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We all know that a trip to Disney World is going to involve waiting in line — and depending on when you go and your strategy (or lack of it), some attractions’ wait times can be as long as 90 minutes — or more!
Fortunately, there are several Disney rides that are almost always going to have a short line and a quick wait time. I’ve included my 7 favorites below.
Keep in mind that this list is the best Disney rides with the shortest lines. So even though the line for, say, Journey into the Imagination with Figment in Epcot is pretty short, I chose not to include it on this list.
Make you sure you get the free My Disney Experience app, so you can see the exact wait time (or at least pretty darn close) of any Disney attraction in real time when you’re in the parks.
Dinosaur (Animal Kingdom)
As much as we love Animal Kingdom, it’s tempting to completely skip the DinoLand U.S.A. section.
Why? Well, because, quite frankly, it sucks. (And be warned that the Primeval Whirl will quite possibly having you yelling, “Ow … ow … OW!!” during the entire ride.)
However, it’s definitely worth heading over there just to ride Dinosaur and then get the heck out. (With a possible stop to let little ones play in The Boneyard on the way out.)
The concept of Dinosaur is that you travel back in time to rescue and return a living dinosaur before the species goes extinct … but then — oops! Someone miscalculated and you arrive in prehistoric times just as a giant asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. There are great special effects and it’s more of an “fast action” ride than I imagined it would be, although it certainly isn’t anything like, say, Space Mountain.
This ride isn’t for little kids, not only because it’s potentially scary, but also because this attraction has a minimum-height requirement of 40 inches. That doesn’t mean your whole family has to skip it though — you can use “Baby Swap,” which I describe in this post about Disney World with preschoolers and toddlers.
Gran Fiesta Tour with the Three Caballeros (Epcot World Showcase)
I didn’t even know that this ride exist until maybe our third trip to Disney. Located in the pyramid-shaped Mexico Pavillion in Epcot, it’s easy to miss, and people don’t talk about it all that much compared to other rides.
The Gran Fiesta Tour is a slow, dark boat ride based on this 1944 film and also starring Donald Duck and his two friends, José Carioca and Panchito. It’s a nice combination of animation, animatronics, and Mexican culture.
Unlike Dinosaur, this is a good “all ages” ride. Plus it’s a nice way to stay cool for a while after you’ve been trekking through the World Showcase in the heat.
Tom Sawyer’s Island (Magic Kingdom)
On our family’s second visit to Disney World, right after we all had lunch atLiberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom, my husband Robert casually said, “Hey, let’s ride over to Tom Sawyer Island.”
I looked at him like he was crazy, because:
a) What kind of lame attraction was that?
and more importantly,
b) That was not what my carefully planned itinerary had us doing next
But I reluctantly agreed. And yes, this is definitely one of those times where my husband was right.
Besides the ride on the raft being fun in itself, Tom Sawyer Island has a cave, a windmill, a tipsy barrel bridge to cross; and paths to follow. It’s pretty and relaxing for adults and fun time to play and explore for kids.
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Spaceship Earth (Epcot)
It always takes me a minute to remember the actual name of this attraction, as my family always refers to it as “The Golf Ball.” (I’m sure we’re not the only ones.)
Spaceship Earth takes you on a tour of the evolution of communication, passing by animatronic scenes, from cave painting to printing to television to what looks like the invention of the Apple personal computer. It’s a 15-minute ride, so it’s a nice long break, relatively speaking, from the crowds, running around the park in the heat, and standing on line.
I debated whether to include Spaceship Earth, even deleting it from my rough draft, but then decided to add it back in. To be fair, I should probably call it an “Honorable Mention,” because you’re definitely more likely to get a line here than for, say, Tom Sawyer’s Island.
The line does tend to move fast, however, and you get more “bang for your buck” as far as waiting time goes. It’s not one of those rides where you think, “Wait … did I just wait in line for over an hour to ride something for 9 seconds?”
So … I’ll keep it on the list just because I think it’s an underrated attraction, but calling this “a ride with no lines” is stretching it a bit.
Walt Disney World Railroad (Magic Kingdom)
This one is easy to forget that it even exists (or that it’s an actual “ride” as opposed to just part of the scenery), but it’s not only enjoyable in itself, but also a great way to get through the Magic Kingdom while sitting. We’ve hopped on upon our arrival at the park and had it take us around to Fantasyland, which was a nice change of pace that provided some interesting scenery as well. My son Benjamin loved trains when he was younger, so riding this real steam-powered locomotive was a treat for him, especially when they blew the whistle.
The entire loop is 1.5 miles and lasts for 20 minutes, although you can get off at any of the three stops you like at either Main Street U.S.A., Frontierland, and Fantasyland.
Be aware that the railroad shuts down immediately before and during parades.
Living with the Land (Epcot)
I know, I know … this one may sound like it could win an award for Most Boring Disney World ride. A slow boat ride with no cartoons, music, or animatronics … where you get an agriculture lesson?
But I found it Living with the Land to be surprisingly compelling. It takes you through science laboratories and a futuristic greenhouse, revealing some of the food breakthroughs and experiments that Disney workers have made or are currently attempting. If you’re into science and/or gardening, you’ll probably love it. And if nothing else, your kids will enjoy finding the various Hidden Mickeys (which, as you can see from the photo below, are not all that hidden.)
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel (Magic Kingdom)
It’s tempting to zip right past the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, dismissing it as “just another merry-go-round” as you zip through Fantasyland on your way to Dumbo or Peter Pan’s Flight.
But (in typical Disney fashion) the Carrousel was meticulously designed and is not “just any merry-go-round.” For example, each horse has its own unique design and is decorated in real 23-karat gold leaf. It’s great for all ages and the line is never long.
I highly recommend that you ride this one after dark, as it’s particularly stunning when the lights are turned on.