If you ask die-hard Disney Parks fans about their favorite time-saving tricks for shorter attraction wait times, one hack sure to be at the top of their list is the Walt Disney World single-rider line. Not heading to The Most Magical Place on Earth on your own? No worries! Although the name suggests otherwise, single-rider lines at Disney World aren’t just for folks flying solo. All guests and groups are welcome!
That said, using the single-rider line isn’t for everyone, nor is it a guaranteed way to save a bunch of time. Keep reading to learn all about the pros and cons of Disney’s single-rider option, including which rides have one, how long you might wait and what you could miss by using it.
What Are Walt Disney World Single Rider Lines?
Just like the name implies, single-rider lines at Disney World (and Disneyland, too!) are separate and often time-saving queues which bypass the standby lines and are meant for guests who want to ride an attraction as a party of one. Not only does this help guests skip the line on certain rides, but it also allows Disney Cast Members to efficiently load attractions and keep wait times as low as possible.
How Does Single Rider Work at Disney World?
Something you’ll probably hear from time to time while waiting in line for rides at Walt Disney World is Attractions Cast Members urging you to “fill in all available space.” Well, the same idea also applies when you use single-rider lines. Think of it as the theme park equivalent to awards show seat fillers, or people who sit in the empty seats of celebrities and other industry VIPs to fill out an audience at the likes of the Oscars or Grammys. (Yes, that is actually a thing.)
Upon entering an attraction’s single-rider line, you’ll join a group of other guests who are waiting to fill in a spare seat. In turn, these single riders are called to action by Cast Members to “fill in all available space” in a ride vehicle when loading an attraction. This helps to maximize space and keeps the loading process as quick and smooth as possible.
For example, suppose a group of three wants to go on Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Since each train car on this rollicking roller coaster ride through yeti country seats two, there will be an empty spot next to the third member of the group that needs to be filled. This is where the single-rider line comes in.
Keep in mind that while the standby line loads at a pretty regular rate, the single-rider line loads based on the availability of empty seats. In other words, it’s unpredictable. So, once you get to the front of the line, you’ll need to pay attention and be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Then, just follow the Cast Member’s directions for which seat you’ll be filling.
Which Rides at Disney World Have Single Rider Lines?
As of August 2022, there are four rides at Walt Disney World that offer single-rider lines, with two in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and one each in Epcot and Animal Kingdom Theme Park. (No, we didn’t forget Splash Mountain and Space Mountain – no single-rider Magic Kingdom attractions are available.) And while it’s not official just yet, there is also a possible fifth attraction, Soarin’ Around the World, currently in the testing phase as of August 8 over at Epcot. Notably, a single-rider line was offered at Soarin’ in the past. However, if solo travelers are welcomed back to fly the friendly skies on a full-time basis once more, it will be for the first time in more than 15 years.
Single-rider rides at Disney World include:
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Test Track
- Soarin’ Around the World (In Testing)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Where Are Single Rider Lines at Disney World Located?
In most cases (Expedition Everest being the only exception), a ride’s single-rider line is located immediately next to the entrance of the standby line and, if applicable, Lightning Lane. As for Expedition Everest, the start to the single-rider line is instead tucked around the corner from the main entrance. No matter which single-rider line you use, each entrance is clearly labeled with the line’s open/closed status, a wait time if you’re lucky and, as needed, arrows to lead the way.
When Are Single Rider Lines Available?
As mentioned earlier, single-rider lines are primarily used by Disney Cast Members to max out an attraction’s capacity during the loading process. In turn, this benefits riders in both the single rider and, to a lesser extent, standby lines with shorter wait times overall.
However, this also means that from an operational perspective, using the single-rider line isn’t always necessary, particularly toward the beginning and end of the day, as crowd levels tend to be lower. In general, expect Walt Disney World single-rider lines to be open throughout the middle of the day before closing a short time prior to park close.
Can Groups Use Single Rider Lines at Disney World?
While they might be called “single-rider lines,” you don’t need to be visiting Walt Disney World solo to use this standby-skipping hack. Though a big group probably isn’t the best idea, as we’ll explain in a bit, parties of all sizes are welcome to use the single-rider lines at Disney World. But, and there’s a big ‘but’…
Though groups can join the single-rider line, they almost always won’t be able to actually experience the attraction together. In most cases, your entire party will be split up to fill in the gaps across the ride. That being said, if the ride-loading cards fall in your favor, it is possible (though not probable) to be seated next to someone from your party.
