With this blog entry I decided to talk about my personal favorites. This won’t be across any particular park, I figured I’d list off my favorites across Walt Disney World. I think eventually I’ll move over and address the west coast side of things but Walt Disney World feels more like the home base of operations.
Now keep in mind these are my favorites, obviously they won’t be the same as yours nor are they all for kids. Lastly they’re all current attractions, there won’t be an extinct ones here.
Be it the original or The Adventures Continue, Star Tours has always been one of my favorite MGM/Hollywood Studios attractions. The original version of Star Tours, I loved! It had so many elements from the original Star Wars trilogy that had you feel like you were right in that universe! Towards the end of it’s time it was beginning to show it’s age but still was wonderful. Once we got the update though, it sincerly put it up there in the pantheon of great attractions.
Covered in my must do’s at DHS, the new version of the attraction takes place between Episodes III and IV and we get to visit a variety of planets that are chosen at random. The attraction is now presented in HD and 3D and looks fantastic! The great thing with it going digital as well, new scenes and variations can be added with realitve ease and little downtime. Earlier this year Jakku from The Force Awakens was added and some new variations as well. You might just ending up hitting a certain, annoying gungan during the Naboo scene. Other than looking great and riding better than ever, the randomizations make it a more fun as you never know what you’ll get on any given ride. If you’re any kind of Star Wars fan you owe it to yourself to ride this!
9)Muppet Vision 3D
Muppet Vision 3D, a part of the original Disney MGM Studios. Opened in 1991, one year after the passing of Jim Henson and also 10 years later at Disney California Adventure but we’re talking about Walt Disney World for now. You venture into the Muppet’s theater (one of my favorite looking show buildings) and get to watch a presentation on Muppet Vision 3D. I’ve already talked a lot about the story in my top 10 things to do at Hollywood Studios.
What I will simple say here is that Muppet Vision is a fun, wonderful and hilarious 3D show with The Muppets. Realistically it’s everything you should expect with The Muppets. There is a small part of me that would LOVE to see a new film but being this is the last thing Jim Henson worked on, I’m perfectly okay with this sticking around even longer.
8) Mickey’s Philharmagic
Continuing on with the 3D part of the list, Mickey’s Philharmagic is a wonderful 3D show in the Fantasyland Concert Hall. As you enter the hall there’s some wonderful posters of the hall’s previous show. The whole premise of the show is that you’re about to sit down for a concert with maestro Mickey and the Philharmagic orchestra. However that goes awry when Donald finishes setting up the band decides to have some fun with Mickey’s sorcerer hat. Soon we’re whisked away to some of Disney’s great musical moments including Be Our Guest, Can’t Wait to Be King, and You Can Fly to just name a few. Sincerely for me it gets some of the feels going every time.
Fun Fact: Most of Donald’s dialogue is archival recordings of Clarence Nash, Donald’s original voice actor!
7) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Another attraction from my Must Do’s at Hollywood Studios. I won’t go on too much about it but the set up is the haunted Hollywood Tour Hotel. The attraction sets you up for a “missing Twilight Zone” episode. Complete with a ridiculously amazing Rod Sterling sound alike. A tragic event occurs as some guests of the hotel are riding up the elevator one evening and have apparently taken up residence in the hotel as they decide to have some fun with your elevator.
The theme of the queue, the hotel and everything is just simply fantastic. You can’t go wrong with the creepy child singing “it’s raining it’s pouring”. Not to mention I personally feel like I’m entering a different time, every time I step into that hotel.
6) Kilimanjaro Safari
Animal Kingdom might be short on physical riding attractions but one can’t deny that Kilimanjaro Safari is simply fantastic. A truck ride through Disney’s own wildlife reserve you get to see all sorts of various animals. Covered in my Animal Kingdom must do’s it sincerely is an attraction with unlimited re-ride ability. Yeah you might see the same animals but you’ll never know what you might see them doing. One time a rhino went running right by our vehicle or another time seeing the lions and lionesses perched up on the top of some rocks.
The great thing as well Disney keeps finding ways to incorporate new animals into the reserve. Even now things get more interesting with the addition of night-time safaris with the hours being extended at the park!
5) Jungle Cruise
The Jungle Cruise, one the funniest and corniest cruises you’ll ever take. Walt himself wanted real animals when coming up with the idea for Disneyland, however that didn’t happen. There was a worry about the animals all being asleep during the day. The attraction eventually became about animatronic animals and the River Expedition Company giving you a funny look at the jungle surroundings.
