February 6, 2013

Everyone likes to talk about their favourite attractions at every Park at Walt Disney World (WDW), it is great fun; but what about those attractions that it seems no one talks about.  They’re not forgotten but they are under-appreciated.  Come with me as I visit what I feel are the most under-appreciated attractions at each of the 4 Parks.

Magic Kingdom – The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

Treehouse Plaque

This is the first attraction you’ll encounter as you enter Adventureland from the Hub.  The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse (SFTH) is one of the original Magic Kingdom attractions and opened with the Park on October 1, 1971.  Based on the 1960 Disney movie, “Swiss Family Robinson”, SFTH allows you to relive the adventures of the Robinsons.  This walk-through attraction doesn’t require having seen the movie but brings it to life whether you have or not.  You enjoy the sights and sounds of the Robinson Family’s home and the details that Disney is well-known for.  As you walk and climb and descend stairs (116 of them) through this 15-25 minute adventure you can enjoy all the SFTH has to offer.  Listen to the organ playing, enjoy the wonderful views of Adventureland and the Magic Kingdom and have fun.  There is a lot of walking and stair climbing involved, so I would recommend making this an early stop or a later stop on your visit to take advantage of cooler weather as you visit, but I do recommend visiting.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios – The Great Movie Ride

Great Movie Ride

Often missed during quick visits to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) and usually rushed past on the way to Toy Story Mania or Star Tours, The Great Movie Ride (GMR) takes you back into the movies of Hollywood’s ‘Golden Age’.  You enter into a full-scale reproduction of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to begin your trip back in time, be sure to take the time to look at the hand prints of footprints of many stars in the cement outside.  While in queue you can see several genuine movie props and then watch classic trailers for such films as ‘Singing In the Rain’, ‘The Seekers’, ‘Fantasia’ and more.  As you leave the queue you enter a 1930s Hollywood sound-stage   You’ll then board your tram and you’re off into the world of the movies.  You’ll see scenes reenacted from such classics as Casablanca, Alien, Mary Poppins, the Wizard of Oz (an awesome scene) and more.  And you’ll be brought into the adventure in many wonderful ways that I won’t spoil for you.  Be sure and take the time on your next DHS visit to experience this classic attraction.

Epcot – Living With the Land

Living With the Land

Most guests only see Living With the Land (LWTL) as they pass by while rushing down the stairs or escalator to Soarin’.  But do yourself a favour and make some time before or after your Soarin’ ride to enjoy LWTL.  This is a slow moving boat ride through the rain forest, desert and American farmland among others while learning about how different environments have different life.  You’ll see how we are learning new ways to farm and interact with our environments to preserve the land.  Then you enter a greenhouse, The Land’s “Living Laboratory”.  This area consists of 5 separate zones that you’ll go through: the Tropics Greenhouse (crops from the tropical areas of the world), the Aquacell (a focus on aquaculture, or ‘fish farming’), the Temperate Greenhouse (crops from temperate climates), the String Greenhouse (a focus on innovative farming techniques) and the Creative Greenhouse (ideas about the future of agriculture).  The String Greenhouse is where, if lucky, you can view the famous Mickey Mouse shaped pumpkins.  As you exit the greenhouse you’ll view assorted videos showing people and farm produce from all over the world.

An ‘extra’ that you can plan is the ‘Behind the Seeds Tour’ which will take you on a walking tour of the greenhouse as you are shown and taught about the various things being worked on at the Land.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Flights of Wonder

Flights of Wonder

You’ll find Flights of Wonder (FOW) at the Caravan Stage in Asia as you enter from Africa and before reaching the Maharajah Jungle Trek.  FOW is a 25-minute show performed several times a day and features more than 20 species of exotic birds; including hawks, falcons and parrots.  All of the birds are free to fly all over the stage and theatre.  You’ll see a demonstration of these birds natural talents and behaviors as the fly everywhere.  This is a must-see show but is far too often passed by as guests hurry from the Kilimanjaro Safari to Expedition Everest but I can tell you that you’ll truly enjoy the time you spend here.

Those are my four picks for “most under-appreciated” but I know that we all have our own lists.  Please feel free to share yours along with any thoughts you have below.  Thanks for taking this time to visit these attractions with me.

And as we enter this month of Valentine’s Day; please feel free to take the time to revisit my article on Romance at WDW at this link.  Happy Valentine’s Day to all our readers.

Mark Vitek can be found on Google+Facebook and on Twitter @DisFanMark.  He also co-authors the Wishes And Pixie Dust Blog with his wife Jen.


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2 Responses to Under-appreciated?

  1. Susanna Perkins on February 6, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    I’m happy to say that our family has enjoyed all four of these attractions for many years. The Treehouse was always a good stop when the kids needed to work off some excess energy. And my husband and I enjoy getting a chance to sit quietly for a little while on the Great Movie Ride and The Land.

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