Disneyland likes to market itself as “the most magical place on earth.” And for many people, that’s more than just a slogan. Disney Parks have it all: nostalgia, whimsy, thrill rides, food, entertainment, parades, etc. They’re great for kids, adults, families, couples, and friends. If you love Disney theme parks or if you you’ve always wanted to visit one, you should go! There’s only one problem, though. You’re not the only one who wants to go.
According to the TEA (the Themed Entertainment Association), Walt Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products (the corporation that runs and manages the six different Walt Disney Resorts around the world) lead all amusement park chains in number of visitors in 2017. As they did in 2016. And 2015. And on, and on, and on. Merlin Entertainments, a British-based theme park group, came second in the list in 2017 with a total attendance of 66,000,000. That’s not bad. Not bad at all. But Disney Resorts placed first, with more than twice that amount. 150,014,000 visitors. That’s greater than the entire population of Russia. Or Mexico. Or Japan. So, Disneyland might be magical, but the crowds? Not so much. But we at The Travel are here to help. Here are the attractions with the longest, and shortest, rides at Disney Resorts.
20 Longest: Winnie The Pooh (Hong Kong Disneyland Resort)
There are actually six Disney parks around the world. Hong Kong Disneyland Resort opened in September of 2005. And if you know anything about Hong Kong, you know that it’s not very big and a lot of people live there. So you can only imagine how crowded Hong Kong Disneyland is.
If you sift through some of the reviews and tips given on TripAdvisor, you’ll notice that one ride is singled out time and again for having the longest lines. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh exists in different variations at nearly all the Disney Parks. But the Pooh ride in Hong Kong seems to routinely have the longest line, which is odd, because the Pooh ride at Disneyland in Anaheim is often mentioned as having one of the shorter queues.
19 Shortest: Tomorrowland Transit Authority (People Mover), Magic Kingdom (Disney World)
There’s a great article on disneyfanatic.com that discusses some of the shortest lines at Disney. Because of multiple uses of the phrase “Disney World,” we can only assume they mean Walt Disney World near Orlando. For any of these Disney World attractions on this list that also appear at other Disney Parks, you can assume a reasonably good chance that the line lengths are of a similar length.
So, having said all that, check out the People Mover. It’s not a thrill ride, but this elevated, leisurely ten-minute tour of Tomorrowland will allow you to rest your feet and get a great view of Tomorrowland. And you’ll likely be able to walk right on without much of a wait.
18 Longest: Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (Tokyo Disney Resort)
Much like Hong Kong, Tokyo has a massive population and it is often crowded. Located in the prefecture of Chiba just east of Tokyo, Tokyo Disney Resort is popular among locals and tourists alike. But, being from a different country with different cultural touchstones, the Japanese have different favorites than do Americans. The Japanese often focus on the aesthetic value of characters (think, Hello Kitty or Domokun); they’re not necessarily as attracted to rides and characters based on childhood nostalgia.
Whatever the reason, they seem to love Roger Rabbit because Roger Rabbit’s Car, Toon Spin, being almost identical to the Disneyland version, is noted as having one of the longest lines at Tokyo Disney, according to the Disney Tourist Blog.
17 Shortest: Carousel Of Progress (Magic Kingdom, Disney World)
Go to Disney World. Go to the Magic Kingdom. Within the Magic Kingdom, go to Tomorrowland. There you will find a classic attraction, the Carousel of Progress. The Carousel of Progress is based around a rotating theater. And who doesn’t love a rotating theater? And, fun fact: the Carousel of Progress is one of the few Disney World attractions to have been physically touched by Walt Disney himself. The Carousel of Progress has an interesting history. It was actually built for Magic Kingdom in Disney World, shut down, moved across the country to Disneyland, and then moved back to Disney World. Weird. But anyway, what you really care about is the wait time. Well, the wait time is rarely longer than five minutes. You can’t go wrong!
16 Longest: Toy Story Midway Mania (Disneyland/Disney World/Tokyo Disney)
Another great resource for judging wait times is an article on CinemaBlend. Sadly, it too doesn’t exactly make clear to which Disney park it is referring, but it seems mostly to be focused on Disney World in Florida. However, one of the rides on its list, Toy Story Midway Mania, exists at three different Disney parks: Disneyland, Disney World, and Tokyo Disney. However, the listed longest verified wait time of 162 minutes probably refers to Disney World.
The appeal of this ride is not hard to understand. First, everybody loves Toy Story. And second, the attraction is part ride, part game. Fun!
