This year has brought a lot of changes and additions to the Walt Disney World parks, giving us new magical things to see and experience! Let's take a look back at a few of WDW's new arrivals!
Have you been able to experience the WDW's new additions this past year? Which one is your favorite? What would you like to see come to the parks and resorts in 2014?
The only thing better than a great Disney attraction is a Disney attraction that offers more than one way to experience its magic! There are quite a few WDW attractions that do just that, and probably more than you might think! So go ahead and take a look at our list of WDW Attractions With More Than One Experience!
This Animal Kingdom attraction is truly different each time you ride because you never know what animals might be out, what they might do, or where they might be! All you can do is have your camera ready and enjoy the spontaneity because with living, breathing scenery, Kilimanjaro Safaris can never get old.
The Magic Kingdom's popular Splash Mountain is known for its trademark drop and excellent storytelling; but for a whole new ride experience, we recommend that you give this ride a shot at night! Why? Quite a bit of this attraction takes place outdoors, so floating after dark is sure to give your ride a different feel. Plus, if you time it right, you can catch a few glimpses of the Main Street Electrical Parade moving through the nearby lands as your log floats by; and that illuminated view of the park right before the drop is pretty cool too!
The Great Movie Ride
If you're a movie fan, you are sure to like this ride. But did you know that there's more than one way to experience it? In fact, there are two different routes that this attraction offers: the mobster scene and the western scene. In both scenes, your tram driver disappears and a villain takes his place; but whether this happens on a shady, 1920s street or the dusty streets of the Wild West, just depends.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Hollywood Studios' Tower of Terror is thrilling no matter what, but it's especially chilling when you ride it at night! Plus, when the elevator doors open up, an illuminated park is always really cool to see and so different than the view during the day.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Who doesn't enjoy this ride? It's so much fun! But we prefer to ride it at night. In fact, we purposely save this attraction for after dark just because new details come to light after sunset, it feels faster, and the dark only ups the thrill factor! We always encourage guests to try to ride it during Wishes because it offers a great, unique view!
This ride is one of our favorites! We would seriously make the long trek over to Animal Kingdom just for this ride. Now this ride doesn't offer an alternative routes; but like Splash and Big Thunder, it's a whole new ride at night. Now Animal Kingdom often closes earlier than most parks, usually before dark; but on occasion, it will offer extra late magic hours letting you see this mountain all lit up, the glowing lanterns, and the extra edge of mystery and suspense that comes with zipping through the mountain after dark!
Like many of the attractions at WDW, the Jungle Cruise takes place outdoors and therefore offers a different experience after sun goes down. Plus, this is when the lines are shorter too! The dark actually adds a bit of thrill to this classic ride; and sometimes you get an extra-interesting cruise. As one Jungle Cruise Skipper told us, "Welcome to the night cruises!"
The new, updated Star Tours is all about a diverse riding experience as you never know which Star Wars character you might meet, where you might go, and just who might be the rebel spy! As the attraction's cast and locales span from all six Star Wars films, there are a lot of possibilities which keeps this attraction fresh and people coming back for more and more rides!
So which one is your favorite? Expedition Everest and Jungle Cruise are pretty high up on our list, how about you?
The Magic Kingdom is the most popular park at WDW, and winding, long lines and crowds are common! A popular trick to beat the masses is to arrive right when the park opens, as most guests tend to trickle through the gates a little before lunch. Therefore, those few early hours are precious and should be spent wisely, preferably on the Magic Kingdom's most popular attractions so that you and your family can steer clear of the long, long waits and fully maximize your time in the magic!
But what attractions are the most popular? Which ones should you ride first before the park begins to fill up? Read on to find out!
Enchanted Tales with Belle-As this show is one of the park's newest attractions, as well as being a little lengthy, it fills up fast! We've seen its wait time shoot past 30 minutes within the first hour of the park being open! This is why we definitely recommend seeing it first in the morning; but as you hurry inside, be sure to notice all of the little details in the queue both outside and inside! There are plenty of fun details and references packed in here!
Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid-Another new attraction, this dark ride is family friendly and housed in Prince Eric's Castle! The line fills up quick, so try to mark it off your list before the park gets too full or you may find yourself waiting to journey under the sea for a long time! But again, don't hurry too quickly! This attraction's queue is one of our favorites and should definitely be explored!
Peter Pan's Flight-This classic Fantasyland dark ride has been filling up the lines for decades! The wait times here are notorious and consistent, so the earlier the better if you want to experience one of Fantasyland's bests!
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad-This western-style roller coaster is a great family thrill ride; and it's landscape and reputation for details and gags pack in the crowds throughout the day! We recommend riding early, but coming back later at night to ride it again in the dark for a whole new experience!
Splash Mountain-One of our all-time favorites, Splash Mountain is famous for its iconic watery plunge into the Briar Patch, but the rest of the ride offers a few small drops, indoor and outdoor scenery, a great storyline, soundtrack, and a chance for the whole family to enjoy a variety of ride elements in one big attraction altogether! The line gets long just a little before lunch and can stay that way for most of the day. So if you don't want to have to wait, make Splash Mountain one of your first stops!
Space Mountain-This indoor roller coaster through space is an icon and has been thrilling guests for generations! Apparently, it's still thrilling guests even today, and the long, long lines that can stretch even outside at times are evidence of that! The queue for Space Mountain is very, very long; and so the fact that guests have to wait outside proves just how bad the wait can be for this wild, rocket ride through the dark. In fact, we recommend heading to this ride first if possible when you arrive; and if you think you will like to ride it again later, grab a FastPass!
So these are the Magic Kingdom attractions that we suggest you ride first so you can minimize your wait times and maximize your time for magic and even more rides!
Enchanted Tales with Belle at the Magic Kingdom, one of the Magic Kingdom's newest attractions, offers amazing detail, creative technology, a one-of-a-kind character experience, and a trip into the Beast's Castle!
It begins with a walk through Maurice's Cottage to see where Belle grew up before using Maurice's magical mirror which magically transports you to the Beast's Castle!
Once you walk through the mirror, which expands and turns into a doorway before your eyes, you meet the wardrobe from the film who explains you're going to help surprise Belle with a story of how she and the Beast met and fell in love!
Volunteers who wish to play a part in the story are given parts and costumes. They are usually kids, but occasionally an adults can join too! Afterwards, you're taken into the Beast's library where an incredibly realistc, audio-animatronic Lumiere welcomes you and calls for Belle!
When Belle comes in, the chosen guests perform their parts and interact with a gracious, charming Belle before each guest who participated gets a special picture with her and maybe a special gift? It's probably one of the best character experiences we have seen at WDW!
As Enchanted Tales with Belle is still a new attraction, the line tends to fill up quick! This is probably also due to the fact that this attraction is a show, meaning that it doesn't load and unload as quickly as a continuous moving attraction would.
We decided to experience Enchanted Tales in the evening after a particularly stormy day as most of the crowds had chosen to stay in; and we were rewarded with a relatively short wait with no one in the outside queue!
This was the perfect chance to grab some pics and to take in the outdoor details; and we must say, Maurice's Cottage is especially picturesque around sundown with the glowing lantern light and the Beast's Castle and the waterfall effects lit up!
Maurice's Cottage is sweet and charming, with many subtle references to Maurice's whimsical inventions! Take a look and see!
Here's an example of Maurice's handiwork!
It appears that Maurice repaired a fence with whatever he found laying around!
Another view of Maurice's Cottage.
Inside the cottage, you find a few references to Belle's childhood and her interests, which include this sweet growth chart and stacks and stacks of books!
Here's a portrait of young Belle with who we assume is her mother!
My favorite reference in the cottage is this open book, which is the book Belle got from bookstore during the film's opening song! Above the book appears to be a plan or schematic for one of Maurice's inventions.
Here's a view of the Magic Mirror; and it truly does work like magic!
Enchanted Tales with Belle was one of the highlights of our trip; but it is definitely geared towards younger audiences, particularly little girls. While there are roles for boys in the performance, the interaction with Belle may not be for every young prince. What about adults? We think adults and parents will appreciate the detail and technology put into the whole experience; but it's probably something you will only want to do once.
