WDW Attractions – Best Lead Up

RM-Haunted-Mansion-Exterior2We’ve talked about queues, we’ve talked about favorites and today it’s time to talk about the best attractions for attention-grabbing from afar – the one’s with real curb appeal, if you will.  With some of the very best rides, it’s all about the lead up!

Some attraction exteriors offer absolutely no clue what to expect (think Soarin’, Country Bears, Space Mountain), but some attractions draw you in from far away – the theme, the park setting – long before you step into the queue, you know you’re about to experience something extraordinary!  I’m going to talk about just five today – go ahead and leave a comment if your favorite gets left out – I’ll do a “part 2” in the future!

WDW Attractions – Best Lead Up

  1.  Haunted MansionRM-Haunted-Mansion-GraveyardFrom WAY far away, the draw to Haunted Mansion is incredible!  It looks exactly the way you hope it will – Grand yet a bit sinister.  You can immediately tell the Mansion holds room after room to explore – haunted corridors, ballrooms, attic and much more!  RM-Haunted-Mansion-ExteriorThe minute you see it, you know it’s going to be the perfect combination of scary and fun!
  2. Big Thunder Mountain RailroadThe Red Rock of Big Thunder MountainThe train flies along the track – you can see the passengers raise their hands, you can hear them screaming in delight, but that’s not the primary draw.  In Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland, the whole landscape of Big Thunder that makes you eager to get inside that mountain – so out of place with the surrounding Florida palm trees and lush tropical plants.  Big Thunder Mountain is a wasteland of epic proportions and the details are mesmerizing!  Best of all, the queue at this mountain is top notch.
  3. Twilight Zone Tower of TerrorDisney's Hollywood Studios Tower of TerrorIt looks elegant and disheveled, classic but unique – first impressions are everything here in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Strolling down Sunset Boulevard, you can’t help but notice the tower’s façade and how it stands out.  Walk a little farther, and you’ll notice something else – the SCREAMING!  The sound will draw your eyes closer to the tower where in an upstairs window, you’ll see motion, but little else.  If you’re a thrill ride junkie, this is the ride for you!
  4. Rock’n’ Roller CoasterRock'n'-Roller-Coaster-GuitarThe location actually hurts this attraction because Tower of Terror tends to steal Rock’n’ Roller Coaster’s thunder.  You have to turn left at the very end of Sunset Boulevard to even notice the upside down Cadillac let alone the gigantic guitar, but once you see the setting, you know that for music fans and coaster addicts alike will find this the place to be!
  5. Expedition EverestRM-Expedition-Everest-ApproachIn Animal Kingdom, you can be far from Everest and still be drawn in.  Call me biased, but there’s a reason this is my favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World and one of the main reasons is that from the moment you see the mountain in the distance, you can’t help but want to be a part of its magic.  “Forbidden Mountain” is like a double-dog dare to those of us who love an amazing coaster – every single detail is beyond perfect!  Hands down, Expedition Everest has the best draw from afar of any attraction in the World.

Is your favorite “love at first sight” attraction missing from this list?  Which Walt Disney World rides grab you from afar and draw you in?Expedition Everest

Disney Attraction Review: Rock’n’ Roller Coaster

Today’s installment of “Saturday’s With Nick” offers a terrific review of one of my favorite rides.  I always loving hearing a different perspective on Disney attractions, don’t you?  Enjoy!

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by: Nick

I never considered myself a big Aerosmith fan. Sure, I liked some of their early hits, like Sweet Emotion, Walk This Way, Dream On and Back in the Saddle, but never bought one of their albums, tapes, or CDs. And I really wasn’t a fan of their newer stuff.
But all that changed within the last few years.
I blame age.
My musical tastes have evolved, (though I’m still not a ballads guy).
With age has also come motion sickness.
What does any of this have to do with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you may ask?
Well, because of my lack of interest in Aerosmith, and because of motion sickness, I avoided riding this roller coaster for years.
What prompted me to get on?
Curiosity. I wanted to see if I could handle it. And you know what? I could!
But enough of all this! Let’s go on the ride!

