Is Disney’s Newest Ride, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Worth the Wait?Photos courtesy of Disney Travel Features Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway
Whenever a new Disney ride opens, there are always two major questions: How is it? And, maybe more importantly, how are the lines?
It’s no different with Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Disney World on March 4. The new attraction, which is located in the iconic Chinese Theater that was formerly the home of The Great Movie Ride, is the first ride in Disney’s history to star Mickey and Minnie Mouse, so obviously it’s going to be pretty popular. If you want to know how it is, here are my thoughts. If you want to know how the lines are, keep reading.
Disney’s officially reported wait times have been what you’d expect from a brand new ride based on perhaps the most popular fictional character of all time. They’ve consistently hovered between 80 and 120 minutes since the ride opened, peaking at 300 minutes on opening day. That’s made it the most popular ride at Hollywood Studios this week. Unlike the Great Movie Ride, this isn’t a 20-minute experience. The whole thing, including the pre-show cartoon and the ride itself, wraps up in about five minutes. That’ll keep the crowds churning through, as long as everything’s running smoothly, but it also might make you wonder if something that’s over so quickly is worth waiting two hours for. Your time is your business, but from my perspective, a two hour wait for this ride probably wouldn’t be the smartest use of my time.
I’d say the sweet spot for this ride would be a 90 minute wait time. I wouldn’t hesitate to hop in that line (or, you know, on that line, if you prefer) if I saw a wait time of 90 minutes or below on the Disney World app, or on the big, flashy sign outside the Runaway Railway queue. That’s longer than I’d wait for any of the rides at Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, and despite being much newer and fancier, that’s the kind of experience you should be comparing Runaway Railway to—relatively short dark rides like Peter Pan’s Flight or the Alice in Wonderland ride in Disneyland. If you’re willing to wait the listed times for Peter Pan, which regularly exceed 60 minutes, than you probably won’t feel bad about a 90 minute line for this newer attraction.
Of course those listed wait times aren’t always accurate. Reddit and social media are full of anecdotes of people who got in line for Runaway Railway with a listed wait time of up to two hours, and yet were done with the ride in half that time. So if I was headed back to Hollywood Studios in the next few weeks, I’d probably check places like Reddit or Twitter while I’m in the park to see how actual wait times compare that day to the ones that are officially reported by Disney. This is always a toss-up—during one trip to the Magic Kingdom I got in line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train expecting its listed time of 100 minutes to take about an hour, based on what I had seen on Twitter that day, and it actually took over 120 minutes—but paying attention can help in situations like this. And you can bet that if I’m encouraging you to read Reddit—frankly I’m about as anti-Reddit as you can get—it’s because it actually might be helpful.
Of course there are ways to shorten your wait for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Fast Passes are available, if you plan far enough ahead; you can get those 30 days before your visit, or 60 days if you’ve booked a stay at a Disney World resort hotel. You also might be able to circumvent much of the wait if you get to the park early enough in the morning. Hollywood Studios has been a haven for early arrivers the last three months, ever since Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened; you can only get on that ride if you have a boarding pass that you can get through the Disney World app, and those disappear within minutes of being released at the park’s opening each morning. If you already plan on getting to Hollywood Studios early to grab a boarding pass, you should be able to beat the lines to Runaway Railways if you beeline it straight to the Chinese Theater once the park opens up.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will probably remain an incredibly popular attraction for months to come. Fortunately, it seems to have a higher capacity than some of the other newest rides at Hollywood Studios, and has shown a solid performance track record over its first week; as long as that holds true, it should be able to smoothly burn through guests as quickly as possible throughout the day, reducing the amount of time you’ll have to stand in line. And if you’ve ever been to a theme park, you know how crucial it is to cut back on your standing time as much as possible.
Senior editor Garrett Martin writes about videogames, comedy, travel, theme parks, wrestling, and anything else that gets in his way. He shares stories and photos from his Disney journeys on Instagram at @garrett_goes_to_disney. He’s also on Twitter @grmartin.