I’d venture to say that not too many people enjoy standing in line. That’s why they invented the Disney FastPass, right? If you have to wait in queue though, there are some constructive ways you can spend the time. There are things you can do while waiting in line at an amusement park. In particular, you probably want to know how to keep kids busy in line! Here are my 12 ideas for the best use of waiting in line at Disney parks.
Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks
Disney parks tend to have a “hurry up and wait” kind of feel. There can be a lot of rushing around, getting to the parks. Then you’re hurrying to the next attraction. And then, suddenly you’re all stopped at the end of a long queue with a lengthy wait ahead of you. Kids especially can get really bored with the standing. Here I’ve included ways to keep kids and toddlers entertained while waiting in line at Disney. In addition to some practical things, there are also games you can play while waiting in line at Disney parks! I also include ideas on the best handheld toys for waiting in line. Hopefully these tips will help to ease the “Are we at the front of the line, yet?” comments!
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1. Apply Sunscreen
Outdoor queues can make you feel like you’re cooking under the sun! Waiting in line is a great time to reapply another coat of sunscreen. If you’re sweating, pat off the sweat with a napkin and then apply.
Skip using spray-on sunscreen while standing in line though. The quarters in queue are a bit tight for that (and not everyone wants your sunscreen mist in their eyes!)
2. Study the Map
Where are you headed next and how will you get there? Now’s the time to pull out the map and plot your course. The map key will let you know where the nearest bathroom is too, in case that’s your next stop. Or try a little game with younger kids and see if they can find certain icons, like “Where’s the carrousel?”
3. Have a snack
Did you know you can bring your own food into Disney parks? This is an ideal budget tip for Disney and another way to spend the time while waiting in line. Dry goods that you pre-package into snack-sized bags are perfect. Things like nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, chopped veggies or sturdy crackers work well.
If you finish the snack, you can dispose of the baggie (there are always trash cans in the queue for this). Or if you reach the end before your snack is done, just seal up the bag and put it in your pocket.
4. Play a Disney-Inspired Game
Pictionary – Keep a small spiral-bound notebook and pen handy for quick games of Pictionary. The artist can come up with the idea (Disney movies!) and everyone in the group can try to guess.
Who Am I? – This is our family favorite in the car too. One person chooses a Disney movie character and the others have to ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no answer (ie: “Does this character have fur?” or “Does this character sing in their movie?”)
Disney Travel Games – There are also Disney travel games that you can tote through the line and they’ll easily fit in your day pack. Games like World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game are quick to pull out and play while in queue.
Thinking about hitting up Splash Mountain but want to know the wait time before traipsing across the Lands? Need to know where Mickey is meeting & greeting? Have to get a dining reservation on the fly? Check out the free Disney Mobile Apps for Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
6. Plan Your Next Meal
If you didn’t make any Advanced Dining Reservations (and you don’t really need ADR at Disneyland), you can figure out where you’ll be dining next. If you already have a restaurant decided on, I highly recommend figuring out what you’re going to order. It really saves you time that would be spent in the restaurant perusing the menu if you plan your meals ahead of time.
I like to print out the restaurant menus so we can look them over in line and have everyone decide ahead of time. This way one adult is in charge of ordering for the group and it expedites the process.
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7. Journal Your Memories
A small hard-backed spiral-bound notebook is perfect for jotting down special memories throughout your trip. This is also a great activity for when you’re waiting for a meal to arrive at the table service restaurant. Pass the journal to a new family member to write in for each queue. For little ones that can’t write yet, have them draw a little picture of their memories.
8. Look for Hidden Mickeys
They’re everywhere! You’ll probably be able to find a few on your own (Imagineers hid them in plain sight in many of the line queues!) but if you need help, check out this book Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets or the Disneyland version, Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Disneyland® Resort’s Best Kept Secrets.
9. Take Pictures
No better time when you’re smooshed together in a queue than to snap a full-family selfie! Some line queue have interesting props to pose with along the way, so get out your camera and capture the moments.
10. Take a Nap?
Well, if you’re a baby, maybe! Pop your little one in the front carrier and let them nap while you wait. You can always grab a Rider Switch pass too so that the grown ups can take turns with the sleeping child. Here are more tips about traveling to Disney with a baby.
11. Play with a Toy
Young kids tend to get pretty squirrelly waiting in line so give them something to occupy little hands (so they’ll resist climbing on the rows of bars, squabbling or hanging all over each other!). A small action figure, doll or race car can keep an imaginative child busy. Handheld light-up spinners are always fun (especially at night).
Hold a small bottle of bubbles for them and let them dip in the wand and blow! Avoid any toys that need a lot of space, like a light saber. And don’t bring a toy into line that will annoy other guests, like a balloon that may hit people on their heads.
12. Plot the Next Adventure
My kids always want to know what we’re doing next. Decide where you’re headed next and brush everyone up on what’s to come so when you hit the exit everyone knows what to expect.
BONUS – Looking for More Ideas for What to Do in Line at Disney?