What You're Missing at Walt Disney WorldAmy Lupold Bair
Last weekend I visited Walt Disney World Resort, and while I slipped quickly onto Test Track and Space Mountain with my FastPasses, I had to skip a couple favorites like Soarin’, where the wait was two and a half hours long. Clearly there are certain attractions at each Walt Disney World park that are more popular than others, and those attractions usually stand among my favorites as well. What you may not realize, however, is that beyond the must-see attractions, a world of fun awaits … and usually without a long line. Here are some of my favorites.
The Magic Kingdom
This 3-D movie follows Donald Duck on a hilarious adventure as he bumps into some of our favorite characters from Princess Jasmine to Mickey Mouse to Ariel and friends. There is never a line for this attraction and fun “4-D” effects such as squirting water and the delicious smell of pie make it unlike any 3-D movie you’ve ever seen.
Country Bear Jamboree
When my son was still taking naps, we used to use a visit to the Country Bear Jamboree as the perfect place to entertain our preschooler and encourage my son to drift off for his afternoon rest. Now we visit this attraction simply because it has become a favorite and is one of my most clear memories of the Magic Kingdom from my own childhood.
Tom Sawyer Island
While you may have to wait for the raft to take you over to this beautiful island, it is never because there is a line. Once on Tom Sawyer Island you can follow a variety of paths, cross bridges, play in a fort and even crawl through a cave. While this attraction is inspired by the novels of Mark Twain, kids do not have to be familiar with the author or his work to enjoy the island. It is one of the only places in all of Walt Disney World where you can feel like you have the park to yourself!
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
This continuous load ride is almost always available to walk right on without a wait and takes you quickly around Tomorrowland, giving you a bird’s eye view of other attractions such as Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Use the light from your cell phone screen to help the little ones through the dark sections of the ride and cross your fingers that the lights will be on inside Space Mountain as the PeopleMover gives you a sneak peek of the rarely seen tracks.
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
Another opportunity to ride an attraction with virtually no wait, the Carousel of Progress is a Magic Kingdom classic that keeps our family singing, “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow…”
Walt Disney World Railroad
While it is possible to use the railroad system around the Magic Kingdom simply to get from point A to point B, my family enjoys the ride, including the otherwise hidden perspective it gives us of the park.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
We have never had to wait in line for this continuous load ride, a favorite of both of our children. My favorite part is the song at the end, and we always make sure to take the time to visit the manatees and other sea life before leaving this peaceful section of the park.
While at times there can be a wait for this attraction, more often than not it seems to be abandoned. We love that the continuous load format makes boarding the ride fast, and we seem to find new details throughout the attraction each time we ride. Tip: If you sit in the back of the ride car with your spouse and make the kids sit in the front of the ride car, you can steal kisses during the dark section of the attraction.
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
Tucked inside the pyramid-shaped Mexico Pavilion, this attraction seems to be completely missed by most EPCOT visitors. We love the funny story that follows Donald Duck, in trouble as usual. It’s also fun to watch the “fireworks” at the end of the boat ride.
Located at the end of the Journey Into Imagination attraction another favorite of ours! this interactive area features hands-on exhibits for kids of all age. We have never experienced crowds or waits while visiting this pavilion.
Learn to ride a segue, put out fake fires, or even star in your own video game. With little to no lines, the Innoventions pavilions are always on our must-do list.
Living with the Land
This 14-minute boat ride is not only an interesting look at various ecosystems, but also an opportunity to see some of the work the Disney scientists are doing. Keep an eye out for pumpkins growing in the shape of Mickey Ears.
The Magic of Disney Animation Animation Academy
This attraction gives guests the chance to receive a free lesson in how to draw one of their favorite Disney characters. At the end of the lesson, you get to take your drawing home with you!
This play area is far and away our favorite part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When you are ready for a break, take the kids to this shaded oasis with nets to climb and tunnels to explore, then cross the bridge to an area where the kids can use buckets and shovels to unearth the remains of a woolly mammoth.