Disney World Single Rider Line: The Good, the Bad & the Frustrating
Still not sure if using the single-rider line at Disney World is for you? Here are some pros and cons to consider when planning out your theme park attack:
The Good: It’s Free and Can Potentially Help You Save a Ton of Time
Time and money are both precious commodities at Disney World. Although you need to pay to skip the standby line with another popular park offering, Disney Genie+ and the Lightning Lanes, using the single-rider lines at Walt Disney World is completely free. What’s that, you say? A time-saving hack that can also save you money at The Most Magical Place on Earth? Well, sign us up.
However, the biggest reason to use the single-rider line at Disney World is to save time. For most folks heading to Walt Disney World, particularly first-time visitors, riding with the rest of their group is an absolute must.
As a result, the single-rider line tends to be significantly shorter – and faster – than using the typical standby line. This makes it a great choice for annual passholders and other frequent visitors to the Central Florida resort, as well as independent-minded first-timers.
The Bad: You Will Be Separated from Your Group (If You Have One)
Needless to say, for groups that use single-rider lines, the biggest downside is having to experience an attraction alone. Well, not alone alone – this isn’t a VIP tour for one we’re talking about – but with someone you’ve never met before. Of course, you will still be able to wait to get on with your party.
Consequently, families with small children, particularly those who are tall enough to ride but too young, scared or nervous to do so alone, will have to steer clear of the single-rider option. If one of your kiddos needs a chaperone, stick to the standby line.
Even if your group is ok with being separated, you may still want to ride standby for the sake of time, especially if there are a lot of you. Since single riders fill in empty seats as needed, it could potentially take a long time for everyone in your party to ride and your group to be reunited.
The Frustrating: You Could Wait Just as Long as You Would in Stand-by
You know how we said that the main reason to ride single rider at the Disney Parks is to save time? Well, another huge con to Disney World single-rider lines is the sheer unpredictability of using them.
While single-rider lines have the potential to save you a lot of time spent waiting compared to the regular line, depending on how busy the ride is, you might actually find yourself in line almost as long – or *gasp* longer. (The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster single-rider line is infamous for this.) In fact, since each of these four rides is incredibly popular, you should still plan on a substantial wait when using Disney World single-rider lines.
The Good: Single Rider Lines Play Well with Lightning Lanes & Rider Swap
While some would rather avoid the extra costs and save time at Walt Disney World with the help of only a killer rope drop strategy – and, for parents of young children, use of Disney’s Rider Swap Service – others are happy to splurge a little if it means access to Lightning Lanes and shorter wait times. Luckily, you don’t need to choose between one or the other.
Single-rider Lines or Lightning Lanes? That Is the Question
Or, if you have room in your budget, why not just use both? Each single-rider line ride also has a Lightning Lane, and there’s no rule that says you can’t use both Disney Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selections in combination with the single-rider line. In actuality, taking advantage of both Disney World single-rider lines and Lightning Lane attractions can help you cram even more into your day.
By following our Genie+ strategy guides, choosing your Lightning Land rides wisely and supplementing your day with the four rides with single-rider lines, you are sure to save more time and wring every last ounce of fun and Disney magic out of your day. In general, the Lightning Lanes will almost definitely have a shorter wait time compared to the single-rider line.
Having said that, how you prioritize your Lightning Lane reservations can also greatly affect how much you get done in a day. By using single-rider lines in place of Disney Genie+, it frees you up to direct your Lightning Lane strategy towards attractions like:
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania! in Toy Story Land instead of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Epcot – Frozen Ever After instead of Test Track and (currently, hopefully permanently) Soarin’ Around the World
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park – Dinosaur, Kali River Rapids and Kilimanjaro Safaris instead of Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Supercharge Rider Swap and Use the Single Rider Line
Rider Swap (AKA Parent Swap, Rider Switch, Child Swap or Child Switch) is an unsung hero when it comes to doing Disney World with kids. What’s more, the single-rider line can be a great, time-saving partner when used in conjunction with the service.
Available on every Walt Disney World attraction with a height restriction – including each of the four rides with a single-rider line – the service allows all guardians in the group to experience the ride and also ensure the too-small child is supervised, all while only having to wait in the full line once.
First, the adults let a Cast Member know that they would like to do a Child Swap. From there, Parent B will get a Lightning Lane return time to go on later before sitting back with the little one while Parent A rides. After that, it’s Parent B’s chance to ride while Parent A supervises.
