With the continuous technological improvements in Theme Park design, the landscape for experiences that involve multiple audio animatronics are becoming too costly to build and maintain.
As we go into the next generation of attractions, the goal will be to bring highly themed environments with repeatability instead of having those classic pneumatic figures of the era gone by.
Ranking Screen-Based Attractions at Walt Disney World
Let’s add our editor’s notes, because this will be a little bit of a mixed bag of fun. Screens are the focal point of most of these experiences, but they can also be an add-on depending on the attraction. I’ve included games, 3D, CircleVision360 and Interaction…but that’s because screens are screens.
I’m also putting repeatability and updates into my thoughts, however it’s important to realize that this is 100% subjective and completely my opinion. If there are attractions and experiences that you believe would be best in a different ranking OR things that aren’t on the list when you think they should be, just let me know:)
Flight of Passage
The screen is used as a way to transport guests into a world that they have only seen in the movies, so mixed with the ride vehicles and overall experience, Flight of Passage is the best use of screens at Walt Disney World!
I lost the coin flip on this one, because I’m usually needing to spend a little bit of time on the bench after riding Star Tours because of the motion simulator. That being said, the repeatability is high and as Star Wars becomes a bigger part of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we’re going to get more and more immersion into these epic storylines.
Soarin’ Over the World
There’s been discussions about whether the original was better than the current Soarin’ Around the World film. I’m open to these conversations but the fact that the screen is as impressive as it is, we’re in the same territory as Flight of Passage with immersion and excitement!
Turtle Talk with Crush
You can be excused if you didn’t think about this as a screen-based experience, but that’s just because the voice-actors who bring Crush and friends to life are so awesome!
Toy Story Mania
Even as fun as the game is, Toy Story Mania is just that….a game! In fact, I’ve always been wanting Disney Interactive to sell the ride vehicle as an addition to the Wii game;) #WishfulThinking
Hand-drawn animation mixed in with classic Disney music brings this into a nostalgic part of the list, because in the end…it’s a movie that has a few 4D effects (like smells and water spritzes). Overall, it’s not an attraction that I’d ever use a FastPass+ reservation for and will actually only see when it’s raining or incredibly hot and I need a break from the Florida weather.
Cheap tricks mixed in with a film that’s I find interesting because it was the last thing that Jim Henson was working on…but outside of that, it’s an experience that the screen actually hinders. In fact, if you look closely, there’s so many defects on the screen itself that it’s frustrating to try to ignore them.
But then Sweetums comes out to save the day and everyone was happy!
It’s Tough to be a Bug
I’ve been trying to figure out how the Tree of Life has been home to such a lacklustre opening-day screen-based attraction and STILL hasn’t come up with a replacement. My question to you is…when was the last time you watched A Bugs Life? Exactly;)
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Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor
My issue with Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor isn’t about the screen, but how this attraction is in Tomorrowland??? It’s the same concept as Turtle Talk with Crush, but yet the location and the content make it so the quality of the voice-actors seem to just be an after-thought when comparing to other attractions.
World Showcase Movies
O Canada, Reflections of China and Impressions de France are all in the same boat and so I’ve lumped them all together at the bottom of the list. Updates or not, the technology and the quality of the attractions just aren’t in the same league as the other screen-based attractions on this list.
In fact, even as a Canadian who worked in the Canadian Pavilion, I’m embarrassed when I see folks coming out of the movie thinking that the stereotypes and troupes that are used in the making of this (and the other World Showcase movies) because we’ve moved beyond a movie filmed in the 1980’s. Even with the update that brought Martin Short into the starring role made it so there was a timestamp on the film, so instead of being timeless…it was a period that can be pinpointed and doesn’t reflect the constant evolution of the world.
Putting this list together was a blast because it’s all about putting things into perspective. A vacation to Walt Disney World is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for some, so knowing which attractions to avoid and which experiences are worth your investment of time and energy is all part of the planning process.
Screen-based experiences are here to stay and will continue to evolve throughout the theme park industry. Hopefully we’ll see more repeatability (like Star Tours) and less traditional movie-based static attractions that never get updated (like those in the World Showcase).