There’s a reason my family buys multi-day passes and returns year after year to Walt Disney World. It’s a magical place, we always have a great time there, and here are tons of rides and attractions to choose from.
But if time is of the essence during your visit, Food + Wine’s ranked everything you can do at The Most Magical Place On Earth.
Down at the bottom are the Swiss Family Treehouse, Epcot’s Imagination, and the Carousel of Progress. Listed dead last is Stitch’s Great Escape, but you might want to hit this anyway since the site says it may be closing. I’d have to agree with those, but I will say that the Carousel of Progress is GREAT for a quick nap! My husband even calls it the Carousel of Naps. 2 seconds in the chair and he’s snoring.
Funny story about Stitch’s Great Escape: We took our kids there in 2011, when our daughter was still a baby, my oldest was about to turn 7, and our younger son had just turned 4. We went on the Stitch ride, which is not even a ride really; you sit in a theater and watch a “show” about Stitch. You hear sound effects in the speakers surrounding your head and get air and water blown on you. We got off, and my then 4-year-old was petrified. He hated it and thought Stitch was going to get him, so we avoided anything Stitch-related if we possibly could. 2 days later, we went to Epcot, and wouldn’t you know: Stitch was at the entrance of the park greeting kids and taking photos. My husband and I hadn’t even noticed him before our son screamed and ran away in the opposite direction. It took him years and many attempts at watching the movie later for him to finally get over his fear of Stitch. One of the last times we went, he got a picture taken with Stitch just to prove he was over his fear, and even bought Stitch socks.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, they say no trip is complete without a ride on Space Mountain, which in 5th on their list. Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is their choice as an absolute must-hit, and they call it “a one-of-a-kind experience that needs to be seen to be believed”.
While I think they did a good job, I definitely don’t agree with their top ten. Here are my top ten rides/attractions at Disney World, with the caveat that I have not ridden the new Slinky Roller Coaster in the new Toy Story Area at Hollywood Studios:
10. Big Thunder Mountain– this is a staple at Disney and we love riding it, especially when there’s no line and we can get on it over and over again.
9. The Seven Dwarves Mine Train– great little coaster, and the video and pictures they take on it are always fun!
8. Space Mountain– a classic roller coaster that I have to go on at least once every time I go. I’m always a little afraid it will decapitate me, but it hasn’t yet.
7. Kali River Rapids- I love a good rapids ride at any theme park, and this one is one of the best I’ve been on. You WILL get soaked, guaranteed.
6. Splash Mountain- This one is great because it’s a longer ride, and the end is always epic. You WILL get wet to some degree!
5. Star Tours- I love this one because I love Star Wars, and I love that there are different scenarios you can go on, so your ride can be different every time.
4. Rock’n Roller Coaster- the fastest coaster at Disney, and one of my all-time faves. It’s a little outdated… pretty sure the Aerosmith stuff is from the 90s… but it’s still a great ride!
3. Everest- this coaster is only slightly above Rock’n Roller Coaster, but I put it one higher because it has a bigger drop, backwards motion, and great views of the park.
2. Tower of Terror– This ride was my favorite until the Avatar ride came along. I’m obviously a thrill-ride girl, and this one is just my favorite. The spooky theme, the drops, the windows opening so you can see Hollywood Studios- it’s all fantastic. I think I prefer it at night, but I’ll go any time of day. I also love the video and pictures they take while on the ride. My only gripe- when people put their arms up on the ride and your/your kid’s face gets hidden in the picture & video. It’s a bummer.
1. Avatar Flight of Passage- we waited 3ish hours for this ride when it was new, which at the time was one of the fastest wait times, but it was SO worth it. We got there the week it opened, so no Fast Passes were given. The technology they use on this is outstanding, and the visuals are stunning. I’d wait another 3 hours for this one. Our Italian foreign exchange student loved it so much she got off of it crying. That’s how visually stunning and immersive it is.
Spaceship Earth– I love this nostalgic ride. I go on it every trip and it never gets old. It’s like looking at Disney World’s time capsule.
Kilimanjaro Safari- We always have a great time on the safari. We’ve had giraffes stick their head in our car which was pretty cool. I highly recommend it.
Soarin’- They updated this a few years ago, and it’s still great! The old one was just the United States, and now it’s international. It’s worth the wait.