Queue Showdown: Walt Disney World


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A queue is just a boring place to wait in line before you get to experience an awesome attraction, right? Not always…Disney has really upped their queue game in the past few years. These newer queues make the wait fun and provide lots of details and experiences. That being said, let’s determine the best queue out of all 4 Disney World theme parks!

 

Peter Pan’s Flight

First built in 1971, Peter Pan’s queue consisted of nothing much more than lots of tightly placed chains and nothing of interest whatsoever to look at or occupy your time with. In 2014, the queue was given a much needed update, and it became quite the attraction itself.

There is a small boring outdoors area, but then you enter and quickly forget all about that space. The guest enters inside the building and into a corridor of painted pictures from the movie. Once past the corridor of paintings you will see the outside of the Darlings’ house. You walk up to the front door while passing windows with the Darlings’ silhouettes, a nice view over the garden fence of the city beyond and Nana’s doghouse. You next enter the house and see some portraits of the family, including Nana. Now you are inside the children’s bedroom, the nursery. There are many pictures and a very neat window that looks out onto London at night. There are so many details to this room. The main features are the children’s beds.  If you are lucky, you might see and hear Tinkerbell flying around the first bed. She even makes some of the objects move.

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The next area is my favorite. Upon first look it seems to be just a blank section of wall. If your timing is right, you’ll start to see shadows move. You might see Peter himself or a lot of butterflies. If you are gentle, it is even possible to get a butterfly to land on your finger. A neat effect are the bells that drop down, if you are able to reach you can make them ring.

Next up is Wendy’s bed. Tinkerbell sporadically shows up here and interacts with different objects.

It is time to leave the children’s nursery and enter my favorite area, the pixie dust hallway. You’ll be sprinkled with pixie dust to allow you to fly and make the journey to Neverland.

This queue works so amazingly well because it is very detailed. It gives you a glimpse into the beginning of the Peter Pan story. There are lots of interactive elements that, while simple, give children and adults alike a lot of chances to keep occupied.

 

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest opened in Animal Kingdom in 2006. This queue has a very in-depth backstory.

You are a tourist who wants to climb Mount Everest. Maybe you are also a little bit interested in the legendary Yeti that has been said to live around the mountain.

You travel to the small town of Serka Zong. First, you must make sure that you measure up to the trip. Instead of the usual measuring stick, you must compare yourself to one Yeti foot. The queue begins inside the office of the ‘Himalayan Escapes’ travel agency run by locals Norbu and Bob.  After you pass through the office, you’ll go outside and see a temple with holy figures and super annoying bells of all different shapes and sizes that guests can ring.

You’ll then pass through a tea garden and go back inside to a little Yeti museum run by the illustrious professor Pema Dorjay. The museum contains a lot of detailed exhibits from Yeti sightings. There is even a large mold of a genuine Yeti footprint.

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You’ll also notice a lot of camping and climbing equipment. All of this was taken from the base of Mount Everest.

The queue really does a fantastic job of setting up the ride’s storyline. Though there is not a lot of interaction (besides the super annoying bells), there are still a lot of details to keep you occupied.

Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion opened in WDW in 1971. In 2007 the queue saw a major refurbishment that only enhanced the greatness that is the HM queue.

Your journey begins outside as you approach the foreboding looking mansion. A seemingly empty carriage sits in front of the house.

You’ll pass by 5 busts of deceased Dread family members. Starting left to right, you can attempt to solve the murder mystery. Read each bust’s description carefully and look all around the statues and you will be able to solve the mystery.

There are many interactive elements to the outdoor queue, such as pressing instruments to hear them play music from Grim Grinning Ghosts. Guests also try to avoid water from the Sea Captain’s Crypt. Listen carefully and you can hear him sing. If guests try to plug holes in his crypt, water will just spring from other leaks.

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The library crypt features two sides of books that pop in and out. Some of the books have symbols on their spines. There is actually a hidden cryptogram among the symbols of the books. Each symbol corresponds to a letter of the alphabet, though not all letters are represented. Not many people know that there is actually a hidden message inscribed among the books.

