My Top 12: Disney World Attractions (Part 2)

Walt Disney World top attractions
I recently posted about my Top 12 Disney World attractions, but as you may remember, that was only part 1! I just couldn’t keep myself brief on what I was writing, and I’d already upped the list from the usual “Top 10” to a “Top 12”, then I accidentally added honorable mentions, so of course, it had to be in two parts!
I kept part 1 to current attractions, ie. ones that are still running and are newer. Part 2 is what I’m calling “nostalgic” attractions – some of these are running still, and will likely be for a long time as they’re “classics”, but some have sadly closed down now *cry*. I wanted to include them in my list though as they’re part of my Disney experience over the years and are still what I’d describe as my favourite rides. Generally what makes all these rides “nostalgic” for me though is that I remember them clearly from when I was little and visited Disney, so that means these attractions (if they still exist, which is mentioned in their descriptions!) are all perfect for kids and families.

Spaceship Earth (Epcot)

Walt Disney World top attractions
Walt Disney World top attractions
Walt Disney World top attractions

Spaceship Earth is Epcot’s iconic attraction – you quite likely recognise the giant sparkling ball even if you’re not a Disney fan! What some people don’t realise though is that it contains a ride inside that big ball, and it’s one of my old favourites. This is most certainly not one for thrills and is more educational than anything! The style of it reminds me of Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom. You climb into a “time machine” ride vehicle and ascend through a tunnel of twinkling stars where your picture is taken (to be used later…!). Dame Judi Dench then narrates your journey through time based on human influence and communication – how these have shaped the world we live in. You see everything from Neanderthals to ancient Greeks and Romans, Michelangelo, the introduction of radio and television, right up to the present day. The culmination of the ride takes you out into space to view our “Spaceship Earth” from above, surrounded by stars. As you head back to earth, the screen in front of you asks questions about what you like, where you’d like to live etc. in future, then your “tomorrow” pops up in the ride car for you to see, complete with the picture you took at the beginning slotted into place on the depiction of you in your “future” outfit – a pretty awesome feature (see above)! You’ll also be placed on a map in Project Tomorrow when you exit the ride, so make sure to pull a nice face (unlike my rather witty father!!).

Ellen’s Energy Adventure AKA Universe of Energy, or to me, Ellen’s Dinosaur Ride (Epcot)

Walt Disney World top attractions
Walt Disney World top attractions
There really isn’t that much exciting about this, and Ben admitted to me that he didn’t think it was very good, but I love it! You first enter the pre-ride theatre room where you are surrounded by screens on which Ellen Degeneres pops up, telling you about a recent dream she had in which she was a contestant on Jeopardy (flashbacks and interruptions all included!) up against her old college room mate (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) and Einstein, with “energy” themed questions. Bill Nye the Science Guy intervenes though, telling how important energy is, then we follow him into the next room…Guests are seated in blocks of seating, watch another short film in which Bill Nye sends Ellen (and us with him) back in time to find where energy came from, and suddenly, the seats begin to move forward! When I was little, I remember the shock of this, finding out that you’re actually in a huge ride vehicle! You’re taken through a prehistoric scene filled with dinosaurs, with Ellen and Bill Nye animatronics up to no good exploring the landscape. Eventually you head back to the original room, watch the scene where Bill explains everything about energy to Ellen, and finally Ellen beats her nemesis at Jeopardy. Obviously a very outright educational attraction, but there’s just something nostalgic about it for me!

Honorable Mention: Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress in Magic Kingdom has to get a mention somewhere in here. It’s not the most exciting ride ever, but it’s one I remember right back from when I was 6 (along with the People Mover, which is to most people probably just as unexciting!). The Carousel of Progress was designed by Walt himself for the 1964-65 World Fair and moved to the Magic Kingdom in 1975. It’s pretty advanced for its age – guests sit in a revolutionary (literally!) theatre which revolves around a stationary stage, taking you through the decades in a family household, narrated by the father figure animatronic who ends each segment with the theme song: “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” which will stay in your head all day (but don’t worry, because it’s awesome!).

