Disney Attractions You Can Skip on Your First Visit
Today, we’re going to talk about first visits at Walt Disney World. Specifically, I want to deliver a bit of advice. During your initial Disney vacation, you’re going to face a tremendous time crunch as you try to do everything possible. Well, I have a few suggestions for you that may help. Here are six Disney attractions that you can skip during your first visit.
Kali River Rapids
First of all, I want to state that I enjoy many of the attractions listed here. This isn’t a slam piece wherein I disparage any Disney rides. To the contrary, I appreciate all the many wonders of Imagineering. All I want to do is identify a few things that may not be worth the wait. There are scores of attractions on the Disney campus, and you won’t do them all on your first visit. You need to save time where you can.
Keeping that in mind, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is going to take a bit of a beating here. I view three of their attractions as ones you can skip. Kali River Rapids is one of the most controversial choices. It’s hosted at a park that’s notoriously hot. A water ride is a great way to cool down when the sun beats down on you.
The catch is that the lines for Kali River Rapids swell mightily on hot days. You’ll wind up pressed up against the flesh of other sticky strangers, waiting an inordinate amount of time for the second-best water ride at Walt Disney World. What you should do instead is prioritize Splash Mountain, which isn’t simply a great water ride but also one of the best overall attractions at any Disney theme park.
Walt Disney World has several attractions loosely defined as aerial carousels. These rides are giant metal constructs that have a central base that spins. As it does so, the attached ride carts go around in a circle. It’s basically a carousel that spins in the air rather than on the ground.
You’ll find three of these attractions at Walt Disney World. Two of them are at Magic Kingdom while the inferior one is at Animal Kingdom. TriceraTop Spin is perfectly fine for what it is, but you’ll again find a better version of the same ride concept at Magic Kingdom. Choose Dumbo the Flying Elephant or The Magic Carpets of Aladdin instead.
Okay, I heartily recommend everything else at Animal Kingdom. I swear I’m not picking on it. In the two prior examples, a better version of the ride is available at Magic Kingdom. With Primeval Whirl, well, this attraction is one of the few at Walt Disney World that I suggest you avoid completely.
Primeval Whirl is technically a roller coaster, albeit it a cheap one. It goes around a basic track and offers none of the thrills of the other Disney coasters. Instead, it throws in a distinctive ride mechanic. You can spin your coaster cart similar to Mad Tea Party. That idea’s sketchy enough on its own, especially for people with weak stomachs. Combining the roller coaster aspect makes it irritating and potentially nausea-inducing rather than entertaining.
My wife has issues with motion sickness. This fact explains why I’m sensitive to any and all attractions that can lead to an upset stomach. I think you can see where I’m going with this.
Mission: Space is a quality ride that’s even better thanks to changes made during a 2017 refurbishment. There are now two versions of the attraction, and it rarely has a long wait-time despite the recent plussing. Why shouldn’t you ride a great attraction with short lines? The answer depends on your health.
I fervently believe that the worst thing that can happen on vacation is to get sick. I speak from experience on this, as I’ve both fallen victim to it and acted as nursemaid to someone else suffering from illness. Neither side of the situation is fun. Mission: Space won’t give you a virus or the flu or anything like that. It can ruin your day, though.
Should you find the motion of the centrifuge unpleasant, you’ll feel the after-effects the rest of the day. It’s just not worth the risk unless you’re certain your body can take the brunt of the force.
Journey into Imagination with Figment
This attraction possesses some of the shortest lines at Walt Disney World. That’s a telling statement, but it also means that you can decide for yourself whether I’m wrong on the subject. I’m of the opinion that Journey into Imagination with Figment, the third iteration of the ride, is one of the dullest things at Disney. That borders on an ironic assessment of something that’s theoretically about creativity.
Unlike the other suggestions, you’re not saving much time by skipping Journey into Imagination with Figment. The ride takes about six minutes, and the lack of wait-time means that you’re often in and out in 15 minutes or less. I just don’t find the attraction entertaining enough to recommend.
I’m an old school, diehard fan of the original Journey into Imagination, and I’m frustrated that Disney devolved a once-superior attraction into a purposeless mess. Feel free to ignore my advice and decide for yourself. It definitely skews young, so parents with small children should have a better time.
Rivers of Light
Disney hosts a multitude of night-time exhibitions. Happily Ever After is the newest fireworks display. It’s hosted at Magic Kingdom each night, and you MUST check it out during your visit. Similarly, Epcot’s IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth has earned the Golden Ticket industry award as the best nighttime show in the world…and it’s won this title several times.
I’m also of the opinion that the best of the shows is Fantasmic!, the storied exhibition that takes place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s the longest and most engaging due to the clever storytelling and implementation of dozens of beloved Disney characters. Also, Hollywood Studios presents a Star Wars nightly fireworks show.
That’s a total of four different nightly exhibitions. You’re not going to spend every night of your visit staying until closing at the theme parks. You’ll get tired, and the thought of fighting the exit crowds will wear you out. Something’s gotta give.
To me, that something is Rivers of Light. The gorgeous illuminated display is a marvel to behold. You’ll want to watch it at some point. I’ll go so far as to say that your “some point” should be right now. YouTube contains several 4k videos of the proceedings such as this one. While watching the show this way isn’t quite as good as catching the real thing, it’s a viable substitute. I don’t believe that’s true of the other shows (except for maybe Star Wars). During your first visit, you’re prioritizing nighttime exhibitions, and Rivers of Light cannot compete with the more established shows.
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