I’m one of those people who memorizes all the different routes to get from point A to Point B so that depending on traffic, weather and a dozen other variables, I can know the absolutely smoothest, quickest and easiest route. hah!
How this benefits YOU: I’ve done this same thing with getting into and around the Disney World parks. Because we literally lived right next door to WDW for 2 years, I had a lot of time to hone this in. And now I can’t wait to share it with you…
In this post, I’ll share all my tips, tricks and secrets to get you into the parks the absolute quickest and easiest way possible.
So here I go…I’m spilling the beans…are you ready?
Quickest way to the Magic Kingdom
To get into the park you will first have to go through bag check. …which can be a huge pain. Especially if it’s super crowded. But have no fear, I’ve figured out ways to make this go super smooth and fast.
1- Don’t just follow the person in front of you!! Often times there are shorter lines to the far right and far left. Work your way over to those lines.
2- Each bag check officer (is that what they’re called?) has 2 lines going down each side of the table s/he is stationed at. Many people don’t realize this and just stand on the one side.
You could always just skip past those clueless peeps. However, I like to alert those people in front of me and have them go to the other side. I know it could very well be a “you snooze, you lose” mentality but if we all do a little kindness, it will always come back around. Amiright?
3- Get your bags ready BEFORE you get to the front of the line. Unzip zippers (ALL zippers. They want to look everywhere.), pull food partially out so they can see it, etc. You don’t have to pull it all out like at the airport but just make it easily assessable for them.
Pro Tip: No worries about trying to hide food. You’re allowed to bring pretty much whatever you want. In fact, here is Disney’s official ruling on food in the park (taken from their website):
“Guests are allowed to bring food items—such as snacks or foods that do not require heating—into Disney theme parks. Inform a Security Cast Member of any food items when you enter the park.”
While we’re on the subject. Here’s the full list of what is NOT allowed in the parks (also taken directly from the Disney website):
The following items may not be brought into the Parks:
a. Recreational devices such as drones, remote control toys, skateboards, scooters, inline skates, shoes with built-in wheels. b. Alcoholic beverages, marijuana or any illegal substance.
c. Strollers larger than 36″x 52″ (92cm x 132cm).
d. Suitcases, coolers or backpacks, with or without wheels, larger than 24″ long x 15″ wide x 18″ high (61cm x 38cm x 46cm) e. Any trailer-like object that is pushed or towed by an Electronic Conveyance Vehicle, wheelchair or stroller, or pulled by a person, including wagons.
e. Wheeled mobility devices with less than 3 wheels or devices that cannot maintain stability and balance when stopped, unpowered or unoccupied. Training wheels or similar modifications are not permitted. Devices must be manually or electrically powered and operated at a walking pace. Devices should be single rider and not exceed 36″ (92cm) in width and 52″ (132cm) in length.
d. Weapons of any kind, objects that appear to be weapons or toy guns (also including toy blasters, squirt guns, etc.)
e. Folding chairs.
f. Selfie sticks, hand-held extension poles for cameras or mobile devices.
g. Large tripods.
h. Glass containers (excluding small containers such as baby food jars)
i. Pets or other animals, except approved service animals e.g., dogs and miniature horses. Service animals should remain on a leash or in a harness and under the control of the owner at all times. Due to the nature of some attractions, service animals may not be permitted to ride certain attractions.
j. Balloons and plastic straws are not permitted in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park for the safety of our animals.
k. Other items that we determine may be harmful or disruptive.
4- If possible try and get into a line with NO strollers. I understand, this may be close to impossible BUT if you see a line that has fewer strollers than others, you will want that line. Strollers tend to take a bit more time to go through the security check.
The last way to sneak your way into the Magic Kingdom the quickest way possible is to look for the turnstiles labeled “Cast Member Entrance”. There is usually a noticeably shorter line.
It’s indicated as “Cast Member” because it is the only entrance the employees are allowed to use, BUT that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to use it too! Most people just don’t use it because they don’t think they can, but now that you’re in on the secret…go for it!
Which is Faster? Monorail vs. the Ferry
My husband and I had a long-held debate on which mode of transportation from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom was the fastest. The ferry or the monorail?
He was sure the ferry was quicker and I was sure the monorail was.
So to end the debate, we split up and tested it out. (of course!) We did this several times (going to and from) so that we could be sure of our findings and to know it wasn’t just some weird fluke that day.
Are you ready to know the winner???
They’re the same.
One of us may have gotten to our destination a tad earlier or later than the other, however, it was never the same winner. Sometimes the monorail got there earlier and sometimes the ferry got there earlier.
The conclusion is…take whatever you want! My husband prefers the ferry because it feels less hectic. And it’s kind of like a little ride before you get into the park. 🙂
The Resort Monorail
If you’re not familiar with the monorail system from the Magic Kingdom there are 2 “legs” of the monorail. One that goes directly to TTC (Transportation and Ticket Center) where your car is parked. And the other goes around in a loop stopping at several resorts AND TTC. It’s called the Resort Monorail.
