Which are the very best Disney World Rides? The ones which are the absolute must see not to be missed trip of a lifetime Walt Disney World rides? There are so many to choose from it is difficult to narrow it down but here is my Top 10 choice.
Disney Hollywood Tower of Terror
Even approaching the Disney’s Tower of Terror you know this is going to be a very special and unique experience. The imposing 199 foot tall Tower of Terror can be seen from miles away. As you approach it you may experience second thoughts as you hear the screams of the other Disney guests on the ride!
The inspiration was the popular television series The Twilight Zone. According to Disney Imagineer Legend the Hollywood Tower Hotel dates back to 1917. Located in Hollywood the movie capital of the world it soon became famous for welcoming it’s film star guests.
But then tragedy strikes on October 31st 1939. The Tower is struck by lightning and part of the building is destroyed including 2 wings and 2 elevator shafts. Five guests have just boarded the elevator. The guests are a child star with her nanny, two young stars and a bellhop – you may see them again somewhere……
You board the elevator and then move through the hotel passage ways until you come to a brief pause. The doors open and you get a great view across the park. Just long enough to make you realize just how high you are. And then you plunge 13 storeys down an elevator shaft. Again. And again.
The ride is never the same twice as the innovative technology selects a random drop sequence each time, so you never quite know when the next plunge is about to start. The attention to detail on the ride is amazing. Even if you don’t dare to experience the ride then you should at least go through the line to see all the details on the scenes, and meet the excellent bell hops who make sure that your elevator journey is one that you will never forget.
The height requirement for Tower of Terror is 40″ so warn the kids if they aren’t going to make it.
Epcot Test Track
There really isn’t anything like this Epcot ride anywhere else in the world. Test Track is one of the most technologically advanced rides ever launched in Walt Disney World.
The idea is that it is a test facility for new vehicles. Guest board a six passenger vehicle and are driven around the test facility. Along the way you will experience a series of test including handling, breaking, and even a hot and cold test. Of course what you are really looking forward to is The High Speed Test. This is one for the thrill seekers out there. You reach speeds of up to 65 mph on a huge circular outdoor track before steady breaking brings you back into the test facility and you exit your vehicle.
Epcot Test Track is a very popular ride. It does have a Fast Pass and these do often run out by the early afternoon, so get one as soon as you arrive. There is also a single rider line which is a great idea if you do not mind being in a different vehicle to the rest of your party. There is a child swap facility too as there is a height requirement of 40″. This is one of the best child swap waiting areas as you can spend your time looking around the display of cars to keep your children entertained!
Disney It’s A Small World
This one tends to provoke quite strong feelings. You will probably either love it or hate it. However you ultimately feel about this classic Disney ride you have to experience It’s A Small World at least once. This is one of the original Walt Disney World rides, and although it has had some changes along the way, it is one which Walt himself would recognize.
Guests board a boat for an almost 11 minute ride. You are taken through many different lands to be entertained by 289 audio animatronic dolls representing many of the countries of the world. The theme is international harmony through the eyes of children. It first debuted as a ride at the World’s Fair in 1964 and was a Disneyland favorite too.
The lines can get pretty long at times and unfortunately there is no Fast Pass available. The good thing though is that the lines move pretty fast and everything is shaded from the Florida sun. This ride is suitable for all ages and is a definite Walt Disney World must see.
Disney Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest
This is the most recent of all the Disney Mountains. What sets Disney apart in all areas is attention to detail and Expedition Everest is a brilliant example of this. Imagineers spent six years researching and designing this legend of the Yeti themed ride. Much more than just a roller coaster.
Guests board the Anandapur Rail Service train which is scheduled to take them to the foot of Mount Everest. The journey begins gently enough but as you might expect there are twists and turns just around the corner. The Yeti has torn up the rail track and your journey is about to get much more interesting……..
Expedition Everest is an intense ride as is not for the faint of heart (neither is it for those under 44″ tall). A definite must see in Disney’s Animal Kingdom you do need to ride early in the morning if you want to beat the lines. There is also a Fast Pass available so one tactic is to head straight there as soon as you enter Animal Kingdom park and get a Fast Pass, then head straight to Kilimanjaro Safari (another very very popular ride).
Epcot The Seas With Nemo and Friends
This is one for all the family. Located in the Living Seas Pavilion in the Future World part of Epcot this is a relaxing ride which is just pure relaxation and entertainment. Lines can be long, and even if they aren’t there is a long walk before you actually get to the front of the line. But the wait is worth it to experience this Nemo themed ride.
