It’s hard to pinpoint the best thing at Disney World. Of course, we’re inclined to say that the food is the best part, but honestly, the RIDES might give the food a run for its money!
Now, riding attractions in Disney World may seem to be pretty straight forward. You just get in line, wait for a while, and then have a blast on the attraction, right? Well, it’s actually not so simple. There are a BUNCH of ways that you can make rides in Disney World even BETTER! So, we’re helping you out with 20 of our very best ride hacks to make sure you make the best of your next Disney vacay.
We’re gonna start off with a few tips that will help you have the best experience you can on certain rides.
1. Best View On Soarin’
For instance, you might be wondering how to get the best view on Soarin’! This Epcot attraction is supposed to make it feel like you’re really flying around the world through the use of a curved screen.
The downside to this is that the curve can distort the picture for those on the sides. To avoid this, request Concourse B and row 2 when you get to the gate. That will put you right in the middle. If you’re worried about feet getting in your way, you’ll want to request the top row.
2. Experience A Wilder Ride On Roller Coasters
Disney World has a bunch of really fun roller coasters (we can’t decide whether we like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Space Mountain better!). Now if you’re a thrill-seeker, you might be wondering how to make sure you get the best seat on the ride. Well, when you get to the end of the line for Expedition Everest, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or any other coaster, request a seat in the very back. Because of the fact that the rest of the ride vehicles are pulling you along, you’ll have a much crazier ride!
Alternatively, you can request the very front if you want a smoother ride. This can be great if you’re not a fan of a jerky ride. You’ll still get all of the same thrills, but you won’t have quite as jerky/wild ride experience as you will elsewhere in the car.
3. Best Time For A Safari
Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the coolest rides in Disney World because you will see and experience something different every single time you ride it! You never know what animals you’ll see out on the reserve and you’ll never know what they’ll be doing.
Still, there are times that are better to ride the safari than others. Just like us, the safari animals don’t love the blazing heat of midday and tend to be more active in the morning or in the evening.
So, if you’re hoping to get some good views of the safari, grab a spot in a truck sometime in the morning or right at dusk! Alternatively, Kilimanjaro Safaris can be an AWESOME ride in the rain because (NOT like us) the safari animals love to hang out in the cool rain. So, you may want to hop on the safari when you’re stuck in one of those afternoon downpours.
4. Rides That Are Better At Night
We definitely recommend making sure you ride certain rides at night. Of course, we love these rides during the day too, but they’re extra special when the stars are out. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Slinky Dog Dash are two rides that introduce a super fun element at night. They’re both outdoor coaster with really pretty light displays, so you’ll be zipping around through a whole new world of color. You will also get a STUNNING view of the castle and maybe even Disney Enchantment if you ride Big Thunder Mountain at the right time.
Another ride that’s super fun at night — specifically during the fireworks — is Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland. If you crank your spaceship up to the highest level, you can also get a wonderful view of Disney Enchantment. Now, this can be a little difficult to time out so keep an eye out on Astro Orbiter wait times leading up to the fireworks so that you can make sure you’re taking flight at the same time as the fireworks.
5. Score BIG On Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
Some Disney World rides can really bring out the competitive side in families. That’s right, we’re talking about those game rides like Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin! This attraction has guests fighting the evil Emperor Zurg by shooting targets to rack up points. Now, it’s pretty darn hard to do super well in this game (in our opinion anyway!) unless you know which are the best targets to aim for.
So if you’re trying to really rack up some points there are THREE targets you need to be aiming for! First, when you head into the room with the big robot, aim for the target on the inside arm to rack up a bigger point value. Then, in the boss scene with Zurg’s ship, there’s a target right at the bottom of the ship that a lot of people overlook, so point that blaster down for big values. The last one that’ll get you the big point values is in the star tunnel. Try to hit the spaceship flying around and you just might come out on top!
These targets can be hit multiple times and may even help you become a galactic hero!! If ya do become a galactic hero, don’t forget to snag your sticker from a Cast Member.
6. Get A High Score On Toy Story Mania
Toy Story Mania, another game-based ride in Disney World is in Hollywood Studios. This midway game takes you through a variety of carnival vignettes where you use a blaster tool on your ride vehicle to launch rings, throw darts, and more. Just like with Buzz, there are a few big tips to finding some hidden scenes and making sure you end up with a higher score than the rest of your fam and maybe even to make it on the leaderboard at the end!
In the first scene, the one with the barn, focus on the barn walls. When you see mice running up them, start shooting! This won’t get you too many extra points but it will reveal a special surprise.
Also, go ahead and try to knock the roof off the hen house, if you can, it will release some hens who will give you a lot of points when you hit them. The best-hidden advantage is in the ring toss game. Try to ring ALL of the green men (you’ll want to work together with your ride partner) and a robot will pop onto the screen and give you an opportunity for tons of points.
