Construction is underway for a brand new Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios! This new section of the park is set to open in 2018 and with its green alien and slinky dog inspired rides, it's sure to be a hit! But, I thought this week I'd count down my favorite Pixar attractions that fans can already experience while they wait patiently for 2018.
10. Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
This show, located in Epcot near the Figment ride, offers a great break from the usual running around the park. Each day three short films are selected and shown. Any true Disney or Pixar fan will most likely have seen these short films before, since they're played in theaters before each Pixar movie, but Epcot is the only place where you can experience them in 4D! That's right! Not only are you wearing 3D glasses but you also feel the motion and wind and even water in the film!
The last time that we went to Disney World, one of the films that they were showing was my favorite - Piper! If you haven't seen this one, I highly recommend looking it up on youtube! It's adorable! And being able to experience that fourth level of depth, just made the sandpipers' story that much more emotional.
9. Wilderness Explorer Adventure
This is such a cute, old fashioned idea for an attraction! Basically kids (and their families) can pick up a wilderness explorer guide at one of nine locations, and then spend the day going around the Animal Kingdom and completing tasks to earn their wilderness explorer badges. There are 33 badges that they can earn, including two in the new Pandora park. Once all the badges are earned, then they can show a cast member to receive their Senior Wilderness Explorer Badge.
I love that this is such an old-school way to have the kids explore the park and learn about the nature and animals without any fancy technology or anything. Plus, at the end of the day, you have an amazing souvenir that you put together! And it's all free! You seriously can't go wrong with this one!
8. Turtle Talk with Crush
This interactive show is located in Epcot in "The Seas with Nemo and Friends" In the show, kids can actually talk with Crush and ask him questions. It features some incredible technology and some quick thinking from cast member voice actors!
The show has also been recently updated to include characters from Finding Dory, so not only does Crush teach you how to talk like a turtle, but Destiny and Dory teach you how to speak whale! It's so fun for the kids to actually talk to Crush and to see their eyes light up when he says their name!
7. Finding Nemo, the Musical
This show can be found in Animal Kingdom between Asia and Dinoland USA. My favorite part of this show is the incredible collection of puppets! All the fish look so much like their movie characters and the scale of some of the puppets is fantastic. The smaller fish like Marlin and Dory are just hand held puppets which are operated by their actors. But the larger ones, like Mr. Ray and Crush are massive puppets that take multiple actors (and bicycles) to operate!
I will warn you that the songs are not the greatest. Nemo's songs can get sort of whiny, but all the songs are super catchy and will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Crush's song is my favorite!
6. Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
This ride, (which opened almost 20 years ago, now!) is located in Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom. When you enter the ride, you'll feel like you've been transported into a Buzz Lightyear themed arcade-style game. You'll be given a blaster that you can use to shoot targets to rack up points and defeat the evil Emperor Zurg!
One of the best things about this ride is that the cars pivot 360 degrees and that pivoting is entirely controlled by the rider. It's the only ride that I know of that gives the rider that control, which I think really adds to the video-game feeling of the ride.
5. The Seas with Nemo and Friends Attraction
"The Seas" is Disney's aquarium, and unlike other aquariums, it features the magic that only Disney can provide! The Seas with Nemo and Friends is a simple ride in Epcot that is similar in style to the Journey of the Little Mermaid in Magic Kingdom.
Unlike the Little Mermaid ride, though, all the scenes in this attraction are projected as videos, but what makes them completely unique is that they're projected onto the sides of the aquarium tanks. So, as you're watching Marlin search for Nemo, you might see a real dolphin or sea turtle swim by. It's a fun, relaxing ride that the whole family can enjoy.
4. It's Tough to Be a Bug!
Okay, I'm gonna be honest, this one isn't one of my favorites, because I don't really like bugs. But I put it so high on the list for two main reasons. First, it has one of my favorite queues in all the parks. As you walk up to the show's entrance, you weave in and around the Tree of Life, so the whole queue becomes like an eye-spy of animal carvings. It's truly the best way to see the tree up close and appreciate all of its detail.
And secondly, it's a classic. It's been in Animal Kingdom since its opening in 1998. It actually debuted in the parks seven months before A Bug's Life opened in theaters! So to this day, I still consider it one of the three cornerstones of Animal Kingdom (the other two being Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris... but I'll leave that to a later post)
I'm warning you now though, this show features creepy crawlies of every shape and form, a terrible stink bug smell, and way more grasshoppers than necessary! But, speaking as someone with a fear of grasshoppers, any is too many!
3. Character Meet and Greets
There are a surprising number of Pixar characters that you can meet throughout the four parks, and the number of characters is growing as Pixar releases more and more films!
In Magic Kingdom you can meet Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Woody, and Merida. In Animal Kingdom you'll find Flik, Russell, and (if you're lucky) Doug. In Epcot, you can meet Joy and Sadness from Inside Out. And in Hollywood Studios, you can meet Buzz, Woody, and the Green Army men.
There also are special characters (like Boo from Monsters Inc!) that come out for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, so you could get lucky enough to meet a rare character if you choose to go during the holidays!
2. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
This is an interactive show similar to Turtle Talk with Crush. It's located right inside the entrance to Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom, which honestly has always confused me... like do they think that we'll have talking monsters in the future?
A lot of what I said about Turtle Talk also applies to this show. It also features the same incredible technology and quick thinking cast members, but I ranked this one higher because it appeals to a wider age range. While the whole family can enjoy Turtle Talk, its target demographic is probably 4-10 year-olds. Everyone can and does find The Laugh Floor funny. I still find it hilarious every time I see it. And since the audience can submit their own jokes for the monsters to read - no two shows are the same!
1. Toy Story Mania
I remember when this ride first opened and riding it for the first time. I was blown away by how much fun it was and how incredible the technology was, and I still am every time that I ride it!
This attraction, located in Pixar Place (which will soon become Toy Story Land) combines ride and game as you zoom through a series of shooting ranges hosted by all of Andy's toys, that you view through 3D glasses. The games are incredibly fast paced and engaging and the simple shooting style ensures that anyone, even the youngest of the family, can compete.
What do you think of my list? Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!
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