With Spring Break coming up for most schools around the country, the parks will be VERY busy. All of the iconic and very popular attractions like Test Track and Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid will be crowded and can have 2 or more hours as a wait time. I have put together some attractions, activities and shows that will have you leaving guests in the dust and kissing the lines goodbye.
I have a big love for this attraction, as simple as it is. It is like a mini monorail that can fit four adults comfortably and with no windows (and no doors…wait wrong attraction) because it doesn’t have a roof. You tour Tomorrowland and get amazing views that you can only see if you are on the Peoplemover. This attraction is definitely for the older people in the family (kids younger than 10 might be restless on the ride). You have to hop on an escalator to board the ride, which is constantly moving so that if there is a line, it only lasts for 30 seconds or so. I can go to the Magic Kingdom and just ride this ride over and over again to be happy.
Country Bear Jamboree “But enough of this chit chat, yick yack, and flim flam.”
This is a show that I have only sat through once. It never seems to have a long wait time because it seats so many guests at the same time. Even if you get there when the show is starting, it’s great to know you will see the next one. The show is 17 minutes of rootin’, tootin’, great music sung by bears of all ages. This has been around since the beginning of the Magic Kingdom and has survived without a major refurbishment, like changing the storyline or putting in new characters. It still has that 1970s charm that is still a crowd pleaser today.
Walt Disney Railroad “Now Boarding the Walt Disney World Railroad.”
This 20 minute ride around the Magic Kingdom is flawless on a sunny day. This is another attraction that is great if you arrive at the perfect time- when the train is arriving at the station. The wait usually isn’t long if you don’t make it to the train in the nick of time because the vehicles can hold a lot of people.
The Hall Of Presidents “In this Hall of Presidents, we look upon a mirror of ourselves, the leaders we have chosen to safeguard our rights and our ideals, to imagine the future, and to embrace its challenges.”
I have only sat through this 25 minute attraction once, and it isn’t my favorite. It is interesting to watch though. 44 Audio-Animatronics stand on stage and nod as they are acknowledged as presidents. A few presidents have speaking roles – but that’s not all! The story celebrates the triumph of the United States of America, and is a show that every American should sit through at least once.
Carousel of Progress “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow…”
The Carousel of Progress is located in Tomorrowland. This rotating theater rarely has a line longer than 5 minutes, and takes about 20 minutes to ride through once. Some people argue that the four scenes (especially the final scene) need updating, but I think it is perfect the way it is! It tells the charming story of how times have changed and how things will continue to grow for the better.
Enchanted Tiki Room “Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing…”
This 10 minute long attraction has gone through a LOT of changes- at one point the whole plot was twisted around before going back to what it originally was. Luckily for us, the only things that lasted through the last 42 years of refurbishment were new animatronics, which enhance the show. The plot is still the same as when it first opened. You need good luck in order to go in the Enchanted Tiki Room with no wait, sometimes you could have a wait between 10-15 minutes, but an entertaining pre-show can make the wait time fly.
Spaceship Earth (in the afternoon) “Verged on the threshold of infinity, we see our world as it truly is: small, silent, fragile, alive, a drifting island in the midnight sky. It is our spaceship, our Spaceship Earth.”
For Spaceship Earth, I specifically put “in the afternoon” because at park opening it can get rather busy. If you hit it during a parade or before closing, it seems like you have the whole ride to yourself. This 14 minute attraction tells the story of how technology has grown, from writing with feathers to pens and typewriters to computers (There is also the story of fashion. Who can forget the girl with the afro and go-go boots!) You also get to change the ending of the ride based on what you want your future to be like! Everyone who enters Epcot should ride this.
Living with the Land “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.”
This ride is a must do every time you go to Epcot. You see how plants thrive in Disney World and learn about the evolution of production. This line is constantly moving, so even if you do get caught in a line, you probably won’t be in it for more than 20 minutes.
The Circle of Life
This is a little tucked away, hidden show almost. Not a lot of people know about it, which means that it never has a long wait. Timon, Pumbaa and Simba show you the different parts of the world and inspire you to save the world in simple ways like recycling and reusing water bottles. The show is about 20 minutes.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure “You’re in your car, you’re driving, and then all of a sudden, from the back seat, I just pop up and go, “HEY!” You’d just whack me in the head, wouldn’t you? That would be — that wouldn’t be nice, but then it wouldn’t be nice for me to do that to you. How’d I get in your car, anyway? Can you — did you lock the car?”
