Best Seven Things to Do While Waiting in Line at Magic Kingdom
Nobody likes to stand in line at theme parks. Unfortunately, all of the other people visiting that day want to participate in the same attractions. And the entire system works as a first-come/first-served setup.
So, waiting in ride queues is inevitable. In recent years, Disney has jazzed things up with some smart entertainment. Here are seven entertaining things you can do while standing in line at Magic Kingdom.
Blow Up a Mountain
When Imagineers last refurbished Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, they introduced a new level of interactivity to the experience. For example, moving pictures are available in a few photo booths, demonstrating the state-of-the-art nature of Big Thunder Mountain back in 1880.
The most engaging bit of entertainment doubles as an Easter egg. Not many people have deduced that Ol’ Faithful Blasting Caps are interactive. They walk by the cases of dynamite, missing the point that Disney has lined the side of the mountain with explosives.
Yes, the sticks of dynamite in the line queue should hint at this ability. Similarly, the detonators are a pretty strong statement about what’s possible. The line includes a full row of them. So, it’s hard to miss once you know to look for the interactive themed boomsticks.
When guests turn a crank between a pair of detonators, a gauge will display progress. Once it reaches a set level, guests can push the detonator while looking outside. They’ll receive the reward of a KABOOM! Out on the mountain, the audio meshes with a cloud of smoke. This display proves that you’re a demolitions expert.
Dip Your Hand in Honey
What do Winnie the Pooh and Caddyshack have in common? Both the Magic Kingdom attraction and the country club suffer from gopher problems!
Gopher’s a resident of Hundred Acre Wood, who actually appears in the attraction as an Audio-Animatronic. However, you’ll notice Gopher first while standing in line, as the critter and his fellow gopher friends pop up their heads in the garden.
Honestly, the entire line queue for Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is delightful. Kids can pound on drums shaped like melons, spin flower wheels, and one other trick.
Touchscreen digital monitors drip with honey. And you can play with the ooze! When you place your finger on the monitor, your movement will shape the location of the honey. In fact, Disney has hidden another Easter egg here. If enough people wipe off the honey, Pooh and his friends will appear!
Fly with Tinkerbell
Perhaps no classic Disney movie is more magical than Peter Pan. In the film, the title character transports the Darling family to Neverland. Peter Pan’s Flight brings that experience to life.
However, since the ride begins in London, the line queue can’t exist in Neverland. Instead, Imagineers have deftly introduced elements of the Darling children’s bedroom into the wait. It’s a stunning demonstration of Disney’s technical wizardry.
The walls of the bedroom come to life in shocking ways. Imagineers employ shadow tricks and lighting effects to create the illusion that Tinkerbell is in the room with you. Once she announces her presence by sprinkling some fairy dust on a few objects, she joins Peter Pan on the wall.
The two of them, along with some butterflies, provide the entertainment. Guests wave their arms at the wall, and the butterflies move about as if the hands frighten them. Then, shadow bells appear, and people can ring them with an appropriate hand gesture.
Finally, Peter Pan flies around, charming audiences with his hosting. The entire time spent in this room feels like a unique attraction of its own rather than a wait for a ride.
Perform in a Circus
When Imagineers renovated Dumbo the Flying Elephant, they introduced new elements at Storybook Circus. It’s effectively a waiting area for the attraction, but it’s also a giant playground. Rather than feeling bored in line and acting out, kids get to ride slides, hang from rope platforms, and watch a cartoon building catch fire.
Disney has cleverly added a pager system. Guests receive notifications from these devices, which are similar to restaurant pagers. In the interim, everyone has a great time playing under the big top. It’s a silly space that kids enjoy as much as anything at Walt Disney World.
Play an Instrument…Encased in a Wall
Silly tombstones have always made waiting for Haunted Mansion fun. Puns abound as guests discover how some of the 999 Happy Haunts met their fates.
However, Disney emphasized interactive line queues more during the 2010s. In 2011, Magic Kingdom’s version of Haunted Mansion received an update that has enchanted guests with its interactivity. Several of the elements encourage audience participation now.
My favorite of them is the musical instrument wall. Guests will see a sign that says, “He’s gone from this world of trouble and strife, but a touch of your hand brings his music to life.” Beneath these words are pictures of various instruments.
When a guest pushes one of these protruding buttons, the wall brings the sound to life. A trumpet and a harp are two of the possibilities. On the other side, guests can even press against the picture of a cat to make it screech!
Haunted Mansion’s line queue features so many interactive elements that I can and will do an entire article about it at some point. Still, I do want to mention that you can also solve a murder mystery in this line.
Summon the Seven Dwarfs
When Seven Dwarfs Mine Train debuted at Magic Kingdom, it featured two interactive elements. One of them, a Bejeweled clone, is no longer around. However, the more aptly themed one is still available as you approach the end of the line.
Once you reach the interior of the line queue, you’ll walk past some barrels. Handsy guests will realize that you can spin them. The breathtaking gems project images on the ceiling. Various members of the Seven Dwarfs appear thanks to your barrel-spinning.
The brilliant part of the bit requires a team-building exercise, though. If everyone in line at the appropriate barrel spins at once, a new projection displays on the roof. Snow White joins the Seven Dwarfs, thrilling audiences who have been rewarded for interacting well with strangers.
Use an App
In the immortal words of Jimmy Buffett, everybody’s on the phone. At some point, Disney decided that it might as well lean into the phenomenon.
The company created the Play Disney Parks app to provide guests with unique ride-based activities. I’m long overdue to write a full piece about this, but the gist is that in-queue games are available on specific rides.
At Magic Kingdom, Space Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight both have exclusive games. Virtually every ride at the park includes unlockable achievements for the various attractions, too. The last time I visited Magic Kingdom, I gained 37 achievements, and I’m not even sure why yet.
All I know is that the app makes waiting in line at Disney feel less stressful. And that’s also what Imagineers have accomplished with all the other interactive line queue elements listed here.
One day, you’ll tell your kids or grandkids that they have no idea how good they have it. Back in your day, you just stood in line and waited like a chump!