I love Orlando! The funny thing is, I’ve only been twice. It’s not like I’m some giant Disney nerd (although I do like Disney), nor am I a Harry Potter fan who needs to see Hogwarts at Universal Studios (okay, Hogwarts is pretty cool). For me, Orlando brings back good memories. It’s the last place my entire family took a vacation to together, and that was twenty years ago.
I asked my brother if he wanted to go back, and of course, he said yes! (sorry, no mom and dad this trip) My friends at Expedia.ca were more than happy to assist this trip so we could relive our childhood (or teen years). We booked our flights, and car rental together which saved us a surprising amount of money. Adding the car was just $20 for three days!
For our hotel, we decided to stay off-site at the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort since it was significantly cheaper. The hotel has free WiFi, two pools, lounge chairs, cabanas, and a pretty impressive gym. They even offer free shuttles to and from the Disney theme parks (wish I knew this before I rented a car).
The main reason we came back to Orlando was for the theme parks. Honestly, theme parks are fun. They’re even better as an adult since you can focus on just the main rides while buying whatever you want. That being said, if your time is limited like it was for us; you may want to just focus on the best rides in Walt Disney World to go on.
Best rides in Magic Kingdom
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Okay, this isn’t one of the best rides, but this is a subjective list. I love Toy Story, so Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin makes my list. It’s an interactive game where you help buzz shoot space aliens.
Pirates of the Caribbean – This is one of Disney’s most classic rides. It’s a simple boat ride where you’ll see Animatronics of Pirates in the Caribbean – Yes you’ll see Captain Jack Sparrow. This isn’t exactly a thrill ride, but it’s one of those rides that Disney is famous for. Okay to be fair, waiting an hour for this ride is not worth it.
Space Mountain – Easily one of the best rides in Magic Kingdom. Space Mountain is a roller coaster ride that takes place in “outer space.” It’s really just an enclosed coaster that’s in the dark. It doesn’t go upside down, but it’s one heck of a thrill.
Best rides in Hollywood Studios
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – This is another classic ride but has seen upgrades over the years, most recently with The Force Awakens. It’s a 3D motion simulator ride with multiple stories so be sure to ride it more than once.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – If you love Indiana Jones, then this show is for you. It’s a live action stunt show which recreates many of the movie’s most iconic moments. There are multiple stunts and a pyro show, so there’s no worry about staying entertained.
Toy Story Mania – Another Toy Story themed shooter, but this one is in 3D and at Hollywood Studios. Admittedly, this ride always has a line since it’s geared towards kids. The cool thing is that the lines take you through different Toy Story themed sets.
Best rides in Animal Kingdom
Kilimanjaro Safaris – This is the one ride people come to Animal Kingdom for. It’s a safari ride through Disney’s version of Africa. You’ll ride in a giant jeep while the guide points out and tells you about the animal residents. Try to go on this ride early in the morning or later in the evening when they are most active.
Expedition Everest – Every Disney park has one thrill ride and Expedition Everest does not disappoint. This roller coaster will take you through the mountains before you come face-to-face with a Yeti. Many of animatronics no longer work, but it’s still a lot of fun.
Festival of the Lion King – Many people focus on the rides and forget that Disney puts on some incredible shows. It’s all about the show here as circus performers put on one heck of a “tribute” to the movie while singing some of its most famous songs . This ended up being my favourite “ride” the whole time I was in Disney since it was completely different.
Best rides in Epcot
Turtle Talk with Crush – Another impressive show from the minds at Disney. It’s a screen-based attraction, but there’s an actor who sees the crowd and performs as Crush. Kids think it’s really Crush, while parents get to laugh at the jokes that go over the heads of the little ones.
Soarin’ Around the World – Epcot was built for those who want to see the world without actually leaving the U.S.A. Soarin’ Around the World is a hang-glider simulator ride that takes you to some of the most famous attractions in the world. It may sound cheesy, but it’s a ton of fun.
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth – I didn’t mention the fireworks show at Magic Kingdom, but the IllumiNations show at Epcot is epic. Disney likes to say that it represents the history of mankind, but just enjoy it for what it is; an awesome fireworks show.