Ultimate Guide to Single Rider at WDW
Nobody likes standing in line at Walt Disney World. You want to ride the finest attractions at the Most Magical Place on Earth. Unfortunately, other people share the same ambition, and they kind of get in the way. For a few specific attractions, Disney’s created a clever solution that allows you to enter a smaller line in exchange for a few small concessions. Here’s everything you need to know about Single Rider options at Walt Disney World.
What Is Single Rider?
What you may not have noticed is that the size capacities of various ride carts are quite different. Some vehicles on attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and Living with the Land can seat several people in a row. Others like Peter Pan’s Flight or Space Mountain max out at two or even one rider per vehicle cart.
Let’s scope in on the popular attractions that can only seat two guests per row. Think about the lost throughput of this situation. When an odd number of people enters the line, one seat winds up unoccupied. Every empty seat on the coaster cart leaves a guest standing in line for longer than needed.
Single Rider eliminates the waste. Disney sets up a special line queue solely for guests traveling solo, at least for that ride. These people skip some of the special accoutrements of the line queue and cede a bit of control. In exchange for not getting to choose where to sit or who to sit with, guests in Single Rider line board the attraction MUCH faster.
Generally, Single Rider is a wonderful option for guests on a time limit. You can jump onboard the attraction in a fraction of the time. Since each ride has its own eccentricities, you’ll occasionally miss some stuff, though. Let’s talk about each Walt Disney World ride that has Single Rider and what you might miss by getting in this line.
Three different attractions feature Single Rider. One is available at every Walt Disney World park save for Magic Kingdom. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest is the attraction with Single Rider.
This ride cart includes six sections, each of which has six seats, giving the entire cart a total capacity of 36 riders. Due to the two-by-two design, that’s 18 rows of seats. When any row has an empty seat, potential capacity falls by three percent.
That may not seem like much until you think about the situation from a park planner’s perspective. They think of throughput in terms of hourly and daily capacity. Several Expedition Everest carts are in operation at a given moment. That small amount of lost throughput per cart adds up to hundreds of unsatisfied customers during a given day.
Single Rider alleviates the issue. Disney fills the empty seats in each of the 17 rows with guests from the Single Rider line. It’s a tight solution that maximizes throughput for them.
For you, Single Rider is generally good. You’ll get in a line that’s not quite as fast as the FastPass line, but it’s much shorter than the regular line. The catch is that you don’t get to see the same line queue as the other guests.
On Expedition Everest, that’s kind of a buzzkill. A team of Imagineers led by Joe Rohde imported 8,000 authentic antiquities from Nepal. Their presence in the ride queue enhances the theme of the mysterious city of Serka Zong. If you’ve never stood in the line, it’s a big deal. The pieces on display are dazzling. If Expedition Everest is a familiar friend of yours by now, there’s no downside to Single Rider.
While I love the Nepalese knickknacks on display at Expedition Everest, I’m of the opinion that Single Rider’s opportunity cost is highest on Test Track. This Epcot attraction has much smaller ride carts. The maximum occupancy is six people per cart, with two rows capable of hosting three people each.
Test Track is the opposite of the other two options for Single Rider. Its base is three riders, an odd number. When an even number of people board Test Track, the ride cart has an empty seat. Single Rider fills that seat, which is important since the attraction is one of the three most popular ones at Epcot.
When you jump into the Single Rider line at Test Track, however, you miss an integral part of the attraction. Guests in Single Rider don’t get to build their cars. I’m speaking of the design phase that precedes the start of the race.
Here, you create a car by filtering through various options to shape the appearance of the vehicle. You get to alter some of the features under the hood, too. You can make a more eco-friendly Test Track vehicle or a gas guzzler that has more raw power than The Mountain.
Realistically, everyone tries to build the Batmobile, but it’s an extremely entertaining process. There’s even bragging rights at the end, as Disney scores the various designs. Any score of 200 or higher means that you’ve missed your calling as a saner Elon Musk.
Single Rider at Test Track reduces the wait so much that it’s comparable to FastPass. The catch is that you don’t get to build your own vehicle. As such, you skip the heart and soul of the attraction. Of course, the actual Test Track portion is still phenomenal. Test Track’s ride experience is pure magic.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
This attraction is the oddity of the bunch. I’ll explain why for a moment, but here are the basic details. The core concept of Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster is that you’re riding in a stretch limousine. It’s a clever way to explain why the ride cart is so long. It allows six trains of four guests each, and the four guests sit in rows of two. That’s a lot of potential wasted space, which is why the ride employs Single Rider.
Here’s what I find odd about Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. When you jump in Single Rider, the ONLY thing you cede is the ability to sit with someone else in your traveling party. The pre-ride queue has a singular highlight, which is an open room wherein the guests watch the members of Aerosmith speak in a sound booth. At one point, Aerosmith suggests that you, the fan, join them at their upcoming show. They’ll even put you in their stretch limo cavalcade and zoom you through the streets of Los Angeles.
Guests in Single Rider get to watch this show. Technically, you’re roped off in a different part of the room, but you still see this pre-show setup. Then, you get to board the ride faster than the people standing in the regular line. I’ve never really timed it, but I presume that the FastPass line is quicker. It’s a fractional gain, though.
Single Rider on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is the best version of the concept. You miss out on nothing, but you get to ride the attraction faster than anyone in the regular line. I like it so much that I rarely get a FastPass for the roller coaster these days. Instead, I pick other attractions and then jump in Single Rider at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster after I get off of Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which is in the same section of the park.
When done well, Single Rider is perfect for park planners and park guests alike. It’s such a clever concept that Disney fans have clamored for its introduction on other attractions, particularly ones at Magic Kingdom.