At 830 we start queuing for extra magic time, there are probably 100 or so people gathered at the entrance to Walt Disney studios park, many of the families exchanging whispered plans hoping to be the first to a ride, dads check and recheck memory cards and battery life. Each time we see a bit of movement or what looks like a dark green blazer our calves tense like Olympic sprinters. At 9am prompt the gate staff appear, as if from nowhere. Suddenly as the gates open and passes are scanned the calm wait becomes frantic, we monitor each queue’s speed cursing that we stood behind someone who, only now at the turnstile, decides to rummage through their rucksack for four crumpled pieces of A4 with their barcodes on.
Finally after a good 90 seconds we are through and competing in a guest arms race. Running is not allowed so we start by walking quickly, but soon notice that someone else is speed walking, so we all speed walk, like a pack of Mickey eared J-Los shaking our bootys for extra momentum. At the entrance to the studios restaurant and shops there is a little bottle neck, we all smile at each other surveying our competition the way a lion surveys a pack of Gazelle. I whisper to my partner in all seriousness, “if the guy in the Goofy T shirt gets in front of us we’ve failed”.
Bursting into the park proper speed walking has given way to a full on sprint, should have packed Lucozade, its only 9:03 I wasn’t built for this. We get to Crush’s Coaster, no fast pass means it’s the best use of Magic Time in the Studios park. Suddenly running gives way to a faux polite walk again as we snake around the queue line. “Last time I waited an hour from here” I smugly pant as we pass the half way mark of the queue as yet unhindered.
The queue finally establishes itself on the steps before the ride loading bay. Unheard of, we are only a few places back. Unexpectedly we start getting shoved from behind, a party of six are trying to squeeze past us, in front is a dad waving “I’m here” he says, as if to justify the queue suddenly feeling like the mosh pit at a Metallica concert. A chap from the Netherlands immediately behind the dad speaks for all of us, “they don’t come to you, you go back to them”. A proud Englishman being taught how to queue, our national pastime, the very epitome of humiliation, like giving Messi advice on dribbling, or Mary Berry tips on avoiding a soggy bottom. As we advance down the stairs an argument breaks out “Its not worth it” says the wife before escalating to “this is how wars start”. Reluctantly the dad caves in, under the pretence of being the ‘bigger’ man, his face redder than Mickey’s shorts.
For the remaining few seconds of the queue the couple break into an argument and my partner and I pray that they won’t be seated on the other two seats in our turtle shell. Thankfully they are not and by the time we are spinning in the outside bit of the ride the queue pushers are forgotten, well until now. The lessons here are that one person can’t save the space of 6, that waiting 60 seconds longer to get on Crush’s Coaster isn’t worth starting a war over and most importantly that you are only as fast as your weakest link, my partner and I are now running every day in preparation for our next trip.
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