I was listening to a podcast today on my run about the best and worst of Walt Disney World. They were personal favorites of the hosts and it started me thinking about my own personal best and worst list. So much of what I love about the happiest place on earth is determined by the memories that I have of being there. The experiences I had on those attractions. Over time, those memories build up and the attraction and experience become a must-do. So here is my attempt at a personal best and worst of Walt Disney World.
- Living With the Land. I can’t help it. I love it. At once soothing and relaxing, but always interesting and thoughtful. The ride itself demands absolutely nothing of its riders. Just float gently through the greenhouses and admire the magnificent hops mickey or the hanging gardens. Do I wish that the end scenes were better? Yes. Absolutely. But I love it for how much fun it is to drag my kids on it every time. There is something magical about how they know that I love it and make a show of “hating it” but always being willing to go on it. I know it will be a ride they will remember as adults as that thing their mom dragged them on.
- The Teacups. Again, our family has so much fun on this one. I know it’s not the best attraction in the world, but I just love riding it with my kids and my husband. As they get older the squeeze into a single teacup gets tougher and yet we keep forcing ourselves in all together. We always laugh and always enjoy it.
- Peter Pan. This one I love because of the scene where we fly over London. The is a ride that my husband and I always insist on riding together – so often at Disney World we end up one parent, one child. We love to point out where we lived in London when the girls were born and sitting together in that soaring pirate ship it feels like we’re alone in the world. I just love it for that brief moment. Even if it’s only once, I love to have that experience every time we visit.
- Flight of Passage. Just wow. It’s so amazing to get to fly. Love it. This is probably the only “new” attraction that makes my personal list (though I really enjoy all of them, they’re just not connected to my memories yet. But Flight of Passage doesn’t need nostalgia and memories, it’s just such a well done and amazing achievement that I couldn’t not have it on the list.
- Rockin’ Rollercoaster. This one taught me that I could actually enjoy a rollercoaster. It was the first time I went on one after an ill-fated attempt at Space Mountain when I was little. I was young, maybe 10, it was my first time at Walt Disney World and I remember very little of it, except that we waited almost 2 hours for the ride and I got right up to the point of stepping down into the rocket and COULD NOT DO IT. My parents rode it without me. I made my sad and lonely way to the chicken exit. Alone. There may have been tears. There certainly was some shame. SO, when I visited with my now-husband, then-boyfriend’s family he coaxed me onto the ride. I remember feeling near panic as they lowered the shoulder harness. I tried to keep it together and not hyper-ventilate as Steven Tyler counted us down. And then. I loved it. I wasn’t scared. There wasn’t a slow climb to a big drop. We rode it six times that night. Every time was great. After that, I was able to ride Space Mountain and I’ve developed a trust in Disney World that I didn’t have before – that the rides will be manageable and approachable and I will be fine – safe in Walt’s hands (or the hands of his successors, the Imagineers).
- Test Track. I know. I know. People love this ride. But why though? I like the speed loop part of it, but the rest of it seems like an attempt at a themed overlay that’s largely unsuccessful. The car design process is OK as a time suck during the line, but the way it translates into the ride experience isn’t great and it doesn’t effect the experience of the ride in anyway. I think there’s so much potential in the ride and I think I liked the older incarnation of it better, but my personal opinion is that if I didn’t ever ride Test Track again, that would be ok by me.
- Tower of Terror. Again, this is a personal one. As in, my personal nightmare and developing greatest fear is being on an elevator that is falling from the sky. Tower of Terror is that fear come to life and I just don’t have any desire to confront that fear on vacation. My kids love it. My husband would probably call it his favorite ride. For me it’s a hard pass. I rode it once, on a trip when we were dating and I was first meeting the family. My sweet niece (not even my niece then) was, at the time, about 6 years old. She looked at me with her adorable little face and offered to hold my hand if I would ride it. So of course I did. I nearly crushed the bones in that tiny little hand and tried to hide my head behind her. No thanks. Never again.
- The Little Mermaid. I love this ride. So why is it on this part of the list? Because I think it could be so much more! The theming outside is gorgeous – the castle all the rock. But the ride itself could be more fun – in particular the “Under the Sea” portion of the ride. Maybe the room needs to be darker? Every time I ride it, I’m glad I did, but I’m also left wishing it was more.
That’s it. There are only three worsts and they’re not even really worsts. I could add some things like Triceratop Sping, which we never ride, or the Pixar shorts, but why? I like that there’s a wide-variety at the parks. Do we go on those rides all the time – or even ever? No. But I love it that they’re there and we might go on them if we walk past and there’s a short wait. I’m almost tempted to go back and cross the Little Mermaid off even as I’m typing this sentence. Because, again, I like the ride – I just wish it was more because I love the music so much.
The thing I love most, though, is the ability to discover something little and new every time. There was a trip where we did the Great PiggyBank Adventure in Innoventions West five times because my kids loved it. I’m sad that it’s gone – though I doubt they would love it as much now that they’re tweens – but it was such a great discovery on a hot and rainy afternoon that trip. We went through it over and over and the kids never got sick of it.
So, what’s your favorite? Or Worst thing at Disney World??