Theories about "line mixing?" Why does WDW do this so pervasively?


Lines and queuing are a fundamental mechanic to “fairness” in our society, and the same goes for fairness at Disney. So much work, analysis, resources, and planning (on both Disney’s and our part) centers around the idea of “waiting your turn,” and “next in line, next on the ride.”

With that in mind, while attending WDW with my brother recently, he made an observation that I hadn’t really paid much attention to previously. He noticed that a large number of queues involve some kind of “line mixing” room where cast members actively encourage guests to completely ignore the “next in line” mechanic and to just push ahead to “fill all available space.” These are usually pre-show rooms, and they entirely disrupt, and are anathema to the fairness aspect of queuing, and sometimes they seem completely unnecessary. It also often breeds some contempt as some guests are very aggressive at “pushing ahead” while others try to respect the previous order of the queue and let those who were ahead in line, go first.

It is so pervasive, it seems that WDW must do this on purpose. They could easily do most pre-shows while people stay in their line order. Here are some examples of attractions with line-mixing that come to mind:

  • Pre-show rooms, transport, and docking bay on RotR
  • Pre-show room at MMRR
  • Pre-show room at ToT
  • Pre-show room at RNR
  • Pre-show rooms at GotG
  • Digitizing and Locker rooms at T:LR
  • Front door entry and pre-show rooms at HM
  • The room right after the car customizer at TT
  • Pre-show room at MF:SR

In contrast, rides that have pre-shows that don’t introduce line mixing:

  • Avatar FoP
  • Toy Story Mania (sorta – pre-show is on the ride)
  • Soarin’

Most other rides without pre-shows maintain line order and don’t introduce line mixing rooms from what I can remember, such as:

  • 7DMT
  • Peter Pan
  • Expedition Everest
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Slinky Dog
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Remy’s
  • All the spinny rides

(Besides like the MK train stations, can anyone think of other rides that don’t have a pre-show, but include line-mixing or line mixing rooms? Skyliner “choose either side” lines are also somewhat similar in that they often result in disrespecting “next in line” fairness.)

Anyone have any thoughts as to why WDW would not work to maintain line order and fairness when building their pre-show rooms? It always seems like chaos when guests enter and exit those rooms. Those who don’t want to join the fray and contribute to the mess always end up losing, sometimes severely. Most notable is GotG. That pre-show room is an absolute crapshow. Those who have been on it before, rush to “hug” the right side of the room and then rush to the doors as soon as the teleport is done, so they can be first into the final queue. Those that don’t know, or don’t want to participate in the mess, end up getting the short end of the stick regardless of where they were in the line initially. It makes such a difference, in fact, that I’ve noticed when I’m on the left side of the room, I can experience as much as 10-15 min longer wait times than when I’m on the right side of the room. Recently, I even saw a VIP guide and his family doing the same. He was really pushy, too, despite them starting much further back than others who were in line. I absolutely hate the GotG pre-show room. It totally detracts from the immersiveness, even when you try to ignore it.

Seriously, why does WDW do this? Why introduce chaos and breed contempt by making guests get in a line, and then subsequently telling them to ignore and disrespect line order and encourage “every man for himself” in these pre-show rooms?


This drives me absolutely bonkers!

As far as I know, it’s done for capacity reasons and spacing for fire hazard requirements.

It’s also disheartening. I have yet to ride GotG and from what I can tell, the pre-show is required, but I also have immense high crowd anxiety and now will be focusing on hugging that right wall instead of experiencing the pre-show.

This mix-in before MF almost got us into a shoving match when I was taking the family on for the first time. Another family kept creeping on us and I finally had us jogging/jostling/me elbowing the other family to get DS to be a pilot for exactly the reason you said above. We were “first in line” but I watched this other family shove their way next to us. They weren’t expecting me to push back.

It absolutely detracts from the over all guest experience and I wish they would do away when them all together. My number one trait of “fairness” spends the entire attraction gloating/feeling shame or guilt/and or frustration and I walk away seething because I missed the entire experience. Gah, I’m all worked up and I’m not even there yet.


I noticed that too but I’m not sure if it makes more than a few minutes difference in the end.


He hasn’t need it on GOTG but Don skips the stretching room at HM on occasion when he’s having a rough time. I bet if you asked, you might be able to get around it at Guardians.


I just had my interview this morning for DAS, and I love that you mentioned the work around. I can usually feel it building and this could really help avoid ugly face crying in those uber stressed times.


Ultimately, I think we, as guests, get in our own way here. Disney is creating experiences in a variety of ways, and pre-shows are part of that. But some pre-shows do not lend themselves well to including a queue. In the GotG pre-show, you could technically have a queue still…but it would diminish the “reality” of the experience. You’d cease being part of an encounter with the Xandarians, and instead feel you are…well…in a line!

Ultimately, the amount of difference in the wait time between being closest versus farthest in those pre-show rooms from the actual ride is negligible. Sure, you might save yourself a minute or two…but at what expense? You’d instead have to weave through an additional series of queue spaces. And, for the most part, Disney does keep the flow going pretty much in the correct direction so that the amount of “shuffling” of location that actually takes place is negligible.

There is also a matter of overall ride capacity. If you take HM as an example, if they converted the stretching room to just be another queue, they couldn’t fit nearly as many folks into the room. As a result, by the time the next room of people starts to empty into the area where you actually board the ride, they might run out of “bodies”, and end up running empty doom buggies. This would create LONGER lines overall. So, they want to fit as many people as practical into those pre-show rooms to ensure there are no gaps in ridership. (ETA: To expound on this…think about how the crowd EXITS the stretching room. En masse, they all pour out into the “line mixing” room. This empties the stretching room faster, which allows them to start filling it faster. But if they used a queue, it would take considerably longer for that room to empty, as well as longer to fill with the next batch of people.)

