Secrets Behind The Five Best Queues In Walt Disney World (2022)

Every attraction in Walt Disney World tells a story.

These stories are sometimes quite clear, like trying to get to an Aerosmith concert on time on Rock ’N roller coaster or following along as a family experiences the wonders of new technology on Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.

Sometimes the stories aren’t as clear, as in the case of the spinner in Adventureland, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin (I think the story is we buy a flying carpet and then test it out in a whole bunch of circles!)

And sometimes the story begins before you even board the attraction in the amazingly elaborate and mesmerizing queues that the talented Disney Imagineers have designed to help make our time waiting to board a little bit easier!

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Let’s take a look at the secrets behind the five best queues in Walt Disney World.

1 – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

One of the best themed attractions anywhere on the planet, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’s creepiness begins when you start walking up the ramp at the front of the queue toward the dilapidated old hotel. The eerie background music, overgrown gardens, and empty fountains let you know that this resort isn’t exactly well-maintained!

When you first walk inside that lobby, however, there’s almost too much awesomeness to take in! The lobby sits, untouched, since (as you later find out in the pre-show) that dark and stormy night in 1939. There are suitcases, room keys, newspapers, and even a coffee cup that look like they were just left there in an instant. The lobby truly is a moment frozen in time and it sets the stage for an amazing Disney attraction.

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Once you get past the pre-show in the library you enter the boiler room and the creepiness factor is taken up to another level! Everything about the buildup to this attraction makes it really feel like you’re walking through an episode of The Twilight Zone!

Imagineering Secret: In the lobby of the attraction is a Mahjong game that’s been sitting, untouched on a table, since “1939”. To make it as authentic as possible, Disney brought in Mahjong players and asked them to sit at a table and play. Then, after they were well into the game, they were told to abruptly quit and leave the game right in the middle.

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2 – Under The Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid

One of the Magic Kingdom’s fantastic new additions, the Journey of the Little Mermaid tells the story of Ariel and her lifelong dream to be “up where they walk, up where they run, up where they stay all day in the sun.”

Like the rest of New Fantasyland, the exterior of this attraction, where the queue begins, is absolutely stunning! From Prince Eric’s castle to the waterfalls, beaches, and wooden bridges, this is really one you shouldn’t always use a FastPass for!

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Once you get to the inside part of the queue, however, the real fun begins! There are interactive elements everywhere in the queue, from game-playing crabs to an audio animatronic Scuttle (Ariel’s seagull friend from the film who is also a self proclaimed human expert!) The interactive elements really add to the experience and make waiting in (a sometimes very long) line pretty much fly right by!

Imagineering Secret: Possibly the most elaborate Hidden Mickey ever created by Disney Imagineering can be seen in the queue of this attraction, but only for about seven minutes each year! The imagineers carved a section of the rock formations so that the sun can shine through on November 18th each year, which just so happens to be a famous mouse’s birthday! Look for Mickey’s famous three circle silhouette around noon on that date!

3 – The Seas With Nemo & Friends

Call me a nostalgic, but I was originally pretty sad to see the Living Seas go the way of the dodo. I loved the hydrolators that would take you down into the depths of the massive ocean so you could experience the wonders of life at the bottom of the sea (check out this fantastic and funny story about the hydrolators).

(Video) Best Disney World Interactive Queues

However, once I saw what the Disney Imagineers were able to add to the attraction, I was thrilled! Nemo and his friends breathed some sorely-needed life into this Opening Day Epcot pavilion, and it all starts with a fantastic queue! Actually, it all starts with one of my favorite little gags in the Disney parks, the “Mine, Mine, MINE!” seagulls hanging out on the rocks outside the attraction.

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Once inside the building, you are instantly blasted with that cold AC, the Finding Nemo music, and the sights and sounds of the beach. As you move further through the queue, you’ll move under the ocean’s surface and are transformed (not literally!) into a fish. Above you in one room you’ll even see the boat (or butt!) that Nemo famously touches in the movie bearing his name. There’s hardly ever a long line so you’d normally move pretty quickly through this queue, but I’d recommend slowing down and looking at everything around you!

Imagineering Secret: In the first room in the inside part of the queue is an Australian lifeguard stand with the designation “5A” on it. This is a reference to the pavilion’s previous attraction and is an homage to SeaBase Alpha (5A = SA).

