If you’ve been to Disney World before, chances are you know that feeling: you just want to get from one side of Magic Kingdom to the other, but you’re met with a wall of crowds or a parade or cavalcade, slowing you down big time! Well, did you know that there are SECRET walkways that can help you avoid those crowds?
Okay, so maybe these walkways aren’t a complete secret, but there are often-overlooked walkways in the parks that can help you save some time while getting from point A to point B — or, at least it will make your walk more pleasant and crowd-free. With the 50th Anniversary Celebration bringing in plenty of visitors, it’s more important than ever to be aware of where the shortcuts and alternate routes are in the parks!
In the Parks
The trick when navigating the parks is that all of the “secret” walkways are right in front of you — just grab a park map! Of course, making your way around a crowded walkway is easier said than done. So, we have a few tricks when it comes to avoiding walls of other guests when making your way through the parks. Let’s kick things off with Magic Kingdom!
In Magic Kingdom, there are several underused walkways that could help you avoid crowds. The first is the Boardwalk that circumvents Frontierland along the Rivers of America. This walkway runs basically parallel to the main drag of Frontierland, but most guests seem to stick to the main road! It’s often less busy than the main thoroughfare in Frontierland, although not always (particularly when a parade or cavalcade is passing through and this becomes the only way to get around!).
Trying to make it to Tomorrowland from Cinderella Castle? Rather than taking the main bridge, which can often get super crowded, cut through Tomorrowland Terrace. This will also walk you right past a lesser-used restroom that’s convenient to use.
Speaking of Cinderella Castle, a lot of guests will travel THROUGH the castle to get around the park (it is the most memorable way to get past the Castle TBH). Problem is this can often be a congested area and slow you down a good bit. If you’re in Liberty Square, there is a path behind the castle that is often less crowded and will help you avoid crowds of people snapping pictures.
The last shortcuts in Magic Kingdom are actually two cut-throughs between the Frontierland and Liberty Square area and Adventureland. These pathways will save you tons of time when traveling from land to land, especially on busier days. The first is found just where Liberty Square transitions into Frontierland…
…or in Adventureland near the entrance to the Swiss Family Treehouse, depending on which side you’re coming from.
This covered area leads to restrooms found more on the Adventureland side. This is a FAST, easy way to save a ton of steps if you’re getting from one land to another.
The second cross through is down near Aloha Isle, on the Adventureland side…
…which comes out between Frontier Mercantile and the entrance to Country Bear Jamboree, on the Frontierland side.
Both of these routes will shave time and steps off of your day!
Over at EPCOT (or what we lovingly refer to as “WallCOT” these days thanks to the sea of construction), navigating crowds is a little tricker than usual, especially in Future World.
With so much construction going on, you’ll run into countless walls and barriers that almost force you and everyone around you to take one singular path around the park.
Most of the usual shortcuts we would recommend you use aren’t really available as of this writing, and only time will tell once the construction walls come down what the new “beaten paths” will be in EPCOT. Until then, there’s still one useful walkway — the bridge walkway from Future World over to the Odyssey Center is often not as crowded as the main drag.
If you’re heading to Mexico or the lefthand side of World Showcase, this will open up right near there (and you pass a convenient restroom too!).
Disney’s Hollywood Studios can be especially prone to crowds and bottlenecking!
If you’re looking for the shortest path possible to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, walk all the way down to Hollywood Boulevard and turn at Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway to walk past ABC Commissary. This route is quicker but can sometimes see crowds.
If your goal is to avoid crowds, try turning left once you hit Echo Lake (before the Chinese Theater) and walk past 50’s Prime Time Cafe and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular to get over to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. It’s a longer path, but it’s usually not as crowded.
This park is one of the easiest to get “stuck” feeling in, so just watch your route on the map ahead of time to know where to go!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a few walkways as well that not only help you avoid crowds, but give you an extra sense of peace and calm (something about the park’s lush landscape just puts us at ease!).
The walkway between Africa and Pandora is one many guests don’t use or know about! You’ll find this walkway by Festival of the Lion King on the Africa side…
…or down in the more lush part of Pandora, if you’re heading to Africa.
Head to the right of Satu’li Canteen to find the start of this long walkway. Again, many guests head straight to the food and rides and miss this section of Pandora. It’s a great way to get out of Pandora instead of circling back to the entrance.
As you travel from Africa to Asia, there is a short path that veers off to the left of the main path that will also help you avoid crowds.
Finally, the Discovery Island trails behind and in front of the Tree of Life are typically pretty quiet and are nice places to walk around without bumping into other guests.
While the parks tend to be the most crowded areas in Disney World, there are other places where you may find yourself struggling to get a little bit of elbow room — the resort hotels!
At the Resorts
The newest way to avoid crowds can be found traveling from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa to Magic Kingdom. Rather than taking the Monorail, which can get very busy at peak times during the day, check out the pedestrian walkway! You can access Magic Kingdom by foot by taking this calm walking path straight to the park.
Walking from any of the Monorail Resorts to Magic Kingdom — Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort — will help you avoid crowds on the Monorail.
If you’re staring out at the Transportation and Ticket Center, the walkway to the Polynesian is usually a quiet and not as crowded walk.
If you have a breakfast reservation at ‘Ohana or you aren’t in a huge rush to get to Magic Kingdom, give it a try next time! Speaking of walkways to the parks, did you know you can walk between EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios? This walkway also connects you to Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels! It’s a longer walk, but if the weather is nice and you have time to spare, it’s a different and lovely way to park hop.
Spending an extra minute or two planning your transportation strategy could help you avoid huge crowds. For example, by walking to a different bus stop, you can be among the first guests on in the morning. If you’re at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa (a resort that is notorious for multiple bus stops), Disney Springs basically connected to the hotel. A short walk to Disney Springs will let you have access to all of the buses departing from there! Just a few extra steps in the morning can save the headache of multiple full buses passing.
Walking to a closer or a different Skyliner boarding point can yield similar results! Caribbean Beach Resort may be the hub of the Skyliner but it’s also a massive hotel. If you’re not located close to the station, it could mean a 15+ minute walk each way! For some portions of the hotel, you’d actually save a ton of time by walking to the Riviera Resort next door via a walkway.
This Skyliner Station is actually much closer for some guests at Caribbean Beach!
We hope this list is helpful in bringing you and your party around those massive crowds on your next Disney World vacation, rather than through them! Disney World can get particularly busy these days, with plenty of visitors looking to experience the 50th Anniversary Celebration. Keep these walkways in the back of your mind and you could wind up saving yourself the headache of dealing with walls of people!
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What is your go-to tip for avoiding crowds while you’re in Disney World? Let us know in the comments!