When getting ready for their Disney World trip, guests are often prepared for the long waits for popular attractions such as Rise of the Resistance, Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, and more. Despite this, there are many long lines for other rides that may come as a shock to guests who are not prepared for them. We have compiled 10 of the most unexpected wait times, from attractions to restaurants! Preparing for these surprising wait times will allow you to get the most out of your Disney World trip and spend your time wisely.
In this article:
Frozen Ever After
Frozen Ever After opened in 2016, inspired by the iconic movie Frozen, and it has always had a consistently long wait time of over an hour due to the overwhelming love for the Frozen franchise.
If you have Frozen lovers in your party, this is a must-do attraction at EPCOT. I would recommend grabbing a Lightning Lane return time for this attraction, since many people overlook how long the line can get. It may not be the newest or the most thrilling ride, but Frozen Ever After is one of the most popular and beloved rides at EPCOT.
Gideon's Bakehouse at Disney Springs
Though not an attraction, Gideons Bakehouse at Disney Springs is always one of the most unexpected long waits for any Disney guest. The delicious 1/2 pound cookies always gather a huge crowd and a virtual queue when the line gets too long.
To get this delicious snack, you will have to join the Virtual Queue (in person), which allows you to leave and come back when your return time is texted. Once your return time is called, you'll enter the queue to get into the store. This is a bit of a hassle for the average guest, but here are a few tips for ensuring you can get these cookies with the shortest wait possible.
Arrive as early as possible and wait in line. Gideon's doesn't open until 10am, but you can start waiting early as they let you into Disney Springs. Sometimes, you may luck out and be able to get into Gideons without having to use the Virtual Queue if you arrive early.
Weekdays usually have a shorter wait, especially earlier in the morning. Even if you do have a long Virtual Queue wait time, which may be a couple hours or more, make sure to enjoy your time around Disney Springs and stop at all the shops and restaurants. This will help your wait seem shorter and get you ready to enjoy these delicious cookies!
Peter Pan's Flight
Peter Pan's Flight is one of the most popular rides at Disney World, despite the attraction being just about 3 minutes long. When guests think of the most popular attractions at Magic Kingdom, this ride often goes overlooked. I have personally seen this ride at upwards of a 90 minute wait, with an average wait of over an hour.
This ride is one of the older attractions at Magic Kingdom with an opening date of 1971, and the story of Peter Pan continues to be one of the most beloved amongst Disney fans. When planning your trip to Magic Kingdom, make sure to assess how much of a priority this ride is for you and plan around the wait. If this is one of your must-dos, I would recommend taking advantage of Genie+ Lightning Lanes to avoid the persistently long line.
Starbucks Locations in the Parks
Ever wonder what the giant line is on Main Street USA at park opening? Usually, it's Starbucks.
Who doesn't want to sip on a caffeinated beverage to start off their long Disney Day? On many of my trips, I find myself waiting longer at Starbucks than at some attractions. A tip is to get your caffeine fix in the afternoon or during a parade or show, as these events usually draw crowds away from Starbucks. Try to avoid going around park opening or closing, as Starbucks usually has a long wait at these times.
I would also recommend finding other places to try if you simply need coffee rather than Starbucks coffee. There are several Joffrey's Coffee locations which offer a variety of different beverages and snacks. Many restaurants also have coffee machines, which may be helpful to my fellow caffeine fans. I would recommend trying new variations of coffee to avoid the long Starbucks line, as you could be using that time to wait for attractions or shows!
Na'vi River Journey
Animal Kingdom's World of Pandora has been an extremely popular addition to Disney World since its opening in 2017. This ride's counterpart, Flight of Passage, is often considered the most popular ride in the park with the longest wait. But what may come as a surprise to guests is that Na'vi River Journey's wait can be almost as long!
Flight of Passage has multiple theaters, which makes its capacity larger in comparison to Na'vi River Journey, which only has a few boats welcoming guests at a time. This 4 1/2 minute dark ride is a relaxing journey through the world of Pandora where you come face-to-face with one of the most impressive animatronics on property! This ride is a lot of fun, but guests should be aware of its long wait and prepare for it accordingly.
