Having gone to Disney World about 7 times in the last 8 years, we have built up quite a list of our favorite attractions. It is quite impossible to experience everything in one trip, that’s why we keep going back! Here is a list of our family’s top ten Disney attractions:
Fantasmic is a live show that takes place after dark at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is a classic tale of good vs. bad and takes place inside one of Mickey’s dreams. Utilizing exciting water, fire and laser effects, it is one of the most impressive Disney show that we have ever seen. If you want a good seat, I’d advise you to get to the stadium at least one hour before the show. The stadium holds thousands of people but especially in the summer months, it can fill up quickly. You’ll be glad you waited; the show is definitely worth it!
9. Spaceship Earth
The giant silver ball which houses the attraction Spaceship Earth is the center point and “symbol” of EPCOT and can be seen for miles. The ride itself is a slow-moving and relaxing journey through time that explores the creation and development of communication and technology. It is a 16 minute long attraction that moves slowly from the bottom of the “ball” to the top with a slow journey back down at the end of the ride. On the way down you get to design your own “future”. Originally narrated by Walter Cronkite, this was always my family’s favorite EPCOT attraction back when I was young. The best time to visit Spaceship Earth would be first thing when the park opens or in the evening hours while everyone is getting their seats for the Illuminations laser show. Even though it is one of the original EPCOT attractions, it is still very popular!
8. Expedition Everest
Tip…don’t wear a hat on this ride — you’ll lose it like my dad did! But seriously, this is one of the most exciting rides in all the World. Located in the Asia area of Animal kingdom, one of the best things about it is actually before you board the train — it’s actually the queue. While you wait in line, enjoy looking at artifacts actually brought back from Asia by Disney Imagineers. Search for the proof that the Yeti exists! Once aboard the train, it starts out as a mellow journey through the “Forbidden Mountain” of which it is said, the Yeti protects as his home. As you climb the big hill you suddenly come to a stop and the tracks are….what? Broken? The train stops briefly and you catch a glimpse of the Yeti tearing up the tracks. You drop backwards and the ride takes a wild turn. Pass through the dark cave and look up! The Yeti is there with red eyes and big teeth, swiping at the train as you whisk by…barely missing you. Did we say this ride is awesome or what?
7. Test Track
All the members of my family are fans of this ride. With average wait times of an hour or more during peak times…we aren’t the only ones! You will experience what it is like to test out a GM car as your vehicle passes through several challenges. The hill climb, the brake test, the suspension test, the environment chamber and finally the barrier test. Scream your head off as you have a near miss with an 18-wheeler and begin your 65 mile an hour ride around a 50 degree banked curve. It’s enough to make your hair stand on end! Hint: The picture spot for Test Track is right after the barrier opens to the outside and you begin your acceleration.
6. Splash Mountain
This ride is definitely one of the reasons why WDW is considered the Happiest Place on Earth. Located in the Frontierland section of the Magic Kingdom, it is a log-flume ride that takes you through an animatronic world based around the 1946 Disney film Song of the South. After each scene your log climbs higher and higher until the final climb sends you racing downwards on a 52 foot drop at a 45 degree angle, 40 miles an hour into the briar patch below. You think it is over but the finale is waiting…a colorful, fun and musical end to the tune of “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah”. It’ll have your feet tapping and your hands clapping as you sing along. A great tip is to ride this during Extra Magic Hours at night after the 10pm showing of Wishes. While everyone else is headed out of the park, run straight for Frontierland. We did this and were able to ride it 3 times in a row one night with no wait!
5. The Tomorrowland Transit Authority aka the People Mover
Ok I know what you are thinking… “Really??” but yes…really. This has been a family favorite for many years. It all started with our first family trip and our daughter Amber was only about 3 years old. She was too little and too scared to go on almost any of the rides. While my husband and I traded off while taking our son Adam to the other rides, one would wait for the other aboard the People Mover. Amber would demand “Again! Again!”. To this day…she is now almost 12…it is still one of her favorites. The people mover takes you on a relaxing and smooth ride through and above Tomorrowland. You get to go “inside” Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and one of the gift shops. It has a few twists and turns but nothing too fast or scary. One of the vest things about it? There is never a line! The People Mover is one of those attractions that is perfect after a long day of walking. Just hop in, sit back and enjoy the ride!
