Like the waves at Typhoon Lagoon, Crowds at Disney World tend to ebb and flow throughout the year. Some days, weeks, and seasons are just MUCH busier than others! Some of those busy times are very predictable — like Spring Break or the holiday season — but you’ve also got to take unofficial Disney World holidays into account, like runDisney weekends or Dapper Days.
naturally, the busiest days of the year result in the LONGEST wait times in the parks! But is it even possible to predict when Disney World will be most crowded anymore? And what do the wait times actually look like when the parks are super busy? Let’s dive in and find out!
As we’ve seen in recent years, and proven time after time, the busiest days of the year at Disney World tend to be New Years, Valentine’s Day, Spring Break and Easter season, Halloweenthe week of thanksgivingand the week between Christmas and New Years. No surprises there!
So not surprising? The fact that these are also the most EXPENSIVE days to visit Disney World. Prices for Disney World tickets change based on the time of year, and you will definitely see some increases around the most popular times to visit.
But lately our reporters have seen that the huge crowds aren’t just limited to these holidays. Although the parks aren’t packed full every day, we’ve seen a LOT of people flocking to Disney World now that many travel restrictions have eased.
We’re using data that we collected from the parks to see what wait times have been like over the past several months. This can give you a better idea of what to expect in terms of crowds at different times of the year and hopefully help you make an informed decision about when to schedule your next Disney World trip.
So what can you expect in terms of ride wait times at Disney World? We’re about to find out.
Average Wait Times Over the Past Several Months
It all started back in October of 2021 when crowds and wait times started to CLIMB.
The surge in crowds was likely caused by the start of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. In fact, on October 1st (the first day of the celebrations), Magic Kingdom reached capacity and had to turn away Park Hoppers.
We expected the big crowds for this celebration, and those crowds continued right into the next couple of months as the holidays approached.
Soon after, during the most recent holiday season, wait times for popular rides were pretty sky-high! in MagicKingdom, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train averaged an 80-minute wait, while Frozen Ever After was 92 minutes in EPCOT. Rise of the Resistance was a whopping 142 minutes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Flight of Passage was 129 minutes in Animal Kingdom. That means that 4 of the most popular rides at Disney World had average wait times well over an hour.
Honestly, that’s all to be expected over the holidays, when the parks are at their absolute BUSIEST. But what’s interesting is that crowds and wait times have continued well into 2022regardless of the end to the holiday season.
In late January, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train averaged 84 minuteswhile Rise of the Resistance (112 mins) and Flight of Passage (86 mins) were still drawing looooong lines. Usually, this time of year is quieter in Disney World since many people are returning home to get back into a routine after the holiday break. But 2022 just kept bringing more and more crowds.
Valentine’s Day and Super Bowl Sunday aside, February in general also saw longer wait times than usual too. Although not quite as crowded as the holiday season, the parks were still fairly busy, and wait times reflected that. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train averaged 86 mins, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure averaged 77 minsand Rise of the Resistance averaged 109 mins.
For this most recent spring break season, wait times were even LONGER. This is about par for the Spring Break course, but other factors also contributed to higher-than-expected crowds. Specifically, easing of capacity restrictions in the parks, the dropping of mask mandates, and the return of many international travelers all likely contributed to the crowds.
By mid- and late-March, we were seeing Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 91 minutes, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at 96 minutes, Rise of the Resistance at 144 minutesand Flight of passage at 110 minutes.
Come April, wait times were still BOOMINGwith Seven Dwarfs at 89 minutes, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at 87 minutes, Rise of the Resistance at 128 minutesand Flight of passage at 93 minutes.
The fact that these most recent wait times are down a smidge from March could be a good sign that things are leveling off, giving a clearer indication of what to expect on Disney World’s busiest days. But overall, wait times have not gone down much since the holiday peak in 2021.
With crowds now back to them pre-pandemic levels and the parks looking like they did pre-2020it means that wait time are for SURE going to be longer than they have been these past two years.
So What Can You Do?
Hopefully, now that restrictions have eased, it seems like we’ve reached the ceiling for how HIGH these waits can go. So if you’re going to be in Disney World during a busy time, let’s look at how you can handle the crowds and wait times.
First of all, make sure you plan as much as possible in advance. Getting a good dining reservation might help give your group a break in the middle of the day, allowing time to rest and relax before hitting the busy parks again.
Be sure to get to the parks well before they open! This is called rope-dropping. Be at the gate at least a half-hour (if not longer) before opening time so that you’re ready to speed walk to the most popular attractions and hopefully beat the morning rush. This could help you avoid long wait times later in the day.
Use Mobile orders to avoid long lines at quick service restaurants. You can order on your phone (using the My Disney Experience app) and then head in to pick up your food when it’s ready!
Consider using Genie+ and Pay Per Ride in the park. These paid services allow you to skip the standby line and use the Lightning Lane instead. Genie+ costs $15 per ticket, per dayand you can use it to reserve Lightning Lanes throughout the day on more than 50 rides across the 4 parks.
Pay-Per-Ride is how you can skip the line on the most popular rides (Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Rise of the Resistance, and Flight of Passage). These rides have individual fees to skip the line. So you can either use Genie+, use Pay-Per-Ride, try out them both, or skip both! Check out the benefits and cost, and then you can decide what will work best for your group.
See our full guide on Genie+ and Pay-Per-Ride here.
Hopefully this helps as you continue planning out your upcoming Disney World trip! Keep following DFB for more updates and tips to help you have the best vacation possible.
Check out 12 Disney World LIFE hacks for the busiest days.
What’s the LONGEST you’d wait for your favorite ride at Disney World? Let us know in the comments!