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Review of 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Review of 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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What to Do at Disney World When it Rains

What to Do at Disney World When it Rains

When you picture your Disney World vacation, you’re probably imagining a beautiful, sunny, clear day where you can’t wait to ride Splash Mountain to cool off a little bit.

So it may throw you for a loop when you’re about to head out to the park and hear that it’s going to rain — and thunder.

Or worse, that you’re happily roaming about the park in great weather, when, with little warning, you suddenly find yourself in a downpour. You not only have to run for cover, but also figure out how to change your carefully-planned itinerary.

It may not be the ideal situation, but fortunately your Disney vacation doesn’t need to be ruined when it rains.

When is the Rainy Season at Disney World?

According to TripSavvy, the wettest month in the Orlando area is August (with 7.32 inches of rain), followed by July, June, and then September.

During the summer months, an afternoon thunderstorm is not at all unusual. The good news is that these storms bring a drop in temperature with them (nature’s way of helping you stay cool at Disney World in the summer).

 

Rain at Walt Disney World
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from the World of Disney

 

General Tips About Doing Disney in the Rain

* Keep in mind that Florida showers are typically short. While there’s no guarantee, there’s a good chance that the rain will be over within about 30-60. So don’t be too quick to flee the park and call it a day.

* Instead of letting the rain get you down, have fun with it. Splash in the puddles. People-watch. Take photos of your family soaking wet. Enjoy the fact that the crowds in the park will probably thin out a little.

* Bring ziploc bags of various sizes for cell phones, cameras, autograph books, and wet clothes and rain ponchos.

* Bring a microfiber towel for wiping down wet seats on rides.

Rainleaf Microfiber Towel, 24 X 48 InchesRainleaf Microfiber Towel, 24 X 48 InchesRainleaf Microfiber Towel, 24 X 48 InchesYouphoria Outdoors Quick Dry Travel Towel with Carry BagYouphoria Outdoors Quick Dry Travel Towel with Carry BagYouphoria Outdoors Quick Dry Travel Towel with Carry BagPackTowl Personal Microfiber Towel, Agave, Face- 10 x 14-InchPackTowl Personal Microfiber Towel, Agave, Face- 10 x 14-InchPackTowl Personal Microfiber Towel, Agave, Face- 10 x 14-Inch

 

 

What Should I Wear to Disney World When it Rains?

Basically, you want light clothing that won’t get soggy and heavy. In other words, a cotton hoodie with denim shorts would not be a good choice.

Dressing in layers is a good idea because you can take off your outer layer of clothing if it gets wet.

A baseball cap can help keep the rain off your face.

Mickey Mouse Old Comic Prints Baseball CapMickey Mouse Old Comic Prints Baseball CapMickey Mouse Old Comic Prints Baseball CapDisney Girls Princess Characters Cotton Baseball CapDisney Girls Princess Characters Cotton Baseball CapDisney Girls Princess Characters Cotton Baseball CapDisney Minnie Mouse Bow Ears Baseball HatDisney Minnie Mouse Bow Ears Baseball HatDisney Minnie Mouse Bow Ears Baseball HatDisney Mickey Mouse Hibiscus Floral Baseball CapDisney Mickey Mouse Hibiscus Floral Baseball CapDisney Mickey Mouse Hibiscus Floral Baseball Cap

 

And it goes without saying that you should always have some rain ponchos on hand, whether it’s the “rainy season” or not. (Ask me how I know this.)

These are the disposable rain ponchos we always keep in our Disney park bag.

 

Of course, if it is the rainy season, or if the forecast looks particularly bad, you might want to be prepared with something more sturdy than a disposable poncho.

Adult Mickey and Minnie RaincoatAdult Mickey and Minnie RaincoatAdult Mickey and Minnie RaincoatAnyoo Lightweight Reusable Military Rain PonchoAnyoo Lightweight Reusable Military Rain PonchoAnyoo Lightweight Reusable Military Rain PonchoTerra Hiker Waterproof Raincoat with Hoods for Outdoor ActivitiesTerra Hiker Waterproof Raincoat with Hoods for Outdoor ActivitiesTerra Hiker Waterproof Raincoat with Hoods for Outdoor Activities

 

 

✅ What are the Best Shoes for Rain at Disney?

Basically, you want shoes that will dry quickly. Walking around for hours is soggy socks and shoes is going to make your feet very unhappy and is likely to give you blisters.

If you’re wearing socks, having an extra pair with you is a good idea.

My favorite shoes for our last few trips are great for rainy days.

 

People on a Disboard thread said these shoes were all great for a rainy day at Disney:

Teva Women's Tirra Sandal,Bering Sea,9 USTeva Women’s Tirra Sandal,Bering Sea,9 USTeva Women's Tirra Sandal,Bering Sea,9 USTeva Women's Tirra Slide Sandal,Black,9 M USTeva Women’s Tirra Slide Sandal,Black,9 M USTeva Women's Tirra Slide Sandal,Black,9 M USOLUKAI Women's Ohana Sandal, Black/Black, 9 M USOLUKAI Women’s Ohana Sandal, Black/Black, 9 M USOLUKAI Women's Ohana Sandal, Black/Black, 9 M USKeen Women's Newport H2 Sandal,Slate Black/Canton,7.5 M USKeen Women’s Newport H2 Sandal,Slate Black/Canton,7.5 M USKeen Women's Newport H2 Sandal,Slate Black/Canton,7.5 M USNative Kids Unisex-Baby Jefferson Child Sneaker, Woodward Pink/Glow, 6 Medium US ToddlerNative Kids Unisex-Baby Jefferson Child Sneaker, Woodward Pink/Glow, 6 Medium US ToddlerNative Kids Unisex-Baby Jefferson Child Sneaker, Woodward Pink/Glow, 6 Medium US ToddlerSkechers USA Men's Fisherman Sandal, Chocolate, 14 M USSkechers USA Men’s Fisherman Sandal, Chocolate, 14 M USSkechers USA Men's Fisherman Sandal, Chocolate, 14 M US

 

 

Should I Buy a Rain Cover for Our Stroller?

