DO or DON’T: Disney’s MOST Popular Attractions

in Walt Disney World

Slinky Dog Dash with a red "X" over it and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World is well known for their world-class rides, shows, and attractions. People save their money and travel from all over the world for the chance to ride attractions like Expedition Everest, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

disney world space mountain
Credit: Disney

But during the busier seasons, when wait times for the most popular attractions can climb to over an hour, there simply isn’t enough time to see everything. Although Genie+ and Lightning Lane are an option, they can sell out, and have limitations that make riding everything next to impossible. How do you know which rides are worth waiting for?

Yesterday, we looked at Disney’s least popular attractions to determine if they were worth putting in your itinerary. Now, let’s examine the MOST popular attractions and see if that two hour wait is truly worth it. (NOTE: We’ve determined which rides are “most popular” by which rides have the highest average wait times.)

The Magic Kingdom

seven dwarfs mine train
Credit: Disney

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

The newest coaster in the Park (before TRON opens in April), this swinging family coaster takes Guests on an adventure through the Seven Dwarfs’ gem mine. Wait times here average at around 70 minutes, but can climb close to three hours during the busy season.

DO this attraction if:

  • You’re looking for a coaster for the whole family. If everyone in your party meets the 38” height requirement, this coaster offers enough thrills to please older kids and adults, but is mild enough not to frighten younger riders.
  • You don’t like big drops. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train offers speed, twists, and turns, but all the drops on this attraction are mostly small dips (the biggest drop is 39’), and the ride is very smooth. The “swinging” is also very mild, only adding to the smoothness of the ride.

SKIP this attraction it:

  • You’re looking for a super thrilling roller coaster. This coaster is smooth and has a fun dark ride sequence in the middle, but it’s not very thrilling as a family coaster.
Space Mountain Guests
Credit: Disney

Space Mountain

This Magic Kingdom staple is iconic to Tomorrowland. Guests board a rocketship and blast off into the darkness of space, illuminated only by stars and planets as you sail through twists, turns, and drops. The wait time averages just under an hour, although two+ hour wait times are common during peak season.

DO this attraction if:

  • You’re a roller coaster lover. This famous coaster is a classic that any enthusiast will want to check off their list, offering a ride experience you can’t get anywhere else.
  • You love Disney history. While this ride is not an opening day attraction, the original concept was Walt’s idea, and is iconic to the Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You or your party are afraid of roller coasters. Of the Magic Kingdom coasters, this is the most true “roller coaster,” and the darkness of the attraction makes it feel much faster than it is. The drops are bigger, and small children or those who already don’t like roller coasters may not enjoy this experience.
  • You have back or neck problems. This is an OLD coaster with an interesting ride car, so anyone seated towards the back will feel absolutely every whip and turn the track has to offer. Some Guests find it uncomfortable.
The Hitchhiking Ghosts at The Haunted Mansion, Ezra Beane, Professor Phineas Plump and Gus
Credit: Disney

The Haunted Mansion

One of the Park’s most classic dark rides, The Haunted Mansion is a spooky marvel of sight and sound. Board a “Doom Buggy” and tour this mansion, home to 999 happy haunts… but room for 1000. Wait times here average around 45 minutes but can climb to 90+ during peak season.

DO this attraction if:

  • You love the dark, spooky, or macabre. This is one of the spookiest attractions Walt Disney World has to offer, and any fan of the scary will find their new obsession in this ride.
  • You want to experience a Disney classic. The Haunted Mansion is a staple of Walt Disney World and Disney in general, and anyone at the parks should experience it at least once.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You’re looking for something truly scary. This ride is more spooky than scary and is designed for families, so you won’t find anything horror movie-quality here.
  • You have easily frightened little ones. Despite it being designed for families, small children may be scared of the dark environments, creepy sounds, and spooky ghosts.
Peter Pan's Flight
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Peter Pan’s Flight

A classic opening day attraction, this gentle dark ride has Guests board a magical pirate ship and fly to Neverland to join Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinker Bell, and all their friends on an adventure. Due to the small ride’s low capacity, wait times will always be at least 40 minutes here and can get up to 2+ hours during peak season.

