If you’ve been reading the rest of my Disney World Secrets series you’ll know that one thing I hate doing on my Disney World vacation is standing in long lines. And that includes getting into the parks themselves as well as the attractions.
If you want to maximise your enjoyment and minimise the time you spend in line you need to get to the parks at least 15 minutes before the scheduled opening time (earlier still during busy periods), but even then you will be confronted with lines at the turnstiles.
Use these tips to make sure you’re one of the first visitors through the door so you can make your way to your first attraction ahead of the pack!
Secret Entrances to Disney World
All Parks – Bag Check
There’s no way to get around the Bag Check, it is there to keep us all safe. However you can save time by being prepared, and keeping your eyes open.
- As you approach the security check area don’t just follow the people in front of you, look to see if there are any empty tables, or shorter lines to the left and right. Each Security Guard has one table, but guests can pass through using both sides of the table.
- If people are only lining up to the right side of a table you are quite welcome to walk towards the left side. If people shoot you angry looks just keep going, they may well just follow in behind you! All is fair in love and bag checks I say.
- If you have a number of bags with you give one to each member of your party, it’s much quicker to have one bag searched.
- If you have any zips or fastening on the bags undo them as you stand in line. The Security Guard will want to look in EVERY compartment.
- If you have items in the bottom of a stroller they can stay there as long as it is easy for the Guard to rummage through the basket to check the contents.
- Family sized coolers are allowed into the parks so you don’t need to worry about your snacks or lunch being confiscated.
Secret Entrances to Magic Kingdom and Epcot
Once you are safely though Bag Check it’s time to enter the park.
Look to the far right, and the far left turnstiles until you see one labeled Cast Member Entrance. You may see some people waiting in line there, but it will be a noticeably shorter line. This is the turnstile you want to use to enter the park (well unless on your day there happens to be an empty one right in front of you!)
The entrance is labeled 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.
Secret Entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
When you arrive at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios parking lot most people take the tram, which drops off at the main Bag Check. This always has long lines so you want to try and avoid it. If you are arriving before park opening (which you should be) you will be able to walk from the parking lot to the park in less than five minutes.
Here’s what you do instead of taking the tram:
- Walk towards the bus parking at the front of the parking lot and then you will find a crossing which will take you across the road that the tram drives down. Cross over and then bear right onto the path which will take you towards the park (towards Guest Services).
- At the end of this path you will find another Bag Check point which is rarely used and which will give you a head start over all those people who decided to take the tram!
If you’re arriving by bus you should also be able to walk around to the Smaller Bag Check by walking out towards the parking lot and then doubling back on yourself.
Now it’s time to find the Secret Entrance into the park:
- Once you’ve had your bags checked continue along the path to the park entrance. The first turnstiles you come to are usually reserved for Play and Dine guests (there will be a banner hanging over the entrance). You can only enter though this line while that banner is hanging if you have a Play and Dine reservation. But only while the banner is hanging.
- Get in line at the next turnstile to the right, don’t worry if the line is quite long, you need to pay very close attention to that Play and Dine line.
- As soon as the park opens that banner will be dropped and the turnstile will open up to everyone. So the second you see them taking down that banner hop on over and enter through that turnstile ahead of the pack!
Secret Entrance to Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Once you’ve passed through Bag Check look to your left and you’ll see the Rainforest Cafe.
Here’s how to find the Secret Entrance to the park:
- Walk up the path to the Rainforest Cafe restaurant. Once inside take a right through the gift shop and out the side entrance.
- You’ll pass through an outside bar area and then ahead of you is a set of turnstiles into the park.
- Once through just bear right and you’ll join the people coming in through the main entrance, who will have taken much longer than you did to enter the park!
You might want to hit CTRL-P to print this out and take it with you so you can easily find those entrances when you get to the parks. Have fun!
The Must Read Book Before You Head to Disney World!
Researching your Disney vacation online is a brilliant thing to do, and we are so glad you are here reading our secrets.
But nothing beats a guidebook that you can read over and over before your trip and then throw in your suitcase so you have all of the information you need at your fingertips while you are on vacation.
This is the best paper guidebook whether it's your first trip or your hundredth trip, because it is regularly updated throughout the year so it has the most up to date information in it.
Read the Rest of Our Disney Planning Secrets Series
We have a whole series of posts where we share our Best Disney World Tips - click on the links below to read them all. And don't forget to pin them for later.
- How to Save up to $4,500 to Pay for Your Disney Vacation in Just One Year
- How to Get Ridiculously Cheap Flights to Get You to Disney World
- Are Disney World Hotels Really Worth the Money, Or Just an Unnecessary Expense?
- How to Save Money on Your Disney World Tickets - Without Listening to BORING Timeshare Presentations!
- How to Save up to $200 on Your Disney World Hotel Room
- How to Plan Your Disney World Vacation Like a Pro - Part 1
- How to Plan Your Disney World Vacation Like a Pro - Part 2
- We Reveal How to Eat for Less on Your Disney World Vacation
- We Reveal the Secret to Making Dining Reservations at Disney World
- 3 Ways to Enjoy Disney World’s Fabulous Menus, Even if You Have Food Allergies
- Disney's Least Kept Secret: the Not So Secret Way to Avoid the Lines at Disney World
- Your Complete Guide to Securing the Best Seat for Disney World Fireworks and Attractions
- Revealed: The Secret to Getting Extra Interaction from Mickey Mouse and His Pals
- Revealed: The Secret Entrances to Disney World Parks That Will Give You A Head Start On the Crowds
- What to Do in Disney World When it Rains
~Clare – currently pinning to All Things Disney!.