This is where the single-rider line comes into play. Typically, while Parent B gets to fast-track their wait with the Lightning Lane, Parent A would use the standby line. Instead, skip the standby queue and use the single-rider line. After all, unless you’re visiting with taller kiddos, there’s a good chance you were going to be riding alone anyway.
The Bad: You Will Miss Out on Most of the Queue
Not only are you saving time and skipping over a lot of the line, but you’re also missing out on a good chunk of the queue. This is especially disappointing for the attractions with great design elements, most notably the high-tech scenes of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, interactive elements at Test Track and I Spy-like details at Expedition Everest. We’ll dig into those in a bit.
The Frustrating: Wait Times for Single Rider Lines Typically Aren’t Posted
As we mentioned, single-rider lines are fickle things. To make matters worse, unlike the regular line, you won’t usually find a wait time posted for Disney World single-rider lines. (An occasional exception to this is Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.)
In short, there’s no way to guess how long you’ll be waiting once you hop in line. They’re a gamble that you hope pays off – and sadly, for some, equally long waits can be a frustrating reality. So, it’s important to go in with the expectation that you could still be hanging out in the single-rider line for a while.
Using the Single Rider Line at Disney World
Ready to ride solo on some of Walt Disney World’s most popular rides? Here is where to go and what you’ll be missing if you take the path less traveled and go single rider:
Hollywood Studios Single Rider Lines
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Unfortunately, Smuggler’s Run is one of the single-rider rides that sadly skips over most of the glorious design details. Star Wars fans will be sad to miss the outside of the iconic Millennium Falcon and Hondo’s repair bay, including an animatronic version of the Weequay pirate himself. Luckily, you still get a few moments in the Millennium Falcon’s main room.
In general, the single-rider line consists of a jaunt up two different sets of stairs – all you need to do is select the stairway with fewer people. While no estimate is given, you can expect approximately a 20-minute wait from the first step.
Another downside of the single-rider line at Smuggler’s Run is what we’re calling the Engineer’s Curse – or, alternatively, always an engineer, never a pilot or gunner. As it is the single rider’s job to fill the empty seat, at Smuggler’s Run, that seat tends to be the Engineer position (AKA what many consider the worst position possible).
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Guests on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Hollywood Studios’ high-speed musical adventure, don’t miss out on too much of the queue by taking the single-rider line. You won’t usually find an estimated wait posted, and it isn’t unheard of for guests to wait as long in single rider as they would in the normal line. To walk this way, head to the right-most entrance neighboring the Lightning Lane and regular queue to join single rider.
Epcot Single Rider Lines
Single rider for Test Track is located to the left of the Lightning Lane and main queue entrances. Happily, an approximate wait is often posted here, making it easy for you to weigh your line-skipping options.
Unfortunately, similar to Smugglers Run, this shortcut also jumps over a good deal of the queue. Most notably, this means that you won’t be able to try your hand at designing your own supercar, which is tragic because it’s really fun. Rather, for your test run, you’ll choose from a selection of pre-designed vehicles instead.
(In Testing) Soarin’ Around the World
Only in the testing phase at Epcot since August 8, Soarin’ Around the World is a hopefully lasting addition to the slate of Walt Disney World single-rider lines. Due to its more tenuous nature, no permanent display is posted. So, keep an eye out for a Cast Member holding a Soarin’ Single Rider Entrance sign.
You’ll jump in the single-rider line to the left of the Lightning Lane. Since they’re still working out the kinks and gauging both interest and operational needs, this option may only be available during slower periods. So, plan your flight accordingly if you’re hoping to save time on Soarin’ with single rider.
Animal Kingdom Single Rider Lines
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Unlike the other four rides, the single-rider line for Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom doesn’t neighbor the other entrances. Instead, it’s nestled around the corner to the right of the main queue next to the roller coaster’s exit gift shop, the Serka Zong Bazaar.
Not only is the entrance apart from the regular line, but the single-rider line disappointingly misses out on the majority of the queue, including the Yeti Museum and its many subtle storytelling gems. On the bright side, there is occasionally a wait guesstimate posted.
Well, that concludes our guide to single-rider lines at Disney World. Do you use these queues to fly solo at The Most Magical Place on Earth? Have you tried solo rider at Soarin’? Let us know in the comments! Looking to save more than just time? Find out how you with our discounted Disney World tickets.