Our Rating: 4 Glass Slippers
Adults: 3.5 Glass Slippers
Teens: 3 Glass Slippers
Kids: 4.5 Glass Slippers
Have you experienced Enchanted Tales with Belle? Is it on your to-do list? What do you think about this attraction?
Walt Disney World is all about families and magical experiences, but it's not all spinning teacups and pixies either. In fact, Disney World is home to some of the best thrill rides in the world, as well as a few somewhat scary experiences!
To keep your trip as fun and peaceful as possible, particularly when traveling with little princes and princesses, it's good to know which attractions may pack a little to much excitement for your crew.
So let's take it park by park and see which attractions you may want to skip. However, for kids who are little braver than some, or who handle fast and even rough rides relatively well, we have listed some maybes, attractions which may not be too intense for your kids. While no one can predict just how your kids will react, we hope that you can gauge a little better with this extra listing.
Stitch's Great Escape-Even though this show features the lovable Stitch, anyone who remembers the beginning of his film knows he was kind of scary! This attraction is all about the part of the film where the aliens are trying to keep Stitch contained; but he is less than willing to comply. In this show, you are actually strapped into your seat as you witness Stitch's capture and frightening escape which includes moments of darkness and sensory experiences. While at times amusing, we think this is definitely too scary for little ones!
Space Mountain-Even though this classic attraction doesn't feature any inversions, it does take place almost entirely in the dark and promises a rough ride! It's a blast for adults and older children; but unless you have brave little ones in tow, you may want to skip this for a few years.
Splash Mountain-This water flume attraction is pure fun with warm, lovable characters and more; but when the lead character, Br' er Rabbit runs into trouble, small dips and drops, and finally the huge, trademark drop appear! While the ride itself isn't scary, the ride experience itself might be a bit too much for some.
Big Thunder Mountain-Like Splash Mountain, this fun and friendly ride isn't really scary in itself, but the rough ride, quick speed, and occasional stomach dropping dip can be a little too intense; but of all the Magic Kingdom rides we've listed in this post, it's probably the tamest and a great way to gauge what your kids will like or handle. There are one or two moments of the ride that take place in the dark; but for the most part, the ride is outdoors in the sunshine.
Maybes: Pirates of the Caribbean
Mission Space-This Epcot attraction places you in a very small and tight ride vehicle which then lets you experience what it's like to be blasted into outer space, including the heavy feeling of breaking through the atmosphere and a moment of weightlessness! Many feel this ride is way too intense and is known to make some guests nauseous. Therefore, we definitely waiting until your kids are much older before you give Mission Space a try. If your kids still want to give it a try, there is a milder version of the attraction available.
Maybes: Test Track, Maelstrom, Soarin
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror-Seeing how "terror" is in this attraction's name, you can get a pretty good idea of what's in store! This attraction puts you into an episode of the classic series, The Twilight Zone, and your ride vehicle is an elevator which drops you up and down repeatedly. It's one of the best rides at WDW, but it's definitely thrilling and probably a little too scary for some.
Rock n' Roller Coaster-This attraction is a roller coaster that takes guests from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds before taking you through two inversions and a corkscrew, as well as a few dips along the way. It also takes place completely indoors and mostly in the dark with an awesome Aerosmith soundtrack to rock along to. It's a fun ride, but definitely wild and packed full of thrills.
Maybes: Star Tours, The Great Movie Ride
It's Tough to be a Bug-This 3-D show can be found inside of Animal Kingdom's icon, the Tree of Life, and is hosted by Flik from Pixar's A Bug's Life. The story is that you have shrunk down to the size of a bug and you are getting to see what different bugs can do. The scary part is the sensory experiences. At one part, you get sprayed with Bug Spray by a massive Hopper and you feel as if bugs are running under your feet and behind your back towards the end. Many Disney guests agree that this show is just too scary and even creepy.
