Vote of the week: What's the longest you'll wait for a theme park ride?
The past three summers have brought us some blockbuster theme park attractions, packing parks with crowds we haven't seen in years. With four-hour-plus waits for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue at Disneyland last year, up to six-hour waits for Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure this month, and waits of eight hours and more for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey when it opened in 2010, I've gotta ask:
Just how long are you willing to wait to ride a theme park attraction?
The first fans lined up to ride Radiator Springs Racers on its opening day, June 15, 2012. The wait time would reach six hours later that day.
Let's make that our vote of the week. Now, I'm not talking about your average ride - one that's been around for years. I want to know the absolute maximum you're willing to wait in line. So let's assume that we're talking about a hot new ride, with great word-of-mouth and online reviews - by all accounts a fantastic experience you've not experienced before. How long would you be willing to stand in line for that?
We asked a similar question several years ago, but that was before Harry and the Blockbusters arrived on the scene. Now that you've seen some of these new rides, have they raised your patience level?
In the comments, please tell us the longest you've ever waited in a theme park line... and if you thought the ride was worth that wait.
Thank you, as always, for reading Theme Park Insider. And mark your calendars for Monday, July 2, when we'll be announcing the winners of the 11th annual Theme Park Insider Awards.
depends on the ride
With the relatively high cost of theme park tickets nowadays the maximum wait anyone should be subjected to has to be less than an hour for any ride. When new rides are inaugurated perhaps the parks should consider giving all guests a Disney style fast pass with an appointed time window which would allow them to visit a new attraction at least once during their visit with a guaranteed shorter wait time. If the guests want to wait longer and ride again the choice is theirs.
I queued for 4 hours to ride Stealth at Thorpe Park, purely because it was the only new ride in the park. That said it was only 4 hours because it kept breaking down every 15 mins. At the end of the day, it's a great ride, but considering how short it is, it was such a waste of a day. (Even more annoying was the fact that Thorpe Park decided to dispense with theming with Stealth so that made it even worse!)
For the "hot new ride," as phrased in the question, I'd wait up to two hours. For rides that I consider favorites, if circumstances dictate, I MIGHT wait up to 90 minutes or so. There are many rides I like that I simply will not wait that long for.
The longest I ever waited was 2,5h about 30 years ago. I was young and not in too many amusement parks yet. Now, being 41, having done quite a lot amusement parks and rides, for rides I already know I'm not willing to wait more than 30mins, max. 45-60. That's why I love FP.
I'm mildly disappointed that you didn't include an "I don't wait option" :-). Because I don't....I picked an hour 'cause that was the shortest choice, and I am willing to wait occasionally for 30-45 minutes without complaint, but beyond that, I just don't. No ride is worth that wasted time.
In theory I'd wait up to 1 hour. Anything beyond that really eats into your day. But it's not always easy to figure out how long it's going to take. If you're deep in the queue and the ride starts breaking down do you cut your losses or stick it out? The longest I've waited was in SeaWorld for Manta. We waited the bones of 2.5 hours for the track to warm up on a cold January morning. It was not a good idea to go on Atlantis before that, never thought I'd be that cold in Orlando :-)
The only time I've waited over an hour was when the wait time was posted as an hour, but ended up being two.
I grew up going to Kings Island and Cedar Point, and I feel like I waited about two hours to ride all of their new rides each summer.Back then that seemed like no big deal. Later in my life I would move to Orlando where 100 minutes is a ridiculously long line; and that only occurs seasonally.
The longest I've waited for an attraction was Spiderman at 2 hours and it was definitely worth it. That was my first time on it though and I wouldn't wait that long again.
Pre-Qbot I had no choice but to wait 2.5 hours for Screamin' Eagle at SFOMA (now SFSL) but now, I pay the extra bucks for the pager to avoid long wait times. Hopefully I'll get to visit other parks that don't offer the pager system at a good time to avoid long wait times but if I HAD to wait, I'd wait up to 3 hrs. I'd prob set aside an extra day for the park if I feel there'll be long wait times so I can get to most or hopefully all the rides in the park. I never know when I can come back to the park on another day.
30 to 45 minutes or I won't ride. Single riders line, if it has one, is another option. I'll just come back or do it another day. Summer theme park attendance here in Florida is not for the weak at heart OR the year round pass holders. Just cost too much, with too much to see and do, to spend half your day in line. Also a very good reason to stay on property at Universal anytime of the year. More than pays for itself.
