Lets get down to business: my favourite rides at Disney World Florida

I like to think of Disney World as one of those corporate personality tests. You arrive fresh faced and full of hope, and leave crushed by the stark openness of your soul laid bare. In other words, it really helps you figure out what you like in a park ride. We spent ten days in the parks in total (8 in Disney World, 2 in Universal Studios), and did very little planning in advance.  As someone who arrived super chilled about the different rides I now have VERY STRONG OPINIONS on which are good, bad, magical and horrific. For example, I hope the Good Place looks like the Tiki Room – many would disagree. I could go on and on about this (lord no one give me a podcast) so I have made things simple and broken it down into the best worst and mildly entertaining per park. AND because I love an overshare, I have included our full ride itinerary at the end.
Fun fact: I loved rollercoasters as a kid, but then got really really scared of them as a teenager. Now, at 29? Forking love them again. I seriously could not get enough of that almost out of control feeling as your stomach sits in your mouth and all of your senses are assaulted with speed and noise.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Avatar Flight of Passage
This is the ride of Kings, seriously I don’t think there is another ride on the planet that can top it at the moment. The concept is you are flying on a Banshee across Pandora, which in reality means you are sitting on a motorbike type contraption (which ‘breathes’ underneath you) and you watch a 3D movie as the bike moves a little in place. But holy James Cameron it actually feels like you are flying through another world, the effects are just that good. So good in fact that we did this one twice even though the wait time was 2 hours a piece. Even the waiting is not that bad since the theming of the queue is superb (you walk through the forest, caves, and labs of Pandora). If you are going to Disney you can’t miss this ride.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
A more traditional rollercoaster but at some point a yeti turns up. Its fast, you go backwards and the feeling of going through and around a mountain adds something extra.
Mildly Entertaining 
Kilimanjaro Safaris
You sit on a safari truck and go and look at actual real life animals. I mean ones that aren’t plastic and controlled by a server in the basement. The Disney animals are no different to what you would see in any other zoo, but if you want a good 20minute sit down and a chance to see a rhino butt..then this is the ride for you.
Festival of the Lion King
A live action show with all the songs you know and love AND some acrobatic monkeys (well…very good looking humans pretending to be monkeys). Very good fun and again, a good chance for a sit down.
What the hell Disney. Why is this ride still a thing? It looks like a paper mache class project from the 90’s that has been combined with a track so jerky that even biltong is wondering why Dinosaur is so extra. I’m sure a micro human would enjoy it, but don’t wait more than 10 minutes and for all that is holy don’t waste a fast pass on it.

Magic Kingdom

Space Mountain 
Loved it so much we rode it twice. Its an almost pitch black rollercoaster with surprising twists, a space theme and games you can play in the queue. Whats not to love?
Splash Mountain
This is quite simply a classic log flume with excellent music, characters and a good old fashioned soaking at the end.
Mildly Entertaining
Pirates of the Caribbean 
Its amazing that Disney somehow manages to turn raping and pillaging into wholesome family fun, where even the domestic abuser cameo at the end seems delightful. That aside this is a great ride that takes you on a pirate adventure and will leave you singing ‘yo ho’ well into the next ride.
People Mover
This was great, not sure of the point of it, but a nice place to eat some snacks.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Fantastically smooth rollercoaster but it did not make up for the horrific wait time. This was the only queue that felt painful (compared to Avatar for example which was the same time but went by in the blink of an eye), it was hot, long and full of children (#thatswhatshesaid). The ride is just too short to overcome the horrors of the line. I would say it is worth doing if the line is under 1.5 hours…which it never is so just give up and ride something else.
Haunted Mansion
Not a bad ride in itself, but both times we rode it broke down for not insignificant amounts of time. I can now say Madame Leota’s monologue off by heart. It haunts my dreams. Oh god why wont it stop.
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
This is a point and shoot ride where you need to hit the targets. The problem is that it is impossible to see what you are shooting at which rather takes the fun out of it. Worth it if you have a fast pass, not if you have to queue.