Expedition Everest-The newest addition to the Disney Mountain Range, Expedition Everest is a roller coaster that takes you in and out of Mount Everest. It's a fast ride with several drops; and at one point you even end up going backwards in the dark! Despite these thrills, the ride really isn't too scary and has no inversions or corkscrews, even though the storyline is that you are trying out avoid the legendary Yeti. You only see his shadow once during the ride; and unless you look up towards the end, you probably won't see him. Even so, some little guests may find it a little too intense.
Dinosaur-On this ride, you will go back in time in an attempt to save a particular dinosaur; but there's also a terrifying dinosaur on your tail, and a meteor shower is about to strike! This ride is dark, rough, and very scary, especially when you're being chased by the scary dinosaur which makes you feel like you're in a scene from Jurassic Park. Not only this ride too scary for young riders, you may find it too scary too!
Maybes: Kali River Rapids
As if it wasn't obvious enough, we are huge fans of Walt Disney World and all of the activities and experiences to be had there; but there is one thing that us Disney World visitors lack that Disneyland visitors have always had; and that is the ability to walk in Walt's footsteps.
Now we know that WDW's Magic Kingdom is a glorified replica of DL's Magic Kingdom; but the fact remains that Disney World has never been graced by Walt's presence or had his touch throughout its early years.
Also, as the parks grow and expand and change, (which is a good thing and definitely something Walt would want), the reality is that the park that Walt once imagined is fading away.
However, not all is lost! If Disney World visitors know where to look, they can still see remnants of Walt's creations and original ideas at the Magic Kingdom today alongside of the park's new rides and entertainment.
So which attractions came from the imagination and direction of Walt himself? What remnants of Walt's original Magic Kingdom still exist today? Read on to find out!
"it's a small world"-In the sixties, Walt had the great idea of having other companies sponsor new attractions to be displayed at the 1964 World's Fair. This way, Walt could try out new ideas and concepts and have other companies foot the bill! Pretty good idea, right?
The idea for this classic attraction came from not only Walt's imagination, but also from Pepsi, a company looking for a product for the World's Fair, who were sponsoring UNICEF (
The theme of the world's children and Walt's audio-animatronics came together into what we all know today; but some doubted it would even happen! You see, Walt announced the plan for this attraction a little late giving Imagineers only a few months to get it done; but, of course, impossible wasn't even in Walt's vocabulary and the attraction did debut at the fair and became one of the company's most signature attractions ever!
The design came from the mind of Mary Blair, a Disney art director, who Walt chose for the job due to her whimsy, pastel trademark style; and for that famous song, Walt chose his go-to song writers, the Sherman Brothers.
Even though WDW's version is not the original "it's a small world" attraction, it still showcases Walt's ideas and decisions, as well as his success in creating attractions that withstand generations.
Pirates of the Caribbean-Probably the most famous theme park attraction of all time, Pirates of the Caribbean is also one of Walt's original attractions and a testament to his ability to create timeless entertainment.
Walt's original vision was to have a pirates walk-through wax museum; but with development of his trademark audio-animatronics, he began to see that this idea had a lot more potential!
Walt was involved in the extremely detailed design process, which even included a miniature model of the ride that was built at eye level so Imagineers could see what the guests would be seeing!
The Enchanted Tiki Room-Years before technology was made available for audio-animatronics, Walt was fascinated with mechanical toys; and when the idea for the Tiki Room begin to emerge in his imagination, he originally planned it as a restaurant that would come alive with tropical flowers and talking birds. However, like Pirates of the Caribbean, this idea had too much potential and soon blossomed into a full blown show!
Peter Pan's Flight-This attraction is one of the oldest in Disney parks history and holds the honorable position of one of the first attractions ever designed for a Disney park! It was there on the opening day of Disneyland, as well as opening day of WDW's Magic Kingdom; and it still produces LONG wait times even today.
Peter Pan's Flight showcases several things about Walt himself. The first being his creativity and desire to do new things. Walt was always thinking of how to improve something; and the fact that he took the standard dark ride and attached it to the ceiling, instead of running it on a track on the ground, illustrates his fearless ingenuity. Secondly, Peter Pan made quite an impression upon Walt when he saw a live stage performance of the story in his youth; and he really became a kind of Peter Pan when he grew up, leading us to Neverland, or Disneyland, where we don't have to grow up.
and his own animated version came to symbolize his company, such as Tinkerbell and the concept of never growing up, as well as what he does for his park guests. After all, isn't the Magic Kingdom a form of Neverland?
