As Disney World Parks Continue To Grow More Crowded, Wait Times Are Increasing (And People Have Thoughts)

Waiting in line at Walt Disney World.
(Image credit: Jessica Rawden, CinemaBlend)

Walt Disney World has been in a bit of a transitional period of late. Crowds are growing thicker in the theme parks as the world gets closer to returning to normal procedures and masks are no longer as necessary as they once were. The parks have made a lot of changes in the nearly two-year period since the great shutdown of 2020 happened, getting rid of Fastpasses at Disneyland and World, adding a new paid Genie app and more. Regardless, there may be some growing pains, as the parks remain crowded and wait times recently have led to some disgruntled fans online. 

In a Reddit post this week, a user spoke out about having to wait 3+ hours to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, an admittedly popular Disney World attraction located at Hollywood Studios. The person wrote allegedly wrote the post while standing in line, noting: 

Currently in line for ROTR… 3 hours and counting. There’s no way this goddamned ride is worth this.

To be fair here, the ride may not be worth three hours+ for this individual, but Rise of the Resistance does completely rock. However, the person's post clearly resonated with plenty of folks, given it gained traction the day it was written. Interacting with the post, the Redditor later revealed it ultimately took about 3 hours and 15 minutes to get on the ride. This inspired a lot of comments from other Reddit users, some of whom have strong feelings about how long a time is acceptable to wait in theme parks including Disney World. One notable commenter said an hour was the max, and seemed to get a lot of likes, though hour+ wait times can be common in Orlando, even at rival parks like Universal Studios:

No ride is worth more than an hour, anywhere.

A follow-up commenter also joked about paying $100 bucks to wait in line to ride one ride when five others could be ridden in the same amount of time the original poster waited for Rise of the Resistance. Others gave tips and tricks for waiting less time, including getting there at rope drop or another late night trick I’ve seen bandied about in relation to other Disney World Rides:

The best time to ride ROTR is right before the park closes. If you hop in line then, you'll usually wait no longer than 30 minutes.

It’s not totally uncommon to see really long wait times for popular rides, and a cast member even did admit the parks do inflate times recently. When Pandora opened at Animal Kingdom, it’s non-dark ride Flight of the Passage regularly saw over 3-hour wait times. Rise of the Resistance in particular has probably been impacted due to switching away from a virtual queue as well. 

Typically though, as rides stay open longer, wait times wane–except during peak periods. That there is the rub; to me, what’s super interesting about this post is not that one ride had wait times, but that so many rides are seeing inflated wait times, particularly for February. On weekdays to boot. 

I mean people specifically go to the parks in January and February because it’s colder and people aren’t there with their families in full force. This has traditionally been my favorite time to visit the Disney parks and catch a few more rides without having to worry about super long wait times. But reporters over at the Motley Fool and other outlets have continually written about how the parks feel more crowded than ever. Some days it’s even hard to get reservations. In February. Wild times. 

At the time of this writing a slew of Hollywood Studios rides are already at super long wait times for the day, and it’s late morning. Rise of the Resistance (again) is at 120+ minutes, Slinky Dog Dash is at 120+ minutes, and even the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is at 110 minutes (typically this ride grows even more popular at night). Sure, Hollywood Studios has grown way more popular with the addition of Star Wars stuff, Toy Story Land and, of course, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (an 80-minute wait). 

However, there are plenty of other parks seeing wait times at 2 hours or more. At the time of this writing Frozen Ever After at Epcot is over that 120+ minute wait mark, as is Flight of the Passage, with plenty of big rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and even the Kilimanjaro Safaris nearing the two-hour mark. This may be alleviated for some with the new and incredibly popular Genie Pass and Lightning Lane capability (though you have to pay even more on top of the pass for certain rides), but is still, again, notable for a weekday in February. It’s just hard telling if Disney has just become a super popular destination or if some kinks in a world minus Fastpasses still need to be worked out. 

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.