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 World’s Flights of Wonder

Birds in Flights of WonderThere’s not much I don’t love about Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom!  Here lately, I’ve had a lot to say about this oh-so-much-more-than-a-half-day park.  Today’s no exception.  I want to talk about Flights of Wonder.  Over along the walkway between Africa and Asia, you pass right by the theater for this very special show.  Sometimes there’s a Cast Member outside the theater’s entrance with a bird – talking about what makes that bird special, how they live, what they eat and so on.  Sometimes there’s just a sign posting the daily show times.  It’s pretty easy to just keep waking, but then you’d miss out on something pretty special and unique.  Unless you’re afraid of birds…but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Flights of Wonder is worth a spot in your touring plan at Animal Kingdom.  If you took the kidsOwl / Animal Kingdom / Flights of Wonder out of school to visit Walt Disney World and they need something educational to make the teachers feel better about their absence – See Flights of Wonder.  If your feet are tired and you need a place to sit and relax for a few minutes –  See Flights of Wonder.  Do you love learning about animals or have a special fondness for birds?  See Flights of Wonder.  It’s a great show for the whole family!  Unless you’re afraid of birds…but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Animal Kingdom / Flights of Wonder / PerformersThe show, which lasts about 25 minutes, begins with a Cast Member speaking about birds – suddenly, they are interrupted by the amazing Guano Joe – tour guide extraordinaire!  Guano Joe is quite a character and as it happens…is afraid of birds!  The rest of the show involves the Cast Members teaching Guano Joe (and the audience) all about different types of birds.  Several different bird behaviors (I hate to say “tricks”) are demonstrated while Guano Joe learns how and why birds behave they way they do – once he begins to understand, he starts to overcome his fear (fake, hokey, cheesy – you name it… embrace the experience).  It’s cute, funny and straight forward.  Birds fly overhead (quite low above spectators’ heads) from trainer to trainer, but birds also perform on stage.  It’s engaging, entertaining, and, for 25 minutes out of your day, a nice break from the sun and crowds.

If you are afraid of birds:  This show may not be for you – In case I’ve not been perfectly clear:  birds frequently fly close to the audience.  If you’re feeling brave (please, try to set a good example for the children) – Animal Kingdom / Flights of Wonder / Bald Eaglesit mid-way between the first and last row to the very outside.  Based on my last visit, this will minimize close encounters of the bird kind.  (OMG!  I KILL me sometimes.  I’m laughing so hard I have to end here…..)

So?  Flights of Wonder – Yea or Nay?

If you’re really afraid, check out one of many YouTube videos of the show to get the gist.