Our Ten Least Favorite Disney World Attractions

>> Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yesterday we listed our top ten favorite attractions at the Disney World theme parks. Today, the opposite end of the spectrum: our ten least favorite attractions. We should clarify here: we didn't ride everything. Some rides and attractions we knew we wouldn't like, so we avoided those. Those rides and attractions don't appear on this list. What follow then are the ten rides and attractions we thought would be fun, but turned out to be terribly disappointing. It probably goes without saying that we think you should give these a pass when you go to Disney World, but as always, your mileage may vary.


1) Dinoland USA

"Did they build this part of the park on an old parking lot?" That's the first thing we asked when we arrived in Dinoland USA, where there are no trees, no shade, and no respite from the oppressive Florida sun. What we learned, eventually, was that the parking lot was fake (like everything else at Disney), meant only to pretend that we were at a real American roadside amusement park. But Dinoland USA is not an homage to those roadside amusement parks, it's a literal reproduction, one that lacks any of the charm or whimsy of the rest of the parks (particularly the rest of Animal Kingdom, in which this cancer sits.) One of the reasons to go to Disney, perhaps the thing that really sets it apart from all other amusement parks, is its imagineering: the fake "Beware of Yeti" posters on line for Expedition Everest, the bellhop costumes on the Tower of Terror cast members, the tombstones outside the Haunted Mansion. But in Dinoland USA, even the art is horrible, bearing none of the Disney style or imagination. We couldn't wait to leave Dinoland USA, which we did immediately after riding the one (painful) roller coaster we went there to ride.

Dinoland USA is also, not surprisingly, home to the absolute worst Disney cast member uniforms ever created:


2) The Seas with Nemo and Friends

Oh, how we debated between Dinoland USA and The Seas with Nemo and Friends for the top worst spot. The Seas with Nemo and Friends is given top billing in Epcot, and has a queue line that looks like it was built to hold hundreds of people at a time. In the summer months, this ride no doubt brings in those kinds of numbers, but if we had waited more than ten minutes to ride this one, we would have been spitting mad. Riders board "clamobiles" in a similar fashion to other classic Disney rides like Haunted Mansion or Peter Pan's Flight, and are taken on what is supposed to be a magical journey under the ocean following Nemo, who has gotten lost again. There's nothing magical about it though. The clamobiles guide you, herky-jerky, past a series of television screens built into fake coral, and you watch an animated, 2-D Nemo swim circles around familiar characters from Finding Nemo. That's it. It was boring, uncomfortable, and, to paraphrase a very old joke--way too short.

The only innovative thing about the ride is when, at the very end, they manage to project Nemo and his friends into a real, live fish tank behind the glass, so it looks like Nemo is in there with all the real fish. But this only served to make us more unhappy: there was a real aquarium, with real fish, swimming behind that wall the whole time, and instead they showed us TV screens? And the fish in the tank aren't even tropical, which means Nemo and his friends don't even look like they should belong there, animated or not! As the ride ends, the starfish from Finding Nemo is projected onto the glass wall of the aquarium, begging the riders to take her with them. "Please, get me out of here! All they do is sing that awful song over and over again!" It was like she was reading our minds...

The fact that this ride was installed in the old The Seas pavilion in 2006 makes this abomination even more inexcusable. It's brand new! An absolute waste of time. Skip it and go to Turtle Talk with Crush, then view the aquariums from the back side, without the lame ass ride.

3) Innoventions

Billed as "the information superhighway meets The Road to Tomorrow," this over-commercialized sideshow in Epcot's Future World might better be described as "the corporate publicity department meets The Road to Promotion." Segway sponsors...Segway rides. Microsoft sponsors Xbox stations with Disney-themed video games. Waste Management, Inc. sponsors an interactive waste disposal demonstration, complete with your own little Waste Management trucks to haul trash in. Or take the "Road to Tomorrow" and learn all about the miracle of Velcro, the connector of the future! The absolute limit for us was a weather demonstration that ended with the advice to buy flood insurance.

4) Imageworks: "What If?" Labs

Almost as lame as Innoventions, but in a very different way. Where Innoventions actually does feature some cutting edge science--albeit with corporate branding attached--Imageworks lets you do state of the art things like...take your picture, and manipulate it by adding on silly hats and eyes! Or...step on different pictures of instruments on the floor and hear the sound of that instrument play! Or...wave your hands around and watch as an avatar of Figment the dragon moves around on a screen! Um, thanks, but we already have Photoshop, Beatles Rock Band, and a Wii at home. Thirty years ago, this may have been some cutting edge stuff. Today, we can do it all better at home on our TV and our computer--and have a lot more fun doing it.

5) Test Track

This won't be a popular pick as a "worst of," as many people seem to like this ride. Our guidebook gave it a "Birnbaum's Best!" which was pretty accurate the rest of the time, but this time we just have to disagree. The premise of Test Track is that you are going to be the crash test dummies in a series of tests of the car you ride in, but the tests are pretty lame. Ooh. Look out. We're driving really fast up a windy hill--for three seconds. Oh, wait--now we're in the paint job testing lab, under heat lamps and air conditioners. Yawn. We're going over bumps. Yay. Let's be honest here: the only reason anyone wants to ride Test Track is for the end, where they get you outside and open it up to sixty miles an hour in that little convertible car. But that, alas, is over far too soon, and you begin to wonder why you wasted your Fast Pass on a roller coaster that does nothing but go really fast around a round track for half a minute. Now, if the ride was just going fast for five minutes, with some quick turns and steep drops thrown in you'd have something--but then, it wouldn't be the Test Track anymore. It would be a real roller coaster.