Carousel of Progress-Located in Tomorrowland, the Carousel of Progress was another attraction created for the 1964 World's Fair; and today, it holds the record of the longest running stage show in history! For many years, Walt had wanted to showcase the evolution of technology in some sort of land or attraction in Disneyland; and that idea and passion of his culiminated into this attraction.
The Carousel of Progress is one of my favorite classic "Walt" attractions in that it represents him in so many ways.For example, Walt was a historian, but he also was fascinated with the future, which is what this attraction is all about. Secondly, the show features the use of Walt's famous audio-animatronics! The leading character audio-animatronic really is a lot like Walt if you think about, an everyman who was enjoying the progress of the age and looking forward to the progress of tomorrow; and the time periods represented are periods that Walt's lived through during his life.
Plus, the theme song, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" really sums up Walt's philosophy, don't you think?
Check back soon to read more about what remains of Walt's original Magic Kingdom!
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is, in our opinion, one of the most underrated attractions at WDW; and it's also one of our personal favorites!
It first opened in 1975 and has changed names several times; but today, it is known as the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.
This attraction is a covered, swift moving tram with individual connecting cars that runs above Tomorrowland and even through several attractions! These cars have two bench seats facing one another, with is great for conversation!
So what is so great about this attraction? After all, there's really little to no story, no characters, and no thrills. Why is it one of our faves?
We have several reasons. First of all, this attraction offers us a bird's eye of Tomorrowland, as well as a beautiful view of Cinderella castle. Also, being lifted up over the park in our own private car gives us the feeling of being removed from all of the crowds and activity from below. We often retreat here to escape and get a breather, especially during peak season! Also, the seating which enables us to sit across from one another is, as we already stated, ideal for conversation. Our family likes to recall our adventures from the day when riding the PeopleMover, as well as plan out the rest of our day!
This attraction is leisurely, but at times it can move pretty swiftly! There's almost always a breeze created by the car's consistent movement, which is awesome because it really cools you off; but it's gentle enough that many parents often hop aboard with tired toddlers so they can grab a quick nap!
Secondly, we enjoy the PeopleMover because of where it goes, such as into the belly of Space Mountain! If your kids are still too small to ride Space Mountain, or you're a little wary of this attraction's thrills, a ride aboard the PeopleMover can give you a little glimpse inside! One time, we got to see the inside of Space Mountain when the lights were on! Apparently, they were doing an update on the attraction; but it was awesome getting to see a rare view of this classic ride.
The PeopleMover also goes inside of Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, an attraction that's a big hit with kids! They get to see guests firing their laser cannons at the Z targets in order to defeat the Evil Emperor Zurg in this dark, but fun and colorful attraction. Finally, the PeopleMover gives guests a loft view of the inside of a Tomorrowland store, Mickey's Star Traders.
The third reason we are fans of the PeopleMover is because it's one of the best attractions to ride during the rain! While the ride is open air, there is a covering over the track to keep you sheltered from the sun and rain; and because there is rarely a line, and lasts several minutes, we often hop aboard to wait out a sudden Florida shower while still getting to enjoy the sights of the park.
Finally, we are fans of the PeopleMover because of it's history. When passing through one of the buildings, you will see Walt's model for Epcot. Many guests don't realize that Epcot was originally not supposed to be a theme park, but an actual community where you could go to live and work!
This may lead you to ask yourself just why an old model of Epcot is hidden away in the Magic Kingdom? Well, there is a connection; and that connection is the PeopleMover itself! You see, Walt's vision for his Epcot community was to have PeopleMovers be one of the primary modes of transportation. The other would be the Monorail, which would encircle the outside of his community. His intended for the PeopleMovers to transport people to and from their jobs, schools, shopping districts, and church on Sunday. He believed that traffic, accidents, smog, and pollution would be eliminated because PeopleMovers accelerate magnetically! Think about it, we wouldn't have to be concerned about gas prices with this type of technology!