Yeah, I would. It seems like a good idea and they aren’t very expensive. It’s one of those things you’re going to really wish you had if it rains.)

(Now, just to clarify … “I would” is not the same as “I did.” I didn’t. But that’s because I was not very organized when my kids were little. Just ask Rob.)

Alphabetz Stroller Rain CoverAlphabetz Stroller Rain CoverAlphabetz Stroller Rain CoverRain Cover for Stroller, Prettop Universal Baby Jeep Jogging Stroller with Storage PouchRain Cover for Stroller, Prettop Universal Baby Jeep Jogging Stroller with Storage PouchRain Cover for Stroller, Prettop Universal Baby Jeep Jogging Stroller with Storage PouchBemece Stroller Rain Cover Universal + Mosquito Net (2-Piece Set),Bemece Stroller Rain Cover Universal + Mosquito Net (2-Piece Set),Bemece Stroller Rain Cover Universal + Mosquito Net (2-Piece Set),

 

Kaismahma from the Disboards had good results with her makeshift stroller cover:

We bought a clear shower curtain liner from Ikea and a couple larger clips (bigger than a clothes pins) from the dollar store. It rolled up nicely and we could cover the entire stroller very easily and we tossed it when we left.

With the canopy and the curtain over the stroller our dd had plenty of breathing room and did not feel as encased as she would have with the actual stroller cover.

We used it every day we were in Disney. When hot in use we rolled it up and clipped it too the stroller.

 

Does Disney World Cancel Fireworks When it Rains?

It depends on the show.

Wishes in Magic Kingdom and Illuminations:Reflections of Earth in Epcot are both very very unlikely to be canceled. Delayed due to lightning, maybe, but almost never outright canceled.

Fantasmic in Hollywood Studios, on the other hand, sometimes will be canceled due to heavy rain, sometimes at the last minute. This is partly for the safety of the Cast Members.

And Animal Kingdom’s River of Lights is unlikely to cancel due to rain, but may delay or cancel the performance due to lightning.

According to WDW Magic:
1) If you have a FastPass for River of Lights and it’s canceled due to weather, you’ll receive a special FastPass for any other attraction to use the following day;
2) If you have the River of Lights Dining Package and the show is cancelled, you will be able to attend another performance of Rivers of Light up to five days after the cancellation.

 

Disney World parks in the rain
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from the World of Disney

 

What Rides Close at Disney World When it Rains?

According to Theme Park Tourist, here’s the list of ride closings in each park:

 

Magic Kingdom

Closed for Rain:
Tomorrowland Speedway (currently closed for refurbishment until May 18, 2019)
Tom Sawyer Island
Festival of Fantasy Parade
Pirates of the Caribbean (if there is flooding in Adventureland)

Closed for Lightning:
Thunder Mountain Railroad
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Splash Mountain
Jungle Cruise
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Liberty Belle Riverboat
Astro Orbiter
Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire
Swiss Family Treehouse

Special entertainment When it Rains:
Rainy Day Version of Mickey’s Royal Friendship Fare
Magic Kingdom Rainy Day Cavalcade

Video — Rainy Day Cavalcade in Magic Kingdom


 

Epcot

Closed for Rain:
Test Track

 

Hollywood Studios

Closed for Rain:
Beauty and the Beast
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple
Slinky Dog Dash
Fantasmic

Closed for Lightning:
Alien Swirling Saucers

 

Animal Kingdom

Closed for rain:
Kali River Rapids
Maharajah Jungle Trek
Expedition Everest
The Boneyard
Discovery Island Trails
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Closed for Lightning:
Kilimanjaro Safaris
Primeval Whirl
TriceraTop Spin
Flights of Wonder
Wildlife Express (depending on severity)

 

What’s the Best Disney Park in the Rain?

I would say that it’s a tie between Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

Epcot is good on a rainy day because:
1) Test Track is the only attraction that closes due to weather;
2) There are a lot of indoor rides: Living with the Land, Soarin’, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Mission:Space, etc.

The downside to Epcot is that there’s a lot of walking between attractions.

Magic Kingdom is a good on a rainy day because:
1) The stores in the Main Street Emporium are all interconnected, so you do quite a bit of shopping and/or travel from one end of Main Street to the other without stepping outside once. (A nice Disney World hack).
2) There is not too much walking distance between attractions;
3) Riding the monorail is a nice option (which we’ll talk about more in a moment)

The downside to Magic Kingdom is that a lot of rides close, especially if there is thunder and lightning.

The general consensus is that Animal Kingdom is the worst park in the rain since, percentage-wise, a lot of the attractions will be closed.

However, some people have had great experiences on a rainy day in Animal Kingdom. WhitneyAnne on the DisBoards describes her experience:

We’ve been at AK in the pouring rain. We had a great time. We were able to ride Kali River Rapids for 3 or 4 times in a row without getting off. It didn’t matter if we got wet because we were already soaked.

And ktml had this to say:

We’ve been there in the pouring cold rain. The park was empty. There was no one on Safari. The CMs were just letting you stay on and ride again as many times as you wanted. The people coming up to get in the vehicles were just directed to whatever row was empty. The animals were all out enjoying or playing in the rain. It was great!

 

Magic Kingdom in the Rain

While a lot of rides can be closed due to weather in the Magic Kingdom, there are a lot that remain open, and the good news is that you don’t have to walk very far to get to one of them.

