Must Do and Won't Do

So far we've given you our background and our love of food, music, and movies. The one "big" aspect of Disney we haven't touched on yet is the parks themselves. In discussing what we would write about this week, several ideas were tossed about. How best to share our love of the parks? There is so much to discuss, to argue over, to dissect. We decided, as we did with the other topics, to start broadly.

Thus, here are our respective lists (with, as always, brief explanations) of both our absolute favorite attraction in each of the four parks, and the attraction we don't want to go near again unless Mickey himself drags us onto them.

Agree with us? Disagree? Discuss in the comments!

Splash MountainSplash Mountain


Magic Kingdom

Favorite: This is a hard question for any true Disney fan as there are SO many great attractions here. After thinking about it, and changing my mind a half dozen times, I finally settled on the Haunted Mansion.

First, I love the soundtrack, and if we ever do a column on favorite park music, there's no doubt Grim Grinning Ghosts will be on my list. Second, even now, twenty five years after I first rode it, I'm amazed by the special effects and level of detail. Third, like any great Disney attraction, the story is key " and The Haunted Mansion has a doozy. If you've never done any digging to find out what the story is, I suggest you do " and look beyond the Eddie Murphy movie!

Least Favorite:

Stitch's Great whatever it is replaced the terrifying Alien Encounter! Burp smell in your face? A less scary version of a truly scary attraction? No thank you!


Favorite: This is a toss-up for me amongst three attractions for me. I eliminated Soarin', because it's not original to Disney World, and it doesn't have the sense of "classic" to me. I didn't pick Mission: Space, because I got stuck in the capsule once and, well, I'm kind of claustrophobic. Still, it's a great ride and would probably have been number one if that hadn't happened.

So, I picked Spaceship Earth as my favorite. We ride it a couple of times every trip. I love the animatronics, I love the music (though I miss Tomorrow's Child), I love that it's a relaxing ride, and I love knowing that I'm INSIDE an icon!

Small side story: Caitie and I were on our honeymoon and looking to get our picture taken from World Showcase in front of Spaceship Earth with the Photo Pass. The cast member we asked told us to "stand in front of the golf ball." He then did a double take and said, "Golf ball? Did I just say that? Geez, I could get fired!"

Least Favorite: It pains me to say this, but I have to pick Journey Into Imagination. This used to be my favorite ride. It's a shadow of its former self now, and not even Eric Idle is able to save it. Please, Imagineers, if you're reading this, make fixing this a top priority!

Mission: Space VehicleMission: Space Vehicle

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Favorite: Hands down, my favorite attraction in any park: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. I love that it's different every time, and I
still get nervous when we go into that dark shaft, even though I know I'm about to have a blast.

Small Side Story: I remember going on this with my family, and my stepfather's keycard flying out of his pocket at the top of an upshot " and the card HANGING in space before falling down again!

Least Favorite: Again, unfortunately, I have to pick a former favorite " the Backlot Tour. If you've been on it recently, you don't need any more explanation. There's almost nothing there worth seeing any more " all I can think was how cool the idea of going through a working studio used to be. What a shame they let it fall into such disrepair!

Animal Kingdom

Favorite: Total toss-up for me between the obvious (Expedition Everest) and Finding Nemo: The Musical. I'm going to pick Finding
Nemo for two reasons: one, I don't have any other shows on the list, and two, it's a full blown musical spectacular, what's NOT to love? Just try getting "In the BIG BLUE WORLD" out of your head!

Least Favorite: Dinosaur. The bane of my Disney World experience. Look, I'll admit, the thing can still scare me " I'm not a fan of animals threatening to chomp me to pieces, even if they are just animatronic (right?) That's not the reason I can't stand the ride. I would take being scared if it wasn't for the fact that the ride is not designed for tall people! My knees get so banged around that I got actual bruises last time I rode it! I need my legs for walking, and Dinosaur is just plain anti-ambulatory!

Expedition EverestExpedition Everest


Magic Kingdom

Favorite: I too have changed my mind about ten times while typing this! There are so many amazing attractions here that it is very difficult to choose just one. I will have to go with Splash Mountain.

Every time I go on this, I am so impressed with how much story there is. It could have easily been a short two minute ride with a drop at the end, but it isn't. The story is great and the music is MY favorite music in the park. Not just "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" but all of it.

Least Favorite:I have to go with Magic Carpets of Aladdin. This ride was SUCH a missed opportunity. It is just a slightly different Dumbo, which is the very least they could do with the story. Why not have a dark ride where you are flying through the streets and watching the scenes? Or a roller coaster? Or a simulator ride? Since this is so lame in comparison to what could have been, it is my least favorite and you couldn't get me on it!


Favorite:Jason's reason for not saying Soarin' is just silly - unless he left it alone so I could say it! I think Soarin' is an amazing ride on all levels. The smell of oranges. the golf ball shooting at your head. The feeling of flying that is better than any other flying attraction I have ridden...but even some people who are scared of heights can handle it. I always hope to sit on the top for this one, but no matter where you sit, it is a great attraction.

Least Favorite: My least favorite is Mission: Space. It isn't because it is scary or we got stuck once, it is just that I have been on it three times and I was just bored. I didn't think it was as great and thrilling as everyone else. I know I must be missing something, but I just don't want to waste precious Disney time with this ride.

Tower of TerrorTower of Terror

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Favorite: This is a tough choice too. If I had ridden it one more time, Toy Story Midway Mania would probably win...but we only rode it once, so it can't be yet. I am going to go with...Tower of Terror! Yep, we agree on this one. This is another one of those perfect Disney rides. The theming is fantastic and the story works with the ride so well! The cast members definitely add to this ride. They always have that deadpan delivery that adds so much!

