks are less crowded than they are during regular park hours. This means shorter rides for a lot of rides.
Some of the more popular lines can get long during Extra Magic Hours. It's sometimes best for these to combine them with rope dropping to minimize your wait even more.
If you are staying on-site, it's a great idea to take advantage of this extra time in the park.
Do Annual Passholders get Extra Magic Hours?
Sadly, Extra Magic Hours are only open to guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort like Port Orleans French Quarter and select other hotels in the Disney area. This is not a perk that comes with being an Annual Passholder.
However, watch your emails because, at select times during the year, Annual Passholders are invited to VIP Nights at various Disney Parks.
Ride During Nighttime Shows and Parades
At 3 pm each day, the Magic Kingdom has a parade that runs from Frontier Land to the Castle Hub and then down Main St. Every night, each of the four parks has nighttime shows that draw huge crowds. These shows are amazing and are absolute must-dos.
However, if you aren't into fireworks or have already seen the shows, this is a great time to ride some of the more popular attractions as they tend to have shorter wait times during showtimes.
Bonus — some of the outdoor rides are amazingly beautiful at night, and riding them at this time changes the whole ride experience.
Fantasyland Early Morning Magic
Early Morning Magic takes place on select days in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. The cost of this limited entry first access experience is $89 for ages 10 and up and $79 for ages 3-9 plus regular theme park admission.
Fantasyland Early Morning Magic allows you to have fun enjoying most of the land's popular attractions with small waits from 7:45-9 am. Attractions include:
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Peter Pan's Flight
- Princess Fairy Tale Hall
- Small World
- Mad Tea Party aka The Teacups
- Under the Sea – The Journey of the Little Mermaid
Early Morning Magic also includes an all you care to eat breakfast buffet at Cosmic Rays until 10 am.
Disney After Hours
Disney After Hours is a three-hour night event that happens on select nights at the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. It includes your admission into the parks, starting at 7 pm through three hours after the park closes, plus popcorn, drinks, and ice cream during the event. You don't need regular park tickets to attend these events.
Disney Villains After Hours at Magic Kingdom
On select nights through July 2020, the Disney Villains will be taking over the Magic Kingdom for three hours after the park closes.
Enjoy 20 popular attractions, Villains Unite the Night Castle Stage Show, Maleficent's Dragon Float, and more villainous fun throughout the park.
This event's cost is $145 per person in advance, $155 per person the day of the event, and $115 for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members.
Afters Hours at Magic Kingdom Park
Currently, the only dates for After Hours at Magic Kingdom run through May 2020. Enjoy three hours with little to no lines experiencing 25 different attractions, including:
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Big Thunder Railroad
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Small World
- Peter Pans Flight
- Buzz Light Year's Space Ranger Spin and more.
The cost for After Hours at the Magic Kingdom is $129 per person if purchased in advanced, $199 the day of, and $99 for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members.
After Hours at Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom at night is a totally different and equally amazing experience. At After Hours you can have the whole park to almost yourself and enjoy little to no wait for the most attractions, including:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na'vi River Journey
- Pandora Drummers
- Expedition Everest
- Mickey and Minnie at Adventures Outpost
- It's Tough to Be a Bug and more
After Hours at Animal Kingdom runs on select nights through May 2020 and cost the same as the other After Hours events – $129 per person for tickets purchased in advance, $139 if purchased at the gate the day of the event, and $99 for pass holders and Disney Vacation Club Members.
Remember, like everything, the attractions open during these events are subject to change.
VIP Tours are the ultimate Disney experience.
Private VIP Tours
Customize your perfect Disney Day with a Private VIP Tour. Private Tours can be customized to include multiple parks, your favorite rides and shows, nighttime spectaculars! They also come with your own private tour guide who acts as your private FastPass+. The Private VIP Tour cost varies between $425 to $750 per hour (price varies by season) with a seven-hour minimum plus regular theme park admission.
In addition to the Private Tours, there are other VIP Tours geared to your favorite things at Walt Disney World.
Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour
For thrill-seekers, the Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour will take you on a thrilling ride around Walt Disney World Resort. You'll start your day at the Magic Kingdom riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Haunted Manson, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Next, you'll have a quick-service lunch (included in your tour), then it's off to Epcot to ride Soarin' Around The World. After Epcot, you'll end the day at Disney's Hollywood Studios for Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania, Rock n ‘ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.
The cost of the Day of Thrills VIP Tour is $349 per person plus regular theme park admission. The tour is offered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and starts at 8:30 am, lasting about seven hours.
Ultimate Disney Classics VIP Tour
For those that love the classic rides in the Magic Kingdom, this is the tour for you. This four-hour tour starts at 10 am and takes you on Dumbo, Haunted Mansion, Mad Tea Party, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Small World, Jungle Cruise, Peter Pans Flight, and Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid. The cost is $249 per person and is offered on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour
Animal Kingdom fans will love this nighttime tour of Animal Kingdom that lasts four hours and includes riding Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safari, Na'vi River Journey, Avatar Flight of Passage, Dinosaur, and Rivers of Light (when offered). The tour starts four hours before the first showing of River's of Light and is available seven days a week except when blacked out. The cost is $249 per person.
Taste of the Magic Kingdom Park VIP Tour
Foodies, this is the tour you need to take! This three-hour experience is $99 for ages 16 and older and allows you to:
- Experience the magic behind the meals by hearing the chefs tell their stories
- Backstage access to the kitchens and work areas in the Magic Kingdom
- Tasting of the most believed food items in the Magic Kingdom
- Sampling a new food item in development
Like with everything the tours are subject to change.
So now you know the eight ways you can maximize your time, wait for less, and do more when you visit Walt Disney World Resort! Are you ready to book your vacation? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form for your free quote!