Class of 2023 Senior Trip: Rides Worth the Wait



Hey Raptor Seniors! In preparation for the senior class trip, this article will serve as a guide to inform you on when it is worth it to wait for rides and when you should leave them behind without riding them. While some rides are worth the hype even considering a long wait time, others should not take up too much of your precious time, since the trip will be so quick. As a seasoned veteran of Walt Disney World and Universal, hopefully I can provide some insight on how to maximize your time and minimize the time you wait in line for rides you will feel regret over. For each location I will touch on a few key rides and how much of your time they are worth depending on your preferences. I will list each ride maximum time you should wait in minutes, since that is the format the parks use for the estimated wait times. A piece of advice applicable to all of them is to ride the most popular rides that you want to go on either as early in the morning or as late at night as possible.

A Part 2 for Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure will be coming in the next edition

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Purchasing the service Genie+ for about $20 to have access to the Lightning Lane system will be very helpful to cut down on wait times for many of the attractions. If doing so, make sure to link your ticket and purchase it the night before. Also, be ready to wake up at 7am to book your first Lightning Lane in order to get full utility from this service. Another thing to consider is purchasing the Individual Lightning Lane for Rise of the Resistance for $15-$20 if you really want to skip the line for that ride. Most often, the posted wait times are longer than the actual time you will wait, but for the purpose of this, just compare these suggestions to the times posted.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – 150 minutes If you have any remote interest in Star Wars or want to ride the best ride in the park, this is the one! The amazing theming and immersive experience provides a very unique style of ride that lasts about 15 minutes from when you make it into the pre-show room until exiting the ride vehicle. Finding this ride with a wait time under the target may be difficult but will be worth it. Watch your favorite Star Wars movie while in line to add to the experience.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – 45 minutes This should be considered mostly a ride for Star Wars fans but is also a pretty thrilling ride regardless. This ride is also very interesting but is more of a simulator, so is not inherently as fun. This ride also has a single-rider line if you want to wait almost no time, however your group can be separated. The single-rider line is definitely the best option to experience the ride and hardly take any time out of your day.

Slinky Dog Dash – 90 minutes Anyone who enjoys an exciting, more tame roller coaster will enjoy this ride. Toy Story land is great and this ride gives an awesome view of the whole park from the top. The only downside is that the line can get hot and there can be lots of upset little kids waiting to ride this ride.

Toy Story Midway Mania – 60 minutes Literally anyone will like this ride. You can have a great time riding around in the cart with the 3D glasses and firing at the targets in a Carnival Game style ride. The decorations are very interesting to look at and there are some good games you can play in the Disney App While you wait in line.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – 60 minutes This drop tower style ride is very thrilling and also a bit eerie. To add to the ambiance you should do this ride at night so when the elevator doors open and you can see out into the park, the view is fantastic with everything illuminated. Maybe even watch an episode or two of The Twilight Zone show on Paramount+ in line to add to the experience.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – 45 minutes Anyone will enjoy this ride, which is surprisingly long. The line outside can be a bit hot since it is in the sun, but if the line does not stretch out of the building, head right in for a solid ride with some much-needed air conditioning.

Honorable Mention: Fantasmic! – Arrive 30 minutes before the listed showtime. While this is a show that takes place in the park at the amphitheater, it is very much worth the watch but securing a seat requires a little waiting. Typically the showtimes are 8:30pm and 10:00pm. It includes all of the classic Disney characters and is the best nighttime show in the park, much better than Disney Movie Magic or Wonderful World of Animation. Also, make sure to grab some popcorn, a drink, and a Mickey Ice Cream bar since it might be your last chance to do so depending on what time we will need to leave the park.

Other Attractions Worth Noting: Indiana Jones Stunt Show, Star Tours, & Alien’s Swirling Saucers. I would put all of these at about a 20-30 minute wait time. Since Indiana Jones is a show, arriving 20-30 minutes early will help secure you a seat rather than having to watch from the standing room only sections.