As we approach Summer, any of Walt Disney World’s four theme parks are usually synonymous with big crowds and long wait times. But what happens when you’ve run out of stamina to wait in those 60-minute lines? Have ages to go before your next FastPass? Or aren’t sure what attractions are accessible in heavy crowds? During the busiest days of the year, many Walt Disney World attractions may have lines over the 40-minute mark. However, there are a handful of options at each park where the waits tend to be shorter, making them the perfect back up plan for those sick of waiting around. Here’s four of our favorites at each Walt Disney World theme park.
1. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel – (pictured above) The perfect go-to option for tired toddlers, this merry-go-round done Disney-style usually has wait times around the 15-minute mark. The ride loads quickly and with its playful theming is great for getting your second wind. During peak days I’ve seen the line for this attraction at over 30 minutes but typically that isn’t the case making it a nice jump-on option.
2. Mickey’s Philharmagic Concert – This is my go-to option when crowds and temperatures start to reach their peak. Located in Fantasyland this fantastic 4-D concert takes place in a nice, cool and dimly lit theater making it perfect for resting those weary feet. The production itself is fun and lively and will definitely have guests singing along. Most of the queue for this attraction (when there is one) snakes its way through the nicely air-conditioned theater lobby and the large theater means that lines move quickly.
3. Country Bear Jamboree – This hilarious hoedown is a wonderful bit of Disney nostalgia that is rarely busy. With performances running regularly throughout the day and with its convenient Frontierland location its perfect for that afternoon break, for something to do before waiting for the afternoon parade or if you have some time to kill before your Splash Mountain FastPass. This animatronic show is old-school Disney at its best so give it a try next time you’re looking to avoid the lines.
4. Mad Tea Party – When the lines in Fantasyland start to get out of control, this is a nice go-to option. Though I’ve seen lines for the Tea Party exceed 30 minutes, it’s rare. The ride loads pretty quickly so the queues tend to move a lot faster than you think. It a fun, classic attraction perfect for the picture books and definitely worth squeezing in.
1. Grand Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros – As one of only two rides in Epcot’s World Showcase you think the lines for this boat ride located in Disney’s Mexico Pavilion would be quite long but that isn’t usually the case. The ride boasts quick load-times which means low wait times and nestled in the back of Mexico’s Pavilion it is nice, cool and air-conditioned. Similar to it’s a small world, the Grand Tour provides a nice bit of Disney nostalgia.
2 Disney &.Pixar Short Film Festival – If one of the things you enjoy most about seeing the latest Pixar movie is checking out the delightfully creative shorts that are run before the films, then this is the show for you. Located next to Journey Into the Imagination with Figment, the Short Film Festival takes place in the theater that previously housed Captain Eo. Its 18 minute run time makes it the perfect place to cool off when temperatures soar and visitors can typically walk right in.
3. Spaceship Earth – Another constantly loading ride in Epcot’s Future World wait times for this lengthy journey through the history of the written world usually takes about 20-minutes. The fact that this ride is 16 minutes long, is dark and air-conditioned makes it perfect for those moments when exhaustion, hot temperatures and the odd temper tantrum start to get the best of your little ones. My only piece of advice is to avoid this ride first thing in the morning. Most people see the shiny silver ball as soon as they head into EPCOT and head straight for it meaning morning lines or longer. Save this one for a bit later in the day.
4. Journey Into the Imagination With Figment – A delightful little ride featuring everyone’s favorite imagination dragon, I’ve rarely seen lines for this ride that are longer than 5 minutes. Its perfect if you have some time to kill before your Soarin’ FastPass or Garden Grill reservation and the ImageWorks at the end of the ride is also a great place to get out of the heat or those torrential Florida Summer rainfalls.
1. Muppet Vision 3D – Every time I head over to this section of Hollywood Studios, I’m always struck by how quiet it is compared to the rest of the theme park. This will eventually change with the Star Wars expansion but in the meantime, it’s the perfect haven for those looking to beat the lines and crowds. MuppetVision 3D is a slightly dated albeit highly enjoyable show featuring many of your much-loved Disney friends. Though small waits can happen it’s usually because a show has just started. Many times (despite the time of year), I have been able to walk into the next available performance.
2. Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular – Another classic Hollywood Studios attraction, this 30-minute stunt show re-creating some of the much-loved scenes from the Indiana Jones films usually offers small lines making it a nice option for families looking to take a little break. Though lines can occasionally appear to be in excess of 20 minutes this is usually a result of the theater being mid-performance. Pop back closer to show time and you should be able to breeze on in.
3. Voyage of the Little Mermaid – Again, there may be some waiting around if you’ve popped by this venue mid-performance but usually, the lines for this musical tribute to the Little Mermaid are under 10 minutes. The show itself is short too, make it the perfect attraction to squeeze in while waiting for your Toy Story FastPasses to kick in or that lunch reservation at Hollywood Brown Derby.
4. Star Wars Launch Bay – More of a museum paying homage to all things Star Wars rather than an attraction, this is the perfect place to go when you’re tired of waiting in line, looking to kill some time or wanting to get out of the thunderstorm. A treasure trove of amazing relics from Star Wars films both young and old, it’s definitely worth checking out.
1. Tricera Top Spin – With the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar the big news story at Animal Kingdom as of late has been the massive lines, however there are still a few trusty options for those looking to enjoy an attraction or two without the waits. Tricera Top Spin is typically a great option. Lines for this ride usually sit at the 5-15 minute mark. Similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephant or the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, its the perfect option to pleases your toddler.
2. DINOSAUR – Though midday wait times for this attractions can rival some of Animal Kingdom’s most popular rides this is the perfect first-thing-in-the-morning option for families that aren’t racing to Pandora! As soon as the park opens it’s typically possible to walk right on to this fun ride filled with lots of thrills and massive animatronic dinosaurs. Even if there is a bit of a line the nice and cool indoor queue makes it a relatively stress-free experience compared to the craziness going on in other parts of the park! Later in the day lines can sit around the 40 to 60-minute mark which is when I would give DINOSAUR a miss but in the early am its an absolute joy!
3. Boneyard – An amazing kid’s playground done Disney-style, this is the perfect location for parents to take a load off while kids get to burn of the energy that’s been building up from hours of standing in line. You can usually walk right into this Dinoland U.S.A play area unless it has reached capacity at which point there may be a small line as Cast Members wait for families to leave. Its gated entrance means that parents don’t need to worry about their tiny ones wandering off, making for a relaxing place to pass the time.
4. Its Tough To Be Bug – Located at the base of the Tree of Life, this 4D production teaches audiences about a wide variety of insect friends and usually has small to minimal wait times. The theater is cool and dark and perfect for taking a mid-afternoon break and the content, featuring characters from A Bug’s Life is bound to capture the imaginations of your little ones.
So next time you’re fretting over ridiculously long lines, try giving one of these attractions a go. Each is perfect for breaking up the day, providing some much-needed rest or making family’s feel like they’ve accomplished more than just waiting in line.
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