4 of Our Favorite Walt Disney World Queues
A little confession.
I don’t like waiting. Especially when it comes to experiencing Disney magic. Unfortunately, it’s an inevitable part of any Walt Disney World trip. It’s like a law of nature. Even if you arrived when the parks were closed, the wait for Peter Pan’s Flight would still be a minimum of 45 minutes.
Fortunately, Disney Imagineers have done a fantastic job of making attraction queues entertaining. Let’s take a look at four of our favorites, one from each Walt Disney World park.
The Haunted Mansion
You don’t have to wait until you get into the Mansion to encounter the 999 happy haunts that call the house their home. Many of them live on the grounds and can be encountered as you’re waiting to get inside!
The Haunted Mansion queue is just as perfect as the rest of the attraction. There’s a murder mystery you can solve (found in the busts of the Dread Family), a very lively library, ghostly musical instruments, and more. It’s also where you’ll meet the late poetess, Prudence Pock. Take a look at her epitaph, and you’ll learn that she died of writer’s block (which is no laughing matter). To learn more of Prudence’s story, you’ll have to check out the book Tales from the Haunted Mansion Volume IV: Memento Mori,
Take a look at the ground as you approach the Mansion, and you’ll even catch a glimpse of Constance Hatchaway’s wedding ring! Originally, this was just the remains of a metal pole. However, Disney Guests and Cast Members latched onto the idea that it was a wedding ring, and in 2011 Imagineers replaced the pole remnants with an actual ring.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Cosmic Rewind might just be the greatest rollercoaster in the universe, so it’s only appropriate that it has a queue every bit as exciting as the attraction itself.
Before boarding the coaster, Guests make their way through The Wonders of Xandar Pavilion, which acts like a museum that teaches about the amazing world of Xandar. The pavilion is broken into three distinct segments: the Galaxarium, the Xandar Gallery, and the Phase Chamber.
In the Galaxarium, you’ll see an enormous planetarium style exhibit which Imagineer Zach Ridley described as an “over 30-minute show begins to touch on both planets and how the Xandarian galaxy, the Andromeda Galaxy, is similar to our own, showcasing the real science behind the formation of galaxies and solar systems.”
This is followed by the Xandar Gallery, where Guests will learn about the Xandarian people and their heroes, including a viewing of “Good Morning Xandar,” a show that features interviews with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The queue ends in the Phase Chamber, where Guests will hear about the Cosmic Generator, a piece of Xandarian technology that allows instant travel across vast spaces.
The entire experience is exciting and feels like you’re really learning about an alien world, though one not so different from our own.
Kali River Rapids
Though it doesn’t get quite as much attention as attractions like Expedition Everest or Avatar Flight of Passage, Kali River Rapids in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of Walt Disney World’s most thrilling (and refreshing) attractions.
The queue for the attraction is gorgeous and immerses Guests in various aspects of Asian culture. The line winds through various shops and temples, where there are stone Buddhas, traditional masks, sacred altars, and more. Listen closely as you move through the queue, and you might also hear the sound of chainsaws, hinting at the conservation-minded story you’ll encounter after boarding your raft.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the queue are the murals you’ll see. According to legendary Imagineer Joe Rohde, “In the queue for the Kali River Rapids attraction are murals on the ceiling depicting traditional Buddhist parables in which animals act out moral precepts. These are called the Jataka Tales. The ceiling of this building, indeed the entire building is loosely based on a building on the island of Bali called the Kerta Gosa…He chose to paint all those murals with his traditional tools…Split pieces of bamboo which he cut with a knife and smashed to create a brush.”
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
If you’re brave enough to step foot inside the Hollywood Tower Hotel, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best-designed queues in all of Walt Disney World. As an attraction built around the classic television show The Twilight Zone, you know that it’s going to be full of an eerie and unsettling ambiance. It’s also full of hidden messages and secret details.
When Guests first enter the Tower of Terror, they’ll spot a directory for each floor of the building. A number of letters are missing from the directory. If you take the time to figure out which letters are missing, you’ll find that they spell out: EVIL TOWER U R DOOMED. Take a look at the bottom of the tray beneath the letter board and you’ll see another warning that reads “Take the stairs.” Those are both pretty direct messages, but most Guests don’t take the hint.
The queue also takes Guests through the lobby of the once gorgeous Hollywood Tower Hotel, though it is now covered in cobwebs and abandoned. As unlikely as it sounds, the queue also contains a hidden reference to the world’s most famous mouse. Look carefully inside the library and you’ll spot a trumpet next to a bit of sheet music. The music in question is for What! No Mickey Mouse? (What Kind of Party is This?) written by lyricist Irving Caeser.
Photo courtesy Mike Billick.