Least Favorite: I will go with the video part of the Animation Academy. This is one of those attractions that would be great if they updated it a little more. They change out the featured movie, but should Mushu still be in it? Those jokes don't change and aren't really funny the second or third time, unlike other movies that still hold up. We always go to it because we like seeing what they are working on next, but the video makes me want to skip it.

Animal Kingdom

Favorite: My favorite is Expedition Everest! That is the best roller coaster in the parks and I love roller coasters! Add that to a great story and it being so different from any other coaster in the world, and you have a ride that I will do multiple times each visit! If only the Yeti was in full working order...

Least Favorite: I probably would have gone with something else, but we are watching a Disney special on Netflix and as they are talking about this ride, I started thinking about all this! So, my least favorite at AK is Kali River Rapids. It is not that it is a bad ride, but it isn't anything special. My local theme park has a ride just like it that is both longer and wetter. There isn't enough to Disney-fy this ride or a good enough story added. It is just so short that it is never worth the wait for something I can ride at Great Adventure 30 minutes away.

Final Words

Let us know if you agree or disagree with us in the comments (though if you try to argue for Dinosaur as a good ride, Jason might have to bite your head off).

dsoup wrote on Fri, 01/14/2011 - 17:58:

dsoup's picture

I wouldn't quite put Mission: Space in the "won't do," but it's pretty far for a "must do" for us.

katrina1122 wrote on Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:15:

katrina1122's picture

MK - Fav is Mickey's Philharmonic followed just slightly by Peter Pan. The flight over London is so lovely it gives me chills every time. Least Favorite is Stitch's Great Escape, Hands down. I don't like Stitch to begin with, let alone having to smell his burps.

Epcot - Journey into imagination used to be my favorite along with the original Horizons. Horizons is completely gone and the new Journey is such a let down from the original. The rose smelling room that was all white was soooo beyond beautiful and it's all gone. So my favorite now? Soarin', wow what an amazing ride. Least favorite is the Maelstrom, which is a shame as I'm part Swedish and love to hit the Norwegian Pavillion for some familiar culture and oh so delicious Lingonberries.

Hollywood Studios - Not too much thrills me here. I love the Little Mermaid show, but heard that it's closed now? Also, Tower of Terror and RnRR. Pretty much everything else I can skip unless there's no line.

AK - I think this is the most awe-inspiring park for me. I don't really go for the rides, but rather the experience. Fav therefore is the Tree of Life. We've spent hours on the trails around it looking for the animals carved in it, but if I have to pick a fav ride, it's the Kilamanjaro Safari or Finding Nemo. Had the stomach flu, so I missed Expedition Everest. Least favorite? Hmm, can't think of anything there I don't like, though I've never seen the Pocahontas show, so I guess that'd be the one.

Interesting article guys! You should definetely do a Parks Music discussion. I too miss "Tomorrow's Child" along with your most missed rides/shows due to closures/upgrades.

Txrayado wrote on Tue, 07/26/2011 - 11:42:

Txrayado's picture

i just have to say that I LOVE DINOSAUR!

matty cakes wrote on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 13:24:

matty cakes's picture

Magic Kingdom is The Haunted Mansion and yes jason i know the back story i was a CP at magic kingdom back in 03 its been my MUST DO since my first trip in 89....i love it.
EPCOT was a tie between space ship earth and test track
The studios its a toss up between Star tours and Tower of Terror
Animal Kingdom: i loved it tough to be a bug, other than that animal kingdom is not worth the trip to me

alicemouse wrote on Sat, 10/26/2013 - 03:30:

alicemouse's picture

MK - This is my favorite park and I love almost every ride here, but my favorite is the Mad Tea Party. I love to spin!! I hate Stitch's great escape. I love Stitch, but the whole overhead "quasi-restraint" thing is not cool. I'm massively claustrophobic, so this so does not work for me.

EC - My favorite is Soarin'. I loved the old Test Track, but I haven't ridden since the refurb--got to ride on the last day before shutdown and just missed the new version on my last trip. I'd say my least favorite is Mission Space even though I've never technically ridden it. I tried one time to conquer the claustrophobia, but as soon as the restraint came down, I tried to take a breath and couldn't--panic attack central. I had to get a cast member to rescue me and I abandoned my husband on the ride. Poor guy hates spinning. Of the rides I've actually ridden, I've got to go with Ellen's Energy Adventure being the worst. Though I do occasionally grab a 40-minute nap here. The motion is very soothing and as long as you can sleep through the dinosaurs, it's a lot more time efficient than going back to the hotel.

DHS - Love, love, love Toy Story Mania. It's my favorite ride in any park. I've never ridden Rock-n-Roller coaster (lesson learned with overhead restraint systems) or Tower of Terror (I don't do dropping), so I can say with reasonable certainty that I wouldn't like either of these. Of the attractions I've experienced first hand, I'd say that my least favorite is Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage. I think this show needs to be ramped up in a major way or maybe it's time for a new attraction here. It's like amateur night relative to the amazing things I've seen done on stage in the real musical. I hate going to the parks and seeing a lesser quality product right form the source in the heart of WDW.

AK - I'm not an Animal Kingdom fan, but I do really enjoy Kilimanjaro Safaris and I love the tigers on the Maharajah Jungle Trek. I don't know that I have a "least favorite" attraction here, but there's just nothing else that knocks my socks off. This is by far my least favorite park in total. I'm not a huge nature fan and I get bored here fairly quickly.

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