The Hollywood Tower Hotel Tower of Terror on Sunset Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World

The Longest Wait Time Ever for a Ride at Disney World

Disney World is known as the “Happiest Place on Earth”, but for some visitors, long lines can put a damper on the magic. According to various data sources, the longest wait time ever recorded for a ride at Disney World is a staggering 8 hours.

Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Infamous 8-Hour Wait

On December 31, 2023, guests at Hollywood Studios’ Tower of Terror ride experienced an excruciating 8-hour wait time, setting the record for the longest wait for any Disney ride ever. This epic wait time occurred on New Year’s Eve, historically one of the busiest days of the year at Disney parks. The combination of holiday crowds and complications with the ride itself led to the nearly 480 minute wait, according to reports. While any wait time over 90 minutes could be considered extreme, guests cited reasons like wanting to “make history” and test their endurance as rationale for sticking it out. However, most agreed afterward that it was not worth the lengthy wait.

Other Notorious Long Waits

While the 8-hour Tower of Terror wait holds the top spot, a few other Disney rides have seen staggeringly long wait times over the years:

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance: In 2023, multiple reports cited waits hitting 6–7 hours long. Issues with frequent breakdowns were blamed for the extreme waits.
  • Radiator Springs Racers: Opening day for this Cars-themed ride saw reports of 5 hour posted wait times. Being a brand new mega-attraction led to the initial surge in demand.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: In early 2023, complications with ride breakdowns produced a wait time of over 6.5 hours.

Why the Waits Keep Growing

There are a few key reasons why Disney World ride waits continue to reach new highs:

  • Soaring attendance: As Disney parks grow more popular, attendance records are routinely broken. More guests equals longer lines.
  • Lack of new rides: Disney World has not significantly expanded capacity with new rides, despite higher crowds. This supply-demand mismatch leaves lines overflowing.
  • Genie+ issues: The new Genie+ line-skipping service has unintended consequences of lengthening standby waits.

While no solution will eliminate all waits, Disney World still provides magical memories for millions. But for those unlucky guests who experienced the infamous 8-hour Tower of Terror wait, it’s a day they will never forget – no matter how hard they try.

The Hollywood Tower Hotel Tower of Terror on Sunset Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World

Conclusion

Disney World’s soaring popularity has led to continuously rising wait times over the years. The current record holder is an 8-hour wait time for the Tower of Terror ride on New Year’s Eve 2023 – a truly extreme example caused by high holiday crowds and ride issues. Other attractions have also hit staggering wait times between 6–7 hours on busy days. As attendance continues to swell in the coming years, Disney World would be wise to find ways to expand capacity and improve crowd flow to keep the long waits from damaging the happy guest experience the park is famous for.