When you think of top Walt Disney World attractions, you probably think Space Mountain, Soarin’, or the Haunted Mansion. Even when it comes to those lessor attractions, you probably have It’s a Small World and Buzz Lightyear at the top of your list, attractions that speak to a wide range of guests. But what about those attractions that you love but would never make anyone’s top ten list? What about the ones that you walk into and it’s like seeing an old friend, like they’ve become a part of your personal history? I’ve got a handful of those attractions that I love and I bet you do too.
5. The Boneyard.
As underrated attractions goes, the Boneyard suffers on two fronts: 1) It’s in a park that a lot of guests don’t even visit; and 2) It’s an attraction that you walk past on your way to bigger and better things. That’s too bad, because this play area is basically the best playground you’ll ever set foot in, with plenty of places to dig in, climb over and run across. For kids, the Boneyard offers an opportunity to run around rather than standing in lines. Adults can find a cool area to supervise–there’s only one way in, so kids can’t get too far. Visit the Boneyard late in the day because it will be difficult to get your kids out of here.
4. Gran Fiesta Tour Staring the Three Caballeros.
The Gran Fiesta Tour was the first attraction my younger twins really fell in love with, in part because they loved the fantastically politically incorrect movie, The Three Cabelleros, upon which this attraction is based. Loud, bright and unsophisticated, it’s like It’s a Small World set only in Mexico with catchier theme song. As a bonus, it gets you into the unassuming Mexican pavilion, an attraction which itself is easily overlooked. I love walking into the cool, dark town square and shopping a bit before we ride. Adults can even buy a margarita before they tour.
3. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.
Guests don’t go to Hollywood Studios because they want to see this show; they see this show because they happen to be in Hollywood Studios and they walked past the venue on their way to Tower of Terror. What they get is a huge surprise, of course. Live singing, great costumes, and Broadway caliber performances. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage is a hidden gem and a must do every trip. Even if you have little boys who “strongly object” to princesses, make the effort to see this show. It’s some of the best that Walt Disney World has to offer.
2. Tom Sawyer Island.
I love Tom Sawyer Island for the same reason that I love the Boneyard: Because kids can really burn off some excess energy. This tree-filled island, complete with a fort, trails, rope bridges, and caves, is a sweetly low-tech spot in the middle of what can seem like complete entertainment over saturation, the Magic Kingdom. Many guests overlook this attraction but that’s to your advantage. Head over on hot crowded days and enjoy your own little oasis.
1. Carousel of Progress. Nestled in one corner of Tomorrowland, Walt’s last attraction is a completely retro tour of one’s family’s journey through the last 100 years. Some might call it corny, but that’s part of its charm. How many times have you walked into Carousel of Progress on a hot day and sank into the coolness of the theater and completely relaxed? Okay, maybe you napped. That’s alright too. But I bet you’ve watched it enough times that you can recite many of the lines. Carousel of Progress is a tradition in our family–it’s always the last ride of our trip–and you don’t buck tradition.
I’d love to hear about your old favorites too. What attractions to you always visit even though they’re not E-ticket rides?