People associate many things with Disneyland and Walt Disney World – Fireworks, Mickey Mouse, castles, Dole Whip, and happiness are words and phrases that come to mind. Waiting in line is another phrase that’s unfortunately associated with Disney. Now, I’m not here to convince you that waiting in line isn’t bad. On the contrary, waiting in line isn’t fun at all especially compared to seeing a great show or riding on a wonderfully made attraction. Standing in line during the middle of a hot day can lead the best of us to question our decisions up until that moment. While all that is true, not all lines are created equal.
Disney is in the business of storytelling and theme park attractions often begin telling the rides story in the queue (a fancy theme park word for line). Of course, some lines are extremely boring and hot. They don’t tell any stories and are just leading up to a ride. A post on the worst of those is coming in the next few weeks. This specific post is about my favorite queue’s I’ve been in. I debated on whether to make this a top-10 list or not but decided against it, due to several updated queues that I haven’t been in (Peter Pan’s Flight in Magic Kingdom being the biggest name). Also, queue’s add or lose details fairly often and keeping up with that is somewhat difficult. Instead, I’m just going to go park by park and share some of my favorite queues in them. I’ll update the post as queue’s get updated and I experience them. As always, if I leave one of your favorites off the list then let me know in the comments!
Favorite Queue’s in Disneyland
Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
Disneyland doesn’t have the blessing of space that some of the other U.S. Disney Parks do, and this shows up more in their queues than anywhere. While they utilize the space extremely well, there aren’t many elaborate stories told throughout the queue. Star Tours really packs a lot into the queue, with many odes to the attraction before it was updated. The story also begins here as you are waiting to board your flight to a different galaxy. While the line is a little crammed, it does feel like boarding an airplane at times. There’s also a few visual gags with the droids and some intricate details around. While it doesn’t rank as highly as some queues across the country, it’s near the top of the list at Disneyland.
Indiana Jones Adventure
This attraction definitely takes the cake for longest queue in Disneyland. While the outside of this attraction isn’t all that exciting, the inside is filled with dark tunnels and architecture that makes you feel like you’re the great archaeologist himself. There’s some gags throughout the line (pull the rope) and you also pass a few props from the movie (the car). Indy’s office is also included in the queue as well as a pretty fun little introductory movie. This queue is massive but still really well themed, especially once inside the building.
The two queues I listed before this were indoors, sadly this one is outside. Still, most of it is shaded. This queue gets you ready for your journey through the world’s rivers and shows you just a bit of the pun-filled mishaps you’re about to endure.
Disney California Adventure
Soarin’ Around The World
I can’t say I’m a huge fan of any DCA queue but I’ll throw a few out here. My wife picked this one because of the giant hangar that it feels like you’re in. That fits the ‘Soarin’ theme. Still, there isn’t much to look at here. At least it’s air-conditioned!
Radiator Springs Racers
This queue keeps up with the incredibly themed Cars Land as it weaves you into Radiator Springs most popular roads. The water tower always stands up to me and is really nicely done. I’ve only done the regular queue once in my life and all 736 times (roughly) I’ve either had a FastPass or done the single-rider line which I highly recommend even with a group.
Tower of Terror
The outside of this queue is next to nothing but the inside is incredibly themed. The elevator (that doesn’t actually move) is a nice pre-show and the loading zone is chilling yet fascinating to see. This ride is well themed throughout and that starts as soon as you enter the building.
Magic Kingdom Park
Under The Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
While I don’t like the ride inside, Journey of the Little Mermaid provides an incredible queue. Blending beautiful rock-work, intricate details and some interactive elements, this attraction shows the best of what Disney can do with queues. This is fascinating to look at, fun to experience, and there are a few surprises along the way. While I generally roll my eyes at people who say, “I just walked through the queue and didn’t even go on the ride” this is one instance where I don’t think that’s such a bad plan.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Much different from its West Coast namesake, this Pirates of the Caribbean has an incredible queue that roams through pummeled villages. You see the wreckage that the pirates have caused even before getting on the ride to take part in the battle. This is beautifully done and quite long. Like Indiana Jones Adventure, there is a number of things to see in a massive space.