Therefore, the PeopleMover is one of the last remnants, as well as a testament, to Walt's vision and plans for the future that is still entertaining and transporting guests today!
This is why the PeopleMover is one of our favorite attractions and a must-do on our Disney vacations! Is it yours too?
What are the best attractions for kids at Walt Disney World? We've decided to share our top picks from each Disney park. Be sure to share with us your faves too!
Magic Kingdom: Peter Pan's Flight
The Magic Kingdom has so many awesome kid rides, but we to have to stick with the classic Peter Pan's Flight. This gentle, yet exhilharating ride takes kids from the Darling Nursery, over nighttime London, and all around Neverland. The fact that the pirate ship shaped ride vehicle is attached to a track on the ceiling sets this attraction apart and adds an exhilarating feel. What's even more impressive is that this attraction has been in the Magic Kingdom since opening day and has been a big favorite with kids for generations. That's why Peter Pan's Flight is our top pick for kids at the most magical park of them all!
Epcot: The Seas with Nemo and Friends
This attraction takes guest aboard a clam shell for a pleasant and colorful trip through Nemo's world! The technology in this ride is fantastic as you can see characters from Finding Nemo swimming in a real fish tank with live fish! You can also catch a ride with Crush on the EAC! But that's not all! After you exit your clam, feel free to explore an enormous, air conditioned, indoor area that offers plenty of exhibits and tanks where you can see live fish, manatees, and even dolphins! This is excellent for young kids who need a break from the heat and crowds and who want to explore and experience at their own pace. That fact, accompanied with the popular Finding Nemo theme, makes this our top pick for a kid's attraction at Epcot.
Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Midway Mania
This attraction is still relatively new and is very popular with guests! In fact, next to Epcot's Soarin', it's probably the most notorious attraction for long waits. However, there's good reason for this; and that's because Toy Story Midway Mania is an excellent ride and our top pick for kids at this park. This attraction makes you feel as if you are the size of a toy in one of the most impressive and entertaining queues at WDW with it's giant board game pieces, Lincoln Log cabin, scribbled drawings of Buzz and Woody, and larger than life Andy's room. During the ride, you fire a pull-string cannon at interactive 3-D screens hosted by Toy Story characters in games that resemble old boardwalk midway games. The Toy Story theme is big with kids, but they also really enjoy this attraction in that it's interactive and they can play along! Also, parents seem to really enjoy this ride too because you can make it a competition, making it great for the whole family.
Animal Kingdom: Kilimanjaro Safaris
This attraction is so unique and definitely one of the best on property. On Kilimanjaro Safaris, guests board a safari vehicle and set across what looks to be the African savanna to see live African wildlife roaming freely! Families fit comfortably on bench seats within the safari vehicle and animals can be seen on both sides. Kids really enjoy seeing the animals walking around in clear view and watching for their favorites. In fact it may be hard to get them off once the ride is over! This ride really makes a trip to the zoo pale in comparison; and because it's not only an entertaining, but also a unique and educational experience.
In honor of this year's fantastic summer Olympics, we decided to pick a few categories that resemble those judged in the Olympic competitions and see which Disney World attractions are worthy of a medal! Take a look!
Endurance: This category is for the attractions that have stood the test of time, that keep delivering amazing moments generation after generation. Here are our winners:
Bronze: Jungle Cruise
This attraction came from the mind of Walt Disney himself and is still popular with all ages today. The Jungle Cruise really embodies the spirit of adventure and the Jungle Cruise captains and their hilarious jokes keep us coming back.
Silver: Peter Pan's Flight
Peter Pan's Flight was there on opening day and it still generates long, long lines even now! It stands apart from other dark rides because the pirate ships in which you ride run on a track attached to the ceiling. The flight over London, and feeling as if you are really running off to Neverland with Peter Pan, delights kids and gives adults the sensation, if just for a moment, that they too are kids again.
Gold: Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean is worthy of the gold medal because it has been and still is one of the most popular and iconic attractions of the Disney Company. Even today, with our technology and special effects, Pirates continues to thrill, amaze, and delight. Pirates of the Caribbean has even inspired one of the most popular film franchises of the same name; and has adopted Captain Jack Sparrow himself into the attraction for guests to locate.
