Continuing the theme of common questions we receive as a travel agents, one of the things people want to know most is how they can reduce the time they spend waiting in lines at Disney. It’s actually not that difficult! With a little bit of planning you can avoid those 60 minute plus wait times and breeze through the line. How? Here’s how!
1)Time of year One of the biggest factors in wait time is how big the crowd is expected to be in general. Disney has three designations for their ‘seasons’; value, regular and peak. These seasons correspond with crowd levels. For example, peak times would be the week of July 4th and the week of Christmas, when most people have time off of work and school. Value season is time when less people are expected to visit the parks: January, September, and parts of other months. The good news is that in addition to lower crowd times during value season, Disney usually offers extra incentives and discounts to stay during those times. It’s win-win!
2) Rope Drop Even visiting at one of the busiest times of year doesn’t mean you’ll be forced to wait in long lines your entire trip. Getting to the park as soon as it opens (called “rope drop”) can make all the difference. During the first hour or two of the park the wait times are usually very low and you can often accomplish much of your ‘to do’ list before others have even woken up at their resorts. Then you can relax and enjoy a nice breakfast while you watch the droves enter the parks, knowing all that you’ve already accomplished that morning. Sounds nice, doesn’t it!
3) FastPass Plus One of my favorite things about Disney is their new FastPass Plus system. Unlike other parks who charge for their line jumping services, Disney’s FastPass Plus is available to anyone who has purchased a park ticket. Guests staying on property are able to make three ride reservations at one park per day 60 days before their trip. Guests staying off property are able to make those reservations at 30 days prior to their trip. Guests purchasing their tickets the same day are still able to make those reservations, at kiosks in the park. The reservations are for a one hour window, leaving enough flexibility for an unexpected snack or bathroom break if needed!
4) Extra Magic Hours If you’re staying on property you’ll be able to take advantage of Disney’s Extra Magic Hours, where one park per day is open either an hour early or a few hours later for guests of Disney resorts only. The morning extra magic hours magnify the benefit of “rope drop”, because if people don’t like getting up early, they especially don’t like getting up even earlier! Extra magic hour mornings are one of the very lowest crowd times, even during busy times of year. If you’re more of a night owl, don’t lose hope! Even when the park is normally open until midnight sometimes the extra magic evening hours at Magic Kingdom can go until 3 am! As you can imagine, this is also a very low crowd time and you can even sometimes ride your favorites several times in a row with little or no wait. Keep in mind that crowd levels at a park with Extra Magic Hours are expected to be higher overall during the day, so you may want to plan on doing just the extra hours, not spending the day there!