Today we are going to take a look at some attractions which we feel don’t always get the love they deserve. While all of these attractions definitely have their fan bases, it seems the typical “once in a lifetime” park guests often either skip past them, or don’t even know they exist! Pretty much all the items on this list can be experienced with little to no waits, even on busier days. This makes them great options for when crowds seem a bit out of control!
So let’s get to it! Here is a look at 11 underrated attractions around Walt Disney World! Note: Unlike our typical “Top 11” lists, these items are in no particular order.
Main Street Entertainment
Way too many folks are in such a rush to get to their first ride upon entering Magic Kingdom. It seems many of them fail to appreciate the greatness that is Main Street USA. Not only is it charming to look at, it has some pretty great entertainment offerings as well, most of which aren’t even on many folks radar.
In additions to the Main Street Philharmonic and the Trolley Show pictured above, you can also catch a performance from the Dapper Dans or the Casey’s Corner pianist, go for a ride in on one of the Main Street Vehicles, or watch the moving Flag Retreat each afternoon. All of these experiences are quintessential Magic Kingdom and we are sure to make time for them each trip!
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress has has a few homes over its long lifetime. The attraction was originally designed for the 1964 World’s Fair. In 1967 it was moved to Disneyland where it ran for 6 years. In 1973, it was moved again to the Magic Kingdom where it still operates today!
The attraction offers a fascinating look at how everyday life changed over the span of the start of of the 20th century, up though the 1940s. The last scene jumps to the present, and is in dire need of a refresh. Everything about it is quite dated at this point.
Still, this doesn’t take much away from the overall experience. It’s very interesting, has a catchy song and is also 30 minutes which can be spent sitting in air conditioning on a hot day! A must do every trip for us! The attraction pretty much never fills to capacity.
Country Bear Jamboree
We’ve gone into our love of Country Bear Jamboree quite a bit already on this blog. Its a classic experience that personifies everything we love about Walt Disney World.
For a full look at the entire experience, check out our Country Bears tribute here!
The attraction rarely fills up and can be experienced with little to no wait on even the busiest days of the year! If that’s not underrated, I don’t know what is!
Enchanted Tiki Room
Similar in theory to Country Bear Jamboree, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room replaces singing bears with singing birds, plants and totems.
The show features a classic soundtrack featuring timeless songs, incorporates lots of fun visuals and is almost always a walk on. The original version of the show was replaced by an “Under New Management” overlay from 1998 – 2011. It featured Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from The Lion King, and it was terrible. Luckily the original version returned (albeit a shortened version) following a 2011 fire which destroyed the IP animatronics.
Living With The Land
We previously took an in depth look at Living With The Land in this post here! In that post (which featured the holiday overlay), we said that not only was the ride underrated, but that it was one of our favorite rides in all of Walt Disney World.
The ride is almost like 2 in 1. The first half is a relaxing dark ride through the various ecosystems of our planet, while the second is a fascinating tour of The Land pavilion’s green houses and fish farm.
The end result is a lengthy attraction that is one of the last surviving edutainment experiences of classic Epcot!
Living With the Land can develop a decent wait on busier days, however it is one of the easiest fast passes to get even on the day of. Chances are, if you use your 3rd fastpass on Soarin’, you will be able to grab a 4th fastpass right away for LWTL. Most likely your return time will be ready to go as soon as you are finished with your “flight”.
Impressions De France
Located in the France pavilion of World Showcase, Impressions De France is the best film based attraction in Epcot. I know its going to be crazy controversial, but I am including Soarin’ in the statement!
The film is full of breathtaking visuals, has a perfect musical score and offers a wonderful look at various French cultures!
Beginning in 2020, the film will alternate showings with a new Beauty and the Beast Sing-A-Long. Seeing these 2 shows back to back could be a nice option for a long mid-day break without having to leave the park!
Grand Fiesta Tour… Starring The Three Caballeros
Grand Fiesta Tour is a slow moving boat ride within the indoor portion of the Mexico Pavilion. The attraction features a look at Mexican culture through set pieces, screens and “Small World” type dolls. Its a fairly short ride, but is extremely pleasant and rarely has a wait over 5 minutes.