As another reader commented I would only wait 30 to 45 minutes. We get up early, ride the most popular rides first and then use WDW fast passes the rest of the day,
A hour is the longest I'll wait. If its a favorite of mine or it's new I'll wait 90 minutes max.
45 minutes max, but for the most part, half an hour.
I said an hour, but only for something brand spanking new. If it's something I've been on, I'll just come back later. "So much time, and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it."
I don't like waiting in line for a ride... but I waited more than one hour for Soarin' (Epcot) and although I only had to wait 30 minutes for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, if I ever go back to Universal, I wouldn't mind waiting two hours for it because it's the best ride I've ever did in my life!
I remember waiting for 2+ hours when Mean Streak at Cedar Point first opened, hour plus for Magnum a few times. But that was in my younger days. Now I'm smarter. If the line is even 45 minutes I think hard about riding. I can find plenty of other things to do, even if it's just having an overpriced cold beer and people watching.
Actually 30 min. is enough. I pay $45-$90 to get into a park I really don't want to waist time in line. I hate having to put up with unrully kids in line. I have stopped attending as the lines are too long and people are at their worst.
The longest I have waited was 3 hours for Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom. It was worth it because it was my last chance to ride it before ending up in a wheelchair.
The longest I ever waited was 2 and 1/2 hours for Kingda Ka the year it opened...and it broke down right before I got on.
1 hour at most,I don't feel any rides are actually worth over 1 hour the wait...I have only waited 1 hour for a few times,like FJ 2 months after its opening and X2,which was due to its stingy and disgusting 1 train operation.
I chose up to three hours, because if it's something I'm really excited to see (and I don't know when I'll be able to come back) I might as well bite the bullet. I'm already there. If I hear the wait is over three hours, I'll just skip it entirely. During this long Recession, I'm on a tight budget, esspecially when it comes to leisure and vacation spending. I can't afford to let one single attraction eat up that much of my day. My vacation will be better spent having fun rather than standing in line all day.
When Space Mountain re-opened at Disneyland in 2005, the lines were ridiculous. This was my first time at the park and I wanted to take advantage of the fast pass system but my husband said that waiting in line for Space Mountain was a rite of passage, lol! Luckily, because we arrived at the park early and went straight to Tomorrowland, I only had to wait an hour. He said I got off light. ;)
The most I've ever waited for a ride was 50 minutes for Rip Ride and Rocket last year and that was only because it broke down after waiting for 20 minutes already; that much time was already invested and I didn't have the heart to walk away. If the posted wait time had been 50 minutes I wouldn't have queued but as it was the posted wait time was 25 minutes when we first got in line.
I waited for Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom for just over an hour because I never ridden Space Mountain before since I've been to Magic Kingdom when I was 7 Years old. That will be the longest I will ever wait for a ride. And this was in the third or fourth week of August, so the crowds haven't died down yet. Bleh never again. I'm glad I didn't go during Halloween when they had 3 hour wait times just for fast pass.
I've waited 4 hours for Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point and 3 hours for Millenium Force. Both were in the heart of summer after they had just opened... I was a teenager then so I didn't mind. I wouldn't do that now, I'd rather find a cool bar and have a beer!
I voted for 4 hours because if a ride were to debut at one of my favorite parks that was based on my favorite movie, or was unlike any other ride out there, I'd be willing to wait for it.
I picked up to 3 hours, but very rarely more than 1 hr or 90 mins. If I've ridden the other rides in the park that I'm excited about and this new ride is exciting; get me a drink and a snack and in line I go. We did something similar to get into WWHP at IOA: we had already gone on everything (including WWHP rides) with our early entry but once the rest of the park was done, the kids were willing to sit in line better part of 2 hours to go back.
My limit is 30-45 minutes for a ride that I have ridden before. If it's longer I'll pass and come back to it. For a new ride, maybe 90 minutes. I waited that long for my first Harry Potter: Forbidden Journey ride but that was made quite easy by the amazing queue, walkthrough, distractions, and that the line kept moving. However, in a iron park queue with nothing but pipes and concrete I can only last about 20-30 minutes. :)
Longest ive ever waited was 40 min. for Kali river rapids even though the sign only said 20
The longest I have waited was a little over 3 hours. It was for X2 at Magic Mountain in 2002... I believe that was the year the ride opened... Well worth it but I'm not sure I'd do it again... Normally I'm okay with one hour wait... not more than that.
