My top 10 favorite Disney World attractions

by Shannon Albert · 28 comments · Like the Facebook page

My top 10 favorite Disney World attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comPreviously, I’ve written about which rides or shows I’d recommend skipping, but what about the ones I think you should do?

These are so many to choose from, but these are the 10 Disney World attractions I don’t think anybody should miss…

10. Enchanted Tales with Belle

I think this super new attraction has become the most difficult thing to do in all of Disney World since it’s new, lines build up quickly and there’s no FastPass (yet!).

We are not even into characters at our house, but loved this for the technology. After you see the animatronics on Enchanted Tales with Belle, everything else will seem old-fashioned.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Tip: Arrive at Magic Kingdom by 8:15 or so and head straight to this attraction to avoid long lines. You could also wait until later in the day when lines have gone down.

9. Kali River Rapids

Ahhh, the ride that so many avoid because they don’t want to get soaked. They’re missing out on a great experience all because of a little (OK, a lot) water.

I’ve mostly visited Disney World when it’s hot and I wear flip flops a lot, so getting wet doesn’t really bother me. Wearing a poncho is always an option for people who are freaked out by being doused.

We’ve been to a lot of theme parks and most have a river rapids-style ride, but you’ll never see one as beautiful as Kali River Rapids. If you can stop thinking about if/when you’ll get hit by a rush of water, take a moment to look around at the scenery.

Let’s ride along from the comfort of home where we can stay nice and dry and watch other people get their shorts wet…

Tip: Aside from wearing a poncho, another good tip for this ride is that it’s often dead in the morning, so if you ride Expedition Everest and head over to Kali, there’s a good chance you’ll get to ride multiple times.

8. Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor and Turtle Talk with Crush

OK, this might seem like cheating to put 2 different attractions from 2 different parks together, but the reason that we love them so much is the same: the technology behind both.

Actors with controllers are out-of-sight and maneuvering the animated characters on screen that interact with the audience. Every showing of each of these attractions follows the same format, but they turn out differently depending on the audience.

Watch Crush assist in a wedding proposal (this video was taken at California Adventure but Turtle Talk with Crush is the same at Disney World). Awwww…

Tip: Before heading into Monsters, Inc., Laugh Floor, think of a corny joke that you can text in and you might see it on the screen.

7. Tower of Terror

At our local Six Flags, I will ride all rides except for the one that lifts you up and drops you several stories over and over again, but….

…I love Tower of Terror. I know; it doesn’t make any sense.

The theming is some of the best Disney has ever done and the drops are randomized each time so it’s slightly different each time you ride.

Take a look…

Tip: Lines on this ride have been fairly long recently. If you can, grab a FP for this before riding Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and then head back to ride it after RnR.

6. Toy Story Midway Mania

For many years, this has been the most popular ride at Disney World with the longest lines and FastPass return times that can be sooo far away.

But it’s fun. Especially when you’re the third person of the day to ride (like my son and I were on our last trip) and can avoid the lines.

It’s one of those attractions that everybody can enjoy, which is why it appears on every trip plan and touring plan that I’ve created.

It’s hard to capture this ride since you wear 3D glasses the whole time but this will give you an idea…

Tip: Check out this list of tips to learn some of the secrets to getting a high score.

5. Festival of the Lion King

Lion King is my favorite Disney movie, my favorite soundtrack (especially the Broadway version), we’ve seen the live version of the Broadway production and the beginning of “Circle of Life” was my ring tone for a long time until just recently.

No big shock: I looove the production of Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom as well.

Side note: A few months after Animal Kingdom opened in the 90s (and way before I had been to AK), I sat next to a guy on an airplane ride who explained to me that he was a professional gymnast who worked in a Lion King show at Animal Kingdom. I had no idea what he was saying, but now I realize that he must have been one of the flying monkeys in the show.

Here’s a clip…

Tip: Try to sit in one of the first few rows, but since they aren’t elevated, make sure your view isn’t obstructed by people in front of you.

4. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

At the risk of sounding like a fan girl of everything, I also totally love Aerosmith. The music that plays while waiting on this ride makes me happy.

And no matter how many times I ride it, I’ll never not scream as soon as it takes off. There’s none of that build up that you’d normally have on a roller coaster; you just TAKE OFF.

