When you visit a Disney theme park, there is one thing you should always be prepared for: waiting in lines. Although Disney has tried their best throughout the years to make that process less tedious by making their attraction queues more interactive and bringing in services like FastPass+ and Genie+, there’s no doubt that waiting in line for rides is boring and will eat up a lot of your time.
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Don't Let Unexpected Long Lines Catch You Off Guard!
At Disneyland, it’s generally expected that there will always be long lines for the most popular rides and thrill rides. However, there are also quite a few attractions that you wouldn’t assume would have a long wait, but because of several factors, you’ll likely end up waiting longer than you’d think. If you want to make the most of your time at Disneyland, keep reading to learn about the unexpected long lines you should be aware of!
Why Do the Lines Get So Long?
There are several reasons why the wait time in line for Disney attractions can become very long very quickly. One of the most obvious is that the ride is popular and most of the guests who are vacationing at the parks want to experience it during their stay. This is most common for the rollercoasters and other major thrill rides at Disneyland, but it can occasionally happen with smaller, classic attractions too (like Peter Pan’s Flight).
In addition to popularity, there are several other factors that can play a role in the attraction lines being long. If the ride doesn’t have a height requirement and everyone can enjoy it, that can increase the wait time significantly, especially if it’s one that could be considered a “thrill ride for children.” If the attraction isn’t built Omnimover-style and ride vehicles aren’t constantly cycling through, it can take a while for people to load and unload in and out, which will bump the wait time up too.
Because of the way Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park are laid out, there are some attractions that must remain closed during the fireworks shows and other nighttime spectaculars. When these rides close for safety during that time period, it can sometimes take a while for them to reopen, and guests who haven’t had a chance to experience them will be anxiously waiting, increasing the line length.
There are many different reasons why certain attractions may have unexpectedly long lines, so let’s take a closer look at these rides with unexpectedly long lines to determine why you have to wait so long to enjoy them.
Alice in Wonderland
Located in Disneyland behind Sleeping Beauty Castle in Fantasyland, Alice in Wonderland is one of the more popular family-friendly attractions in the park, which contributes to its generally longer line. Because of its slow-moving nature, a much wider range of people are able to ride it, including children, the elderly, those with back or neck pain or heart conditions, and expectant mothers.
Alice in Wonderland is also located in the area that is closed during nighttime fireworks shows to keep guests safe, and it can sometimes take up to 30 minutes after the show is finished to reopen. During that time period, people will usually leave their fireworks viewing spot and make their way toward the attraction. When it is finally ready to open again, the number of guests waiting can already be quite high. Due to this fact, it’s usually best to ride Alice in Wonderland during the early part of the day when the fireworks are still hours away.
Goofy’s Sky School
In addition to the major rollercoasters found around the Disney theme parks, there are a couple of kid-appropriate rollercoasters thrown in for those who aren’t quite tall enough to ride the bigger rollercoasters or are more fearful of the larger rides. Goofy’s Sky School is one such coaster, found in Paradise Gardens Park at Disney California Adventure. Because it gives younger riders the chance to experience a thrill ride, there are typically a lot of families who want to ride it, and the line will usually be fairly long. Those who meet the height requirement for every coaster but don’t enjoy extremely intense rides might be waiting in line for this one as well.
The biggest reason that a lot of Disneyland rides end up with extended wait times is because there is limited capacity within the ride itself. This is the case with Goofy’s Sky School and many of the other rollercoasters in the parks. There are a limited number of ride vehicles being utilized at any time depending on the size of the attraction. For Goofy's Sky School, only a small group can fit inside each vehicle, so if only two to three small groups are using the ride at any one time, the line will inevitably be longer.
A fan-favorite of many young guests, Autopia is another attraction that can end up with a line that is longer than you'd expect. Even though this ride has more vehicles moving at a given time compared to some of the others on this list, it still can’t accommodate too many people at once because of the length of the track and the amount of space that is required to be between cars.
Autopia can also have an increased wait time simply because it’s a ride that takes longer to get in and out of. Guests must be strapped in very securely for safety reasons, particularly those who are on the shorter end of the height requirement, to drive the vehicles. It can sometimes take a few moments for the Cast Members who are operating the attraction to ensure everyone is secured correctly, so the slow loading time combined with the limited number of vehicles can quickly lead to a long line.
Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
One of our personal favorite areas within Disney California Adventure is Cars Land, and there are two attractions in that area that have made this list of unexpected long lines to be aware of. The first is Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, which is a cute ride but not one you would necessarily consider super popular compared to others in the park. However, it can end up with a higher wait time then you’d expect simply because of the way it’s designed.
