Walt Disney was the ultimate master of the great escape from reality. His movies have taken viewers on “magic carpet rides” and “under the sea,” while his parks have delighted guests with rides through jungles and into outer space.
And at Walt Disney World®, it’s not unusual to find both of these fantasy worlds intertwined on rides and attractions. Below are some of the best rides at Walt Disney World® either based on movies or inspired films of their own.
Peter Pan’s Flight®
When Disneyland first opened in July 1955, there were only 12 rides, and Peter Pan’s Flight® was one of them. So a visit to Walt Disney World’s® version of this attraction is worth a whirl, even if it’s just for nostalgia reasons. Peter Pan’s Flight®, which is geared towards the wee ones in your group, will take you aboard a flying galleon for an adventure through London and magical Neverland. This ride is located in the Magic Kingdom® park.
Frozen Ever After
As Epcot’s® newest attraction, Frozen Ever After is also, not surprisingly, one of its most popular. So if you don’t like waiting in long lines, the Disney Addicts website recommends that you use a FastPass for this boat ride that will take you on a journey through Frozen’s® Kingdom of Arendelle.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin®
“Toy Story” lovers of all ages will delight in this interactive attraction that allows riders to shoot at targets with space cannons. And because the action happens all around, you’ll be spinning in circles as you try to hit more targets than your fellow passenger. If you’re ready to take on some aliens, you’ll want to head to the Magic Kingdom® park where you can find this ride.
Pandora – The World of Avatar®
Even if you’ve been to Walt Disney World® many times before, there always seems to be a new reason to return. This time, it’s Pandora®. Anyone who has ever seen the movie “Avatar” will recall the mind-blowing beauty of the exoplanetary moon Pandora that was featured in the film.
Fans, young and old, of the film will be excited to learn that this visually stunning world will be recreated on 12 acres in Disney’s Animal Kingdom® park.
Attractions will include Avatar Flight of Passage®. On this ride, park guests will get to soar over the moon’s gorgeous landscape aboard a pterodactyl-like mountain banshee. Park guests will also get to explore the sacred bioluminescent rainforest seen in the film on the Na’vi River Journey® ride.
Pirates of the Caribbean®
The original Disneyland® version of this pirate-filled attraction opened in 1967, and it was the last ride that Walt Disney oversaw the construction of before his death in December of 1966.
Although very popular in Disneyland®, the Pirates of the Caribbean® didn’t make Walt Disney World’s® original lineup of rides when it opened in 1971. But it soon became apparent that fans of the rowdy pirates expected to see them when they visited the Magic Kingdom®, so the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction® was added to the Orlando park in 1974.
While there have been several films inspired by Walt Disney World® Resort rides, the Pirates of the Caribbean® series of movies, starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, has definitely been the most successful. In 2017, the four wildly popular films — “The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Dead Man’s Chest,” “At World’s End,” and “on Stranger Tides” will be joined by a fifth, “Dead Men Tell No Tales.”
With the popularity of the films, it made sense to update the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction with an animatronic versions of Depp’s character, Jack Sparrow.
The Haunted Mansion®
This spooky ride, which is located in the Magic Kingdom®, takes you on a supernatural tour of a ghost-filled estate. Although, it is very popular and fun, this dark ride can be a little frightening for some small children.
In 2003, Walt Disney Pictures, released a film based on the attraction. It starred Eddie Murphy as a real estate agent who must battle ghosts as he and his family try to escape the haunted mansion. Unfortunately, it was not nearly as successful as “The Pirates of the Caribbean” movies at the box office.
It’s a Small World®
This movie is still a work in progress, but Walt Disney Pictures is busy working on a flick based on this saccharine-sweet attraction. It’s a Small World® has long been one of the park’s most popular attractions, with approximately 111,000 visitors floating through this attraction each week, according to the Los Angeles Times.
This ride features more than 300 animatronic dolls singing a tune that is famous for sticking in your brain for the rest of the day once you hear it. In fact, an online poll ranked the It’s a Small World® song as the world’s worst ear worm.
No matter how Walt Disney has warmed your heart or sent your imagination in to overdrive, you’ll have a whole new level of enjoyment feeling it coming to life.