DO this attraction if:

  • You love Disney history. This attraction opened with the Park and offers charming animatronics, scenery, and some classic Disney magic.
  • You or your party love Peter Pan. This is the only Peter Pan-themed attraction in Walt Disney World and will give any fans of the film or character their fix.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You’re looking for something new & high-tech. This is an OLD attraction that has only gotten routine maintenance, so when you compare it to Disney’s newest offerings and stunning animatronics, there’s a noticeable tech difference.
  • You want a thrill ride or immersive experience. This is a short and very mild dark ride.

EPCOT

Guests riding Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT Walt Disney World
Credit: Disney

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

EPCOT’s newest coaster is a Theme Park marvel (ha ha, get it?). This exhilerating, spinning coaster has Guests joining the ranks of the Guardians of the Galaxy as they’re blasted into space to save Earth from being deleted from history – and, of course, the whole thing is set to a randomized song from Peter Quill’s Awesome Mix. This attraction currently does not have a standby line, and relies on hard-to-get boarding groups retrieved through the My Disney Experience app.

DO this attraction if:

  • You love thrill rides. This is one of the best thrill rides in all of Walt Disney World. The coaster’s rotating cars offer an experience unlike any other, and the backwards launch has to be seen to be believed.
  • You’re a Marvel fan. Due to Universal’s hold on Marvel Theme Park rights, Marvel attractions are very hard to come by in Walt Disney World. This is, currently, the only one.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You don’t like roller coasters. While Cosmic Rewind doesn’t offer giant drops or inversions, it is a long ride that hits 60 mph (and feels even faster in the dark). With twists, turns, and the rotating cars, the experience is quite intense.
  • You’re prone to motion sickness. Despite being INCREDIBLY smooth, some Guests have reported this ride making them a little queasy due to the rotating cars. Pro Tip: If you tend to get motion sickness and want to ride, ask to be seated in one of the middle cars.
remys ratatouille adventure
Credit: Disney

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

This trackless ride was lifted from Disneyland Paris and has a new home in EPCOT’s France pavilion. Guests are shrunk down to the size of rats and join Remy on an adventure through the kitchen of Gusteau’s. This attraction averages about an hour wait time, but can climb to 90+ during peak seasons.

DO this attraction if:

  • You love Ratatouille (2007). This ride is a wonderful tribute to the film and puts you right in the middle of the action, and the rat-sized kitchen theming is very charming.
  • You love trackless rides. If you enjoyed Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you will definitely enjoy this very similar attraction.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You’re looking for something overly exciting or thrilling. This ride is very cute and family-oriented, but does not offer much in terms of thrills. Compared to a trackless ride like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, it’s not nearly as exciting.
Test Track cars
Credit: Disney

Test Track

An EPCOT staple, this thrill ride has Guests design their own test car measured on four stats; capability, responsiveness, efficiency, and power. Then, they take their cars for a high speed and thrilling spin. This attraction averages at an hour wait but can easily get to 90+ minutes or multiple hours during busier seasons.

DO this attraction if:

  • You want an accessible thrill ride. This is the fastest ride in Walt Disney World, clocking in at 65 mph, but is mild in terms of any other thrills, making it a non-coaster thrill ride the whole family can enjoy.
  • You want an interactive attraction. Being able to design your car may not change the ride itself, but it adds a fun interactive element and a healthy competition between the members of your party when it comes to comparing stats.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You’re looking for a roller coaster. The thrilling, high-speed portion of the attraction is at the very end and lasts under a minute, so if you want a high-octane attraction all throughout, you won’t find it here.
Anna, Elsa, and Olaf animatronics singing at the end of Frozen Ever After.
Credit: Disney

Frozen Ever After

This boat ride in EPCOT’s Norway pavilion takes Guests on a magical journey to Arendelle, featuring Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and all of their friends. Any Frozen (2013) obsessed members of your party will not want to miss it. Wait times here average at just under an hour, but can reach 90+ during the peak season.