4. Toy Story Mania
This should be on any Disney fan’s list. Located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this is undoubtedly one of the most popular attractions (if not the most popular attraction) at DHS. Centered around our beloved Toy Story characters, you actually get to “play” some awesome carnival games and try to beat your car partner! The screens in which you “shoot” are set in 3D and you wear 3D glasses while on the ride. Pull the cord on your carnival “gun” and break plates, pop balloons, throw rings etc… but do it quick and rack up those points! At the end of the ride, view your score and see if you’re the winner! A little bit of competitiveness tends to surface itself within our family when we enjoy this ride. All in good fun! A very important tip: the wait times for this ride can be as high as 2 hours during peak times. To avoid waiting, get to DHS at rope drop (park opening). Send one member of your party with your park tickets (preferably your best and fastest runner!) straight to Toy Story Mania so they can grab your family FastPasses. This will allow you to enjoy other areas of the park and come back to TSM at your assigned time and board the ride with little to no wait.
3. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
I was lucky enough to ride this back in 1994 shortly after it had opened. I was much braver back then because even though I know what’s coming now, I still get knots in my stomach while waiting in line! Also located at DHS, the Tower of Terror is one of the most thrilling attractions within Disney World. Prior to the inevitable 200 foot free fall, you are told the story about a family who entered the supposedly haunted hotel, went aboard the elevator….never to be seen again (insert Twilight Zone theme music here). There are unbelievable special effects inside the ride before the climb upwards. Once at the top the doors open before you and…aaaaaahhh! Free fall, up and down, over and over. Imagineers programmed the ride so that no two experiences would be the same. So even when you think you know when and which drops are coming — you don’t! The best tips I can give you for this ride is to not eat before you get on and when those doors open at the top, hold on to your side bars!
Yet another highlight of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Rock’n’Rollercoaster is personally my favorite attraction within all of Disney World; the fam really enjoys it too especially the kids. We are all huge Aerosmith fans so even waiting in line for this ride is enjoyable. getting to hear their songs while singing along makes for a fun time. Once inside you get to “meet” up with the band as Steven (Tyler that is) tells his manager to order up a super stretch limo to take us all to the concert with them. One thing tho– they’re running late so we gotta hurry! You board the coaster and get yourself braced in. Come around the corner and once at the stoplight the countdown begins. 3…2…1…green light! You take off, zero to 60 in 2.8 seconds. Off into the dark you go with only neon road signs to light the way. The ride is full of twists and turns and it is the only Disney ride to feature not one…but two inversions. The best part? Your journey is set to a soundtrack of Aerosmith songs which blare out of the speakers behind your head. Five of them to be exact. Aerosmith worked with Disney imagineers to record a special soundtrack just for the attraction. Hint: Right as your train takes off into the darkness you will notice a flash of light — smile! You can view your photo after the ride. Yes, that is our photo up there!
Undoubtedly the best attraction ever created by our talented Disney imagineers, it’s no wonder why it was decided to bring this attraction to WDW from it’s original home at Disney’s California Adventure park. Located at EPCOT inside the Land pavilion, Soarin’ is possibly the most popular attraction among all 4 parks. While you wait in line, there are fun games to play on the screens in front of you and all of the Disney castmembers who work the ride are dressed as airline personnel. You are brought into a “briefing” area in which you view a quick video about the journey you are about to take. Then you and close to 100 other people are led into a huge room where you climb aboard your ride vehicle that resembles several large gliders put together. The lights go off…you feel a cool breeze and you are quickly whisked upwards as the music starts and suddenly you are flying over the ground! As you take your aerial tour of several locations throughout California, you can literally smell the orange groves and feel the cool breeze as you glide over the snow. Try to catch a golf ball, stick your toe in the ocean waves, or wave at the jet fighter pilot hovering next to you. The whole ride crescendos to the finale where you glide over the light parade at Disneyland and get a front row seat to the firework show! Amazing, absolutely amazing and something I promise you will never forget. Very important tip: Similar to Toy Story Mania — to avoid extensive wait times for Soarin’, send someone to get the FastPasses after rope drop while the rest of your party enjoys breakfast at Sunshine Seasons inside the same pavilion. It is sort of a ritual for us now; we do this every single trip and it works out perfectly!
What attractions are your family’s favorites?