Visiting Walt Disney World is a dream come true, whether you’re the type of Disney World traveler who ends up there 4 times a year or heading to the Disney parks is a rare event.

But what’s not a dream come true are the lines at Disney World. Add in 95-degree heat (or higher) and more humidity than anyone can bear, and that Disney theme park excursion becomes more of a candy-coated nightmare.

The Tron queue at Disney World, which often has long lines at Disney World.

Here’s a little light at the end of the excruciatingly long Disney ride queue tunnel: Mike and I never wait for more than 30 minutes on lines at Disney World or Disneyland, and we still get on everything there is to experience.

Even 30 minutes is pushing it for us — we prefer walk-ons (which don’t always require Disney Genie Plus Lightning Lanes), and if a regular standby line is over 10-15 minutes, we give it some serious thought before we commit.

Make your next Disney trip way more enjoyable with these tips for avoiding long lines at Disney World.

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Visit the Disney Parks During Off-Peak Times

Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World at Christmas.

There are certain times of the year that are far busier than other times. For example, Christmas week is an absolute zoo, but otherwise, Disney World is emptier than you may expect.

Off-peak times mean smaller crowds and shorter lines.

Here’s a 2023-2024 calendar from Undercover Tourist to find the best times to visit Disney World.

Pay for the Perk of “Skipping” Lines

Genie Plus Lightning Lane availability on the My Disney Experience app to avoid long lines at Disney parks.

OK, so Disney Genie Plus doesn’t exactly let you skip lines, but a Lightning Lane is generally much shorter than a regular line.

The Lightning Lane queue (and sometimes the Lightning Lane entrance) is separate from the regular line, and the only people on it are the ones who booked a Lightning Lane during the same time slot as you.

The exception to “the Lightning Lane is always shorter” rule is when the standby line is practically a walk-on. We’ve been on a Lightning Lane and watched people on the standby line get onto the ride before us, but that’s when the regular line has zero wait and the Lightning Lane has everyone who booked their slot.

But for the most part, booking a Lightning Lane is a good way to avoid long lines on the most popular rides at Disney parks.

Here are 4 Disney Genie+ tips to try on your next Walt Disney World trip.

Head to Popular Attractions Late

The front of the queue of Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom.

When you look up tips to avoid lines at Disney World, you’ll see a lot of advice about arriving early and riding the most popular rides first.

As two night owls who barely make it to the Magic Kingdom or any other Disney World theme park before noon, though, that’s not a strategy we can get behind.

(For you Disney adults out there who like to sleep in, check out our article about the perks of arriving later in the day.)

Instead, we save the rides with notoriously long waits for the evening. Once the sun sets, a lot of people have either park-hopped, headed back to their hotel with little ones, or are watching the nighttime show.

That means that the rides with long lines during the day are usually a lot easier to get on in the evening. We’ve had the most luck with this strategy at the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, but it pays to try it out at Epcot and Animal Kingdom, too.

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Whether it’s a day we skipped Genie Plus and the park’s Individual Lightning Lane or we couldn’t snag a Lightning Lane time slot, this is our favorite tip for getting onto a popular ride without waiting forever.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Make Dining Reservations During the Evening Show

The exterior of the Brown Derby restaurants at Hollywood Studios in Disney World.

If you want to take advantage of that time when everyone but you is watching the nighttime show at the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios or the other theme parks, don’t make dinner reservations during this time.

How to Make Disney Dining Reservations

Give yourself a lot of time before, during and after the nighttime show so you can squeeze everything you can out of those rare the-rest-of-the-park-is-practically-empty times.

Wrapping Up

Disney theme parks are an absolute pleasure, but getting stuck for a couple hours on lines for top-tier attractions can start to ruin your day.

Traveling during non-peak seasons, lowering wait times with Lightning Lane, and heading to select attractions (like Peter Pan and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway) during the nighttime show or right before closing time are the best ways to avoid long lines.

While you’re at it, here are 10 tips for staying cool at Disney World!

FAQ About Lines at Disney Theme Parks

What is the average wait time for popular rides at Disney World?

The average wait time for popular rides at Disney World is around 45 to 90 minutes. However, that varies based on the time of day, time of year, which Disney theme park you’re visiting, and if any Disney theme park events are encouraging or discouraging guests from visiting.

For example, when the Magic Kingdom closes early for a ticketed event in the evening, daytime crowds are generally lower than normal, even if it’s during a peak season. On those days, the average wait time for even the most popular rides will be lower than average.

At times, popular Disney attractions will have wait times of over 2 hours, and other times, even the most popular attractions will have walk-on availability.

How accurate are the posted wait times for Walt Disney World rides?

The posted wait times for Magic Kingdom rides and attractions at the other Disney World theme parks are generally accurate. However, sometimes a line will be shorter or longer than the time posted. This happens when either the posted time is inaccurate or when there’s a sudden change, like an influx of guests who get on line at the same time or an issue with the ride that keeps it from running temporarily.

Are there times of the day when Disney ride lines are shorter?

Lines at Disney for the most popular rides and attractions are generally shorter early in the morning and late in the evening. This is when the Walt Disney World theme parks are the least crowded and wait times are their lowest of the day.

Does staying at a Disney resort help you avoid lines at Disney World?

Staying at a Disney resort hotel can help you avoid lines at Disney World because you may have access to early park entry and/or extended evening hours. Since these are the times of day when crowds are at their lowest, wait times will be lower too.

How does the virtual queue work for rides at Disney World?

The virtual queue at Disney World is a way to secure a time slot for a popular ride. This doesn’t require payment other than having a park ticket for that day.

Disney World virtual queues are available for new, popular rides and attractions that don’t yet have a standby line.

Virtual queues are accessible via the My Disney Experience app. There are daily distribution times when you can try to get a spot in the virtual queue.

Learn more here.

Does Disney World still offer FastPass?

No, Disney World does not offer FastPass anymore. It was discontinued in 2021. Currently, Disney Genie Plus and Individual Lightning Lanes have replaced FastPass. The main difference is that FastPass was free, while Genie+ and ILLs require payment.

Is there a single-rider line option available at Disney World?

There are four Disney World rides with single-rider lines: Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios, and Test Track at Epcot.