Rides First Timers Shouldn’t Skip in Walt Disney World

There are so many amazing Disney ride options throughout the four Theme Parks in Walt Disney World that it can be overwhelming trying to determine which ones should take priority.  If it is your first visit to Walt Disney World, this can be even harder to figure out.  To help you with your planning, we have the rides we think first timers shouldn’t miss during their Walt Disney World vacation.

Magic Kingdom

Let’s begin with the Disney Park where the magic all started for Walt Disney World in Magic Kingdom.  With almost 30 rides to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down what attractions to focus on during your first visit.  Unless you have a few Park days planned for Magic Kingdom, it will be hard to experience all the rides.  Here are our suggestions on what rides you shouldn’t skip on during your first trip to Magic Kingdom.

  1.  “It’s a Small World”

We know that some might complain about this slow moving boat ride in Fantasyland, but it is a classic and one that everyone should experience at least once.  If it is your first time at Magic Kingdom, a trip to “it’s a small world” should be on your list.  Enjoy seeing all the beautiful colors and countries that are represented.

2.   Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion is another ride that we believe all first time visitors should experience during their Disney vacation.  The immersive queue and outstanding visual effects are still some of the best in Disney World.  First timers shouldn’t skip out on taking a trip through the haunted mansion.

Pirates of the Caribbean Disneyland

3.  Pirates of the Caribbean

One of the best rides in Magic Kingdom is Pirates of the Caribbean.  This ride found in Adventureland has a little of everything.  A fun storyline, great music, fun ride scenes and even a small drop make it for everyone.  Don’t skip out on Pirates of the Caribbean on your first Disney World trip.

Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

4.  All the Mountains

It wouldn’t be a trip to Magic Kingdom without a ride on the three mountains.  Check out Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain in Frontierland and don’t skip Space Mountain in Tomorrowland.  These three rides are full of thrills and show how Disney can bring the excitement to rides as well.


Most first timers might focus on experiencing the countries in World Showcase at EPCOT, but there are a few rides that we think should be experienced as well.

Credit: Disney

  1.  Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

The newest ride to join EPCOT is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.  Guests of all ages can ride this family-friendly ride which makes it so much fun.  Get shrunk down to the size of Remy before zipping and dodging around the many obstacles of Gusteau’s kitchen.  The new trackless ride system is something that you don’t want to miss.

2.  Soarin’

Get ready to soar through the world on Soarin’ found in The Land Pavilion.  Guests soar high above different areas of the world such as the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, Eiffel Tower, and much more.  How Soarin’ appeals to all the different senses truly makes this unbelievable.

Living With The Land (Credit: Disney)

3.  Living with the Land

Also located in The Land Pavilion is Living with the Land.  This slow moving boat ride takes Guests through the gardens used by Disney.  It also shows different technology used to help these plants grow in a unique environment.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

First timers will want to make sure to spend some time enjoying the beauty of Disney’s Animal Kingdom with the trails, but there are some great rides they shouldn’t miss.

  1.  Avatar Flight of Passage

One of the most advanced rides in Disney is Avatar Flight of Passage.  Guests connect with their very own banshee before flying over the Valley of Mo’ara.  Like Soarin’, this ride appeals to all the senses as it transports Guests to Pandora.  This is an experience that first timers shouldn’t skip.

2.  Kilimanjaro Safari

An extremely unique experience most of us will only get in Disney World is a trip on a safari.  Kilimanjaro Safari is a 20-minute ride through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.  Here Guests can see around 34 species that make this 110 acres their home.  Lions, hippos, elephants, rhinos, and giraffes are just some of the animals that can be seen on the safari.

3.  Expedition Everest

One of the most extreme roller coasters in Disney World can be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  If first timers are huge thrill fans, Expedition Everest shouldn’t be skipped.  This ride goes high up into the mountains before racing down backwards in the dark.  If you are wanting to experience a thrill like no other, head to Everest.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been transformed over the last few years and now has many outstanding rides that Guests won’t want to miss.

  1.  Rise of the Resistance

The number one ride that first timers shouldn’t miss in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Rise of the Resistance.  This outstanding experience puts Guests into the action like nothing before.  Guests will join the Resistance as they fight the First Order.

Credit: Disney

2.  Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

The whole family will enjoy this ride featuring Mickey and friends.  The beauty of the different scenes is fantastic and being able to see Mickey in his first ever ride is something that shouldn’t be missed.

Tower of Terror (Credit: Disney)

3.  Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

First timers will want to drop in on the Tower of Terror.  It’s a unique experience that takes Guests into the abandoned Hollywood Tower Hotel.  The theming of this ride is fantastic, so take some time to enjoy the queue before dropping into the fun.

4.  Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

For another fun coaster, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  This high speed coaster starts with a launch and then twists and turns as you race through the streets of Hollywood.  Hold on tight and keep your head back!

Credit: Disney

5.  Slinky Dog Dash

A thrill that is not as extreme as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster but still shouldn’t be skipped is Slinky Dog Dash.  Back in Toy Story Land, Slinky Dog Dash is a fun coaster that zips through Andy’s Backyard.  Don’t be fooled by his sweet, adorable face, this coaster has some thrills along the way.

There are so many magical Disney rides throughout Walt Disney World’s four Theme Parks that it can be extremely hard to narrow down what to ride.  We hope this list for first timers will help you know what rides to focus on during your first trip to Walt Disney World.

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.