I’m excited to share with you one of my favorite hacks from our last trip to Disney World. On days when EPCOT does not offer early extra magic hours, this tip will get you into the park early so you can be first in line for the Frozen Ever After ride. And did I mention there’s bacon?
The Frozen Ever After ride debuted in Summer 2016 to huge fanfare and even huger lines. Located in the Norway pavilion at EPCOT theme park, wait times at this popular attraction are often more than 60 minutes, sometimes approaching two hours and beyond.
In my opinion, the Frozen ride is very well done and is worth the ride but I wouldn’t wait more than 30 minutes for it. If you have a hardcore Frozen fan in your group or you just want to check out the new ride, there is a way to skip the lines altogether.
The Dining Reservation That Brings You An Empty Frozen Queue
First, be aware: this hack really only works on a day that EPCOT opens at 9:00am or later and does NOT have early morning extra magic hours. (I will explain more below).
The key to the kingdom lies in an early breakfast reservation at Akershus Dining Hall in the Norway Pavilion at EPCOT . I mean early, like 8:00am if you can get it.
Yes, You Can Get Into the Disney World Parks Before Official Opening If You Have a Breakfast Reservation
A lot of people don’t realize it, but every Disney World park has at least one restaurant that serves breakfast before park opening. The restaurants start reservations at 8:00am regardless of park hours. So if the park doesn’t open until 9:00am, you could get in, eat breakfast, and be ready to rock before the rest of the crowd gets there.An early morning breakfast reservation is a fabulous way to beat the crowds. You get to walk through the empty park – and you can queue up at your favorite ride way before anyone else.Click To Tweet
The day we used this hack was a pretty typical EPCOT schedule. The park opened at 9:00am with no early extra magic hours, which means they probably let everyone into the park around 8:45am. We were able to score a reservation at Akershus at 8:20am. By 9:00 we had already eaten a delicious breakfast, taken selfies with Cinderella and Snow White, met Belle, and rode the Frozen ride.
Get There Early
Guests who have early breakfast reservations have a special line at the park gates. These guests are allowed into the park at least a few minutes before the first reservation. Even though our reservation wasn’t until 8:20am, we were allowed to go into the park when the gate was opened at about 7:50am. We could’ve wandered around until 8:20 – this is a wonderful time to get pictures – but we went straight to Akershus and checked in. Sure enough, we only waited about two minutes before our name was called. By just a few minutes after 8:00am we were seated and ready to eat.
At breakfast Akershus is a combination buffet/family-style restaurant. There is a buffet with pastries, fruit, and Norwegian smorgasbord, plus servers bring out a family-style platter of eggs, bacon, sausage, and a delicious potato dish. I let our server know that we wouldn’t be lingering, so she brought the check for me to settle right away.
Akershus is also a princess breakfast, where many of the Disney princesses come around to the tables for meet and greet. The price of breakfast is about $50 per adult, $30 for kids under 9 – so this is certainly throwing money at the Frozen problem. But we thought the food was really good, it was nice having a real breakfast before a day of touring, and there’s the added benefit of meeting the princesses. In my mind the ability to be the only ones in the park plus the nice breakfast made the cost of the meal worthwhile.
By arriving early for our reservation, we were able to enjoy our meal without feeling rushed and leave the restaurant by 8:40. Literally right next door is the line for the Frozen ride. Cast members were standing outside the doors to the attraction and there were a handful of guests in the line already. At about 8:45 the doors opened and we walked straight in through an empty queue, right on to the ride with no wait.
As we got off the ride the crowds from the front of the park arrived and started filling up the queue. So if you do this trick, be sure to be outside in the Frozen queue no later than 8:45. Once the park gates are open the line will quickly stretch to 60 minutes or more. And please read my warning below!
Watch the Parks Schedule for Opening Hours Changes
This is super-important! This hack really only works if you can get into the park way before everyone else. It is very common for Disney to change park hours, sometimes announcing just days in advance if a park is going to open earlier or stay open later.
