The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. With four major theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcto, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom – and two water parks – Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach – there is much to see and do. Not everyone can afford to stay for a full week at “the World” but if you plan properly, you will get to experience some of the best rides and attractions ever created! The following is a list of my top ten rides/attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort:
10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Located in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom, this ride has stood the test of time. The popularity of the movies certainly didn’t hurt and the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow in to the scenes was a nice, refreshing touch. This is a slow moving boat ride but the scenery and the animatronics are brilliant. On one particular pirate who is sitting atop a bridge you cruise under, you can see the hair on his legs! THAT’S detail!
9. Space Mountain: Located in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom, this ride is currently undergoing a long needed rennovation. An indoor rollercoaster that is in the dark, you aren’t really going very fast (28 mph) but because of the darkness, you FEEL like you are going much faster. There are plenty of twists and turns on this metal coaster and it has been delighting riders since the mid 1970’s. It’s not the most thrilling coaster around. As a matter of fact, it’s really tame comparatively to coasters you’ll find at your regular Six Flags parks, but this is just well done and I cannot wait to see the updated version!
8. Test Track: Located in Epcot’s Future World, Test Track takes you through the world of car testing; you know, all the tests that a car must go through before it hits the market. You board a six passenger vehicle that takes you through the stomping grounds of car testing. You go through heat tests, cooling tests, brake tests and finally a speed test that takes you around the exterior of this mainly indoor ride at speeds of up to 60 mph! It is a MUST!
7. Rock n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith: Located in the Hollywood Studios park, this is probably the wildest ride in the whole Walt Disney World Resort. The premise of the ride is that you have been invited personally by Aerosmith to come to a concert. The queue area of this ride takes you through a recording studio where you are observing the band during a recording session and they suddenly remember that they are late for a show. You are told to go around back and limo will be waiting for you. So around you go (inside the building) and a super-stretch limo is waiting. What you don’t know is that this limo is going to take you over Los Angeles at night and you will go upside down and corkscrew your way there!! Your car goes from 0-60 in 2.3 seconds!! Hang on tight while you cuise and jam to some classic Aerosmith tunes!
6. Kali River Rapids: Located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, you WILL get wet on this ride! There is no way around it and if you really don’t want to enjoy that aspect of the ride, be prepared with a poncho! You board your boat that sits 12 people and cuise your way through the rapids where you pass scenes of the Rain Forest being destroyed but also see some breathtaking greenery. Your boat spins the entire time, you go under some water falls, pass some geisers…and in the end, go over a 30 foot waterfall! It’s a beautiful ride and the cool water feels great on a hot, Florida day.
5. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin: Located in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom, this is just a family favorite. You board vehicles that have space guns attached to them – each vehicle can seat three but there are only two guns. Your job is to stop the Evil Emperor Zurg by aiming your gun and shooting at all of the Z’s in the scenes that you pass. You control your vehicle by turning it left or right or in circles to get at all of your targets. In the end you are awarded a level of Space Ranger that you accomplished with your shooting. This is just good, silly fun for the whole family.
4. Splash Mountain: Located in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom, Splash Mountain is one of three Disney “mountains” but by far the most fun. You follow Brer Rabbit and all of his adventures as you travel around in a log that seats 6-8 people. You will get wet on this ride for sure! There are several small drops but the final one is the big one – it’s also where you get your picture taken! Most kids get intimidated by this ride because you can only see the drop as you approach the ride but the rest of the ride has some of the most spectacular theming available. You really follow a story here and you’ll find yourself singing along with the music the whole time!
3. Expedition Everest: Located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it is the newest thrill ride to the resort and the tallest. Here, you are tracking the elusive Yeti. You are on a sort of runaway train that takes you through the mountain but once on the other side, the track is gone! You have to then go in reverse through another section of mountain before going forward again and watch out because the Yeti is waiting to grab you and he is gigantic! And angry! The reverse action tends to bother some people but I love it! This is not to be missed!
2. Tower of Terror: Located at the Hollywood Studios park, the Hollywood Tower of Terror is a 13-story free-falling extravaganza. The details on this ride’s queue area make it a great thing to experience even if you chicken out before boarding the ride. The story is that the hotel was struck by lightening back in the 1930’s and some passengers on an elevator disappeared that night. You are now riding that elevator! EEK! You board and what you first notice is that there is nothing really to hold on to. You are seated but there’s not much around except the person next to you! You cruise up a few stories and the doors open to reveal the missing people who once again disappear and you flash through scenes from the old television series opening. The doors close and you whip up to the 13th floor. You go forward in complete darkness when suddenly the doors open and you are looking out over the entire park – right before you drop!! You get dropped at least four different times and each drop pattern is different. You can ride the ride several different times and not get the same drop pattern. There are plenty of screams on this one but they are screams of fun. Well, at least mine were.
1. Soarin’: Located in the Land Pavillion in Future World at Epcot, this amazing attraction takes you on a journey over California where you are literally lifted 40 feet off the ground in front of a giant screen that has you feeling as if you are hang-gliding over California. You go over golf courses, orange groves, the ocean, the forests…I mean, all that make California an amazing place. You hit all of the famous landmarks. Along with each landmark, you are not only seeing the sights, but you are smelling the smells. You can feel the breeze coming off the ocean, you can smell the oranges! As your seats tilt to go along with the scenery and I found myself even lifting my feet because I didn’t want them to get wet!! Four times I rode this in one day and I did that each and every time! If you have a family member who is affraid of heights, this ride could prove problematic but it is just an amazing feeling that it’s hard to believe it’s just a film!