15 Shortest: Journey Into Imagination With Figment, Epcot (Disney World)
In an episode of The Simpsons, there is a scene in which Bart and Lisa bemoan their luck to be at Disney World only to find themselves in Epcot. It’s true that Epcot is the least kid-oriented of Disney World’s four theme parks. But there’s still a lot of great stuff there that you can enjoy. And with slightly shorter wait times, why wouldn’t you?
Journey into Imagination with Figment is dark, relaxing, interesting, and you know, at least mildly interesting. But the best part is that it’s one of the very few rides at Disney where you can spend more time on the ride than in line. The ride takes 11 minutes but lineups are rarely as long as ten!
14 Longest: Frozen Ever After (Epcot, Disney World/Fantasyland, Hong Kong Disney)
The movie Frozen came out in 2015 and Frozen Ever After was built in 2016. As a new attraction based on a new movie, you can imagine that it’s pretty popular. And it is. The longest verified wait time for Frozen Ever After at Disney World is 175 minutes. At Disney World, Frozen Ever After is located in World Showcase Norway Pavillion of Epcot, taking the place of the old Malestrom attraction. It is set to open at Hong Kong Disney’s Fantasyland.
The attraction is a log flume ride, so the hotter the day, the likelier it is to be busy. If you are stuck in a long line and are frustrated, I urge you to let it go.
13 Shortest: Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (Epcot, Disney World)
Donald Duck. Panchito Pistoles. Jose Carioca. These are the Three Caballeros who will take you on a wonderful boat ride in the dark, exploring various sights and sounds of Mexico. If you’re not already sold on this ride yet, let me just tell you that it also has, generally speaking, pretty short wait times. If you have to wait in line at all, it probably won’t be for more than five minutes or so.
The Gran Fiesta Tour is located in Mexican Pavilion of the World Showcase at Epcot. It was built in 2007, replacing El Rio del Tempo. Vamos!
12 Longest: Peter Pan’s Flight (Disneyland, Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland)
Ask any Disney Parks aficionado about Peter Pan’s Flight and they’re bound to mention two things: the line is always long and they don’t understand why. For most of these rides with long wait times, the line length is understandable. Either the ride itself or the movie franchise on which it is based are extremely appealing to people.
With Peter Pan’s Flight? Well, the ride itself is fine. I mean, it’s pretty good. But Walt Disney’s Peter Pan came out in 1953, and it doesn’t exactly have a fervent fan base. Perhaps its popularity is down to it being one of the “must-rides.” It’s one of few attractions that were present on the opening day of Disneyland that still exist. Longest verified wait time: 192 minutes.
11 Shortest: Pirates Of The Caribbean (Disneyland Shanghai)
As mentioned before, one of the most interesting things about going to a Disney park in another country is seeing how the other country’s cultural values play a shape in both how the park operates and was designed and how the attendees interact with the park. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is famous for being an attraction that inspired a movie franchise, as opposed to the usual other way around. It is a tremendously popular attraction stateside. But in China? Not so much.
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely lineups for Pirates at Disneyland Shanghai still, but patrons who have been to both Shanghai and American Disney parks have noted how the queue for Pirates in Shanghai was markedly shorter.
10 Longest: Soarin’ (Disneyland, Disney World, Disneyland Shanghai)
Soarin’ is a flight motion simulator that employs a mechanical lift system, a projected presentation on an 80-foot (24 meter) concave 180-degree dome screen and even artificial scents and wind to simulate a hang gliding adventure over several locations across six continents. It’s pretty dope.
Soarin’ Around the World replaced the original Soarin’ Over California at Disneyland’s California Adventure. In Shanghai, it is known as Soarin’ Over the Horizon. In Disney World in Florida, you’ll find it at Epcot, but you might have to wait a long time to get on it. The longest verified wait time here was 193 minutes.
9 Shortest: Living With The Land (Epcot, Disney World)
Opened in 1982, Living with the Land is one of the original Epcot attractions. It is also the archetypal “fun for parents but a complete drag for the kids” type ride. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a lot to like about Living with the Land. It’s a fun little boat ride that takes you on a tour of Disney’s four working greenhouses. Riders get to learn about agricultural systems.
Living with the Land is educational, interesting, relaxing, and at 14 minutes long, the lineup is almost never as long as the ride itself. That’s always a plus.
8 Longest: Test Track (Epcot, Disney World)
How odd is it that one of the attractions with one of the longest lines in all of Disney is basically a commercial for a car manufacturer? Chevrolet, who took over from General Motors, now sponsors Test Track. And boy, they must be happy about that deal. Test Track routinely has some of the longest lines in all of Disney World. The longest verified wait time was 204 minutes.