Mark F: I hope I'm not the only one here who picked up your reference to one of my favorite movies..it certainly was "wild."
With a full charged blackberry and no kids up to 90 minutes for a premium ride that just opened.
It seems that few people understand the question. This was for the great new attraction and not something you rode before or is an average attraction. I would rarely wait 30 minutes for the 'rode before' attractions just as almost everyone above has said. But, the new, never ridden attraction can be worth a 2 hour wait the first time, maybe even longer.
I have waited up to three hours,that was when Cheetah Hunt first opened.
It depends largely on the ride and the circumstances. I waited almost two hours to go on Forbidden Journey, but it was the first time I'd ridden it and it had only just opened a few weeks prior, so lines were still ridiculous. That's the longest I've ever waited in line, but realistically, thirty minutes is usually the cap I put on any theme park ride, so typically I don't go on if the ride lists higher than forty-five minutes/hour, since we all know it usually never takes that long. ;)
I queued 2 hours for Toy Story at Hollywood studios, after 2 hours i´ve realized that i was in the middle of the line, i decided to give up, this was in May.
In general, I'm willing to wait:
Yeah I remember waiting in some of those looong Kings Island and Cedar Point lines. Back when I was a lad, those two parks weren't chock full of high capacity rides like they are today, and the record breaking coasters that seemed to come out every year drew a lot of people. On many days those lines still exist. In their defense though, it's rarely due to inefficiency. Even at maximum capacity with the fastest ride op crew, sometimes there are just so many people that a line is inevitable. That's not what our highly impatient culture wants to hear, but it's the way things are.
One hour, and that's for something I've never been on before. Once I ride it, I try not to wait more than 20 minutes or so.
I think the voting scale shows a real decline in customer happiness and satisfaction as the wait time goes up. I actually know some event organizers who LIKE long lines because they think it makes their attraction seem more impressive.
Splash mountain and space mountain. I would wait for two days if their was a star wars land
The longest I've waited is 4 hours for Top Thrill Dragster a week after it officially opened. That included quite a few breakdowns that we didn't want to get out of line for, but it was completely worth it because we got a rollback on our first launch.
We loved the ability to buy 'fast pass' at Universal; yes it's pricy, but so worth it! Wait time is usually 75% less than the regular lines. We got on more rides in less time which made much better use of our time - especially in the summertime heat. Downside: the best rides - Harry Potter's Adventure and the Rockin Roller Coaster were not included. I would have paid extra, extra to include those two. And while you are in Universal Islands, in the Hogsmead village, Have the ButterBeer. OMG! So Good. I prefer the regular over the frozen version. The foam is so good. The chicken dinner for 4 - 5 is the best bargain in the restaurant in Hogsmead. We fed two grown-ups and two teenagers and had enough leftover for another person. Roast chicken, corn/cob, potatoes, vegies. YUM.
And those assistance passes many parks offer: DON'T lie about a disability just so you can get a shorter wait. In fact, that's not what those passes guarantee! They just offer further assistance in what may already be an ADA-compliant park. My brother has Down syndrome, and he can't board some ride vehicles at the rest of my family's pace. That's where this pass comes in.
The answer is easy: More than 4 hours. I waited 9 hours for HP and the Forbidden Journey the day it opened, at least 6 of those in intense heat, and it was worth it. I don't live anywhere near Florida, so the 9-hour wait sure beats waiting another year until the next time I visit Orlando.
Opening day of DarKastle... I entered the Queue under Alpengeist's lift hill, and stood in line 4 hours. For DarKastle :/ That was the last time I waited that long for any ride, brand new or not.
Mike G: Soooo glad someone got that. :) Mine too. I think I'd wait over an hour for a ride down the Choco River! :)
For me it's about perception and attitude. I will wait longer under two conditions:
Short night at Universal Orlando. 6 minute wait in the single rider line for Spiderman. No problems and the sound and video are superb HP 20 minute wait, all after 7pm. No problems to report and bathrooms clean!
I would wait for up to 4 hours for a new and extreme ride. If it's a ride thats been there for a couple of years mabe a hour and a half. Longest I ever waited for a ride was green lantern at six flags great adventure for a little over 2 and a half hours.
