I am so excited to write this. Dark rides are my favourite kind of attractions within Walt Disney World.
I will board a dark ride over a rollercoaster any day, I love to take in the scenes, animation, sounds and the creative environment. I love to feel fully immersed in the theme and transported to that place, whether I am diving under the sea with The Little Mermaid or boarding a ship visiting the Pirates of the Caribbean.
So in this post I am going to list my top 10 favourite dark rides across the four Disney parks in Orlando.
10. Na’vi River Journey – Navi River Journey opening in May 2017, we managed to bag a fast pass on our September 2017 trip, I was not impressed. I felt that all the reviews were disappointing compared to Flight of Passage and I was disappointed too. But you need to remember they are two completely different styles of rides. On our trip in September 2018 we rode it again, if you take it for what it is, a slow moving boat ride with that shows off native animals of Pandora, bioluminescent plants and the most realistic animatronic creature I have ever seen it is actually pretty incredible, the calming music and great scenes make it one of my top 10 favourite rides on Disney property. The detail within this attraction and the land are incredible, the Imagineering is the greatest on property. Fact. Ride this when you go, take it for what it is and you will be impressed too.
9. Pirate of the Caribbean – This used to be one of my favourite ride in Walt Disney World, but since boarding the Shanghai version of Pirates of the Caribbean, it is absolutely no contest as to which is better, when I ride the Orlando version it makes me think why can’t I be back in Shanghai riding that attraction. While it has fallen down my list of favourites it is still a classic, the rides were built in Disney World and Disneyland before the films were even made. On this boat ride you find yourself in a world of Piracy and singing along to ‘Yo ho, a Pirates life for me’. Sailing through two battle ships and swash buckling Pirates fighting, this ride fully immerses you in the pirate life.
8. Journey in the Imagination with Figment – A slow moving dark ride that invites you to discover your senses with Figment in the Imagination institute. Sam and I love to sing along and be silly in this one. Figment causes all sorts of mayhem within the Institute meaning the experiment comes to and end and we are all invited along to Figments house. While it is silly it is great. Extremely underrated and ranges from a 5-10 minute wait daily.
7. Living With the Land – This slow moving boat ride is described and edu-tainment, as is all of EPCOT. Upon boarding this boat, guests cruise though multimedia agricultural displays and the four working greenhouses within The Land Pavilion. The ride teaches you how to look after your land, how plants and crops adapt to survives in their environments and show you how many of the grown fruits, vegetables and fish are looked after and used within restaurants of Walt Disney World. The Land also shows different methods of growing crops and how to get the best yield from that crop, such as growing things upside down, or find alternatives to pesticides and inviting in good pests to eat the bad pests. While it might sound boring, I promise you it is not. There is also a chance to have a further look at the Pavilion with the Behind the Seeds Tour which costs $22 per person and lasts 20 minutes.
6. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Another simple and basic dark ride thats tells the story of Winnie the Pooh, I love this because after riding the versions in Hong Kong and Shanghai, they are all the same, you don’t need to speak the language to understand, they tell the same story. Pooh wakes on a blustery and windy day and wants to find his honey. The heffalumps and woozles scenes differ in each version. Another ride to sing along and forget that you are an adult.
5.Voyage of the Little Mermaid – I picked this ride because of Sam, he and I enjoy the music, we love singing along to the songs from The Little Mermaid. The scenes are fun and colourful, this is an attraction we do a couple of times a day on our Magic Kingdom days. While is it basic in the technology used, Ariel is a fan favourite Princess. Eric’s castle is the perfect setting for this ride.
4.The Seas With Nemo and Friends – Whilst this is not the most innovative or expensive attraction ever made, the concept is simple and effective. On this you board a moving clam and hunt for Nemo and meeting all his friends along the way. The scenes are extremely cute, set within a real aquarium then the characters projected on to the glass. The music on the attraction is from the show Finding Nemo the Musical.
3. Toy Story Mania – Ahh so much freeking fun!!!! Shooting and blasting 4D moving targets round a course featuring the whole gang. There are 5 interactive games within the attraction, my favourite is throwing the hoops over the aliens, I love those little ooo’s. Never do I ever win, but that’s not the point, it is just so fun it does not matter who wins. Since the opening of Toy Story Land the standby line for the attraction has dropped considerably. What used to be 60-75 minutes waits on a normal day, now range from 20-35 minute waits. My advice would be to bag a Slinky Dog Dash fast pass and then wait out the queue for Midway Mania.
2. Spaceship Earth – In the giant golf ball within EPCOT, lives Spaceship Earth. On Spaceship Earth you board your own time machine and travel through time, visiting times such as the Stone Age and The Renaissance, then mile stones though time, such as the moon landing and in the invention of the alphabet. The ride lasts around 15 minutes, it also has interactive elements where the time machine will create your future on screen. There are hidden Mickey’s a plenty on this attraction too. The best time to ride is around lunch time or evening when the crowds and wait times will be lower. To think they fit the whole attraction within this ball is a little crazy.
1. The Haunted Mansion – my favourite dark ride in the whole of Disney World. The Haunted Mansion is the ultimate dark ride. The queue is extremely interactive as you walk through, talking head stones and plenty of graves within the graveyard to look at. The cast members who work here are among my favourite cast members on property, they immerse themselves in to character. During Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party they put on face paint and act more eery than normal. The theming within the attraction is great, I love to ride this multiple times on a trip because every time I discover something new within the rooms and hallways. The music and voiceovers fit the theme as does the exiting hallway. A number one ride for me that needs to be visited multiple times on one trip.
What’s your favourite dark ride in Walt Disney World? What do you like about it? Do you think I have missed something off the list? Let me know in the comments.