From the moment we tell our small people we are heading South to that magical place the big Mouse calls home, they start listing off the ‘must-do’s'… the individual parks we simply have to visit, the rides we can’t miss, the number of times we must hit each favorite ride AND the order they would prefer we stop at the parks and rides for maximum fun.
Since we have now visited Disney World as a family five times and my youngest son is just 6, (this doesn’t include the number of times I went as a child or my teen visits to Disney Land while growing up in Los Angeles) we seem to have a fairly solid grasp on what our little family of four loves best.
For reference, my small people are 6 and 8… they LOVE interactive rides, think getting wet is hysterical, flying is magical, and roller coasters are epic. The only caveat? My small dude doesn’t like the dark – so I will clarify for you which rides of the Top 10 would be on his sub list.
Top 10 Can’t Miss Rides at Disney World.
Soarin’ – Epcot. Hands down, this is our *favorite* ride in all of the land. Never mind that it is based on the many beautiful landscapes of California and it makes me so homesick I almost cry each time…. You feel as though you are FLYING. You SOAR over Napa and San Diego, over Palm Springs and the Borrego Desert… for each scene, you feel as though you have been transported. It is magic.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – Hollywood Studios – OK – this is the FASTEST roller coaster I have ever been on in my life. My small girl laughs hysterically the entire time. (she just turned 8) Instead of the traditional slow buildup, you take off at what – 60? 70? miles per hour?. And you go upside down! Now – this one is in the dark, so the 6 year old small dude won’t brave it yet – he loves fast, but not dark. For parents who want to ride, you can get in the ‘single rider’ lane and swap your small person at the front of the line – one parent goes, the other waits with your little one…then you swap.
Splash Mountain – Magic Kingdom *warning* you WILL get wet. And not just a little wet. This is one of the rides that PROVES how much I love my small people and just how willing I am to take one for the team. The ride itself is simply too much fun – you won’t be able to get ‘zip e dee doo dah’ out of your head for the rest of the day. The characters feel alive, and you will see new parts of the story each time you go. But again, WET. And worth it.
Toy Story Mania- Hollywood Studios – Picture this: 3D glasses, me – on a ride that is the equivalent of being dropped in the middle of a video game, and? I beat my husband. Every time. Tell me that isn’t Top 10 Worthy? I would say this one also lobbies to be the small dude’s #2.
Expedition Everest – Animal Kingdom – Admittedly, Animal Kingdom also has a fantastic Safari, but if we are just talking rides, Everest wins. Again, it is fast. Also? It goes forward and backwards. And it has an Abominable Snowman.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Magic Kingdom This ride is always fast and scary in my mind, but never in reality. Since it is one of the rides I remember from childhood, I will always love it. With its Captain Jack updates, it is impossible not to stay enraptured during the entire ride. Now, it IS dark, so the small dude wondered if he would be able to handle it, but the ‘pirate’ theme wins out.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin- Magic Kingdom This is another ‘video game’ and yes, I do beat my husband. He is so highly competitive, I can’t help but experience joy when he leans around me to peek at my score and sees I have won again. This one isn’t quite as fast-paced as Toy Story, and it doesn’t have the 3D component, but it is still great fun. The interactive rides are ones my small people love.
Star Tours – Hollywood Studios This ride first opened at Disney Land when I was in High School (yes a million years ago) and I loved it then. You feel as though you are on an actual space ship with R2DR and C3PO. It is 3D and virtual reality all wrapped up in one ride. And you could ride it over and over again without ever experiencing the same ride as there are 54 possible versions.
Space Mountain – Magic Kingdom Quite simply, this is a classic. When I was a kid, it was an ‘E’ ticket – which were reserved for the best, the scariest, the most intense rides in the park. This is still the case. Yes, it is entirely in the dark, but no, it doesn’t go upside down. It is fast and furious and one you just can’t miss.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Magic Kingdom This roller coaster is the small dude’s favorite of all the ‘fast’ rides. If given the option, he would ride it over and over again. The last time we visited this past spring, it was closed for renovations. This means it is better than ever. It is moderately fast, a bit bumpy, but pure family fun.
Now, all of these rides except Pirates of the Caribbean can utilize the Fast Passes. What is a Fast Pass, you ask? Instead of waiting in the regular line, you use your park ticket to reserve a specific ‘fast pass’ time. You will receive a printed ticket that gives you a one hour window during which time you can come back and ‘pass’ the main line. It is fantabulous. And you can use Verizon’s Disney Mobile Magic App to track Fast Pass wait times. This will mean you will be able to check on the Star Tours line while waiting in line for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
Thank you to The Huffington Post for sharing this story.
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