I voted for the 3 hour option. That would only be for a brand new headline attraction like Forbidden Journey, Spider Man, Transformers, Radiator Springs Racers, ect. If it is a ride that I've been on, usually I don't get in line if it's labeled more than 45 mins. And defiantly not more than 60 mins with kids.
My wife despises long lines, and won't even consider going on a ride if the wait is longer than a half an hour. No matter how well-themed the queue, no matter how fast the line is moving while we are in it, that half an hour is the absolute limit of her patience. No ride, no matter how wonderful, is worth a long wait, as far as she is concerned. I think she is fairly typical of the average park=goer. She doesn't follow the theme park boards, she doesn't keep up on the absolute latest news about Disney or Universal. She simply wants to go and have fun, and standing in line is definitely, definitively, NOT fun.
New Ride 2 hours. All others 1 hr..Strandard flats 30 mins.
Waited 3.5 hours for Test Track when it first opened. Got to hand it to park ops who after a three hour downtime reopened it well after closing to let those who waited ride.
I will rarely wait for more than an hour for a fantastic roller coaster I've already been on and just over an hour for a new coaster.
The longest I've waited for a ride that I can recall was about an hour and 45 minutes for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.....and this was back in the middle of February of this year at the Disneyland Resort in Cali...after a week of on and off again rain, mind you. I'm not exactly a Star Wars fan (Far from it actually) but on the insistance of my boyfriend, I went ahead and gave it shot. Was it worth it? I'll admit, to some degree it was....but the way I see it, if you're not a die-hard fan of a ride or its central theming then anything beyond an hour is pushing it.
longest i have ever waited was about 2 hours for a new coaster at Kings Dominion. I wouldn't have except a friend really wanted to go on it. Personally, my limit is an hour, more than that and i get to impatient. I like to go to parks in the off season or on week days.
I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter back in 2010 but late summer season (so end of August beginning of September) and the longest we waited for forbidden journey was 30 minutes. Which was amazing.
I put two hours........ but what the ride is makes a very big impact on how long I am willing to wait though. Radiator Springs I would definately be willing to wait two hours for... Toy Story Mania however, I would probably not be as willing to wait two hours for.
Wait times are getting high during the summer time. I have annual passes and tend to go when its not as busy. The longest ive waited for a ride so far this year was 75 mins for Rip Ride Rockit because tropical storm Debbie was passing over. But this past weekend we went to Harry Potter and we waited 45 mins when the park just opened and the lines got in excess of 2 hours after we got off the ride.
Longest I've ever waited was 2 hours to get on Pooh's Hunny Hunt in Japan.
No one that has any true experience with theme parks and the like and understand the how parks and their ride's attendence work would never spend more than an hour waiting on any ride. If you are on this site and you spend more than an hour you need your head examined. Now, if this was years ago, well I hope you learned your lesson. I for example never( yeah I said NEVER) attend any park during or even near peak season.
I've been an amusement park nut for decades now, and know I've waited in some ridiculously long lines at times, especially for major new attractions (the longest wait I recall was for the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, but I also remember having fun in the queue first time through because of all the surprises along the way once you're inside the attraction's indoor part of the queue). If the payoff is spectacular, it feels worth every minute, but if it disappoints (or if the ride goes down before you get to ride it, as often happens with new attractions in particular), it feels like you want a part of your life back! lol But I have no regrets--my memory tends to erase the negative and focus on the fun had, plus sometimes long queues give you time to meet and get to know those around you, ending up in fun and interesting conversations, passing the time with lively people, sometimes a memorable and worthwhile part of the experience in itself. I also tend to remind myself how much work and money goes into a new attraction (or most any attraction), and how it's somebody's pride and joy, and it helps me tolerate a long wait to experience it. Would I wait 4 or 6 hours for a new attraction? Nope, I'd chalk it up to being a reminder to wait awhile to visit a new attraction, and would instead go enjoy the rest of the park with its shorter lines due to the wait for the new attraction! So the longest I'd wait for, say, a Radiator Springs or Star Tours revamp would be about 3 hours max.
I cant understand how Radiator Spring Racer Line get so long I did it on june 19 at 10:55pm from the linbe was at its full capacity, and it turned out a 1hour and a half, it still a long wait but not the 4 hours I was expecting since everybody was complaining.
I hate long lines. That's why you never go to a theme park with a brand new ride. I wait a year or two for the hype to go away. The longest I ever waited was 90 Mins for Spider-Man. The longest I'm willing to wait is 25-30 Mins.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.