The Ten Most Underrated Rides at Walt Disney World
Disney fans are always hungering for more. We’ve developed a tendency to ignore the bird in the hand for whatever’s in the bush.
This behavior explains why we’ll pick Door #3 as a prize, having no idea what it is. Well, I’m here to tell you that sometimes the known is better.
Walt Disney World doesn’t need to add any new attractions from what it has right now. It’d still claim the title of best tourist destination on the planet for the next decade.
That’s how massive Disney’s lead is in the tourist industry, and much of it stems from existing greatness.
To prove this, I’m about to list ten of the most underrated attractions at Walt Disney World. Each of them would be among the best at any theme park on the planet.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
When you think about Disney attractions, you envision bright colors and fun rides. Buzz Lightyear offers both!
This gamified attraction allows people to save Star Command from the evil Emperor Zurg.
The villain seeks to corner the market on batteries, allowing him to power his galactic fleet of spaceships.
Your mission involves retrieving the batteries before Zurg’s forces. As long as your aim is straight, you will do so.
In the process, you’ll protect the Little Green Men! Yes, those batteries belong in their spaceships! You’re a hero to the cutest creatures in Toy Story!
This list doubles as my airing of grievances at other Disney fans. Some of the attractions on this list shouldn’t require any form of evangelism.
Frequent park guests should already know that these attractions are phenomenal. For example, DINOSAUR provides the best bang for the buck at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
I know that’s a bold proclamation, but I fully believe it. The other attractions at the park require extended waits most of the time.
You can almost always board DINOSAUR in 30 minutes or less, and it’s far better than a Domino’s Pizza! (What isn’t?)
On this ride, you’ll understand the sense of scale when it comes to humanity vs. the dinosaurs. Your ride cart is smaller than some of the creatures you encounter.
In a one-on-one fight, you’d have no hope…and that’s why you should stay inside your vehicle and keep your hands to yourself.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
You’ll find so much to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that you’ll probably overlook the shows here.
When you do catch a show, you’ll likely select a story that you know like Frozen or Beauty and the Beast.
However, the newest show here doesn’t recycle old material. At Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, you’ll watch an entirely new story.
Well, you can think of it as Cars’ greatest hits, as Lightning McQueen squares off against an old foe, Chick Hicks, who still believes he’s the fastest car.
The visuals on this attraction embody the best of recent Imagineering. It’s a gorgeous presentation that’s well worth your time.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
You may tilt your head sideways at this one, but it’s true. Hollywood Studios has introduced so many high-quality attractions lately that some have gotten lost in the shuffle.
Runaway Railway suffered the misfortune of opening less than two weeks before COVID-19 shut down American society.
A much smaller number of people visited the park in the two years that followed, and most of them had their eyes on the bigger prize, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
For this reason, not enough people talk up the brilliance of Runaway Railway, the ride that Walt Disney would have loved.
We waited for generations for the first Mickey & Minnie Mouse ride, and Imagineers made sure to knock this one out of the park.
Other attractions earn more hype and require longer waits. Runaway Railway will give you the same euphoria with substantially less effort.
I’m unapologetically a sucker for two shows at Magic Kingdom…and not the ones you may expect. No, I prefer the ones from the 21st century.
Mickey’s PhilharMagic sticks several beloved stories from the Disney Renaissance in a blender and pours out a protein shake of happiness with a side of terrific music.
Fittingly, Disney ties the tales together by using one of its oldest tales, that of Sorcerer Mickey. Donald Duck “borrows” the hat to decidedly mixed results.
Mickey’s PhilharMagic is one of those park experiences that I defy anyone to claim they don’t enjoy. It’s pure, and it’s perfect.
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Conversely, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor represents an exercise in chaos, as each show plays out differently.
Yes, the infrastructure remains the same, as it’s the same general story. However, the audience plays an integral part in how it all plays out.
For this reason, no two performances are alike, and I adore the randomness of it. Some of my favorite park memories come from Laugh Floor.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Much of what I said about Runaway Railway applies here as well. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opened less than a year ago.
Somehow, EPCOT has already added a more recognizable attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Now, that roller coaster outshines Ratatouille.
Even before then, Frozen Ever After had reclaimed its former title as the most popular ride at the park.
So, guests perceive Ratatouille as a contender but not the park alpha. That reputation will only grow more pronounced in the coming months and years.
I don’t get that at all, as this ride embodies the best of Imagineering. It’s ambitious, creative, and entertaining.
If you slotted this ride at Toy Story Land, I’d argue that it’s the best of all the “shrunken in size” attractions. And yes, I’m including Slinky Dog Dash in that.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
When I contemplate what’s underrated, wait times factor in heavily. Only two attractions on this list often require a wait of 40+ minutes.
So, my criteria are a short wait and a thoroughly entertaining ride experience.
I’ve ridden The Seas with Nemo & Friends literally hundreds of times, and I’ve always enjoyed it.
More importantly, I’ve waited less than 10 minutes in line less often than I’ve stood around for 20 minutes or more.
This attraction reminds me of microwave popcorn. It’s low effort with outstanding output. Plus, we all get to sing the song at the end!
My most extreme minority opinion about Disney is that the parks peaked with Spaceship Earth.
Imagineers constructed a remarkable landmark visible from overhead planes. Then, they filled the inside of the ball with a tale of human civilization.
Seriously, if humanity ceased to exist today, some future civilization could learn all about us from Spaceship Earth.
Sure, parts of the story wouldn’t make sense – I’m looking at you, moon landing – but our evolutionary leaps as a people are right there on display.
EPCOT should have turned into the ultimate infotainment theme park, but management mishandled it over time.
Still, we’ll always have Spaceship Earth to exemplify what might have been.
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue!
I’m not a Star Wars fan by any stretch, but I am a movie lover. So, I can’t help but admire what Disney has done with this attraction.
The story on the screen remains in a fixed position. However, the seats shake to drive home the various storytelling elements.
Even today, theater chains like Regal Cinemas sell more expensive tickets for similar experiences.
With 4DX, the chairs vibrate and demonstrate sensations like rain and explosions. While nobody will ever admit for legal reasons, they got the idea from…Star Tours!
The origins of this ride date back more than 25 years, yet movie theaters have only recently managed to recreate its innovative storytelling mechanic.
Plus, Disney updates the attraction with new scenes every few years, thereby guaranteeing it stays fresh.
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Feature Photo: Disney