Sup'? Tad here. As the official Frog Family videographer, I've filmed tons of rides, shows, parades and fireworks spectaculars. Some of my best videos come from the Disneyland Resort — home of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. I've built quite a cool Undercover Tourist YouTube channel full of great videos. You are a subscriber, right? I love filming ALL THE THINGS, but there's one particular point that I pride myself on — showcasing the queues. Yes, the lines. That's what this post is about — the best queues at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
Let's be frogfully honest. Lines are not traditionally cool. Waiting in line is a complete buzzkill when waiting anxiously to get on your favorite ride. Usually, nothing is interesting enough to look at except your phone. At Disneyland, lines are a different story though, especially for the newest rides. Disney attractions tell a story. You're not riding a coaster — you're boarding a runaway mine train that speeds through a big and thunderous mountain. The best queues at Disneyland place you in the attraction's story before you board the ride. Yeah, not every ride features an elaborate queue. No biggie. Some of the parks' more elaborate queues make up for that. In recent years, the ride queue has become a pivotal part of the storytelling experience for an attraction, rather than just a waiting area.
With all this talk about queues and lines, know that we have tools that will help you speed your way through them if you like. Our Crowd Calendar has crowd-level forecasts that highlight when the parks will be busy. Our Park Plans will also help you navigate the parks and shorten your time in line. Hop over to our blog posts that will help you with Disneyland Height Requirements, as well as the park's line reducers — Disney Genie+ and individual Lightning Lanes., These might help you save time but, in some cases, also pass by incredibly cool queues. Don't worry, I'll tell you when to skip the line and when doing so will make you miss cool queues.
By reading about the best queues at Disneyland, you'll get insight into why these queues are essential to the ride. You'll also get an idea of the story, and I'll point out some neat tidbits. Keep your ears tuned in to hear the sound bites I've included as well. Toadally cool.
A Dozen of the Best Queues at Disneyland Resort
12) Space Mountain - Tomorrowland - Disneyland
"Space shuttle, this is flight safety."
The towering white roof of this classic Disneyland Park attraction serves as a beacon for aspiring astronauts and thrill-seekers. Opened in 1977, Space Mountain sends daring visitors blasting off into a classic, space-themed roller coaster adventure — and a prime photo opportunity, am I right?
The sign of a great queue is that it immerses you in the story of the attraction. What if the attraction lacks a story? There's no story to be found inside Space Mountain. There's no hero or task to complete. For the most part, the queue is a series of winding concrete paths and chained switchbacks. Always go Genie+ or ride in the morning on this one to skip to the good parts of the queue.
Why are we starting a blog about the best queues at Disneyland with this one? Patience grasshopper. In this frog's opinion, some of the best queues give you a lengthy peek at what's to come. For Space Mountain, your reward for wandering the dull passageways is a grand reveal of the boarding station. Your eyes spy the large spaceship in the center of the room. From there, look down to check out the loading platform full of activity. You'll feel the room's kinetic energy and sense of motion — rockets moving, guests loading and unloading. No matter how long you've waited, the room's energy pulls you down the ramp quickly.
Coasters are about motion. The queue for Space Mountain propels you forward with constant movement. While not as story-driven as others on our list, this "space" deserves a spot on anyone's list of the best queues at Disneyland. Plus, from up above, you can see how the speaker between the seats makes a hidden Mickey!
11) Pirates of the Caribbean - New Orleans Square - Disneyland
"Rawk. Pieces of eight!"
If you prefer, Magic Kingdom's take on Pirates of the Caribbean, I know what you're thinking. The queue for the Disney World version of this classic attraction sends you through a detailed and immersive Spanish fortress. If you haven't seen it, purchase discount Disney World tickets, see it, then come back. Go ahead. I'll wait.
The queue for Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Park isn't spectacular but it is very special. The line stands at the edge of three lands — Frontierland, Adventureland and New Orleans Square. Make your way through the shaded courtyard and up the ramp for a breathtaking view of the Rivers of America. You'll soak in the sounds of the nearby Adventureland Treehouse as you watch the Mark Twain Riverboat cruise the river. Up ahead, you'll see the Royal Street Veranda and guests dining on delicious bread bowls.
Quick trivia about the dual staircase that rises above the attraction's entrance. The stairs lead to 21 Royal, an exclusive — and pricey — private dinner suite. This suite was originally intended to be a family apartment for Walt and Roy Disney. Look for the "W" and "R" in wrought iron on the balcony above.
Once you enter the Pirates building, the queue kicks into gear. First of all that wonderful, somehow pleasantly musty smell of Pirate's water. You're drawn to look at the flume of boats that pass by you. Seeing boats full of passengers returning from their journey piques your curiosity. Where did they go? What did they see? The flowing boats add to the kinetic motion of the ride. Across from the flume sits a treasure chest, watched closely by a parrot. From this spot, you're only a few steps away from boarding.
The best queues of Disneyland don't need to be amazing — they need to prep you for the adventure. The sights, sounds and smells of New Orleans Square perfectly prepare you for the bayou scene inside Pirates of the Caribbean. From then on, well... dead men tell no tales.
10) Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters - Cars Land - Disney California Adventure
The twirling and dancing cars of Luigi's Rollicking Roadsters are a delightful Cars Land destination. This fun Disney California Adventure attraction features an indoor queue full of details that you'll miss unless you keep your tired eyes peeled. It's one of the best queues at Disneyland for spotting clever "Cars" nods.
Stepping into Casa Della Tires, you enter a detailed tire store, tailor-made for car customers. Notice how the room is big enough for a car or two to roll around in. It's a small detail — size and scale— that makes the room fit the land.
Owner Luigi has decorated his shop with posters of his favorite automobile — the Ferrari. The showroom features a selection of tires with clever names — Glidewell, Lightyear and the famous Fettuccini Alfredo whitewall tires. The far room features display cases — each one showcasing the various Radiator Springs residents. Fans of the movie "Cars 2" may recognize many of the destinations and locations in the large display cases on the wall. Finally, there's the highly-detailed office of Luigi. It's hard to get a glimpse of what's inside, but we bet there are plenty of easter eggs and gags on the assorted invoices, papers and business cards.
The queue for Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters is a great "tune-up" for the attraction. It mirrors the fun spirit of the attraction and creates a rather familiar tire store setting.
9) Radiator Springs Racers - Cars Land - Disney California Adventure
"No parking here."
It's no surprise that Disney California Adventure's best attraction features the park's best queue. Radiator Springs Racers is one of the park's main attractions and the centerpiece of Cars Land. With the Cadillac Mountain Range in the background, passing guests get a glimpse of the fun by seeing the dueling cars speed around Ornament Valley.
The queue for Radiator Springs Racers doesn't set up the story of the ride — it tells the backstory of the town. To reach the racers, you'll wander through the oldest part of town —Stanley's Oasis — Home of the famous Radiator Springs. It's funny how these springs resemble a "sprung" radiator.
Moving further into the town, you pass through two buildings. First is Stanely's Cap Tap. The hundreds of radiator cap taps are quite a site. Next up is a structure full of recycled oil bottles. It's a floor-to-ceiling home of glass oil bottles.
The last part of the queue — right before you board for racer — takes you into the Comfy Caverns Motor Court. Look at the loading area and check out the funny names on "rooms" at the motor court.
Not to be overlooked is the music selection in the land. Car-themed songs such as "Riding in my Car (Car Song)" by Woody Guthrie, "Truck-Drivin' Man" by Red Simpson and "In My Merry Oldsmobile" by Jean Goldkette & His Orchestra, play constantly in this quant little town.
One of the best queues at Disneyland, the detailed Radiator Springs Racers queue serves to tell the story of Radiator Springs. The current town may be neon-fueled, but seeing the town's "past" gives Cars Land the lived-in feel that makes for fun evenings with Lightning McQueen and company. You can purchase an individual Lightning Lane to skip the line or do what I do: ride as a single rider for no extra cost. The queue is entertaining if you are stuck waiting in line (and there is always a long line), but it's definitely not too cool to miss.
8) Star Tours — The Adventures Continue - Tomorrowland - Disneyland
Anyone that's ever dreamed of flying into the Death Star (raises hand) makes this attraction their first stop. Star Tours — The Adventures Continue lets us blast off to Jakku, Kashyyyk, Hoth and other planets found in the Star Wars universe.
Our journey begins inside a Star Wars spaceport and immediately sets the stage for what awaits us — space travel. The room's large screen showcases weather reports, arrival/departure info as well as information about the planets we may end up visiting. This room's most impressive feature is the full-size Starspeeder 1000, which is being repaired by R2-D2 and C3-PO. Listen closely to C3-PO's chatter with Artoo. The golden protocol droid states that he's not the biggest fan of space travel - cleverly hinting at what's to come on the ride.
The next room features plenty of fun Disney trivia. There are two robots — one scanning luggage, the other chatting with passengers — in this room as well. These two robots were once birds from a past attraction: America Sings. When that attraction closed, they were stripped of their feathers and sent to Star Tours. BONUS — with your Lightning Lane, you're able to see all of these neat elements. Using Lightning Lane on one of the best queues at Disneyland is super sweet when you don't miss the cool details.
The queue of Star Tours — The Adventures Continue perfectly sets up the world of Star Tours, as well as the ride's story. This queue's success comes from how familiar we are with airports and its witty comparison to a galactic-scale starport. Gate arrival announcements. We may be inside a galaxy far, far away — but as Han Solo said: "We're home."
7) Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! - Hollywood Land - Disney California Adventure
As I've croaked about before, some of the best queues at Disneyland add to the attraction's story. Disney California Adventure's newest attraction has filled its queue with dozens of artifacts, each with its own story. For Marvel fans, the queue is a treasure trove of easter eggs that you may have seen before.
The foreboding home of the Tivan Collection sets the stage for Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! In this attraction, Taneleer Tivan, famously known as "The Collector", has captured the Guardians of the Galaxy and is proudly displaying them inside his fortress.
Before guests get the chance to help the Guardians escape, you make your way through the Tivan Collection. Your Lightning Lane saves you time, but it only allows you a quick peek at the vast assortment of artifacts on display. Eagle-eyed fans will notice Cosmo the Spacedog from "Guardians of the Galaxy", an Ultron Sentri from "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson's gun from "The Avengers." Old-school EPCOT fans will have fun spotting Figment from Journey Into Imagination with Figment.
There is more easter egg fun inside the Collector's office. Keen Disney fans will see an invoice from XS-Tech — the company featured in the now-closed The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter at the Magic Kingdom. Look closely; you'll find Peter Quill's Walkman too. There's even a Bellop's hat from the tower's former theme — The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Each version of the office has a hidden Mickey or Minnie.
While you wait to be sorted into a Gantry Lift, look around for all kinds of Easter Eggs. For instance, the Matterhorn Yeti is in there as well as some furniture from the Tower of Terror.
Guardians of the Galaxy —Mission: BREAKOUT! is the rare queue that improves with multiple visits. You may discover a new item or get a closer look at something you missed. With an attraction themed as a museum, who knows what you missed — or what may be added!
6) Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run - Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge - Disneyland
Here is your chance to walk through and hang out at the Millennium Falcon! To enter the queue, you'll pass by the actual Millennium Falcon parked outside. Windows from the queue give you a detailed look at the top and sides of it. You can play games with the Data Pad to pass the time and scan cargo boxes in line. Then you'll meet Space Pirate Hondo Ohnaka. He and Chewie are going to ask for your help in a mission to collect some Coaxium. You'll learn about the mission and be assigned to different roles, including pilots to fly the ship, gunners to shoot the train and engineers to repair the ship and keep it running.
You'll head through tunnels to be sorted into your positions. Then you have a little time to explore the living space and Dejarik game table of the Millennium Falcon before being called to board the ship through more rounded hallways. For Star Wars fans, it's an incredibly cool experience to wander through the Millennium Falcon, sit at the table and step into its cockpit. This is a toadally unique opportunity to fly the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. Try not to crash it!
5) Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin - Mickey's Toontown - Disneyland
"Hide me, Eddie. Pppppplease!"
If there's one attraction on this list that doesn't get enough queue love, it's this one. Set at the back of the park in Toontown, Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin is one of the best queues at Disneyland that leads to a dark ride. It can actually be pretty dark and scary for the tadpoles.
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin sends you spinning along the streets of Toontown. The Weazles are out to get Jessica Rabbit and give Roger a taste of the toxic DIP. Riding through Toontown sets your ride vehicle spinning, almost like riding a Mad Tea Party cup on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
What's cool about this queue is that the streets of Toontown surround you. It's toadally cool to walk through the various backdrops from the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and see the amazing details. It's full of sight gags and puns, reminding you that this is a place of toons. The details are so amazing — the wallpaper inside Baby Herman's room looks like the curvy profile of Jessica Rabbit.
While there's plenty to see, this queue uses sound very well. Radio broadcasts let you listen in to the plights of Toontown, and you'll eavesdrop on Jessica at the Ink & Paint Club. You'll wind your way through this detailed experience as you head to the Toontown Cab Company. When you're at the loading station, check out cab competitor Screw Ball Cab Co.
While Lightning Lane with Genie+ will let you speed to the station, you'll skip the immersive queue. If this attraction is on your list, see it early or late in the day when you can walk through the immersive world of the reimagined Toontown.
4) WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure - Avengers Campus - Disney California Adventure
At WEB SLINGERS, the story is set in an old Stark Industries building with Peter Parker. But you end up taking a ride on the WEB SLINGER vehicle and need to lend a hand — or two — to sling some webs of your own. When you step inside, you'll enter the lab and meet Peter Parker, but his demonstration quickly gets out of hand and Spider-Man needs to come in to help save the day. Help Spidey take down some out-of-control Spider-Bots that are stuck in self-replication mode! Good thing he's around.
While waiting outside, pay attention to the posters introducing some kid scientists. There are a few Easter Eggs hidden among them for those in the know. You won't miss any important parts if you use the Lightning Lane, which joins the standby line at the building entrance. There are a lot of Marvel Easter Eggs in the room.
As you make your way to the WEB SLINGERS vehicle, you'll see some lockers (more Easter Eggs there) and signs regarding Potato Gun incidents and Stark Enterprises along the way. If you have a Magic Band, watch it light up in anticipation of riding.
3) Indiana Jones Adventure - Adventureland - Disneyland
"Already I am envious of the wonders that await you — if you avoid the eyes of Mara, that is."
Although it has dropped a few places on our list, Indiana Jones Adventure - The Temple of the Forbidden Eye is still one of the best queues at Disneyland, and one of the best in the world.
The queue is everything that an Indiana Jones fan wants — adventure, peril and humor. Your adventure begins at an archaeological dig site, where the Temple of the Forbidden Eye has been discovered. Walking your way across a rope bridge, you make your way into the temple and wind your way inside. Along the way, you come across a room of spikes, a cave of bats and diamond-shaped stones that you should not step on! The highlight of the queue is the huge dig site chamber. Gaze up at the painting of Mara, the temple deity. Inside this room, you'll also find a rope that appears to lead down a well. Despite what the sign says, definitely, give it a yank!
You may have noticed markings along the walls that look like letters. Back when the ride was first built, there was no such thing as FASTPASS or Lightning Lane. I know right? When this ride first opened, people would wait around for hours to ride. (Now you can reserve a Lightning Lane and you won't miss anything but a long wait.) Guests were handed small cards that would help them decode the sayings on the wall. You can still get the card if you ask nicely, but you'll be moving too quickly to do much deciphering. Oh, and that spike room? The spikes drop, making a crashing sound, if someone pushes a flimsy bamboo pole!
2) Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway - Mickey's Toontown - Disneyland
Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway is almost identical to the ride at Hollywood Studios in Orlando. But the queue is completely different. As soon as you step into the El CapiTOON Theater in Toontown, you'll see posters on the wall. They are all Easter Egg nods to Disney movies but with a Disney cartoon character twist. The Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway queue is so fun, interactive and filled with the tiniest details that we made a whole post about it.
The queue is filled with magic, jokes, surprises and rich references to Mickey Mouse's cartoon appearances and filmography. Ghosts appear in mirrors, sorcerers' hats move and the ceiling crackles as the beanstalk grows through it (you can hear it!). Don't even get me started on all the details at the concession stand. The biggest surprise of all appears when you enter the theater to watch "Perfect Picnic." I won't spill the beans but you are in for a crazy ride.
Don't purchase an individual Lightning Lane for this ride because you'll skip one of the best queues in the park! Sadly, that also means that DAS users will also skip the immersive queue. If you can manage to ride it at park opening, or the end of the day with a shorter line, try to experience it at least once.
1) Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance - Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge - Disneyland
It was tough to rank the best queues at Disneyland but there is one that stands out from the rest for being the most immersive line. Containing many different experiences, as well as cast members all playing their roles or as no-nonsense First Order officers or Rebellion fighters. The queue for Rise of the Resistance takes you into a cave to the hidden base of the Resistance fighters. You'll pass flight suits and equipment before receiving your mission from BB-8 and Rey. However, this is just the start of several experiences you'll encounter before you can finally board the ride vehicle.
You can purchase an individual Lightning Lane for this attraction. The Lightning Lane cuts in right before Rey's room, so you don't miss any exciting parts.
The queue builds up the story and is an important part of your experience. It's hard to separate it from the ride, which makes you feel as if you really are in a "Star Wars" movie. There is so much I want to tell you, but #NoSpoilers. I want you to be as surprised as I was the first time I went through this incredibly immersive queue and massive ride. It's a good thing that this ride has the best queue in the park, as it always has the longest wait at Disneyland Park. We have a whole post on the best ways to get the shortest wait for Rise of the Resistance. But it won't deprive you of any important parts.
Hopefully, you'll think of this list of the best queues at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure during your next visit. Use it to impress the peeps with you, or simply soak in all of the fun details.
Do you have a favorite that deserves a spot on our list of the best queues at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure? Let us know in the comments below!
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