Tomorrowland:
* Carousel of Progress
* Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor in Tomorrowland (one of Disney’s most underrated attractions, in my opinion)
* Space Mountain
* Buzz Lightyear’s Space Rangers Spin

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in Magic Kingdom
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is a good ride for a rainy day at Magic Kingdom
Photo courtesy of Judd at WDWOW

 

Fantasyland:
* Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
* Mickey’s PhilharMagic
* Enchanted Tales with Belle
* It’s a Small World
* Peter Pan’s Flight
* The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Liberty Square:
* Haunted Mansion
* Hall of Presidents

Frontierland:
* Splash Mountain (if it isn’t thundering, and if “embracing the wet” sound like fun to you)
* Country Bear Jamboree

Adventureland:
* Pirates of the Caribbean
* The Enchanted Tiki Room

Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland
The Enchanted Tiki Room is a good place to escape the rain
Photo courtesy of WDWOW

 

As I mentioned earlier, if you’re on or near Main Street when the rain hits, you can travel through the entire Emporium window shopping (or actual shopping) while staying indoors.

And here’s a fun and interesting alternative, especially if you’re near the front of the park:
Hop on the monorail and go visit one or more of the resorts. (I also think it’s fun to explore or eat at the Deluxe Resorts even though we can’t afford to stay there.)

I would particularly recommend the Grand Floridian, which often has live music in the lobby and a great soap shop called Basin that my daughters and I had a lot of fun in on our last trip.

Grand Floridian Resort lobby in Walt Disney World
Rebecca and I visiting the Grand Floridian just for fun

 

If you visit the Polynesian, consider stopping at Pineapple Lanai, just outside the Ceremonial House, and getting a Dole Whip.

Dole Whip at Polynesian Resort in Walt Disney World
Consider taking the monorail to the Polynesian Resort and getting a Dole Whip Float!
Photo courtesy of Brett at Disney Photo Snapper

 

The really nice thing about this monorail resort excursion is that, when the rain eventually clears, it doesn’t take long at all to get back to the Magic Kingdom — and hopefully the crowd will have thinned out some.

Anal Annie on Disboards had these tips for Magic Kingdom in the rain:

The one ride I will say is NOT good in the rain is Astro Orbiter. We rode that once in a downpour and had a LAP FULL of rain in our ponchos by the time that thing finished. It was miserable.

Likewise I would say the Grand Prix cars are not good as they’re so slow.

Laugh Floor, Small World, Philharmagic, People Mover, Space, Pirates & Haunted Mansion are particularly good with extensive indoor time.

 

Epcot in the Rain

The biggest problem with Epcot in the rain is that Epcot usually involves a lot of walking. My best advice would be to find a nearby indoor area where you can hang out for a while.

For example, The Land pavilion offers two rides (Soarin’ and Living with the Land), plus Sunshine Seasons, a great quick service restaurant with a lot of options for meals or snacks.

If you’re near the Mexico pavilion when it starts to pour, duck inside and shop, maybe grab something to eat at San Angel Inn, and ride The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros (which wins the award for Best Disney World Ride you Never Heard Of).

If you have toddlers or preschoolers, Journey into the Imagination with Figment is a good choice. The interactive “What If” Labs after the ride will keep them happily busy for a while.

Journey Imagination with Figment in Epcot
Photo courtesy of WDWOW

 

And, of course, depending on where you are in the World Showcase when it starts raining, you can see one of the shows:
* Impressions de France
* O’ Canada!
* Reflection of China
* The American Adventure

 

Animal Kingdom in the Rain

As I mentioned earlier, Animal Kingdom is generally considered the worst Disney park for a rainy day, but there are some good options.

Some people love riding Kali River Rapids in the rain, if there’s no thunder. There’s hardly any line, and they figure they’re wet anyway and might as well go all-out.

If getting completely drenched isn’t your idea of a good time, you might prefer to take in one of Animal Kingdom’s shows:
* Finding Nemo the Musical in Dinoland U.S.A.
* Festival of the Lion King in Africa
* It’s Tough to Be a Bug in Discovery Island

If there’s no thunder, you might want to consider riding Kilimanjaro Safaris in Africa. The animals are both more visible and more active when it’s raining.

The Points Guy has a unique and clever idea for when you get caught in the rain at Animal Kingdom:

If your entire day at Animal Kingdom is washed out, I’d take the bus, an Uber or a Minnie Van to nearby Animal Kingdom Lodge.

A Mommy Points favorite, Animal Kingdom Lodge has many diverse and entertaining ways to spend a day, even if you aren’t staying there as an overnight guest.

In the space of three hours, recently my daughter and I matched the feces to the species (you read that right), decorated giraffe and elephant cookies, learned how to say elephant in Swahili (tembo), played bingo and caught some zebras taking a nap. Total cost? Zero! They also offer drum lessons, face painting and a whole host of (often free) activities.

 

Hollywood Studios in the Rain

Did I mention Hollywood Studios is my family’s least favorite park? (Yeah. I know. Maybe about 50 times.)

One of the reasons we like it less is because it doesn’t have much shade — which also means that there is little shelter from the rain.

Indoor attractions include:
* Voyage of the Little Mermaid
* Beauty and the Beast (although seats in the rear can still leave you damp if * it’s raining very hard)
* Frozen Sing-a-Long Celebration
* Star Tours
* MuppetVision 3D
* Tower of Terror
* Toy Story Mania (this has a really fun indoor queue)
* Rock n Roller Coaster

 

Now it’s your turn.
What’s your experience with Disney World in the rain? What do you think is the best — and worst — park for a rainy day? What are your favorite things to do in the rain at Disney? Let us know below in the comments!

What to do in Disney World when it rains

What to do in Disney World when it rains

Walt Disney World Trivia Questions (and Answers)

Walt Disney World Trivia Questions (and Answers)

I love trivia, especially when it comes to behind-the-scenes, entertainment-related things. (It kind of drives my kids crazy sometimes.) For example, did you know that some of the names considered for the Seven Dwarfs included Awful, Blabby, Deefy, Dirty, Gabby, Gaspy, Gloomy, Hoppy-Jumpy, Nifty, and […]

Review of Satu’li Canteen in Animal Kingdom’s Pandora

Review of Satu’li Canteen in Animal Kingdom’s Pandora

A few months ago I wrote a round-up post where I had various Disney bloggers vote on their favorite quick service meals in Disney World. While several different restaurants got a lot of love in that post, Animal Kingdom’s Satu’li Canteen was one of the […]

9 Underrated Disney World Rides (With the Shortest Lines!)

9 Underrated Disney World Rides (With the Shortest Lines!)

When you go to Walt Disney World, two things you want to do is 1) Ride the best rides; and 2) Avoid the long lines as much as possible.