Maelstrom (Norway, Epcot) plus the film afterwards

Walt Disney World top attractions

Troll in the Maelstrom/Norway shop

Walt Disney World top attractions
Walt Disney World top attractions
This is a bittersweet entry because it has literally just closed this month! As you might know, Epcot is home to the World Showcase, a series of countries set around the “sea” (the lake), including Britain, Morocco, Mexico, Japan and Canada among several others. Don’t ask me to choose my favourite of those, I tried that the other day and was unsuccessful, but Norway is definitely up there! The Maelstrom queue was definitely not the most inspiring, but there is (/was?!) a pretty awesome Hidden Mickey in there (hint: check out the Viking boat on the wall). Guests embark on a small boat which heads off into the dark Fjords, rivers and woods of Norway. Basically, you travel through an awe inspiring landscape, and almost topple off the edge of a waterfall which you can see from outside the attraction where boats appear every 30 seconds or so. The attraction ends with something most people tend to jump off and ignore – you disembark into a scene set up as a small Norwegian fishing town, which really has extraordinary attention to detail. You then head through a small theatre (which many bypass) that shows a short film about the country of Norway that I actually love – not sure why because it’s nothing special, but really just has that old fashioned Disney feel to it.
Maelstrom is currently being replaced by a Frozen themed ride, and as much as I loved it, I’m excited to see the new version. I’m hoping it will be pretty much the same ride, just with a few new modifications, and please don’t let my favourite film at the end change!

Honorable Mention: An honorable mention must go here to the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros which is very similar in parts to It’s A Small World, but is the only other World Showcase ride and is also in a boat. The Mexico Pavilion in which it’s located is also stunning, designed as an outdoor market street in a Mexican town in an eternal twilight/night.

Honey, I Shrunk The Audience (Epcot, in days gone by)

Walt Disney World top attractions

Still sobbing over here because this is another closed attraction, and has been gone for longer than I’d care to think about now (it was replaced by Captain EO in 2010, which is definitely far from being in my favourites list!). It was part of the once very popular Honey, I Shrunk the Kids film series, and was basically just a 4D film where we as the audience are shrunk by inventor, Wayne Szalinski . It included some pretty awesome effects such as feeling mice running beneath you (I was too small to feel this the first time and didn’t know what everyone was laughing about!), a dog sneezing on you (and yes, you got wet!), a toddler lifting the entire building up (you felt it shake) and a seemingly giant (to the tiny audience) snake about to eat you! Much more interesting than Captain EO (can you see I have a thing about that?!).

Muppet Vision 3D (Disney’s Hollywood Studios/MGM)

Walt Disney World top attractions
Walt Disney World top attractions
Ah, Muppet Vision! Now this is almost a nostalgic attraction, but it’s still going and, really, just as current today as it ever was. You cram into the pre-show room and grab a pair of 3D glasses (but don’t put them on yet!) filled with props for the Muppets’ show (look around and read the jokes on them again – there are always a few “hidden” things in Disney queues which will keep you occupied), then the preshow begins on the monitors around the room, introducing you to the show you’re about to see. You then file into the very luxurious theatre where Kermit on screen begins to give you a tour of the Muppet Studios, jam packed with awesome 3D effects – as I’ve said already, no one does 3D like Disney, you honestly sometimes feel like you can reach out and touch the things flying out of the screen! The effects also translate to real life, with bubbles floating down from the ceiling at points, and a cannon blowing the place apart. It’s a typical laugh out loud Muppets show, and you’re guaranteed to love it.

1 comments so far.

One response to “My Top 12: Disney World Attractions (Part 2)”

  1. Charley says:

    Best post ever Sianio!! And can I put an honourable mention in for Alien Encounter? Scariest attraction in Disney!! While it lasted.

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