Best Walt Disney World Rides

Don't Miss These Attractions at the Florida Resort

Disney's Haunted Mansion
••• Disney's famous Haunted Mansion. Rain0975/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Do you want to know which rides and shows are must-sees at the resort's four theme parks? Herewith, a list of the very best attractions -- or at least my rundown of what I consider to be the parks' very best offerings.

If you want a more customized ranking of the resort's attractions, check out the Best Disney World Thrill Rides and the Best Disney World Rides for Kids. If you (or someone you know) would rather avoid the thrills, I've prepared a special guide, Walt Disney World for Wimps.

OK, let's start the countdown of Disney's ten best rides in reverse order:

  • 01 of 10

    Turtle Talk with Crush

    Turtle Talk with Crush Disney attraction.
    ••• Courtesy of Disney
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 0
      This is a charming show with no gotchas or scary moments.
    • Height Requirement: None
    • Location: The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion in Epcot

    Some might find it odd to choose the "Finding Nemo"-themed show above classics such as Jungle Cruise and Big Thunder Mountain for a top-10 list of best Walt Disney World attractions. But Turtle Talk with Crush, in which the surfer dude interacts with audience members via real-time animation, is an astonishing Imagineering breakthrough. Between laughs, adults scratch their heads in bewilderment, while young kids nonchalantly, if delightedly, chat with the witty reptile.

    In 2016, Disney updated the attraction to include characters from the popular sequel, Finding Dory. If you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for, dude? While you are at the pavilion, take a ride on the delightful The Seas with Nemo and Friends. In another head-scratching innovation, animated creatures swim along with...MORE actual marine life in a saltwater tank. 

  • 02 of 10

    Splash Mountain

    Splash Mountain
    ••• Courtesy of Disney
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 4.5
      One giant splashdown
    • Height Requirement: 40 inches
    • Location: Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom

    Disney marries the classic log flume ride (with one humdinger of a drop) to an animatronics-filled dark ride themed to the Uncle Remus characters from "Song of the South." You'll be humming "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" (once you regain your composure from the drop).

  • 03 of 10
    Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom
    ••• Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 6
      Fairly intense positive G-forces, backwards coaster motion, darkness.
    • Height Requirement: 44 inches
    • Location: Asia land in Disney's Animal Kingdom

    It is the combination of the coaster thrills and the attraction's lavish, immersive environment that makes this a Disney E-ticket must-ride. Read my review.

  • 04 of 10
    Star Tours ride at Disney
    ••• Corbis via Getty Images/Getty Images
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 4
      Relatively mild motion simulator thrills.
    • Height Requirement: 40 inches
    • Location: Disney's Hollywood Studios

    Blast off to a Star Wars galaxy far, far away in this spiffy, updated version of the first motion simulator ride. The technology behind the ride, which, among other things, allows multiple possible story lines, is truly astonishing. In conjunction with the release of the 2015 Star Wars sequel, The Force Awakens, the Imagineers added characters from the film to the attraction. Read my review.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Mission: Space at Epcot
    ••• Austin Kirk/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 7.5
      The sustained G-forces can be unnerving; the simulated liftoff and flight is very realistic; the capsule is quite confining.
    • Height Requirement: 44 inches
    • Location: Future World in Epcot

    A groundbreaking attraction that simulates space travel by delivering unique sensations. Read my review.

  • 06 of 10

    Fantasmic!

    Fantasmic at Disney World.
    ••• Courtesy of Disney
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 2.5
      Percussive explosions, nightmare scenes.
    • Height Requirement: None
    • Location: Sunset Boulevard in Disney's Hollywood Studios

    The nightly Fantasmic! show is an incredible Imagineering achievement that combines classic Disney animation (projected on enormous water screens), pyrotechnics, animatronics, live actors, and other wizardry to deliver a storytelling tour-de-force. With Sorcerer Mickey at the helm, Fantasmic! positively oozes "Disney-ness." Be sure to get to the stadium at least an hour before show time for decent seats, especially when the park is crowded.

  • 07 of 10
    Soarin' at Disney World
    ••• Courtesy of Disney
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 2.5
      Gentle motion simulation, moderate height, and "soaring" simulation.
    • Height Requirement: 40 inches
    • Location: Living with the Land Pavilion in Epcot

    An engaging Disney E-ticket ride that uses technology in a new and exciting way, Soarin' is a charming adventure. In 2016, it traded in a tour of California for international destinations including China, South America, and Austrailia. Read my review.

  • 08 of 10
    Disney's Haunted Mansion
    ••• Rain0975/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 3.5
      More silly than scary, the ride is dark, loud...and haunted! Very young children may find it disconcerting.
    • Height Requirement: None
    • Location: Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom

    One of the all-time classic, great Disney attractions. (But you know that, right?) Read my review.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
    ••• WireImage/Getty Images
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 7
      Multiple freefall drops and launches, sensations of weightlessness, psychological thrills.
    • Height Requirement: 40 inches
    • Location: Sunset Boulevard in Disney's Hollywood Studios

    A modern-day classic Disney theme park attraction that combines a thrilling freefall ride, dazzling effects, and an inspired storyline. Read my review.

  • 10 of 10
    Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney
    ••• HarshLight/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 2.5
      Small splashdowns, mildly frightening images.
    • Height Requirement: None
    • Location: Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom

    A landmark achievement in theme park storytelling, it is a pitch-perfect attraction. Read my review. By the way, Pirates may be the best ride at Disney World (in my opinion, anyhow), but there is another Disney ride that surpasses it: Pirates of the Caribbean. Say what? Read my review of the next-generation attraction at Shanghai Disneyland, Battle for the Sunken Treasure.