Hopefully this post will help you do both.

To be included on this list, the ride had to be both a quality, underrated ride in my opinion and have a short line (with the slight exception of Dinosaur, which I mention below). That’s

That’s why, for example, the Mad Tea Party in the Magic Kingdom and Triceratop Spin are not included. Yes, their lines are pretty short, but I don’t consider either of them to be particularly impressive rides.

 



 

 

Dinosaur (Animal Kingdom)

Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom, underrated ride at Disney World
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from the World of Disney

 

As much as I can’t stand DinoLand U.S.A. in Animal Kingdom, it has one really good thing going for it, and that’s Dinosaur.

The concept of Dinosaur is that you travel back in time to rescue and return a living dinosaur before the species goes extinct … but then — oops! Someone miscalculated and you arrive in prehistoric times just as a giant asteroid is hurtling toward Earth.

There are great special effects and it’s more of a “thrill ride” than I expected it to be. My son Benjamin went on it for the first time on our latest visit, when he was twelve, and it was one of my favorites rides of the trip, second only to Epcot’s Test Track. He was disappointed that we were only able to ride it once.

Is Dinosaur scary for little kids?

Potentially, yes … not so much in the way a roller coaster is (the rides only goes 12 miles and has only minor drops), but because it is dark and because some little kids might find the “Oh no, our lives are in danger!” aspect to be more upsetting than amusing. There is a height requirement of 40 inches.

Note: It’s pushing it a little bit to include Dinosaur on a list of rides with short lines. It has the longest lines of any of the rides on this list, but any time we’ve gone, we’ve waited for 20 minutes or less, which is not a bad wait for what this rides offers, in my opinion.

Fastpass reservations are available for Dinosaur, but I would recommend getting a FastPass for Expedition Everest, Flight of Passage, Na’Vi River Journey, or Kilimanjaro Safaris instead.

If those rides don’t interest you or you can’t get a FastPass for them, then I would consider getting one for Dinosaur.

 

Gran Fiesta Tour with the Three Caballeros (Epcot World Showcase)


The Three Caballeros
The Three Caballeros in topiary form at the 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (Photo by Matt Stroshane)

This ride in Epcot always has a short line, mostly because most people don’t even know it exists and it’s almost impossible to find unless you’re specifically looking for it.

Located inside the pyramid-shaped Mexico Pavillion in Epcot, The Gran Fiesta Tour is a slow, dark boat ride based on this 1944 film starring Donald Duck and his two friends, José Carioca and Panchito. It’s a nice combination of animation, animatronics, and Mexican culture.

This is a ride that all ages can enjoy. It has no height requirements and no scare factor. Plus it’s a nice way to stay cool for a while after you’ve been trekking through the World Showcase in the heat.

 

 

Tom Sawyer’s Island (Magic Kingdom)


Tom Sawyer Island underrated ride at Disney's Magic Kingdom
Photo courtesy of Brett at Disney Photo Snapper

 

Tom Sawyer’s Island isn’t exactly a ride, but rather a “getaway” in Frontierland that you travel to by raft.

On our family’s second visit to Disney World, right after we all had lunch atLiberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom, my husband Rob casually said, “Hey, let’s ride over to Tom Sawyer Island.”

I looked at him like he was crazy, because:

a) What kind of lame attraction was that?

and more importantly,

b) That was not what my carefully planned itinerary had us doing next

But I reluctantly agreed.

And yes, this is definitely one of those times where my husband was right. We loved it.

Tom Sawyer Island in the Magic Kingdom
Rachael and Rebecca playing checkers at Tom Sawyer Island

Besides the ride on the raft being fun in itself, Tom Sawyer Island has a cave, a windmill, a tipsy barrel bridge to cross; and paths to follow. It’s pretty and relaxing for adults and fun time to play and explore for kids. It’s a nice way to escape the “theme park atmosphere” and do something different for a while. Some people even pack a picnic lunch and plan to stay for a couple hours.

 

 

Walt Disney World Railroad (Magic Kingdom)


Walt Disney World Railroad in Magic Kingdom
Photo courtesy of Brett at Disney Photo Snapper

 

If were you were going to list all the rides in Magic Kingdom, you might forget to even include, but it is a ride, as well as a means of transportation.

We usually get on at Main Street (the least crowded station) and travel to Fantasyland. The scenery as you go through Frontierland is fun, and it’s nice break to get where you’re going without walking, for a change.

My son Benjamin loved trains when he was younger, so riding this real steam-powered locomotive was a treat for him, especially when they blew the whistle.

If you choose to ride the entire loop, it’s is 1.5 miles and lasts for 20 minutes.

Be aware that the railroad shuts down immediately before and during parades.

NOTE: The Walt Disney World Railroad is currently closed for the construction of the Tron coaster. The re-open date is unknown at the time of this writing, but it sounds like it could be closed for most or all of 2019.

 

You might also like:
The Best Magic Kingdom Rides

 

Living with the Land (Epcot)


Living with the Land underrated ride with short line in Epcot
Photo courtesy of Brett at Disney Photo Snapper

 

I know, I know … this one may sound like it could win an award for Most Boring Disney World ride. A slow boat ride with no cartoons, music, or animatronics … where you get an agriculture lesson?

Yawn.

But I found it Living with the Land to be surprisingly compelling.

It takes you through science laboratories and a futuristic greenhouse, revealing some of the food breakthroughs and experiments that Disney workers have made or are currently attempting.

My daughter Rebecca, who has always liked science, particularly enjoyed this one. There are plenty of “Hidden Mickey’s (which are not all the hidden) throughout the ride as well.