6) Snow White's Scary Adventures

Okay, we'll be honest here: we rode this because of the ride's description in our guidebook: "This 3-minute attraction takes guests on a twisting, turning journey through a few happy moments and several scary scenes from the famous fairy tale. Snow White makes several appearances, as do the seven dwarfs. But the wicked witch pops up with a suddenness that freaks out some kids (mostly those under the age of 5)." Too funny! So off we went when the line was short enough to walk on. To get an idea of what this ride is really like, scroll your screen up and down and make that picture of the wicked witch (above) pop up a dozen or so times. That's about it. For everyone over the age of five (Jo included), it's paralyzing dull, boring, and tedious. For everyone under the age of five, it is almost absurdly and unnecessarily nightmarish and terrifying. So if the over fives are bored to tears, and the under fives are driven to tears, exactly who is this ride for? And they removed Mr. Toad's Wild Ride instead of this one!?

7) The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Speaking of the dearly departed Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, we almost refused to go on its replacement--The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh--out of protest. But our guidebook gave this another "Birnbaum's Best," and late one night after riding It's a Small World so many times the cast members began to recognize us, we decided to give it a try. Look, we love Winnie the Pooh. All of us. We have nothing against Pooh, his many friends, and their many adventures. But his ride replaced Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, for Christopher Robin's sake! There's some bad blood here. But we entered the ride with open minds, only to be disappointed. This ride's greatest sin is that it's boring. It's a boring ride, it's boring to look at, and it's a boring story to follow. It has no redeeming value whatsoever. This ride is just an excuse to have a gift shop at the end. Bring back Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, damn you! Giving Mr. Toad a grave outside The Haunted Mansion is not enough:

Wherefore art thou, Toad?

 8) Tomorrowland Indy Speedway

Yes, the cars. You remember the cars, don't you? What you probably don't remember is that they are loud as hell and impossible to control--especially for seven-year-olds--which means you'll be slamming back and forth the entire time you're puttering around the track. Jo loved these, as probably all kids do, as it's a chance to drive real cars. But honestly, a proper go-cart track would be more fun and far more satisfying. And why in the world hasn't this ride been made over with a Pixar Cars theme? Driving Speed McQueen would be lots more fun. For that matter, why isn't there any kind of Cars attraction? Rip out that Test Track nonsense, put in a larger oval, and let's bump and run at sixty miles an hour around a proper racetrack, not this relic.

9) The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management

Oy. The Enchanted Tiki Room used to be a cutting edge demonstration of audio-animatronics, with a full cast of singing, preening, mechanical birds. But the mechanical birds didn't age well, and people stopped going.  Disney decided to give the show an overhaul, which we were excited to see. We shouldn't have. The way they've jazzed things up is by having Zazu from The Lion King (voiced by Rowan Atkinson) and Iago from Aladdin (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) interrupt the show to announce they've become the new owners--but the result is unfunny, and unentertaining. Worse, the climactic scene with a Tiki god, which we were at least interested to see for the design of the thing, faced the other half of the audience and never turned toward us! In a round theater! With the Tiki god emerging from a round, center stage! #Tikifail.

10) The Magic of Disney Animation

Rounding out the list is an attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios that isn't so much bad as it is a terrible missed opportunity. What we expected was a look at how animated movies are made. What we got was a lot of Eddie Murphy as Mushu the dragon from Mulan making jokes and introducing us to the people who had worked on him, without ever showing us what the people actually did. We really wanted Jo to see all the work that goes into character design, scene design, storyboarding, animation, and all the rest, but the ten minute movie is light on the technical stuff and heavy on the silly stuff. Probably to be expected, but definitely a missed opportunity. The closest we got to learning anything about that stuff was a poster in the lobby, explaining all the jobs you can get as an artist on movies. A movie about that, with live examples, would have been much more interesting.

Next up: Our Top Ten Magical Moments at Disney World!


Audrey Kidd,  December 31, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

Love your posts and especially this one -- all so true. Our Disney expectations are so high that when they MISS -- they REALLY miss big!

The Disney Dad January 1, 2010 at 1:27 PM  

Stitch's Great Escape is number one on my list. Screaming teenage girls even make it worse.

Alan January 1, 2010 at 7:52 PM  

Hey Disney Dad -

Stitch's Great Escape was one of the rides we skipped from the outset...

Glenn Drury September 28, 2012 at 3:22 PM  

How can you not LOVE Test Track? It's one of the best rides at WDW. And it's blasphemous to say anything bad about the Pooh ride. But thank God they restored the Tiki room to its old glory.

Post a Comment

Hello! Thanks for dropping by our blog. Feel free to agree or disagree with us, or just chime in with moral support. We leave most everything, but we of course reserve the right to delete anything that's needlessly nasty, profane, or spam. Now, if you'll just insert your two cents into the slot below...

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Read Alan's archived newsletters here.

Blog Archive

Swell Stuff

My Etsy Favorites

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP