A Guide to Managing Wait Times at Disney World

in Disney, Disney Parks, Theme Parks

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Having to endure extensive wait times for your favorite attractions at Disney World can be extremely frustrating.

I’ll be the first to admit that I abhor waiting. For me, the thought of standing in a seemingly endless line jam-packed with other people is torturous, even if the line leads to one of my favorite Disney Park attractions. But long lines are the norm at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, given all those world-renowned, high-demand experiences that attract visitors from all corners of the globe. Still, it does leave one to speculate whether there are ways to mitigate lengthy wait times. Fortunately, there are, and we at Inside the Magic are sharing a few tips and suggestions to help you effectively navigate through some of the longest wait times at Disney World.

Related: Disney World Wait Times Drop as Guests Vanish From Parks

Know the Highest Wait Times Up Front

It’s best to know, first and foremost, which attractions typically garner the lengthiest wait times at the Park(s) you plan to attend on a given day. You can always count on folks to make a beeline for any new ride at Disney World, for instance. Furthermore, some longtime favorites are infamously known for their extensive wait times. Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom Park is one such classic example. To give you a brief rundown, we’ve compiled a list of rides at Walt Disney World that traditionally average the highest wait times (omitting the aforementioned):

Magic Kingdom Park:


  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Test Track
  • Soarin’

Hollywood Studios:

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Animal Kingdom Park:

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Expedition Everest
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
Avatar Flight of Passage
Credit: Disney

Check Wait Times Live

Knowing the current wait times for attractions helps you better manage your time. And you can stay up-to-date on posted times at any Disney World Park through a Disney wait time app. There are now several apps you can download, all offering real-time updates as they unfold. But the most credited, official source remains the My Disney Experience app.

Family checking cell phone at Disney World
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Wouldn’t Pad Standby Wait Times. Would They?

Are Disney Wait Times Accurate?

While reviewing what Disney is “reporting” as their given wait time is helpful, one thing you need also be made aware of is the potential for discrepancies between what is posted versus what a wait time actually may be. That’s right, sometimes Disney intentionally “lies” about their wait times for several reasons. Crowd control is one reason they do this, hoping to discourage surplus Guests from flocking to an already high-demand attraction. Another reason is to create a buffer in case something goes wrong, and operations need to be halted suddenly. A third reason goes back to the idea that predictions are never 100% accurate. And truth be told, it’s better to overestimate a timeframe than underestimate it. In other words, finding that you end up waiting a shorter length than initially expected is far better than the disappointment of waiting even longer. A good practice is to assume the actual time is 10 to 15 minutes shorter than what the app says.

Wait time listing for Tower of Terror
Credit: Disney Dining

Related: Guest Catches Disney World in Massive Scandal

Embrace Inconvenient Timing

Another consideration is pursuing Park attractions when most folks are busy doing other things. Generally, the Standby Lines to even the most popular attractions experience a noticeable decrease at certain times throughout the day. Such times coincide with parades, nighttime spectaculars, and popular shows like Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios. During major mealtime rushes, you may notice leaner lines at certain attractions too.

A parade scene at Disney World
Credit: David Roark/Disney

Utilize Extra Hours

Staying on Disney Property can save you significant time. Because complimentary transportation is already provided, you need never concern yourself with driving to the Parks directly and scouting out a spot in crowded Disney World parking lots (and then paying for said spot). But did you know that Guests at Disney Resorts also have the advantage of experiencing additional time at Disney Parks? Beyond the official Disney Park hours of operation, Disney Resort Guests can experience Early Morning Magic. This allows them to enter whichever Park they have a reservation for 30 minutes ahead of non-Resort visitors. Guests staying at Deluxe Resorts specifically also get to experience extended evening hours on select nights at rotating Disney Parks. Then there are also those After Hours ticketed extras on select nights.

All these extended opportunities at Disney Parks present you with an additional opportunity to attend popular in-demand attractions minus the usual lengthy lines during peak public hours.

Cinderella Castle at Disney World during the evening
Credit: Disney

Single Rider Lines

Some rides at Disney World have Single Rider Line options. These are perfect for those who do not mind being separated from their group and paired with other random persons. It’s a way to bypass a lengthier Standby Line at some of Disney’s more popular attractions. These include Test Track in EPCOT, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios, and Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom.

Two girls riding roller coaster together
Credit: Disney

Related: Popular Disney World Ride Testing Single Rider Option

Buying Your Way

When all else fails, and there’s something you really want to do at Disney World without waiting indefinitely in the Standby Line, you can always go the Genie+ route. As a paid additional service, Genie+ lets you book certain rides in advance, ensuring you a ride time and a chance to forego waiting in a long line. Any Guest opting for Genie+ may book their first selection starting at 7 a.m. on the day of their visit.

You also have the option to purchase individual Lightning Lane entries for other high-demand attractions not included in the Genie+ service. For this, Guests staying on Disney Property and at select Good Neighbor hotels in the Bay Lake Area may make their first individual Lightning Lane selections starting at 7 a.m. the day of. All other off-property Guests may do so when the Park opens.

Accessing Genie+ service from smartphone
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Reportedly Closes Standby Line, Only Allows Lightning Lane Users In Attraction

Do you have any other suggestions or helpful advice for managing wait times at Disney World? Let us know in the comments.

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