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The 8 Best Rides at Walt Disney World Guaranteed to Make You Smile

What’s the reason that you go to a theme park? What’s the reason that you do anything, for that matter? You’re seeking entertainment, a good time, a pleasant distraction. Even when you’re at the Most Magical Place on Earth, you’re still searching for the same thing, a ton of fun. And Disney delivers. Here are the eight biggest crowd pleasers out of all Walt Disney World rides.

8. Expedition Everest

Image: DisneyThink of the rankings for this list as a Fun Meter. When the bar is fuller, the ride ranks higher. Roller coasters are at a natural disadvantage here. They’re frenzied and not quite as tightly themed as other rides. That’s why Space Mountain is a non-starter, while Test Track and Slinky Dog Dash missed the cut.

One coaster that I would describe as joyous from start to finish is Expedition Everest. It sets the tone with an exhilarating but terrifying ride up the side of a mountain. Then, it establishes the danger by showing broken tracks, ones caused by a legendary monster that apparently isn’t fictional after all.

Finally, Expedition Everest thrusts you into darkness at warp speed, ultimately placing you face to face with your newfound enemy. This coaster is hypnotic, and the momentum shift between going forward and backward adds a special dose of ecstasy.

7. Jungle Cruise

Image: DisneyI’m a superfan of this ride, one of the few examples of Disney listening to in-park cast members. Jungle Cruise was once a serious attraction rather than a silly one. After a few years, however, the Skippers couldn’t help but bust on the cheesy aspects of the ride. Park officials eventually ran with the concept, and the best version of Jungle Cruise was born.

I’d love to rank this one higher. I really would. Unfortunately, it has a fatal flaw that we all know. Every journey on the Jungle Cruise is dependent on the Skipper. Some narrators are better at the task than others. While Disney has a training program and a reliable script for the ride, a few Skippers simply aren’t up to snuff.

In my opinion, the worst ones are the experimental types who do a bit. Sometimes, I run into those who stray too far away from the ride’s intent and make Jungle Cruise more about themselves. These experiences can ruin the ride for me for a while. All I want from my Skipper is a passion for the source material and a bit of comic timing.  It’s a formula that has stood the test of time, one that doesn’t need any tweaking. When done right, it’s a thoroughly entertaining bit of escapism, a fanciful trip down the river of cheesy dialogue.

6. Soarin’

Image: DisneyHere’s a winning formula. Sweep an entire movie theater full of people up in the air. Next, give them the sensation of flight as they explore various parts of the planet. Create the illusion that they’re receiving a bird’s eye view of some of the greatest wonders of the world.

Throw in a few aromatic scents for effect, and you’ll allow everyone to live out that fantasy that they can take to the skies. While some debate exists about the repeat value of Soarin’, that first journey into the clouds is a moment of true elation.

5. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Image: DisneyI fervently believe that music is an integral part of the greatest theme park attractions. It sets a mood that accentuates the happiness that comes from the ride itself. Three of the top five entries on this list demonstrate the way that the right song elevates the ride experience.

On Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Heigh-Ho is the secret sauce that accentuates an already-marvelous ride experience. Imagineers designed this roller coaster as a pure injection of fun. The swiveling mechanism intrinsic to the ride cart has no other purpose than to give you a feeling unlike any other that you’ve had on a coaster. You’ll rock your way through the ride, humming the work anthem of Snow White’s pals.

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