DO this attraction if:

  • You love Frozen. Whether it’s your favorite Disney movie or your children’s, this is a must-ride for fans of Anna and Elsa, which often contributes to its high wait times.
  • You want something your kids will enjoy. EPCOT has a reputation of being more of an “adult” Park, so Frozen Ever After provides a welcome kid-friendly experience.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You’re not a Frozen fan. Outside of the theming, this boat ride has little to offer regarding thrills or special effects. Those who are tired of hearing “Let It Go” can probably skip this one.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Credit: Inside the Magic Alex Lue

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Often heralded as the best ride in Walt Disney World, this stunning attraction within Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge offers an adventure your family will never forget. One of the most immersive experiences at the Resort, this ride is a marvel of theming, technology, special effects, and more. Wait times average at around 75 minutes but frequently climb to two or three hours during the peak season.

DO this attraction if:

  • You want to experience the best Disney has to offer. Truly, nothing compares to this attraction, and it must be seen to be believed. It will please thrill ride lovers, thrill ride haters, Star Wars fanatics & newbies alike – everyone will find something to enjoy.
  • You love Star Wars. This is the closest most of us will ever get to being in a Star Wars movie. Fans of the franchise should NOT miss it.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You’re not prepared to wait. This writer cannot think of a very good reason NOT to ride this attraction besides a lengthy wait time during peak season. In our opinion, it’s entirely worth it; just bring a snack and something to keep you entertained.
The Twlight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

The emblem of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this attraction takes Guests inside an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’, where tonight, you are the star of tonight’s episode. With a hair-raising 13 story drop, wait times average around an hour but can exceed two or three during peak season.

DO this attraction if:

  • You love drop towers. This is the only one offered at Walt Disney World, and it’s fantastic, with impressing theming and a randomized drop sequence, guranteeing new thrills every time.
  • You’re a fan of ‘The Twilight Zone.’ Fans of this television classic will love this attraction, with contains several easter eggs from the original show.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You don’t like heights or dropping. The entire ride sequence is dropping from a great height, so those nauseous at that idea should skip this one.
  • You have easily frightened children. This is a scarier attraction that doesn’t make a strenuous effort to be family-oriented, so between the theming and the dropping, small children may not enjoy this one.
slinky dog dash
Credit: Disney

Slinky Dog Dash

This family coaster in Toy Story Land has Guests board Slinky Dog and zoom away on a coaster designed by Andy himself. The wait times here average at just under an hour and peak around two.

DO this attraction if:

  • You’re looking for a family thrill ride. The Park’s other thrill rides (Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster) are more adult-oriented, so this is an excellent coaster for a more child-friendly audience.
  • You love the Toy Story films. Toy Story Land is a delight for all fans of the original films, and Slinky Dog Dash is a perfect tribute to them – it even features a surprise performance from Wheezy at the end.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You want a thrilling coaster. Being a family coaster, it doesn’t offer much in terms of high-octane thrills. Those looking for something more intense should ride Rock ‘n Roller Coaster instead).
Galaxy's Edge Millennium Falcon at night
Credit: Disney

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

This is an extremely unique ride experience that fulfills every Star Wars fan’s dream; flying the Millennium Falcon. Team up with your party to fulfill different roles (Pilots, Gunners, and Engineers) and aid Hondo Ohnaka as you fly the Millennium Falcon and steal coaxium from a First Order transporter. Wait times average around 50 minutes but can climb to 60+ during peak periods.