Fastest: This category is for the fastest attractions at WDW! In short, these are the rides which are our equivalent of Jamaican runner Usain Bolt!
Bronze: Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest wins the bronze in this category because, once your coaster goes backwards to escape the Yeti, it definitely picks up speed and makes you feel as if you are rocketing in and out of that mountain! This ride is smooth, but quick, and is great for those who feel the need for speed!
Silver: Rock n' Roller Coaster
This attraction is famous for speed because its storyline is that you are riding in a stretch limo which is speeding through Los Angeles in an attempt to make an Aerosmith concert. This ride begins with a literal launch from 0 to 60 under three seconds! It's the epitome of an adrenaline rush and is definitely worthy of a medal in this category.
Gold: Test Track
Test Track is currenlty being refurbished but it holds the honor of being the fastest attraction at WDW as it reaches speeds up to 65 mph! This occurs during the finale, the part where your car rockets out onto the outside track and reaches this high speed for a moment or two. Therefore, it wins the gold.
Longest: Like the Olympic Long Jump, this category is for those attractions that offer us the longest ride.
Bronze: Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain is eleven minutes long and it deserves a spot on the medal stand because few thrill rides at WDW offer this long of a ride. The length of ride time definitely makes the wait in line worth it!
Silver: Kilimanjaro Safaris
This ride lasts around eighteen minutes and is one of Disney's largest and most unique rides ever! The grounds for this attraction cover a number of miles and the scenery is always changing because the entertainment isn't staged, it's live with live African animals!
Gold: Carousel of Progress
Carousel of Progress is about twenty minutes long and is unique in that it is both a ride and a show, as the theater actually rotates! This attraction also medals because it holds the honor of one of the longest running stage shows ever!
Technique: When you're watching an Olympic sport, you always have the announcers analyzing and commenting on an athlete's technique. For this category, we are awarding attractions whose design and setup are flawless and continue to impress.
Bronze: Hall of Presidents
The Hall of Presidents has been impressing guests since its beginning; and it still impresses us today. For one, they are incredibly life-like; and if you pay attention, you will see some of them fidget or even doze during the speeches! Secondly, this attraction continues to grow and change because when we elect a new president, a new audio-animatronic must be made and he must deliver a speech. It is one attraction that is never done.
This incredibly popular Epcot attraction is worthy of the silver medal because accomplishing the task of taking dozens of guests on a realistic hang gliding adventure is such an impressive undertaking! Secondly, the use of the curved, bowl screen and the bench gliders which are lifted up and above one another are clearly seen by guests when they walk in. So the curtain is, in a sense, pulled back for us to see; but once the ride begins, it seems so real that we are completely fooled to the point where we feel the need to lift our feet because we don't want to hit the tops of the trees!
Gold: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
This attraction is deserving the gold medal because it is a technical marvel. The massive, and realistically creepy, hotel houses elevator shafts that do exactly what engineers in real society have been trying to avoid! Drop! If that wasn't all, these elevators actually leave on shaft for another during your journey and are programmed to drop in random sequences. That is one smart elevator!
Boats: Like the rowing, sailing, kayaking, and other boating sports, this category is for the best of the best of those classic Disney boat rides.
Bronze: "it's a small world"
This classic attraction is home to one of the most well-known theme songs ever; and it is one of those rides that everyone thinks of when they think of Disney. It's an icon; and because of that, it deserves a spot on the medal stand.
Silver: Pirates of the Caribbean
This attraction is one of the best boat rides because, after all, it is a pirate attraction and what is a pirate without a ship? Pirates of the Caribbean takes guests into a world of humor and adventure as it sails past vivid scenes of pirates in action. It's a classic and very popular so this is why Pirates of the Carribean has to be one of the best boat rides at WDW.
Gold: Jungle Cruise
The Jungle Cruise is another classic attraction and it's worthy of the gold for several reasons. One reason is because the boats are awesome. They are designed after those vintage boats like you would see in old adventure movies. Unlike other boat rides at WDW, the Jungle Cruise boat is more of a fixture than just a means of transportation during your sail down the most exotic rivers in the world; and you also have a captain piloting your boat who is the true star of your experience.
All-Around Champion: Just like Gabby Douglas, this category is for the overall best attractions at WDW that enchant all ages and generations and offer both a great story, design, a pleasant journey, and a few thrills too!
Soarin' wins bronze because this ride appeals to all and never ceases to amaze. Soarin' offers the sensation of flight; and the feeling that it generates is what makes it thrilling, making it suitable for kids, parents, and grandparents or for those who are wary of Disney's thrill rides. The beautiful scenery, ending with a flight over Disneyland during its fireworks show, makes this attraction worthy of the bronze.
Silver: Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain wins the silver because it appeals to young and old alike and is one of the best examples of a story being used in an attraction. As you float along, things get a little worse and a little more thrilling, just like how Brer Rabbit progressively gets closer to danger. Splash Mountain immerses you into another world and its adorable and immersive scenery makes it a great ride for kids too. Then there is that trademark drop which still thrills us every time! This is why Splash Mountain earns the silver.
Gold: Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean wins the gold for all-around champion because it has it all. Guests of all ages having been flocking to this classic attraction for decades to step into the pirate world and see and experience its gags, details, and design, as well as to feel that sense of thrill and adventure that it's known for! Many say that Pirates is one of the most, if not the most, successful theme park attraction ever and there is no doubt that it is something special.
That is our award ceremony! Do you agree or disagree? Which attraction were you cheering for? Share with us!
We don't know about you, but when it comes to Epcot's Future World, we usually ride our favorite attractions and then spend the bulk of our time at World Showcase. this means that we barely take notice of Innoventions. However, on one rare occasion, we dropped by and were pleasantly surprised to find a new attraction, Vision House.
Vision House is a model of a working home has had been built and furnished to be environmentally friendly.
At this attraction, you are given a guided tour through this house to see how the how the design, furnishings, and appliances are meant to help the environment. Fortunately, there are no restrictions or barriers, and you are free to move about as you would in any normal house.
Unlike other displays of green technology, some of the things used in this house are affordable and will actually save occupants money! Also, even if you aren't interested in "going green," Vision House offers a lot of ideas for those wanting to update or even build their own homes!
When our guide ushered us into the house, we found ourselves in an open living space featuring an open kitchen, dining room, and living room. Our guide then told us the story behind the family who had undertaken the Vision House project, as what would see is a replica of their actual home.
Our guide then showed us some of the furnishings and appliances used in the home, such as the recycled table and chairs, the sink which helps conserve water, and a really great dishwasher which also conserves water and has an awesome feature!
In the living room, you will find a cut-out in the wall exposing the home's unique insulation: it's made out of old blue jeans! It's less irritating and more efficient.
In the next part of the house, you get to see the bathroom, laundry room, and the bedrooms. Of all the rooms, we found the bathroom to be the most interesting and amusing! The shower can actually have a limit you can set to put an end to your kids' endless showers; but the high-tech toliet takes the cake! It is self-cleaning and features lights, music, heat, and more!
One of our personal favorite features is that each room has its own temperature setting, bringing an end to the fights over the thermostat at your house! What a great idea!
The final section shows the garage and a work area, as well as a portion of the backyard. While our guide showed us dozens of things in each room and section,I found the concrete roof of the house to be especially fascinating as it's cheap, efficient, and won't have to be replaced like the typical roofs you see.
Vision House was crammed full of innovative ideas, new technology, and environmentally friendly additions. Our guide showed us dozens of things in each section, much more than I explained in this post, and there were even more things to see; but there wasn't nearly enough time for it all in one tour.
We also have to point out that our guide was excellent. You could really sense his passion and interest in the project; and what was even more helpful was that he had taken some of the elments of Vision House and incorporated them into his own house! It was great to hear from someone who had firsthand experience with what we were seeing.
We really enjoyed our tour through Vision House; and again, whether or not you are into helping the environment, you will definitely get some great ideas for your own home, as well as a glimpse at the new methods and technology being developed. We definitely recommend you drop by Vision House at Epcot's Innoventions to check it out for yourself!