Perhaps the thing that stresses people out the most about planning Disney World trips is the idea that they’ll end up standing in lines for hours on end.
Although there are plenty of different places where you can encounter lines, good planning can help you to avoid most of them.
These are notes from this episode. There’s much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.
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My recent trip report
My Spring Break trip went really well and many people who followed along on the WDW Prep Facebook Page were surprised at how much we got done.
Most people think of avoiding lines for rides but there are many areas where you could encounter a line.
Here are some of the main areas and how to reduce your wait time.
- Resort check-in – people staying on-site should make use of resort check-in up to 60 days ahead of time and then get into the early resort check-in line once arriving at the resort
- Dining – even with a reservation, you can encounter long waits at restaurants. Eating at off-peak times (11-11:30, 1:30-3, 4-5:00, 7:30-9) at both Quick Service and Table Service restaurants can really reduce your wait time
- Rides/attractions – show up before the parks open, ride the highest priority rides first, use FastPass+ reservations to visit high priority rides later in the day and have a good touring plan. The eBook that I have for sale also comes with printable park maps that indicate which rides to visit at various times of the day.
- Transportation – plan to exit the park at the front of the pack after nighttime entertainment, consider taking a taxi if bus lines get long, look into the CLEAR program which is like a FastPass at the airport
Quick tip of the day
If little ones can’t ride a ride, don’t make them just sit and wait for everybody else. Keep them busy doing other things. I have a chart of ideas in my Rider Switch article to keep little ones nearby but busy while bigger kids and adults ride.
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Is there some aspect of waiting in lines that you aren’t sure about or have questions about?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments (but make sure you’ve listened to the episode first – I give way more info than what’s written in the text here).
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Wednesday 11th of June 2014
Thank you for these great tips! Planning our first family trip. Your site has been a lifesaver!
Wednesday 7th of May 2014
I was really happy to hear you talk about parents making their children just... stand around. Absolutely idiotic and such a waste of Walt Disney world. Even lines can be made engaging for kids... One of my favourite things to visit as a five-six years old was Indiana Jones in Disneyland. Even though I couldn't ride (my mother and aunt would rider swap), I was able to play on what I considered to be the Indiana Jones movie set! Even in simpler ride lines like Soarin, parents could do the same!
Monday 31st of March 2014
About the resort online check-in: We are going in June with another family (there will be 8 of us total). We requested connecting rooms. If we check in online, does that give us a better chance of getting those rooms?
Thursday 27th of March 2014
How much time in my trip itinerary should I allot for character meals (breakfast and dinners), quick service lunches, and non character ADRs? I was scheduling 45 minutes for QS lunches and 1hr for all ADRs but now I am question if that is long enough for two adults and a 4 year old. Help please!
Monday 31st of March 2014
I am not sure if Shannen would have a better answer - she is more experienced and probably has a better idea - but I usually allot nearly 90 minutes for all table ADRs and about 45 to 1 hour for quick service meals. If your meals are booked at "off peak" times, you may not need to wait as long for your table. Remember, that even if you have a reservation, you may still need to wait 15 or 20 minutes for your table. We waited 30 minutes once, even with a reservation, for a 6:00 pm (peak time) meal.
Monday 24th of March 2014
I absolutely agree that making little ones sit and wait for older ones to ride something they can't is a BAD idea. I always took my youngest for character meet and greets or to the various play areas while my husband and older son rode the attractions she was too short for. This year, she is thrilled that she will be able to join us for many of the 40 inches and under rides! I am thrilled that the four of us will finally be able to ride these attractions together!
Here's another tip for avoiding long waits -
Use FP+ on the rides you will need to "swap" on. OR, ride these attractions early in the morning. The "swapper" will get a FP ticket to ride, but the first person (or people) to ride first will need to wait in a regular line. If the wait is 60 minutes, you will need to allot 60 minutes, the time it takes for the ride itself, plus another 15 to 20 minutes for the "swapper." This can take a chunk out of your day. Imagine having to do this more than once? If you use FP+, or ride when there is little to no wait, you would only need to figure on about 30 - 40 minutes total (instead of 60 or more). Two years ago, my husband and I both got to ride Splash Mountain in under 20 minutes with rider swap. We arrived at MK at rope drop. It was also early May, when the crowds are relatively low.
Wednesday 26th of March 2014
Our family has the TSA Pre-check and while we love it in the Dallas airports we found it completely useless in Orlando MCO. We were made to go through the exact same line and do everything the regular passengers had to including taking off our shoes and getting our electronics out of our carry-on.