20 Best Rides at Disney World

When I’m asked to give ideas for a Disney trip, the rides are some of the best conversation topics and turn into the best memories in the de-brief after. All of my trips to Walt Disney World are so unique and exciting that it makes me really struggle with the question “where do I start?”.

Is it a simple list with photos, or should I really delve into the individual attractions that can make or break your entire vacation?

The answer is “yes”;)

This is my list, so don’t be surprised when you see some glaring absences, as there are attractions that I just don’t find appealing. This isn’t a ‘Disney PR’ marketing list.

BEST OF THE PARKS

HAUNTED MANSION (BEST IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM)

Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

Disney story-telling at its very best, the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom brings you into the depths of a mansion which happens to be home to 999 happy haunts.

The goal for this attraction is to be there first thing in the morning and ride it it throughout the day. It’s that good!

Tip – Riding at nighttime vs daytime is a completely different experience.


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SOARIN OVER THE WORLD (BEST IN EPCOT)

Soarin’ at EPCOT (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

With the newest edition of this import from the Disney Decade, Soarin Over the World is not to be missed. First off, the attractions in EPCOT are few and far between, but when you look at the quality of the footage and the story combined – Just do it!

Tip – Ask to sit in the middle of the row, as the outside seats can be jarring.

TWILIGHT ZONE TOWER OF TERROR (DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS)

Dusk at the Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

“What goes up MUST come down”! The attention to detail in the Hollywood Tower Hotel is by far and away more than just a simple theme park ride…it’s an attraction that stands the test of time. Guests continue to find new details and fall more and more in love (get it, because it’s an elevator) every time that they experience the Twilight Zone!

Tip – Do something funny for the on ride photo, because it’s one that will be plastered all over your facebook for years to come!

RISE OF THE RESISTANCE (DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS)

When you think about Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, the main experience within this immersive land definitely deserves to be on this list!

The reason why it’s not at the top is because there are still kinks and guest flow issues that will only be solved with time and dedication. Just know that it’s an incredible attraction and definitely worth experiencing!!

EXPEDITION EVEREST (BEST IN DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM)

I was skeptical when this was announced for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but wow has the Yeti been welcomed into the family of Disney villains! We all know the mechanical wonders that went into the attraction (ride vehicle that goes backward, three separate structures built together, etc)  however the fact that an attraction has been this popular for this long is so incredible.

Tip – Don’t worry about going in the front row because the LAST ROW is actually the best, if you like a more thrilling ride!


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BEST OF THE REST (DARK RIDES)

PETER PAN’S FLIGHT

“You can Fly You can Fly” and although it’s a simple concept of a flying boat taking you on a scene by scene retelling of the original Disney masterpiece, Peter Pan’s Flight still has lines that range in the 1-2 hours constantly.

Tip – If you do it first thing in the morning, you’re good to go as a walk-on because everyone’s in line for Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train!

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN

An attraction based off of a story, which in tune set the PotC franchise into the stratosphere and is still going! We love going back time and time again, especially at night when you may (just may) get your own boat;)

Tip – The Imagineers love “plus-ing” this attraction! Keep an eye out for the latest additions all over the place!

SPACESHIP EARTH

When trying to describe Spaceship Earth to guests, it’s important to point out that this is the signature attraction for the original EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow). Does it mean that it’s boring? Absolutely not! You’ve got to go into it knowing that it’s an educational experience and to look for the hidden details:

The Paper Boy, The Steve Jobs cameo, and the Best Smell in EPCOT (Burning Rome) is something that you should definitely thank the Phoenicians for!

Tip – Don’t rope drop this attraction. Go back mid-morning, as the lines will have gone down as guests continue through to the middle of the park and back to the World Showcase.


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REST OF THE BEST

STAR TOURS: THE ADVENTURES CONTINUES

Trust is important within the Star Wars universe, and there’s no one better to put your life in the hands of than C-3P0! The ride simulator has gotten smoother, the destinations are memorable and the characters of the Star Wars universe are EVERYWHERE!

Tip – If you get disorientated, just close your eyes. It’ll help:) To avoid motion sickness I also recommend sitting in the centre aisle in the middle. It has the least motion whereas, the front and back row has the most.

TOY STORY MANIA

I was at the opening for Toy Story Mania when it was still called Toy Story MIDWAY Mania, and it’s still one of my favourite games in Disney World. The replay-ability of this attraction, mixed with the overall joy that kids get when they beat their parents is absolutely hilarious!

Tip – Don’t worry about accuracy, as it doesn’t count towards your score!

