Home » Are These Disney Rides Worth the Wait?

Are These Disney Rides Worth the Wait?

The Happiest Place on Earth isn’t always the happiest place. Yes, I’m destroying a tautology, but it’s true. Nobody likes waiting in line, especially not at a place of crowded as Disneyland. Some of the rides have ridiculous lines relative to their entertainment value. Others are so great that you should wait however long is needed to ride them. Which is which? Read on to find out which of the nine rides with the longest lines at Disneyland are worth the wait.

Matterhorn Bobsleds – 25 minutes

Image: DisneyDisneyland’s FastPass system is incredibly efficient. It keeps the lines at the parks depreciated in size, which is why so few attractions have brutal wait-times. In the ongoing debate between Walt Disney World and Disneyland regarding park supremacy, Disneyland is the clear winner in this category. Even its newer attractions have reasonably sized line queues.

Keeping that in mind, I’ll evaluate these rides less harshly than last time. And some of the answers are obvious. Matterhorn Bobsleds is a historically significant attraction, one of four on this list. Those are always worth a bit more of a wait. Sure, the ride gets bumpy, but it’s refreshing in that regard. So many new attractions are impossibly smooth. Matterhorn Bobsleds is old school rough. I love that about it and have happily waited much longer than 25 minutes to ride it.

Haunted Mansion – 30 minutes

Image: DisneyWalt Disney spent the last decade of his life trying to bring this attraction to life. Ultimately, he didn’t live long enough to see his plans for New Orleans Square come to fruition. While tragic, this turn of events helped the ride. Imagineers lovingly worked to fulfill the wishes of their founder, eventually crafting the seminal haunted house attraction in existence. To my mind, the question isn’t whether Haunted Mansion is worth a half-hour wait. Instead, it’s “How many times are we going to ride Haunted Mansion today?”

Peter Pan’s Flight – 30 minutes

Image: DisneyI previously detailed the pros and cons of Peter Pan’s Flight in the Walt Disney World version of the article. Those statements all apply to the Disneyland version save for one difference. The wait-time at the original iteration of Peter Pan’s Flight is half of the Magic Kingdom one. That muddies the waters a bit. While I wouldn’t wait much longer for it, I do think it’s worth half an hour in line.

Indiana Jones Adventure – 35 minutes

Image: DisneyI should say in advance that I’m a huge Indiana Jones fan. Everyone else loves Star Wars, but this is the Lucasfilm production for me. I’ll also add that I’m also an ardent supporter of Dinosaur, a terrific attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Why is that important? It’s the de facto twin of Indiana Jones Adventure.

An Enhanced Motion Vehicle (EMV) transports guests from set to set, elegantly crafting the illusion that you’re riding through a hallowed but deadly temple. It just FEELS like an Indiana Jones adventure. It’s also the most unique ride at the park in terms of structure and style. This one is a must-ride every trip to Disneyland.

Soarin’ Around the World – 35 minutes

Image: DisneyWalt Disney World fans salivate at the thought of a 35-minute wait for this attraction. Even after adding the third line queue/theater, the wait still rarely dips that low. Given that fact, you can guess my answer is here. Soarin’ Around the World takes the genius concept of the original Soarin’ Over California and expands it to some of the most exotic settings in the world. How else would you rise over the Great Wall of China or fly straight toward the Eiffel Tower? This ride is among the best at any Disney theme park in the world. It’s well worth that sort of wait.

Toy Story Midway Mania! – 40 minutes

Image: DisneyI love this ride and the Buzz Lightyear one for the same reason. There’s something undeniably engaging about competing to win at a theme park. Perhaps it’s the childhood memories of those awful circus games, or maybe it’s my love of videogames coming to the forefront. Whatever the explanation, Toy Story Midway Mania! is the ride that I would do the most if it had a short line. I would seriously get off the ride, walk back in line, and ride it again if I didn’t have to wait 40 minutes. It’s that enjoyable to me. I’ll certainly stand in line for 40 minutes to ride it once per trip, and you should as well.

Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! – 45 minutes

Image: DisneyHere’s my confession. I’m not a huge fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie franchise. I liked the second film more than the first, but I find them both pretty weird and off-putting in tone. Still, I adore the characters, as they are some of the most fully realized in the history of comic book cinema. For that reason, I’m an ardent supporter of this attraction.

The new Guardians attraction has the bones of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but Imagineers updated it to have a hipper theme. Plus, the incorporation of rock music really adds some oomph. If anything, I’m amazed that the wait for Mission: BREAKOUT! is only 45 minutes. It would be at least twice that at Walt Disney World. You definitely want to wait for this one.

Space Mountain – 55 minutes

Image: DisneyOut of the attractions listed here, this one is the trickiest call. Space Mountain is the most historically significant roller coaster ever built, a marvel of advanced computing at a time when computers had no place in theme park design. It’s also the most recognized brand in the roller coaster industry, a name that basically everyone in North America knows.

Despite its significance, the ride is more than 40 years old and definitely not for everyone. Space Mountain delivers a jarring ride experience that can upset your stomach and thereby ruin your day. I recommend it, even with the extensive wait, as a must-do attraction. You don’t want to tell your friends that you went to Disneyland but didn’t ride Space Mountain. Having said that, you’re much better served getting a FastPass.

Radiator Springs Racers – 60 minutes

Image: DisneyI previously declared that Test Track was definitely worth standing in line for an hour. And I also argued that Radiator Springs Racers is better than Test Track. You can do the math from there. Just in case you want the dots connected, I’ll spell it out, though.

Test Track is a masterful ride that has several exciting “ride safety” elements. Then, it ends with an explosive burst into the open air of the outdoors. During this phase, your coaster car accelerates to 64.9 miles per hour.

Radiator Springs Racers is almost exactly the same ride, only it supplants the “ride safety” elements with different, better theming. It immerses you in the world from the Cars movie franchise. All of the vehicles you encounter have (creepy) eyes and are anthropomorphic. You’re visiting a sleepy little town rather than a manufacturing test facility, and that makes all the difference.

I love Radiator Springs, and I’d gladly wait an hour to take a ride through town. This is one of Disney’s best attractions ever in terms of theming. You’ll love it and should wait as long as it takes to visit Radiator Springs.

Yes, that’s right! All of the rides with the longest wait-times at Disneyland are worth it!