Time Saving Tips for the Magic Kingdom Without Using Lightning Lane

main street u.s.a. disney world
Credit: Disney Parks

No visit to the Walt Disney World Resort is complete without spending time in the Magic Kingdom, which opened as the vacation destination on October 1, 1971. For over fifty years the Park has been enchanting Guests with classic attractions like “it’s a small world” and Dumbo the Flying Elephant, thrilling experiences like Space Mountain and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and immersive settings such as Adventureland and Fantasyland.

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Walt Disney World Railroad

Credit: Disney

With so much to see and enjoy in the Magic Kingdom, it can feel nearly impossible to get a lot done in one day, but there are absolutely tips and tricks designed to save time and experience as much as possible. Lightning Lane is the newest introduction of time-saving offers provided by the Walt Disney World Resort that allows Guests to essentially skip the line of an attraction by visiting at a designated time, but it requires an additional purchase and isn’t always cost-effective.

For those looking to save time and see as much of the Magic Kingdom as possible without purchasing Lightning Lane, here are the best tips and tricks to use!

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Adventureland Bridge

Credit: Disney

Arrive Before Opening

The easiest way to ensure that Guests can see and do as much as possible in the Magic Kingdom is by arriving early before the Park opens. By arriving for rope drop, Guests are allowed entrance onto Main Street, U.S.A. where they can grab some breakfast and coffee and position themselves strategically near where they would like to start their day. Want to begin in Adventureland? Wait for the official rope drop on the bridge that connects that area to the Castle hub. Same with Tomorrowland and so on and so forth. Once that rope is dropped, Guests are some of the first into the area and can get a true jump on their Magic Kingdom day.

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Big Thunder Mountain

Credit: Disney

Visit Popular Attractions First

Picking where to wait for the official rope drop in the Magic Kingdom entirely depends on what Guests consider their must-do attractions, and a smart way to make sure that they enjoy those experiences is by checking them off first thing in the morning. Attractions such as Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Space Mountain all consistently have lengthy wait times throughout each day, so Guests should plan on heading to one or two of those attractions first thing in the morning before the larger crowds hit.

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Eat at Off Times

In order to save time and continue to enjoy as much as possible in the Magic Kingdom, Guests should opt to skip table service restaurants like the Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen and Be Our Guest Restaurant and instead visit quick-service locations instead. Locations like Columbia Harbour House and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café serve up delicious food throughout each day, but also get pretty packed during main meal times. Guests can avoid long waits for food and a table by opting to dine at off times, leaving them more time to enjoy the rest of the Disney Park.

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Credit: Disney

Utilize Mobile Ordering Early

The quick-service locations in the Magic Kingdom all utilize Mobile Ordering, a convenient system through the My Disney Experience App, where Guests can browse menus ahead of time and order their meals while on the go, then simply pick them up at the select location when they are done being prepared. Mobile Ordering is definitely convenient, but it can become an issue when hundreds of Guests are trying to place orders all at once for popular times. Guests who are looking to save time should plan on scheduling their Mobile Orders early on in the day and set them for off times, where there will be little no wait and less wasted time.

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Carousel of Progress

Credit: Disney

Skip the Afternoon Break at Your Disney Resort

Many Guests rely on a mid-afternoon break back at their Disney Resort to re-energize and cool off from the high temperatures that are common at the Walt Disney World Resort. A break is always a smart option as it does allow Guests to have the energy to get a full day in throughout the Disney Parks, however, traveling back and forth to most of the Disney Resorts kills a lot of time.

Guests who are truly reliant on that break should instead opt to enjoy longer attractions in the Magic Kingdom such as Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress or The Hall of Presidents, where they can sink into comfortable seats and enjoy a dark room and air conditioning. Those who are set on leaving the Magic Kingdom but don’t want to lose a ton of time can opt to hop on the monorail and visit Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, or Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort for a quick break to recharge.

Anna & Elsa

Credit: Disney

Visit Popular Attractions During the Parade & Fireworks

Each day the Magic Kingdom hosts the Festival of Fantasy Parade in the afternoon and Disney Enchantment at night, both of which draw huge crowds to Main Street, U.S.A., for the best viewing spots. While these entertainment experiences are both beautiful, they pull many crowds from most areas of the Magic Kingdom, presenting opportune times to enjoy popular and thrilling attractions with lower wait times. Plus, nothing is more magical than watching fireworks bursting in the sky from an outdoor attraction such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Dumbo the Elephant.

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Cinderella Castle at Night

Credit: Disney

Save Fantasyland for Late at Night

The highest concentration of family-friendly attractions in the Magic Kingdom that are suitable for Guests of all ages is in Fantasyland where experiences like “it’s a small world”, Peter Pan’s Flight, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh can be found. The best way to enjoy Fantasyland without the typical crowd level is late at night, when many families with younger kids have already called it a day and headed out. Visiting the attractions throughout Fantasyland at night is a great way to avoid some longer waits and make sure that Guests get the most out of every minute in the Disney Park!

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About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane has been visiting Walt Disney World since she was a child and has developed a deep love and appreciation of the Disney Parks with a particular interest in the small details and history that can be found all around. Visiting every chance she gets, Caitlin loves to enjoy the ambiance of the Disney Parks and try something new every time. She can often be found eating and drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, riding the Haunted Mansion, sipping on a Lapu Lapu, pretending Illuminations: Reflections of Earth was still in existence, and enjoying seeing the magic through the eyes of her children. When not in WDW, Caitlin can be found at home in New York dreaming of a ride on Living with the Land and counting down the days until her next trip.