Early to Rise and Seize the Short Lines!

“Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” is how the old saying goes. If I were to create a a list of sayings for Walt Disney World, my version of this adage would go: “Early to rise and seize the short lines!”


My husband recently accepted a new job and we have relocated to a beach town in Delaware. We both love the saltwater, sand, and sunshine and are thrilled be able to enjoy the ocean and its offerings every day.

This particular morning we decided we would go crabbing. Armed with bait, nets, and bug spray we woke up with the sun and set out to get some fat, beautiful blue crabs. Though I get up fairly early most mornings, I am not what I would call a morning person. I take forever to leave the bed, graciously giving myself “5 more minutes” several times before I finally throw back the covers and sit up. And don’t even think of asking much of me before I’ve had some coffee. But this morning, our crabbing adventure had me in a surprisingly good mood. We surveyed the scene, watching the sun rise over the water while trying to find the best place to drop our nets. I felt perky and peaceful and I was surprised at how much that feeling reminded me of when I’m awake early in Disney World.

I know Disney World is a miraculous place. I experience a miracle every time the alarm goes off when I’m there, and I spring out of bed and dance a jig. This could never happen in my every day life. Ever. I find myself skipping to the food court for a light breakfast, then smiling and joking while I climb aboard a bus for park transit, whether I’ve had a drop of coffee or not.

For me, waking up early when vacationing at Walt Disney World is a treat. But that may not be the case for everyone. Arriving to any Walt Disney World theme park before opening bears so many benefits, it’s more than worth the early rise. Even to morning crank-pots like me.

Behold my benefits list:

  1. It’s beautiful! The morning colors are soft and it’s dewy. Take a deep breath and just admire the beauty of the Floridian tropical landscape.
  2. It’s not hot yet. The sun is shining, but it’s not beating you down yet. I love that cooler time in the morning.
  3. The opening shows! All four main parks start their day with a show. This is especially fun at the Magic Kingdom. The train rolls in, and you get to watch as Mickey and his pals are joined by citizens of Main Street for a little music and dance before welcoming guests into the Magic Kingdom. What better way to start your day in a park?
  4. IT’S LESS CROWDED. This is a big one. The buses are less crowded. Security lines are shorter. You don’t have the feeling of claustrophobia that can occur when arriving at a park on a high volume day.
  5. IT’S LESS CROWDED. OK, I know I’m counting this reason twice. But this reason counts for double! Less crowds = shorter lines! When you wake up early and arrive to a theme park early you get to enjoy my favorite perk – SHORTER LINES. Once the ropes drop and you are admitted to the park, head to your favorite attractions. The lines will likely be the shortest they are all day. So take advantage of it! (I like to use the time waiting for the park to open to come up with a game plan. Where are we going 1st, 2nd, etc. Doing several attractions in close proximity will help you maximize efficiency.) For example, I may enter the Magic Kingdom and make a beeline for Frontierland – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is calling my name! I may even ride it twice before going next door to Splash Mountain. Next I may proceed to neighboring Adventureland to catch Pirate of the Caribbean and continue my day.

And then there are Extra Magic Hours. Extra Magic Hours are extended park hours at a select theme park available only to guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels. These occur in either the morning or the evening, and they are a great way to enjoy extra park time. During morning Extra Magic Hours, the selected park will open one hour early. These morning Extra Magic Hours are my favorite way to use my newly minted phrase “Early to rise and seize the short lines!” The number of guests in the parks during this hour is significantly less than late morning through evening, and the attraction wait times certainly reflect that.


So if you can, wake up early and visit a park that is offering morning Extra Magic Hours to capitalize on shortened attraction wait times. If no morning Extra Magic Hours are being offered that day, or theme park you want to visit isn’t the one with available Extra Magic Hours – don’t worry. Simply arriving before the park opens will grant you all of benefits I listed above. Buses begin operating approximately one hour before a theme park opens. So if Magic Kingdom opens at 9:00am , but is hosting EMH (Extra Magic Hours) from 8:00am – 9:00am, you can expect the first buses to run at your resort hotel around 7:00am.

During your stay check with your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel front desk, Guest Services, a Times Guide, or any cast member to obtain more information on park hours and Extra Magic Hours. This information can also be found on the official Walt Disney World website.

1 thought on “Early to Rise and Seize the Short Lines!

  1. Pingback: W. T. D. W. – Toy Story Midway Mania! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios | The Walt Disney World Blog

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