Thursday, January 17, 2013

On Single Rider Lines

I mentioned the glory of the Disney FastPass in my last post, which allows you to essentially "schedule" a visit to a popular attraction for a specific later time in the day, and by so doing, skip most of the line.  FastPasses are wonderful, but of course have drawbacks.  You can (mostly) only hold one at a time, you have to come back later (sometimes much later), and if an attraction is popular enough, the FastPasses can all be gone early in the day.  (I ran into this problem with the new Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land, which apparently run out in about the first hour every day.)  But if you're traveling alone, there is an even better trick than a FastPass: the Single Rider Line.

Single Rider Lines exist on some popular attractions which have a very specific seating capacity per vehicle.  Disney wants each vehicle filled completely, but sometimes the numbers don't work out.  The newly redesigned Matterhorn Bobsleds for example hold a total of six people (exactly) in each pair of vehicles which go together.  If you have two parties of three, or three of two, or whatever, it's easy to match capacity exactly.  But it doesn't always work out.  There is often one empty seat left, or sometimes two but no group of two waiting near the front of the line.  So Disney created the Single Rider Line.  If you wait in this line, you will be pulled out, one at a time, to fill in gaps in seating.  The great thing about the single rider line is that the wait is usually a lot shorter than the wait in the main line.

Single rider lines aren't available everywhere, but where they are, they are completely awesome if you are alone. The single rider lines got me onto Radiator Springs Racers, The Matterhorn, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye multiple times with much shorter waits than the main lines.  Some people in groups use them too.  Frankly, I thought it was kind of weird how many groups I saw in the single rider lines, because the group will be split up, as the cast member guarding the line will warn them.  (When I ask about the single rider the line, the cast member usually looks visibly relieved, since I'm obviously by myself.  It's one of the few times I get a non-weird reaction from someone realizing that I'm at Disneyland alone.)  I guess people feel like it's worth it to get through the line faster, but I mostly feel that if I came to Disneyland with someone, I would prefer to stay with them.  Or maybe they don't like the people they're with that much.  Of course sometimes people try to keep their party together at the end of the line, which I'm sure drives the cast members crazy.  (Of course they are not permitted to keep their group together.  Learn the rules.)

And I have to say, the single rider line for Indiana Jones is a total trip.  If you're looking to use this line, it's a little tricky.  First note that you're going to enter through the exit, which is actually right next to the entrance.  (I had a little trouble figuring out the first time where the exit was.)  Grab the cast member watching the line near the entrance and ask for the single rider line.  He or she will give you a lovely little colored ticket, and send you through the exit.  The queue for this attraction winds through caves, tunnels, and an archeological dig, and so does the exit.  You have to keep a lookout for more cast members to direct you in odd ways at some points.  You eventually getting shuttled in with some people in the regular line for part of the way, and then get culled out of the herd again through a gate.  (I noticed some people just pretended not to be single riders anymore at this point, and sneaked on with the "regular" line, skipping ahead of a lot of other people while getting to keep their party together.  Bad form.  Very tacky.)  After being pulled back out of the regular line, we were sent up an elevator on one side of the tracks, which dumps you in a short hallway which leads to another elevator on the other side of the tracks.  (This confused me a bit on my first time, but on subsequent rides I was confidently leading my fellow single riders through the procedure.) You ride the second elevator down on the other side of the tracks, and end up in the loading area, where someone eventually notices you and loads you onto a transport for your journey into the temple.  Although as I pointed out to some of my fellow single riders, by the time you've finished all of this, you feel like you really have invaded a forbidden temple.  (Albeit a temple from an advanced tribe with elevators.)

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