What’s really fun, especially if you’re a Chip and Dale like I am, is to eat at the Garden Grill, the rotating table service restaurant upstairs, where you can see inside Living With the Land during your meal. There is even a detailed farmhouse that you cannot see during the ride, only from the restaurant.

 

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel (Magic Kingdom)


prince charming regal carrousel disney world
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from the World of Disney

It’s tempting to zip right past the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, dismissing it as “just another merry-go-round” as you head through Fantasyland on your way to Dumbo or Peter Pan’s Flight.

But in typical Disney fashion, the Carrousel was meticulously designed and is not “just any merry-go-round.” For example, each horse has its own unique design and is decorated in real 23-karat gold leaf.

It’s a ride that’s great for all ages (my mother loved it she and my dad took my family to Disney World) and the line is never long.

I highly recommend that you ride this one after dark, as it’s particularly stunning when the lights are turned on.

 

You might also like:
Disney World Vacation Hacks 2019

 

Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (Magic Kingdom)


Monsters Inc Laugh Floor in Disney World

 

Maybe it’s just me, because I rarely hear people singing the praises of this Tomorrowland attraction, but I really enjoyed this one.

It’s an interactive stage show with Monsters doing stand-up comedy, night club style, and interacting with the audience. They don’t ask anybody to come front or anything, but the camera will show you on the screen up front. (Yes, both me and my daughter Rachael got “picked on.”)

I thought Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor was fresh and funny and got a lot of laughs for the crowd. The best thing is that, because of its interactive nature, it’s literally a different show every time, which you can’t say for most Disney shows.

 

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin (Magic Kingdom)


On our last Disney trip, my daughter Rebecca said, “This is a really underrated ride!” so of course I have to include it here.

Some people dismiss this ride as being “just like Dumbo,” but some people like it because it’s just like Dumbo, but has almost no line. (The last time we rode it, we almost literally just walked on.)

My kids like how it has the “spitting camels” and how one rider can maneuver their carpets up and down, while the other moves it from side to side.

Another plus to this ride is that, once you’re finished, you can easily walk over to Aloha Isle and get a Dole Whip.

 

WEDWay Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover


 

I haven’t ridden this since I was a kid, and I will always call it the WEDWay PeopleMover.

This monorail-style tour of Tomorrowland may sound boring, but if you’re looking for a short line in the Magic Kingdom, you can’t get much shorter than this one (and it’s neighbor, Carousel of Progress, which I didn’t include on this list only because I’ve never been on it).

This ride has almost a cult following, with people who ride it repeatedly (the cast members will sometimes let you stay on and ride again, if you ask them) and love it for being peaceful and air conditioned.

 

Now it’s your turn.
What about you? Do you have any favorite rides that you think are underrated? Let us know below in the comments!

 



Underrated attractions at Disney World

Dole Whip: Facts, Recipes, and Disney World Locations

Dole Whip: Facts, Recipes, and Disney World Locations

Whether you’ve been to Disney World or not, you’ve heard people speak of the “Dole Whip,” often with a touch of love and longing in their voice. In this post we’ll cover some important facts about the Dole Whip, all the places where you can […]

7 Ways to Stay Cool at Disney World

7 Ways to Stay Cool at Disney World

Staying cool — and keeping your kids cool — is at upmost importance during your Disney, not only for your comfort and sanity, but also for you and your family’s health and well-being. Here at 7 ways to heat the heat and not let the […]

Best Epcot Rides and Attractions Guide

Best Epcot Rides and Attractions Guide

I still remember when Epcot opened in 1982. It’s hard to imagine now, but back then “Disney World” was simply the Magic Kingdom, and it was a big deal that they were going to open this “new park” which was seemingly more serious.

Back then it was EPCOT, which stood for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, and it was based on Walt Disney’s unrealized dream of creating a land based on cutting-edge technology and cutting-edge technology.

EPCOT was a lot different then, with an emphasis heavier on education and lighter on Disney characters. World of Motion told the story of the evolution of transportation, from the invention of the wheel to modern automobiles. Body Wars was a simulator ride through the human body. The Living Seas didn’t have Nemo, and El Rio Del Tiempo didn’t have Donald Duck. One could argue whether or not the original EPCOT was better than what it’s become (and feel free to, in the comments), but either way, I find the evolution interesting.

Like I did in my post about the best Magic Kingdom rides, here I don’t presume to tell you which rides are “the best,” rank them in a certain order, or even give them a rating. Instead, I share the facts, offer a little of my opinion, as well as some opinions of others, and hope that will help you make an educated decision about whether that ride or attraction would be “best” for you and your family.

Future World

If you didn’t already know, Epcot is divided into two sections, Future World and the World Showcase. Future World is located in the front of the park, opens earlier than the World Showcase, and has more rides.

 

Soarin’ Around the World

Height: 40 inches
Type: Motion Simulator
Fastpass available? Yes, and highly recommended

Soarin ride in Future World at Epcot
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from the World of Disney

Soarin’ is a “gentle thrill ride,” if such a thing is possible. You sit in a vehicle that lifts you in front of a huge screen and simulates hang-gliding as you “fly” over amazing locations throughout the world while hearing an epic score. The pre-show is hosted by Seinfeld’s Patrick Warburton, which is a nice plus in my book. 🙂

This is a ride that we always enjoy a lot and often ride twice. Even Rob, who gets motion sickness very easily, said that, at worst, it makes him “a little woozy for a few minutes.”

It’s worth mentioning that a new version of this ride came out in the summer of 2016. Where Soarin’ used to “take place” only in California, it now has you flying around the world, visiting places like the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China.

We’ve seen both versions, enjoyed them both, and didn’t really analyze it too much past that. However, there are a lot of people who feel that this new “around the world” version is definitely sub-par, mostly because of the heavy use of CGI and the abrupt transitions. I suppose, now that I’m thinking about it, that I also prefer the original version.

