Top 10 Disney Ride Vehicles

Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Dumbo the Flying Elephant - Photo by Steps to Magic

When you visit the local fair, there are rollercoasters and spinners, flume rides and dark rides…but no one brings a story to life like the Walt Disney Imagineers.

With the features that most guests don’t notice (because they blend in so well), or the iconic nature of an “industry-first”, there’s more to an attraction than a great logo and good IP (intellectual property).

These are my Top 10 Favorite Disney Ride Vehicles


SPLASH MOUNTAIN

The attention to detail is what brings this classic “log flume” ride into the Disney realm and onto our list. Brer Rabbit is your hero for this adventure, and he does everything to get your party through the adventures and into Briar Patch away from the dangers that are in the mountain.

Thinking about how much time we spend standing on the bridge while countless logs are brought back to earth through the use of gravity and a 60 ft hill – there’s a reason why we love this vehicle so much!

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN

When you step into the boat at Pirates of the Caribbean, you’re setting foot in an adventure that will bring you face to face with dastardly pirates…and Captain Jack Sparrow. I’ve always loved the feeling that you get when you’re going down the drop and crashing into a wall of water without getting soaked, and for that reason (and many others) the boat makes its way onto our list.

Oh, and props to the operations of the ride, as the cast members don’t squish too many guests in the same row with you.

SOARIN’

When the initial concept for the ride vehicle was revealed, engineer Mark Summer was the star. He showcased how Imagineering thinks about concepts…with the end goal and bringing in outside ideas. Who’d a thunk that an Erector Set would be the basis of an attraction that has been duplicated in both US properties, Shanghai and Tokyo DisneySea?

The best part about this ride vehicle are all the hidden elements that translate into an awe-inspiring adventure for guests of all ages. The ability to tilt and tip along with the scent elements bring this from an off-the-shelf Imax movie into a fully immersive classic Disney attraction.

Related Article – EPCOT Guest Mistakes

JUNGLE CRUISE

I’m not the biggest fan of the Jungle Cruise, as I feel like the Skippers have been stuck on a script for too long and aren’t able to stretch their comedic chops…but that doesn’t differentiate from the fact that the boats are decked out in elements of the story.

I love the details, from the names of each vessel to the jokes that the skippers tell that incorporate the boat…like “If you feel your feet getting wet as you leave the boat, you’ve probably gone out the wrong side. Don’t fall in the water as you leave… we’ll have to charge you extra.”

Related Article – Jungle Cruise Tips



TOWER OF TERROR

When you’re walking down Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the screams coming from the Tower of Terror are deafening. Yes, the technology and storyline are impressive, but the main focus of the attraction is by far the elevators.

Not only are they on a trackless system, but they are able to be repurposed to change with the times…like what happened over at Disney California Adventure’s new E-Ticket: Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!

DUMBO

The iconic flying elephant is a right of passage for kids and first-time visitors to the Magic Kingdom. Not only do you get to ride the most famous pachyderm, but you get to listen to the one and only Timothy Mouse!



TOY STORY MIDWAY MANIA

This is the ultimate ride vehicle for this attraction, as it’s agile and designed to bring the game to life. The shooter cannons are great and the fact that you’re subjected to wind, water and movements just make this a great addition to the list!

FLIGHT OF PASSAGE

Although most guests haven’t had the chance to experience the new E-Ticket experience at Pandora: The World of Avatar, the ride vehicles are futuristic and reliable at the same time. The look and feel of the banshees bring you into the attraction in a way that no other vehicle could offer.

Grab a FastPass+ reservation and you’ll see why the attraction is a Must-See at Walt Disney World already!

BTW…this is a gateway experience to the Tron coaster…so expect to be amazed!

PETER PAN’S FLIGHT

One of my first attractions that I ever rode at the Magic Kingdom was Peter Pan’s Flight. The historical significance mixed in with the constant never-ending lines shows me that the pirate ships (powered by Pixie Dust) are as integral to Disney guests than most any other experience.

Remember…it’s a ride vehicle that runs on an over-head track…but yet it still brings a smile to the faces of thousands of kids and adults daily!

*HONORABLE MENTION

Expedition Everest! The ride vehicles add to the already exhilarating experience in your quest to get to the Forbidden Mountain, but there’s a big issue…which is why it didn’t rank on my official list. Not everyone can ride it. As it’s a rollercoaster, there are folks who either can’t ride it due to health issues or they just don’t like coasters.

The fact that it goes backwards and is your vehicle to meet the Yeti face-to-face means that it’s an awesome vehicle…but this is an inclusive list.



HAUNTED MANSION

The DoomBuggy is classic, timeless and breathtaking on every level imaginable. The features which allows you to go swivel on a moving track in order to go backwards down a hill AND still over a freeing sense of adventure is my kind of ride-vehicle.

Yes, kids get a little scared when you first explain that it’s a haunted house, but most want to get back in line after getting through…and most of that comes from the DoomBuggy experience. Perfection!


Did I miss any? What would you put on this list? I really want to know! 

What is your favorite ride vehicle and why?  Which one would you most love to take home? Let me know on social media and we’ll chat! I’m always open to new ideas…especially on opinion pieces like this!

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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