Over the past decade or so, die-hard Disney fans probably agree that the “down season” which used to occupy the weeks without major holidays has become a thing of the past. Frequent visitors might also agree that now there are only two real seasons, very crowded, and somewhat less crowded. Disney has really worked hard to get to this point. They have added special events to fill up that down season. This might scare some people away thinking big crowds equal big wait times, but no need to fret. My idea of a vacation is NOT waiting 180 minutes in a crowded line, and by following these tips, you won’t have to either. This blog shares some of my favorite attractions at the Magic Kingdom where you will encounter virtually no lines.
1. “Show Rides” are your friend
So I might have just made up the term show ride, but I thought it explained really nicely the rides and attractions that come in a show format. The Magic Kingdom has many of these show rides: The Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents, Mickey’s Philharmagic, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Stitch’s Great Escape, and the Carousel of Progress. There is no getting in and out of any fancy boat, space ship, or hollowed out log. For these rides, you simply wait until the doors open, go find a seat, prepare to be amazed, be amazed, then head to the exit for the next exciting part of your day. Many of these attractions have clocks outside of them that tell you when the next show will start. If you don’t see one, I would ask a nearby friendly cast member. A courteous, “Excuse me sir, can you tell me when the next show starts?” should do the trick. If it’s anything more than 5 minutes, I wouldn’t go in yet. The hall of presidents show is about 23 minutes long. If you just missed going into the last show, don’t waste your time waiting around a room. Go outside, go to the bathroom, drink some water, buy a delicious pretzel, check out the nearby souvenir shop, take a selfie, you get the idea. Then when it’s about 5 minutes to showtime, you can head in. For some of these show rides, you can actually see the queue lines before you decide to get into the line. As you’re walking around Adventureland, walk closely behind the Enchanted Tiki Room. If you can’t hear the pre show birds doing their bit yet, don’t go get it line. If the Carousel of Progress is still spinning, see if you can go get your picture taken with Buzz Lightyear which is located right next door, or watch some of the entertainment on the Tomorrowland stage. Once you see the carousel stop, then you will have enough time to go walk in. My advice would be to not use any of your Fastpass selections on these show rides. There is no real benefit of getting into the waiting area long before you have to. Disney theaters can hold a lot of people, and just about any seat is a good seat. (This is especially true with all 3D shows. The magic of 3D is the action comes to you, the seat you sit in is irrelevant.) I like to think of these show rides as great options to fill some time before I can return for my Fastpass attraction.
2. An attraction that requires physical work
Another attraction that if you time it right you will be met with virtually no line is The Swiss Family Robinson Tree house. This is something I often skip when I go with my mom, but try to do when I’m there with my husband because he gets easily distracted and likes to climb on things. This is also something I will avoid doing on a very hot and humid day, or immediately following a run Disney event. I would make an educated decision on the spot whether this is something you really want to do. Those are 100% real life stairs that not only do you have the pleasure of walking up, but walking back down again. Anyone with foot, knee, or hip problems, people with fear of heights, and people with a fear of doing too much exercise on their vacation should probably pass on this. If you do decide to go exploring up the tree, DON’t go when it looks crowded. Since there is only one way up and one way down, you might feel pressure to walk faster, or perhaps you can only move at a snail’s pace because of the people in front of you taking their sweet ol time. Come back to this attraction when you can physically see the line it short. A great time to climb is at night. The lines will be shorter because most people will be tired at this point. You can also get some really cool views from the top.
3. Attractions that let you stop and smell the roses, or at least the sugar glazed almonds and popcorn
These three attractions allow you to experience the Magic Kingdom’s beauty from a relaxed position, always something nice on a long, hot day. The Walt Disney World Railroad, Liberty Square Riverboat and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (TTA aka peoplemover) are definitely hidden gems in the park. The railroad is great because there are 3 stops, Mainstreet, Frontierland, and Fantasyland. You can decide where to get off, or just keep going around and around, taking in the sights. If one particular train stop looks busy, I would keep wandering on my merry way until I stumble upon the next one. The train also falls into the category of being able to see the queue before you go. Use your judgement. If you think you might not make it on to the next train, hop out of line and do something else. You could always wander over to the Liberty Square Riverboat. The boat boards every half an hour, on the half and full hour. This makes it easy to decide if you can just hop on and go, or do something else and come back. If you’re in the mood for something more futuristic, the TTA is one of my favorite rides to relax on. Not only do you get a beautiful view of Tomorrowland, you will get a peek at Cinderella castle. This queue line moves very fast. What might look like a 20 min line will probably be 5 minutes. The ride vehicles move continuously so unlike waiting for a train or a boat, these cars are always there ready for you to hop into.
While at Disney World, you might be a family that has everything planned out to the minute, or you might be the family that is totally winging it. A successful vacation allows for flexibility. I always enjoy the feeling of getting my money’s worth out of my park ticket. I think it would be impossible to do that if I spent the majority of my day waiting in a line. These parks are beautiful places to explore, and the time you will have being out line will allow you to do just that. Stay tuned for Rides with Virtually No Lines at Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.