Nine Rides You’ll Only Find at Walt Disney World

I recently wrote about all the unique attractions you’ll find at Disneyland. That conversation goes both ways, though!

Walt Disney World hosts its own batch of attractions you won’t find anywhere else! Here are nine of the best ones!

THAT

Photo: Disney

DINOSAUR

I’ve got two cheats on this list, mainly because I love the attractions. In the case of DINOSAUR, I previously mentioned its fraternal twin.

Yes, Disneyland hosts Indiana Jones Adventure. Meanwhile, Disney’s Animal Kingdom operates a ride themed to a movie nobody remembers.

AnimalKingdom

Photo: DVC

Still, DINOSAUR, the attraction, matches Indiana Jones Adventure in quality.

I’d go so far as to say that it’s superior, and I’m arguing that as someone who has Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in my top 20 movies ever.

Indiana Jones Adventure

Photo: Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG

Conversely, my review of Dinosaur, the Disney movie, gave it a C-. So, I shouldn’t like the ride as much as I do.

On DINOSAUR, you travel back in time to the final day of the dinosaurs. They don’t know that a comet is about to eradicate their species.

dinosaur

Photo: Disney

You do, though. So, your search to track down and capture one of these creatures before the explosion proves thrilling and potentially deadly.

Imagineers built a narrow escape into the design, and I still mark out for that final line of “We’re not gonna make it…” all these years later.

Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest

Sure, the Happiest Place on Earth comes with an encounter with the Matterhorn and its main inhabitant, the Yeti.

However, this sledding coaster veers wildly in nature from the one at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

rides at night

Photo: Disney

When you ride Expedition Everest, you travel to the Forbidden Mountain on what seems like an ordinary train ride.

Then, your trip goes VERY wrong, causing you to zoom back into the dark abyss of an unknown cave.

Disney early entry attractions

Image Credit: Disney

The resident here despises your disruptive presence and isn’t above taking a swat at you.

Expedition Everest somehow marries classic Disney theme park history with modern ride elements to create a roller coaster masterpiece.

Expedition Everest

Photo: bestoforlando.com

Frozen Ever After

Theming matters at Disney. It’s the secret sauce that has turned the company into the industry standard for theme park entertainment.

Nowhere is that facet on display more than with Frozen Ever After, an attraction that turns the fictional country of Arendelle into a real place.

Disney Genie pricing

Credit: Disney

You’ll board a distinctively Norse boat and head into a magical realm.

Frozen Ever After retells the highlights of the classic Disney story about one sister’s struggle to find self-acceptance.

Disney attractions open

Image Credit: Disney

This ride doesn’t technically follow Frozen’s trajectory. However, it still provides a full theatrical representation of the classic song, Let It Go.

You enter Elsa’s ice palace and watch her belt out her favorite song. I don’t think Disney has done anything better lately in terms of ride structure.

Frozen Ever After

Photo: Disney

The first half of the ride builds to the song. Then, after it’s over, you quickly move to a big finish involving a wet ride splash.

Disney almost has a tongue-in-cheek approach to this presentation. It’s like, “Okay, you’ve heard the song. now get out!”

Olaf

Image Credit: Disney

I’m in love with all of it and consider Frozen Ever After one of the best Disney ride exclusives on the planet.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Okay, here’s the newest entry on the list, but it’s a worthy entry nonetheless. A few years ago, EPCOT officials chose a bold, new path.

Ellen's Energy Adventure at Universe of Energy

Disney left the olden days of Future World in the past when it ended Ellen’s Energy Adventure, a ride that had existed in some form since 1982.

The replacement ditched edutainment completely…and the real world as well. Instead, Disney built the Wonders of Xandar pavilion, a celebration of a fictional alien world.

Wonders of Xandar

Photo: Pointguy.com

The signature attraction here is Cosmic Rewind, a storytelling roller coaster that somehow feels like the modern update of Space Mountain.

You’ll still experience some sensory deprivation during your thrill ride, but you’ll also listen to great music and watch the occasional digital display.

