In the pursuit of the ‘perfect’ Disney World trip I wanted to make sure that we spent enough time enjoying our very favourite attractions. Being experienced Disney World visitors we know which attractions we want to spend time on and those we don’t. We don’t have to rush around trying to make the most of our precious days in the parks by squeezing in all the attractions. You could call us very lucky. Deciding which favourite attractions to focus on is a great problem to have.
I should clear one thing up though Pixiesuesi is not a thrill seeker. Whilst I do like the big rides and attractions I am also pretty soppy for a bit of Disney schmaltz. Old favourites like The Enchanted Tikki Room and Country Bear Jamboree are, for me, must see attractions. These older attractions have charm and nostalgia and I am a sucker for that! The caveat to my sentimental side is Epcot, an upgrade to Future World is long overdue, Living with the Land and Figment are not for me (Apologies to die-hard fans out there). Disney needs to put a hand into its deep pockets and really invest in Epcot which is otherwise a fantastic park.
So my top three favourites list is a bit of a mix between truly great attractions and those heavy on Disney sentimentality. In my world there’s definitely a place for that!
Number 3: Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain combines my top three criteria for a great Disney attraction in one ride. Number one, a boat ride. Two, a character theme and story which is told in scenes using animatronics. Thirdly an adrenalin raising big drop. What could be better.
Now I know that the Brer Rabbit story comes from Disney’s much, and correctly criticised movie, Song of the South. I know that it isn’t one of the most popular stories featuring everyone’s favourite hero, but it still has an enduring popularity despite this.
The ride starts off innocently enough with a log boat ride which meanders through animated scenes from the Brer Rabbit story. There are cheerful tunes to accompany you and some voice narration to move the story along. The downside of this ride for me is that with the music and the sloshing of the water on the sides of the boat it’s a bit hard to hear some of the storyline. It’s not a complicated narrative, however, so it’s easy to get the gist, especially if you know the Brer Rabbit story.
As it progresses the rides ‘log’ boats slowly ascend the mountain, here we get some great views of Frontierland. Then excitement builds as the boat slows and climbs one last time ready for the big drop. Bright light ahead signals the start of a 52 foot drop downwards into the briar patch with an almighty splash. This ride is great in the afternoon as an antidote to the Florida heat, you will get wet, that’s the point!
Number 2: Mickey’s Philharmagic.
This attraction divides as it conquers. Those who love it, love it. Those who don’t, well let’s just say they look at life through more jaded eyes. I am firmly in the first category. I could watch this 3D movie theatre show all day. Yes, the effects aren’t totally cutting edge. No, it’s not doing anything exciting or clever. What Mickey’s Philharmagic does do, and for my money does really well, is make you feel like you’re at Disney. Packed with favourite Disney characters, including Mickey and Donald, this attraction showcases the best of Disney movies. The songs, the fun, the romance it’s all here.
Magic Kingdom is a big park to walk around and there’s a definite advantage to an attraction which doesn’t have a huge line to wait in and which offers air conditioning and a sit down. So once you’re settled in your seat in the auditorium, 3D glasses at the ready, the show can begin. Trust me, you will enjoy this show, it may not be the newest or the most unique but it’s pure Disney. Extra parent points can be earned here by taking along with you a small red plastic gemstone, you can get them on Amazon. In the sequence with Aladdin and Jasmine gemstones appear to fly towards you out of the screen. Pretend to catch the red one and then give the one you brought to the youngest person in your family group. Magic!
If you’re a Donald Duck fan Mickey’s Philharmagic is super enjoyable, he gets to be the star for once. Though his starring role is not without consequences. At the end of the show keep your eyes peeled above and behind you for a surprise appearance.
Number 1: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Our very first trip to a Disney park was Disneyland Paris. That park converted us to Disney theme park fans, it was our baptism into the magic. We loved it, though it took till we visited Disney World to also realise that theme park food could be good too. The one thing missing from our Paris trip was a ride on the iconic attraction Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (hereafter BTMR). BTMR was closed for refurbishment. So when we went to Magic Kingdom the first time I was excited to finally be able to experience the roller coaster. Located in Frontierland and next to my other favourite, Splash Mountain, BTMR always draws the crowds. I’d recommend a fast pass for this attraction, you’re going to want to ride this roller coaster more than once and the queues are always long.
One of the great things about BTMR is the theme and the way it’s been realised. On a roller coaster which whizzes through its landscape there was no necessity to add detail to the environment. But Disney added it anyway. This is a family coaster so it’s not a white knuckle ride. Instead BTMR relies on tight turns and speed to make it exciting. This means you can glimpse the thematic detail; the mountain goat, a man in a bath, the geyser they all add to the allure of this old-timer. BTMR is fun and thrilling enough to make it memorable. It’s my all time Favourite Disney attraction.