There isn’t a ton of advertising for the ride, just the painting on the facade as seen in the photo below. If you are dining at San Angel Inn, you will see the boats floating by in front of the Aztec temple as you eat.
We previously posted a full in depth look at the ride here. As we said in that post, any time we get more of The Three Caballeros in the parks, its a good thing!
Muppet Vision 3D
I’ve made it clear on this blog in the past that I view the Muppets as nothing short of a national treasure! Even with the new(ish) Great Moments in History show at MK, I think the Muppets are tremendously underused in the Disney parks!
One place you can find them, is at Hollywood Studio’s Muppet Vision 3D. What could be a commonplace 3D film attraction, is raised to the next level thanks to the Muppet’s trademark humor. The film is hilarious and holds up to this day! After all, where else can you see a show with a glorious 3 hour finale?
In addition to the film aspect, other highlights include the penguin orchestra, the Swedish chef in the control room, and of course Statler and Waldorf (they are there because the entered a contest… and lost).
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Unlike many of the attractions on this list, the Frozen Sing-Along is fairly popular. The theater regularly fills to mostly full, but its still really easy to see. When it first debuted during the initial Frozen frenzy at WDW, this was actually a must get fastpass. Its since been relocated to the much larger Hyperion Theater where you can usually grab a last minute seat for any showtime.
The reason why we consider this attraction to be underrated is not so much due to lack of popularity, but because adults are likely to enjoy it way more than they may think they will. The Historians who host the show are consistently funny and they seem to ad lib enough where you don’t always see the same jokes each time.
While the film sing-along portions are what they are, the rest of the showtime filled by the live cast make this a more than worth while experience, especially in a park short on things to do.
This may sound like an odd choice, but I absolutely believe its true. Kilimanjaro Safaris gets plenty of love (deservedly so), but there are so many other great animal viewing opportunities around the park that are seemingly overlooked.
Both the Marharajah Jungle Trek and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail are excellent walk through attractions. While they both see plenty of traffic, many folks just cruise right through them without taking the time to really appreciate it. (The exception to this is people hogging a spot along the glass where there is a great close of view of a gorilla, tiger, etc…)
Then there are the Gibbon’s located right outside of Kali River Rapids. I could watch these guys all day, and fully plan on giving them their own post a some point!
Lastly, there is the Oasis, as well as Discovery Island Trails. When entering Animal Kingdom, it seems like 75% of the people just blow past the initial Oasis area right up to the tree of life. Similarly, I have walked the Discovery Island Trails many times and had them mostly to myself. Both of these areas offer beautiful, lush environments which are homes to some of the best animals in the park (shout out to the kangaroos and otters).
Outside the Parks:
Transportation (Monorail / Boats)
While it may not be considered and attraction by many, there are various forms of transportation around Walt Disney World which we enjoy as much as any ride in the parks. Taking a relaxing evening boat ride around Bay or Crescent Lakes, or even a Monorail ride from Magic Kingdom to Epcot and back are all great experiences.
In addition to the options listed above, later this year we will see the debut of the Disney Skyliner system which will add another unique way to travel to many locations around the resort! It’s things like this that help make Walt Disney World one of the top vacation spots in all the world!
Up until recently, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People mover would have been near the top of this list. The 10 minute experience is an absolute joy, providing both great views of Tomorrowland and Cinderella Castle, as well as a bunch of cool dark portions with views inside the rides and shops.
The reason I left it off this list is that the ride has gained quite a bit of popularity the past year or so. It probably speaks more to the overall crowd increases of WDW in general, but it is normal these days to see the Peoplemover queue backed way up even beyond its typical extended area. This means that the ride which was previously a consistent walk on experience now sees waits of up to 20 minutes on busier days.
Still, there will be plenty of times where there is little to no wait to ride so be sure to jump on that whenever the opertunity presents itself!
Well, that will do it for our list of the most underrated attractions. We want to hear your thoughts on this subject in the comments below… What do you thing are the most overlooked attractions at Walt Disney World?