Walt Disney World immerses you in every kind of magical environment you can possibly imagine, and one of the main ways it does this is by its many different ride experiences. From attractions that are pure fun, to rides with a lot of back-story and detail, this list is compiled of Disney ride experiences you can never miss on your trips.
10. Jungle Cruise
Jungle Cruise is a classic Disney attraction, and the experience of knowing this was one of Walt’s favorite rides in Disneyland is enough for me, but the Jungle Cruise has so much more to offer. Take a ride on a small boat through a water safari as your boat skipper makes silly puns and lots of jokes that should evoke a laugh track sound effect from the ride speakers. See all your favorite animals, a few funny natives (like Trader Sam), and all the mishaps along the way. Don’t forget to read all the hidden jokes in the line queue and the exit. Check out the black board with all the names of the missing people; my personal favorite is “Ben Eaton”.
9. Kilimanjaro Safaris
Animal Kingdom dedicates most of its attractions and space to make you and your family fall in love with animals from all over the world. The best way Animal Kingdom does this is taking its guests through a safari where they can see exotic animals so close if you jumped off the car you’d be riding the elephants’ backs, though I wouldn’t advise this. Listen closely to your safari guide because he or she will give you a lot of helpful information of how you can help your favorite animal from endangerment.
8. Peter Pan’s Flight
The Peter Pan ride has a consistent long wait time for a reason. This simple and beautiful work of real Disney World art will give you chills every time, and there’s no way you can take a trip to Disney World without stopping in and saying “Hi!” to Peter, Wendy, and the whole gang. If you don’t mind waiting longer to ride, don’t get a FastPass and wait in the normal queue line; it’s a magical experience within itself. Walk through the Darling’s household and see Tink have fun with the children’s toys and bedrooms, it’s delightful and charming.
7. Test Track
The best thrilling experience you can have in Epcot is Test Track, hands down. Build and make your own car and see how it measures up against the other cars before and after you. Every person looks forward to the end when you get to test your car’s speed and race through the test course, so unbelievably fun.
6. Toy Story Midway Mania
One of the best ride experiences you can have in all of Walt Disney World is playing 3-D carnival games with your favorite Toy Story friends. Whirl and twirl and pull that lever as many times as you possibly can to rack up those points. I always try to hit all the little bitty ones to get lots of points at once.
Soarin’ is an unbelievable attraction that will leave the biggest smile on your face. As you whisk through wonderful scenes from California, do not forget to take some deep breaths in. You’ll smell pine trees, tangerines, and the ocean breeze; it’ll send chills up your spine. The ending is more than magnificent and might even bring a tear to your eye so make sure you take in every moment.
4. Expedition Everest
If you want an adventure that is slightly terrifying, unpredictable, and so much fun, you cannot miss Expedition Everest. Walking through the queue and around the ride you’ll discover an intricate back-story, which is an attraction within itself. Explore a travel agency that was once a village but couldn’t stand up to the terrors of the mysterious yeti and had to shut down their tea industry and the train that they used to transport the tea through the Himalayas. Board the train and race through the Himalayans and hope you do not run into the yeti! Look forward to a unique experience at the end of the ride you can’t find anywhere else on Disney World property.
3. Haunted Mansion
Yet another classic Disney World attraction, the Haunted Mansion takes a break from the usual cheery side of Disney and explores a darker side that they do very well. Watch out for the butlers and maids that roam this Haunted House, one of them may even pop up beside you in the stretching room when you least expect it (take it from experience). Ride through the house that holds so many ghosts and look at all the intricate details that make up a story that isn’t obvious and leaves each guest looking for the story in every turn. Come up with your own story and share it with your family!
2. Splash Mountain
All of the “Mountain” rides (Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Thunder Mountain) could all be lumped in the non-negotiable ride experiences but I chose Splash Mountain for a specific reason, because of its story. Each Disney attraction has a detailed story, that’s what makes Disney unique to other theme parks, but some rides’ stories are too good to miss. The story of Splash Mountain is taken from Disney’s infamous movie Song of the South and follows Br’er Rabbit as he leaves his hometown to look for adventure. Each audio-animatronic and scene from the ride is so well put together you can’t help but feel completely immersed in the adventure of Br’er Rabbit. Who doesn’t love a big drop at the end too?
1. Tower of Terror
Tower of Terror is a ride that you CANNOT miss on your next trip. Complete with Disney’s own Twilight Zone episode and references to the old show, this ride is sure to give you goose bumps and make you giggle with laughter when the elevator you’re using breaks down just like it did so many years ago for its unfortunate guests. Even the lobby and courtyard of the hotel seem to be frozen in time with suitcases left untouched and glasses left covered in dust still waiting for their owner to return. Don’t forget to walk around in the Library of this attraction to see all the interesting books and artifacts left behind by the guests of the hotel. The greatest part about this attraction is you’ll always feel like you’re experiencing something new each time you ride because the drops are random and different.
Disney knows how to give you a show even when you’re not looking at it, and these rides and the unique experiences they give their guests from the time they walk into the line queue prove that. What are some rides that you and your family can never miss on your trips to Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments section!
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