There is a lot to see and do in Disney World—so much, in fact, that picking and choosing what to do when you’re going in with a limited amount of time can be totally overwhelming. In these cases, it can help to know which rides are the best of the best. After all, knowing you’re getting the opportunity to experience the very best of what the parks have to offer can make skipping much of the rest a lot less painful. That said, it can be difficult to figure out which rides are the best simply by looking at a map. Therefore, you will need to do a bit of research before diving into your vacation. Knowing the opinions of others can really help you figure out what you and your family might enjoy best, making it easier to narrow your must-do list to only a few attractions in each park. I’m here to help you with that research. While I can’t really predict what you will personally enjoy most during your vacation, I do know which rides are our favorites and which tend to get rave reviews from family and friends. Using this information, I’ve put together a list of our top two attractions in each park.
I’ll start in Magic Kingdom. This park is home to an enormous number of attractions. Many of these are classics, making it even more difficult to pick and choose. If you have any extra time at all, I recommend spending it in this park so you don’t have to narrow your options as much as I did.
1. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
This is a small but super fun roller coaster that can be enjoyed by young children and adults alike. It takes you through the mines of the seven dwarfs and gives you a little peek into their cottage.
2. Pirates of the Caribbean
A classic dark ride, I feel Pirates of the Caribbean perfectly captures the essence of what Walt wanted his parks to be. It uses high quality technology to tell a story and create an immersive and magical experience for people of all ages.
Other Magic Kingdom attractions that deserve a mention include Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
While Epcot is an enormous park with lots to see and do, it doesn’t have as many rides as Magic Kingdom. Therefore, choosing my favorites here was a little easier.
1. Soarin’ Around the World
This awesome ride sends guests into the skies on a hang glider. Feel the wind hit your face as you soar around the world, seeing the sights and smelling the smells along the way.
2. Frozen Ever After
A traditional dark ride that uses modern technology to create some pretty impressive animatronics, Frozen Ever After is a Frozen fan’s dream come true. That said, this gentle, storytelling boat ride is fun even if you aren’t a big fan of the movie, and we absolutely recommend it to everyone who visits.
Another Epcot ride that definitely deserves a mention is Test Track. In fact, many would put Test Track ahead of one of these other two, and depending on who is visiting, this wouldn’t necessarily be wrong.
There once was a time when I would have recommended skipping Hollywood Studios altogether to anyone visiting with little time. However, the park has gotten tons of new attractions and even some new lands of late, and it’s now a must-see park.
1. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Of all the rides in this park, this is my absolute favorite. It may even be my favorite in the whole of Disney World. It uses some seriously impressive technology and animation to put you right in the middle of a Mickey Mouse cartoon. What more could a Disney fan ask for?
2. Slinky Dog Dash
Found in the new Toy Story Land, Slinky Dog Dash is a super fun coaster. It’s gentle enough for kids but still offers a fun factor that even adults can enjoy. Best of all, it’s an incredibly well-themed ride that really puts you in the world of Toy Story.
Rise of the Resistance is another popular Hollywood Studios ride, and one that many will feel should have made it onto this list. While I enjoyed this ride and appreciated the technology involved, it fell short of what I was expecting. Part of this is the fact that I am personally not a Star Wars fan, and therefore felt I was missing details that true fanatics would have gotten and loved. In any case, this disappointment paired with the ridiculous amount of effort required to even get onto this ride has caused me to put it further down my list of must-dos. Still, if you have a Star Wars fan in your party, you might move it up your list and make sure you get on. And if you can’t swing that, hey, there’s always Smugglers Run.
Finally, there is Animal Kingdom. Choosing two Animal Kingdom favorites was actually very easy. Not only that, I think most people will agree with our picks.
1. Avatar Flight of Passage
Easily the best ride in the park—and the only ride that competes with Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway for that overall top spot—Avatar Flight of Passage is a must-see. In this attraction, you will get to ride on the back of a banshee creature as you soar around Pandora seeing (and smelling) all the beauty it has to offer.
2. Kilimanjaro Safaris
Kilimanjaro Safaris has been a favorite since this park opened. Guests board a Jeep, which they ride through several different landscapes in order to see a wide variety of live animals. Often, these animals get pretty close, making it a thrilling and unique experience.
Other great Animal Kingdom rides include Na’vi River Journey (a great alternative for kids who can’t ride Flight of Passage due to the height requirement) and Expedition Everest.