This is an interactive queue that was redone a few years ago. While walking through the outside of the mansion, there are a few things to hit that make sounds. It’s a lot better than I made it out to be. The area is beautiful and the interactive parts don’t look out-of-place. The pet cemetery is my favorite part here (shout out to Mr. Toad) and there are a number of details throughout that get you ready for what’s inside the mansion.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Another interactive queue, this one allows you to shoot cannons out into the ‘wilderness’ and watch the after effects. It’s a little bit worse than it sounds, at least if you’re into cannons. Still the interactive elements here are pretty interesting as are the details throughout.
I’m having a hard time here, as there aren’t many queues that really impress me. Test Track makes the list because you get to design a car. For some guests that will be a blast, for others it will be just another way to pass time. The rest of the queue doesn’t do much for me.
This is a bit of an honorable mention because you don’t really need to stand in line for this attraction. The building is beautiful and worth exploring though. More than anything, get to the show 15 minutes early to experience the Voices of Liberty. It’s one of the sweeter, more beautiful moments in Walt Disney World.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Toy Story Mania
This queue is interesting as you’re shrunken down to the size of a toy (use your imagination, kids!) as you enter the building and then see Andy’s room from that viewpoint. There’s some fun quirks to the queue and the bright colors are a change from most lines.
Hollywood Tower of Terror
I said in the opening that some attractions and rides start as soon as you get into the queue. This attraction starts as soon as you start walking down Sunset Boulevard towards it. Tower of Terror towers above everything and you can hear the shrieks of those in that faulty elevator all throughout the day. When in the actual line, there is an eerie feeling to the outside portion. I once saw a large frog jump on the back of a guy’s shirt and just sit there for a few seconds. The shock wore off after a few seconds and I told the guy there was a frog on his shirt he panicked and then the frog jumped off and into the night. It was strange. Back to the queue, once inside the details are unmatched by anything at Walt Disney World. There is so much to look at and not enough time. The elevator, again, presents a great pre-show and this time it actually moves! This is close to a perfect attraction and some of the credit goes to the queue.
The line here isn’t used very often anymore. Still there is a lot of Muppet humor through the queue. There are movie posters that have been ‘Muppetfied’ and they’re good for a laugh. Once inside the building, the pre-show movie is one of the best at any Disney Parks around. There are also some great props lying around the big room. You probably won’t have to wait long for this ride, but there are worse places to wait in.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Like Tower of Terror, the story of this ride starts as soon as you step foot in Animal Kingdom’s Asia. There are warnings, offerings, and other signs of the Yeti (no disco balls though) that haunts Everest throughout Asia. Once inside the actual queue the newspaper clippings and artifacts continue to tell the story that lead to your ascent up the mountain. It’s a very well done queue, and one that you have to dig a little deeper for the story than some other places.
Kali River Rapids
This is the Journey of the Little Mermaid problem all over again. The queue is vast and incredible. The ride itself is lacking (although better than Little Mermaid). You can gather many details about this river and the story of the ride while standing in line. It’s also a beautiful area with green and the kinetic energy of the water flowing by. This is an easy queue to put on the list but sadly the ride itself doesn’t give a great follow-up.
Flight of Passage
The most recent addition to this list, Flight of Passage is in Pandora – World of Avatar. While the ride itself is spectacular and an achievement, the queue is full of wonder and beauty. Starting outside, the line winds through the ‘floating mountains’ and passed a gorgeous waterfall. The view from up by the waterfall is one of the best in all of Walt Disney World. Once inside, guests are charmed bioluminescents and wowed by some visual tricks in a science lab. The pre-show video is not good but that doesn’t stop Flight of Passage from having the best queue in Disney World.
That’s my list so far! Did I miss any queues that are your favorites? Let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading our blog and we hope you have a great weekend!