Board a clammobiles for a journey of discovery through the Seas Pavilion aquarium. Very clever Disney technology makes you feel as if you are swimming with Nemo and his friends. When the ride ends you find yourself in the viewing area for one of the largest salt water aquariums in the world. A great way to relax and just slow down the pace of the day. The Seas with Nemo and Friends is a great ride for all the family.
Aerosmith Rock N Roller Coaster
One of the very best rides at Walt Disney World and certainly the best of the Disney World Roller Coasters. Rock N Roller Coaster is a true thrill ride. Located adjacent to the Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios this 80 foot tall 2 minute 2 second indoor roller coaster accelerates from 0-57 mph in a breathtakingly fast 2.8 seconds.
This is one for the thrill seekers amongst you and there is a 48″ height requirement. The combination of the roller coaster technology and the music of Aerosmith makes this a very popular ride. A Fast Pass is available. When you arrive at Hollywood Studios head quickly down Hollywood Boulevard and take a right on Sunset. Get a Fast Pass for either Tower of Terror or Rock N Roller Coaster and ride the other one before the crowds get the better of you.
The idea behind the ride is that Aerosmith are late for their concert appearance. You have a back stage pass but you need to quickly get to the performance with them. What better way than to share a super stretch limo that will speed you to the venue. And of course you will encounter twists, turns and 360 loops along the way, whilst listening to the band.
Epcot Spaceship Earth
The very symbol of Epcot. The geodesic dome which is Spaceship Earth can be seen for miles around and is one of the most recognized symbols of Walt Disney World. Spaceship Earth is one of the very best rides at Epcot.
Guests board time travel vehicles to be taken on a journey from the beginning of time to the present day. The theme is how communication has changed throughout the ages to make the earth the place which it is today, and which it may become in the future. Both educational and entertaining this is a ride which all of the family will enjoy.
Epcot Spaceship Earth is located right at the entrance to Future World, but often it is best not to follow the crowd and ride this attraction first. If the line is more than 15 to 20 minutes long then wait until later in the day when crowds will often have moved further into the park and you can sometimes just walk onto the ride with little or even no wait.
Disney Pirates of the Caribbean Ride
These days you will of course find Captain Jack Sparrow in this iconic Disney ride. Guests board a boat and sail along for an eight and a half minute pirate themed ride. The ride debuted in Disneyland in 1967 and has been a park favorite ever since, having enjoyed even more popularity since the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Pirates of the Caribbean is billed as a journey for all the family but be aware that it is dark, with some frightening images. My youngest children still are really not very keen on this ride!
Unfortunately there isn’t a Fast Pass for Pirates of the Caribbean, but the ride does move fast and is under cover so at least you aren’t out in the Floridian sun.
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin Ride
A modern variation on a classic shooting arcade. Help Buzz Lightyear on his mission to save the world from Evil Evil Emporer Zurg. This is a lot of fun for all ages. Guests board a Space Ranger vehicle built for two and use the laser gun to shoot at the targets to win point. This really appeals to the competitive spirit in everyone (hint: ignore the round targets as they bring the lowest scores).
The line is fast loading so even if the line is long you do feel as though you are making progress! And it is always fun to meet Buzz Lightyear himself in the line. Younger members of the family, and perhaps some of the older ones too, will marvel at the larger than life fully articulate Buzz Lightyear in the line.
Disney World Space Mountain
A Disney classic. Space Mountain remains one of the most popular of the Disney Mountains. Walt Disney always wanted a space age attraction. Tomorrowland was his vision of the future and he wanted a major attraction for this Disney World land.
Space Mountain is not particularly fast. At 28 mph is it positively slow for a roller coaster. But the appeal is not it’s speed. It is in it’s theming and innovative use of lighting. Guests are always surprised when the realize that this is not a fast or particularly complex ride. It’s appeal is that it uses light very effectively and creates the great Disney illusion of not being quite what it seems.
It is also a lot of fun to board the Transit Authority, a slow moving people carrier attraction which travels right through Space Mountain. All you can see is flashing lights, the boarding area, and sometimes even hear the screams from the Space Mountain riders. But if you want to catch a glimpse of Space Mountain without daring to ride then this is a good way to do it.
Of course Space Mountain is a popular ride. But there is a Fast Pass and a Child Swap area. Guests must be at least 40″ to ride.
So there it is. My own personal list of unmissable Walt Disney World rides. I know that many of you have your own personal favorites. There are so many to choose from a list of 10 is almost an impossible task. So which would be on your list of top 10 favorite Disney World rides?
All photos by expressmonorail
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.