If you didn’t have a chance to see “Soarin’ Over California,” or if you’d just like a little nostalgia, here’s a video for you:

Video: Soarin’ Over California

And if you want to compare for yourself — as least as much as you can without the entire simulator experience — here’s a video of the current version:

Video: Soarin’ Around the World

Obviously if you are afraid of heights, Soarin’ is a ride you may want to skip. But there is another factor to consider, even if you aren’t afraid of heights: Your feet are dangling in the air during the entire ride. This freaks out some people who would prefer their feet to stay on the ground, or at least a stable surface, thank you very much.

Just something to keep in mind if you’re trying to make the decision whether or not to ride.

Two Tips about Soarin’:
1) If you ask to be seated in the front row, you won’t see other people’s dangling feet during the ride;
2) Although Soarin’ does not have a single-rider line, you’ll probably get to ride faster if you’re alone, because they usually call for single riders to come forward in order to “fill holes.”

 

Test Track

FP+ available? Yes, and highly recommended (it also has a Single Rider line)
Type: Fast thrill ride
Height: 40 inches

Design a SimCar, then board a six-seat ride vehicle designed to test your car’s performance through a series of tests. The ride culminates in going around an outdoor track at the speed of 65 miles an hour.

Test Track is Benjamin’s favorite ride at Disney World. He probably likes designing the car as much as the ride itself.

Some people who hate roller coasters and drops aren’t sure what to do with Test Track. If you’re one of those people, know that Test Track is a thrill ride, not a roller coaster.

GBShorts from the Disboards hates roller coasters, but really enjoyed Test Track:

I hate rollercoasters myself, so I will tell you that there is an uphill climb test-where they drive the car UP a hill as quickly as possible.

If you don’t like the feeling of “losing” Your stomach, it might be a bit of a shock, but it’s nothing bad.

I liked the outside go fast on a bank thing-because you get the feeling of going fast (I like that) instead of the feeling of going downhill fast (don’t like that). I even put my arms up-something I have NEVER done in a ride before!!!

One last word of reassurance, this ride is connected to a “track” at all time. That is to say, you’re never freefalling/coasting. There’s something pulling or pushing you and your speed is always controlled. It seems that way, anyway.

 

Mission:Space

Fastpass available? Yes, and recommended
Type: Spinning Motion Simulator and Thrill Ride
Height: 40 inches for the Green version, 44 inches for the Orange version

Thrill ride that uses centrifugual design and standard motion to simulate being an astronaut sent on a mission to Mars. You’re given one of four “positions” on your ship, each with a job, but the “job” just consists of is pushing a button at a certain time, and it doesn’t matter whether you actually do it or not. (I almost always miss doing my “job” because I’m too busy shrieking.)

There are two versions of this ride: the original, which is now referred to as the Orange version, and the much more mild version Green version, which doesn’t use centrifugal force.

Rob rode the original ride back before there was a green version, and it made him throw up (after the ride, not during it) and feel so sick that he had to go back to the hotel and stay in bed for the rest of the day. So if you’re wondering if the Orange version is “really that bad,” the answer is: Yes. It is.

(If you’re also wondering why someone who gets motion sick during certain movies would be so stupid adventurous as to ride Mission:Space in the first place, it’s because Rob is a huge NASA/space junkie and just couldn’t resist. He said he’s do it again, too. (I don’t mean ride the ride again — thankfully, he won’t do that — but he’d “do it again” if he went back in time, even knowing how sick he’d get.)

I once rode the Green version by mistake, where once I realized that I was in the wrong line, it was too late to switch. (Yes, I know that makes me sound like a complete idiot, and no, I’m still not quite sure how it happened, since I entered the line with an Orange ticket.) The Green version, in my opinion, was very boring — but keep in mind that there is nothing I won’t ride and that I have ridden Expedition Everest 3 times in one afternoon, so I’m that kind of person.

If you’re still not sure which version is right for, JaysMom4285 from the DisBoards has a detailed description that might be helpful:

My best description is that the orange side is intense. You experience the sensation of being launched and pressed back into your seat, and then the feeling of weightlessness as you clear earth’s gravity.

And then there the landing on Mars. The cabin that you’re in is part of a large pod that hangs from a long arm attached to a spoke, and there are other pods on other arms. When the orange side of the ride starts, the pods are swung by the arms in a wide circle. You don’t feel any actual spinning motion, but it does serve to cause the pressure that pushes you back into your seat as you’re “launched.” The pod will lean backward or forward in keeping with whatever is happening.

I’ve done it and I survived, although I will admit that I was a little shaky afterwards. A fair number of people find that lends itself to motion sickness, especially if you’re already prone to that.

The best tips for riding it the first time are to do it on an empty stomach and always keep your eyes open and focused straight ahead. If you close your eyes, you have no external reference point for what your body is feeling, and it can actually make things worse …

I do prefer the green side – it’s the same ride but the pod doesn’t swing around in the circle to create pressure – it just moves backward or forward a little.

In addition to getting motion sickness, some people have reported feeling claustrophobic on Mission:Space.

I like Mission:Space, but it will never quite be the same for me now that actor Gary Sinise is no longer in the pre-show. Sniff … I miss you, Gary.

 

Living with the Land

Fastpass available? Yes, but not recommended
Type: Slow-moving boat ride
Height: Any

Living with the Land in Epcot
Photo courtesy of Brett at Disney Photo Snapper

A gentle boat ride that takes you on a tour of greenhouses and showcases the future of agriculture. It may sound horribly boring, but we liked it a lot, and Rebecca, who has always enjoyed science, was really into it.

What’s particularly fun is to ride Living with the Land and then eat at The Garden Grill upstairs. (You do need reservations.) Not only will you get to meet Chip and Dale, Mickey, and Pluto, but the restaurant slowly rotates and you get to see inside the Living with the Land ride. If you do eat there, keep an eye out for the farmhouse, which can only be seen from the restaurant, not the ride.