For me I love how bad some of the jokes are in this attraction. They’re so bad they’re good. Some of the skippers will even ad-lib here and there which definitely gives the ride some re-ride ability. For me this ride is about the humor, it’s not even about the thrills or the technology. The key to it is getting a good Jungle Cruise Skipper, there’s no way to control this it’s sincerely hit or miss. There are times where we’ve had really good skippers and we’ve had some that ones that just talk the script verbatim. If you ever want a seasonal twist on the attraction during the holidays, the Jungle Cruise becomes the Jingle Cruise as they use whatever they can find to decorate the jungle in a festive flavor while giving us some delicious holiday puns and jokes.
4) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
The wildest ride in the wilderness! A runaway train through an old gold mining town that looks like it’s seen better days. Big Thunder Mountain is a simple and rather basic coaster but is super fun!
For me, other than the ride itself, it’s the theme that ties it all together that makes it that much more memorable. The coaster you can get some good albeit brief vantage points to see the Magic Kingdom. In fact you may remember me mentioning timing your ride just right and being able to see Wishes from Big Thunder in my top places to see (or photograph) Wishes piece.
Speaking of that, it leads to my last point. Big Thunder is also one of the few Walt Disney World ride that feels like a complete different ride at night, which gives it that edge that pushes it past other coasters on property for me.
3) Toy Story Midway Mania
From a pure Mark and Michelle competition stand point, we love this attraction. Every time we ride Toy Story Mania we give it our all. It’s a relatively simple and fun attraction. Climb aboard the ride vehicle, put on your 3D glasses and play some carnival games with the Toy Story characters. I previously covered this in my must do’s at Hollywood Studios. So I won’t ramble on too long about this.
I would say the attraction is innovative technology but realistically it’s very similar in the idea of playing Duck Hunt but Disney throws in their usual magic to make this attraction much more fun, challenging and full of secrets! There are ways to trigger special targets to get even more points.
Lastly Toy Story Mania has plenty of potential to get more updates with ease and with the third track now open, there’s a good amount of potential that we could see those updates sooner rather than later!
2) Pirates of the Caribbean
The Disneyland attraction that was so popular that when Walt Disney World opened up and there was no Pirates of the Caribbean guests asked where it was. Seriously. While there is the eternal debate about which version of the ride is best. Disneyland or Walt Disney World? Let’s be honest the real answer might just be Shanghai Disneyland. (Have you seen that video?! Seriously if you haven’t, go watch it)
Interesting fact, this was the last attraction that Walt Disney every had a part in designing before passing away and opened three months after he was gone.
In case you don’t know, in Pirates you board a boat as you get to set sail through a pirate attack on a Caribbean town. Now we all know the ride inspired the movies and now the movies have inspired the attraction as Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbosa, and other elements from the Pirate films are now taking part in the ride. As the pirates are in search of Jack Sparrow as he himself is on the search for a lost treasure.
I love Pirates! It’s a fun, classic attraction. It can be creepy, adventurous, and can be funny as well. It’s very quotable and the song Pirates Life for me is very memorable. Pirates has all the right elements to have it be a legendary Disney attraction.
1) Haunted Mansion
If we want to talk about legendary attractions than look no further than the Haunted Mansion. There’s so much one can talk about with this ride, where can one start? Well one of the last attractions that Walt himself worked on. He originally planned for it to be a walk through attraction and would be a museum of the weird. Fun fact in Disneyland the facade or the house was completed six whole years before the ride was even finished. So you can imagine walking through Disneyland and there’s a weird, creepy house just sitting there and realistically had no idea what it was or what it was for. Also Imagineers wanted to keep the outside of the house unkept, make it look like it was truly abandoned but Walt didn’t care for the idea. In the end the ideas evolved and became the Haunted Mansion we all know and adore.
In case you don’t know, you get to take a tour of famous Haunted Mansion, hosted by the Ghost Host. As you the tour starts the Ghost Host sets the mood for what is about to come. Eventually you learn that 999 happy haunts in the mansion as you see various creepy scenes, which all leads to the haunts having a “swinging wake” in the graveyard before concluding the tour and given a warning that a “ghost will follow you home!”
Sincerely Haunted Mansion could be seen as the most detailed attraction in Disney history. It’s so easy to find something new every time or even connect some new dots in the huge story that is the Haunted Mansion. From the expanded queue area all the way to when you walk off the ride, the details are there!
Did you know? Mr. Toad from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride gravestone is in the pet cemetery outside the ride once you exit the ride.
From the theme to the details to the music, to me the Haunted Mansion is what I like to consider a perfect attraction, if not pretty darn close. Not to mention much like some of my other favorite attractions, it’s extremely quotable. I have a hard time not reciting the Ghost Host’s stretching room welcome when I’m there. I honestly could go on and on about the Haunted Mansion and why I love it. It could be an entire blog entry itself.
That will wrap it up for this time, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries or questions. I’m always happy to help you out with your Disney travel needs! My services to get you a quote for your dream Disney vacation are absolutely free!
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