What Are the Most Relaxing Rides at Disney?
I just returned from a week at Walt Disney World, and I’m on cloud nine! I’m already planning my next visit, which hopefully comes soon.
However, I must confess that this trip didn’t go quite as smoothly as some others. In fact, I had a sore calf and a bad back that both flared up.
So, I was in need of some stress relief during my trip. Almost accidentally, I started compiling this list because I needed it!
Here are the eight most relaxing rides at Walt Disney World.
It’s a Small World
I’ll start with the acknowledgment that several shows work equally as well. However, I find boat rides and Omnimover attractions more soothing.
In fact, I didn’t include Haunted Mansion on this list since it’s kind of loud at times, but it was a finalist for consideration.
Similarly, I only picked one of the eerily similar musical boat rides at Walt Disney World. I could have selected Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros.
Instead, I chose the original version, It’s a Small World.
Yes, I realize that may be sacrilege to many of you, as the music from It’s a Small World plays on a loop in The Bad Place for some.
Still, even Disney fans who feel this way must admit that It’s a Small World proves tranquil as an escape from the outside world.
The immaculately detailed puppets and serene international backdrops set the stage for a calming environment. You’ll forget all your problems while you’re here.
Of course, an earworm of the theme song may give you a new problem. If you feel that way, choose Grand Fiesta Tour instead. It’s got less music but more cartoon violence.
This seems like a good time to mention that I also debated Pirates of the Caribbean. If not for the cannon fire, it would have made the list!
Instead, I settled on Jungle Cruise, which provides a terrific escape for about 10 minutes.
Sure, you’re trapped on a boat with an incompetent Skipper who may get you killed. How is that any different from your actual job, though?
Seriously, while riding Jungle Cruise, you sit back on your boat and watch someone tell jokes for ten minutes.
You can pay as much attention as you like, or you can just soak up the sun. Technically, the boat includes a cover, but some light usually seeps in.
Think of this trip as the calmest one you’ll ever have while meeting a bunch of jungle residents who may want to kill you!
Living with the Land
Then again, you may prefer an indoor boat ride. If so, look no further than Living with the Land, an infotainment attraction at EPCOT’s The Land pavilion.
The start of this ride doubles as a warm blanket on a cold evening. You’ll watch a series of informative scenes regarding the evolution of agriculture.
What you may do is close your eyes and enjoy a few minutes of slumber in the dark, though. Some of the scenes here are poorly lit, enabling an A+ nap.
Later, you’ll explore the agricultural facilities at The Land pavilion, some of which provide food for restaurants where you’ll eat afterward.
The educational parts mesh well with the open-ended nature of the ride. Disney knows some people want to learn more while others prefer a nap.
Either strategy works, and I say that as someone who has tried both!
Na’vi River Journey
Like Jungle Cruise, you find yourself surrounded by predators when you visit the Na’vi River.
You won’t care, though. You’re safely nestled in a boat, presumably part of a guided tour many have taken before you.
All you’ll notice is the soothing blue forests and waters that define Pandora. It’s one of the most visually stimulating places at Walt Disney World.
Imagine an entire forest comprised of firefly-style lighting. That’s what Pandora is.
Plus, the boat ride itself is gentle and soothing. Na’vi River Journey delivers a five-minute escape from the realities of planet Earth!
You’ve probably guessed by now that ride length significantly affects relaxation.
For all the many wonders of Disney theme parks, you stand in line a LOT. So, you should savor those moments when you’re sitting down in an air-conditioned area.
You’ll find a home away from home at Spaceship Earth, as the attraction lasts roughly 15 minutes. Plus, most of the scenes are dark!
You’ll have no trouble getting comfortable as you watch the history of civilization unfold.
So, if you’re anything like most of the kids in my class, you’ll lean back, relax, and doze off rather than learn about history.
That’s not the approach I take on this ride, but I understand that I’m not in the majority here.
Okay, you didn’t see this one coming, but hear me out! When you’re not soaking wet or fearing the inevitable outcome of being soaking wet, it’s a calm ride!
You ride a raft through about 10 minutes of scenes, each of which is calming in a cartoonish way.
You’re watching Audio-Animatronics and other puppets playfully interact. Meanwhile, the charming soundtrack puts you in an upbeat mood while you ride.
As long as you don’t mind getting wet, Splash Mountain is incredibly relaxing! On a hot day, it’s also the perfect antidote to humidity and the blazing sun!
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
Here is the automatic selection on this list because we all do it. Disney fans wear themselves out at Magic Kingdom.
Then, we use the PeopleMover as safe harbor, a sorely needed respite from the intensity of a park visit.
Disney recently updated the PeopleMover with new dialogue and a modified ride track that actually extends the experience.
I spent part of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party munching Starburst while admiring the improved view from the PeopleMover.
Tron Lightcycle Power Run lights up the night and adds a newfound glow to Tomorrowland. Somehow, that makes the PeopleMover even better.
This ride is my happy place at Magic Kingdom.
Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
This attraction is one of the shorter ones on this list. However, I’m in awe of it. I say this because Imagineers have done a marvelous job setting the mood.
At one point, your ride cart, aka clamshell, turns and tilts back. At this moment, you’ll notice the water sweeps over the clamshell in front of you.
This transition signifies that you’ve officially gone under the sea. Now, you live among the fish, and it’s hard to get more tranquil than that!
Also, the music during this attraction is phenomenal. That always sets the tone for me when I ride.
My only complaint is that I wish it were a bit longer. That’s true of so many rides, though. I cannot get enough of a good thing.
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