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Avatar: Flight of Passage

Attractions That Really Put You IN the Story at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney was a storyteller, and that is what is different about the parks that bear his name. Instead of being just a group of rides, at Walt Disney World you will find stories that come to life. Almost any attraction at Walt Disney World could make a list like this one. That is because rides at Walt Disney World are supposed to be immersive experiences. At Disney you do blast off to Mars or fly on the back of an elephant. Here are some of the best rides that really put you in the story. They are various thrill levels, so there is something for everyone here.

 

7. Peter Pan’s Flight, Magic Kingdom

One of the most popular rides at the Magic Kingdom is Peter Pan’s Flight. FastPass+ usually goes quickly, but don’t worry if you don’t have one. The queue will take you through the Darling house, which will draw you into the story. This is a great place to pull out the Play Disney Parks App, because it will enhance your experience. The ride itself is simple, you’ll climb into a pirate ship and fly over first London and then Neverland. You’ll soar above several scenes from the classic movie. Peter Pan’s Flight is perfect for the whole family. It may not be high on the thrill scale, but it is still a must-do.

6. DINOSAUR, Disney’s Animal Kingdom

If you want to travel back in time as well as be part of a story, then DINOSAUR is the ride for you! It’s based on the 2000 movie of the same name. In the queue you’ll learn from Bill Nye the Science Guy. After a short film you’ll get into a time rover and head back millions of years. You’re searching for an iguanodon, but you’ll encounter several other dinosaurs along the way. Will you be successful in your search, or will you end up staying with the dinosaurs forever? DINOSAUR is a bumpy ride, and it can be intense for children.

5. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror doesn’t take you into an old episode of “The Twilight Zone”. Instead, it is a new story in and of itself. Becoming part of the story begins long before you get in line, in fact, you don’t even have to be in the park. You can see the creepy Hollywood Tower Hotel from other places on Disney property. The preshow is especially important with this attraction, because that is where you learn the story of a fateful night when five guests disappeared. The preshow is so authentic that they used Rod’s Sterling’s voice for it, with the permission of his estate. You’ll eventually end up in the same elevator that the five guests were in when they disappeared. It’s all “down”-hill from there.

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4. Frozen Ever After, EPCOT

For years guests learned about Norway at EPCOT on Maelstrom. The ride featured, among other things, polar bears, trolls, and a waterfall. Maelstrom closed in 2014, and Frozen Ever After replaced it less than two years later. The ride track and the boats are the same, but that is where the similarities end. Maelstrom was a bit on the scary side for some children (and adults), but the same can’t be said for Frozen Ever After. You’ll head into Arendelle for an “Official Summer Snow Day”. The ride features audio-animatronics of all your favorite characters, and songs from “Frozen” are featured. There’s still the small waterfall that scared so many on Maelstrom, but somehow it doesn’t seem quite as bad when you have a Snow Queen watching over you.

3. Enchanted Tales with Belle, Magic Kingdom

If you want to really be IN the story, Enchanted Tales with Belle is an attraction that you will want to experience. It was created with the whole family in mind. You’ll start by entering Maurice’s Cottage, which is filled with details that any “Beauty and the Beast” fan will love. From there you’ll stare deep into a magic mirror, and that’s when you’ll literally become part of the story. Guests are chosen to portray the various characters, including the Beast. If you have shy little ones don’t worry, no one is forced to participate. Those who aren’t part of the story will watch, as the rest act it out. This tale as old as time is charming for all ages.

2. Avatar Flight of Passage, Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Your ride on the back of a banshee starts long before you reach your ride vehicle. The queue is immersive, and with each step you are a little bit deeper into the story. The line is amazing, especially if you don’t have FastPass+ and need to go through the standby line. With many attractions, it’s easy to ignore the preshow (even though you shouldn’t), but with Flight of Passage it’s an important part of the ride. Once you are linked and the actual ride has started, you will truly feel like you are flying! The experience is so realistic that you can feel your banshee breathing. There is a reason why Flight of Passage has long lines throughout the day. The ride is that good.

First Order Stormtroopers. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Photo: Disney)

1. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is meant to pick you up and drop you in the middle of a galaxy far, far away. You aren’t in a theme park, you are walking the streets of Black Spire Outpost. There are two “attractions” within the land, but the entire area is really the attraction. You are supposed to live out your own “Star Wars” story the moment you enter. You can eat or drink like a local, browse the shops, and interact with the Batuuans. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run allows you to fly the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, which is something that many people have dreamed about for over four decades. The best place to feel you’re in the story, though, is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. When the door of the captured shuttle opens and you see the line of Stormtroopers standing on the Star Destroyer; it’s indescribable. You don’t have to know much about “Star Wars” to be impressed.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.