The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at night

You Can’t Always Trust Disney’s Official Wait Times

Have you ever looked at the posted wait time for a Disney ride and decided against riding? Yeah, me too. And the people running Disney parks are fine with you choosing to do that. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

Managing Expectations

Unless a ride breaks down, your time in line should be shorter than what’s posted. Disney will always overestimate ride times. It’s smart business. It’s better to exceed expectations, and Disney does that by adding a few ticks to the wait time clocks, knowing that the actual wait will be shorter. Instead of guests saying, “Dang, we just waited in line for an hour!”, they’ll say, “Awesome, we only had to wait an hour!”.

Evening Out the Crowds

The most popular attractions will always have ample wait times. Unless it’s raining. And if it’s raining, go to the parks!

Back to the story.

How long will you wait in line for Space Mountain? 45 minutes? An hour? We all have a number that we won’t cross. My family’s is very, very low. I’ve created monsters.

So if Disney bumps the wait time for Space to an hour plus, a lot of people will bail. Like I said, Disney doesn’t mind this. Instead of standing in line, guests might eat in a restaurant or shop in the Emporium. Disney loves that behavior.

I recommend heading to the Carousel of Progress instead. You won’t be disappointed. AC, a comfy seat, and a great throwback attraction.

Clearing Out the Parks at Closing

Wait time estimates are inflated the most at the end of the day. Disney allows guests to get in line right up until the parks close. But they rather you wouldn’t. They want to clear the parks and send their people home. I don’t blame them.

On a recent trip, my family took the Skyliner to Hollywood Studios after gorging ourselves at Le Cellier. Poutine… mmmmm.

Where was I? Oh yeah, rides.

We walked through the gates with enough time for a couple of our favorites. At least, that’s what the estimates would have had us believe. But this is what actually happened:

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Posted: 30 minutes
Actual: 10 minutes

Final scene from Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Posted: 45 minutes
Actual: 20 minutes

Cockpit view from Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run

Slinky Dog Dash

Posted: 60 minutes
Actual: 25 minutes

Nighttime shot of Slinky Dog Dash in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Rise of the Resistance

Posted: 45 minutes
Actual: walk-on

Hologram Rey on Rise of the Resistance

So that was a special night. And while our Disney evenings don’t always play out that way, it does prove that wait times aren’t always as they seem.

Want More Accurate Estimates? Download the Lines App

The Lines App from Touring Plans is my go-to while in the parks. Their data is much more accurate than what you’ll find in the My Disney Experience app. I also love Touring Plan’s crowd calendars. I never book a Disney vacation without checking them first.

Lines App from Touring Plans

We are in no way affiliated with Touring Plans. I’ve just been a fan of Len Testa and his team for a long time.