Top 12 Original Walt Disney World Experiences You Can’t Miss

One of the best things about Disney World is that it continues to evolve year after year. New experiences are always being introduced to the wildly popular theme parks, which makes every visit new and exciting. However, there are some classics that will always be must do’s no matter how many new rides and new shows pop up. Here are 12 original Disney experiences that you can’t miss during your trip to the most magical place on earth:

12. Jungle Cruise

This seven minute long boat ride down the Amazon River has been delighting guests since Magic Kingdom’s opening day in 1971. Not only do you get to sit for a little while and enjoy the scenery and animatronics, you also get an unlimited amount of jokes from your very humorous Jungle Cruise Skipper, which is what the ‘tour guides’ are called.

11. Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Though this ride was updated during the New Fantasyland expansion, the premise of this family friend ride has remained the same—getting to take flight with Dumbo! It’s a great ride for children, but I think us adults enjoy it just as much! And, if you ride during sunset, you have the most breathtaking view.

10. Hall of Presidents

This attraction is great for two reasons. One, it teaches you about American history and two, it’s indoors and air conditioned, which allows for a great escape during those hot summer days. The attraction pays homage to all of the presidents of the United States, and the animatronic are so well done that they look like real people.

9.Mad Tea Party

Sitting at the end of New Fantasyland and the beginning of Tomorrowland is this dizzying attraction that’ll leave you feeling like you just fell down the rabbit hole with Alice. Take a trip to Wonderland and see how fast you can spin without stopping. Oh, and watch out for the mouse in your teacup!

8. The Great Movie Ride

This is the only opening day attraction still in operation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The attraction is housed inside a replica of the Chinese Theatre with various handprints in concrete outside the building. Take a journey through various scenes from famous films and keep a close eye on your tour guide—anything can happen in the movies!

7. Spaceship Earth

Often referred to as the ‘giant golf ball,’ Spaceship Earth is the park icon for EPCOT and inside houses a slow moving, 15 minute journey through how communication and technology has evolved on earth since the beginning of time. This ride is visually stunning and you even get a look into your future at the end!


Travel back to the age of dinosaurs in a time rover on this dark ride in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You’ve been tasked with bringing back a real live Iguanadon, but you only have 90 seconds until a meteor is set to hit the area you’re in. You’ll move quickly and pass many dinosaurs along the way, but only take your dino back home with you!

5. It’s A Small World

This is the ride you love to hate, but you also secretly love it deep down. I actually love the design of this ride because of how well themed each room is. It’s also a nice reminder of how close we really all are. Plus, the song is pretty catchy too, and I guarantee you’ll be singing it all day long.

4. Kilimanjaro Safaris

It’s just like the zoo—except 100 times better. You get to take a 22 minute simulated safari ride through different parts of Africa, giving you the chance to see many different animals, including giraffes, elephants, lions and hippos. Animal Kingdom will also be adding a nighttime safari tour, which will offer a new experience on this classic ride.

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3. World Showcase

Though this requires the most walking, this experience is also the most enriching. The World Showcase is the only place where you can, essentially, travel the world in 90 minutes or so—if you take your time. Each pavilion pays homage to the country its representing and offers food, drinks and souvenirs to really complete the experience.

2. Haunted Mansion

999 happy haunts occupy The Haunted Mansion located in Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom. Do you want to volunteer to be the 1000th? Journey through this spooky establishment filled with haunting music and plenty of ghosts who are dying to have you. But be careful—there are hitchhiking ghosts that WILL try to follow you home!

1. Festival of the Lion King

This show, which debuted on Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s opening day, has always been a fan favorite. It’s colorful, energetic, entertaining and features some of your favorite Lion King characters. It truly embodies what a Disney classic is, and continues to be an attraction I do every time I’m at the park.

It doesn’t matter if you are a first timer to Disney World or a veteran—these original experiences are sure to entertain you and your family. Their timeless factor keeps guests coming back year after year, no matter how many times they’ve experienced them. Be sure to put these on your to do list next time you’re in the parks.

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper

About Monet

Monet is a senior majoring in journalism at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is a Disney AP holder and a Disney College Program alum. You can find her covered in pixie dust singing along to the Festival of Fantasy parade soundtrack while dreaming about dole whips and blogging her life away.

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