Counting Down While Waiting in Line [Part 1]

Like death and taxes, waiting line at Disneyland is inevitable. Fortunately for us, the venerable theme park has turned the mathematical inevitably of waiting in line into an art form. Oh they have laid some math on us to be sure, as Fastpass comes to mind. Let’s ignore Fastpass for a few moments and bask in the glory of Disney Imagineering shall we? It’s because of this thoughtful design that some queues rival the main attraction in areas such as story, interactivity and atmosphere.

Without further ado, let’s count down the Top Five Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

Number 5: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror


Here you can check into the glamorous (and strangely vacant) Hollywood Tower Hotel. The ride-experience begins once you enter the lobby of the infamous hotel. Take a look around and explore the mysteries of what happened on the tragic night when lightning struck an elevator full of hotel guests and plummeted thirteen stories deep into [queue theme music] The Twilight Zone.

Why It’s In the Top Five: The queue here is magnificent. There is a grandeur that seems to wither as you pass through increasingly smaller and smaller interior spaces until you end up in the bowels of the hotel. The place looks like everyone left in a hurry, gee I wonder why? Baggage, cocktails and personal affects are placed throughout, as if people fled in such a haste they didn’t have the time to collect their belongings. At the midpoint, there is a chilling (and occasionally unintentionally funny) television presentation in the Library to enlighten you about the horrific events which unfolded here in the past. The final space, a dank and disturbing boiler room that creaks, howls and moans as you wind your way to the final destination, really sets the tone for the ride to follow. Lots of heavy atmosphere and some clever storytelling help this queue land firmly at Number 5.

Why It’s Not Number One: For starters, it relies too heavily on the use of a video presentation to tell its story. A good queue makes any video/film seem holistically part of the story. In this setting it seems jokey and out of place. Even more upsetting is the overflow queue, which snakes outside the lobby of the hotel into a dreary and endless serpentine located conspicuously in the direct sun. On a hot busy day, you’ll beg to be flung into the fifth dimension, simply because it’s air conditioned.

Coming up next: Number 4 on our list of the Top Five Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

4 Comments so far

  1. Counting Down While Waiting in Line [Part 2] | Orange County Metblogs (pingback) on August 10th, 2009 @ 8:03 am

    […] Forget to check out our Number 5 pick for the Top Fives Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland […]

  2. Dave Share (daveshare) on August 11th, 2009 @ 8:41 am

    I’m OK with this being a little lower on the list. I agree the story is a good one and they rely too much on the lame video to tell what happened. Things I wish they would change or had done from the beginning:

    -Yes, the queue sucks in the summer. At the very least, add some misters to cool things off a bit.
    -The boiler room has always felt to me like it’s missing something. People. Even if it was just at Halloween time, I’ve always felt they should have “hotel custodians” or whatever with creepy makeup on, walking through all the empty rafters or even through the line. I don’t know, I’ve just always felt that the potential of that place has never been utilized.
    -Why did we get the condensed soup version?? Florida has the whole section that the ride vehicles drive through, then the drops and you end up in a completely different area. not to mention the fact that the boiler room is actually a basement over there!

  3. Jon (oc_jon) on August 11th, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

    “I’ve just always felt that the potential of that place has never been utilized.”

    I have always felt the entire Hollywood Pictures back lot is ripe for some adult Halloween fun, including but not limited to a really souped up Halloween overlay for TZTT. I think they could add some nice Zombies, monsters and Bellhops roaming the streets back there in a “scare zone”. Maybe even utilize some of that empty space for in Hollywood and Dine and Stage 17 for some nice scare-zone exhibits/mazes/performances or some such thing.

  4. Counting Down While Waiting in Line [Part 6] | Orange County Metblogs (pingback) on August 14th, 2009 @ 9:37 am

    […] a few moments and recap the Five Best Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort. Number 5: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Number 4: Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin Number 3: Star Tours Number 2: Enchanted Tiki Room […]

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