4 – Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

So I have to be honest right here and say that I’m a Star Wars fan. Not like a “midnight movie premiere in a costume” fan, but a fan just the same. And since I am a fan, I was thrilled to have the chance to be a cast member at the Star Tours attraction in the mid 2000’s. What Star Wars fan wouldn’t be?! I came to work every day wearing a plastic lightsaber on my belt and got into constant duels with kids who would be wielding their own Jedi weapons. That was awesome!

What wasn’t exactly awesome, though, during my time in an attraction far, far away, was the queue. The Star Tours attraction and queue had been around for an awful long time and a refurbishment was needed. Fast forward to 2011 and beyond, however, and the attraction and queue are two of the best on all of Disney property. The outside section of the queue boasts a giant AT-AT and the iconic Ewok Village (I had the play set as a kid!).

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Once inside, the queue is designed like an intergalactic airport (spaceport?) where guests are being whisked off to far-away planets like Naboo, Tatooine, and the newly discovered Jakku. Complete with robotic TSA-like agents, baggage screening, and airport announcements (“Paging Mr. Egroeg Sacul!”), this is definitely a queue experience you won’t want to skip!

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Imagineering Secret: One of the deactivated droids that is stashed away in storage on the left side of the queue may look very familiar to those who have flown on a Starspeeder before the most recent refurbishment. He is none other than Rex, the former unlucky pilot of the original Star Tours attraction.

5 – Expedition Everest

Even if you’re a little too intimidated to ride this high speed coaster through the Himalayas in search of the mythical Yeti, you really need to at least walk through the queue! Expedition Everest has arguably the most visually stunning and detailed queue in any theme park, anywhere.

Disney Imagineers spent an incredible amount of time in Nepal researching and planning the design of the attraction and it’s queue, and it paid off. While walking through the almost museum-like queue, you are surrounded by cold weather clothing, mountain climbing equipment, and evidence and artifacts that prove the Yeti is actually real.

By the time you reach the end of the queue and are ready to board the attraction, you really feel like you’re getting set for an expedition to prove the Yeti exists. Everything from the newspaper clippings, posters on the walls, plaster casts of “Yeti footprints”, and the cast members themselves transport you to another time and place. If this one isn’t the best queue in Walt Disney World, I honestly don’t know what is! Make sure to bring your camera (okay, your iPhone) to take a lot of pictures because you won’t want to forget just how well the queue sets up the story of Expedition Everest!

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Imagineering Secret: When you are about to board to take your journey through the Forbidden Mountain, you’ll notice the steam rising off the trains. Disney Imagineers wanted to make the trains seem as real as possible, but since they aren’t actual working steam trains they had to figure out how to have them emit steam. The solution was installing hidden steam vents under the train platform which spray out a non-water based steam, keeping the illusion of the steam trains in line with the rest of the story!

One of the reasons why the Disney theme parks are truly the best in the business is the complete immersion in the story guests experience in each land, show, restaurant, and attraction. Not all of Walt Disney World’s queues are absolutely unbelievable, of course, but most of them give guests an outstanding glimpse of what they will soon experience in an attraction or show. If I haven’t mentioned your favorite queue (and chances are, I haven’t!) please feel free to email me at phil@eartotheretravel.com to let me know which ones I’ve missed!

Do you enjoy the details in the queues at Disney World?

FAQs

What is Disney's best kept secret? ›

The existence of the utilidors — a system of tunnels underneath Magic Kingdom — is perhaps the best-known Disney World secret. The tunnels are key to keeping this park running — and the magic alive.

Are Disney wait times accurate 2022? ›

They definitely are not accurate,” says Ryan Austin, who runs Walt Disney World Wait Times. “They definitely skew about 20 percent higher than actual wait times. They do often use them as a way to pull people away from a ride.”

What can u not bring into Disney? ›

Horns, whistles, large megaphones or artificial noise makers. Recreational devices such as drones, remote-control toys, skateboards, scooters, inline skates, bicycles or shoes with built-in wheels. Strollers that are greater than 31" (79 cm) in width and 52" (132 cm) in length. Wagons, including stroller wagons.

What are the 5 keys of Disney? ›

The Five Keys—Safety, Courtesy, Inclusion, Show and Efficiency—serve as the basis on which all Cast Members make decisions to provide the greatest hospitality to Guests. The Five Keys are also the most valued standard for Oriental Land Co., Ltd.