If you think Living with the Land is really cool and want to take it a step further (or if you just like your vacations to be as educational as possible), you might want to consider booking the one-hour Behind the Seeds Tour. It costs $25 per adult and $20 per child, and easy to book the tour on the same day. We’ve never taken this tour, but I’ve heard really good things about it. It’s apparently a very interactive tour, where you can ask questions, release ladybugs, and sample foods.

 

Spaceship Earth

Fastpass available? Yes, and recommended
Type: Slow-moving indoor ride
Height: Any

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Photo courtesy of Brett at Disney Photo Snapper

The Golf Ball Spaceship Earth is a gentle ride through various audio-animatronics scenes depicting the evolution of human communication, while Dame Judi Dench narrates. At the end, partly as a distraction to the fact that you’re unloadng, there is a screen activity you do in your car about possibilities of what the future looks like.

I’ve always been a little surprised how much my kids have really liked this ride over the years, despite the lack of singing Disney characters, spinning, or heights. I think is both due to the fact that Disney did an excellent job with the details, and that it’s easy to not give kids enough credit for not needing “cutesy” things in order to be fascinated.

There have been rumors that The Golf Ball Spaceship Earth will be closing for two years for an overhaul. As of this writing, it is nothing more than a rumor, but it seems pervasive enough to think that there is some truth behind it, and that, like the rumor about the ending of Illuminations:Reflections of Earth, it’s only a matter of time until we get a concrete confirmation.

You can read more about these rumors here.

 

Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival

Fastpass available? No
Type: 4D movie
Height: Any

Three cartoon shorts shown in The Magic Eye Theater in 3D.

No, seriously. That’s it.

Consider just watching them on YouTube before your trip (although granted, they won’t be in 3D) and crossing this off your list.

The three cartoons are:
For the Birds
Get a Horse!
La Lune

For the Birds (Pixar Short Film)

 

The Seas with Nemo and Friends

Fastpass available? Yes, but not recommended
Type: Slow-moving indoor ride
Height: Any

A ride in a “clamobile” through an aquarium with the characters from Finding Nemo. The attraction uses high-tech magic to make it seem like the animated characters are swimming with live fish. It ends with a musical finale from Animal Kingdom’s Finding Nemo the Musical. At least as good as the ride itself are the sea life exhibits you can explore after you exit the ride.

 

Turtle Talk with Crush

Fastpass available? Yes, but not recommended
Type: Interactive show
Height: Any

An interactive screen encounter where Crush, the 153-year-old surfer-dude turtle from Finding Nemo, takes questions from the audience. I haven’t been to this in a few years, but I remember it being a lot of fun, and of course the interactive nature means that every show is unique.

Questions to Ask Crush

If your kids want some ideas of what to ask Crush, here are some questions that people on the DisBoards say got a really good response:

* Do turtles know how to swim?
* How many kids do you have, and what are their names?
* Do you like sushi?
* Are you married?
* Is turtle wax made from real turtles?
* Where do you stay when you go to Disney World?
* When is your birthday?

 

Journey into Imagination with Figment

Fastpass available? Yes, but not recommended
Type: Dark ride
Height: Any

It’s six minute dark ride that takes you on a tour of the Imaginzation Institute. You’ll see optical illusions, a room that defies gravity, an other brain teasers. When you exit the ride, there is an area where kids can experiment with various things involving the senses.

In all our trips to Epcot, we have never ridden this ride. Nothing we heard about it sounded that great, and none of us are particular fans of Figment, like some people are.

This is the third version of the of this ride at Epcot. The general consensus is that the original, Journey Into Imagination was great; the second one, Journey into Your Imagination, from 1999-2001, was pretty awful; and the current version with Figment is … just okay.

Original Journey Into Imagination Ride at Epcot

 

Innoventions

Fastpass available: No
Height: None

An indoor collection of hands-on, walk-through exhibits.

Well, that’s what it used to be, anyway.

I remember in years past doing some sort of interactive game about fire safety, and different activities involving sound and light. Most recently, Sum of all Thrills, where you designed a roller coaster track and then rode it on a simulator, was really fun, as well as educational.

But unfortunately, Sum of all Thrills closed last year, and now Innoventions is, frankly, pretty sad — it’s almost become nothing more than a place to get into an air conditioned building and use the bathroom. According to Tom Bricker, the remains of Innoventions is expected to permanently close some time in 2019, and eventually be replaced with a garden area inspired by the Gardens of Imagination at Shanghai Disneyland.

However, until that happens, you can enjoy the one exhibit still left at Innoventions, which is Colortopia, sponsored by Glidden paint.

ColorTopia at Innoventions in Epcot
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from the World of Disney

This exhibit has three sections. The “Power of Color Theater” explores the psychology of color. “The Color Lab” has two interactive stations: Color Mix ‘n Match and Spinning Spectrums. “Color our World” gives you a magic paint brush and allows you to paint on an interactive mural.

I haven’t really heard anyone raving about this one, but it sounds somewhat interesting if you have time to spare and want to get out of the heat.

 

World Showcase

Epcot’s World Showcase (which doesn’t open until 11:00am is more about walking around and taking in culture (and eating) than it is about going on a bunch of rides. However, there are several attractions, and two of them are bona fide rides.

In full disclosure, I have to confess that we never seen any of the World Showcase films. What makes that particularly amazing is that we homeschooled our kids for a decade. You’d think we would have seen something in the name of education, but nope … we’re the type of family who would rather spend our time at Disney World riding Test Track twice instead of sitting through a film. And there’s never enough time at Disney, it seems, to do everything you want to do.

 

The American Adventure

Fastpass available: No
Type: Indoor animatronic show
Height: Any

A 30-minute indoor, animatronic stage show featuring some key moments in American history. The Voices of Liberty singers perform in the lobby and are fantastic, as you can see from this video below:

Frozen’s “Let it Go” performed by Voices of Liberty in Epcot

I’ve always heard overwhelming praise for this show [she said as she hung her head in shame for never taking her family to see it].