Like this….

Tip: The ride photo for this ride is taken as soon as it takes off so smile big while you wait for it to launch (or close your eyes and scream like I do).

3. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

We’ve clocked dozens of rides on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. It’s probably my very favorite ride for the whole family.

If you hit it at the right time (within the first hour or so of the Magic Kingdom opening), you should be able to ride it over and over without a line. Lots of kids love it, so being able to do it multiple times is a lot of fun.

Here’s a taste….

Tip: Get the low down on how to score high on Buzz with these tips.

2. Soarin’

Awww, the ride that turns me into a total sap for some reason. I love, love, love sitting next to first-time riders because the ride is so unique that they never know what to expect and almost always results in “wowwwww” from them.

Although it’s impossible to get the full effect from a video, here’s a preview….

Tip: Request to sit in the front row to avoid having dangling feet obstruct your view.

1. Expedition Everest

I love this ride so much.

I’d love it even more if the Yeti worked.

I’m not normally a fan of rides that go backward, but this one is amazing. Like Kali River Rapids, it’s just gorgeous to view the scenery as you ride and the ride itself is so much fun.

From the safety of your couch, let’s ride along…

Tip: Although the height requirement will allow anybody over 44″ to ride, I’d caution you against taking young kids on it. I’ve seen more than one first grader shaking and crying afterward because they weren’t prepared for the intensity of the ride.

My top 10 favorite Disney World attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comMy top 10 favorite Disney World attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comMy top 10 favorite Disney World attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comMy top 10 favorite Disney World attractions from
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{ 28 comments (add yours) }

Andy July 6, 2013 at 5:19 am

I haven’t been to Disney World in years. Since I was a child. I’m from the UK and have had the pleasure of going to both the one in California and Florida. I have kids of my own now so would be great to ake them both there. I’m sure it has changed a lot.


Kelsey May 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

Forgot to mention this – we saw Enchanted Tales with Belle while we were there in early April. We have no children, but still found it entertaining. The technology alone is worth going to see, for sure! And, it’s always fun to watch kids having fun, even if they aren’t your kids. Belle was very sweet to the kids, and there were PhotoPass photographers there taking pictures of the kids as they participated, which was very cool, I thought.


Shannon Albert May 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm

These are my exact feelings about ETwB. It’s a sweet attraction w/cool technology.


Kelsey May 8, 2013 at 11:28 am

Oh goodness, having to pick my top 10 overall is difficult! I agree with most of yours – I ALWAYS have to go to Soarin (missed it this last trip – we chose to get FPs for the new Test Track instead) and Rock’n’Roller Coaster. Those are absolute must-dos. I suppose my top 10 would be:
10) Expedition Everest (if we even go to AK – it’s our least favorite park, so sometimes we skip the park altogether if we are short on time)
9) Eating at Prime Time Cafe – We love to eat here! Large portions (we often share a meal), and it’s so immersive and interactive. Great experience!
8) The Little Mermaid (the new ride) – we didn’t expect to be able to ride this due to long lines, but we walked on to this ride 3 times on our trip in April! Granted, I have always been a huge Ariel fan (I have red hair and was the right age when the movie was popular), so that is probably why I like this ride so much, but the new technology is always impressive.
7) The (soon-to-be) husband always insists that we watch the Indiana Jones show. I have to admit, I’m a fan of this one, too.
6) Lights, Motors, Action motor stunt show – absolutely amazing! And always a little bit different.
5) Thunder Mountain (what trip to MK is complete without the infamous Mountains?)
4) Splash Mountain (I wouldn’t even ride this until this past May, now it’s one of my favorites!)
3) Space Mountain (especially after dark – you can see a lot of the details that you miss during the day!)
2) Rock’n’Roller Coaster
1) Soarin’

I never have ridden Tower of Terror. I hated the Superman ride at our local Six Flags (which is no longer there), so I’ve never been brave enough to ride it, but my (soon-to-be) husband loves the story telling part of the ride, and swears he will make me ride it during our honeymoon next month. We will see…


Shannon Albert May 8, 2013 at 11:55 am

We used to have season passes to Six Flags and we still have the Superman ride there. It’s the only ride I won’t ride but I love Tower of Terror. My son is the opposite. Doesn’t make much sense but you might like Tower of Terror. Your fiance is right – the theming/story is awesome.


Flo April 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Expedition Everest is the bomb!!!! My husband doesn’t ride coasters so I ride by myself, and it’s always fun to see the expression of whoever I end up sitting with if they have never ridden it before. I also love the Buzz Lightyear ride as well, we always compete to see who gets the better score.


Cecilia March 8, 2013 at 7:39 pm

I went to Disney World for the first time in February, and I loved Expedition Everest. Space Mountain was also was one of my favorites!!


Hannelore March 1, 2013 at 9:03 pm

We just got back and tried for 2 days to do the Belle attraction. The lines never seemed to go down, even during the evening fireworks! You really have to go there first thing if you don’t want to wait over an hour.


Kristy February 28, 2013 at 9:51 pm

The top 10 attractions for me (in no particular order, since it’s so hard to rank them) would be:

1. Enchanted Tales with Belle
2. Splash Mountain
3. Expedition Everest
4. Rockin’ Roller Coaster
5. Tower of Terror (and really, Shannon?! You won’t ride Superman? I love it!)
6. Toy Story Midway Mania
7. Haunted Mansion
8. Festival of the Lion King
9. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
10. Animation Academy


Shannon Albert February 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Love your list! Not only do I dislike Superman and love Tower of Terror, but my son is the opposite. We don’t make sense.


James February 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Number 1 and number 4 I could probably ride all day, every day and be fine!
With number 10, however (Be aware, this is coming from someone who hasn’t been to it) I can’t see how that would be entertaining… from what I have seen (again, no first hand experience) its a show where Bell and some characters pretend along with ‘some’ kids… while everyone else (including other kids) stands around and watches…? I love the special effects of the encounter (ESPECIALLY the mirror that turns into a door, AWESOME!) other than that, can’t say I will rush to that one on our next visit :-/ Good list!


Shannon Albert February 28, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I can totally see how you’d think that. The video above shows what it was and, you’re right, that’s basically what it is. Since I don’t have little kids anymore, I love watching all of the other kids have fun during the show. Pretty much all kids who want a part in the show will get one.

The technology is worth seeing once though! You should try to fit it in at least for that.


Kristy February 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm

My understanding is that any child who wants to participate will be able to. My hubby got chosen to be one of the suits of armor and my 4-year-old really, really wanted to participate. After all the parts were handed out, the CM asked if there were any other kids who wanted to be in the story, and my son and another child raised their hands so they were given parts of flatware and a dinner plate. The only kids that didn’t participate were those who were too young (like my 2-year-old) or that didn’t want to.


Jody February 28, 2013 at 11:20 am

Variety is the spice of life and I guess that’s why there is such a variety at Disney. I love most everything at Disney but my faves would differ from yours slightly. Not a fan of the Buzz Lightyear ride at MK. Also, only like Kali if it’s plenty warm and I am dressed to get wet. The center area even got soaked my last ride so people’s bags were even wet. I do love the experience of it though. Splash Mountain is at the top of my to-do. Haven’t been to the new Fantasyland yet but my son and family just returned and said their 16 month old was enthraled with Belle.


Shannon Albert February 28, 2013 at 11:26 am

Yes, Splash is a good one, too. It would’ve made it into my top 15 list for sure.


Jennifer February 28, 2013 at 11:08 am

Enchanted Tales with Belle – totally awesome AND if someone in your party participates AND you have a Disney Photopass – you get pictures (during the performance and with Belle at the end). So – sit back and relax and enjoy the show and let the professionals take the pictures.

I can’t do motion rides (like Soaring) or roller coasters due to my vertigo and I don’t like to get wet (ewe – wet socks and underwear are not fun!). But I know for other members of my family – Soaring, Everest, and Tower of Terror are a must. This is one of the biggest reasons I LOVE Disney – I don’t have to enjoy these rides to enjoy Disney. There are plenty of other things to see and do.

I prefer Nemo over Lion King. Lion King is fun, but I feel like they need to change it up a bit and update it for those of us who have seen it 20+ times (for 1st timers – it is a must). Maybe they will change it when they move the location of the show? Nemo is very broadway like and I love the puppets and puppeteers – they really make the show come alive.

