Don’t Be Afraid to Wait in Line - Article by Mike Mack

Waiting in long lines. If you have been to any theme park in the world (or even if you haven't), you know that you should expect to face long wait times before boarding many of the more popular rides, especially during this time of the year. Many find this very stressful, but... is it really that bad here in Central Florida? The very first article by our friend Mike actually reminds us that quite a few of the rides in the area offer "more than meets the eye" while waiting in those queue lines. Take a look:

Don’t Be Afraid to Wait in Line
- By Mike Mack

One of the top reasons that keeps people from vacationing in Orlando to visit parks like Disney and Universal is the long lines of people that are sure to be in those parks almost every day. However, these parks have done an incredible job in recent years of making those lines a part of the ride experience.

Gone are the days of standing out in the Florida heat, zig-zagging through barricades that are packed with sweaty and uncomfortable park guests. These days, the lines for the park attractions, or ride queues, are interactive and immersive experiences that set the scene for the attraction that the guests are waiting for.

One of the first, and still best, examples of this is The Haunted Mansion queue in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. In 2011, the line for this classic attraction was transformed from a dull step-by-step crawl to the entrance into an interactive playground. Granted, that playground is in a simulated graveyard, but Disney found a way to make it fun, as only Disney can do. Some touch-to-play instruments, a shifty bookcase and a leaky water feature make the wait for this ride an enjoyable one.

The Haunted Mansion is not the only interactive queue Disney offers. Guests can see talking characters like Buzz Lightyear and Mr. Potato Head at Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Toy Story Midway Mania respectively. And in one of their newest projects, guests can interact and play a scavenger hunt game with a playful crustacean while they wait for Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid.

Disney parks aren’t the only ones to feature these interactive ride queues though. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure have some of the most completely immersive queues out there.

Universal Studios gives guests the chance to adventure through Egyptian tombs, tour the headquarters of N.E.S.T. and the Men In Black, and walk through wreckage caused by an F5 Twister. And of course, a park classic, the E.T. queue journeys through the forest where E.T. was last spotted before taking off on his magical bike ride. 

As incredible as that sounds, Islands of Adventure may have that topped. There, guests can see models of the original Jurassic Park, check out the Daily Bugle and even the layer of Dr. Doom. Even the queues for the water rides take you into the story and set guests up for an incredible ride experience. 

With the trend that is being set by these parks, don’t be surprised if in the near future, you don’t see anymore of those boring turnstiles anywhere. But instead, you get sucked into a story that the attraction you’re waiting for is about to portray perfectly. 

So if you’re thinking about visiting one of these parks, don’t get discouraged by the imminent crowds. Instead, just enjoy all of the incredible detail, storytelling and interactive fun that these queues have to offer.

Do you agree with Mike? Or, would you still prefer to have them disappear (and therefore making use of service like Disney's FastPass+ or Universal's EXPRESS? Feel free to share your thoughts!

PHOTOS AND ARTICLE: Mike Mack. A big thank you to him for putting this article together.


  1. First of all, it was great! Loved the article!

    Now, of course like anyone I would want as small a wait time as possible, but sometimes its nice to take a look around and get prepared for the epic journey you are about to experience.

    I guess when it come down to it, I don't mind any length of ride wait as long as it is continually moving, as you will get board with looking at the same things. It creates the illusion that it is short.

    Isn't it always the way though that the fun parts of the queue are the parts that move quickly and vise versa??

  2. Sort of odd that an article discussing queues, which specifically mentions Islands of Adventure, doesn't discuss one of the best queues in the world....?

  3. I'm not afraid to wait in line, and appreciate the article. People wait in line everyday for something and for some reason its only at Disney or Universal that suddenly is torture.

    What I don't like is this constant hype of "Immersive" and "interactive" The little toys or gadgets along the way keep the kid standing RIGHT THERE happy, but its not a continuous interactive queue.

    Immersion this and immersion that. Its way overused, and gotten so distorted guests think standing in a parking lot at an onsite hotel is "immersive" while one off site "breaks the magic" Folks? Its just asphalt.

    Atmosphere, which in my opinion is a more accurate word than immersive, is important. The atmosphere at ToT, HM, Soarin, and many others is nice, even relaxing.

    Giving the guests something to watch, to observe and admire (True Color video, robot assembly line, whatever), can go a long way to getting one's mind off the wait time.

    The BEST queue is the interior part of Expedition Everest. If any comes close to interactive, that's one There is a lot to read and look at: photos, news stories, equipment, etc. Its like walking through a museum exhibit. The displays stimulate the imagination, and sense of adventure ahead.

  4. We do agree with the comment that some of the interactive elements can actually feel like they are "in the way" sometimes, but we definitely do love highly-themed and immersive queue line. Waiting in those lines makes the whole experience much more enjoyable than just waiting in bare switchbacks lines.

  5. Great article. Its about fun and spending time with family/friends. I don't mind the lines and am looking forward to returning to Disney in 2015. Folks with all due respect we all need to slow down a bit and enjoy life, every minute, every day and YES every line we are in. Life is to be enjoyed, its what you make of it that counts.


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