If you have an 8:00am breakfast reservation and Disney changes the park hours to open at 8:00am or before (8:00am extra magic hours count too), you will have no advantage over the rest of the crowd. In fact, you will now be at a disadvantage because you’ll be having breakfast while everyone else is on the rides.
Be sure to watch those park hours and cancel or change your dining reservation if you need to. Be aware that Disney will charge a fee to you if you cancel advanced dining reservations less than 24 hours ahead – so be vigilant.
Here’s What To Do If You Want More Time to Meet the Princesses at Akershus and Also Want to Be First on the Frozen Ride
A twist on this hack, if you can’t get a reservation in the 8:00am hour, or if you’d like to have a more leisurely breakfast and spend time with the princesses – make your reservation for around 9:00am. The family next to us in the Frozen line did this exact thing. Their reservation was for 9:15am. As breakfast guests, they entered the park early through the breakfast reservation line, went to the restaurant, checked-in and told the hostess they would be ready for breakfast after riding Frozen. Since they were in the park early they were first on the ride, and back at the restaurant in minutes.
A Few Other Disney World Breakfast Reservation Tips
These tips are for any guest who has breakfast reservations in any of the Disney World parks before official park opening time. You can hear more of my tips for making dining reservations in this episode of the Go Informed podcast.
How to Get Your Family Ready for an Early Breakfast Reservation at Disney World
Episode 19 of the Go Informed podcast is all about how to get your family up and moving for an early theme park day. Get my advice for how to Master Your Theme Park Morning here.
Early Morning Transportation at Disney World
Disney buses from the resort hotels start running about one hour before each park’s opening time, or one hour before the earliest breakfast reservation, whichever is earliest. So if you have an 8:00am breakfast reservation in EPCOT there should be a bus at your hotel at about 7:00am.
I always recommend leaving your hotel room one hour before park opening or your reservation. This gives plenty of time in case you miss a bus and there is absolutely no down-side to arriving at the park gates earlier than planned.
If you’re wondering how to get your family moving that early in the morning, here’s a link to my travel tricks for getting up early at Disney World.
Also, the monorail does not always run this early, in spite of what a cast member may tell you. It’s best to rely on the buses if time is of the essence especially if you’re traveling well before park opening. If you miss the bus or need to get there more quickly, Uber is another highly efficient way to get around at Disney World.
Where To Go For Your Early Morning Disney World Breakfast Reservation When You Get To The Park
If you arrive well before park opening, odds are you will spot an obvious line of early birds waiting to get in for breakfast. (The regular early guests will be spread out at the turnstiles so they can be first in line). Look for a sign that says something like ‘guests with breakfast and tour reservations’, or just ask a cast member.
Be sure you have an idea of where to go once you’re in the park. The place will be empty and you’ll probably be on your own to find the restaurant. Akershus is far from EPCOT’s main gate, in the World Showcase area of the park. The last thing you want to do is get lost and lose your place in line. Grab a park map on the way in, or use the My Disney Experience app to navigate. A good guide book can also help you get oriented even before you leave home.
How to Get an Early Morning Reservation
Disney allows guests to make dining reservations up to 180 days before their trip. If you can plan this far ahead, I imagine you’ll have the best shot at scoring an 8:00am reservation. For the rest of us, try to book the reservation as soon as you know which day you’d like to be in that park.
You can book your dining reservation through the My Disney Experience app or website. When you’re looking for an early time like 8:00, I find it’s best to search for that time rather than just “breakfast”. It seems like the app gives more options when you put in a specific time.
If nothing is available when you first look, keep checking back. I was able to get our 8:20am time just a couple of weeks before our trip. And of course, keep an eye on that park schedule!
Listen to my in-depth conversation about this hack on The Disney Hack podcast
Have you used early morning dining reservations to get into a Disney park before official opening? Comment below and share your experience.
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