Featured Photo #3 – The Best Thing to See at a Theme Park

Featured Photos

An Empty Queue at Cedar PointThis is a photo of Magnum XL-200’s queue one weekday morning back in the Spring of 2006. The ride was a focal point of my trip to the Cedar Point (AKA the Coaster Capital). Almost like a programmed response of some kind, when I look at this photo I have an urge to start sprinting. Or, at least speed walking. The funny thing is, there’s no need to run. Maybe the difference between a real coaster geek and everyone else is that an enthusiast will run or move quickly even through an empty queue while, the average park-goer would stroll through the queue knowing that how fast they get to the station doesn’t really matter.

As much as I’ve shared tips on avoiding lines, waiting in lines are a part of visiting theme parks. But on those rare few occasions when crowds are smaller, you can encounter a beautiful sight like the one in this photo. To me, this photo says I’m that much closer to embarking on another adrenaline-fueled, challenging, and exciting adventure.

What’s Your Take?
Is there anything better to see than an empty queue for a great ride? What do you think of the photo? Leave a comment below.

Photos, content, and the most insightful, entertaining, or amusing reader comments from my Photo of the Week posts will be included my new book. Read more about my book project. All images are the property of TheCoasterCritic.com


  1. I'd love to see that sight at Disney. And especially at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

    • That's in Universal, but close enough.

  2. Seeing that is one of the best feelings in the world.

    • I second that emotion. i had a few trips last year at parks where it was empty like this. Hersheypark was like this and my wife and I were still speed walking/running to the coaster. So hilarious

      • Good to know it's not just me. When I travel to new parks that I know I won't be back to in a while if ever, then I'm a little paranoid that the ride could break down any minute. That could also explain my pace as I run through empty queues. At least I'll rationalize it that way.

        • That's a very good point. Last year at Six Flags Great adventure we went to Kingda Ka ASAP. We got two rides in a row and left. When we came back it was down. All I could think was at least we got two rides in at the start of the day. It did get back up and running eventually only to go down again. We did get 4 rides total though.

  3. I know! I love going to sixflags magic mountain and when ever I see the line empty i still dash for it :p

  4. most amazing day IMO was when i went to BGT on a thursday in February. 5 minutes for shiekra (including waiting for the front), 3 minutes for kumba, 7 minutes for Montu (for the back)

  5. At Six Flags Great Adventure, Batman, Nitro, Bizarro, Superman, and most smaller coasters were walk-ons, Kingda Ka was 10 minutes, and the only real wait was 45 minutes for El Toro. Then I went to IOA at Christmas time, and every major ride was about two hours, and the Harry Potter section was too crowded to get in the entire day. Fortunately I took advantage of the single riders line to get on most rides, but it's always interesting to see the contrast in lines on different visits.

  6. Once I rode Nitro @SFGA 9 times in a row, simply because everyone in the park had either gathered at the center to see the Glow in the Park parade, or left. Night rides always seem to be the funnest, wich makes me wonder why everyone always settles down and stops riding things around 9.

  7. That's some funny stuff XD I think also got an urge of sprinting when I saw this picture XD

  8. That's why I love late summer Tuesdays or Wednesdays and the fall!

  9. @ Quill. Had several front seat night rides on Nitro one moonless fall night. Pitch black and incredible!

    • I agree, but not increadible or dark enough to make me stop making faces at the camera.

  10. I may not flat out run, but I definately power walk with authority through an empty queue, occasionally swinging under the switchbacks as they get in my way. Love me some good weekday coastering!

  11. Unfortunately. this is how many of the queue lines looked at Geauga Lake the last season it was open.

  12. this is exactly the way magnum xl 200's queue looked when i was there last year. only three words came to mind when i approached it: "God bless America" haha.

    • "A land whos' coasters I love!"

  13. Earlier this year, I got a walk on queue that looked like this on Lakeside Cyclone. That was awesome!

  14. i went to cedar point last year. It said a 80 percent chance of rain. It sprinkled for 5 minutes. All rides had a 15 minute or less wait. Magnum had a 0 minute wait. Best day ever.

    • What time of year was it when you went?

  15. Yeah, seeing that is a great feeling at an amusement park. Though usually, that means that either:

    A) It's raining or just rained.

    B) The ride/park is closed.

    C) Hardly anyone is willing to ride it anymore, due to pain or something(think final years of Drachen Fire).

    Still, getting into a good ride with an empty ride is great.

  16. Awesome. When we went we got the Fast lane and we had to wait a long time in the fastlane line for a while for Magnum.

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