In this post, I am going to share with you my personal top ten Walt Disney World rides.
Two points of emphasis here: 1) “my”…I am not claiming these are the best rides, and I am not trying to convince you to make these your favorites…I just like listing and organizing things; and 2) these only cover true rides…not diversions or shows. For example, I tossed out the Carousel of Progress from the list of potential candidates because it’s arguably more of a show. Likewise, Muppets, Philharmagic, Country Beats, Hall of Presidents…were all not contenders. You get the idea…I’ll do a list of shows some other time.
The Mexico Pavilion
10. Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros
I’m a sucker for boat rides (as you’ll see in this list). This ride is a gentle boat ride through the gorgeous Mexico Pavilion (one of my favorite pavilions) in Epcot. It’s a bit short but it has scenes from Mexico, animatronics, and it incorporates a classic Disney film starring Donald. Also, lines are always short.
9. Peter Pan
A classic Magic Kingdom attraction about a beloved animated story. I adore these sorts of dark rides…slow meandering journeys where you see scenes of fantasy. I get motion sickness pretty bad, so my enjoyment from roller coasters or thrill rides is greatly hampered. The slow, Disney dark rides have no such effect, and therefore well-liked by me. Peter Pan is the best example of this. Unlike other rides, you get the unique perspective of flying over the scenes…and flying over London is gorgeous.
8. Great Movie Ride
So, this is a slow-moving dark ride that sort of feels like you are in a boat, minus the water. 🙂 It is my favorite ride in Hollywood Studios. It’s got animatronics and live-action entertainment. It’s also a wonderful 18 minutes long!
7. Living with the Land
Gentle boat ride! This ride has some fun dark ride aspects, but it also has a trip through Disney’s green houses where they do amazing science! This ride is representative of what Epcot used to be (and what I loved). Learning is fun, and Living with the Land is a wonderful example of it.
The Seas Pavilion
6. The Seas with Nemo & Friends
The Seas pavilion is one of my favorite places in all of Disney. I love looking at aquatic life, and ocean conservation is something very dear to my heart. (My time with NMLC probably was a big influence there!) Finding Nemo is one of my favorite movies…like tippity-top. Dory is one of my all-time favorite Disney characters. The Seas with Nemo and Friends ride is too darn short. BUT…it’s a dark ride, about the ocean, and they have some wonderful tech that makes it look like Nemo (and friends) are in the tank with the REAL fish. WHOA! It’s a neat little trick and I appreciate Disney’s effort and creative thinking there. Also, it has a song from Finding Nemo the Musical, which is lovely. I think I made poor Jimmy ride this like 5 times.
Photos from our "Safari"
5. Kilimanjaro Safari
A twenty minute ride through Disney’s spectacular 110-acre Harambe Wildlife Reserve. There is lots of subtle Disney magic in this ride…the landscape makes you feel like you are really out in the wilds, the 34 different types of (very real) animals are so close to the vehicle, the animals seem so comfortable and well-cared for, it seems like the giraffes are in the same pen with the lions…the fences and exhibit changes are so subtle and seamless. This attraction will always be different…some animals will be active when others are not, certain animals may be near the vehicles on day, and not the next. So amazing.
4. Spaceship Earth
Nevermind the fact it’s in the “golf ball”, Spaceship Earth is a classic Disney ride…dark, slow-moving, animatronics…and it’s an Epcot “edutainment” ride! We travel back in time to learn about the landmarks in the history of communication. Also, 16 minutes long! It’s a must-do for every day I’m in Epcot (not just once a trip!).
During a Jungle Cruise
3. Jungle Cruise
I mention this one often, particularly in relation to the new restaurant that is being added to the parks (Skipper’s Cantina). It’s a gentle boat ride with stupid jokes. The jokes are my sort of stupid, though…wordplay, puns and silliness, and some self-depreciation. Often, I laugh audibly at the jokes. And I can recite some of the standard ones. Since a lot of your experience is coming from the skipper, it is fun to ride it multiple times in a single trip.
2. Pirates of the Caribbean
Boat ride. Dark ride. Animatronics. Special effects. 8 minutes (which is reasonably long for an amusement ride). Excellent queue. Wonderful music. So many quotable lines. So much detail- the hairy foot! Also, PIRATES. I’ve used the song as my ringtone. This ride makes me incredibly happy.
A view of the Haunted Mansion from Tom Sawyer's Island
1. The Haunted Mansion
From the moment you step into the queue, you begin to feel the atmosphere of the Haunted Mansion. And that atmosphere is a strange mix of creepy, clever and just plain silly. Much like Pirates, I enjoy taking in all the details. Every time I ride it, I see or hear something new. It uses a wide variety of special effects, audio-animatronics, and clever theater effects. The ride is a gorgeous work of art. The music is SO delightful and entirely representative of the mood of the ride. Also, slow dark ride, my favorite category other than boats!