Want To Avoid Lines at Disney? Data Reveals How To Get the Most Out of Your Next Trip to the Parks

How can you avoid long lines at Disney World? With high ticket costs and limited time, you can make the most of your next Disney trip by planning in advance.

Euro Disney's Disney Castle at night
Updated June 27, 2024
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Planning a trip to Walt Disney World is no small task for most families. With two waterparks, a revamped “downtown” area, and four theme parks full of rides, live performances, and themed dining experiences, there’s no shortage of options in the happiest place on earth.

While it’s no secret that a trip to Disney can be expensive between travel, park tickets, and food, many forget another limiting factor — time. With entry to a single park costing over $100, how can you be sure you’re making the most of it and not spending all your time waiting in lines?

To discover how to make the most of your time and money during your next Disney trip, the FinanceBuzz team analyzed wait times for every attraction at Disney parks, current ticket prices, and the number of attractions per park. While lines may be unavoidable, we found ways to get the most bang for your buck and offer suggestions for finding the right time to visit if you want to get the most out of your next trip.

In this article

Key findings

  • The average wait time across all Disney World parks is 38 minutes.
  • Parkgoers spend 17% of their time at Disney on a ride.
  • The best time to visit all four parks is the first week of September, with an average wait time of 25 minutes.
  • The worst time to visit all four parks is the last week of December, with an average wait time of 61 minutes.

Disney World wait times by the numbers

Visitors to Disney World can expect to pay between $150-$180 per person on admission for most of the year. Before spending money on food or merchandise, a family of four would be looking at more than $600 per day to get into one of the four Disney World amusement parks.

With admission so expensive, minimizing time spent waiting in line is important for getting the most out of your day. But just how easy is it to do that while still enjoying all the parks have to offer?

To start, we compared how long people wait in line versus how long rides take at the four parks.

Disney wait times

Across the 52 attractions Disney World offers at its four parks, guests can expect to wait an average of 38 minutes per ride.

Of all the parks in Disney World, Magic Kingdom, its flagship park, has the shortest average lines at 29 minutes. Hollywood Studios, home to popular attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and Slinky Dog Dash, has the longest lines at an average of 44 minutes.

Of note, lines at Animal Kingdom average just one minute shorter (43 minutes) than at Hollywood Studios. In 2022, the average wait time at the animal-themed park was just 34 minutes, representing the most significant change among all parks in that time frame.

Disney World wait times are getting longer

Long lines at Disney World aren’t a new phenomenon. Since 2014, average ride lengths have increased from 28 minutes to 38 minutes, representing a 36% increase.

In 2024, the average wait time across all Disney World parks was 38 minutes, down three minutes from its peak in 2022 (41 minutes), the first year without entry limitations following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disney wait times

Best and worst times to visit

Regardless of which park you’re interested in visiting, a few times of the year are consistently better than others in terms of lines, and if you’ve visited Florida in the summer, you can guess why.

September had the shortest average wait time for all four parks, averaging 30 minutes. Conversely, December was the worst month to visit Disney World, with an average wait time of 42 minutes.

Disney wait times

Average wait times at each Disney World park

Of course, the lines you encounter at every park largely depend on demand for that ride and how quickly each ride can turn over new guests. 

We looked at each attraction from the four parks to determine which rides had the longest (and shortest) lines and which offered the most bang for your buck regarding the time spent waiting in line versus time enjoying the attraction.

Magic Kingdom

You can expect over an hour’s wait at the Magic Kingdom on two rides: Peter Pan’s Flight and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The latter, a fun rollercoaster honoring Snow White’s supporting cast, carries the longest line in the park at 74 minutes.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is also one of the park’s shortest rides, taking just three minutes. You’ll spend 4% of your total time on the ride, the lowest of any attraction in the park.

Disney wait times

On the other end of the spectrum, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress (a great option for anyone looking for an air-conditioned reprieve at the Magic Kingdom) has an average wait time of just five minutes in exchange for a 21-minute rotating animatronic performance.

This equates to 81% of your time watching the show: a great big beautiful tomorrow, indeed.

EPCOT

EPCOT’s longest rides are some of their newest attractions, themed after hit movies. On average, lines for Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure clock in at over an hour each.

Disney wait times

Overall, lines at EPCOT average 37 minutes, while rides average 9.2 minutes, a 20% return on your time.

Hollywood Studios

The two longest lines in all Disney World parks are in Hollywood Studios. The average wait time for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is 81 minutes, and for Slinky Dog Dash, it’s over an hour and a half (93 minutes).

For those looking for something shorter, Muppet*Vision 3D — a 3D movie starring Kermit, Fozzie Bear, and Miss Piggy — is just a 10-minute wait.

Disney wait times

Animal Kingdom

There’s no shortage of things to do at Animal Kingdom, but there are limited options for actual rides, largely due to the number of live performances offered throughout the park.

While Pandora — The World of Avatar, which opened in 2017, offers a beautiful (and mostly shaded) experience for parkgoers, it’s also caused long lines for its breathtaking attractions.

Avatar Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey have average wait times of over 50 minutes, the highest of any attractions in Animal Kingdom.

Disney wait times

Tips for saving on a magical vacation

Waiting in line might be an inevitable part of a Disney vacation. However, you can get extra bang for your buck at the Most Magical Place on Earth by visiting at the right times of the year, optimizing the new Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane options, arriving at the parks earlier in the day, and prioritizing parks with lower demand.

Beyond these strategies, here are a few more tips for getting the most for your money on your next Disney vacation:

  • Earn magical rewards on your purchases. Some credit cards earn rewards you can use for lodging and travel to Disney World, while others can give major bonuses for purchases made in the parks. Using a credit card optimized for Disney both before and during a Disney vacation can maximize the magic of your vacation.
  • Budget for your big trip. A trip to Disney World can come with a massive price tag between travel, hotels, park tickets, and everything else. Proper budgeting for a Disney vacation is a great way to minimize financial stress.

Methodology

Wait times were pulled from Thrill-Data.com where average wait times are calculated based on times directly from theme park apps and user reporting. Only attractions with reliable historical wait time data were included in this analysis, and rides that solely utilize a virtual queue system were excluded. For that reason, attraction totals may vary from official Disney World listings.

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Josh Koebert

Josh Koebert is an experienced content marketer that loves exploring how personal finance overlaps with topics such as sports, food, pop culture, and more. His work has been featured on sites such as CNN, ESPN, Business Insider, and Lifehacker.