Disney Wouldn’t Pad Standby Wait Times. Would They?

Tower of Terror wait
Credit: DisneyDining.com

It’s incredible how often we talk about wait times around here. It’s not something you consider much when you’re in the Parks often, but for some people, they can make or break their trip. A longer than average wait time could determine if you experience certain attractions, or it may even dictate a previous standing reservation. They’re essential to understand and, in some instances, even more important to decipher. While researching wait times at Walt Disney World, we came across some interesting claims that may or may not be an essential consideration during your next trip. It would seem that many believe Disney pads wait times to standby queues, and often you won’t wait as long as they say you will.

Is Disney still inflating posted wait times for rides?

Credit: Disney Dining

Why Would Disney Pad Wait Times?

There are a couple of reasons Disney would do this. The first is that it promotes the use of Genie+. If you’re unfamiliar, this paid service allows you to book lightning lanes at a flat rate for specific rides. Genie+ has been a controversial topic since its debut. Secondly, it could also promote purchasing Individual Lightning Lanes for rides in higher demand. These ride prices fluctuate on a weighted scale depending on Park capacity for the day. You may pay $15, or you might pay $25 to skip the lines. Lastly, by padding wait times, Disney stands to direct traffic, so to speak. With the use of mobile devices that track your location, as well as Magic Bands, Disney knows where you are in the Parks. They have methods to redirect you when certain areas become crowded or when Emporium sales aren’t on track.

Instances of Potential Padded Times at Disney Parks

While researching, it seems this has been going on for years. There are many accounts of Guests being told their wait time would be substantially longer than it actually was. It isn’t easy to believe that Disney could sometimes miss wait time estimates by as much as up to an hour, but it happens. Some instances are only a few minutes shorter than the suggested waits, but there are a lot of significant stories of more considerable disparities‚ÄĒtoo many to be ignored.

Although this is from last year, Twitter user @jeanineshattuck suggests that her wait time at Rise of¬† the Resistance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios was actually 55 minutes compared at the quoted 100.

Twitter user @LMGVids had this to say in response to a Wall Street Journal article that suggested wait times are not inflated.

This user (@tanviG10) suggests that the majority of their wait times were also inflated.

@Kristofke_L shared this image from the My Disney Experience app and claims that Disney accidentally displayed actual wait times compared to the usual padded standby waits.

My Own Research at Walt Disney World

Not so long ago, I read an article from a different site that suggested Disney does inflate their posted wait times. To better understand if this could be true, I went on a bit of a mission. I rope-dropped Disney’s Hollywood Studios with a friend who timed their standby wait times and compared them to the posted wait times in the My Disney Experience App. The results were telling.

Slinky Dog Dash –¬†Posted Wait Time: 70 Minutes; Actual Wait Time: 47 minutes

Rise of the Resistance РPosted Wait Time: 120 Minutes; Actual Wait Time: 95 minutes

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway¬†– Posted Wait Time: 60 Minutes; Actual Wait Time: 30 minutes

Star Tours – Posted Wait Time: 20 Minutes; Actual Wait Time: 12 Minutes

Smuggler’s Run – Posted Wait Time: 45 Minutes; Actual Wait Time: 20 Minutes

Hollywood Tower of Terror РPosted Wait Time: 60 Minutes; Actual Wait Time: 40 Minutes


You can infer whatever you want from the information provided above. As you can probably tell, these measurements were collected during a busy Friday after school let out for summer break. It initially seems like some severe discrepancy between posted and actual wait times. No one’s complaining about having to wait less, but it does seem fishy to be potentially lied to, doesn’t it? With rampant accusations and a clear motive to do so, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what is actually happening. What do you think?


About Michael Arnold

Michael is a father, husband, and an Army Veteran. Michael spends his weekends at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando checking out new merchandise and food. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has an education background in Public Health. You can find Michael riding Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again or binge watching new Marvel and Star Wars content. Han shot first. Thor is the strongest Avenger. Roll Tide and Wash Your Hands!