The summer is the hottest time of the year for people to visit the happiest place on earth. With this comes long lines and cranky kids. While Walt Disney World has done a great deal, like making the queues interactive for the rides with the longest waits, to make the lines less boring and shorter, there is still only a certain amount of time in a day to see everything. This is why I’ve put together a list of six hacks to beat those long summer lines and get the most out of your day at the Magic Kingdom.
#1 Pick the right days to go
Not every day at the Magic Kingdom is equal. There are heavy and light days. Any day around a major holiday like the 4th of July, New Years, Christmas or Memorial Day are extremely busy, the lines will be long and the hotel rooms will be expensive. I recommend not visiting Walt Disney World during this time as you will be extremely unhappy.
Check out the Disney World Crowds Calendar for the best days to go.
#2 Plan out your FastPass+ Selections ahead of your stay
If you are staying in a Disney Resort, you can book your FastPass+ reservations 60 days prior to your check-in date. If you are staying 10 days, you could book your Fast Passes 70 days in advance of your last day. For non-resort guests holding tickets, you may book your selections 30 days in advance. In order to get the best choices, it is important to plan this out far in advance. The current FastPass+ system allows you to get 3 selections per day. Once you have used your 3 passes for a day, you can get more passes, but only one at a time (these cannot be pre-booked). In order to select your FastPasses, you must have your hotel reservation and/or tickets added to your My Disney Experience.
Please note that if you are an Annual Passholder, you may only plan FastPasses for up to 7 days. For example, if you are staying ten days at Walt Disney World, you can make FastPass+ selections in advance for only seven of those ten days. Once the first day of selections has passed, you may make selections for the eighth day.
You can find out more about the FastPass+ system at Walt Disney World’s FastPass+ FAQ page.
#3 Get in shape before you go
You may not realize it, but when you spend a day at the Magic Kingdom you will walk 4-5 miles. Therefore, if you are out of shape, start walking in the evenings to get your body ready. Not only will this make your vacation more enjoyable, but will make you feel much better. As always, please consult your doctor prior to starting any exercise program.
If you are not able to comfortably walk long distances, I recommend renting an ECV (Electric Scooter) while at the park. If you are planning on staying several days, I suggest contacting one of the outside vendors to rent one for the time you are staying. They will deliver it to your hotel prior to your arrival. They are more cost effective than renting an ECV at the parks and you can ride it to and from your hotel, whereas the ones rented at the parks, can only be used in the parks.
#4 Strategic use of the FastPass+ System
When to get your FastPass+ selections is important. I recommend that you do not get any reservations earlier than 2-3 hours after the park opens. Roughly 2-3 hours after the park opens is when the lines are the longest and there is plenty to do prior to this time without needing a FastPass+ selection.
Use your FastPass+ selections for rides that have the longest waits, such as The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway and Peter Pan’s Flight. If you are following our hacks, do not get one for anything in Frontierland or Adventureland.
#5 Get there early
The best time to get to the Magic Kingdom is about 60 minutes prior to rope drop (opening). You will get to see the Good Morning show and be one of the first in the park. The extra added time is due to the new security measures in place.
It is even better if you can get an early morning reservation at Crystal Palace that allows you to finish breakfast prior to rope drop. This will allow you to hit a super long line attraction, like The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Ride, right when the park opens.
#6 Follow a plan
After entering the park, head straight up Main Street USA and turn left at Casey’s. Follow this walk through Adventureland and go straight into Frontierland. First stops Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. After you get off Splash Mountain, head back over to Adventureland and hit Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise. You should be able to check these four rides off your list within the first hour.
After you’ve finished cruising the Jungle with a crazy captain, walk right over to the Haunted Mansion, then right onto It’s a Small World. If you didn’t get a FastPass+ for Peter Pan’s Flight, you might want to sneak around the corner before getting on Haunted Mansion and check the wait time. It might be a good time to hit this if the wait is around 30 minutes.
Once this section is complete, it should be about time for your first FastPass+ selection. Before heading off to take this thrill ride, check your My Disney Experience app for wait times of the long wait rides you didn’t get a FP for, you might fine one with a short line that you can take advantage of, otherwise, head off to your first FP.
For the next few hours, take advantage of your FP selections and in between, take in some of the attractions with lower wait times, like Carousel of Progress, Prince Charming’s Carousel, Dumbo, The Magic Carpet of Aladdin, The Riverboat, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Mickey’s PhillharMagic, the PeopleMover, the parade, and the castle foreground show. The important thing here is not to wait in any long lines, just hit as many short line attractions as you possible can. Oh, don’t forget to grab some lunch and take a long relaxing break. This would also be a good time to schedule a nap for the kids.
Don’t forget that after you use your last FastPass+ selection, you can schedule another one. See if you can grab one for another long line ride.
After 5-6 pm, you will notice the park starting to clear out a bit. The evening time is the best time to hit the rest of the long line attractions. If there is two fireworks shows, after the first show, the park will empty out and the lines will become more manageable. Finish up with last few rides on your check list and call it a night.
While I cannot guarantee that you will be able to hit all the attractions at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom by following this plan. In fact I can guarantee you that you will not be able to see everything in one day, I will say that you will get the most bang for your buck by following this plan.
If you have any suggestions or comments on this article, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org