What is the 120 minute rule at Disney World? ›

That 3rd option is the 120-minute rule. Essentially, you can book another Lightning Lane 2 hours (120 minutes) after reserving a previous one if the return time for the first Lightning Lane is more than 2 hours away.

Who gets to skip lines at Disney? ›

Besides allowing you to skip the lines, VIP tours are 100 percent customizable. VIPs get special seats at parades and stage shows, and backstage access, too. Plus, there's always a car nearby to shuttle everyone to and from your favorite park destinations.

What does a 13 minute wait at Disney mean? ›

If either attraction has a wait time of 13 minutes for the standby line, get in line! 13 minutes is a 'code' for no wait time at all. In the case of these two attractions, number 13 happens to be a lucky number! ( Photo Credit Meeko)

How do you get free stuff at Disney? ›

Free for Everyone
  1. Celebration Buttons. ...
  2. Visit the Disney Resorts. ...
  3. PhotoPass Cast Members Photos. ...
  4. Character Autographs. ...
  5. Hidden Mickey Scavenger Hunts. ...
  6. Disney's Play App. ...
  7. Ice Water. ...
  8. Dining Under the Age of 3.
4 Nov 2022

Is Disney at full capacity in 2022? ›

As of 2022, Walt Disney World is at full operations and not putting in any capacity restrictions due to COVID-19.

How do you skip lines on Disney 2022? ›

See privacy policy.
  1. Consult a crowd calendar. An easy way to experience shorter lines is to visit Disneyland when everyone else isn't. ...
  2. Arrive for rope drop. ...
  3. Take advantage of early entry for Disney hotel guests. ...
  4. Go solo with single rider lines. ...
  5. Swap out with rider switch. ...
  6. Book a dining package.
1 Sept 2022

Can you bring a full water bottle into Disney? ›

"Guests are welcome to bring bottles, cups and mugs into the theme parks provided that they are not glass containers and they do not bring alcohol into the theme parks.

Can I refill my water bottle at Disney World? ›

Yes, all four of the formal theme parks at Disney World have water bottle refill stations. At the water parks and Disney Springs you will need to go to the Quick Serve for quick cups of water (or Table Service if you have a reservation).

Can I take water bottle into Disney World? ›

A. Guests are allowed to bring outside food and nonalcoholic beverage items into the park for self-consumption, provided they are not in glass containers and do not require heating, reheating, processing, refrigeration or temperature control and do not have pungent odors.

What is the secret door in Disney World? ›

The magic door to Walt Disney World's Club 33 is even more “hidden” than Disneyland's, and it's even more mundane! Club 33 is steeped in a lot of mystery as well. Not only is it a highly exclusive club, but Disney reportedly has very specific restrictions when it comes to social media use posts about the club.

How can I get into Club 33? ›

Guests who wish to become members at Club 33 will need to email Club33@WaltDisneyWorld.com for Walt Disney World, or for Disneyland, you must submit a written letter of inquiry at the address as follows: Club 33 Member Services, 1600 S. Disneyland Drive Anaheim, CA 92802, in order to be considered.

What is the best Disney Key? ›

The top-tier Disneyland annual pass level is the Disney Dream Key. As the only Magic Key with no blockout dates (reservation availability is another story), it's the cream of the annual pass crop with a price tag to match. What's Included: Complimentary standard theme park parking.

What if you miss your lightning lane time? ›

If you miss your return window, you forfeit your Lightning Lane access. This one is super important to remember. If you happen to miss your return time window for your Lightning Lane, you will NOT be allowed to book another one for that attraction.

Is Disney World free after 6pm? ›

You do not need a park reservation or additional ticket to enter the park at or after 7:00 PM.

What is lightning lane stacking? ›

“Stacking” is holding multiple Lightning Lane reservations (for different rides) at the same time. For example… Hollywood Studios opens at 9AM. At 8AM, I book Slinky Dog Dash for 2PM. I can make my next booking at 11AM, two hours after the park opens.

What month is Disney least crowded? ›

Off-peak times fall around January, February, August, September, and early November. Discounts on vacation packages (which combine park tickets and hotel stays) booked directly through Disney World and deals on accommodations are regularly offered throughout the year, typically during these less-crowded times.

