Central Florida is a really hot place. The summer months, one of the most popular times to travel to Disney, each *average* over 90 degrees and most days it rains, too. In fact, 7 months of the year the temperatures are in the 80s or higher. This is not your “dry” western heat, either: Florida is muggy and humid. So, what can you do if the weather is miserably hot, occasionally rainy, and you’ve got cranky family members? Or what about when it’s peak holiday season and the parks are crowded and you’ve already used up all your FastPasses for the day? Here are 10 Disney attractions that typically have either little to no wait.
Carousel of Progress – Personally created for the 1964 World’s Fair by Walt Disney himself, this Tomorrowland attraction has been a favorite of mine since childhood. You’ll enjoy a 21 minute respite from the crowds and heat as you learn about the evolution of technology during the 20th century. Because of this ride’s unique revolving theater, this ride loads very quickly and there’s rarely if ever a wait. Be warned: the catchy theme song, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” *will* get stuck in your head!
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – this is another ride that I have loved since childhood. Also located in Tomorrowland, this ride has been at Walt Disney World since 1975 (it was based on the PeopleMover at Disneyland, which has since been removed). On this magnetically-accelerated attraction that uses eco-friendly induction motors, you’ll go on a 10 minute ride through and around Tomorrowland favorites like Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. This ride is very quick-loading, and there’s rarely any line at all.
Tip: The shortest lines are always first thing in the morning. An hour at park opening is worth about three to four hours later in the afternoon. And it’s a lot cooler in the a.m., too! Get to the park early and then take a break later in the day.
Mickey’s Philharmagic – a fun 4D (3D with special effects) movie featuring an assortment of characters presented on a huge screen. The theater is really large, so don’t let seeing a crowd lining up put you off. Don’t use a FastPass+ on this ride: go inside, cool off, and use it to counterbalance the rest of the long lines you’ll experience elsewhere in Fantasyland. Many people view this as a “must-do” attraction.
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival – located in Future World in Epcot, this is an 18 minute festival featuring three Pixar films in 3D with some 4D effects. Do *not* “waste” a FastPass+ on this option, it is an easy choice for cooling down on a hot afternoon.
Tip: Bring your rain gear and when the inevitable afternoon storm hits, you can hit the rides while others head for cover. Note that some outdoor rides cannot operate in the rain. Got a FastPass+ for one of the rides that’s been rained out? Disney will magically add another FastPass+ to your account.
Living with the Land – located in Future World inside the Land Pavilion, this family-friendly, boat-based ride through a greenhouse is a favorite. We typically pair it with a ride on Soarin’ or a lunch break at nearby Sunshine Seasons. While FastPass+ is offered for this ride, you won’t need it. A bonus is that the entire ride is inside, including the queue.
Gran Fiesta Tour – this dark ride is located inside the Mexico Pavilion in the World Showcase and follows the Three Cabelleros (Donald Duck, José Carioca, and Panchito) from the 1944 Disney movie of the same name as they try and get ready to perform at a fiesta. It’s a mild, boat-based ride, very gentle and suitable for the whole family. The entire ride plus the waiting area are all inside the Mayan pyramid that is the centerpiece of the pavilion. If the line is longer than, say, 15 minutes, maybe take a break with a margarita or some chips and salsa at La Cava del Tequila on the other side of the pavilion.
Muppet Vision 3D – while a FastPass+ is actually offered for this attraction on Grand Avenue, you will rarely (never?) need it. Themed to look like television’s old Muppet Show, this theater’s 584 seat capacity can handle even the most crowded days, and it’s rare to see even a 20-minute wait. As a plus, the pre-show is also air conditioned. The attraction follows the adventures of Kermit, Miss Piggy and other Muppets as they tour Muppet Labs and learn about a new, high-tech film process called Muppet Vision 3D. In actuality, it’s a 4D show, loaded with animatronics and special effects. It’s a bit corny, but still entertaining even
after 17 years.
Tip: Lines typically get shorter during parades and fireworks. Dinner time can also mean lower crowds
Walt Disney Presents – this attraction was previously called One Man’s Dream and consists of a gallery, a theater, and a character meet and greet area. The gallery area is my favorite, with exhibits showcasing original Disney memorabilia plus plans and models for upcoming attractions. There’s a 15-minute film tribute to Walt that shows on a continuous loop in the theater. The only part of this attraction that ever has any kind of line is the character meet and greet, because it’s usually connected to the most recently released movie. However, you can completely bypass this part of the attraction, and you can even just enter the gallery to look at the exhibits without going to the movie.
Conservation Station – Located in Rafiki’s Planet Watch, this is one of our favorite places to go even when it’s not crowded at Animal Kingdom. You do have to take a train to get there, but there’s a covered waiting area and rarely a line. Once at the Conservation Station, you can hang out in the air conditioned building while you see veterinarians at work, examine animal specimens, and even meet Doc McStuffins or Rafiki.
It’s Tough to Be a Bug – This is another one of those attractions that offers a FastPass+, but it’s really never needed. Located on Discovery Island, this an intense 4D movie experience. It does have its detractors, and is not by any means my favorite 4D movie on Disney property. However, it’s one of the few indoor, uncrowded attractions at Animal Kingdom (unless you count relaxing at Nomad Lounge!)
These are just a few of the rides that can help you beat the crowds on peak attendance days. Do you have favorite rides that typically have short lines? Let us know in the comments below.
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**Feature Image courtesy of Disney Magic Diva