At night when the Magic Kingdom is closing down (usually right after the big nighttime show), and everyone is rushing to get on the monorail to take them back to their cars, you’re going to be tempted to get on the Resort monorail and not the TTC monorail.
Because the line will be A LOT SHORTER. A lot.
But you must resist. Don’t get on the resort monorail.
Even though the line is drastically shorter it will never get you to TTC faster than the direct TTC monorail. The reason being is there are fewer trains on that line PLUS they stop at all the resorts along the way.
Trust me. I’ve tried it out several times. (Remember, I just have to know what’s faster.) And every single time, it’s taken FOREVER to get back to TTC.
The line for the direct TTC monorail goes surprisingly fast. So stick with it.
The same is true when you’re traveling TO the Magic Kingdom from TTC. Resist taking the resort monorail even though the line will be much shorter. You will get to the gate faster on the direct line to the Magic Kingdom OR on the Ferry.
Secret Entrances to Epcot
There are a couple of secret entrances into Epcot that our family always uses. The first one is to use a little known bag check line that NEVER has a line.
99% of people get off the tram (that picks you up at your car) and then immediately gets in the line for the bag check that is directly off from the tram drop off. It’s the first bag check you can see and everyone follows everyone else there.
But it’s not the only bag check area!
Don’t be a follower.
Do THIS instead:
Walk past the first bag check area over to the other side of Epcot entrance. There are more bag check stations over there. That NO ONE goes to. The bag check officers are usually just sitting there, bored, with nothing to do because EVERYONE is waiting in lines and crowding at the other bag check point.
But not you. 🙂
(See how empty this side is?! It was super crowded on the other side!)
The other Epcot secret entrance is around the backside of the park. It’s called The International Gateway. I have never seen a crowd, much less a line back there.
You’re not able to get back there from the front of the park so the times to use this entrance is if you’re staying at one of the resorts back there…The Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, and the Swan and Dolphin.
You can also you this entrance if you want to go from Hollywood Studios directly to Epcot. There’s a boat that will take you straight from park to park or you can walk on a paved path directly to/from each park.
Here’s Lily on the boat from Hollywood Studios to the back entrance of Epcot…
Pro Tip: The Boardwalk resort area is a fun little place and is worth checking out if you have time. Even if you’re not staying at any of those resorts, walking down the Boardwalk at night is pretty cool.
They have street magicians, fun restaurants (The Boardwalk Bakery is a personal favorite. No need for a reservation.), and shops. Wyland Galleries is a family favorite full of awesome Disney art.
Here’s our family eating on the boardwalk…
There is also a piano bar called, Jellyrolls and a dance club called Atlantic Dance Hall for those 21 and older.
Secret Entrance to Hollywood Studios
There used to be a secret side bag check entrance but they have closed it for now. So didn’t know this secret entrance (I’m about to share) personally, however, I did some searching and found someone who does!
This is coming directly from Steps to Magic – Orlando Trip Planning Blog:
“The first turnstiles on the left are used for the Play and Dine reservations, where guests are able to be at Hollywood & Vine for an 8 am reservation (typically before the park opens at 9 am). Keep an eye on this…..BECAUSE….
As soon as the park opens, the banner which states that the turnstiles are for Play and Dine reservations only is dropped and the line opens up for everyone. Everyone will be focused on the “already existing” lines, and you’ll be able to beat the lines.”
I can’t wait to try this little trick out on our next trip!
Secret Entrance to the Animal Kingdom
At the Animal Kingdom, you will want to follow all the same tips to get through bag check as quickly as possible that I shared for the Magic Kingdom.
Then once you’re through bag check, if the line to scan your ticket/magic band is crazy long (which it usually is in the mornings) here’s the secret entrance:
To the left of the ticket turnstiles is the Rain Forest Cafe restaurant. Enter the restaurant and take a right through the gift shop and out the side entrance.
You’ll walk through an outdoor bar kind of area and then right in front of you will be a set of turnstiles into the park! There’s never a line and you’ve just bypassed the huge crowd!
So there you go! Now you’re a total VIP and expert for entrance to all 4 WDW parks. Share the love with someone you know so that THEY can feel just as special. You can pin this post and/or share it on Facebook.
I can’t wait for you to try these out! Let me know how it goes. [email protected]
To make your Disney planning easier check out these helpful articles:
Welcome to Being Katie Brave! I’m so happy to have you here. If you’re looking to take better pictures (stress-free!), get the inside scoop on all things Disney World, or be inspired to live YOUR best life (even if especially if it scares you to death) …you’re in the right place. I ’ve written 3 photography books, our family lived at Disney World for 2 years, and wear my heart on my sleeve…all of which would never have come to pass if I didn’t push past my fears and step in the darkness. Join me as I share my adventure of life, one post at a time.