There’s one unavoidable activity at the center of every Disneyland trip: waiting in line. But some lines are easier to manage than others. Some lines move quickly, so you at least feel like you’re making progress, while others force you to stand in the same spot for what feels like forever.
Here’s my list of the fastest moving ride lines, and the slowest. I don’t mean to suggest that these have the shortest or longest wait times, rather, I’m talking about how efficiently they load passengers and keep you moving. Use these lists as a guide when you see big crowds in front of an attraction. Is the line really as bad as it looks? Not always.
Note: for a list of the 5 most entertaining lines, see my previous post here.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – For an attraction that’s constantly flooded with riders, I’m always amazed by how efficiently this line moves. At the start, you can choose one of two lines, both of which weave up and into the show building. You constantly move forward in large spurts, and both lines get you onto your boat rather quickly. Even when you see masses of people in the courtyard, the wait will not be as bad as it looks.
- California Screamin’ – Like Pirates, this line moves fast despite huge crowds. Visitors weave back and forth up a gradual ramp, climb a staircase, cross a bridge, descend a staircase, and load into the ride vehicles. The line itself moves at a nice pace, and once you climb the first staircase you can watch cars finish their run on the track.
- King Arthur’s Carrousel – This is a classic example of a deceiving line. Unlike most attractions in the park, the carrousel’s loading area piles up right next to the ride. That means you can see every single person waiting to get on, and it often looks overwhelming. But the ride itself is short, the carrousel has quite a few horses, and the waiting space is small, so those crowds are not as thick as they appear. Don’t be intimated by a big group waiting to board; you’ll be able to get on within a few rounds.
- The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure – Ariel uses an omnimover track system, which means the track continuously moves forward during loading and offloading. This keeps the attraction – and the line – moving fairly quickly. Sometimes you can walk right into the aquarium, and on crowded days you may have to weave through the gardens. In either case, you’ll be constantly creeping forward, and won’t have to stay in the same place for very long. Plus, there’s no entryway show to slow things down (like the Haunted Mansion).
- Indiana Jones Adventure – This line is split into two distinct areas: the jungle and the temple. The jungle itself is a lousy line; you basically just stand still until it’s your turn to head up the swinging bridge. But once you’re in the temple, the pace of the line completely changes. You’ll quickly move through caves, ruins, an open temple room, and a projection room before loading into your car. Unlike the jungle section, you’ll always be moving into a new space and creeping closer to the loading area.
- Peter Pan’s Flight – Although I do love this ride, I have to say that the line for it is sometimes unbearable. You start out maybe 50 feet from the loading area, and spend what feels like forever inching back and forth in tight quarters until you finally climb into your ship. If you see a big crowd in front of Peter, you know you are definitely in for a long, long wait.
- Mickey’s Fun Wheel – This is another example of a line that really doesn’t take you anywhere. The lines for both the swinging and non-swinging cars take you down below the waterline and into a sunken courtyard. You basically stand there for a few rounds, but you’re enclosed by cement so you can’t really see or do much. Plus, you’ll have the “Bienvenidos a Mickey’s Fun Wheel!” speech memorized after hearing it about 20 times while you wait in the courtyard.
- Dumbo The Flying Elephant – The biggest problem with Dumbo isn’t so much the line as it is the ride’s capacity. Like the Carrousel, crowds form a big mob to the side of the attraction, and the ride itself is short enough to regularly churn new visitors. But there are only 16 elephants, each with a capacity of two riders. It takes a long time to get through even a small line of guests, so this line moves very, very slowly.
- Toy Story Midway Mania – I absolutely love this ride, but the line is incredibly frustrating. The loading and offloading process for the cars is fairly slow, so there’s a lot of standing still. You do get some variety, starting in a courtyard and moving into an enclosed room with attraction posters. But know that if there’s a big crowd outside Mania, there’s also a big wait; no visual tricks here.
Do you agree with my list? What lines do you think move the fastest (or the slowest)? Let me know in the comments!