45 minutes of Ellen figuring out the meaning of energy sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? This isn’t any Ellen, but Ellen DeGeneres and, with the help of Bill Nye the Science Guy, this attraction makes learning more fun with dinosaurs and an air-conditioned theater that transforms into ride vehicles. I love Ellen DeGeneres, and I try to make it to this ride every visit. Unfortunately, though, something always comes along that makes it impossible to ride.
The American Adventure “Mr. Twain, the golden age never was the present age”
Shame on me, but I have never been able to see this attraction. The past few times my family and I have gone, it has been closed for refurbishment. However, if you have the opportunity to enjoy this, you should snatch it up. This, along with The Hall of Presidents, should be mandatory for every American to see. It is an “adventure” (haha….no? okay) through American history narrated by Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin.
One Man’s Dream “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing-that is was all started by a mouse.”
If you haven’t been to One Man’s Dream, the next time you arrive at Hollywood Studios, you must go. Every Disney fan needs to go in this building and see real props from Walt Disney’s life, hear his story and even see future plans at the end of the museum. There is even a movie that you can watch about Walt Disney and his legacy. I am sure that you will end up crying at some point of the walkthrough. Since you move at your own pace, then enter the movie theater, you can time your museum experience to spend as little or as long as you’d like.
I consider this another hidden treasure. First timers just walk by and don’t think anything of it. Boy are they missing out! The show with Mushu interacting with your guide is hilarious, and then once you enter the building there are so many different ways you can go. You can see some of Walt Disney’s Oscars, learn how to draw a Disney character, meet some characters or even figure out which character is most like you! I could spend all day in there and I wouldn’t mind it. This is another attraction that you move at your own pace so you can fly through it or take your time – just don’t miss it!
Light’s Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
This 35 minute spectacle is a must do for my family and I whenever we go down. I love watching the stuntmen drive in a high speed car chase, and then tell us how they did it. It is a great learning experience, especially for the young ones. This, along with Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, may have a wait depending on the time that you arrived. If a show just started, you will have a wait before viewing the next one but the amphitheater holds a ton of people so check the schedule before you walk over there.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular “Well just keep it on, remember, Indiana never loses his hat.”
This show is truly, well, spectacular. You go through three iconic scenes from the first Indiana Jones movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Disney found stuntmen (and women) that look just like the real actors and actresses from the original movie. This 30 minute performance is one filled with fierce fights, death defying dodges, and big boulders! You don’t want to miss it and, if you time your arrival to near the start of a show, you won’t have to wait for it either.
Here are some places to relax and escape the hordes of people that can be at this park:
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Many guests don’t take the time to go to Rafiki’s Planet Watch because you have to take a train to get to it and to get back. But trust me, if you haven’t done it yet, you must. The train ride is well worth it when you get to conservation Station. You learn a lot about saving the Earth, see some conservation efforts firsthand and even get a peek into animal care!
A lot of people in Animal Kingdom run straight to the attractions like Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest, and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Well, if you go against the flow and head to the Maharajah Jungle Trek, you will be rewarded with views of bats, tigers, and so much more without a huge amount of people.
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
Like the Maharajah Jungle Trek, not a lot of people take the time to really slow down and explore the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. You can just walk at your own pace and see many different animals, including hippos, gorillas and naked mole rats. There are also a lot of educational activities, like a board showing the growth of a gorilla near the corresponding exhibit and facts about naked mole rats near their home.
If you do end up stuck in a line, don’t pout. Remember that you ARE in Disney World! There are many apps that you can download that can involve your WHOLE FAMILY, not just one person jamming out to music or tweeting about being stuck in an hour long line. There are trivia apps that keep score and you can split into teams. Not to mention, there are many hidden Mickeys and secrets in the queue lines, and finding them can be entertaining on its own.
Did I forget anything on this list? Do you want to agree or disagree with any of my choices? Leave a comment below!
The correct answer to last week’s To Tell The Truth … The Tomorrowland Walkway: An Interactive Game was story number two. Congratulations to everyone who said that the pathway to Tomorrowland is larger than the others leaving the hub because studies show that most people go to the right when they have a choice of which direction to travel. Disney anticipated this and, to allow for a greater number of people choosing this route, made the Tomorrowland sidewalk bigger than all of the others.
See ya REAL soon!
Quote of the Week: “She can’t love you, you know. She doesn’t have her heart.” ~Mary Margaret, ABC’s Once Upon A Time
Makena is a 14 year old high school student who spends much of her free time researching Disney. She enjoys sharing Disney facts and even plans Walt Disney World vacations (including searches for secrets and Hidden Mickeys) for friends and family. Makena began blogging for WDW Radio in December 2011.