Waiting in line is a natural part of going to a Disney theme park. Nearly half a million people flood Disney World daily. Disney’s FastPass+ service does help cut down your ride wait times, but it’s not available for every ride and attraction.
As parents, it’s a good idea to come prepared to entertain your kids while you’re waiting in lines.
I want to share with you my tried-and-true time-killing things you can do to keep your kids entertained while waiting in line at a Disney theme park.
1. Play with Play-Doh
You can buy really small cans of modeling compound like the ones in this huge 36-pack assortment of Play-Doh. Bring along a container for each kid. Make sure they’re all the same color if you expect arguing.
2. Get creative with pipe cleaners
These can be bent and twisted into all kinds of shapes. Start a contest and see who can be the most creative with their pipe cleaners. They’re light to carry around, cheap, and they come in a lot of colors.
3. Bring light-up toys for fun at night
Those light-up toys they try to sell during parades at the park are such a huge waste of money. Do yourself a favor and buy these elsewhere. These will keep them busy in the evening when you’re standing in line.
4. Let them draw
Hand out these travel size magnetic drawing boards and let the kids doodle. They will have a blast and they will love sharing what they came up with.
5. Search for hidden Mickeys
Kids enjoy a good scavenger hunt. Luckily, for you, Disney has built one of the best scavenger hunts right into their parks and resorts. You’ll find tons of hidden Mickeys if you look closely. If you want some help, there is a great set of guide books for both Disneyland and Disney World that will point you in the right direction.
6. Have a snack
You’ve got no time for a hangry kid while you’re at the happiest place on earth. Pack your bag full of snacks and eat them in line to kill some time.
7. Tell each other your high and low point of the day
I love this activity! Each person takes a turn telling their high and low point of their day so far. You’ll get to know what was memorable to each and every family member. I think you’ll be surprised how things you might have forgotten impacted others so much.
8. Sing your heart out
Music is playing all around you while you’re at the park. Street performers will be singing Disney songs, line queues will be broadcasting music. Encourage your kids to sing some of their favorite Disney songs while they wait.
9. Dance your booty off
Children have this great quality that I envy oh so much. If their jam comes on, they’ll dance wherever they are and they don’t care who sees them. Nobody wants to see this uncoordinated dad shake his tail feather at Disney World.
10. Enjoy the interactive line queues
Disney is aware standing in line sucks. So they have taken the time to make some of the line queues in Walt Disney World and Disneyland fun and interactive. Some of my favorite interactive line queues are: Haunted Mansion with its playable ghostly musical instruments, Dumbo and its kid-friendly playground, and Test Track with its car-building activity.
11. Write your memories in a notebook
A Toy Story themed Moleskine notebook is perfect for capturing your special trip memories. Pass the notebook around and record each family members high and low point of the day while you’re in line. For little ones who can’t write yet, have them draw a little picture of their favorite memory so far from the trip.
12. Read a story aloud
Download a Disney themed book to your phone and read it aloud while you wait. My girls get a story every night at bedtime from this book of 5-minute princess stories. It should do the trick while waiting in line too.
13. Play the Heads Up! mobile game
If all of your kids are of reading age, this mobile game is a must have. Heads Up! is a cheap game that you can pick up for both Android and iOS devices. It’s a great family game because any number of people can play at once. Here’s how you play the game: You have to guess the mystery word that’s on the card that’s on your head based on the clues your friends give before the timer runs out. Make sure to pick up the Disney deck for free while you’re in the park!
14. Rock–paper–scissors shoot
A classic is a classic. If the original game isn’t exciting enough, you can try out rock–paper–scissors-lizard-Spock. I had no idea there was a World Rock–Paper–Scissors Association for this game with members, tournaments, and merchandise. There are even proven strategies for winning rounds!
15. Start a game of Disney themed Pictionary
Use the magnetic drawing boards I mentioned earlier for a quick game of Pictionary. Each person can take a turn sketching a Disney themed drawing and the group can try to guess what it is.
16. Play a Disney themed game of “Who am I?”
This is our family favorite road trip game. One person chooses a Disney movie character and the others have to ask questions. For example: “Is this character a girl?” or “Does the character have red hair?”.
17. A game of “I spy” never gets old for kids
I’ll admit I hate to play this game while driving. We live in Iowa where a long commute is filled with nothing but corn fields, barns, and cows. Yeah, you get the point. This game is much better at a Disney theme park where the landscape is ever changing. Each line queue is chok-full of tiny details painted in vibrant colors. If you don’t know how to play already, let me explain. You say “I spy with my little eye, something (insert a color)”. The other people then have to take turns guessing things they can see that are that color.
18. Order your next meal
Not so long ago the My Disney Experience app added the ability to see menus for counter service restaurants and place a food order on your mobile device. This is a huge time saver. Figure out what everyone wants while you are standing in line. Place your order through the app and go on your ride. Once you are done, make your way to the counter service restaurant and let them know you are there by checking in with the app. Payment is charged to your Disney account and they start preparing your food immediately. You can pick up your food at the special area for mobile orders when it’s done. Voilà, no more lines!
19. Make your next FastPass+ selections
The Disney FastPass+ service is a godsend. You’re only allowed three to start off with for the day. But once you use your last FastPass, you can a select a fourth FastPass right away. So while you’re walking through the line, select your next FastPass.
20. Apply Sunscreen
Waiting in line is the perfect time to re-apply sunscreen on you and your little ones. It’s no fun, especially while on vacation, to be in pain while putting on your shirt. I recommend the Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick and the Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Spray. The stick allows you to easily cover their face without having to worry about getting it in their eyeballs. And the spray can cover all other areas quickly.
What types of activities or games have you found that are good time-killers? Let me know in the comments below.