I know it sounds a little weird but eating at Disney is one of the Biggest Attractions for me. They have some of the best food I have ever had. Having had the opportunity in our past visit to Disney a few weeks ago to dine at Be Our Guest – this event would be my #2 under Enchanted Tales. The atmosphere was amazing and the food was even better. Disney hit this “come to life” attraction out of the park (as they usually do).

I would also like to add that I am very impressed with the new updated Dumbo attraction that makes waiting in line way more fun. You get a pager and your kid plays in a giant circus themed playroom while you wait. Totally awesome Disney!!!!

My TOP 10:
1) Enchanted Tales with Belle
2) Eating at Be Our Guest – Dinner
3) Toy Story Mania
4) Spaceship Earth
5) Primeval Whirl (only “roller coaster” I can ride)
6) Animation Studio (get to learn how to draw a Disney character and get a cool souvenir
7) Peter Pan
8) Pirates (they added Mermaids!)
9) Princess Meet and Greet in Magic Kingdom
10) The Butterfinger cupcake in Hollywood Studios (it is the bomb)


Shannon Albert February 28, 2013 at 11:25 am

I love your list so much because it’s so different from mine, but I can see why you could love those things except for Primeval Whirl. PW is a similar idea to a ride we have at the Six Flags here and we love that ride so I expected to love PW. I really, really don’t like it though.


Kristy February 28, 2013 at 9:43 pm

My family calls it Primeval Hurl, LOL. I don’t like it either, but I do like said Six Flags ride okay. My teens LOVE the Animation Academy – they could sit in there all day! I could too but hubby wouldn’t love having the toddlers to himself that whole time. ;-)


Amber February 28, 2013 at 10:19 am

I wasn’t into Expedition Everest when I rode it in 2009. Maybe that’s because we didn’t get a FastPass so we waited in line for quite awhile and I missed meeting Pocahontas. (My favorite). Either wait, I can’t wait to see Enchanted Tales with Belle. Looks amazing!


Shannon Albert February 28, 2013 at 11:22 am

Yeah, you definitely need to use a FP to ride EE (I go there first when the park opens and get a FP to ride again later). You’ll love Enchanted Tales.


Jillian February 28, 2013 at 8:27 am

I strongly disagree about Kali River Rapids. In all of our Disney trips, we have ridden this ride exactly one time, mainly because once we did we had absolutely no desire to ever ride again. The ride is short, the scenery is nothing special and the story is minimal. Basically, you sit in a giant raft and have buckets upon buckets of water dumped upon you. Not worth the wait, don’t waste your Disney time.


Shannon Albert February 28, 2013 at 8:44 am

Thanks for your thoughts. I’m sure many people share your views of Kali.


Jill February 28, 2013 at 8:23 am

What are some of your “can’t miss” foods in Magic Kingdom. I’ve heard a lot about the Dole Whip but want to make sure we’re not missing out on anything else! Thanks!


Shannon Albert February 28, 2013 at 8:43 am

My son once said that he’d make a terrible movie reviewer because he likes every movie he sees. I feel the same about food! :)

I usually recommend using the restaurant search tool on You can filter by park and by items that are their favorites.

Hope that helps.


Jennifer February 28, 2013 at 11:39 am

1) Be Our Guest (Dinner) – Magic Kingdom
2) Italy, Norway, Mexico, Morocco . . .
3) Ohana’ (good food and lots of it – pace yourself) @ Polynesian
4) Artist Point (Wilderness Lodge)
5) Caramel Corn in Germany
6) Butterfinger Cupcake in Hollywood Studios
7) Pastries in France

These are just a few of my recommendations.


Angie March 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Don’t miss the cream cheese stuffed pretzels in Tomorrow land. They are a great snack.


Afton Rio February 28, 2013 at 7:35 am

Totally agree that the new Enchanted tales with belle is SO fantastic!! Also, I took my daredevil and very tall 4 year old on expedition Everest – NOT a good idea…but mommy and daddy loved it :) looking forward to trying some of these that we didn’t do this trip next time. Thanks!


Shannon Albert February 28, 2013 at 8:46 am

Ha! Poor kid. Did he love Enchanted Tales? I’ve had many people tell me they were going to skip it because they aren’t into princesses, but we aren’t either and really liked it.


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