One thing that sets Disney parks apart from other theme parks is the ability the Imagineers have to make a movie come to life through an attraction. Disney is excellent at building rides that immerse you into the world that you have watched on your screen! In this list, we will rank the top 10 attractions located in Walt Disney World based on their movie counterparts.
Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is a dark ride located in Magic Kingdom that takes you through the story of The Little Mermaid. The queue is located in Prince Eric’s castle, and as you walk through it, a Scuttle animatronic entertains you with a scavenger hunt. There are tons of fun easter eggs from the movie located throughout the experience that are worth stopping to look at.
As you are seated in your clamshell, the ride turns backwards and slowly descends into the sea, where you get to encounter amazing animatronics that tell the story of The Little Mermaid along with the music you know and love. At the end of the ride, guests come back to dry land and get waved off the ride by Ariel and Eric in their wedding attire and fireworks. This cute attraction is a great portrayal of the story, and there is always something new to notice and marvel at with each re-ride.
Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Even if you don’t like Frozen, you will not want to miss this sing-along located in Hollywood Studios. The audience joins the royal historians as they tell the history of Arendell while waiting for Anna to find Elsa for the celebration of the kingdom.
The royal historians are hilarious as they tell the original story of Frozen, incorporating relevant and timely jokes and calling out audience members to make sure they feel like a part of the show. Audience members are also encouraged to sing along to the classics from the movie as the scenes and lyrics are presented on a huge screen on the decorated stage.
There is nothing quite like singing at the top of your lungs with a huge crowd to the songs of one of your favorite movies. The best part of the whole show though has to be the fake snow that is sprinkled upon you towards the end of the production as Elsa sings “Let It Go.” The Frozen Sing-Along is absolutely one show you don’t want to miss!
Festival of the Lion King
While the Festival of the Lion King is not a ride, it is one of the best attractions on Disney World property. Located in Animal Kingdom, this interactive show invites you to be a part of the story. As you are loaded into the show building, you are assigned one of four animals and you are able to participate alongside your favorite characters from The Lion King such as Simba, Timon, and Pumba.
There are renditions of some of your favorite songs from the movie and excellent dancing from the performers around the floor (and even up in the air)! You won’t be able to help wanting to get out of your seat and move with them. Some children even get the opportunity to do this and dance around the stage floor at the very end of the show. All around, Festival of the Lion King is one of the best representations of a movie on property, and you won’t want to miss it.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
The first attraction on our list is The Seas with Nemo and Friends, located in EPCOT and based on the movie Finding Nemo. The theming starts outside of the ride building, where the seagulls yell, “Mine, Mine, Mine!” at you as you enter the line. Immediately, you are reminded of the movie before even getting on the ride vehicle.
The queue is nice, dark, cool, and blue, really transporting you to an underwater setting. Once you are loaded into your shell, the screens behind incredibly decorated coral reefs let you help Marlin, Dory, Crush, and other characters from the movie as they look for Nemo, who is missing. While the ride isn’t an exact retelling of the movie, the characters looking for Nemo is a nod to the main concept of the movie itself.
The final scenes of the seated dark ride include glimpses into the aquarium that you are able to walk through after your shell ride. This family-friendly attraction doesn’t have the biggest thrill factor, but is a great nod to the film.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
When it comes to the theming of an attraction based on a movie, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train located in Magic Kingdom is a prime Disney Imagineering example. Starting with the interactive queue, children and adults get to play around as they move through the mine towards the ride inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Once loaded in the train cars, you are transported through fast turns and rocking cars. Going up to one of the main drops, you hear the song “Heigh Ho” and get to see the dwarfs’ shadows climbing up through the mine. When the ride draws to a close, if you peek to your right, you can see Snow White dancing in the cottage with her dwarfs. This ride is a fun, quick thrill that incorporates pivotal moments from the movie.
Slinky Dog Dash
Slinky Dog lets you go on a ride with your favorite characters Toy Story! After the thrilling rollercoaster ride, which is a little over two minutes long and suitable for kids and adults alike, you get to listen to Wheezy sing the classic, “You Got a Friend in Me” as you wait to return to the loading platform.
As you go through the track, you will encounter life-sized versions of your favorite Toy Story characters standing around on building blocks. The overall theming, based on Andy’s backyard creation, earns Slinky Dog Dash a middle-of-the-pack spot on this list.
Toy Story Mania!
Staying in Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Mania! makes the list at number 5 due to its fun interactive elements. This ride has an incredible queue that puts you right inside Andy’s room. Where else do you get to see Mr. Potato Head perform?
Once you are loaded into the ride vehicle, you move through a series of arcade-style games, all Toy Story-themed. All of the main characters are there to cheer you on as you compete against the other three people in your ride vehicle. This ride is 3D, and not only is it very interactive to have balls and plates flying at your face while trying to win the mini-games, but it makes you feel like a kid!
Rise of Resistance
Rise of the Resistance lands in spot number three on the list. The Star Wars theming in Disney World’s Galaxy’s Edge is incredible, but this ride makes you really feel as if you are in the Star Wars universe.
Starting with the pre-show, you are able to ride in the ships that you have only dreamed of being able to touch from your couch. Seeing the stormtroopers lined up in the second part of the preloading is exhilarating and slightly frightening with the enormity of their presence.
Then when you are on the ride itself, watching all the characters come to life really does transport you into a world that you have only seen on your screen. The ride is fast-paced, and the trackless technology enables you to feel like the droid in your vehicle really is driving you around the ship as you escape from the First Order. There are several exciting surprises at every turn and so many stunning visual elements to look at in this experience that it is a must-ride if you are a fan of Star Wars.
Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind
Number two on the list is the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind experience found in EPCOT. This new ride is thrilling and unlike anything Disney fans have experienced before! You can read our full review of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind to see why this attraction is one of our absolute favorites. Be sure to also see our tips for the Guardians of the Galaxy virtual queue.
As you go on your journey, you will see some beloved characters like Rocket, Groot, Gamora, and Peter, along with some new characters. While waiting in the queue, you are educated on all things Xandarian.
The ride cars are incredibly comfortable, and the journey you take in this reverse-launch roller coaster is exhilarating. Pair that with the music, and you will be dancing throughout the ride. Songs are rotated for each ride, so every experience is unique and special. The best part is that you don’t need to be a diehard Marvel fan to enjoy this epic trip through the galaxy!
Avatar Flight of Passage
My number one ride based on a movie is Avatar Flight of Passage found in Animal Kingdom at Disney World. Before you even enter the ride, you are transported into a completely new world where you are able to spend a few minutes getting acquainted with the experience and what to expect.
The seats on Avatar Flight of Passage allow you to actually feel as if you are on the back of a Banshee, as you can feel it breathe in and out beneath you. All of your senses are tapped into, with the beautiful views, smells, and sensations of Pandora. Water even splashes you in the face at one point in the ride!
The only part of this experience that you won’t love is how short it is. The freeing feeling and immersive world of the ride makes it the one everyone wants to run to as soon as the rope drops at Animal Kingdom. Here are all of our tips on touring Animal Kingdom in our 1-day itinerary.
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