Last, but certainly not least among the details to look at during the outside portion of the queue are all the clever gravestones. If you watch closely, you might even see Madame Leoto’s eyes blink.

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Don’t forget to look closely at all the grave stones. Lots of them have imagineer’s names or have funny puns. My favorite is pictured below. If you are a Harry Potter fan like I am, you’ll notice the coincidence.

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The Haunted Mansion attraction boasts perhaps the most well-known pre-ride shows. Once you enter the mansion you’ll mill around in the foyer, where you can watch the portrait of Master Gracey slowly morph into a macabre version of himself.

Next, guests will enter the elevator. Once you are shut inside, your Ghost Host will inform you that the room no longer has a way out, seeing that there are no doors or windows. The room has 4 portraits that are high up on the walls. Your elevator will soon begin to stretch as it lowers you down. All 4 of the portraits will slowly reveal that not everything is as it seems. A little pro tip here: stand underneath the portrait of the tightrope girl and you will always be some of the first to enter into the next part of the queue.

After discovering the Ghost Host’s way out of the chamber, you exit and enter a dimly lit hallway where you can catch glimpses outside the window of a storm raging outside. Then it’s time to ride!

The spectacular theme doesn’t end at the end of the ride, however. There is more after the ride concludes, including tombs with all of Master Gracey’s departed wives’ names. Also the fan favorite, the pet cemetery to your left as you exit. Poor Mr. Toad has a statue here.

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It’s very tough to top a queue that features murder mysteries, hidden messages, interactive elements, clever puns and chilling story telling.

Under the Sea: Journey of The Little Mermaid

Opening in 2012, The Little Mermaid featured the new design of queue. That is to say, a queue that seeks to entertain the guests.

The queue begins at the base of Eric’s castle by the sea. You pass through a lot of rock-work on your way to the castle. Eagle eyed guests might just be able to spot a tribute to the former attraction which occupied that space, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Along the way you can play a little interactive game with some sea creatures gathering treasure.

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One of the better parts of the queue happens when you spot Scuttle. He tells stories and jokes, and interacts with the guests.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

This queue is simple yet brilliant. If you are unlucky, you’ll have to spend a good deal of time outside in the heat waiting to enter the Tower. There is a light theme outside, what with soft jazz music playing and the appearance of cultivated grounds gone to seed. Once you get inside, though, you’ll see why this queue made the list.

You’ve stepped into a hotel lobby from the early 1900s (1917, according to the plaque on the hotel) that has fallen into disrepair. Dust and cobwebs reign here. There are so many details to keep you engaged in this area, your time in the lobby passes way too quickly to take everything in.

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Next, you are ushered into the library. Once again, there are tons of details here. Including a nod to a Twilight Zone episode ‘Nick of Time’. The fortune telling machine sits high on the book shelves. If you look at the window you’ll see that a storm is raging outside. Then the storm causes the lights to go out, and the TV plays a ride intro video featuring a spot on Rod Serling impersonator.

After the video you enter the very lifelike basement boiler room, where you will wait for your service elevator into the twilight zone.

Star Tours

I visited Disney World several times when I was younger. One of my only memories from visiting the parks was the queue for Star Tours. To a young Star Wars fan, rounding that corner and seeing the life size AT-AT among the Ewok village leaves quite the impression. The Ewok village itself is wonderfully imagined. It might be a little bit better if you could actually go up and play in it.

The queue goes inside the building where you are met with a giant Star Tours speeder. Even better, R2 and C3P0 are there working on the ship. There are lots of details in this room. From the Mon Calamari up in the control booth to the giant arrival and departures screen, there is a lot to occupy your time.

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The next room features a lineup of droids to your left, including Rex, who used to pilot the original version of Star Tours. To the right is a scanner video screen that shows humorous items in people’s luggage.

 

Now it’s time to announce the winner…Haunted Mansion!

The queue has everything you could want and more. It draws you immediately into the story, there are mysteries to solve and clever gags and puns around every corner. There isn’t a dull moment during the queue and the pre-show just can’t be beat.

What do you think? Do you agree with my winner? Did I leave out your favorite queue? Let me know in the comments!



*The information contained in this article represents the opinion of the author, and not necessarily the opinion of the DIS.


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