Saturday, March 14, 2015

Waiting in Line at Walt Disney World: 10 Fun Things to Look For

By Lisa Green  

No matter what time of year you go or how savvy you are with rope-drops and FastPass+, you will inevitably find yourself – at some point during your vacation at Walt Disney World – waiting in line.  It’s not like waiting in line at the grocery store or at your local movie theater’s concession stand.  Disney (as with everything else) adds a bit (and sometimes a LOT) of pixie-dusted details, even to queues.  That’s why I encourage friends that are planning their very first visit to Walt Disney World to embrace the line.  Become zen with the waiting, so to speak.  Folks with little ones may want to bring games and toys to make waiting easier.  Personally, when I’m waiting, I like to soak up all the tiny, but magical details.  Really try to be in the moment…I mean, even waiting in line, I’m still on vacation at Disney World, right?

Now that we’ve established that we’re going to wait, whether it’s a few minutes or several, those special Disney touches to the queue areas for rides and attractions can be a form of entertainment all on their own.  So, my dear blog-reading friends, I give you….


10 Fun Things to Look For While Waiting in Line:
In the Magic Kingdom
  • Haunted Mansion – Since HM was re-vamped in 2011 to add the super-cool interactive queue, I find I love it even more than I did before (which was a lot).  I’d heard about the bride’s ring that can be found in the cement along the queue and I just had to find it.  Locating the elusive piece of jewelry was excellent entertainment for a hot, crowded day.  Lots to see in this queue even if you can’t find the ring.  You’ve gotta find it now, though, dontcha.
  •  It’s a Small World – No, the line’s not very exciting while you’re waiting for your turn to board the “Happiest cruise that ever sailed”, but if you stand there long enough, keep your eye on the clock.  Every 15 minutes, the clock opens up and displays the time.  No, I cannot explain what I find so special about this particular detail.  I just think it’s pretty neat – and getting little ones to watch for it as the time draws close for the clock to open, makes waiting a little more entertaining.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – This ride (to me) has particularly hilarious details that go with Big Thunder’s backstory.  There are genuine pieces of antique mining equipment and tools, but the best part is what’s printed on the crates.  They’re from the Lytum and Hyde Explosives Company!
  • Splash Mountain – The part of the queue inside the mountain is really neat – the walls and rough wood beams are very realistic, but the best part to me is outside in the courtyard.  Look for the fancy and adorable bird houses…not sure if it’s the whimsy or the little special details, but I always imagine the kinds of birds that must live there to be like the one’s that help Cinderella.
In Epcot

  • Soarin’ – Right before you board (while you’re still in line), there’s a video that explains what to expect and what actions are necessary on your part.  The video is hosted by Patrick Warburton (Kronk!), who I adore.  During the video, as Patrick explains how to properly stow loose items – there’s this guy.  He’s wearing an Earhat that he must, sadly, place in a storage area for safekeeping.  That guy!  He just cracks me up.  A lot.  G’head…watch and see what I mean.  Every time I wait in the line for Soarin’, I look forward to that Earhat man and the dejected expression he has when he’s got to take off his hat.
  • Mission: SPACE – If you read my previous post on Mission: SPACE, you know how I feel about it, but there’s still some pretty awesome stuff to see if you decide you’ve got to ride it.  On loan from The Smithsonian (National Air and Space Museum), is an actual really real Lunar Roving Vehicle.  Take a minute or two to check it out – think about how tough it would have been to design a vehicle that would drive around in a place with no air and little gravity.  Not into that sort of thing?  Then spend your time reading the posted health warnings – there are enough of those to keep you entertained while you wait.
In Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Rock’n’ Roller Coaster – The queue for this isn’t that great to me until I actually make it into the garage to board the limo – then I love the details and most especially the Hidden Mickey’s and the very clever license plates on the limos.  So, once you step through the door, take the time to look all around.  It’s pretty exciting to see the limos shoot off into the tunnel – knowing you’ll soon be doing the same.
  • Star Tours – This queue is awesome.  You will wind your way through a spaceport terminal complete with flight information displays, droids (like C-3PO and R2-D2) working, and luggage being screened.  Pay particular attention to the luggage screening – it’s hilarious!
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – There’s loads of cool stuff to see, but I’m particularly partial to one certain Hidden Mickey inside the hotel lobby.  Look for the desk – the glasses on the desk form a Hidden Mickey.  It’s subtle, the special effects that make everything look old, dusty, and run down add just the right amount of creepy-ness and in the midst of it all is that cleverly placed detail.  Love.  It.
In the Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everest – I love the stand-by line for EE almost as much as I love the ride.  It is my favorite attraction at Walt Disney World.  Part of the queue will take you through a Yeti Museum – and this, to me, is the coolest part of all.  Take it all in!  Especially the plaster cast of the Yeti footprint and the remains of an expedition gone bad – clearly, by the evidence, they were attacked by some mysterious and destructive creature.  This is GREAT stuff, you guys, don’t miss it!
  • Kali River Rapids – Thousands of details and artifacts await the waiters (in line, that is) at this white-water attraction in Asia.  When you get to the Tiger Temple pavilion, please take the time to look up at the beautiful, extremely detailed artwork – it’s one of the amazing things that makes Walt Disney World so special.  While you’re waiting, there are tons of cool things to see, but I also want you to listen.  Disney’s focus on the evils of deforestation includes the sounds of chainsaws and falling trees!  Seriously.  Listen.
I limited myself to just 10 things to tell you about today – it was pretty hard.  I love riding rides and seeing shows, but I also love just being on a Disney vacation, soaking up the magic in all its forms.  Next time you find yourself at the World, take the time to enjoy the wait and tell me….
What do you do for fun while you’re waiting in line at Walt Disney World?

This article was originally posted on Lisa's Living a Disney Life Blog

Editor's Note: Lisa can also be found co-hosting The Disney Exchange Podcast along with Dave Hodges and myself! - Nick

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