What is the quietest month to go to Disney World? ›

The least crowded times to go to Disney World in 2022 are:
  • Last week of April.
  • Weekdays in the first 2 weeks of May.
  • Last 2 weeks of August.
  • Most of September.
  • Most October weekdays.
  • November weekdays (not including Thanksgiving week)
  • December weekdays (not including the weeks of Christmas and New Year's Eve)
18 Sept 2022

Do Disney lines get shorter at night? ›

This is one of my favorite ways to avoid long lines at Disney. You'll often find wait times are dramatically lower during the last hour of operations (the exception being when there is a special event). Make the most of that last hour, all the way to the last minute.

Do people in wheelchairs go to the front of the line at Disney? ›

Disney has been steadily altering their attraction queues so that guests in wheelchairs and ECVs can stay in the regular queue with everyone else. There are still some attractions, such as Spaceship Earth in Epcot, which have a handicapped entrance, but this doesn't mean you'll be moved ahead of everyone else.

Do you pay for Lightning Lane? ›

Basically, you pay to hop in the Lightning Lane to skip a potentially long line. Beginning at 7:00 a.m. every day, a Disney Hotel Guest can purchase any available Individual Lightning Lane attraction (see list below) through the My Disney Experience app.

What happens if Disney closes while you're in line? ›

Regardless of the time the parks close, you will not be asked to leave any attraction as long as you are already in line. For example, if the park closes at 10pm, you will not be turned away from any queue as long as you are in line by 9:59pm.

What is the smallest Hidden Mickey in Disney World? ›

Want to find the smallest Hidden Mickey in Walt Disney World's four parks? Then locate a merchandise cart near the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris and search the tile on the counter. There, embedded in the grout, are three tiny beads in the shape of a classic three-circle Hidden Mickey.

Is there a secret room in Disney World? ›

Since then, it's become Disney World's best-kept secret. The Cinderella Castle Suite might just be Disney's most exclusive spot — and there is only one way you can win the proverbial lottery and spend the night in the magical bedchamber.

What is the hardest Hidden Mickey to find? ›

The hardest of the bunch to spot can be found in the final graveyard scene where the haunts are having a great time. As guests approach the large crypt headed towards the hitchhiking ghosts, they should look back behind their Doom Buggy to the right hand side to spot another crypt with a grim reaper inside of it.

What ride at Disney has the longest wait time? ›

There are a lot of ways to avoid waiting in long lines at Disney World.
  • Rise of the Resistance.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
  • End of Line for Toy Story Mania.
  • Gran Fiesta Tour.
  • Na'vi River Journey.
2 Jul 2022

What are Disneyland's slowest days? ›

Weekdays are less crowded than weekends, especially Monday-Thursdays. On weekends, Sundays are usually less crowded than Saturdays. Regular weekends tend to be less crowded than holiday weekends.

Which Disney park has the shortest wait times? ›

Across the 54 attractions Disney offers at its four parks, guests can expect to wait for an average of 36 minutes per ride. EPCOT has the shortest lines (26 minutes), while Hollywood Studios has the longest (41 minutes).

Is Disney free on your birthday? ›

Disney DOESN'T give you free admission into the theme parks on your birthday. They DON'T give you free hotel stays or free meals. You CAN'T skip the lines or get special dining reservations.

Who eats free at Disney? ›

Kids under 3 eat free at Disney – At select Walt Disney World resorts and buffets kids eat free! If you are on vacation and have purchased a Disney dining plan you don't have to purchase one for your kids under 3 because they can eat for free there.

Does Disney still give free water? ›

Bottled water at the Walt Disney World Resort is not free, but tap water is. There are several water fountains found throughout each park, and free tap water is available at all quick service locations.

Is Disney genie plus worth it? ›

While Disney Genie+ can be a useful service at the theme parks, it doesn't mean that it is worth it at ALL of the 4 theme parks at Walt Disney World. In fact, in our experience, some of the theme parks don't have enough attractions to make it worth the extra cost, and you can do just fine without Genie+.

Is Disney still doing limited capacity? ›

2 – Disney Park Pass Reservation System

When the parks reopened in July 2020, Walt Disney World introduced a new Disney Park Pass reservations system to monitor and limit park capacity. However, even with capacity limits eliminated, there is no indication that the system is going anywhere.

