Top 8 Amazing Special Effects In The Walt Disney World Park

While faith, trust and pixie dust can do some pretty serious magic, sometimes Disney needs a little something extra. This is where special effects come in. Since basically everything Disney does is theatrical, effects are all over the rides, shows and attractions. As Disney enthusiasts, we’ve come to simply expect amazing effects and details, but they should not be overlooked.

8. Sweetums

“Hey Sweetums, great effect!” –Fozzie. Okay, okay, this one is a joke. But everyone needs a little Muppets in their day. The 3D in Muppet Vision may be outdated and filled with “cheap 3D tricks!” there are so many great 3D attractions that are amaze worthy. Star Tours, Philharmagic, Toy Story Mania and more have amazing 3D effects that don’t result in “uh…minor damage!”

7. Maurice’s Workshop

Have you ever wanted to visit Belle’s house or Beast’s castle? Well you can thanks to the new Fantasyland addition! This attraction usually has a pretty long wait, which is something that I’m definitely not amazed by. But the magic is worth it! After exploring Maurice’s workshop, guests are drawn to a magic mirror that transforms into a passageway to the castle. Here, Belle comes out and tells her story with the help of an extremely realistic Lumiere.

6. Hitchhiking Ghosts

…unless of course you want to be the 1,000 resident at the Haunted Mansion. While the entire ride is super fun, what amazes me comes at the very, very end. Before exiting the ride, some hitchhiking ghosts want to mess around and cause trouble. I think this technology is amazing. Looking into a mirror, guests will notice that there are more than just two passengers in the doom buggy. A silly ghost will sit on top with his legs dangling, cram in-between you and your co-passenger or even take both of your heads and switch them! I’m not totally sure how they do it, but it’s still cool and creepy!

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5. Happily Ever After and Once Upon A Time

Happily Ever After and Once Upon A Time run nightly at Magic Kingdom with the exception of special ticketed events. Happily Ever After is an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to fantastic music and awesome projections on Cinderella Castle. Just try to count all the clips of Disney films you’ll see! Disney Imagineers took things one step further with Once Upon A Time, a beautiful display of high-tech projection on the Cinderella Castle. Who knew the Cinderella Castle would be such an incredible canvas!

4. Crush

Duuuuuude!! Doesn’t Crush totally rock, dude? Imagine having to talk like that all day. Crush hangs ten in the lower level of The Seas and always draws a crowd. The technology behind the magic of Crush amazes me. I’m not even 100% sure on how it works, but I’m completely okay with that. Little kids crowd the giant screen in the little theater and Crush comes to hang out with them! He talks to them like he’s really there. The conversations are always hilarious and adorable and totally righteous!

3. IllumiNations

Note: Illuminations’ last show will be September 30, 2019. “Epcot Forever”, a temporary fireworks spectacular, will begin October 1. 

What amazes me is the fact that this show takes over all of World Showcase. If that giant floating orb with LED screen isn’t impressive, I’m not sure what is. I think that the firework display is insanely cool, but I really love the visuals on the globe and the audio. I love how all of the countries contribute to this show by shining lights and lasers to the center of the lake. The message of IllumiNations is always relevant and is a beautiful reminder to each of us every night.

2. Fantasmic

Is there anyone out there who isn’t amazed by Fantasmic? This show is a theatrical mixture of epic proportions. At the heart, it’s a fireworks display. But there’s so much more that goes into it! The characters bring the story to life while being accompanied by an incredible water display with video projections. This part of Fantasmic is reminiscent of World of Color in California Adventure. The actual characters of this show are great effects, such as the giant Maleficent-turned-dragon and some of the inventive costuming. I love the choreography, the fire effects, and the music. And Mickey’s cuteness helps. I’m truly amazed by this show. I think it fully embodies the magic and story telling that Disney is all about!

1. Pandora – The World Of Avatar

The newest land in Animal Kingdom theme park is an easy favorite for many now. Pandora holds two high-technology attractions that are wonders in themselves. Experience soaring through the sky on Avatar Flight of Passage while sitting on the back of a banshee. The visual technology, movement of the banshee, and 4D effects such as misting, make this attraction unforgettable. Na’vi River Journey is a tranquil experience with so much bio-luminescent lighting, you’ll even glow. Then of course, at night, Pandora – The World of Avatar land actually glows with this same bio-luminescent lighting. Just outstanding!

Honorable Mention:

Jack Sparrow Animatronic: Captain, Captain Jack Sparrow animatronic. This one isn’t exactly a typical special effect, but it’s special and has a great effect. This addition to Pirates was genius, in my opinion. All three Jacks are so realistic and completely add to the ride. I think there are a lot of really amazing animatronics around the Parks, though I admit some of them are pretty cheesy.

About Molly Elias

Molly Elias has been a dedicated Disney fan since she was 18-months old. She has grown up with and learned from Disney her whole life. As her family's main vacation spot, Disney World is a place of love and laughter and magic for her. Her family also prides themselves on their Disney Cruise Line knowledge and would rather be on the high seas with Mickey than anywhere else in the world. Molly plans to keep Disney in her life forever, while also pursuing a writing career. She recently completed a master's program in creative writing in the hopes that someday she will be able to be a writer for the Happiest Company on Earth. Molly keeps Walt's famous quote at the forefront of her life: "Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."