Top 5 Theming Triumphs at Disney World

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I know right out of the gate that I don’t have a hope of picking five winners that everyone will agree with in today’s Top 5 list. But you know me; I’m going to try anyway!

Some theme parks may have a ride or two to rival Disney’s, but no one can match Disney theming. Whether it is a restaurant, attraction, or Land, the Mouse just knows what looks good!

So here are my Top 5 theming triumphs from Walt Disney World:

No. 5: Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

(see picture above)

I’m a HUGE science fiction fan! So they had me at the name. But when I went inside and was escorted to a table in the shape of a car, and not only a car, but also a car in a drive-in theater, I was in geek heaven. The low lighting was a bonus (even if it does make taking good pictures almost impossible) and the food was very good. But my favorite theming plus from the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant was the giant screen showing trailers from 1950’s horror films!

There’s nothing like eating a burger while you watch THEM eat other people!

No. 4: Polynesian Resort

No-Brainer Alert! Come on: Polynesia; Tiki Gods; Lush foliage everywhere (and mostly inside the lobby!); and a Monorail gliding past the entrance. Not only could I stay in the Polynesian Resort, but I could also live there! Add to this package two of the greatest gift shops in WDW, one of the best restaurants, an awesome Coffee Bar, and Tiki Motifs everywhere, and you’ve got a theming triumph!

No. 3: Jungle Cruise Queue

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I’d pay to take this plunge!

This attraction is classic. But I almost enjoy waiting in line more than I do taking the ride! I know, I’m strange like that. But it’s so  much fun trying to spot all of the inside jokes along the queue rails. From the signs to the jungle office spiel, there’s so much to see and hear on the Jungle Cruise. And then you get to ride in a cool boat and listen to corny jokes! Excellent theming to introduce excellent theming. Now that’s a triumph!

No. 2: Toy Story Midway Mania

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Boy. Tough crowd.

I’ve only sampled Toy Story Midway Mania once so far, so I don’t know what to think of it yet, but the queue is awesome! Blowing Andy’s room up so that you feel like a toy is brilliant. And I don’t think any other attraction has so many elements to keep you distracted while you wait, and wait, and wait… and then you meet interactive Mr. Potato Head!

He called me out as he tried to guess my ‘wait’. Too cool! Anywhere I can interact with “Don Rickles” is a theming triumph to me.

No. 1: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The whole Park. Name an area and it is heavily themed. Visit a gift shop and it is heavily themed. Eat in a restaurant and it is heavily themed. Ride an attraction and it… well, you get it. WOW is all I can say each time I visit this young Park. It may not be the thrill-a-minute experience of the other Parks, but nowhere is there more unified theming than Disney’s Animal Kingdom. A theming triumph beyond question!

Are there new theming milestones coming in Walt Disney World’s future? No doubt, as the new Fantasyland expansion moves ahead to completion. And what’s coming after that? I can’t wait to find out!

But until then, there just may be a few other existing theming triumphs I’ve missed. If you have a favorite, please let me know in the comments section below.

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5 thoughts on “Top 5 Theming Triumphs at Disney World

  1. Great top 5 list but of course with Disney everything has such great themeing you could do a top 20! One of my personal favorites was Tower of Terror the outside was gorgeous and then all of the furniture even had dust on it, nice touch before your heart plunges on that ride!

  2. Hey Lee – Great topic to explore! I would have to agree with you about Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The theming is fantastic and well above the other Disney Theme Parks (if that is possible). I love looking for all of the great details each time I visit Animal Kingdom and always come away impressed with the incredible level of theming.

  3. We love the National Parks theming at Wilderness Lodge. I love the totems & Whispering Canyon Cafe is one of our favorite restaurants.

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