This attraction exemplifies modern Imagineering. It’s a hallmark achievement in theme park design, and you should ride it asap!

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Before Disneyland had even opened, Walt Disney expressed dismay that his Imagineers failed in one area. They couldn’t add real animals on Jungle Cruise.

Disneyland Jungle Cruise

Photo: Disney

Disney’s loyal disciples don’t take failure well. So, when the opportunity presented itself four decades later, Disney built Kilimanjaro Safaris.

This jeep ride through the unknown provides a different experience each time. I say this because live animals populate the ride track.

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Photo: Disney

You’re driving through their homes, and they take as much curiosity in your presence as you do theirs. Who’s watching who?

I don’t know, but Kilimanjaro Safaris signifies the pinnacle of Disney theme park boldness and ambition.

Kilimanjaro Safari at night

Photo: Disney

Slinky Dog Dash

Remember all those shows you watched and games you played as a child that tried to make learning fun? How many of them actually did?

That’s why Disney acted boldly in building an entire roller coaster with this premise.

Slinky Dog Dash

Photo: TheCoasterKings.com

The conceit of Slinky Dog Dash is that Andy has won a miniature construction set at Pizza Planet.

Like most children, he has taken creative license in building the thing. As a result, it’s partially incomplete and includes “enhancements” that weren’t in the retail box.

Photo: Disney

When you enter Toy Story Land, you shrink down to the size of a toy. So, by the time you board Slinky Dog Dash, you’re in immediate peril.

You’re a living being on a roller coaster that wouldn’t pass any safety test on the planet. But you do get to learn about physics thanks to the magic of the slinky.

Toy story land

Image Credit: Disney

The stretches and contractions of Slinky Dog Dash come with a legitimate wow factor. It’s quite possibly Disney’s best edutainment ride since…

Spaceship Earth

You simply cannot discuss exclusive Walt Disney World attractions without including the alpha, Spaceship Earth.

Closing Times

Photo: Disney

This signature attraction defines the entire landscape of EPCOT, as its giant silver golf call dominates the skyline.

When you fly into Orlando, you can spot Spaceship Earth while still on the plane! It’s that noticeable of a landmark!

As for the ride itself, you follow the entire trajectory of human civilization, starting with hunters working together for the first time.

The story continues all the way through the invention of the personal computer and the internet.

Spaceship Earth

Photo: D23

So, Disney meshes millennia of facts into a dozen high points from human history. As far as edutainment goes, this one’s a spoonful of sugar.

More importantly, the structure itself exemplifies the greatness of Disney Imagineering.

EPCOT Tweens

Photo: Disney

Who else would dare to do such a thing as build a giant geodesic sphere in the sky?

test track

Like DINOSAUR, this inclusion comes with an asterisk. Disney employs this ride technology on three different attractions.

The most popular of them is probably Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California.

Meanwhile, guests at Tokyo DisneySea rave about Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Still, I have a fondness for Test Track, which provides the most unique implementation of this design.

Test Track Epcot

Photo: Disney

Guests board a test vehicle and learn what it’s like to be a crash test dummy. The car takes you through several scenarios, all of which make you feel like you could die.

Luckily, you survive the ordeal. So, your reward is an open-air roller coaster experience that will take your breath away. It’s glorious.

test track

Image Credit: Disney

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover

Magic Kingdom wasn’t always the exclusive home of a PeopleMover. For example, Disneyland once hosted its own version of the beloved attraction.

Sadly, park officials felt the need to reboot Tomorrowland with a new showcase attraction. So, the PeopleMover died so that Rocket Rods could live.

Photo Credit: Yesterland.com

That…didn’t last long. Rocket Rods is famously one of the worst Disney attractions ever, one that literally shook the foundations of Tomorrowland.

Disneyland closed its regrettable reboot, but Magic Kingdom still hosts the best PeopleMover, the one with the scale model of Progress City.

Disney historians love the PeopleMover for what it represents. Everyone else appreciates it for giving their aching feet a rest during a hectic park day.

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Feature Credit: Disney

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