Walt Disney envisioned a theme park where parents could enjoy the rides with their children instead of just being observers. With this in mind, a majority of Disney theme park ride vehicles are designed to accommodate adults and children. There are, however, many roller coaster and thrill rides that are a bit wild for young children or those guests who prefer calmer, less thrilling rides. The following rides are perfect for these WDW visitors.
10. Main Street — Walt Disney World Railroad—Magic Kingdom
Take a ride on a vintage steam-powered train for a journey around the Magic Kingdom in open-air cars which give you a perfect view of many of the rides and attractions as you are passing by. There is a recorded narration describing what you are seeing. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the layout of the Magic Kingdom, while enjoying a pleasant ride on an old-fashioned train.
There are two other stops on your trip, one at the Frontierland Station, and the other one at the Fantasyland Station located in the Storybook Circus section. Try getting off at each stop for a quick walk-about, take in a ride or two, eat a meal, or just do a little shopping before boarding the train back to Main Street. After your trip around the Magic Kingdom, enjoy the rest of your stay at the “most magical place on earth”.
9. The Haunted Mansion — Liberty Square—Magic Kingdom
This 18th century gothic styled manor is home to 999 happy spirits who welcome guests to enter and take a tour of their “Haunted Mansion”. The vehicle of choice is a “doom buggy” which will hold two adults comfortably or even two adults and a small child. Don’t worry about the darkness; these happy haunts are strictly there to show off and entertain all their visitors. This ride is filled with ghostly surprises, haunting noises, a trip through a cemetery where you are serenaded by a quartet of disembodied statues singing that famous melody, “Grim grinning ghosts….!” Even though this is a “haunted mansion”, the ghosts, spirits, and other occupants are really quite friendly, but be careful. Sometimes they have been known to try to “hitch a ride”!
8. It’s A Small World — Fantasyland—Magic Kingdom
This is one of the original attractions of Walt Disney World, and it has remained one of the most family friendly, charming rides in all of Disney World. It is a boat ride through a magical, musical world hosted by audio-animatronic children from from all over the world. These cheerful little ambassadors are frolicking and dancing in their native costumes, while singing in unison the “Small World” theme song, “It’s A Small World After All…”.
Ride along on this delightful boat ride, filled with music, dancing, and gorgeous scenery and props highlighting every country being represented. Around every turn is a new adventure, with all sorts of animals playing, birds flying, fish swimming, windmills turning, carousels turning, and balloons floating overheard, all in a rainbow of brilliant colors. This is definitely a feast for the eyes and ears. The song can be quite repetitive, but it’s a very happy song, and it really makes you feel good when you hear it, and you will probably be humming it for a while after you exit the ride.
7. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover — Magic Kingdom
The PeopleMover is just what the title says, a transportation system that moves people, from the conveyor belt to the loading area, to the ride itself. This “highway in the sky” consists of 5 cars hooked together, each holding 4 people, which moves quietly along a set of tracks at a moderate speed. There are no engine noises because the cars are magnetically pulled using a ‘linear induction’ powered track, hence the noise-free ride, except for the audio narration, which describes scenes and attractions along the way. As you glide along on the PeopleMover, you will travel in and out of attractions, rides, and the shops of Tomorrowland. It’s really exciting to pass through Space Mountain and hear the screams of the space travelers, and also get a bird’s eye view of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, as riders are spinning and turning in their space cruisers as they shoot at hundreds of different targets in order to earn enough points to become an official Space Ranger. If you have some shopping to do, you will enjoy passing through the Merchant Of Venus, and Mickey’s Star Traders for a quick look at their special merchandise. Riding the PeopleMover at night is a real treat because Tomorrowland comes alive with a myriad of brightly colored neon lights and signs everywhere you look. Just sit back, relax, feel the breeze and enjoy Tomorrowland’s fabulous nighttime light display!
6. Spaceship Earth — Futureworld–Epcot
This ride is housed inside the enormous shimmering geosphere which visitors can see from the road before they even arrive at the parking lot of Epcot. It is another continuous-loading attraction, and the cars you are riding in can easily hold 4 adults. Spaceship Earth is a slow-moving trip through the beginnings of communication through the ages, beginning with cavemen and culminating with the latest advancement in communications today and the possibilities in the future. The audio-animatronics in this attraction are incredible. Narrated by the famous English actress, Dame Judy Bench (007 movies), each scene depicts the progress of man’s achievement in communication, from early man and cave paintings, Egyptians and hieroglyphs, Johannes Gutenberg and the printing press, Steve Wozniak and the first home computer, to the world of electronic devices we use in our everyday life today to keep in touch with family, friends, and co-workers in every corner of the earth. As you exit the ride, you enter a huge showroom, “Project Tomorrow”, an area with interactive games and activities that focus on the future of world communications. This is one of the most enjoyable and historical rides at Walt Disney World. Take this journey through time and see for yourself what a glorious adventure awaits you!
5. Jungle Cruise — Adventureland—Magic Kingdom
This is another boat ride on a canopied launch designed after the boat in the famous move with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, “The African Queen”. Your voyage takes you down four famous rivers, the Amazon in South America, the Congo in Africa, the Nile in Egypt, and the Mekong in Southeast Asia. Your pilot does his best to describe each exciting and dangerous scene, along with some really lame jokes. It’s a tradition on this ride for the pilots to be creative and humorous as they interact with their passengers. On this jungle adventure, you will encounter many audio-animatronic jungle inhabitants, such as crocodiles, elephants, a family of hippos, and a few surprise guests along the way, including a shrunken head salesman. Take a load off your feet and enjoy this unusual boat ride into the wild and untamed jungle.
