Disney Parks Planning 101 Walt Disney World

5 Ways To Save Time In The Disney Parks

April 11, 2023

Are you looking to avoid the long lines and save time in the Disney Theme Parks? Then you’re going to want to know about these 5 things before your next (or first) Disney Vacation.

I can’t guarantee you’ll never have to wait in any lines. But, I can give you the tricks of the trade to help avoid as many as possible, so you can enjoy the Parks and being with the people you traveled with.

5 Ways To Save Time In the Disney Parks Pinterest Graphic for Blog Post

Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes

Regardless of how you feel about Genie+, it was specifically designed to save you time.

Yes, it’s confusing. Yes, it’s expensive. But, if you take the time to learn what it is and how to use it, you will see that it will absolutely save you time.

I bought Genie+ and 1 Individual Lightning Lane on our last trip. Of course, we used Genie+ many times over all 4 Parks.

But, even skipping the regular queue on 2 attractions saved us 3 1/2 hours over the course of our trip. This was time that we were able to spend doing other things, riding other attractions, and seeing our favorite characters.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure had a posted time of 90 minutes. Flight of Passage had a posted time of 120 minutes. But, we waited about 5 minutes for each attraction.

Guests have many strong feelings about Genie+. And choosing to spend the extra money to skip lines is a personal choice. But, we don’t get to go to the Parks as much as I’d like. So, for my family, it was money well spent.

Raspberry Lunch Box Tart from Woody's Lunch Box at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Mobile Food Orders

If you’re planning to eat in a Quick Service restaurant, check to see if it participates in Mobile Order. These lines can get extremely long, especially if you want to eat during peak meal times.

I know I’ve told this story multiple times before on this blog. But, it’s because I really think it’s a great example of how Disney is trying to help the Guest experience by providing them tools to help them save time in the Parks.

We were at Disney just weeks after Hollywood Studios opened Toy Story Land. So, of course, lines were (and still are) long at Woody’s Lunchbox.

At the time, the Disney Dining Plan was still a thing. And since you couldn’t use dining credits from someone else’s room, my parents decided to wait in line.

I made all of their reservations, and despite telling them about the App, they didn’t have it on their phones. They figured it would take longer to download and learn how to use it than it would be to just stand in line. So, off they went to stand in line.

I ordered snacks on the My Disney Experience App and waited to the side for my name to be called. And in a few minutes (probably less than 10 minutes), my order was done. My parents waited at least 30 minutes in line for the same exact snack.

Endcap with Disney Merchandise

Merchandise Mobile Checkout

This is a fairly new addition to the My Disney Experience App. But, I found it to be really easy to use. And, as long as the gift shop participated in the service, it really did save me time because I didn’t have to stand in line to pay.

If you already shop online, you’ll have no problem using Merchandise Mobile Checkout.

You simply scan the barcode to add the item to your online cart. When you’re done shopping, simply pay on the App. On the way out of the store, show your barcode to the Cast Member at the door. If you want a bag, they will hand you one here.

But, you want to know the best part? They accept Disney Gift Cards as payment! And you guys know that I talk all the time about how I stay on budget during my trips by using Disney Gift Cards to pay for our food, merchandise, etc. So, it was a win-win for me.

MagicBands with BitBelts


It should come to no surprise that I love MagicBands. Sure, they do the same exact thing as a Key To The World card or your Theme Park Ticket. But, because it’s on your wrist, it actually saves you time.

I know that it doesn’t take that much time to whip out a Theme Park Ticket.

But, remember how much information is stored on these Cards and MagicBands. You’ll need it to open your Resort door, get into the Parks, redeem Lightning Lanes, add photos via Memory Maker, open a locker at Tron, etc.

Do this multiple times per day and the amount of time that can be wasted adds up. Not to mention, if you’re traveling with many people, you run the risk of someone losing their ticket somewhere along the way. And no one wants to take time out of their day to head to Guest Services to replace a lost card.

This is exactly why I recommend MagicBands to all of my Clients. Vacations are never long enough. So, I’m always willing to spend a little bit of money on a MagicBand to make my life easier and to maximize my time in the Parks.

Looking at the ride vehicle for Flight of Passage from behind

Get To The Parks Early

There are certain rides that are always going to have a long line. But, if you get there first thing in the morning, your wait is going to be significantly less than the rest of the day.

We’ve all traveled with someone who likes to play the “we’ll come back later and see if the wait time has dropped” game. But, depending on the attraction, it may not happen.

By the end of the day, you’ll either not ride the attraction at all or make the decision to pay for an Individual Lightning Lane to get a shorter wait (like I did with Flight of Passage).

Take it from an expert: If you want to ride a popular attraction (for free), get up early and get to the Parks at Rope Drop.

Have questions? Feeling anxious? Don’t know where to start? That’s where we step in.

We know what to do, and more importantly, what NOT to do. We’ve done the training, we’ve made the mistakes, and have learned from them, And that’s what makes us the perfect people to help you.

From perfectly curated itineraries to direct access to your Travel Professional, our goal is to take the stress out of planning your vacation.

Simply fill out whichever form works better for you, and we’ll discuss your options.

ExploreWithCatherine.com is not authorized or endorsed by, or officially connected with The Walt Disney Company, or any of their affiliates. For official Disney information, visit http://www.disney.com.

Hawaii Destination Specialist

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