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5 Rides You'll (Almost) Never Wait for at Walt Disney World

Gran Fiesta Tour

 lorenjavier, Flickr (license)

Image: lorenjavier, Flickr (license)

Just a couple of doors down from Mission: Space, the Mexico pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase is one of the most magical and transporting places on Walt Disney World property. With the outside of the pavilion evoking ancient civilizations from Mexico’s history, the inside seeks to create the feeling of an evening festival in a small riverside town. There are shops, a bar, a restaurant, and a simple boat ride lurking in the back.

Originally known as El Rio Del Tiempo - the River of time, Disney redesigned the attraction in 2007 to star Donald Duck and the Three Caballeros. As such, it combines the classic touch of Disney’s best boat rides with more modern attraction sensibilities like humor and visual effects.

The result is a charming boat ride through faithful recreations of Mexico’s cities and countryside. And, with a fireworks finale that is memorable and delightful, it’s a ride that both adults and kids can enjoy.

Because it’s a boat ride much in the style of it’s a small world, the ride features high-capacity boats and can move a large number of people through it at any given time. For that reason, the line is almost never very long — even at peak times in the resort. 

Star Tours

 harshlight, Flickr (license)

Image: harshlight, Flickr (license)

It’s hard to know the long-term effects Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will have on Star Tours’ wait times, but even now — as Star Wars fever is at its peak — Star Tours rarely has a wait time exceeding 40 minutes. Considering Disney tends to inflate its queue lengths slightly as a way of increasing guest satisfaction (“It said 35 minutes, but we really only waited 20!”), it’s highly unlikely you’ll have to wait more than a half-hour to ride Star Tours unless you’re visiting on a particularly busy day.

That fact is truly astonishing considering the absolutely amazing offering that Star Tours is.

It’s easy to take it for granted nowadays, considering we have Millennium Falcon rides, Flight of Passage, and even a full-blown Hogwarts Castle down the street. But Star Tours packs an absolute wallop of a punch, with its thrilling score, randomized plotline, and delightful bit of humor courtesy of C-3PO and R2-D2.

In a world with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, it will never be the best Star Wars-themed attraction on Disney property. But it is the original, and it’s still just as amazing as it was when it first debuted. That fact, coupled with its insanely-high capacity, make its relatively short wait times astonishing.

Pirates of the Caribbean

 harshlight, Flickr (license)

Image: harshlight, Flickr (license)

It’s hard to believe, but one of the greatest attractions that the Walt Disney Company has ever produced — one which birthed a multi-billion dollar film franchise, mind you — still rarely has a long line. 

Pirates of the Caribbean is a slow-moving boat ride straight through a plundered pirate village, and it also is a ride that you can do at roughly any time of day without waiting any more than 30-40 minutes at most. That is astonishing, especially when you remember it’s near the top of every list of attractions guests must do.

Even if you do have to wait close to 30 minutes to ride the ride, the queue is entirely indoors, cool, and fairly relaxing to experience — making it a great place to wait without feeling like you’re gonna lose your mind from boredom. It compares favorably to the other classic Disney ride nearby — the Haunted Mansion — in this regard, considering that other ride regularly features 50-plus minute waits outside in the oppressive heat.

For a ride as popular and iconic as Pirates of the Caribbean to have such a relatively short wait time is astonishing — and, most likely, is part of the reason for its enduring popularity. It’s there when you need it, like the best things in life.

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