7. Rider Switch
Now we’re going to talk about some tips that are SUPER helpful for if you’re riding with your kiddos! First off, a super big hack for parents is the Rider Switch service that Disney offers. This is a great option for families where the kiddos meet different height requirements around the park. Say your 11-year-old really wants to ride Space Mountain and your 6-year-old just isn’t tall enough — you don’t have to skip it altogether!
Instead request Rider Switch from the Cast Member at the entrance to the attraction. One adult can take the riding kiddos through the line and ride, then the other adult can ride without going through the whole queue again. Up to three guests can use Rider Switch at a time, so it’s a great way to make the most out of some of those less kid-friendly rides.
8. Dupes For Dumbo
Here’s a really important one if you have a little kiddo who’s deadset on riding Dumbo OR if you want to make sure you get all the classic attractions in. Dumbo the Flying Elephant tends to have really long lines, but here’s the thing — The Magic Carpets of Aladdin in Adventureland and Triceratop Spin in Animal Kingdom are EXACTLY the same ride! Annnnd they tend to have shorter lines. Your little ones likely won’t notice the difference and they’ll have just as much fun for a much shorter wait.
Now, if those little ones are just obsessed with Dumbo and you HAVE to take a spin, the queue area is actually pretty pleasant. It’s a massive indoor play area with plenty of seating so parents can chill out (literally, there’s AC!) while kids frolic on a super cool circus-themed playground.
Upon entering, you will be given a pager (much like the ones you’re used to receiving at a restaurant). When it’s your turn to ride, the pager will light up! Therefore, this can make waiting for the Dumbo attraction a lot of fun!
9. Introducing Kids To Rollercoasters
Okay, so if you’ve got a little one who you think might be ready to try rollercoasters, there’s a very specific order you should use to introduce them. It may not be a great idea to toss your kid on Space Mountain as their first coaster when they aren’t ready!
Instead, we suggest starting with The Barnstormer, then try Slinky Dog Dash, then Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, then Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and then (if they’re still comfy) you’re at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Space Mountain level.
Another big tip is to let your kiddo watch the coaster before you ride! Stand by the gates at Barnstormer and let them tell you if it’s the kind of thing they might want to try. You can do the same for all of the outdoor coasters up to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Now if your kid is still into the thrills and wants more, you obviously can’t watch Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Space Mountain. Instead, pull up some videos on your phone so they can decide if they’re up to it.
10. Snagging Last-Minute Lightning Lanes
Now we’re moving on to some tips that will keep you out of line as much as possible. After all, your time in Disney World is limited, so why waste it in hours and hours of queues if you can avoid it?! Our first big tip is for finding last-minute Lightning Lanes! Even if you’ve already booked a Lightning Lane reservation, keep checking for better times, or if a Lightning Lane is currently unavailable, keep checking for it to come back.
People’s plans change all the time, so you never know when someone might cancel a Lightning Lane reservation. The trick here is to keep refreshing Disney Genie. The key here really is perseverance and dedication!!
We’re not kidding you can even find coveted Lightning Lanes with this method! And remember, if you are those people who have a change of plans, make sure to cancel your Lightning Lane reservations so that someone else can use them.
11. Single Rider Line
You might have walked right past this ride hack and not even known it! We’re talking about the Single Rider Line.
So, not every attraction in Disney World has this feature — in fact, it’s only a few — but it’s a super awesome trick to getting on thrill rides with less of a hassle. The rides that have Single Rider Lines are Test Track, Expedition Everest, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. So if you’re park-going alone or if you don’t mind splitting up for a ride, check this out.
Basically, look out for a separate queue area labeled “Single Rider.” You’ll get to wait with your group and you’ll only be split up for the actual ride itself. Sometimes we’ve even ended up in the same car anyway! The best part about this?
The line can end up being pretty short, similar to a Lightning Lane, so it can be a great way to save some time in line. These lines usually have wait times, so you should know what you’re in for before you hop in line.
12. Avoiding Lines
Now we’ve got a hack on how to avoid long lines altogether. Typically, the best time to find shorter lines in Disney parks is in the first hour of the morning or the last hour at night. Usually, people trickle in for a little while at park open and start to trickle out a little early for park close, so you’re more likely to find lines that are a little shorter than they normally would be.
Also, you can usually find shorter lines during the larger shows like Harmonious, Disney Enchantment, and Fantasmic. The shows draw large crowds, so if you don’t mind missing them, we suggest hopping in line for those heavy-hitter attractions like Splash Mountain or Peter Pan’s Flight.
13. Getting In Line At Park Close
Another way that you may be able to hop on an attraction with a much shorter wait time is by getting in line right at park close. As long as you make it into that queue at least one minute before the park closes you will get to ride the ride. This is awesome because you aren’t wasting any precious park hours trying to get a spot on Flight of Passage or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Plus, wait times are sometimes be exaggerated as you near the end of the day, so that 2-hour wait for Flight of Passage could be a little (or a lot) less. If you’re really wary of wasting park hours, definitely save those longer-wait favorites for right before the park closes.
