My Favorite Walt Disney World Attractions

The "best" ride at WDW is such a contentious topic. So I conquered my fear of roller coasters and elevators breaking and rode every ride at WDW (except Mission: Space, because claustrophobia was the one fear I couldn't quite conquer) during my year in Florida.

After careful consideration and a lot of time spent waiting in lines, here are my top favorite rides (in no particular order):

Epcot

Soarin' Around the World

Give me the elephant scene smell in a candle please. This imitation of paragliding around famous places in the world takes you from my favorite, Mount Kilimanjaro and its grass smell, to Epcot. If you sit in section B row 1 or 2, you'll have the best experience. Soarin' has dropped on my list ever since I experienced Avatar Flight of Passage, but it's still an attraction that has first timers coming off impressed.

The American Adventure

Those who know me best might be shocked I picked America over O Canada!, but I can't deny my love for Epcot's ideal version of America. I listened to perhaps Disney's largest cast of animatronic characters tell me the story of America several times after the election last year, and it gave me hope that we'll make it through this. Plus, you can't beat the music. Just ask Maggie and me to perform our rendition of "Two Brothers" - we've already done it in the middle of Olive Garden.

Animal Kingdom

We made it. I knew we would.

We made it. I knew we would.

DINOSAUR

"They're not gonna make it, they're not gonna make it!" I laugh nonstop at this race against time as some idiot paleontologist sends guests to the Cretaceous Period right before dinosaurs go extinct. Maggie is afraid of it. We all have our own opinions.

Avatar Flight of Passage

Perhaps the single coolest ride Disney has ever created. Think Soarin' with all its glitches fixed. No gaps on the screen, no distortion. Just you, flying on your banshee, over the most beautiful computer generated places in the world. It takes my breath away every time I ride it. I could also be biased because it's the only ride I haven't been on at least five times.

This was my first time on Everest. It grew on me.

This was my first time on Everest. It grew on me.

Expedition Everest

As you race through the mountains, hoping to find the Yeti, you might actually be a tiny bit afraid on this roller coaster (afraid of all the hair ties where the track ends, that is). But I love the thrill and the great view of Disney World offered at the top, just before you start to race downhill.

 

 

Hollywood Studios

Midway Mania

Toy Story Midway Mania

If there was only one attraction I was allowed to ride at Disney for the rest of my life, this would be the one. As a "point and shoot" game, I try to beat my score every single time while spending a few brief minutes in the world of a toy. Could this possibly be my number one ride? I'm not giving a definite yes, but...

 

The Music of Pixar Live! A Symphony of Characters

In a controversial move, Tower of Terror and Rock n' Roller Coaster are left off my list and The Music of Pixar makes it. Maybe I'll spend another blog post explaining my unlikely opinions :) But if you love the music in Pixar movies, you'll love this show. Seeing this music performed live is even more moving. I dare you not to sob during the Up segment.

Magic Kingdom

When you go on a backstage tour at six in the morning, you get to use your flash!

When you go on a backstage tour at six in the morning, you get to use your flash!

The Haunted Mansion

"Welcome, to the Haunted Mansion! I am your host...your 'ghost' host..." I can quote quite a bit of this ride through each spooky scene. The engineering that created the ghostly effects is remarkable and I love all the characters that appear throughout (shoutout to my favs, the singing busts). During my college program I got to take a behind the scenes tour of this ride. With a few tricks, I got to show up as a ghostly head in the ballroom--a highlight of my DCP experience.

Heigh Ho

 

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

As my mom says, "Get on grumpy, get off happy!" This is a Sausser family favorite. The mine cars swing throughout the ride and the short hills and turns make it hard not to smile. If you want the most magical experience, try to time your ride with the fireworks. There's nothing quite like racing around Magic Kingdom while the sky lights up overhead.

Big Thunder Mountain

In another controversial move, I picked Big Thunder over Space Mountain. This roller coaster cracks me up similarly to DINOSAUR. If you ride by yourself, you'll slide from one end of your seat to the other so many times it can bruise you. But don't be fooled by the last uphill chug. The dip that follows might inspire you to say, in the words of one little boy, "that was boring!" As for the rest of the ride? Hold on to your hats, because this here's the wildest ride in the wilderness!

Honorable Mentions

Jungle Cruise

This was one of my favorites when Maggie was my skipper. But her days in the jungle are over. Guess I took her for "granite."

