Posted Wait Times vs. Actual Wait Times – How Accurate Are They?

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wait times

Left Image Credit: ITM / Right Image Credit: Screenshot My Disney Experience

With new safety measures and social distancing measures, wait times at Walt Disney World can sometimes be a bit unpredictable.

Ever since the phased reopening began in min-July, Disney World has implemented several different protocols in order to operate safely amid the pandemic — One of them including social distancing in ride queue lines. Additionally, Disney World used to predict ride wait times with a red card, which was given to a Guest at random and clocked how long said Guest waited before boarding,

disney world space mountain
Credit: Disney

With the current pandemic, the red card system is not able to operate safely. Therefore, Disney has to estimate the wait time based on the queue, which is also socially distanced. All of this being said — Wait times can be a bit unpredictable during this time. So, I decided to test the wait times out for myself and here’s what I found.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

On January 13, I was at Disney World in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and rode a few different attractions. Overall, I found the wait times at this park to be pretty close to what the posted wait times stated.

I rode DINOSAUR twice on January 13 — The first time with a posted wait time of 5 minutes, during which I actually walked on. The second with a posted wait time of 10 minutes, which jumped to a 30 minute wait time while I was in line, but I only actually waited 18 minutes.

expedition everest track
Credit: Disney

On the same day, I rode Expedition Everest, which had a posted wait time of 10 minutes but ended up being a walk-on. Kilimanjaro Safari also had a posted wait time of 10 minutes which was approximately 5 minutes in total.

wait times
Credit: Screenshot My Disney Experience

Also on January 13, I went on Avatar Flight of Passage, which had a posted wait time of 20 minutes when I got on line. About halfway through I checked My Disney Experience and the wait time had jumped to 25 minutes. I timed it and I waited 24 minutes to the pre-show room and 27 minutes until the actual attraction.

Magic Kingdom

The following day I went to Magic Kingdom and decided to time a few other attraction queue lines. Overall, I found the wait times at this park to vary when it came to accuracy.

First, I headed to Haunted Mansion, which had a posted wait time of 10 minutes. However, I walked right through the queue and onto the Doom Buggy.

peter pans flight
Credit: Inside the Magic Kelly C.

Moving into Fantasyland, I tested two different attractions — Peter Pan’s Flight and Mickey’s Philarmagic. For Peter Pan’s Flight, the posted wait time was showing 5 minutes, which if you’ve been to a Disney Park typically means it is a walk-on, but when I got on the line, I actually ended up waiting 8 minutes (still not complaining considering Peter Pan’s Flight is usually one of the longest wait times at Magic Kingdom).

Mickey’s Philarmagic is a bit more tricky to time due to when the start of the show begins and ends. If you walk onto the line and you catch the show before doors close, you won’t wait at all but if you walk on and just miss the show, you could be waiting up to 10 minutes — And that’s exactly what happened to me. The posted wait time was 5 minutes, but because I just missed the show I had to wait for the next one, putting me at a 10 minute wait time.

Journey of the little mermaid
Credit: Disney

Continuing on, I headed over to what is considered to be New Fantasyland and tested out Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid. This ride had a posted wait time of 5 minutes, but I did not wait at all — I walked right through the queue and onto the seashell to begin my journey under the sea.

And lastly, I decided to test out a ride that had a slightly longer posted time than 5 or 10 minutes, so I went back to Frontierland and took on the wildest ride in the wilderness — Big Thunder Mountain. When I got on the queue line, the posted wait time both on the sign out front and on My Disney Experience showed 30 minutes, but when I was about halfway through the line, My Disney Experience then showed a 35-minute wait. However, I only waited 20 minutes from the time I got in the line to the time I got on the train.

Disney world
Credit: Disney

All in all, I found the wait times to be semi-close to the posted wait times. Between not having the red card system in place as well as seeing social distancing measures, it can be hard to time the exact wait time for some of these attractions. With all of this being said, I still think Disney did a decent job estimating the wait times considering I really only waited a few extra minutes on a handful of attractions, which isn’t a big deal.

If you want to visit Disney World on your next family vacation, but need help planning, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friends at Academy Travel — Get started today!

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