14. Take Advantage of Extra Hours CHANGE
For Disney World Resort Hotel guests and guests at select non-Disney resorts, you can enter the Disney World parks a half-hour early with Early Theme Park Entry! This can be a major advantage, especially if you’re trying to rope-drop the big-ticket rides.
For guests at Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas, you can also take advantage of Extended Park Hours! On select dates, you’ll be able to stay in the park as late as midnight depending on the park and the day.
15. Disability Access
Next, we’ve got a few hacks for you to make sure that your time on rides in the Disney parks is as comfy and as fun as possible. For guests with disabilities, you’re definitely going to want to check in on Disability Access. Disability Access is available for guests who have a disability that prevents them from waiting in a conventional queue environment.
This service can make the park enjoyable for those with challenges being in a theme park environment. If this applies to you or someone in your group, head to Guest Services for more information and to pick up a guide for navigating the parks with disabilities.
16. How To Use Lines To Your Advantage
Days at Disney can be long and HOT, but you still might be surprised that you can use lines to your advantage. Still, queues can be a GREAT way to seek some much-needed shelter from the sun, heat, or rain. After all, many queues in Disney World are air-conditioned and most of the are covered in case of a sudden downpour.
Our favorite queues to relax in tend to be indoor and are well-themed. The Soarin’ queue has spacious air-conditioned hallways and games to play. Like we mentioned before, Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a great spot for parents to take a breather and kids to get their play on. And we LOVE the theming in the Frozen Ever After queue, so if the line isn’t stretched out the door, this can be a great option.
Note that outdoor ride queues like Big Thunder Mountain can be quite stuffy in the middle of the day, so you may wanna keep this in mind when planning.
17. What To Do When Things Break Down
A big and surprisingly necessary hack for Disney rides is what to do when a ride breaks down. Sure, a ride breaking down can be a MAJOR bummer, especially if you’re stuck on it or were REALLY hoping to ride! But, there are actually upsides to when things go wrong. First of all, it can be really cool to get stuck on some rides. You’ll notice details you’ve never seen before and can even look out for Hidden Mickeys.
Plus, if a ride breaks down for a significant amount of time and you had an Individual Attraction Selection reservation for it while it’s down, you might get an extra IAS reservation for that day. Usually, you’ll get to return for the IAS reservation you already had, just at a different time, and pick another one!
18. What To Do If Your Fave Ride Is Down For Refurb
Now, what do you do if your favorite ride is down for refurb? Well, this is a tricky one. First of all, try to avoid this issue altogether by keeping up with refurbishment schedules. In fact, we do a weekly refurbishment update here on DFB! That way, you can schedule around a closure of one of your favorites, or at least be aware that it’s coming.
If you do end up on a Disney trip where your fave ride is closed the whole time, it’s time to look for an alternative! There are some rides that are pretty similar around the parks. If a thrill ride like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is down, head to another like Space Mountain. If you were hoping to hop on “it’s a small world!,” Gran Fiesta Tour may fill the void.
19. Dealing With Motion Sickness Or Fear Of Heights
For some guests, motion sickness and fear of heights is a very real issue, so you’ll want to know what rides to avoid if these affect you! If you tend to experience motion sickness, we recommend you steer clear of any simulator rides like Star Tours or Mission: SPACE, jerky rides like Dinosaur, or spinning rides like Mad Tea Party. Now we will say that Mission: SPACE has a much less intense version of the attraction (the Green Side) and that tends to be a lot more manageable for those prone to motion sickness.
If you’re afraid of heights there are three big ones you’ll definitely want to avoid. Skip Soarin’ and Flight of Passage since they’ll make you feel like you’re flying super high up. It’s probably also a good idea to skip Tower of Terror. The dropping feeling probably won’t be fun for someone with a fear of heights.
20. What To Do With Your Bags
Last but certainly not least we have a tip on what to do with your bags! So, Disney doesn’t really use ride lockers like some other theme parks do, so you might be wondering where your bags are supposed to go! Well, usually rides have a pouch that you can tuck your bag in to keep it safe. On Soarin’ and simulators, you can often just leave it on the ground under your seat!
Now, if you do have a bigger bag, you can always loop a strap around your knee to keep it safe on thrill rides. Plus, if you’re planning on a big thrill ride-filled day or are headed to a bunch of water rides, you can always pay for a locker near the front of the park to make sure your stuff is kept super safe.
So get memorizing! Those are our twenty ride hacks that will really give you a leg up in the Disney parks. Whether you’re looking to have the best ride experience, ride with your kids, spend less time in line, or just have the most fun; these tips have got you covered.
If you’re looking for an easy way to document all this information, please check out our DFB ride hack pdf here.
Do you have any special tips and tricks for Disney World rides? Have you tried one of these tips before? Let us know in the comments!