I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to wait in lines at Disney. Planning and strategic use of FastPasses can sometimes minimize those waits, but they’ll still exist. Disney knows its guests don’t want to wait, so it does its best to make the attraction queues as entertaining as possible; they become part of the attraction experience.
We’ve all got our favorite elements of Disney — even the lines we inevitably spend at least some time waiting in. Nicole shared her favorite attraction queues a few weeks ago (check them out here!). Below are mine. Did your faves make either of our lists?
5. Soarin’ Around the World
Wait, what? You’re probably thinking, “This WDW attraction queue is just a carpeted hallway with some pretty neon lights, right?” Well, you’re not wrong. It actually is one of the most boring-looking queues on property.
“So, why the heck is it on this list?” you might ask. Answer: The Play Disney app. The newest rendition of the super nerdy, but super fun, geography trivia game offered to Soarin’ passengers while they wait for their flight is right at your fingertips in the Play Disney app. Each player can choose a colored team and compete against friends and strangers alike in attempt to collect the most points.
The faster you answer correctly, the more points you earn! I’m generally not a hyper competitive person, but I LOVE this game! Another bonus for this bland-looking attraction queue: it’s indoors and is temperature controlled.
4. Pirates of the Caribbean
From the walkway through Adventureland, Pirates might not seem like it’s got much to write home about, with winding rows of chain-link stanchions, but once this quickly- moving line takes you inside, you can see the Imagineers’ dedication.
As if to prep you for the piracy ahead, this WDW attraction queue features soft background music from start to boat. I like that it’s loud enough to hear but not so loud that you can’t easily talk with your pals. Also, you don’t want to rip your hair out if you listen to it for 40 minutes straight (Small World, I’m looking at you).
All aspects of this wait get you in the zone to be a pirate – from the dime lights to the cool, damp air, to the rough stone walls. I love peering into the storage rooms and down into he prisoner cells. Toward the end of the FastPass queue (or in the regular line if you’re directed to the altern after loading area), if you look down through the barred windows, you can see two skeletons at a chess table. Because the game is a stalemate, neither could ever win! This tiny detail is probably one of my favorite elements of attraction queues park-wide.
3. Tower of Terror
I want to be bold enough to say “this needs no explanation” and just move on, but I’m not. That also wouldn’t be helpful for those of you who haven’t seen it for yourself! When you get near Tower of Terror, you’re transported to the Hollywood Tower Hotel.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve ridden Tower of Terror but I feel like I see something new while waiting for it each and every time. Somehow, Imagineers make it clear that this place was once stunning in its opulent luxury, while still giving you chills as you look around the now-abandoned lobby.
While the place seems dusty and decaying, I know that appearance must be carefully maintained to look that way without actually being dangerous to all of our healths. The decorations chosen and positioned around this attraction queue are absolute perfection and make me want to move in. If I could pick a place to stay in the parks, I think this would top my list. (Future post idea? I think so.)
I love the story around this attraction. To read Disney’s snippet about it, head here!
2. Flight of Passage
Considering the average wait time for this attraction, I’m very grateful that Imagineers made it one of the best attraction queues. I feel like there are four distinct phases to this queue: the waterfalls, the caves, the lab, and the maintenance corridors. Each area is distinct and interesting in its own right, and they all keep park guests entertained before the pre-attraction interaction even begins!
When you first pass the entrance to Flight of Passage, you’re wound behind the floating islands, through the fauna that presumably grows in Pandora (confession: I’ve never seen Avatar *gasp!*). These brightly-colored plants are gorgeous in their own rights, but they have the added magic of looking completely different at different times of day — even glowing in the darkness of early morning or late night. Seeing the sun rise over the floating islands is really something to behold.
Once indoors, you are threaded through winding caverns with more crawling vines and beautiful paintings on floor, wall, and ceiling. The colors are vibrant and draw your eyes from one image to the next, as an unknown story passes across your vision.
Deeper into the depths of of the Pandora Conservation Initiative Laboratory, you see complex technology, glittering with lights over maps, graphs, and data. What I wouldn’t do to have a few hours to rifle through all those notebooks!! You’re taken past enormous skeletons and an actual Avatar, suspended in a liquid-filled case. His massive size is a hint at what’s coming.
Suddenly, you’re back in cold, barren, concrete hallways. It almost feels like you’re in an off-limits part of the lab where you don’t belong. Paint on the walls marks utility pipes and doors are patterned with moss and growth that implies disuse. You’re almost there…
Getting to the pre-flight video session is a journey in and of itself. This attraction queue gets bonus points for leading to a life-changing attraction, but is kept in second place because enjoyment of each of these elements requires hours in line. The FastPass queue bypasses much of it.
1. Haunted Mansion
This one topping my list of favorite attraction queues actually started some pretty heated discussions with my husband (Disney nerds, unite!!). He finds the first part of the Haunted Mansion queue to be one of the worst queues on Disney property. I believe he says “it’s wide enough to drive a bus through” and “I feel like cattle being herded.” Hun, did I misquote?
I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of the awning-covered portion of this attraction queue. It is wide and it does invite guests to squish around and scoot ahead of other guests easily. That means it’s a slow-moving area and without fans or air conditioning, that awning does little to protect us from the heat of a Florida summer.
My affection for this attraction queue starts AFTER that unfortunately designed portion. Once the line starts to thin (another reason the awning part is so slow-moving — the bottle-neck is awful), you’re guided through walls of interactive elements, kept alive by spirits venturing outside the mansion! My favorite part is probably the wall of musical instruments, but make sure to keep an eye out for splashing water by Captain Culpepper Clyne!
Once inside, the stretching room is such a classic bit of fun. A bit morbid, a bit spooky – sure – but still so much fun!
I think the Cast Members at this attraction really bring everything to life (or death!) for me. I’m always impressed by their stony poker faces, no matter what ridiculousness happens around them. I’d never be able to keep from cracking up!
So, how did I do? Did your favorite queue make my list? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Instagram @castleboundkim!