Kilimanjaro Safaris

When baby elephant Stella was being adorable and I had a good safari driver, this too was a favorite. But sometimes Stella was behind the scenes and my safari driver had nothing interesting to say and then it wasn't so fun anymore. Memorable moment: when the white rhino almost charged our truck during a nighttime safari.

Festival of the Lion King

FOLK was demoted to Honorable Mentions because it's so hit or miss nowadays and the Animal Kingdom category was so long. It's still a lot of fun to watch this show, tumble monkeys or not, and the best way to spend 3o minutes in air conditioning. I always enjoy myself and leave a little happier than when I came in.

Space Mountain

It is awesome. You can't really beat a roller coaster in the dark. It's just uncomfortable. I always feel a bit abused by the time I get off at the end. But the time Maggie and I rode when the PeopleMover lights were on was exciting; the illuminated perimeter cast just enough light on the ride for it to be cool but not terrifying.


So, What are your favorite attractions at WDW? 

And is anyone else terrified of Tower of Terror? No? Just me? Fine. I guess you can drag me on it one more time...

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Once upon a time, in a far away November, I attended perhaps the best Christmas Party of my life.

Mickey was the host, so naturally, it was a hit.

After watching it snow on Main Street and eating all the free cookies and cider I could find, Maggie, Jenny, Brittnee, and Maggie's friend Paige met as many characters as we could.

 
 
 
 

The fireworks were of course wonderful. I cried, no shame. Cinderella's Castle at Christmas is unlike anything I've ever thing, and pictures do not do it justice. Add Christmas music and fireworks and I couldn't contain myself.

 
 

All in all, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party? A 10 out of 10.

Leeann

In Which I Return

It's been three weeks since I've started my new job at Disney. But much longer since I've written anything on this page.

I've had the worst writer's block. Of all time, it feels like. Every time I sit down to right something, it comes out all wrong. All my ideas feel stale, overused. Anything I say is already said by far more qualified people.

So I said nothing. About my life, about Disney, about America. I didn't know how to.

But that's not why you're here. You're here to hear about what I'm up to, what I'm doing. That I can oblige.

I am now a Professional Intern for Disney Cruise Line Public Affairs, which means back to a Monday through Friday schedule. The consistency is wonderful, I love having my weekends back. It is my first time having the exact same schedule every day since high school, and that's taking some adjustment.

When I'm not at work, monitoring the media and researching, I'm doing a lot of exploring, both along and with my friends. I only have four months left in Florida- might as well explore it as best I can.

 
Jenny and I join George Washington on defeating the British during Epcot's International Festival of the Arts.

Jenny and I join George Washington on defeating the British during Epcot's International Festival of the Arts.

 
 
On Happy Winnie the Pooh Day, I had to go visits my dear friends.

On Happy Winnie the Pooh Day, I had to go visits my dear friends.

 
 
Maggie was born to be Mona Lisa. So much so, that Jenny and I just had to scream.

Maggie was born to be Mona Lisa. So much so, that Jenny and I just had to scream.

 
 
Jenny, our new resident Photopass photographer, took this lovely photo of my during a solo Epcot day.

Jenny, our new resident Photopass photographer, took this lovely photo of my during a solo Epcot day.

 

I'll do my best to write more; I know the only way to overcome writer's block is to write. But this is a weird time for me. So if you ever have anything you'd like me to write about, let me know. Goodness knows I could use the suggestions.

Leeann

Working Fantasmic! and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

I'm past the halfway point of my program and to jazz things up a little I managed to move my shifts around in order to try working at some new places!

 
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First I went to Fantasmic!, the nighttime show spectacular at Hollywood Studios. They have food where guests first enter and it was my job to fill the orders. The menu is simple so it wasn't too hard, but very different from my job at Roaring Fork! For one I wasn't actually making anything, just grabbing the food from warmers and pouring drinks. I had fun though and it was a quick rush! We rarely get a crowd at the Lodge so it was interesting to see how busy locations run things.

 
 

Then just this past Tuesday I worked at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! This is the special nighttime event held at Magic Kingdom on select nights in November and December. There's cookies, hot chocolate, and other festive drinks all around the park as well as special character meetings, an exclusive parade, and Christmas show in front of the castle.

Since the party requires a separate ticket, I joined the group of cast members who stand behind the turnstiles and hand out the wristbands that distinguish the party-goers from the regular Magic Kingdom attendees. It was a lot of fun putting on a cute Christmas costume and spreading holiday cheer! And I wasn't in charge of a single plate of food- what a relief. 

I'm glad I got the chance to work new places- it's nice to get out from the Wilderness Lodge once and awhile!