Home » You Don’t Want to Be One of the First On a New Attraction: Here’s Why

You Don’t Want to Be One of the First On a New Attraction: Here’s Why

The Wizarding World packed with guests

So you’re amped to see Avatar come to Animal Kingdom, or you’re already planning ahead for the exciting new Toy Story rides coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As thrilling as new ride openings are, those first few months aren’t really something you want to witness. You’re better pushing back your vacation and seeing these attractions a little later in their theme park tenure. Here are some compelling reasons to reschedule and avoid ride openings.

The parks get packed 

The Wizarding World packed with guests

You’re not the first person to hear about that hot new attraction and get excited. Theme parks market their latest rides to death to drum up more business, and it usually works. The thousands of people who flock to the park for that hot new attraction may only hop on the ride once, but they’re probably in the park all day or all week. There’s a natural surge of guest traffic that comes with any grand opening.

Animal Kingdom will be busier thanks to the new Avatar opening. This one land is expected to increase wait times throughout the entire park by about 15 percent. Epcot’s Norway is so packed with guests flocking in for Frozen Ever After that the park started opening both Norway and Mexico early to try and compensate. Even if you’re not vying for a front seat to the latest and greatest attraction, you’ll still feel the impact of it if you plan your visit to coincide with the first several months of a big opening.

With crowds and wait times swelling throughout the associated park, your visit is going to get a lot sweatier and slower. If you want a smoother experience all around with streets you can comfortably navigate and a schedule with a well-rounded number of rides on it, wait until the thrill of major openings has worn off.

Rides are glitchy at the beginning 


Every ride has its characteristic glitches – some more noticeable or persistent than others. However, all attractions battle bumpy opening day issues. It takes time for engineers to discover all the quirks and errors in a ride system, and there are usually a lot of them. Try as they might to anticipate guest actions in the testing phase, it’s just not possible to get to the heart of it all. You don’t know what will really happen when you press the full weight of a heavy guest load into a vehicle and run it continuously for hours at a time until you’re doing just that.

Ride glitches can cause a variety of issues for you as the guest. This includes:

  • On-vehicle down time: Cast Members are more hesitant to evacuate or dump an attraction when it’s a new opening with a massive line. While you will absolutely be evacuated in a safety situation, you may find that you’re left to linger in a non-moving ride vehicle that’s still perfectly safe.
  • Non-functional features: You probably won’t even know what you’re missing, but in the early weeks of an attraction, it’s extremely likely that there are non-functioning elements. Some may have been left out intentionally to rush the opening day. Others will have broken down soon after the opening and linger in disrepair awaiting the first rehab. Even the Cast Members are new to the attraction at this stage, so they may not catch minor problems right away. Again, safety isn’t much of an issue, but show can suffer.
  • Patchy Performance: Starts, stops, and slow-downs are especially common with a new ride system. While these are minor issues that Cast Members will push right through, they’re going to diminish your ride experience. If your vehicle slows or pauses in places where it’s not really meant to, the entire flow of the ride is off, and you’re not getting the full thrill that you bargained for.

Lines are long for multiple reasons

Frozen Ever After

New attractions are notorious for their long lines. Guests routinely waited around five hours for Frozen Ever After. When Universal opened its Wizarding World of Harry Potter, lines just to get into these areas wrapped around the entire park, with many guests waiting all day just to set foot in this magical land. If you don’t want to dedicate your entire day to a single ride, you definitely shouldn’t arrive when it’s new.

Long lines are caused by a few factors. Naturally, one is the popularity of the attraction. However, those glitches mentioned above are another big driving factor. With queues that are extended through multiple buildings and hundreds of guests waiting for a single attraction, closing the ride is no small feat. It’s easier to leave the line in place while dealing with a down time than it is to announce a closure and empty the queue. 


The posted wait time may have been a workable three hours when you got in line, but if the ride gets glitchy and the Cast Members have to reboot or send a few empty vehicles every hour, you could easily end up waiting hours longer than anticipated. From your spot in the packed queue, you’ll have no idea what’s happening or how much longer you have to wait.

Down times and dumps are common

Gringotts Dragon

When ride problems really are too much to handle, those big-name attractions can and will simply go 101. Down times are far more common for new attractions than those that are good and broken-in. This means that you could wait hours to get into a new themed land only to find its signature attraction closed for the day. You also have a high risk of waiting in line for a few hours just to get dumped from the queue before you ever set foot on a ride vehicle. Wasted time is a natural occurrence when you’re around new attractions.

If you want to make the most of your theme park visit, packing multiple attractions into your day and maneuvering easily through the park, steer clear of big openings. Wait till the glitches are gone and the newness has worn off to get your thrills in quickly.