From the Desk of Aaryn
The Best of the Best: Attractions at Walt Disney World Resort
I consider myself quite fortunate to have been able to visit Walt Disney World many times in my short life and have had a chance to try out nearly all of the attractions that grace each of its four wonderful theme parks to this point. These are probably my favorite part of our Disney vacations (other than the food, of course). Over the years, I have found that I have developed very specific tastes and have noticed that I have some favorites in each park. I am curious if your teens and pre-teens have the same favorites, so what I have done is created a list of my top two favorite attractions in each of the four main Parks at Walt Disney World Resort.
The Magic Kingdom
- Space Mountain – This is easily my favorite attraction in the Magic Kingdom (MK) Park. Built in 1975, just four years after the Park’s opening, this Tomorrowland attraction rockets you far into the future. In a space-age launching station, Guests board a technologically advanced “rocket” capable of traveling to parts unknown. After take-off, Guests are sent whirling through dark space at high speeds, watching the illusion of bright stars zooming by. Twisting and spiraling through space has never seemed so fun. This attraction is definitely an all-time favorite of mine and definitely a must for the first-timer. Challenge: Say cheese! Do you know where the camera is located on this ride?
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – This Wild West attraction found in Adventureland gives Space Mountain a run for its money, but remains second on my list here. Set in an abandoned mine, Guests travel on a runaway mine train through some of the superstitions of the Wild West. What keeps this on my list of favorites are the high speeds and the sudden drops. My mother gets rather giddy when we board this runaway train, calling this one her favorite at MK. It’s both exciting and heart-pounding and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad definitely keeps Guests on the edge of their seats (or is that “out” of your seat).
- Mission: Space – This is probably one of the coolest attractions on the Resort for me. Mission: Space is a simulator that takes Guests on a crazy adventure to Mars. Guests are given two frequency choices: Orange (for the brave of heart) and Green (for those who might not want so many thrills). For those who struggle with motion sickness issues (like my mom), I would not recommend the Orange level ride. I find that this attraction has many things going for it, including an immersive queue, an interesting in-ride story and a heart-pounding finish. If you are a thrill-seeker, this is a must-do when you visit EPCOT.
- Soarin’– This particular attraction is a serious fan-favorite for Guests from all over the world. This thrilling ride features a hanging glider (with seatbelts, of course) that has been taking Guests on a free-flying adventure through some of the most beautiful sights of California. With beautiful scenery, dizzying heights, beautiful scents and some very discreet Hidden Mickeys to find during the trip, this attraction has been one of the best ways to settle down and enjoy a care-free virtual ride through all the parks. It is notorious for a lengthy queue – sometimes up to 300 minutes! – so securing a FastPass+ for this is an almost necessity. At current, Soarin’ has suspended all flights while the attraction undergoes renovation. Once complete (with the addition of a new hanger), Guests will be flying high around the world, not just California! It is set to reopen Summer 2016.
- Rock n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – Now this is the attraction, in my book, that makes all the previous ones look boring. Probably my favorite attraction on the entire Resort, this is the one that makes thrill-seekers drool! Guests are personally invited by the stars of the rock band Aerosmith to join them at one of their concerts. After boarding a very cool-looking stretch (I mean, super-stretch) limousine and before you can even prepare yourself for the moment, Guests blast off down the “highway” at an intense speed. The “limo” zooms around in the dark, looping and twisting around neon signs, dodging stoplights and traffic signs the whole way (not a good example for those getting ready to take their driving tests). Finally, the ride reaches its destination and Guests disembark onto the red carpet, hearts pounding and pulses racing. I can’t wait to take this limo ride again!
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Year after year (I’ve been going since I was four), this ride never fails to please me and never bores me no matter how often I frequent its gloomy halls. Set in an abandoned hotel, this bone-chilling attraction sends Guests on a direct path… into the Twilight Zone. (Wa wa waaaa…) After entering the dusty and cobweb infested hotel, creepy-looking bellhops bring Guests into a room where the history of the hotel is told on a black-and-white TV screen. From there, the journey to the service elevators begins and Guests find themselves seat-belted in for a dark, eery and thrilling ride. At one point, the elevator car stops….everyone braces themselves….and then the fun begins with varying degrees of rises and drops that provoke screaming that can be heard throughout the Park! This attraction is packed with mystery and fear-filled screeches and Cast Members (CMs) play the part of the hauntingly strange bellhops to perfection. I could not love this ride any more than I do now. Funny note: In 2013, our family of five (wink, wink) had the haunted privilege of riding this attraction alone…..five people, just us, no one else……fortunately, we survived and were greeted by a CM who offered us the opportunity to check out the “special service elevator” for another ride.
The Animal Kingdom
- Expedition Everest – I love roller coasters! This attraction is the only one that could challenge the Rock n’ Roller Coaster as the best ride throughout the Resort. Set in the fearsome and superstitious area of Asia that surrounds the tallest mountain on Earth, Guests and their “team” are sent on a transportation mission through the frigid mountain. But beware… a terrifying legend lurks deep within those mountains… the Yeti! Filled with spooky tales and a great atmosphere for terror, this extremely fast-moving and backwards flying attraction is just another perfect option for those who enjoy chills and thrills.
- DINOSAUR– It’s time for another kind of expedition. This one takes Guests back in time and is an epic attraction found in Animal Kingdom. After receiving a “briefing” of the expedition at hand, Guests are sent back in time by a rebellious and hotheaded scientist who changes their course to retrieve a much-sought after dinosaur. The attraction is a bumpy one and takes Guests for a crazy ride through the prehistoric world, coming face to face with incredible animatronics that seem extremely realistic. This is another one of those attractions that may negatively affect those with motion-sickness. Just a word of precaution….(my mom can handle this one, though).
Well, there you have it – my complete list of top two favorite attractions at each of the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks. For those who have not been to Walt Disney World, these are definitely attractions that should go on your bucket list for your first trip. For those who have been and perhaps frequent the parks, I’d love to know if you feel the same way and agree with my choices. Leave a comment below on what YOUR favorite attractions are at Walt Disney World. Perhaps you can even convince me to change my mind! Who knows? With all the changes going on, my selections may be changing sooner than I thought.
If you enjoyed this post, I hope you tune in for my next segment of The Best of the Best. This time I’ll be exploring dining at the Walt Disney World Resort!
Until the next step! ~ Aaryn