Top 10 Disney World Attractions for a First-time Visitor!

Walt Disney World has some of the greatest attractions found in theme parks around the world. However, there are also a few duds. Some of you may have limited time in the parks on your trip and want to know the high points to hit. With that in mind, let’s talk about what I consider the top 10 attractions currently operating at the Walt Disney World. Hopefully, if you are a newbie to Disney World, this list will help give you an idea of what attractions to look forward to most on your first (or next) trip. Let’s cut right to the chase and get into the list! 

***This list was created prior to the opening of TRON: Lightcycle Run in Magic Kingdom.  Once I have experience it, I will then update this list accordingly**

Exterior Entrance to Toy Story Mania

10.-Toy Story Mania

Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Mania is located in the Toy Story Land of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is a competition shooting-style game where you ride with another player and your car moves from one carnival-style game to another while you try to make the highest score. Toy Story Mania is similar to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin in Magic Kingdom, but adds a “4-D” element by having interactive elements within the car. For those of you with a competitive streak, you will definitely enjoy this attraction.

One thing to keep in mind on this attraction is the ride vehicle will spin quickly and make sudden movements, so if you are easily prone to motion sickness, this may be something to keep in mind!

9.-Slinky Dog Dash

 Hollywood Studios

The next attraction on our list is also located in the Toy Story Land area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Slinky Dog Dash is a family-style coaster themed around Andy building a roller coaster in his back yard with his Slinky Dog toy. This is family-style in that it doesn’t go upside down and has no big drops, but it definitely is faster than most “family coasters” you may be used to such as Goofy’s Barnstormer in Magic Kingdom. However, it is not nearly as intense as other coasters at Walt Disney World such as Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom or Rock ‘n Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios.

The wait times for Slinky Dog Dash can be quite long, and most of the queue is not covered in shade. So, keep that in mind and consider snagging a Genie+ Lightning Lane spot for it or hitting it first thing in the morning or late at night right before park closing.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Exterior

8.-Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Magic Kingdom

A more “classic” roller coaster makes our list at number 8. It’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland in Magic Kingdom! This is right next to another of Disney World’s iconic mountains, Splash Mountain (which is now being re-imagined into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure). Big Thunder Mountain is another coaster that may be good if you have kids that are anxious about coasters. The reason for this is it does not go upside down, and does not have any large drops.

One thing to love about Big Thunder Mountain is the ride time is high compared to other coasters in Disney World (looking at you Seven Dwarfs Mine Train). So even if you have to wait a while in the queue at least you will get a decent amount of ride time at the end of your wait. Also, unlike Slinky Dog, the queue is entirely in the shade, keeping you cooler on those hot summer days!

7.-Space Mountain

Magic Kingdom

Next on the list is Space Mountain. This classic attraction is located in the Tomorrowland area of Magic Kingdom. Each car holds three passengers seated one behind the other. The entire ride takes place in the dark, which adds to the “intensity” of this attraction. There are no big drops, or inversions so it may be something worth trying if you are anxious about those types of things.

Additionally, the speed is moderate so the chances of getting motion sick are very low on this attraction, especially since you can’t see anything to disorient yourself with. If interested, do a quick search on YouTube and find a ride video showing Space Mountain with the lights on to ease any fears one may have about riding.

Space Mountain Exterior in Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom
Haunted Mansion Exterior

6.-Haunted Mansion

Magic Kingdom

Yet another classic attraction, Haunted Mansion, is located in the Liberty Square area of Magic Kingdom. For most, this ride is more cheesy and funny than it is scary. However, the dark areas and the random noises may scare the little ones so keep that in mind. You begin this attraction in the world famous “stretching room”. From there, you head to the queue to load into your “Doom Buggy” which will take you through a, you guessed it, haunted mansion!

At the end, pay attention as you may see you have picked up an unintentional (or intentional?) hitchhiker along the way!

5.-Avatar: Flight of Passage

Animal Kingdom

The next attraction on our list is located in the Pandora area of Animal Kingdom. Avatar: Flight of Passion is a simulator ride where you “ride” a banshee through Pandora. For those of you familiar, I always refer to Flight of Passage as “Soarin’ on steroids”. It’s a 4-D ride that can simulate drops so if you are easily motion sick, this may be a struggle for you. Otherwise, it is a great experience and rivals for the best attraction in Animal Kingdom.

Something to keep in mind is the standby queue for this attraction can get VERY long. Plan on either buying an Individual Lightning Lane for it. Otherwise, consider heading to it first thing in the morning or late in the day prior to park closing to have the lowest standby wait times.

Flight of Passage Queue
Train going up Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom

4.-Expedition Everest

Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest used to hold the title of best roller coaster in Walt Disney World, in my opinion. It held that title without having a single inversion. The ride itself is a very smooth coaster given its age, and when it first opened, the *spoiler alert* reverse section was an engineering marvel that now multiple coasters around the world use. It does have a few decent drops so that is something to be aware of if you aren’t a fan.

Additionally, the Yeti inside the mountain is illuminated by a strobe effect, so if that sort of thing affects you keep that in mind. The wait times can get long during busy times but there is a single rider queue that might save you a little time depending on the day.

3.-Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Hollywood Studios

The third place attraction is going to be controversial. At third is Rise of the Resistance in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Don’t get me wrong, if you have never experienced this attraction, you will be in awe. This goes for Star Wars fan as well as those that don’t care for the franchise. The issue I have with the attraction is the fact it is so hard to get to ride between either waiting in a super long queue or being forced to pay to ride. Given those options, you may not even be able to ride it, since it is prone to frequent downtime.

This attraction is full of technology and effects that can cause the attraction to go down because of issues quite often. If it was more reliable, it may have been higher on the list, but for something that is so hard to get a chance to ride coupled with its constant down-time moves it down for me. Also, the storyline doesn’t change, so unless you are a Star Wars fanatic, you may not care to ride it more than once a visit.

Storm Troopers inside Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction
Exterior of Tower of Terror from Rock n Roller Coaster

2.-Twighlight Zone: Tower of Terror

Hollywood Studios

The next attraction on the list is located at the end of Sunset Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The re-ridability is the reason I have Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at second instead of Rise. Several years ago, imagineers updated the software in this attraction to randomize the drop sequences you experience. A guest could literally board this attraction 20 times in a day and never have the same ride experience twice. For that reason alone it moves ahead of Rise for me.

Additionally, the theming from the moment you step into the queue until you step off the attraction is top notch. Obviously, given the theme as well as the numerous drops you experience in this attraction, it may not be suitable for your younger ones.  Also, due to the drops, this may not be for you if you are prone to motion sickness.

1.-Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind


The newest attraction in all of Walt Disney World is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in the Future World section of EPCOT. This is one of those few attractions that live up to the hype for me. It’s not best roller coaster I have been on (that title goes to Velocicoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure), but as an overall attraction, this is the #1 attraction I have ever been on.

Between the theming, the technology used in the ride, and the fact that the ride experience changes solely based on the song choice you end up with is something that is unmatched. This attraction and Tower of Terror I could ride all day long and never get tired of. It is that great of an attraction!

Outside of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT

That wraps up my list of the Top 10 attractions currently operating at Walt Disney World in Florida.  Hopefully this will help give you an idea of what to prioritize on your next trip should your time in the parks be limited.  If you would like to start planning a trip to experience these great attractions, don’t hesitate to request a quote today and let us help you!

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