KALI RIVER RAPIDS

Remember all those posts about bringing a poncho to Walt Disney World that we have on our site…yea, bring a poncho on Kali River Rapids! It’s a great water ride when you’re looking to get soaked in the summer and an even better attraction when you want to get off your feet for a while after treking around the Animal Kingdom!

Tip – The waterproof pouch in the middle of the vehicle isn’t big enough for everyone’s bag, so bring a ziplock bag for your valuables (wallet, phone, etc)


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KILIMANJARO SAFARIS

I love this attraction for so many reasons, but the main point is that it sits on 100 acres…which is actually bigger than Disneyland! Grab your camera with a nice LONG lens and get ready to photograph a bunch of sleeping lions, roaming giraffes and flamingos that just stand around all day;)

Tip – If you’re a photographer, don’t sit in the middle. In fact, the best seat is actually on the far inside when you first board the vehicle.

SPACE MOUNTAIN

If you’re tall, be prepared to be a little worse-for-wear when you get off of Space Mountain. It’s not designed for the tall or the larger amongst us…but it’s still a classic Disney rollercoaster that you should ride over and over!

Tip – The on-ride photo is right at the beginning of the track, so be prepared!

Tron Lightcycle

It’s Tron.

The only downfall right now is the virtual queue, but keep trying and you’ll find a way to experience the latest and greatest coaster-like experience in WDW.

THE SEAS WITH NEMO AND FRIENDS

Life is definitely better in the Big Blue World, and although the attraction was a Pixar overlay of the original Living Seas ride, it’s better than the alternative of an EPCOT without the Seas pavilion! Pay attention to all the details, including a special appearance by a Kuka Arm (same technology as the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios Orlando), which helps bring the Angler Fish to life!

Tip – When you get off the attraction, don’t be in a rush to leave the building. Stop and see the dolphins, turtles, sharks and manatees!


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FROZEN EVER AFTER

Is it better than Maelstrom? Does it belong in the World Showcase? Does Frozen take place in Norway? All of these questions are forgotten when you ride this charming water ride and see the technological advances that the Imagineers have been playing with in the years since the World Showcase was completed.

Tip – Be prepared for heavy crowds, as outside of the Frozen Sing-a-long at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this is the only place on the property to see the characters of the film!

JUNGLE CRUISE

We love the Jungle Cruise, so much so that we have an article detailing our favourite jokes and puns that the skippers tell as part of the two-week adventure through the most adventurous rivers in the world. Do you want to see the Backside of Water? Do you want to take photos of elephants that have their trunks on? Yup, we do too!

Tip – every ride is different depending on the skipper involved.


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ROCK ‘N’ ROLLERCOASTER

0-60mph in 2.8 seconds…and then they snap a photo of you! That sounds like fun right? I love this attraction, but when you’re not a fan of coasters…it may not be as enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to ask to use the ‘Chicken Exit’ if you still want to go through the queue line and see all the awesome details!

Tip – Do the rock-on hand symbol because it’s awesome!

BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD

This here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness! When you ride a run-a-way train through treacherous badlands, anything can happen. Just hang on and you’ll be fun!

Tip – This ride breaks down a lot. Just take it in stride and remember that you’re still at Disney World!

GREAT MOVIE RIDE (GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!)

Let’s go to the movies! Such an awesome experience and we miss it dearly!


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DINOSAUR

The history of Dinosaurs is well documented but this attraction still brings in huge crowds daily. From the name change to the numerous audio animatronics and one of the best pre-shows in all of the Disney Parks worldwide, the details are endless.

This attraction that brings us in a Time Rover to collect a hitchhiker from the past, and will make you forget that you’re in a building that was once sponsored by McDonald’s 😉

Tip – Watch the pre-show on youtube before going on this ride and you’ll be so much happier in life:)

SEVEN DWARF’S MINE TRAIN

Oh if you didn’t think that the thought didn’t pass through my mind to put this as the best in the Magic Kingdom, you’re nuts! Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train is by far and away one of the top attractions that you must experience over and over (and over and over). It brings together great storytelling, fun thrills for families and is still exciting for adults!


So what do you think of our list? It’s obvious that we missed a ton of amazing attractions, but we had to keep it to 20! If we wanted to do the Top 50, then we’d have things like Test Track, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid and Turtle Talk with Crush! So many options:)

Dustin Fuhshttp://www.stepstomagic.com
I’m Dustin Fuhs, a theme park fanatic that has created this platform to showcase my passion, tools and opinions to create a fun and interactive experience for everyone who visits. My goal is to help you and your family have the most magical experience at Walt Disney World. In reading my articles and ideas, I hope that you can find some fantastic ways to bring your dreams into reality!

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