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10 Gasps-and-Goosebumps-Inducing BIG Scenic Reveals in Disney Parks

4. Facing Mara head-on

Attraction: Indiana Jones Adventure

While our first three big scenic reveals may have had simplicity on their side, subtlety isn't exactly the strong suit of Disneyland's Modern Marvel: Indiana Jones Adventure. The wild, off-roading thrill ride through the collapsing ruins of the Temple of the Forbidden Eye is powered by Disney's EMV (Enhanced Motion Vehicle), which provided something no ride before could match. On Indiana Jones Adventure, you're not just passively watching scenes unfold; they're happening to you. In this case, someone in our Jeep looked into the dark eyes of the temple god, forfeiting the supernatural gifts we were promised and instead cursing us toward the Gates of Doom!

However, as our Jeep floats helplessly toward the swirling green and blue steam beyond the carved stone gates, Indy himself appears, pushing them closed and pointing us up ahead: "You had to look, didn't you? Be careful," he warns, "There's big steps up there!" As the triumphant trumpets of the "Raiders March" play, the Jeep slams back onto solid ground, revs, and races up a hill in the darkness. Turning the corner, the haunting chorus of "The Miracle of the Ark" score kicks in as the vehicle gazes at a massive chamber lit by boiling lava and bursts of fire: ahead, another Jeep teeters across a wooden suspension bridge, and a massive stone relief of Mara – flame in one eye, half of the face decomposed to reveal skeletal rock beneath – overlooks the perilous pit.

Image: Disney

This is truly one of the most hyponotic and paralyzing moments in Disney Parks. As guests look on, jaws dropped, the vehicle slams down a set of stairs leading into the chamber proper, and a bolt of green energy shoots from Mara's eye and strikes the path ahead to emit burning steam. It's enough to pull guests out of their trance just as the Jeep tilts over the crumbling roadway toward the lava beneath. The Jeep regains its traction just as you do, accelerating off into caverns carved throughout this massive room for a bulk of the ride's time...

5. Seeing the queen herself

Attraction: Frozen Ever After

While the Modern Marvel: Frozen Ever After may always frustrate Disney Parks fans for its location (the otherwise-grounded World Showcase at Epcot) and what it replaced (the Lost Legend: Maelstrom), there's a lot to admire about the boat ride through Disney's highest grossing animated film. Not only did Imagineers smartly steer away from doing a "book report" ride and instead created an original story for this attraction; they also stocked it with some of the best Audio-Animatronics on Earth.

Regardless of how you feel about the attraction, there's one moment almost certain to hypnotize you: the climactic encounter with the Queen of Arendelle herself, Elsa. As expected, Elsa reprises her hit anthem, "Let It Go," standing on a crystal balcony in her ice palace. And thanks to incredible technologies used to animate the figure, it truly looks as if Elsa has jumped right off the screen. 

Image: Disney

So even if "Let It Go" is the last thing you want to hear, looking face-to-face with Elsa is truly one of the most awe-inspiring moments at Disney Parks, sure to give you chills separate from the frigid temperatures. (And between you and me, these figures tend to freeze themselves... but that's a sight to behold, as well.)

6. Sailing through a pirate battle

Attraction: Pirates of the Caribbean

Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean is often considered Walt Disney's magnum opus – the absolute pinnacle of his career, and perhaps the best classic dark ride on Earth, period. The epic, 17-minute journey is filled with spectacular sights on such a grand scale, only Disney's original team of designers could've brought it to life. The ride begins with guests slowly drifting through the still waters of a firefly-lit bayou under starry skies with real diners participating in a jazzy plantation party along the water.

But then, riders make a supernatural plunge into subterranean caverns carved by waterfalls, littered with the remains and loot of long-forgotten pirates. After drifting through increasingly fantastical scenes in these claustrophobic, rocky corridors, something unusual happens... As if by magic, the boats drift out of the caves and into the midst of a seige on a Caribbean port town.

Image: Disney

It's no surprise that Pirates of the Caribbean resides in the single largest showbuilding Disney's ever built. This single, massively-scaled scene alone is astounding, but it's only the beginning of the pirates invasion of the town, which continues through unbelievably large scenes including the burning village.

7. Heading right for a train

Attraction: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

Though we explored Magic Kingdom's beloved-and-lost version of the ride in Lost Legends: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Disneyland's quaint and charming 1955 original is still around, motoring guests through a madcap drive through London's streets en route to "nowhere in particular." Truly an outlier even among Fantasyland dark rides, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is a zany experience, accelerating through towns, rumbling over wharfs, blasting through warehouses, honking into pubs, and – ultimately – being sentenced by a judge to prison. 

But en route to prison, riders find themselves inadvertently rumbling over railroad tracks... directly toward an oncoming train. The simple dark ride gag has been in use for a century, combining a clever lighting trick with sound effects to make riders feel that a train truly is barreling right toward them right up to the point of "impact." While no such impact ultimately takes place, this simple, classic trick does lead to another surprising reveal no other Disney Parks attraction can claim... 

Image: Disney

... Riders end up in Hell. 

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