I've grown up going to Disney frequently, and still do now as an adult, and I almost didn't believe the horror stories friends told about being stuck on rides. It just never happened to me... Until...
I went to Magic Kingdom late in a recent summer. It was overcast and rainy in the afternoon, and with high attendance. I was with a coworker and an acquaintance of his. We pass Pirates of the Caribbean -- None of us had seen the mermaids since they'd been added. We had already gotten FastPasses for something else, and with little else left to do that late in the day, we decided to just endure the Standby line, which had to have been every bit of 45 minutes to an hour, sweaty shoulder-to-shoulder the whole way. Finally we get on the boat, and we're relieved to just be off our feet and to have a bit of breathing room. We get going, see the new mermaid effects, pretty cool, moving right along, bump-- into the next boat right before the drop. Didn't think much of it at that point, some small delay at unloading causing a little traffic jam, probably. Besides, we're still moving, just in short bursts as the boats ahead wait and then go over the drop. We get down the drop ourselves, and can see the boats backed up, bumper to bumper, through the warring ships scene. We're still moving... Just tightly-packed with frequent bumps. Now there's the occasional CM over the loudspeaker telling people to remain in their boats, and they're getting things resolved, and so on. By the time we get as far as the iconic prisoners-trying-to-get-the-keys-from-the-dog scene, we're at an absolute stand-still, packed in like sardines. The CM kept coming on the loudspeaker every few minutes, saying the spiel, and people were generally being cool about it, joking and laughing.
Fast forward 10 minutes... Not so cool.
20 minutes... Everyone's trying to talk over the sounds and music of the ride, and everyone else is trying to talk over everyone else.
30 minutes... People are literally screaming to be let off the ride, screaming at each other, swearing loudly. The music and dialogue loops had been burned into our brains, the words losing their meaning and becoming a droning chant.
At about 35 minutes... a CM comes on the loudspeaker and says they're restarting the ride system and to sit tight. After a brief bit of silence from the audio-animatronics and the music, the boats started moving again. People cheered (mostly, some still griped). The unloading area was in sight. We had made it. We just passed by Captain jack Sparrow in the treasure room, and bump-- into the next boat. Stuck for another 10 minutes, with the unloading platform in clear view. Somebody had slipped getting out of the fourth or fifth boat ahead of us. People ffffffrreaked out. An altogether genuinely unsettling experience.
We got handed some wildcard FastPasses on the way out. We used them on The Little Mermaid ride. All three of us packed in a clamshell, silent, expressionless. Nobody said anything because we didn't want to jinx it, I think. But I was definitely calculating my on-foot escape route if we got stuck on that ride.