Once you get to Disney… the Rides!

Partners in … magic?

So, you've chosen your hotel, decided which parks to visit, bought tickets, connected your MagicBands, and figured out transportation. What now?

Well, if I were you, I'd start planning out my trip. For example, what rides do you anticipate doing? The following are a few lists of my favorite.

Fast/Scary Rides…

If you are interested in any of the rides on this list, be sure to get a FastPass+ if you can or know how. The ride waits for these rides can be an hour+ if you go during busy times of the year.

1. I highly recommend Splash Mountain above any others you might try at the Magic Kingdom. The story is based on Disney's Song of the South and the ride features a 50-foot drop from a mountain into the water where, of course, there is a possibility you could get splashed. The ride is pretty cute even before the splash as you follow the story of Brer Rabbit in his attempt to find his "laughing place"; you can't help but become immersed in the story until, all of a sudden, your watercraft shoots down a waterfall bringing you back into reality. In my humble opinion, everyone should ride Splash Mountain at least once in their lifetime, even if my husband hasn't…

2. Knowing that I wouldn't get the chance to ride Splash Mountain, my husband and I decided to take on Expedition Everest in the Animal Kingdom. From afar, it looks like the same style roller coaster – people screaming as they ride down a mountain. The experience, however, is far different! With an 80ft drop and a top speed of 50mph, the ride goes back through a dark tunnel in an incredibly unique storytelling experience of a Yeti that chases mountain visitors and tears up the train tracks the visitors are on along the way. Aside from seeing all of the animals at the Animal Kingdom, I think this is one of the best rides at the park.

3. Space Mountain is third on my list of fast and scary rides because not only is this a roller coaster, but it's a roller coaster ride that takes place in the dark with riders seated one by one as they are rocketed into space. With a top speed of 27mph (soooo fast!) and a 26ft drop, the darkness that consumes you makes the ride feel much faster and like it has more of a drop than it does! Being the oldest roller coaster at Orlando's Disney World, this ride is a must for any classicist visiting Disney.

Just when you think you know what's coming, something unexpected happens!

4. While Tower of Terror is one of the better knowns of the Hollywood Studios attractions, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is my personal favorite. I must admit that I was a bit nervous waiting in line to ride my first inverted roller coaster, but tips from a girl in her early teens, along with Aerosmith's fantastic music made the fast ride all the more fun. Plus, the pre-show was really cute. :)

5.Test Track is the only ride at EPCOT that is for the daring, and even it isn't that scary. With a top speed of almost 65mph, the most you do is take turns a little too fast and stop a little too short in a car you have designed "yourself", or at least that's what they tell you. It's fun for the fast and the furious, but it is not your typical roller coaster, so don't get your hopes up there.

For the Classicist…

If you are venturing to the parks for the classic rides, these are the ones I recommend.

1. Splash Mountain is my favorite Disney ride ever. :)

2. It's important to get the song from It's A Small World stuck in your head at least once during the trip. Plus, it's pretty amazing seeing what Disney has done with the scenery and all of the animatronic dolls. You'll either love it or it will creep you out. It's hard to say which. :)

3. An oldy but goody that is another love it or hate it ride is the Carousel of Progress. A ride built for the 1964 New York's World Fair, the carousel is more or less a theatre that takes you through the growth and development of electronics throughout the 19th century. While it might be entertaining for elementary school children, I don't recommend this "ride" for anyone younger. The history, while presented in what I consider to be a fun way, will not necessarily entertain young kids and I imagine they will get antsy during the 20-minute presentation.

Not just a giant golf ball, but a ride too!

4. Moving forward to EPCOT, I highly recommend another history-oriented ride, Spaceship Earth, found in that big golf ball –the iconic park symbol. The 15-minute ride takes you from prehistoric times all the way up through mass communication with the end asking you to create your own future. Unlike Carousel of Progress, this visuals will probably keep young kids entertained even if they don't pick up on any of the history. :)

5. Then there is Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, a ride that is a reminder of supernatural elements and brings out The Twilight Zone in all of us.

And a Few Extras…

The following are extra rides that don't really fit into a list that I recommend while visiting the parks:

At Magic Kingdom – Pirates of the Caribbean (beautiful, similar to It's A Small World)), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (another roller coaster), The Haunted Mansion (fantastic visuals, another classic!), Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (a game within a ride!), and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (roller coaster)

At EPCOT – Living With the Land (agricultural focus, very informational), Mission: Space (centrifugal motion simulator thrill ride), Grand Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (explore Mexico by boat!)

"I'm brushing up on looking down! I'm working on my roar!"
(from the song "I Just Can't Wait To Be King")

At Animal Kingdom – Kilimanjaro Safari (to see animals, of course!), Kali River Rapids (you'll get wet!), and Dinosaur (another simulated type tour ride).

At Hollywood Studios – The Great Movie Ride (motion picture history in a ride + live action performance), Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! (stunt show), and, The Osborne Dancing Lights (Christmas)* is not to be missed!

Also, be sure to see Wishes!, the nightly fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom, and Illuminations, the fireworks show at EPCOT. Both are fantastic and worth seeing!

What do you think of my ride selections? If you've been to Disney World before, are there any others you think I should have included?

* Osborne Dancing Lights has been removed as of December 2015.

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