We’re constantly working our hardest to get you the very best tips and information to help you plan to have the best trip possible. BUT, there is one thing that happens at Disney that can RUIN your trip, and you definitely don’t want it to take you by surprise.
No, we’re not talking about spilling your popcorn all over the floor (although that would be quite sad), or the fact that your kiddo might have an absolute MELTDOWN when a torrential downpour comes and tons of rides shut down (although that too would not be ideal). What we’re talking about are…those dreaded lines.
If you’re planning a visit to Disney, especially during a popular time like holidays or school breaks, you’re probably going to be faced with more than a few lines to get to something. You might find yourself in some LOOONG lines just to get inside of a pavilion in EPCOT, when getting on a ride, to get into your resort pool(?!), to visit a new store, or to get on the Skyliner or other Disney World transportation.
If you go into Disney World and aren’t expecting those long lines and long waits, they can TOTALLY put a damper on your vacation. Now, sometimes we have encountered very low crowd levels in the parks and thus very short lines. But, recently, Park Passes for various parks have been selling out on various days, and we have seen some fairly big crowds. We expect the crowd levels will likely continue to be high as we enter the summer season when many kids are off from school and families take advantage of that time to visit the parks.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Disney World in the near future, particularly during a time that is expected to be busy, what can you do about those LOOONG lines? Here are our tips.
If you have a must-do ride, you may want to try to get into the park and in line as EARLY as possible (you may even be able to rope drop now and get into the park before it officially opens for the day). Another thing you may want to do is keep an eye on that wait time in the My Disney Experience app throughout the day to see if wait times drop (especially after 2PM once people have started Park Hopping).
Especially if you’re heading to Disney World in the near future while social distancing is still in effect, the lines may seem even crazier than they really are in terms of actual wait time, since guests must be distanced so the lines will stretch out really far. You might find yourself waiting somewhere super random, like say, standing in line in the China pavilion for a ride that’s in the Norway pavilion.
If you don’t mind shelling out a little bit of extra cash, Disney Genie+ can help you skip the lines with their paid FastPasses replacement, Lightning Lanes! The service is $15 per day per person, plus additional charges for especially popular attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
If you had no idea to expect this type of queue it could totally mess up with your perfect EPCOT day, but here’s our best advice: know that lines can get crazy, prioritize your top choices, and make sure you knock those out as soon as you can before crowds get too crazy or keep an eye out for drops in wait times.
If you’re totally over Disney lines, you can skip them (for a price!) Check out the full list of Lightning Lanes Included with Genie+ Here!
Navigating the Lines
Navigating the parks with these long lines can be difficult right now. What is this line for? What are people waiting over here for? Where should I be looking for the end of the line for this ride? That’s why we’ve developed a series of maps to help you!
These maps show you the general entrances and exits to various stores and more around Disney (as some of these have changed due to social distancing) and the typical spots where you’ll find those extended ride queues.
- Click here to see our EPCOT map
- Click here to see our Magic Kingdom map
- Click here to see our Disney’s Animal Kingdom map
- Click here to see our Disney’s Hollywood Studios map
Lines to pick up Mobile Orders can also be quite long, and sometimes if you wait until peak eating times, you’ll have to wait quite a while to pick up that order. To avoid some of the lines and waiting, try to place your Mobile Order way in advance. You can place a Mobile Order early and schedule it for a later pick-up time.
Placing the order early should give you a wide choice of pick-up times to choose from, so later on you won’t have to worry about ordering your food at 12:00PM (when your stomach is already grumbling) and realizing you won’t be able to pick it up until 1:30PM.
You may also want to consider eating at “off times” when things aren’t as busy — in other words, not right at 12:00PM. Having a late breakfast and then a late lunch, or something like that, might help you get a shorter Mobile Order line and avoid some crowds.
C is for Cookie…L is for Literally the Longest Line
Besides getting into your favorite rides or restaurants, you may encounter some other more unexpected queues, like a LONG queue for the newest cookies in Disney Springs.
The Gideon’s Bakehouse line is notoriously long, and while they do have a virtual queue, it could still be hours before you get called to return to the store. So, we wouldn’t necessarily suggest trying to stop by Gideon’s if you’re on a time crunch.
If Gideon’s is a must-do for you, be prepared to do some other things around Disney Springs while you wait! This way you won’t be disappointed by a potentially long wait, or have to skip out on those delicious creations.
We Found a Line WHERE?
Lately, it’s become pretty normal to see lines in strange places around Disney World, but recently we found one that was VERY unexpected. If you’re hoping to take a dip in your resort pool on your next Disney Vacation, brace yourself!!
At some hotels, resort guests sometimes have to wait in HUGE lines just to get into the pools!
Though pools across property are open for guests, there are still capacity limits like many other features at Disney World.
We’ve also seen some pools utilizing virtual waitlists, like what we’ve seen at some stores around Disney World. If your pool has a virtual line, the Cast Members will let you know how to get added, and you’ll generally receive a text when it’s time to return.
If you have a full resort day planned with other activities in mind while you wait for your turn at the pool, this might not be such a big deal. However, if your family is used to coming back to the resort to hand out for a few hours and take a swim before heading back to the parks, long pool lines could put a wrench in your plans. Bottom line: like with a lot of lines in Disney, if you want to beat ’em, you may want to join ’em early.
And of course, we couldn’t talk about lines without touching on what might be the most annoying kind of line: lines for transportation. So many people spend a lot of time and energy planning their perfect day in each Disney park, maybe even down to the minute. But it can be VERY frustrating if that schedule is set off by a long wait for transportation to get to the parks.
Due to limited capacity and social distancing requirements on the different forms of Disney transportation, the lines to get on these forms of transportation can back up quite a bit. That’s particularly true for Disney World’s newest form of transportation — the Skyliner.
Lately, the Skyliner lines have been VERY long at times. Sure, the ride itself only lasts a few minutes, but it could take you quite a while to even get on in the first place!
One of the best tips for avoiding Skyliner traffic (or really, any crowds on Disney transportation) is to get there early — are you noticing a theme here?
The Skyliner generally starts running about one hour prior to the earliest park opening. So if Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the earliest park opening and is opening that day at 9AM, you probably won’t want to show up to the Skyliner line by 8:30AM because the line could already be bogged down.
In reality, this is not new. Disney transportation can get crowded right around park opening and at park close since that’s when the most people are using it. If that’s not your jam, you can always arrange for other options, like walking if you’re close enough, looking at ride-share, or seeing what other options are available.
So, the main takeaway here is that the possibility of hitting some long lines in Disney World is an important thing to keep in mind as you plan your trip. Don’t let these long lines take you by surprise and ruin something you and your family have been really looking forward to!
Try to get to the parks early if you can, try to get to those Skyliner lines early too, keep an eye on those wait times, and check out all of our tips for avoiding those lines. And, try to come prepared for those long lines — download some games, maybe even the Play Disney Parks app, or think of other games to keep the family entertained. While it’s highly likely you’ll have to wait in lines for some things in Disney World, with a few tips and tricks you can hopefully avoid some of them or at least be better prepared!
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Have you been stuck in any awful Disney lines? Let us know in the comments!