Disneys Hollywood Studios

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Basically its Space Mountain but with music. It may be even more fun if you know who Aerosmith is. Is a Spice Girls roller coaster too much to ask?
Tower of Terror
I don’t think I have ever been this genuinely scared on a ride, which I guess is the point. It was Dad’s favourite so we rode it twice. I didn’t know anything about the Twilight Zone so the theme was a little lost on me, but the final random drop sequence is terrifyingly brilliant. If you are ever feeling a bit blue send me a DM and I will show you the ride photo from this – the look of terror on my face will make you happy again.
Toy Story Mania!
Think 3D carnival type games where you are trying to knock down plates and toss rings. So much fun and very well executed as a ride.
Mildly Entertaining
Star Tours
This was a good concept and great if you are into Star Wars, but now just feels a little dated in comparison to Avatar and the like. Oh and there was a family on the ride with us that SCREAMED the entire time, I was very close to turning to the dark side by the time the ride ended.
Where the hell are the rest of the rides? Ok I know they are building them, but right now Hollywood Studios just feels empty. I would recommend getting fast passes for the three ‘best’ ones above and then you only need a half day in the park to see everything.


Living with the Land
Ok your kids may hate this one, but as a grownup it is fascinating. You learn all about agriculture across the globe and get to see some of the growing techniques up close. Much fun. Much learning. Much growing.
Frozen Ever After
Basically a modern version of the Pirates ride but with more ice and less rape.
Mildly Entertaining
Spaceship Earth
The overall vibe for Epcot is ‘stuck in the 80’s’ and nothing says that better than Spaceship Earth (it is the ride inside the big ball). Spaceship Earth is a look at how we may all live in the future but from the past i.e. think the Jetsons with flying cars instead of all just hoping WW3 isn’t started on Twitter.
Nothing? They were all mildly entertaining and vaguely educational. Although it is telling that we only spent a day here and it was the only park we didn’t double dip on.

What we did, day by day

Saturday: Animal Kingdom in the afternoon

– Avatar: Flight of Passage
– Dinosaur
– Its a bugs life
– Avatar: River Cruise
Sunday: Disney Springs & Epcot
– The Void (Starwars VR experience)
– Living with the Land
– Journey into Imagination with Figment
– Test Track
– Mission Space
– Spaceship Earth
– The Seas with Nemo & Friends
– Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
– Soaring over the World
– Frozen Ever After
Monday: Universal Studios
– Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
– Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
– Men in Black: Alien Attack
– Men in Black: Alien Attack
– ET Adventure
– The Simpsons Ride 🙁
– Transformers the ride
– Revenge of the Mummy
– Revenge of the Mummy
– Minions 3D
Tuesday: Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
– Cat in the Hat
– Poseidon’s Fury
– Flight of the Hippogriff
– Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
– The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show
– Skull Island: Reign of Kong
Wednesday (Valentines Day): Magic Kingdom
– Carousel of Progress
– People Mover
– Jungle Cruise
– Tiki Room
– Pirates of the Caribbean
– Fireworks (Happily Ever After show)
– Its a Small World
– Haunted Mansion
Thursday: Magic Kingdom
– Big Thunder Railroad
– Buzz Lightyear
– Bells Enchanted Tales
– The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
– Space Mountain
– Splash Mountain
– Train Ride
Friday: Disneys Hollywood Studios
– Tower of Terror
– Indiana Jones Show
– Star Wars
– Toy Story Mania
– Rocking Roller Coaster
Saturday: Kennedy Space Center!
Sunday: Animal Kingdom
– Expedition Everest
– Safari
– Lion King Show
– Avatar: Flight of Passage
Monday: Magic Kingdom
– Space Mountain
– Haunted Mansion
– Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (rage)
– Pirates of the Caribbean
Tuesday: Disneys Hollywood Studios
– Rocking Roller Coaster
– Tower of Terror
– StarWars Fireworks

Author: runawaykiwi