How to Save Time and Your Sanity at the Walt Disney World Parks

Space Mountain, Seven Seas Lagoon, Disney Roller Coasters

This will sound like a bit of common sense, but if you want to ride more rides at Disney World , you will have to ride some of the less popular stuff. I know most of us are big Space Mountain fans, but that’s why the wait time can be 120 minutes or more during peak seasons if you have run out of Fastpasses. I found a book I liked recently called Walt Disney World with Kids 2012, and they had some good tips on what rides to ride first to make the most of your time and money on this costly vacation.

You want to go to the most crowded and slowest loading attraction first thing in the day. The biggest name attractions accumulate long lines early and stay crowded all day long.

  • In the Magic Kingdom, go to Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain if your kids meet the height requirements. For the younger and shorter crowd, and even the young at heart, head to Dumbo, Peter Pan and the many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
  • At Epcot, head over to Soarin’, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track when it re-opens.
  • At Hollywood Studios, head to Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror.
  • At Animal Kingdom, head to Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Dinosaur.

Soarin' over California, Epcot Soarin', Disney's Soarin', Disney's Soaring

For those vacationers new to Disney, this will be new and valuable information for you. To the multi-timers, this is way-old news. You’ve been there, done that, and your Mickey t-shirt says, “I survived Splash Mountain.”

But for those planning a trip, I’m going to give you my pitch for all the other rides that people aren’t knocking each other down to ride, because this is the true reason I love a trip to Disney. Riding the less-popular rides is my Disney passion, well, that and my search for the greatest Disney cupcake. If the crowd is running one way, I am walking the other with a big grin on my short-line expecting face.

Expedition Everest, Theme Park Rides, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Kids will develop preferences for Disney rides just about as soon as they are able to start speaking in full sentences. “I want to ride Space Mountain.” When my middle child was four-years-old, he went to bed every single night for well over a year saying, “When I wake up, I want to go to Disney World and ride Space Mountain.” Talk about pressure – I planned a trip just to shut him up!  And yes, we rode Space Mountain.

When my sons were seven and five, I took them to Disney without my husband or daughter. By the third day, my boys rode just two rides all day: Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. They rode one and then I pushed them in a double stroller across the park to ride the other, and back and forth all day long, just those two rides. But that was in late January over seven years ago, when the parks didn’t seem as crowded and lines were shorter.

Carousel of Progress, Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, GE Carousel of Progress

But along the way as they have grown older, and our trip frequency has increased after we became DVC members, I taught all three of my children the beauty of the less-popular rides. I sat in the Tiki Room as a kid and LOVED it. Air conditioning, cute songs, talking birds, and a short wait. What’s not to love? I grew up riding the Peoplemover, for what felt like hours, because I hated standing in lines. I taught my kids to love this ride for air conditioning, zero wait time, and great views. You’re not on Space Mountain, but you can see it and hear it as you ride through it.

Carousel of Progress? My pre-teens love this ride, and we’re usually one of just six people in the whole theater. That means I’ll have no trouble finding a seat, and it’s warm in the Florida winters and cool in the sweltering summers. There is no wait- this saves me time. Country Bear Jamboree? My sons listened to the music on a Disney DVD for years before they decided they loved this attraction, and bonus, there’s hardly a wait.

If it’s not a roller coaster ride, it stands to reason the line is probably a good bit shorter.

Disney's Peoplemover, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Tomorrowland
My son and daughter recently went on a school band trip without us to Six Flags in Atlanta. They were there six hours and rode two rides each, because they didn’t know their way around very well, and they stood in line for well over an hour for each roller coaster. I said,”Really makes you appreciate Disney, right?” Both said yes, but I reminded them they wouldn’t like Disney as much if they stood in line for Space Mountain for hours. They agreed. I walked away humming the tune from It’s a Small World. I can ride that 4-5 times in an hour, depending on the time of day and the crowds, while you stand in line for a single ride on Peter Pan.

Adventureland Tiki Room, Tropical Serenade, Adventureland

Want to save time, which really equals money, and your sanity at the Disney World theme parks? Ride the Big Ticket rides first or last thing in your day.  Then go enjoy some of the other less popular rides,  the rides with very little wait, the rides they sometimes just let you ride over and over, while everybody else waits and waits for Space Mountain.

Thanks for stopping by for a photographical Disney ride, and we’ll see you as we’re seated backwards on the Peoplemover.

Be sure to visit  Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.


Like to read about Disney World? Check these out.

If You Don’t Take One of These At Walt Disney World, You May Regret It Later

The Disney Princess: Where in the Disney World Can You Meet Cinderella?

Disney’s Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom: Photos, Instructions, and Should You Play the Game?

10 Magical Reasons for an On-Property Disney World Vacation

Looking to Escape the Disney World Crowds? Try this Night-Time Entertainment



  1. I think what I love most about the less popular rides is that some of them are our last touch with exhibits that Walt personally supervised. Tiki Room, Carousel- they are like Disney touchstones they unite us with Disney past and future- the newer rides. Oh, that was sapy, but who doesn’t get emotional about their mouse?

    • When my sons walk around my house whistling the Tiki Room music, it warms my heart. I won’t even get into how I cry during Wishes!!
      Thanks for reading…Amanda

  2. This is a wonderful, informative article! Great job! I also like to try to ride the more popular attractions during parade times. They tend to have shorter waits. However, it can be tricky to place yourself in the right spot before the parade starts. It is impossible to make your way through the parade crowds!

  3. This is why we stress the importance of rope drop. By being there early we knock out the most popular and slow-loading rides in the first two hours. Then with FPs and less popular rides and shows we finish the morning, early afternoon. We always ride everything we want multiple times each visit. For example, we didn’t ride Astro Orbiters or Stitch or the Liberty Belle by choice. Everything else at MK yes. Same deal at the other parks.


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