The Walt Disney World resort hosts a huge variety of rides and attractions across its four major theme parks, ranging from high-speed roller coasters to gentle dark rides aimed at young children. Picking out the top 10 rides is a challenge, particularly given that visitors have wildly differing tastes.
Since we launched our detailed theme park guides last year, covering 90+ parks all over the world, our readers have been reviewing and rating Walt Disney World's rides. In this article, we provide a run-down of the 10 highest-rated attractions at the Florida resort. Don't agree with our list? Start add your own ratings and reviews now!
10. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (Disney's Hollywood Studios)
Aboard the Starspeeder 1000, you never know where in the Star Wars universe you'll end up. This motion simulator - enhanced with all new technology for 2011, allows you to feel the force of lightspeed as you encounter different characters and locales each time you ride.
Full details: Star Tours: The Adventures Continue guide
9. Fantasmic! (Disney's Hollywood Studios)
The Fantasmic! laser, light and projection show proved to be a huge hit when it debuted at Disneyland in 1992. The version at Disney's Hollywood Studios debuted six years later. While it lacks the pretty waterfront setting of the original, the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre does offer better views.
Hosted by Mickey Mouse himself, this nighttime extravaganza brings most every Disney character to life through fire, water, projection, actors, and dancers in an unforgettable blend of magic and mystery that can't be missed.
Full details: Fantasmic! guide
8. Haunted Mansion (Magic Kingdom)
A Disney classic, The Haunted Mansion places guests in an old colonial manorhouse haunted by "999 happy haunts with room for a thousand." This frightfully funny family attraction features state-of-the-art affects, even forty years after its opening.
Full details: Haunted Mansion guide
7. Toy Story Midway Mania! (Disney's Hollywood Studios)
While it suffers from chronic capacity issues - frequently leading to 3-hour plus queues, and early-morning races to its FASTPASS machines - Toy Story Midway Mania! has proven to be one of the most popular rides at Disney's Hollywood Studios since its 2008 debut.
Riders step right into a living board game, watching as their favourite midway games (break the plate, land the ring on the bottle, etc.) come to life in stunning 3-D and featuring well-known Toy Story characters. Many become hopelessly addicted to this interactive 3-D game, which challenges guests to best their high score.
Full details: Toy Story Midway Mania! guide
6. Kilimanjaro Safaris (Disney's Animal Kingdom)
Few other theme park operators could hope to match the sheer scale of the incredible Kilimanjaro Safaris, which sprawls across an area of land equal in size to the entire Magic Kingdom park.
Riders board safari trucks for an off-road adventure around a mock savannah, which seemingly features no fences. Expect to see elephants, giraffes, zebras, antelope, crocodiles and hippos, along with a variety of other species. The limp backstory adds little to the experience, but it's still unforgettable.
Full details: Kilimanjaro Safaris guide
5. Splash Mountain (Disney's Magic Kingdom)
It may have been inspired by Knott's Berry Farm's classic Timber Mountain Log Ride, but Splash Mountain takes the concept of a heavily-themed water ride to a new level. Aboard hollowed-out logs, riders pass animatronic scenes depicting the Walt Disney film Song of the South, traveling along with Brer Rabbit as he outwits Brer Fox and Brer Bear.
The first half of the ride may be somewhat akin to a traditional, gentle Disney dark ride - but there's a big thrill to come at the end. Riders plummet down a five-storey drop in a briar patch, leaving the majority of them soaked from head-to-toe.
Full details: Splash Mountain guide
4. Test Track - Presented by Chevrolet (Epcot)
First opened in 1999, Test Track takes guests through a simulated set of tests on a new car. It sees riders seated in mock cars as they traverse a set of low-speed indoor tests before racing at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour around an outdoor section. Previously sponsored by Chevrolet's parent company General Motors, it underwent a lengthy refurbishment in 2012 as a result of a new commercial deal between Disney and GM.
Replacing the noisy former "test workshop" area that hosted Test Track's queue, the Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot is an all-new interactive experience. While they wait to ride, guests are able to use kiosks to design their own vehicle, which can then be compared with the "real" design used for the ride cars.
Full details: Test Track - Presented by Chevrolet guide
3. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (Disney's Hollywood Studios)
Housed entirely indoors, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster offers a unique, multi-sensory experience. Challenged by rockers Aerosmith to race across town in time for the start of a concert, riders board limousine-themed trains and are blasted from 0 - 60 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds.
The first roller coaster at Walt Disney World to feature an inversion (three in total), Rock 'n' Roller Coaster also features a pumping sound system that blares out Aerosmith tunes as riders traverse its twisting, turning circuit.
Full details: Rock 'n' Roller Coaster guide
2. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Disney's Hollywood Studios)
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror may have been cloned at Disney California Adventure, Tokyo DisneySea and Walt Disney Studios, Paris, but the original version at Disney's Hollwood Studios remains far superior. Once again, Disney took a traditional theme park staple (the drop tower ride), and layered it with theming to turn it into something extraordinary.
Housed inside a full-scale mock hotel dubbed the Hollywood Tower, the Tower of Terror is visible from all over the park. After an introduction from Twilight Zone host Rod Serling, riders board elevators that drop them multiple times at speeds faster than free-fall. The unique element of the Disney's Hollywood Studios original is the moment when the elevator leaves the shaft and passes through one of the hotel's floors - sadly, this was dropped from the clones to increase capacity and improve reliability.
Full details: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror guide
1. Expedition Everest (Disney's Animal Kingdom)
Fans may have derided Disney's Animal Kingdom for its lack of major rides when it first opened, but Disney answered them emphatically with the installation of Expedition Everest in 2006. Built around another stunning mock Disney mountain - this time the mysterious Forbidden Mountain rather than Everest itself - the ride is a forwards / backwards mine train-style coaster that features truly dazzling theming.
The experience starts in the ride's queue, which features a huge range of seemingly-authentic Everest memorabilia. After racing around the initial forwards section, riders come face-to-face with the Yeti (sadly, the animatronics have declined since the ride first opened). They plummet down an intense backwards section, with plenty more thrills being packed into the coaster's circuit.
Full details: Expedition Everest guide
What do you think?
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