The Walt Disney World Resort really sets itself apart from other theme parks with all of the things to do around Disney parks that aren’t rides. Guests who run around Disney parks from ride to ride would really be missing out on so much simply because there are so many truly wonderful non-ride attractions. In fact, some the best attractions in my opinion are not rides! Whether you’re just looking to kill some time in the parks during the busier times of year or you’re really looking to experience some new-to-you attractions, here are 10 that you just can’t miss:
The American Adventure
The American Adventure in Epcot tells a condensed history of the United States through film, animations, art work, and Audio Animatronic figures. While the fact that it is a condensed re-telling of American history cannot be understated, the show still does a great job of squeezing hundreds of years of history into a half hour theme park show. It’s also one of the most technologically advanced shows at Walt Disney World, and it features an inspiring pre-show with a cappella music by the Voices of Liberty and a rotating exhibition of artifacts in the pavilion’s lobby.
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
Part Broadway-style musical and part-comedy gold (at least every time Gaston is on stage), Beauty and the Beast is a classic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The performance features all the classic songs and favorite characters from the film and offers a way to sit down and relax while visiting the park. Fun fact: This show opened at Disney’s MGM Studios on November 22, 1991, the same day that the film debuted in theaters, which marked the first and so far only time a park attraction came out the same day as the film it’s based on.
Finding Nemo: The Musical
Located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Finding Nemo: The Musical follows the same story you know and love from the classic Disney and Pixar film while using an original musical soundtrack. In addition to the new soundtrack (since the original movie wasn’t a musical at all) this show is unique in that the puppeteers are entirely visible to the audience and are part of the show themselves. I’ll admit I was hesitant about this concept at first, but it works really well and is now one of my favorite attractions!
Festival of the Lion King
Also in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Festival of the Lion takes the “Broadway” style of Beauty and the Beast to the next level. Seriously, if you can’t get to the actual Broadway performance of The Lion King, this show is an adequate replacement. It features an all-star cast of singers, dancers, and acrobats along with audience participation and favorite characters from the film.
Mickey’s PhilharMagic is my favorite 3D show at the Walt Disney World Resort. Located right in the center of Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, this show includes beloved characters in sequences from classic animated films all focusing around Donald (who let’s be real deserved his own show, am I right)
Muppet*Vision 3D in Disney’s Hollywood Studios may be just a tad bit dated (if you don’t know what I mean you will when you see the final scene) but it’s a good time nonetheless. The details in the queue along with the entertaining preshow make this one a hit from start to finish.
Maharajah Jungle Trek
If you plan on visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the near future, please do not leave the park without visiting at least one of the animal walking trails! So many guests visit this park and do not see the majority of the animals there, and it’s a real shame because it’s a much more immersive experience than your average zoo. I love Maharajah Jungle Trek to see the tigers (who just had cubs in late 2017!) but there are plenty of animals to see all over the park– pick up an animal guide when you arrive to see what you can find.
Country Bear Jamboree
To be totally honest, I didn’t really “get” the Country Bear Jamboree as a kid, but as an adult I think so many of the gags are hilarious and it’s definitely a fun way to get out of the heat when visiting the Magic Kingdom.
O Canada! is the CircleVision film featured in you guessed it, Epcot’s Canada pavilion. There are also films in China and France, however Canada’s is the best in my opinion. This one is hosted by Martin Short and it does good job of educating guests about Canada while still keeping them entertained. If you’re looking for more of a “break” while watching the film however, opt for France instead as China and Canada are CircleVision films and do not have seats so you can easily turn to see the film on every side of the room.
Carousel of Progress
The Carousel of Progress is really a piece of Disney history (that you can experience right in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom!) It originally debuted at the 1964 Worlds Fair, and guests see largely the same show today that follows an Audio Animatronic family through the decades. The ending is dated, but it’s a classic with one of the catchiest Disney attraction tunes nonetheless.
Are you more of a rides person or a shows person? A little of both? Let me know what you think of these non-ride attractions in the comments!