This ride is one unique to Animal Kingdom, allowing guests to explore the Harambe Wildlife Reserve and encounter the 30 different species living on its territory. It is not only entertaining, but it is also educational, with tour guides giving you 18 minutes worth of fun facts and information on these different animals.
This ride is one of the longest rides at Disney World, which may be a factor contributing to its long wait times. Another factor is the sheer popularity of this ride, as it truly embodies what Animal Kingdom is, focusing on preservation and protection of the wildlife. Because this ride deals with live animals, sometimes animals may block the vehicle, keeping you and the rest of your safari party on the ride for much longer than expected. Make sure to be patient with your tour guide and the animals, and take pictures throughout your safari!
Though the lines may get long, Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the staples of Animal Kingdom, and I make sure to ride it every time I go.
Toy Story Midway Mania
Toy Story Midway Mania is one of the three attractions in Toy Story Land. Though it is a bit older than its popular counterpart Slinky Dog Dash, this ride often has a long wait that can be upwards of an hour long.
The competitive aspect of this ride, mixed with the adorable theming, makes it a quintessential Hollywood Studios experience. I would recommend riding Toy Story Midway Mania either earlier in the day or late at night since most of the crowds rush to Slinky Dog Dash. As midday approaches, guests gravitate to this attraction after they are done with Slinky Dog Dash, contributing to its long wait in the afternoon.
One of the most fundamental and unique experiences at Disney is being able to meet some of your favorite Disney characters, but character meet-and-greets often garner a long and persistent line.
Here are some tips for cutting your wait! Assess which characters are the most important for your family to meet and plan around their schedule. Make sure to allot an appropriate amount of time (30 minutes or so) to get to their meet-and-greet spots and wait in line.
Some characters have designated meet-and-greets that you can use Genie+ Lightning Lanes for, such as the Princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall. There are also character sightings around the park, such as cavalcades and roaming characters. Of course, these are harder to plan for but definitely add some spontaneity to your trip! My final tip for guests who want to meet many characters without the long line is to eat at a Disney World character Dining restaurant! This ensures that you are able to meet many different characters while also getting to enjoy a delicious meal. These restaurants often require reservations long in advance and may be pricey but are definitely worth it for parties who want to spend time with their favorite characters!
PhotoPass Spots near Park Icons
Everyone wants their family portraits with Cinderella's castle or Spaceship Earth in the background, which may cause lines for these PhotoPass locations to be extraordinarily long.
At the end of the day, if getting these iconic photos is important to you, I say the wait is worth it for a lifetime's worth of memories in your photo. I also recommend finding more unconventional PhotoPass locations like the side of the castle, as these usually have a shorter wait time than photos in front of the castle on Main Street.
Limited Capacity Bars
Most of the bars at Disney World have extremely low capacity with extremely high demand. This causes long waits for walk-ups and reservations that book months in advance.
For example, Star Wars Bar Oga's Cantina at Hollywood Studios usually runs out of reservations quickly and has very little same day or walk-up availability. My recommendation for Oga's is to make your reservation prior to your trip, and if you can't, to arrive early and see if there is any walk-up availability, which depends on the crowds on that particular day.
Trader Sam's Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Resort does not take reservations in advance and has a first-come, first-serve wait. The bar opens at 3 and allows guests to put their names in the standby list at 2-2:30. For both these bars, smaller parties on early weekdays will most likely experience shorter wait times. Unfortunately, this is simply just based on the crowds on each particular day. Researching these bars and getting there as early as possible will be your best bet to get into these iconic locations with a shorter wait!
When it comes to avoiding lines at Disney World, there is only so much you can do, line lengths are based on the crowds on that particular day. Researching and planning will ensure that you can make the most out of your Disney trip and wait as little as possible. As much as lines can be frustrating, there are always fun memories that can come from playing heads-up or just planning out your next adventure with your family in line. I always try to talk to the people around me in lines and see how their trip is going, this passes the time while also allowing you to spread a little kindness and make some friends!
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