Is Disney still at 35 capacity? ›

Although the Parks are crowded, the Parks are still operating under a reduced capacity. At the time of publication, we still have yet to hear an exact number when it comes to Park capacity, but that last confirmed number was 35%, which was released in early 2021.

What should I not miss at Magic Kingdom? ›

Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise are two Disney favorites that you can't miss in Adventureland. Haunted Mansion is a beloved classic in Liberty Square, and nearby Frontierland houses the must-do Splash Mountain! The dark rides in Fantasyland are a throwback to the past days of theme parks.

What Ride Should I go on first at Disney World? ›

This include rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, Peter Pan's Flight, or Haunted Mansion. You could ride 2 or 3 of these within the first 45 minutes of the park being open if that's your goal!

Can you hug characters at Disney again? ›

Starting April 18, 2022, regular character meets with hugs and autographs returned to the Disney World parks. That's right, you now will be able to get a hug or autograph from your favorite characters once again. No more rushing through your meet and distanced selfies!

Does Disney genie allow you to skip lines? ›

Genie+ allows guests to skip the line at the included attractions, once per ride per day (so no unlimited access like the previous Disneyland MaxPass offering). You can begin making your Genie+ reservations once you have entered the park for the day.

Does Disney have hidden messages? ›

Best known for entertaining children the world over, Disney has also developed a reputation for some saucy, secret messages. Adults who grew up with Disney films have started to realize the naughty messages they missed as kids as they revisit their childhood favourite films.

What is the darkest Disney moment? ›

Scar Kills Mufasa

A traumatic experience for a young child to witness as well as a painful memory for an adult to rewatch, Mufasa's death is simply one of, if not the most devastating Disney moments of all time.

What is the GREY stuff at Disney? ›

Basically, it is a sweet mixture of crumbled cookies and cream cookies vanilla pudding and whipped cream, and it is served on top of a scalloped cookie. The simple treat is *chefs kiss*. The best part of the grey stuff? It only takes 15 minutes to make.

Can Disney see what you search? ›

Can Circle with Disney see my search history? Yes, Circle with Disney tracks all of your web browsing, and logs every site you visit, so it will have a record of your entire search history.

What are Disney characters not allowed to say? ›

The three words that Disney employees are trained not to say are “I don't know.” “If a guest asks you a question, you always have to have an answer, no exceptions,” an anonymous former Cast Member shared online. “If you don't know it, find out, but don't say you don't know.

What is the most disliked Disney movie? ›

10 Worst Walt Disney Animation Studios Films According to IMDB
  1. Home on the Range (5.3 Stars)
  2. Chicken Little (5.7 Stars) ...
  3. Saludos Amigos (6.1 Stars) ...
  4. Melody Time (6.2 Stars) ...
  5. Make Mine Music (6.2 Stars) ...
  6. The Three Caballeros (6.3 Stars) ...
  7. The Black Cauldron (6.3 Stars) ...
  8. Fun and Fancy-Free (6.4 Stars) ...
6 Aug 2022

What time of year is the slowest at Disney World? ›

Off-peak times fall around January, February, August, September, and early November. Discounts on vacation packages (which combine park tickets and hotel stays) booked directly through Disney World and deals on accommodations are regularly offered throughout the year, typically during these less-crowded times.

Why is Disney so dark at night? ›

It's likely you'll run into this content on most major streaming services. This is because HDR content (like 4K shows) is designed to harness the full spectrum of brightness of a modern TV set. That is, darker colours are meant to be very dark, while brighter colours are meant to be very bright.

What does a blue light at Disney mean? ›

When most guests enter the park they receive a green light sequence to enter, and a blue light if the ticket or MagicBand failed. Credit/Photo: Disney Parks Blog.

Why do they fingerprint you at Disney? ›

The Disney World website assures visitors that the park doesn't store anyone's prints. Instead, they pair your unique print with a number, which they match with your ticket, and then immediately delete the scans themselves. So what is the purpose of this security measure? It's actually a way to prevent ticket fraud.

What color does Disney use to hide? ›

According to Inside The Magic, Disney invented Go Away Green to camouflage backstage buildings and construction walls from visitors. The color tends to blend into its surroundings, making them appear out of focus. It's almost a way of keeping the “magic” alive when guests at Disney theme parks encounter eyesores.

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