Test Track is a high-speed giant slot car ride. It simulates an expedition through the rigorous testing procedures that automobile manufacturers use to evaluate their concept cars. The climax of the ride is a high-speed drive around the exterior of the attraction.
7 Shortest: Dumbo The Flying Elephant (Tokyo Disneyland)
Dumbo the Flying Elephant is present at five of the six Disney parks. It first opened up only three months after the original Disneyland opened its doors in Anaheim in 1955. In the other four parks in which it is present, Dumbo the Flying Elephant has been there since day one. It is iconic. It is a staple. It is evergreen. And in Japan it is...just OK.
At least, that’s what the Japanese seem to think, because the Dumbo ride at Tokyo Disneyland appears to regularly have shorter lines than the ride does at any other park. So if you’re in Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland, go check it out.
6 Longest: Space Mountain (Disneyland/Disney World/Disneyland Paris/Hong Kong Disneyland/Tokyo Disney)
A wise man once said of Space Mountain that it was “the oldest ride with the longest line.” While its line is not quite the longest anymore (and it’s not actually the oldest ride either), it’s enduring popularity is inarguable. It is possibly the most famous roller coaster in the whole world. And why? Because it’s awesome. It’s dark. There are flashing lights. It’s just cool, even if they aren’t the 900-foot drops and 27 loop-the-loops you’ll find on coasters elsewhere.
But Space Mountain’s iconic status comes at a price. It can cost you as much as 167 minutes of your day.
5 Shortest: Primeval Whirl (Animal Kingdom, Disney World)
Primeval Whirl is similar to Space Mountain in that it is actually two roller coasters with identical layouts but face in opposite directions. It’s a small coaster with spinning cars, and though the line may look long at times, rarely will you have to wait longer than 20 minutes. The short line here is not indicative of a lack of excitement. This coaster has got plenty of spins and drops and it really is unique among rides at Disney World. No trip to Animal Kingdom is complete without a ride on Primeval Whirl, so go ahead and give it a spin!
4 Longest: Mission: SPACE (Epcot, Disney World)
Do you want to know what it’s like to be an astronaut? Of course, you do! And with Mission: SPACE, you can get a little taste of that astronaut life. In what is arguably the chief attraction at Epcot, Mission: SPACE is a centrifugal motion simulator thrill ride that endeavors to simulate what an astronaut might experience aboard a spacecraft on a mission to Mars or around the Earth, from the higher g-force of liftoff to the speculative hypersleep. The longest verified wait time for Mission: SPACE was 168 minutes, but it’s not usually quite that long. In any event, if you’re at Epcot, you should probably check it out.
3 Shortest: Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Peril (Disneyland Paris)
You might well think that all the rides at Disneyland Paris have short lines because hardly anybody goes there. When it first opened in 1992 as Euro Disney, it was plagued with low attendance and financial troubles and as such was immortalized in this Simpsons parody. But following a $1.25 billion bailout from the Disney parent company, as well as a name change, Disneyland Paris has made a turnaround and is now the most visited theme park in all of Europe.
But don’t worry, there are still shorter lines to be found. One travel site points out that a few rides look like they have long queues, but actually move quite quickly—Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril being chief among them.
2 Longest: Avatar Flight Of Passage (Animal Kingdom, Disney World)
When the movie Avatar first came out in theaters, it smashed all sorts of records. Director James Cameron’s movie became the number one bestselling movie ever, taking over from James Cameron’s Titanic. He’s got a gift. Anyway, with Avatar being such a smash hit success, it’s only natural that Avatar Flight of Passage would be too. And it is.
Avatar Flight of Passage is a four-and-a-half-minute 3D flying simulator in the Pandora—The World of Avatar section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. It’s set in the Avatar universe and it takes riders on a flight on a native mountain Banshee as they soar across the landscape of Pandora. Sounds cool? Well, this bit won’t. The longest verified wait time is 319 minutes. That is over five and a half hours!
1 Shortest: Spaceship Earth (Epcot, Disney World)
When you think of Epcot, what is the first thing you think of? Undoubtedly, it must be the textured geodesic dome that houses Spaceship Earth. It is truly one of the most iconic structures of any theme park anywhere. And yet the lines for Spaceship Earth? Reliably short.
The inside loading platform is always moving and can board a steady stream of riders smoothly and efficiently. Often, the line is short enough that you can just walk right on. Sure, it’s not the most exciting attraction in the world, but it’s interesting, it’s thought-provoking, it’s iconic, and the line’s short.