4. Pirates of the Caribbean — Adventureland—Magic Kingdom
While you’re in the neighborhood of the Jungle Cruise, walk a little further and take another boat ride on a thrilling pirate adventure. This extremely popular ride actually spawned a trio of highly successful movies, starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, who is featured in this attraction along with the infamous Captain Barbossa. The audio-animatronic pirates and other characters, including several noisy animals are so realistic that you can almost smell the pigs in the mud, and the burning buildings.
“Yoho, Yoho, a Pirate’s Life For Me”, is the theme song for this sensational journey back in time to the West Indies of the 1700’s, when pirates ruled the seas. Board a launch boat with 15 other passengers into the unknown. After a short drop, you enter the port of a Caribbean city under attack by Captain Barbossa and the Black Pearl pirate ship. Some unruly pirates are pillaging and tormenting the city’s citizens, and generally wreaking all sorts of havoc. In the middle of all this commotion, you get a quick glimpse of Jack Sparrow trying to elude the rowdy pirates. As you leave all the outrageous events behind, your boat glides past Jack Sparrow who is sitting on a throne amidst a pile of loot, while singing a pirate’s favorite anthem, “Yoho yoho, a pirate’s life for me”!
3. Journey of the Little Mermaid — Fantasyland—Magic Kingdom
In this pleasantly themed ride, you climb into a giant clam shell and take a journey “under the sea” to meet the stars of the hit Disney classic, “The Little Mermaid”. The audio-animatronics are phenomenal, beginning with Scuttle, who is the official narrator of this classical story. Many scenes from the movie are captured in vivid colors, motions, and music. From Ariel, Sebastian, Scuttle, Flounder, Prince Eric, King Triton, to the evil Ursula, the characters are recreated in realistic movements and voices. From beginning to end, you are guests of Ariel’s undersea world, and with the help of special effects, including lighting and temperature changes, you feel as though you really have gone beneath the ocean.
What a wondrous place Ariel’s home is, full of a variety of tropical fish, crabs, lobsters, seahorses, and even turtles, all singing and dancing to the musical melody, “Under the Sea”! The dynamic colors of the plants, seaweed, and underwater coral are breath-taking, and the music and dancing will keep you smiling and laughing, even when the huge animated figure of Ursula appears. Of course, there is a happy ending with the marriage of Ariel and Prince Eric, and Scuttle is right there finishing his story with these words, “I’m not such a bird brain after all”!
2. Toy Story Midway Mania — Hollywood Studios
Based on the highly successful Disney “Toy Story” movies, this is one of those rides you can’t get enough of. As you approach the building which houses this very popular attraction, you will immediately notice the extra large toys and games all around, such as a huge barrel of monkeys, playing cards, building blocks, crayons, etc. When you enter the building, there are even more gigantic playthings and games, everywhere you look. The queque is quite long, but there are so many colossal toys to look over that the time passes by rather quickly. Also, an audio-animatronic, extra large “Mr. Potato Head” greets the audience with some great “one-liners”, and comically interacts with guests as they pass by.
Once you pick up your pair of 3-D glases, you walk up a flight of stairs and get your first view of the loading area, and the ride vehicles, which can hold 4 adults, or two adults and two children sitting back to back with a large partition in between. When you reach the loading zone, you step into your unique vehicle, which comes with a spring-action shooter for each rider. This shooter is operated by a pull string to shoot different objects and targets throughout the ride. Your special vehicle will take you spinning and whirling, stopping long enough to play each unique midway game, where you will use your shooter to aim at virtual 3-D animated targets to score points.
These are no ordinary midway games. Each one is hosted by a different “Toy Story” character. The object of these games is to use your shooter to break plates, toss eggs at barnyard animals, toss rings over aliens’ heads, and even throw virtual darts at balloons. There are surprising special effects as you aim and shoot at your targets, such as a puff of air as an object passes by, or a spray of water after popping a water balloon. After all the whirling, spinning, and shooting, your scores are totaled and displayed, and each player can view their virtual prize they have won. This ride entertains the entire family, and I have never seen anyone exiting this ride without huge smiles on their faces!
1. Peter Pan’s Flight — Fantasyland—Magic Kingdom
This is, by far, one of the most popular attractions in the Magic Kingdom. It is also the only ride where your ride vehicle is suspended on a track located on the ceiling. Your vehicle is designed to resemble a pirate galleon with enough room to seat two adults & a small child. Your flight begins by passing through the Darling children’s nursery, where Tinkerbell sprinkles pixie dust on Wendy, Michael, and John, and as your ship rises into the air, Peter Pan can be heard shouting, “Come on, everybody, here we go!” It’s just like a scene right out of the Disney classic, “Peter Pan”. As you fly over London at night, you can look down and see all the twinkling lights coming from cars, buses, and buildings, and just before leaving the city, you fly right over Big Ben, just as it is striking 8pm. Now you’re on your way to Neverland, home of the lost boys, an Indian Chief, Indian maidens, and mermaids. Captain Hook, Peter’s mortal enemy, captures the Darling children, and it’s up to Peter to save them, and that he does after a swashbuckling sword battle. Captain Hook is defeated and retreats with his first mate, Mr. Smee, and the crocodile is close behind them! This magical flight is over too soon, but “don’t worry, be happy”! Peter Pan and Tinkerbell will be thrilled to welcome you back again very soon!