When at Disney World we like to go on as many rides as possible utilizing the Lightning Lane to skip the line and get to the main attraction. You might not realize that the queues through the regular line are all part of the attractions. Following Walt Disney’s desire for compelling storytelling Disney World Imagineers created queues that are beautiful, interesting and tell an essential pre-story to the ride. Walt Disney World is known for its amazing attraction queues. Let me share some of my top five favorite queues within the parks.
1. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (Hollywood Studios)
What would your kid self say if one day you will not only get to see a full size Millennium Falcon, go inside, and then fly her? You probably wouldn’t believe yourself! That is just what Smuggler’s Run hypes up as you enter the queue and gape at a life size model of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. You enter a command center where the Star Wars Clone Wars character Hondo Ohnaka thanks you for volunteering for a special job involving the famous ship. After the briefing, one of Hondo’s employees assigns you as a pilot, gunner, or engineer. Inside you can feel the force as you see where Obi-Wan Kenobi first taught Luke Skywalker. Makes you want to grab a lightsaber and deflect blasts from a training remote, doesn’t it? Maybe you can match wits with your friends at Chewbacca’s Dejarik board. Remember: let the Wookie win. After being fully immersed you are ready to take the most legendary ship in Star Wars history out for a spin!
2. Peter Pan’s Flight (Magic Kingdom)
We’re off to Neverland! One of the original attractions at Magic Kingdom, Peter Pan’s Flight tells the story of the Darling children and the boy from Neverland. This ride is always very popular and can have high wait times, but the beautiful queue helps to build the magical storytelling.
In 2015, Peter Pan’s Flight received an update with more interactive elements added to the queue. You will find yourself wandering through the Darling household and experiencing some rather enchanting encounters. A fan favorite feature is seeing the famous fairy herself, Tinker Bell, who flies around the room illuminating and activating different objects. Next up is the shadow room, where the shadows of passing guests can magically play bells and attempt to catch butterflies. Peter Pan has been known to show up, as well. In the final room, clapping your hands brings a pixie-dust-filled surprise.
3. Frozen Ever After (EPCOT)
Since sliding into the Norway pavilion in 2016, Frozen Ever After has welcomed many guests to Arendelle. This popular attraction can still get long lines during peak times, but the good news is that the gorgeous queue makes it worth the wait.
First, you’ll see some detailed props in Kristoff’s shop (he’s the Official Ice Master & Deliverer of Arendelle, of course). Moving further along, you wander into Oaken’s Tokens and Sauna. Oaken himself makes an appearance in the sauna. “Big summer blowout!” Hearing his jokes makes you not mind being stuck near him. Much of the queue is inside an Arendelle outdoor courtyard. While it’s mostly chain switchbacks, the charming atmosphere elevates the experience. Take a look at lanterns which feature the profile of Elsa and Anna. The background music loop features instrumental versions of “Frozen” favorites. Performed with era-appropriate instruments — think violins and flutes — this background soundtrack is one of the best we’ve heard around Disney World.
4. Avatar Flight of Passage (Animal Kingdom)
Pandora – The World of Avatar opened in 2016 as the first immersive themed land at Disney World. Guests are transported to another planet with the iconic floating mountains. The technologically advanced Flight of Passage attraction continues to be the most popular experience at Animal Kingdom.
The outside portion of the queue continues the beautiful landscape with beautiful waterfalls, rocks and vegetation native to Pandora. You’ll enter caves with Na’vi paintings before entering the old human military base. You’ll then find yourself walking “outside” at night with beautiful bioluminescent plants. One of the most themed portions is the science lab, which has lots of details and things moving and lighting up — it truly feels like a working lab. The large Na’vi animatronic is quite impressive, and really helps build the immersion as you prepare to ride a banshee just like the Na’vi!’ If you skip the queue using the lightning lane you will miss vital information on the story for those who have never ridden it.
5. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Hollywood Studios Again!)
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance places you in a climactic battle with the First Order. The queue sets the stage for your recruitment with the Resistance. You’ll find the Resistance’s temporary encampment in the forested area along the outskirts of Black Spire Outpost on Batuu. The gateway to the encampment is marked by a large turret. From there, a pathway leads deeper into the forest toward towering cliffs and the crumbling remains of an ancient civilization. While some of the queue is outside, most of it is inside, which will be welcome in the hot summer months. You’ll weave through low stone walls, timeworn pillars, and tight corridors as you progress further into the base, hearing military communications chatter along the way. The first section of the queue is quite long, with many chambers.Unlike other queues there are plenty of Cast Members fully dressed as Resistance or members of the First Order interacting with you fully immersing you in the experience. The queue is such an integral part of the story that it’s hard to tell when the attraction starts and the queue ends. Disney moved to a new level of immersive storytelling with this ride.
There are so many other queues to check out during your visit to Disney World. While planning your next trip be sure to ask me some of the other queues to experience for yourself. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to start planning today!