So, in a way, the pre-show “every many for himself” idea likely actually makes EVERYONE have a shorter wait…saving more time than you might “lose” by being shuffled out of order.


DH and I seemed to notice this too our last trip. The only “new” rides for us were Remy, Tron and GotG. So this may be why we ended up paying attention to it. 2 out of those 3 were a free for all when it came to opening the doors. (Edit: I know Tron doesn’t tech have doors to open) DH and I were often separated by people pushing. I commented that in GotG a person could easily get trampled and seriously hurt and possibly remained unnoticed for a while. 2 out of the 3 times I rode the last room before “lining up” did not empty before the doors opened for the next group. I also has some one “tug” be back a little and slip before me to get with their party. If they had asked, I would have let them by without incident.

I can think of the Muppets show where the queue winds back and forth- keeping everyone in order. I think, but I’m not certain, the Great Movie Ride was like that also.

I think the reason is it’s faster to have people move in mass then to move steadily down a line. But that’s just my opinion. I dislike this very much. People are pushy. I don’t rush but I also prefer not to be elbowed and pushed so a person can save a few minutes in line.

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I would agree about this, it moves quicker, it is like trying to pour a liquid into a bottle using a funnel vs using a straw.


The pre shows were down numerous times when I rode this week. I learned there are doors that can be gone through to avoid them! @Bubblez, I’d ask so you can avoid anxiety. That is not a fun way to start a ride.


I am SOOO doing this next time, thanks for this tip!


Can you ask a CM to allow you to wait somewhere else while the preshow is happening and then move into the secondary line after it’s over?


This is definitely an interesting topic.

I think there are a couple of points to be made, first one being:

I question how much difference your placement in the room actually makes in terms of wait time.

Take for example GotG. It has to be one of the biggest “mixing rooms”, I’m not sure how much people it accomodates, but maybe 100? I think there is only one set of rooms for the entire queue. If the ride cycle is about 5 minutes (I’m estimating the time it takes one train to go from boarding to the next boarding) and there are 8 trains x 20 people, so it take under 5 minutes for that roomful of people to pass through the ride itself. The two waiting rooms take 6 minutes. So what I’m getting at is, that I would claim the mixing rooms don’t affect your wait times more than 5 or so minutes, which I consider pretty small considering the queue durations on these rides in general. If it feels longer, it’s probably because the queue after the rooms can vary in length, for reasons other than your placement in the room (such as speed of the boardings)

My second thought, I think there are a few reasons why these are used:

  • to space out and manage / divide the crowds closer to the ride itself
  • to make the wait time seem shorter
  • it makes the preshow feel, at least in theory, more immersive. Again using GotG as the example, the teleporting par for example would feel different if you were standing in a divided queue instead of a crowd
  • making people queue in these rooms would take more time and possibly additional cast members.

In many cases it just wouldn’t be feasible to have a pre-show without that kind of mixing.

Imagine being in line for RotR. How are they going to give everyone the message from Rey or get everyone onto or off the shuttle without mixing?

Or the stretching room?

Even Philharmagic and the Muppets have big halls for the pre-show. Difficult to see how you could do the pre-shows any other way.


I would do the exact opposite! Stay all the way to the left, let people duke it out and just file in behind. You will get to see the show and be free of crowd.

Also, if you get an very low boarding group, they start loading during EE. When I did that it was a ghost town.

Highly recommend :keycap_ten: out of :keycap_ten:!


I thought there were two… maybe I misremember

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Oh and adding one thing:

I definitely get that some people feel stressed about these rooms! I’m not a huge fan of this type of situations were some people will want to rush and where you are forced to squeeze in. However, I’ve decided that it doesn’t really matter where I stand in the room, that 3 minutes won’t change my life, so I might as well stay back or go in the “wrong” end of the room and enjoy the show. I’ve been to GotG twice during CL9-10 days and the two rooms didn’t feel totally elbow to elbow.

During peak covid times I did feel particularly annoyed on MMRR where the room is smaller and they kept repeating to fill in all space at a time when social distancing was still a thing, just not in that particular ride…


by one set I mean one route with two consecutive rooms. So basically it’s one “route” all the way until the queue splits into two sides (where you already see the trains)

But I could be wrong


There are a few shows that handle things in a couple different ways.
Frozen Sing-along: Mass group of people outside waiting until the doors open, then everyone files in where they can and rushes to get the seat row they want. No orderly queues at all. Does the outside have a preshow on TVs?
Enchanted Tiki-Room: A few (3?) rows of queue that a guest can choose from to watch the preshow, then the doors open, and everyone files in to sit wherever they want.

I can see where some mass preshows can move a big number of people faster, and have more immersive theming. It’s like “batch loading,” I don’t think your place in the group affects your ride time or experience significantly. I agree with the idea of just hanging back and letting the people pushing forward do their thing, then you can walk in at a more normal pace.


I used to do this with HM, but then one time the second elevator emptied out just as I was bringing up the rear and people started shoving all the way to the queue.

That’s actually the moment where my anxiety went from manageable to WTF is going on and where the hell did this come from.

I remember being uncomfortable in crowds before that moment, but that’s when my fear turned to actual panic.


You’ve seriously seen nothing! Try Shanghai Disney. We’d be in the front of the room for example in the walk thru castle and people would literally shove us out of the out way physically. So I’d purposely move to the back of the room to avoid the mass shoving. I learned in that trip it’s not worth it to me so I just let the others go. Those few minutes or the best view is not worth that kind of anxiety.