Top Ride Tips at Disney World… the inside track.

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20150520 AK_EVEREST

Test Track, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Soarin’…we all know what rides to hit when visiting Disney World but did you know there are some secret tips for these rides? Whether you are a Disney World veteran or a first-timer I think you will enjoy this information and hopefully learn something new.  From not waiting in the long standby line, to the best (or worst) seat on the ride, in my professional opinion as an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with MickeyTravels these are some great strategies to enjoy your time at the parks even more.

  • RIDER SWITCH:  This is Disney’s way of making sure just because you are traveling with little ones you don’t have to miss out on riding the “Big” rides that have a height requirement. Here’s how it works… have all the members in your party see a Cast member at the ride entrance and ask for a “rider switch pass”. They will check the height of the littlest member of your party who is not eligible to ride and those waiting will receive a pass. It works just like a FastPass and one pass can be used for up to 3 people. Just remember that you do need to bring your entire group with you when asking for the pass and they need to see the child that isn’t tall enough for the ride. As soon as the first group finishes riding the ride, those waiting will enter with their pass through the FastPass lane with up to 3 people. So technically someone could re-ride the ride if they wanted to since only one adult needs to stay with the rider not eligible to ride.  One of the best things is that unlike FP+ the Rider Switch Pass doesn’t have a time on it so you can use it ANY TIME OF DAY! …it’s even good for up to a week so you can come back the next day and use it!
  • KILIMANJARO SAFARIS at Animal Kingdom is best in the early morning, so head there first! Animals are much more active in the morning on the reserve because as the day gets hotter they will just be lying around. There’s nothing quite like having to stop the safari vehicle for a giraffe or rhino to cross in front of your path.  The animals are also quite active in the rain, so don’t let the weather stop you from taking a Safari trip! They are also now offering Nocturnal Encounters where you can view the animals in their nighttime habitat which will also be a great time to ride. The best thing about this attraction is no matter how many times you do this experience, each safari ride will be different.
  • TOWER OF TERROR at Hollywood Studios is ride that’s a little more fun (& scary) to ride in the front row. It’s a 13 story drop and is my absolute favorite ride at Disney World.  Did you know that the drop sequence for each elevator car is selected at random by the attraction’s computer system?! So if you ride multiple times you will get a different experience!
  • The best way to experience SOARIN at Epcot is in the front row, as well. No dangling feet in your view and you feel that much more immersed in the ride. Just ask a cast member when you are being assigned your spot in the line up. You may have to wait one ride but it’s worth it. Also if you don’t have a FP+ for this ride go on it first right when the park opens because the line can get to be hours long during peak times. Don’t get sidetracked by walking into the park and seeing Spaceship Earth, keep your eye on the prize and head right to Soarin’.
  • BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD at Magic Kingdom has the best seat in the last car of the train. It’s the fastest (the front goes slowly down the hills and if you are in the back you get the full hill) and not blocked by the big engine at the front. A little bonus tip is if you can plan to ride during “Wishes” fireworks you are in for an amazing view.
  • SPLASH MOUNTAIN at Magic Kingdom is a ride where you may or may not get wet. Personally, I’ve never gotten soaked on this ride and if it’s hot out it’s actually a fun way to cool off (you can actually get much more wet standing on the bridge watching). But beware on the right side at the end of the ride, just when you thought the chances of getting wet were over, look out for the waterfall. If this ride has a long wait time during the day and you don’t have a FP+, try riding late at night when it’s much less crowded.
  • EXPEDITION EVEREST at Animal Kingdom offers a “Single Rider Option,” now that my kids are older this has been a great option for us since we just care about getting on the ride the fastest more than where we sit. Also the front row is a great seat and you can ask a Cast Member for the option to wait for the front cart. The single rider line is a little tricky find, it’s near the exit.
  • TEST TRACK at EPCOT is another great ride with the “Single Rider Option.” We have gotten through the ride SO much faster with this option and there are times we end up in the same car anyway….but that’s not guaranteed.  Also just be aware that you don’t get to design your own SimCar for your ride on Test Track in the single rider line but that’s just because the line moves so much faster, a fair trade-off if you ask me. If this is your first time riding you may want to do the normal line just to participate in that part of the experience.
  • HAUNTED MANSION at Magic Kingdom has a “stretching room” you enter before getting on the ride as part of the experience and story. When you enter the room go towards the painting that has the young woman holding the sun umbrella, this is where the door will open after the room stretches to enter the ride and you will be first in line to get on.
  • ROCK ‘N’ ROLLER COSTER at Hollywood Studios also offers a “Single Rider Option.” This is a great way to skip the long wait times AND it also is a perfect ride to use the Rider Switch Option.
  • BUZZ LIGHTYEAR’S SPACE RANGER SPIN  at Magic Kingdom is a ride and game in one where you shoot at the “Zs” for points. My family and I love to compete on this ride for highest points. In the first room aim for the left arm of the robot on the left for 100,000 points. When you see Zurg, hit the bottom target of his space scooter for 100,000 points. Also aim for the top of the volcano for big points.
  • KALI RIVER RAPIDS is at Animal Kingdom and just know that you are going to get WET. Very wet. If you have a poncho, wear it and heads up on protecting your camera and phones. Also if you want to protect your feet from getting soaked put them on the silver ring in the middle because no matter what the water comes crashing across the floor and wet socks and sneakers are not a fun mix for walking around the park.
  • MISSION SPACE at Epcot is pretty tight quarters so if you are claustrophobic at all you may not like this ride. If you do decide to do this experience, you will need to decide whether to be on the “Orange Team” or “Green Team”. The Green version of this attraction is much less intense mostly because you won’t spin. It also usually has a shorter wait time. The Orange version is very intense and riders sustain a force of 2.5Gs…..there are barf bags if needed. This ride also offers the Single Rider Option.


If there is a popular ride you really want to get on and the standby lines are very long and you didn’t get a FP+ for it, get in line a half hour before the park closes. Disney has a policy that anyone in line when the park closes gets to ride, even if they don’t get on until the after the park closes. Also there will be very few FP+ riders at this time so the wait time will actually be much shorter than the posted standby time.

When booking the hard to come by FP+ option (i.e. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom) get on My Disney Experience to book these popular options at midnight EST 60 days before your trip (for on-site guests) and don’t book your FP+ in the order of the days you are there but instead book the difficult ones first. Try booking on the website instead of the app, it’s a little easier to use. You can book your FP+ options for your entire stay. Here are the FP+ you should prioritize: Magic Kingdom; Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Meet Anna & Elsa. Epcot; Soarin’ and Test Track. Hollywood Studios; Toy Story Mania. If you don’t get the attraction you want, be sure to check back and try again, it could always open up, sometimes it’s just about timing.

If you like my Disney World attraction tips here, imagine what kind of magical vacation I can plan for you when you book your next vacation with me! I have to keep some of my secrets & tips for my clients only of course. Contact me at for a no obligation quote and let’s get planning something magical together.

Do you need help booking your FP+ experiences? Don’t want to be up at midnight 60 days out booking them? That’s where I can help! As an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with MickeyTravels my services are totally FREE and you can contact me at or on Facebook here.  From booking your accommodations, dining, FP+, answering your Disney questions or just adding that special touch. Contact me today and let’s get planning something Magical.


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