DO this attraction if:

  • You love Star Wars. Seriously, who can pass up the opportunity to fy the Millennium Falcon?
  • You want an interactive experience. This ride is more like a video game; your team must work together to succeed. You have full control over this motion simulator and how well your team performs.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You’re not ready to play to win. Due to the attraction’s video game-like nature, non-gamers or those who want a more hands-off experience may find the game elements stressful, especially with a cabin full of screaming family members. Pro Tip: Those wanting more control should pick the pilot position, which involves maneuvering the ship, while those wanting a more hands-off experience should pick engineer, which only requires pressing buttons when they light up.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Kid riding Avatar Flight of Passage in Pandora: World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: DIsney

Avatar Flight of Passage

This breathtaking motion simulator in Pandora – The World of Avatar invites Guests to link with their own Avatar and hop on the back of a banshee for a stunning ride through Pandora’s floating mountains and beautiful landscapes. Wait times here average at a whopping 120 minutes and can easily push three hours during peak season.

DO this attraction if:

  • You’re looking for immersion. This is an extremely immersive experience unlike any other Theme Park attraction, and Guests will truly feel like they’re really there. Even those who haven’t seen the films will enjoy this.
  • You want a mild thrill. Being a motion simulator, the ride takes a few dips, but the motion is relatively mild. Most of the thrill comes from the immersion of the landscape.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You’re prone to motion sickness. This simulator ride utilizes both a giant screen and 3D glasses, as well as a bike-style ride vehicle. Those who are made ill by simulators may not want to ride.
Kilimanjaro Safaris vehicle
Credit: Disney

Kilimanjaro Safaris

This unique safari ride in the Africa section of the Park takes Guests on an adventure through a massive savannah, home to the wild and exotic animals that Disney protects and conserves. Average wait times here clock in at just under an hour, but can push two or three during peak season.

DO this attraction if:

  • You want to see live animals. This is one of the best ways to do it in Animal Kingdom, and because the sanctuary is living and breathing, you’re likely to see different animals every time.
  • You’re a photographer. This is an amazing way to get some photos of animals in what is close to their natural habitat.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You’re on a time crunch. Safari times can vary, and rare instances like animals standing in the truck’s path can add even more time to the attraction. It might be best to pass if you’re cutting it close to something like a dining reservation.
  • You don’t want a rough ride. The ride vehicles on this are free-moving trucks with a driver, and the dirt paths are VERY rough with no lap restraints. Especially if you sit in the back, you will be bumping and bouncing the entire ride.
guests on na'vi river journey
Credit: Disney

Na’vi River Journey

The second of the two Pandora rides, this slow-moving boat ride takes you on a journey through Pandora’s waterways, encountering its unique wildlife and a very impressive Na’vi animatronic. Wait times here average around 50 minutes, but it’s not uncommon to see waits of two hours or more during peak season.

DO this attraction if:

  • You’re looking for a peaceful ride. This slow boat ride is visually stunning and very peaceful, and offers a nice respite from the high energy of the rest of the Park.
  • You love animatronics. This ride may only have one, but it’s one of the most impressive at Walt Disney World.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You’re looking for a thrill ride. This boat ride is extremely mild and doesn’t offer anything thrilling in terms of motion.
  • The animatronic is down. The Na’vi animatronic has a B-mode when it isn’t working, where a screen goes up in place of it. She is the star of the attraction, and you can ask the Cast Member out front if she’s working or not.
expedition-everest
Credit: Luke D. ITM

Expedition Everest

The only coaster in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this attraction takes Guests on an adventure into the legendary Forbidden Mountain, where they come face-to-face with the Yeti. This coaster averages wait times of around 30 minutes, but it can easily climb to over an hour during peak season.

DO this attraction if:

  • You love roller coasters. This is the only one in the Park, so coaster enthusiasts will want to ensure they ride. It features a dizzying 80-foot drop and a backwards portion in the dark.

SKIP this attraction if:

  • You get motion sickness or don’t like roller coasters. The backwards portion can be a bit intense for some riders, and those fearful of roller coasters may be intimidated by the large drop.

Do you agree with our picks? Let us know!

 

in Walt Disney World

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