Secret Shortcuts at Walt Disney World to Avoid the Crowds

Secret Shortcuts at Walt Disney World to Avoid the Crowds

With so many new things coming to Walt Disney World you will NEED some Secret Shortcuts at Walt Disney World to help you avoid the crowds. Not only the crowds, but the rogue parades, traveling groups, late evening shows, and heat can all put a damper on your ability to get where you need to be.

How to Avoid the Crowds at Walt Disney World

Shortcuts through the parks are good to know not only for crowds but also just to make getting around a little easier! Of course, we always recommend grabbing a map and learning the layout at each park. But we’re sharing the tips here too for all the Secret Shortcuts at Walt Disney World Parks. With these tips and our tips to Avoid the Crowds at Walt Disney World, you’ll be able to maximize your time without the hassle!

Magic Kingdom Shortcuts at Walt Disney World

Shortcuts in Magic Kingdom are best for late nights when everyone is crowding everywhere. Or rogue parades you can’t seem to get around.  And when you are very close to a dining reservation you need to race to. 

Emporium Gift Shop on Main Street USA

Lining Main Street USA is two giant gift shops. Both provide a nice respite from the heat. These are excellent shortcuts to use if you just need to get closer to Cinderella’s Castle or to the back of the park for dining reservations. The main shortcut is through the Emporium on the left. You can walk the length of Main Street in this gift shop and come out at Crystal Palace on the Adventureland side of the park.

When to use it?

  • In the heat
  • during parades
  • on the way out or into the park

Adventureland to Fantasyland

If walking towards the Adventureland sign you will see a path on the left that crosses in front of Club 33, passes Liberty Square, and leads you up the side of Cinderella’s Castle into Fantasyland near PhilharMagic.

When to use it?

  • Early breakfast reservation at Be Our Guest
  • To get to the Back of the park fast

Fantasyland to Tomorrowland Expressway

If at the back of the park, you can choose to get back to Main Street for parades and such, by just walking back towards the castle- BUT that path gets crowded. Your best bet is to walk into Storybook Circus towards the Railroad Station. Here you can hang a right along what used to be the smoking path. Now that Disney has outlawed smoking the parks, this path is free and clear. You can take this people-free path all the way into Tomorrowland past Space Mountain.

When to use it?

  • To get to the front of the park fast

Tomorrowland Terrace Walkthrough

The crowds at Starbucks can kill you. So once you clear that hurdle the last thing you want to do is fight more crowds. After passing The Plaza Restaurant on the right, take a sharp right and walk past the outdoor tables. Head towards the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. Whether the restaurant is open or not this path will always be open. Walk through the open-air restaurant, past The Purple Wall, and into Tomorrowland.

When to use it?

  • To get to Tomorrowland fast
  • To avoid Main Street shows or parades

Backstage Exit

The backstage exit/entrance is ONLY open during very busy times. If you’ve ever attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this is the entrance you’re ushered through. You can find this shortcut to Tomorrowland on the right, past Tony’s Town Square Restaurant.

When to use it?

  • When available
  • To get to the front of the park
  • If trying to leave during the parade

Frontierland River Boardwalk

If traveling from Fantasyland to Frontierland or even just trying to get to the front of the park, this little pathway can save you. Especially during parades. This small pathway borders the river and runs from the Haunted Mansion all the way to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

TIP: If your aim is the front of the park, during a parade, head into Frontierland and grab the train at the Walt Disney World Railroad Frontierland station.

When to use it?

  • During parade times
  • To avoid crowds

Adventureland to Frontierland Shortcuts

Near Aloha Isle, where you get Dole Whip, you’ll notice a breezeway. This leads to Frontierland if you don’t want to walk past Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain to get there.

Adventureland to Liberty Square Shortcut

When walking into Frontierland you’ll notice a breezeway with restrooms and a sunglasses shop- this is your shortcut into Liberty Square if you want it.

Epcot Shortcuts at Walt Disney World

Shortcuts at EPCOT are all about finding ways through those festivals, and rope dropping the rides you love most; Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, Test Track, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. 

Future World East Bridge to World Showcase

Heading towards Future World East near Mission space gets you easy access to the back pathway that leads you around the Odyssey Center and closer to the Mexico side of World Showcase. You can cut through MouseGear to get to this path faster. Perfect if you’re battling midway crowds. There’s an additional bridge here about halfway, that leads you back to the midway… so make sure you keep on going all the way around the Odyssey center towards Mexico.

When to use it?

  • During festivals
  • In the summer

Future World West Path

Future World West is where you can find The Land and Seas buildings, if you veer left when you get there, you can see the garden path that leads over towards the Canada side of the World Showcase.

When to use it?

  • During festivals
  • In the summer
  • If you have a breakfast reservation in France

Epcot International Gateway

If you’re looking to avoid the crazy Epcot crowds at the front gates you can access Epcot from the back gate by several different means. If staying in a Boardwalk area Hotel or the Swan and Dolphin you can just walk over. You can take the Skyliner Gondola if you are staying at one of the Gondola Resorts.  Or you can drive over by parking at the Disney Boardwalk lot.

