With somewhere around 50 rides across its four theme parks, Walt Disney World offers something for everyone. Even if you have a long visit planned, once you fit in dining, shows, and other attractions, it is definitely hard to hit all the rides. I’m sure every Disney fanatic has their must-do rides, and these are mine!
1. Space Mountain
Disney’s first all-indoor roller coaster has kept it relevance over the decades. Dark + Speed = a thrilling adventure. Add in great theming, an air-conditioned wait, and significantly shorter wait times than Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and you can see why it makes my list.
2. Dumbo The Flying Elephant
This is the one ride on my list that I’ll put a caveat on – if you don’t have young children then you might want to skip it. But for families with little ones, it’s a must-do. There’s nothing really spectacular about it, and the same ride technology is used on several other rides at Disney World and other theme parks, but it’s such a Disney classic that it just feels better than the others. With great views of the Magic Kingdom and a cool indoor play area to entertain the kids while you wait, and a splash pad to play in afterwards, Dumbo is a must-do with kids.
3. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
In the first several months it was open, thousands of people set their alarms for ridiculously early hours to get to Hollywood Studios and snag a boarding group for this ride in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. That must mean it’s amazing right? Full disclosure – I was either pregnant or exhausted with a new born on all of my visits since the ride opened so I haven’t experienced it yet, but it’s on my must-do list for my next visit!
4. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
The stars of the Disney-verse finally have their own ride – this is reason enough to put Hollywood Studio’s newest attraction on this list! In addition to being the only ride in all the Disney parks featuring Mickey and Minnie, it’s also a ton of fun.
5. Kilimanjaro Safaris
A trip to Animal Kingdom is definitely not complete without a ride on Kilimanjaro Safari. The ride takes you on an 18-minute open air ride through several habitats of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve and highlights over 30 species.
6. Pirates of the Caribbean
This is one of those rides that really highlights the magic of Disney World as a theme park for all ages. Pirates of the Caribbean takes you on a slow boat ride through a magical pirate world, with a tiny drop thrown in as a little bonus thrill. While there is no height restriction and even the youngest visitors will enjoy it, the theming, detail, and sense of adventure it portrays is appealing to older kids and adults as well.
7. Haunted Mansion
With a little bit of spookiness and a whole lot of fun, the Haunted Mansion is the type of ride you will only find at Disney World. The experience starts while you’re in line, with creative tombstones and a stretching room that delivers you to your Doom Buggy. The ride itself may be a little scary for the younger riders, but for most it’s just pure fun to see the haunted world that Disney has created. And the catchy song will definitely be in your head most of the day!
8. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Hollywood Studios is now home to several “thrill” rides, but Tower of Terror is a must-do for me because it combines a seriously thrilling ride with awesome theming and a real connection to the original feel of the park when it was still called MGM Studios.
9. Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
Some people will read this and not even know what Gran Fiesta Tour is. That’s ok, since one reason it’s a must-do for me is the short wait times and relative obscurity of the ride. Tucked in the back of the Mexico pavilion, you have to seek it out, but once you do you are transported on a boat ride through Mexico with Donald Duck and the Tres Caballeros. It’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of EPCOT, and we love riding while we wait for a table at San Angel Inn, one of our favorite restaurants at EPCOT.
10. Kali River Rapids
A must-do on its own because of the thrills, it’s even better because of its location at Animal Kingdom, Disney World’s hottest park. Shade is hard to find at Animal Kingdom, and most guests spend a lot of time outside exploring, so the opportunity to get splashed, or soaked, is especially needed!