The two negatives I’m heard are:
1) It’s too young for small children (and certain adults).
2) It’s a sanitized version of American history. (Which I think is kind of silly. This is Disney World. What kind of film are you expecting to see?)

Goofyernmost on the DisBoards had this to say:

American Adventure is a beautifully done show of slides, movies and anamatronics. It depict American History as much as a short presentation can. If you are a US citizen it will leave you a little verclempt. (sp?) Some criticize the historic accuracy of the past, I can only tell you that the part that I have lived through is pretty accurate. If you tell the little ones that the show is acted out by “robots” it might activate their attention a little. :rotfl:

Absolutely worth seeing at least once. I am amazed at how many have gone to Epcot and, in some cases, didn’t even know it was there. Put it on your list…I will go out on a limb here and say that I think you will be glad you did.

 

Frozen Ever After
Fastpass available? Yes, and highly recommended
Type: Slow-maving, dark boat ride
Height: Any

Frozen Ever After in Epcot
Photo courtesy of Brett from Disney Photo Snapper

A boat ride in the Norway pavilion featuring characters from Frozen, with audio animatronics figures and fun songs. If you’ve been to Epcot in years past, this ride replaced the Maelstrom in 2014 and uses the same ride system, so the actual ride experience is the same.

Lines for Frozen Ever After can easily be 90 minutes or longer, so I would highly recommend getting a Fastpass reservation for it if at possible. Combining that with hitting Soarin’ as soon as you enter the park and using the single rider line for Test Track is a very efficient Epcot ride strategy.

If you can’t get a Fastpass or aren’t convinced you want to use it on this ride, you might want to consider skipping it and going to the Frozen Sing-a-Long Celebration in Hollywood Studios instead.

Frozen Ever After Sign Pics from the World of Disney
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from the World of Disney

 

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

Fastpass available: No
Type: Dark boat ride
Height: Any

A boat ride where the members of the Three Caballeros search for Donald Duck against the backdrop of Mexican culture The story is essentially a Three Caballeros concert gone awry.

This is probably the most underrated — or least forgotten — ride in all of Disney World. A lot of people don’t even know it exists, and the wait is virtually non-existent.

By the way, if you’re like I was and wondering who the heck the Three Caballeros even are, you can check them out below:

Video — The Three Caballeros

 

Impressions de France

Fastpass available: No
Type: Widescreen film
Height: Any

An 18-minute wide-format film highlighting the culture and natural beauty of France. Both the visuals and the musical score are stunning.

Disney photographer and blogger Tom Bricker describes it this way:

Impressions de France is the gold standard against which all over theme park travelogues should be judged. The impressionistic vignettes it provides of a culture and beautiful nation stick with the viewer, and the incredible detail in each scene gives the film infinite re-watchability.

 

O Canada

Fastpass available: No
Type: 360-degree film
Height: Any

A 14-minute, 360-degree film narrated by Martin Short. There is often a Canadian trivia quiz outside the theater, so study up beforehand. (Hints: The capital of Canada is Ottawa, and the $1 coin is nicknamed the Loonie, after the bird engraved on it.)

This is considered the most entertaining, but least educational, film in the World Showcase. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s a good or a bad thing.

 

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure

Fastpass available? No
Type: Handheld scavenger hunt
Height: Any

A handheld scavenger hunt through a single country in the World Showcase on your phone.

Okay, I’m not sure what this says about me, but I enjoy these scavenger hunts at least as much as the kids, if not more. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it if I was at Epcot by myself.

One of the neat things about them is that is gets you to explore and notice details about the World Showcase that I, at least, otherwise wouldn’t. And it’s done in a very clever way. I remember the United Kingdom hunt requires a specific interaction with a cast member that was fun, and the one in Germany has some neat visual effects.

Tip: If it’s raining, do the Mexico adventure, which is indoors. With any luck, the rain will be over by the time you’re finished.

 

Reflections of China

Fastpass available? No
Type: 360-degree film
Height: Any

China Pavillion in Disney's Epcot
Epcot’s China Pavilion
Photo Courtesy of Brett at Disney Photo Snapper

A 14-minute, 360-degree film that takes you on a tour of China. The Tomb Warriors room nearby is an interesting place to explore while you wait for the film to begin.

 

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

Fastpass available? Yes, but not recommended
Type: Nighttime fireworks and light show
Height: Any

Epcot’s nightly fireworks and laser show over the World Showcase lagoon. You can get a Fastpass, which will put you in a special seating area between the tower gift shops at the World Showcase, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless either it is very crowded (say, New Year’s Eve) or you just happen to be able to snag a Fastpass at the end of the day.

According to the Disney Tourist Blog, IllumiNations will be ending at the end of Summer 2019, to be immediately replaced by an interim show called “Epcot Forever” before a permanent nighttime show debuts in Summer 2020.

 

Rides Coming to Epcot in 2020 and 2021

As you tell from this post, Epcot is on the brink of a bunch of big changes, between Illuminations and Innoventions closing later this year and the rumors about Spaceship Earth closing for a 2-year refurbishment.

In addition, there are two new rides that will be opening in the next couple, and both of them sound pretty cool:

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure — Based on the popular ride in Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, this ride in the France pavilion will whisk around the kitchen making dinner in your “ratmobile.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Coaster — Scheduled to open in Future World in 2021, this will be one of the world’s longest enclosed roller coasters.

 

Now it’s your turn
What are your experiences at Epcot? Do you have any favorite rides, or tips and tricks? Let us know below in the comments!

Is Spaceship Earth a roller coaster? Should I get a Fastpass for Soarin’ or Test Track? Is Mission Space scary? What is Soarin Around the World? What is the best ride at Epcot, and what Epcot rides should I skip? Find the answer to these more in this complete guide to every Epcot park ride and attraction!

Is Frozen Ever After worth it? What rides should I Fastpass at Epcot? When is Ratatouille opening in Epcot? Is Spaceship Earth closed? What Epcot rides could I skip? Find out everything you need to know in this guide to the best Epcot rides and attractions
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