As you’ve probably noticed, health and safety measures have been pretty consistently changing since the reopening of Disney World.
Don’t believe us? Just look at ALL the changes to the Disney World face mask policy! We do our best to keep you updated on every single change that we see and how they’ll affect your vacation. Now, we’re wondering about a change we’ve noticed on a few attractions and whether or not it’s had that big of an impact on wait times!
Disney World has started to plexiglass and plastic barriers to select ride vehicles. We’ve seen this crop up in a few cases in Disney World and we’re wondering if these barriers ACTUALLY increase capacity and ultimately make wait times significantly shorter. Hm…
To check in on this, we’re going to take a look at the attractions that started out WITHOUT plexiglass when they reopened and then ADDED plexiglass or barriers to the ride vehicles to load more parties per vehicle. Therefore it has the potential to increase capacity, The attractions this applies to are Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Living with the Land, and Rise of the Resistance.
For each attraction, we’re looking at the last week’s average of wait times (November 28th through December 4th), compared to the last week of wait times prior to the addition of barriers on each attraction. Do note, it’s the holidays and crowds have been heavy, which likely plays into some of these wait times.
So, DOES adding plexiglass or plastic barriers to the ride vehicles decrease wait times meaningfully? Let’s take a look at what we’ve seen so far!
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
We spotted the addition of plexiglass on the Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride vehicles on November 18th, and SPOILER ALERT, it made a BIG difference.
Based on three recorded wait times each day the week prior to the addition of plexiglass, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway had an average of 78.33 minutes. Whew, that’s over an hour!
Now (Are you ready for this?), the recent week (a HOLIDAY WEEK, no less) with plexiglass, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway had an average wait of 40 minutes. That means that plexiglass slashed the wait times about in HALF. Wow! Looks like these barriers can do a LOT for making sure more folks can hop on this ride!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
We will say that this hasn’t always been the case. Tower of Terror had barriers added to the elevators when we rode on October 12th and this fan-favorite attraction hasn’t exactly become a walk on.
The week prior to the addition of plexiglass, Tower of Terror had an average wait time of 43.04 minutes. This past week, the wait time was 50 minutes. So, there really wasn’t too much change at all! We will note that the elevators are still not being filled completely so wait times MAY improve and we’ll be sure to update you if they do.
Living with the Land
The other traditional-queue attraction that has had plastic barriers added is Living with the Land. This EPCOT attraction had barriers added EARLY in the reopening phases. We first noticed the barriers on July 28th.
According to Touring Plans, the average wait time the week prior to the addition of plexiglass was 12.85 minutes. This most recent week, the wait times averaged at 12 minutes. So yes, this shows a slight decrease in wait times, but it may not be enough to be statistically significant.
Rise of the Resistance
Another attraction that has received plexiglass barriers is Rise of the Resistance. Now, this ride does NOT have a traditional queue but we can get an idea of whether or not capacity increased by how many Boarding Groups were called from the Virtual Queue.
We spotted barriers added to Rise of the Resistance on October 26th. Prior to that point, Rise of the Resistance was boarding an average of 95.5 Boarding Groups a day. So far, this has seemed pretty similar since the plexiglass was added.
Frozen Ever After
Several months ago we noticed that Disney was testing the addition of plexiglass on Frozen Ever After, but it wasn’t the case on every boat. As of December 23rd, the ride is using plexiglass regularly and loading every single boat.
And it HAS had an effect in this case! The week prior to the addition of plexiglass, the average wait at this attraction was 78 minutes. The week after the addition saw an average wait of 43 minutes. Whew! That slashed waits in half!
Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run
Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run got its own plexiglass updates on December 26th. The Millennium Falcon cockpits look a little different now and a Cast Member explained that this set-up could potentially allow for a group of 1-4 people plus another group of 1-2 at any given time.
The week prior to the addition of plexiglass, this attraction had an average wait time of 57 minutes. With the plexiglass, it averaged a wait of 61 minutes. So, not too much changed with this addition thus far.
Flight of Passage
Okay, so this one is a little different. Flight of Passage did not receive plexiglass, but there was a major change to the loading process. Previously, Flight of Passage kept a seat or more between each party, as of December 29th every seat is being filled.
The week prior, this attraction had an average wait of 64 minutes, and thus far since the addition, the average wait has been 75 minutes. It’s likely this had more to do with holiday demand, so we’ll keep an eye on this one to see if the plexiglass had an effect or not.
Overall, the effect that barriers have on a ride’s wait times varies from attraction to attraction. We’re blown away by the effect it’s had on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, but on Tower of Terror it didn’t really change much. If more attractions add plexiglass or plastic, we’ll be sure to monitor wait times JUST like we did here and add them to this post.
As always, stay tuned to DFB for all the latest updates in Disney World (like new plexiglass 😉) and for more insights and tips for your trip to a reopened Disney World.
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Have you noticed a big change on any of these rides? Tell us in the comments!