Walt Disney World is known as a pioneer in designing dark rides, but what many guests overlook is the incredible selection of outdoor rides that the Imagineers have created. Rain or shine (mostly shine), the outdoor attractions will keep you out in the open air, with a breeze blowing and a smile on your face as you ride. To celebrate the Disney Imagineers marvelous creations, we have put together a list of the 9 best outdoor attractions at Walt Disney World.
9 – Splash Mountain
While a good portion of the ride takes you into the mountain, you’re never too far from reaching the outside again. Most drops happen outside as well as the iconic 5-story drop into the Briar Patch. During a hot day, you can feel the heat radiating off of the mountain, making the refreshing splash a welcomed respite.
8 – Dumbo
As another classic on this list, it’s hard to say you’ve experienced the Magic Kingdom without taking at least one flight with Dumbo. Out in the open air of storybook circus, Dumbo was in such demand that Disney decided to double the number of Dumbos and created two rides to accommodate more guests. This classic ride lets you raise and lower Dumbo to find your perfect flying altitude.
7 – Kali River Rapids
Kali River Rapids can be the perfect way to cool off at Animal Kingdom during the hot summer months. After boarding a 12-person raft, you journey through the jungle along the Chakranadi River. The unpredictable Rapids can spin your raft in any direction, making it impossible to guess who is heading down the 20-foot plunge first and getting soaked. It’s a fun a wild ride for any member of the family.
6 – Jungle Cruise
Keeping guests slightly drier is the Jungle Cruise. Here, not only are the sights and sounds grabbing your attention, but the skipper of the boat is the real star of the attraction. Endless puns are just one of the ways the skippers point out various points of interest as you journey along rivers from Asia, Africa, and South America. From the overturned jeep to the bathing elephants, each cruise is different depending on the wit of your skipper. However, no journey would be complete without seeing the magnificent backside of water.
Back in Animal Kingdom, the Kilimanjaro Safaris is a vast open area the size of the entire Magic Kingdom. 110 acres of African Savannah plays host to 34 different species and a ton of things to see and experience. While the animals all appear to occupy the same space, predators and prey are kept separated without revealing the gaps between territories to the guests. Each tour guide taking you through the Harambe Reserve will tell you the same thing – that no two journeys are the same.
4 – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
While guests do enter a mine to witness the dwarfs in action, the majority of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train takes place outside. With the innovative design of the trains, each cart swings independently, so even when the track banks sharply, guests feel the gentle rocking of the cart moving from side to side, making for an incredibly smooth journey.
3 – Slinky Dog Dash
From his Dash & Dodge Mega Coaster Kit, Andy has assembled his roller coaster for maximum family fun. Tracks and supports in bright colors of red, orange, yellow, and blue were snapped together according to Andy’s hand-drawn plans. Rex and Jessie helped by stringing lights above Andy’s stacked Jenga game pieces. To complete his creation, Andy picked everyone’s favorite floppy-eared dachshund with a stretching coil body – Slinky Dog – and dropped it onto the coaster track. In each 18-passenger coaster train, riders zip around and above Toy Story Land, catching grand vistas of all the new land has to offer. In a first for a Disney coaster, Slinky Dog Dash features a second launch at its midpoint as riders experience cool sound effects and spinning lights, darting through a series of rings. You’ll actually be pulled back, just like you would pull a toy car back before you dash forward on your way to the attraction’s finale featuring Wheezy, the squeaky penguin from the Toy Story films.
2 – Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest takes guests on a tea train designed to appear as if it runs on steam. As the journey will take the train over Everest, guests are warned of the distinct possibility that they could encounter the iconic Yeti. Sure enough, upon realizing that the tracks ahead have been destroyed, the train shoots backward into the heart of the mountain before confronting the Yeti himself. The track takes the train inside and outside of the mountain, but you will consistently feel the breeze no matter where you are on the ride.
1 – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
In the heart of Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is an incredibly thrilling attraction taking place outdoors in the abandoned mining town of Tumbleweed. Aboard the runaway mine train, guests get the sensation of riding on a rickety set of tracks, feeling each car tilt and shake as it barrels through the landscape. It really is the wildest ride in the wilderness as you’ll have to hang on to keep from sliding around on your seat. It’s exciting and fun, bridging the gap between being a thrill seeker and being enjoyable for the whole family.
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