I’m starting a new series of Top 5’s today, and we’re starting with the flying rides. Let’s see if you agree with my faves!
1) Peter Pan’s Flight – A popular Magic Kingdom draw, happy thoughts and pixie dust power this adventure. Climb aboard a pirate galleon for a fanciful flight from the Darlings’ London home to the Lost Boys’ haunts of Never Land. There’s often a long line—and long FastPass waits—for Peter Pan’s Flight, but according to my kids, it’s a must-ride attraction, because it completely immerses you in the Peter Pan movie.
Did you know? While the popular girls’ name Wendy was in use by the late 1800s in England and the United States, it was popularized by the 1904 play by J.M. Barrie.
2) Dumbo the Flying Elephant(s) – A timeless attraction original to Magic Kingdom Park, Dumbo is such a fan favorite there are now two of them! Since there are so many of this type of ride at Walt Disney World, I thought I’d let Dumbo represent. You’ve got Dumbo, Astro Orbiter, and Magic Carpets of Aladdin all at MK, as well as TriceraTop Spin at Animal Kingdom, that are all circular aerial flights where you control the height and tilt of your gondola. It’s dizzying to consider!
Did you know? 1941’s Dumbo earned an Academy Award for best musical score.
3) Star Tours – C3P0, Human-Cyborg Relations for Star Tours Spacelines, is your guide on a thrilling ride through the Star Wars universe. Reimagined last year, this 3-D adventure at Disney’s Hollywood Studios now offers a practically unlimited variety of experiences, taking different directions through different storylines each time you ride. Your goal, though, is to get the rebel spy safely out of Darth Vader’s reach. Last year, my six-year-old had just completed Jedi Training when we boarded our intergalactic trek, and he was spotlighted as the rebel spy! I do advise you skip this ride if you have a weak stomach or have just eaten lunch. If you do, well, may the Force be with you.
Did you know? References to the Star Wars creator are included in the attraction, like the mention of Mr. Egroeg Sacul (George Lucas spelled backward.)
4) Mission: Space – Blast off to space without leaving Earth in Epcot’s space simulator. Each passenger is assigned a duty at the controls as they take flight to Mars. They must keep their space capsule on course, avoiding meteors and navigating by nebulae. Although there are two levels of intensity, this is another ride for the faint of heart to skip. However, big kids, teens, and adventure seeking adults get a rush from this training mission. It’s a thrill my teenager craves.
Did you know? Disney Imagineers consulted 25 space experts from both NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, including five astronauts, in designing Mission: Space.
5) Soarin’ – My all-time favorite flight! This unique ride gives passengers a birds’-eye view of the beauty and geographical diversity of the Golden State. Upon takeoff, the rows are lifted in Ferris wheel fashion nearly 45 feet in the air and surrounded by an 80-foot domed screen to “fly” on a simulated hang glider through fast motion Omnimax clips over such sights as Yosemite National Park, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, and Palm Springs. Your feet dangle freely as your lift gently rocks, tilts and sways with orange and pine scented breezes. You’re almost certain to dip your toes in the river, then quickly catch your breath at the mountains’ majesty. You can almost feel the ocean spray, and hey, watch out for that golf ball!
Did you know? The design for the Soarin’ ride vehicles was based on an old toy erector set.
So what do you think? Do these meet your approval? Have you dared all these adventures? Would you put them in a different order? Let me know in the comments below!
- What I Wish I Had Known on Our First Visit to Disney (chipandco.com)
- The 10 Commandments of Walt Disney World (chipandco.com)
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