Unlike the Omnimover-style attractions that are constantly loading, moving, and unloading people, this ride can only take one group of people at a time. This means that you’re typically waiting around a minute and a half per group to two minutes per group. When you consider that there are no restriction requirements and anybody who wants to is able to enjoy the ride, those couple of minutes can quickly add up.
Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
One of the wackiest rides at Disneyland is Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, found in Mickey’s Toontown. Although Who Framed Roger Rabbit? isn’t generally a popular movie with today’s kids, the ride inspired by the movie is appropriate and safe for pretty much everybody. There are no height or major health restrictions, which means—you guessed it—more people are able to enjoy it, and the line can become quite long as a result.
Because Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is located in the area that gets roped off for fireworks performances, it ends up being shut down for a period of time most nights and can take some time to reopen. Just like many of the other attractions in Mickey’s Toontown and Fantasyland, the line can end up unexpectedly long once the fireworks show is finished and people are trying to enjoy as much of the park as they can before it closes for the night.
One of the most iconic Disney attractions of all time is the Pixar Pal-A-Round, the massive Ferris wheel located at Pixar Pier in Disney California Adventure. With the exception of those who have a fear of heights, just about every Disney fan has dreamed of riding the Pixar Pal-A-Round to get an incredible view of the Disneyland theme park and Disneyland Resort properties. Because it’s a ride that’s suitable for all ages, that universal desire to experience it can cause wait times to increase.
The other major reason the Pixar Pal-A-Round often has a long line consistently throughout the day is because on nights that World of Color – ONE is performing, the attraction shuts down early to accommodate the show and typically doesn’t reopen for the rest of the evening. This means that the wheel is open for a shorter period of time, and those who want to ride it must do so during the morning and afternoon, thus increasing the wait time. If you don't make a plan to ride the Pixar Pal-A-Round early in the day, you may miss out on it if the show is running in the evening. Be sure to check out our post on the importance of making a plan and to learn about other common Disneyland mistakes to avoid!
Chip ‘n’ Dale’s GADGETcoaster
Just like Goofy’s Sky School, Chip ‘n’ Dale’s GADGETcoaster in Disneyland’s Toontown can end up with a line longer than you'd expect because of its nature as a family-friendly coaster. It’s a perfect ride for children who are ready to take on a more intense attraction but aren’t quite tall enough to safely ride the big rollercoasters in the theme parks to have a thrilling experience. It’s also set up to only have a few ride vehicles moving through the attraction at once, which again will usually cause the wait times to be higher.
Another reason that the line for Chip ‘n’ Dale’s GADGETcoaster can become exceedingly long is because much like some of the other attractions on this list, it’s in an area that is closed off for safety during fireworks performances. This means that more people will be trying to ride it earlier in the day, and those who didn’t have a chance to do so will be clamoring to get on it once the spectacular is done and the coaster has reopened for the remainder of the evening.
Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
Found just past the entrance to Disney California Adventure in Hollywood Land, Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! is a great attraction for guests of all ages, as there are not any height or health restriction requirements and is a popular family-friendly attration. However, a big reason why the line for this ride grows so long is because it’s one of the first attractions you see when you enter the theme park.
If you’re not a seasoned Disney theme park attendee, you might not realize that it’s not a smart move to jump right into line for the first ride you come across. Since Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! is right at the front, the line can easily grow long with people who are walking past it and thinking “we might as well ride this one now while we’re here.”
The combination of it being a family-friendly ride and its placement as one of the first rides guests see as they enter the park can leave the line consistently long throughout the day. It's also an attraction that makes you feel as though you're entering the world of the Monsters, Inc. movies, which can draw in guests who are looking for an immersive experience. Be sure to check out our list of Disneyland attractions that let you step inside your favorite Disney movies to learn more!
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
The other attraction with an unexpectedly long line that can be found in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure is Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. It shares many of the characteristics that often cause Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters to have an increased wait time, including the fact that it can only hold a limited number of riders at one time. If the loading and unloading process gets slowed down by people taking their time to get situated in their vehicles, you can end up waiting a long time for your turn to ride.
With the way the ride frantically turns and spins at sharp angles, compared to the family-friendly attractions that are slow-moving, it can feel somewhat intense for young children. This makes it a great option for the kids who are starting to become thrill seekers but haven’t hit the height required for the bigger rides and coasters, and the line can become long when it’s filled with more families.
Overall, no matter what attractions you’re interested in or are capable of riding, there’s almost always going to be some long lines at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Now that you’re aware of the rides that might have some unexpected long lines when you visit, you can plan your trip accordingly based on what attractions you’d most like to experience!
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