After walking through the queue, guests enter the offices and recording studios of record label G-Force Records. The lobby is decorated with posters, rock memorabilia, and vintage recording equipment.

You then enter a room looking into the recording studio, where the five members of Aerosmith are shown working on a recording.
The group’s manager then comes in and tells the the band that they’re late for their own concert.

Lead singer Steven Tyler insists that all us fans get backstage passes to the show. The band then departs by limousine, and the manager calls for a “super stretch” to get us to the concert.

We then walk through an alley into a parking garage, owned by “Lock ‘n’ Roll Parking Systems” where we board a waiting 24 seat stretch limo for the trip across town to the event.

After loading passengers, the “limo” stops at the entrance to a tunnel.

Music is playing and an overhead sign displays a series of several different messages before a countdown. After the countdown, the car is then shot into the tunnel at 60 miles per hour.

The roller coaster goes through a series of inversions, passing signs that represent various Los Angeles Area Freeways like Interstate 5 and U.S. Route 101.
Different Aerosmith songs play, depending on which limo you get.

The ride ends when the limo arrives at the backstage of the concert venue.

I really enjoy this ride, it is very smooth, which is why I believe it doesn’t get me motion sick, and I can now enjoy Aerosmith songs in a way I couldn’t before, because they’re songs bring happy thoughts of a thrill ride I can actually go on!
I still haven’t bought any of their recordings, and for that I apologize to the members of the band who are doubtless fans of this blog!

Favorite Ride at Disney World? Rock’n’ Roller Coaster


I Recently polled The Fam and asked them about their favorite ride at Disney World.

Raymond didn’t actually have to respond to the poll.  You can’t be married to the same person for 24 years and not know their favorite Disney World ride – Rock’n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith has been Raymond’s favorite ride since he first rode it in 2004 (the ride originally opened in 1999).

I did ask him what specifically about the ride made it his favorite…is it the introduction?  The dark?  The speed?  The loops?  The music?

Raymond’s answer?  “Yes.”  (Know what?  You just can’t get him to quit rambling on about stuff!)

What’s not to love about this ride?  If you are a thrill ride junky – this is as thrilling, as extreme a ride, as you will find at Disney World.  Here are the deets (Spoiler Alert):

Rock’n’ Roller Coaster is located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the end of Sunset Blvd.  Since it is right next to Tower of Terror, best to hit them both first thing in the morning and/OR score some fast passes for at least one of these if you love them.  Just FYI:  Toy Story Midway Mania (which I’ll talk about in detail at another time) is located very far away from these two rides (Pixar Place) and is also a headline attraction.  To tour successfully at the Studios, have a good plan for how you will accomplish all three with a minimum of wait time.  Use fast passes and early arrival (extra magic hour if available) to your best advantage.

Now back to R’n’R…


The Studio at G-Force Records

Pre-Ride:  Enter the recording studio for G-Force Records where Aerosmith is busily working when their manager informs them they’re going to be late for their own concert.  Luckily you score back-stage passes and a ride to the concert in a super-stretch limo – head out into the alley to wait for your ride and get ready to blast off onto the LA freeways.


Cheesy Ride Photo!

Brace yourself – this is no ordinary limo!  This ride hurls you from 0-60 miles-per-hour in 2.8 seconds!  Then you’re flying through banks, turns, dips, and corkscrews (yes, upside down!) before reaching your final destination.


In the Alley Waiting for a Ride





Look for:  The limo’s licence plates!  There are five different limos, each sporting it’s own vanity plate.  (1QKLIMO for example) – while you’re looking at the plates, see if you can spot any Hidden Mickeys!  There are MANY both in the queue and on/around the ride.  For the most part, each limo plays different Aerosmith songs.  Listen carefully if you hear “Love in an Elevator” – the words are a bit different, recorded just for this ride!


Safe and Sound Post-Limo Ride

You must be 48″ tall to ride.  There are health warnings for this ride and if you’re prone to motion sickness or have claustrophobia, I’d sit this one out.  Due to the nature of the ride, the harnesses that hold you in the limo are big and restrictive.  If you’re brave enough and get a kick out of a major adrenaline rush, you’ll love it just as much as Raymond does.

What’s your favorite ride at Disney World?