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.
Lines aren't cool. It's a complete buzzkill to stand in a sea of switchbacks.There's nothing interesting to look at except your phone. At Disneyland, lines are a different story. Really. 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. Where the queue is and what it shows you will make it a great place to wait.
With all this talk about queues and lines, know that we have tools that will help you speed your way through them. Our Crowd Calendar has crowd level forecasts that highlight when the parks will be busy. Next, our Park Plans will help you navigate the parks and shorten your time in line. Lastly, hop over to our blog posts that will help you with Disneyland Height Requirements, as well as the park's line reducers — FASTPASS and Disney MaxPass.
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.
The Best Queues at Disneyland Resort
10) 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 space-themed roller coaster adventure — and prime photo opportunity, am I right?
The sign of a great queue is that it immerses you into 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 FASTPASS on this one.
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.
9) 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 Tarzan's 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. You're drawn to look at the flume of boats that pass by you. Seeing boats full of passengers returning from their journey peaks 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.
8) 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 — 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, custom fit for cars.
7) Splash Mountain - Critter Country - Disneyland
"My oh my what a wonderful day."
On a hot summer Disneyland day, there's no better way to cool down than splashin' in the Laughing Place. Of all the mountains of Disneyland — Space Mountain, Matterhorn and Big Thunder Mountain — it's Splash Mountain that features the most memorable queue.
Disney likes to make attractions or lands feel "lived-in." If you've seen the Citizens of Buena Vista Street walking and chatting, then you get what this means. The queue for Splash Mountain feels as though it was built by the Critter Country folks that live there.
One of the best queues at Disneyland begins inside a huge barn. Look closely, or you may miss the old-fashioned gardening tools, wheelbarrow and other old tools. The FASTPASS line follows the Standby line, taking you past the Uncle Remus quotes and onto the top level of the barn. From here, you can see the bridge that carries the Disneyland Railroad. In the distance, you may catch Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island or the mighty Sailing Ship Columbia.
Walking through the barn leads you to the hollowed-out hillside of the mountain. Take a few moments to appreciate the work of the folks who designed and sculpted this clever pathway. I thought I was good with Play-Doh! The lit pathway winds its way down to the loading area, where it's just a few moments before boarding your log.
The lived in feel of this queue with its cleverly crafted Critter Country feel and design is dee-lightful. Setting up a story that's sure to send guests screaming with joy, Splash Mountain features one of the best queues at Disneyland.
6) Star Tours — The Adventures Continue - Tomorrowland - Disneyland
"Paging Egroeg Sacul."
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. You'll find former Star Tours droid Captain Rex — labeled as "Defective" — inside a shipping container. 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 FASTPASS, you're able to see all of these neat elements. Using FASTPASS 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. Luggage. Gate arrival announcements. We're in a starport inside a galaxy far, far away — but as Han Solo said: "We're home."
5) Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! - Hollywood Land - Disney California Adventure
"I am Groot!"
As I've croaked 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 their own story. For Marvel fans, the queue is a treasure trove of mysterious Marvel items that you may have seen before.
The foreboding home of the Tivian Collection sets the stage for Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! In this attraction, Taneleer Tivan — "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 Tivian Collection. Your FASTPASS saves you time while giving you a peek at the vast assortment of artifacts. 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.
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!
4) 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 the best queue at Disneyland that leads to a dark ride. YEAH, I SAID IT, HAUNTED MANSION.
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 DIP. Riding through Toontown sets your ride vehicle spinning. Really. Think of 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 cartoon look 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 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 FASTPASS 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 Toontown.
3) Jungle Cruise - Adventureland - Disneyland
"Next week, the True-Life Adventure's Club will be holding its third annual meeting."
The worldwide headquarters of the Jungle Cruise Navigation Company is also home to the second-best queue on our super ultimate and definitive list of best queues at Disneyland Park. I'm just seeing if you were awake.
Much like Splash Mountain, the Jungle Cruise queue feels lived-in. The various rooms and areas feel freshly vacant — as if the skippers will return at any moment. You'll find the front ticket office stocked with vintage safari and travel gear. The upstarts area features a cozy office and infirmary full of medicines. Further back, a radio broadcast hints at the show scenes that guests see on their cruise.
Much like the Space Mountain departure view, the Jungle Cruise offers a similar scene. As you enter the queue, you're given an immediate look at the awaiting adventure. You'll see a Jungle Cruise boat fill up with passengers — then disappear into the jungle, giving you no sense of what's to come around that bend. A similar view comes when you're at the top of the queue, looking out into the lush jungle foliage.
The Jungle Cruise is the rare attraction that feels different at night. Maybe it's the tired skippers looking to stray from the spiel or the dense darkness of the jungle. Consider making two trips during your visit. Stand inside the boathouse and let the 1930's music float into your mind. The Jungle Cruise may be known for corny jokes, but the queue takes its role very seriously. Just like limestone, don't take it for granite.
2) 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 the park's E-Ticket attraction 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. 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 being played. 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.
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.
1) Indiana Jones Adventure - Adventureland - Disneyland
"Already I am envious of the wonders that await you — if you avoid the eyes of Mara, that is."
Duh. Did you think there was another attraction that sat atop this list of the best queues at Disneyland? Indiana Jones Adventure - The Temple of the Forbidden Eye the best queue at Disneyland, and one of the best ones in the world.
The queue is everything that an Indiana Jones fan wants — adventure, peril and humor. Your adventure begins at an archaeological dig, 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, pull it.
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. I know right? When this ride first opened, people would wait around two hours to ride. Guests were handed small cards that would help them decode the sayings on the wall. Oh, and that spike room? The spikes would drop if someone pushed a flimsy bamboo pole! It's a bummer that people don't get to see those, but now you see why this is tops on the list of best queues at Disneyland.
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 the queue goodness.
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Do you have a favorite that deserves a spot on our list of the best queues at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure? Which one on our list is tops with you? Let us know in the comments below!