Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Going to Disney is a right of passage for most children today, and my childhood was no different. I couldn't wait to take my son to Disney World to experience the awe and wonder of the happiest place on earth. We managed to make trips twice a year every year. Now, my son is twenty-three, and we live outside Disney, allowing us to visit all of the theme parks whenever we want.
What is the First Ride to Visit in Every Disney World Park? Having years to decide which rides my family hits first, we've come up with these top four rides that embody everything Disney has to offer. The Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom, The Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios, SOARIN in EPCOT, and the Kilimanjaro Safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Each of these rides stands alone in their respective park for immersion, theming, and enjoyment.
These rides embody all of the best attributes of Disney. Each ride offers something Different. The Mansion provides us the classical dark ride from our childhood. SOARIN shows us travel around the World using imagination the only Disney Imagineers could develop. Kilimanjaro Safari is a zoo at Disney's best. Finally, my favorite, The Hollywood Tower of Terror, is a thrill ride with immersion like no other ride.
While each of these rides is vastly different, they all embrace the values of Walt Disney by providing guests with the best possible experience while providing you a fun, immersive, and safe place to enjoy your family and friends.
The Haunted Mansion, The Magic Kingdom
The Haunted Mansion, while vastly different in appearance than its California counterpart, the two attractions share lots of history. The Mansion in California was created by Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey, yes Gracey, as in Master Gracey. Many of the similarities come down to when the Haunted Mansion in Disney World was Greenlit. They copied many of the props and systems from the original in California.
So while the exteriors of the mansions differ significantly, many of the operating functions are applied to both, from the omnimovers or Doom Buggies, the Ghostly effects in the dining room with residents graveyard and its ghostly melody.
One significant difference between the two mansions is that the Disneyland version provides you with the Hatbox Ghost, who is not present in Florida. Other minor differences include the stretching room where Disneyland stretches down, and Disney World Stretches Up. After the Stretching Room, You are almost immediately boarded in your doom buggy in Disney World. In Disneyland, you walk farther through the Mansion.
This Classic Dark Ride holds a special place in Disney's love by representing physical illusions that today still leave quests puzzled on how these were achieved on such a grand scale. The allure of this fun dark ride always leaves me satisfied and glad that it is the starting point to my day in the Magic Kingdom.
The Hollywood Tower of Terror, Disney's Hollywood Studios
Now, when you head over the Disney's Hollywood Studios, there is only one ride to set the pace for the entire day, The Hollywood Tower of Terror or also known as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Either way, it's a creepy, immersive thrill ride that will make you scream.
Fair warning to you, if heights are your weakness, then you should think twice as you will be hoisted in your cart to the top of the tower. Then, the operating system will choose a random sequence of lifts and drops. You will go up and down at random, and the exterior doors of the ride will open when you're at the top of the tower to give you a one-of-a-kind view of Hollywood Studios.
I know that there are newer or faster rides in studios, and obviously, Star Wars Land is always a consideration, but The Tower is a ride I can't walk by. It is the perfect place to start your day by getting your adrenaline pumping. Not to mention, when you are done, there is a fantastic coffee cart outside the exit.
This ride is the best start to a fantastic day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Give some extra time so you can stroll through the store on the exit side of the ride. Also, be sure to focus when you take your murky trip through the basement boiler room.
SOARIN Around the World, EPCOT
EPCOT is up next. EPCOT sure needs some love, and Disney is making some significant changes to the park and many of the rides within the park. After entry, you need to make your way to the Land Pavilion. Here, you will not only find the best quick-serve dining location in EPCOT, but you will also find my favorite ride to start my day in EPCOT.
SOARIN. This ride of the flight was thought up by Mark Sumner, who pulled out his erector set and designed the current ride vehicles lifted off the ground into the middle of an Omnimax Movie Screen. From this point, they developed a unique live-action hang gliding experience across the wonders of the World. This movie is filmed In Imax HD for an immersive experience.
The ride movie's original version was a look at some of the fantastic locations in California, Continental United States, and the Florida Parks. This version flew you over these landmarks and incorporated smells to immerse you into the movie further.
In 2016, the film version changed to the version that we now see in the US Parks. SOARIN Around the World is a look at the many wonders that we can see on traveling around the World. Yes, you're still in your hang glider, but now you visit locations, including the Pyramids, The Great Wall of China, Australia, and many other notable places.
This entertaining ride is the perfect way to start your trip through EPCOT. This movie is a fantastic intro to EPCOT's World Showcase. It gives you a great foothold to begin your day.
Kilimanjaro Safaris, Animal Kingdom Park
Our Final Park is Disney's Animal Kingdom Park. The original slogan for the park was "notta zoo." This location is Disney World's newest and largest Theme Park. Here, animals are the focal point, so it is no surprise that the first ride to start within this park is the Kilimanjaro Safari.
This Disney Safari ride is the Jungle Cruise on Steroids. You jump into your safari vehicle with 20 of your closest friends to travel the jungles and wilds of the World. On this immersive ride, you will see many different animals.
I've been on this ride time after time, and the list of animals is enormous, Lions, tigers, elephants, hippos, cheetahs, warthogs, zebra, giraffe, antelope, and many, many more. The great item about this ride is that it is different every time you get on. You see other animals in various locations on every ride.
This ride is a total immersion as you are actually riding in a safari vehicle through the jungle. Your driver is your guide and points out various animals and specific facts pertaining to the animals or areas you are exploring. The entire ride will take 20 minutes and is crammed with wildlife. This immersive adventure is one that can't be skipped, quite the opposite. The Kilimanjaro Safari is the go-to ride to start your day at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park.
These four rides, The Haunted Mansion, The Tower of Terror, SOARIN, and Kilimanjaro Safari, are all the go-to start rides for each of their home parks. They all will get you immersed and involved in the park for the day, helping to amp up your level of enjoyment. While each ride is different from the last, each holds a particular spot for me, and I hope you will find the same pleasure with them.
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