When to use it?

  • To get in and out of the park faster
  • When headed to or from Hollywood Studios

Connecting Hollywood Studios Pathway

One of our favorite shortcuts at Walt Disney world leads you through the Disney Boardwalk. From the International Gateway Exit, you can take the Boardwalk over to the Hollywood Studios path to avoid bus and gondola crowds. Just walk towards the Swan and Dolphin and turn left at the path.

When to use it?

  • To avoid waiting for the bus
  • When visiting Epcot and Hollywood Studios on the same day

Hollywood Studios Shortcuts at Walt Disney World

Need to get to Rise of the Resistance fast? Or maybe just need a shortcut from Grand Avenue to the new Mickey Shorts theater? We got ’em. 

Connecting Hollywood Studios to Epcot Pathway

Not a path in the park, but definitely one you should know about If staying on the Boardwalk or heading from Hollywood Studios to Epcot. Take this path to avoid bus and gondola crowds.

When to use it?

  • To get in and out of the park faster
  • When headed to or from Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Boulevard Gift Shop Shortcut

Much like Magic Kingdom, all the shops that line the main entrance street are connected and air-conditioned! So walk through the shops instead to avoid the midway crowds.

When to use it?

  • During busy times
  • When it’s HOT out

Commissary Lane Shortcut

If heading from Muppet’s Courtyard to Toy Story Land, use the Commissary Lane shortcut. While sometimes crowded, it’s better than following the main path near Echo Lake.

When to use it?

  • When going from Grand Avenue to Toy Story Land
  • When wanting to avoid Echo Lake crowds

Commissary Lane  to Echo Lane Shortcut

If heading to Echo Lake or Grand Avenue, there is a tiny, very tiny, pathway right behind the bathrooms that runs parallel to the main drag near Star Tours. In order to avoid those crowds, look for the path. From Echo Lake, you can find it directly to the right, immediately after you pass the Mickey Shorts Theater. From Commissary Lane look for the bathrooms on the left, immediately after the Red Carpet Dreams character meet and greet attraction. 

When to use it?

  • When going to or from Echo Lake and Commissary Lane
  • When wanting to avoid Star Tours Crowds

The Hollywood Brown Derby Shortcut

If traveling from Sunset Boulevard, or Hollywood Boulevard, it’s natural to just follow the streets to get you where you want to go. But, ask anyone who has gotten stuck by a Storm Trooper Parade or yet another show on Center Stage, it’s good to have a shortcut. Head towards the Brown Derby Lounge, you’ll see little tables outside that used to belong to Starring Rolls Café. This path gets you closer to Animation Courtyard and Toy Story Land, without having to battle the crowds in front of the Chinese Theater.

When to use it?

  • During parades and afternoon shows
  • When headed to Toy Story Land

Africa Animal Kingdom Photo Spot Harambe Market

Animal Kingdom Shortcuts at Walt Disney World

Animal Kingdom is by far the craziest and most confusing park. We get lost here a lot. But, there are ways to master it!

Africa to Pandora

If in Africa you don’t need to walk back to the front of the park to get to the Pandora entrance. Instead head towards the Festival of the Lion King building. If you walk past this, you’ll see bathrooms on the left and a path straight ahead that leads into Pandora near Satu’li Canteen. This path will also be where they put that Flight of Passage line for all those poor folks who didn’t get Lightning Lane Passes. 

When to use it?

  • To get to Pandora fast
  • To leave the park by way of Pandora instead 

Discovery Island East to West

There are many paths that get you close to the Tree of Life and all of them lead from one side of Discover Island to the other. So if you found yourself going in the wrong direction, use these paths to get back where you need to be.

Dinoland to Asia

Asia is most accessible straight from Discovery island, but this path sometimes gets crazy. So if you’re looking to get over to Expedition Everest and need a faster way, head into Dinoland and veer left. The path leading out will bring you in front of the Finding Nemo building. Then head straight into Asia.

When to use it?

  • During high crowd times

Africa Harambe Market path to Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Africa can get busy! If you’re looking to get to Rafiki’s Planet Watch or Gorilla Falls turn right at the path before you enter the center of Africa. A little up this path you’ll see the serene Harambe Market area to the left. Cut through here to avoid the crowds.

Secret Shortcuts at Walt Disney World

There you go. Hopefully, these shortcuts at Walt Disney World give you some options as you embark on your next Vacation. We don’t advocate you rushing around on your vacation or making it just about checking off your Disney Bucket List, but sometimes you can’t miss that reservation. We get that! These are the paths that have served us best in the past! Happy Vacationing!

Secret Shortcuts across Walt Disney World to help you Avoid the Crowds, Beat the Heat, and Get to where you Need To Be Fast! #disneyworld #polkadotpixies #disneysecrets

Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website | + posts

Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.

Related Posts