A chill list of chill Disney Rides and Attractions
Sometimes we need a moment to relax, so let's sit back and relax while I take a nostalgia trip.
The Disney Parks are understandably closed right now, but that doesn't mean they still aren't on my mind right now. We are all handling this experience differently, and the truth of the matter is, it's scary and unpredictable. That's okay though, so is life, and it's more than alright to be affected by current affairs. For me, it's drastically affected my energy, and my brain is whirling; but that's okay too. Sometimes, I have to accept that I need to miss out on releasing posts; and that's once again okay. We are not defined by our productivity, and we are not defined by what we can do right now. If you are confined at home, that is okay, no one is going to judge you for isolating, no one is going to judge you for taking time for your own health; mental and physical.
To all those still out there, working through this, I wish you all safety, and well-being. I wish I could write about that side of the experience as well to help, but that is not an experience that I am facing right now and it's not my place yet to talk about what feelings can arise there.
What I can do, is write about what I know, what makes me passionate, and what chills me out. In a time where everyone's nerves are firing on all-cylinders, let's sit back, keep our arms and legs within the vehicle at all times, and check out some chill experiences that I enjoy at Disney Parks. (I say Disney Parks, but I'm mostly a Walt Disney World park person as that's much closer to me, so this list is pretty much going to be from there.)
Tomorrowland Transit Authority (TTA Peoplemover) - Magic Kingdom
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority (TTA) is a constantly moving attraction, similar to the Omnimover system used in other attractions. The Omnimover is a system utilizing a constantly moving track, moving vehicles capable of carrying two to three guests. These vehicles are usually mostly closed off, and capable of individually relaying audio and movements to each vehicle.
Unlike this system though, the TTA utilizes trains with multiple vehicles. What's great is these carry two benches per vehicle, capable of doubling capacity per vehicle, or just giving you extra space. Instead of being closed off on three sides, the vehicles are completely open, which is nice because the view is spectacular. The TTA is located above Tomorrowland. Which part? Well almost all of it. The track carries guests through a smooth aerial view of Tomorrowland, passing above the paths, through attraction buildings, and features an amazing view of the land.
This is also a great ride for fans peaking behind the curtain. Often you can check out construction progress in Tomorrowland if you look hard enough, with the most recent example being the Tron rollercoaster. Circling back to attraction buildings, the TTA passes through Space Mountain, and if you're lucky enough the lights will be on for maintenance. This means that the often pitch dark attraction is in full view. The first time I saw it was incredible, just getting that extra peak behind the scenes is always a nice feeling.
This is a slow, slow ride. For some, that's an immediate no no, but can be a lifesaver when dealing with over-stimulation in the parks. It's long ride time, at ten minutes, provides the perfect amount of "Don't F-ing touch me space."
Let the wind hit your face as you lean back and relax on the transportation of the future Mr. Tom, Tom Morrow. (Don't hate me for the pun)
Living with the Land - EPCOT
This one is always interesting to me. Living with the Land is a slow moving boat ride located in The Land Pavilion at EPCOT. Like most Disney boat rides, you're in about what I assume is waist deep water, and the boat is being pulled along by a chain system. The first part of the ride stays the same just about each time, but the latter half is always my favourite, and the reason why it's a must-ride for me each trip!
Let us start from the beginning. So you enter The Land Pavilion, you look around, you seeing cute decor, good food, and a couple of attractions. The first thing you'll probably notice is everyone flocking towards a ride there, located next to the food court area. Yep, that's right, that ride is Soarin', but that's fine, our goal is away from all that messy crowd business. You turn, and you spot it, a bare queue, and a cute little boat loading dock. Living with the Land? Sounds fun, I live on land.
The first part of the attraction is a dark ride, and basically runs you through agricultural history. Starting like many great Disney dark rides, we begin in the past. As the boat moves through the show scenes, we see a short explanation of the history of global agriculture, and american agriculture. This part is genuinely nice, and it's pretty relaxing too. This part though isn't what makes it stand out.
The latter half of the ride turns into a tour of EPCOT's greenhouses, their labs, and experiments in aquaculture and hydroculture. (The science of breeding sustainable fish supplies and growing crops without soil respectively.) This place grows most of the fruits, veggies, fish, and shellfish for the entire Walt Disney World resort! They also work with different world organizations in finding ways to grow more sustainable food, with less space and affect on earth!
Not only do I get to relax for twenty minutes, but I get to learn about the very latest in sustainable science, and that's super cool too. There's nothing about a good educational attraction every now and then!
Kilimanjaro Safari - Animal Kingdom
Okay, so this one has changed a good amount over the years, but Kilimanjaro Safari has almost always been one of my favourite rides in the parks. The ride used to have several different ride elements, including an entire poacher storyline, and action packed scenes. (One that always terrified me was the fake bridge shaking!) However, this ride has changed into a pure animal watching experience, and I think it's better for it. Yeah, the show scenes added 'excitement' but I felt detracted from the entire animal experience.
The ride vehicles for this one are actual vehicles, as the unpredictability of live animals means that it's safer for the animals to have drivers than just a straightforward ride track. The ride goes through Animal Kingdoms actual nature conservation, and takes you up close to animals usually only found in certain parts of the world. The animals are well taken care of, and given lots and lots of free open space to graze, walk, play and sleep. This sets it apart from many other institutions dealing with live animals, and ensures that the animals health and safety is priority.
The vehicle takes you through wetland areas, wide open savannas, and areas in between. The vehicle often stops, allowing you to take great photos, or just stare in awe at some beautiful animals! At twenty-two minutes, it's a great way to sit down for a while, and see lots at the same time.
I am gonna say though, please take the safety tips seriously on this ride. (Well all rides really, but especially this one) You are never very far from very large animals. You see hippos, rhinos, large antelope, giraffes, lions, crocodiles, the list goes on. There aren't seat belts in the vehicle, but there's signs to stay seated for a damn reason. We saw one little girl almost topple a few times over the vehicle, and fall head first at some peoples feet at one point, all while the parents encouraged it. I'm not a parent, I'm not a parenting expert or telling anyone how to, but it takes one day of bad luck for a poor kid to just topple over, and if they get hurt it will be a tragedy.
Anyway, use your head, enjoy the animals, and sit the hell down.
Toy Story Mania - Hollywood Studios
Okay, so this one isn't the most chill ride, but it's super fun. So much so that it chills me out just by distracting me and thus giving me a good reset. The vehicles are similar to Omnimover vehicles, but aren't on a continuous track. Instead the vehicle will transport you between show screens, one by one, and then return to station. This is a 4D ride experience, meaning you have 3D goggles on, and you interact with the ride. This is done with two 'cannons' mounted to your ride vehicle on each side; one for each guest. The ride vehicle consists of 4 seats, all with individual constraints, and the seats sit back to back eachother, two by two.
These cannons interact with the screens, making it feel like you're playing midway games hosted by the Toy Story cast. This is extremely fun, as you'll be racking up points, trying to compete with the person you're with, and also trying to get the best vehicle score! There is a screen between each two-seater, that tells you your score and accuracy. There's balloon popping games, ring tosses, hitting the targets, and several others!
Trust me, by the time you're done with this ride your arms will be tired, and if you're like me, you're feeling super competitive. However, there's almost a unique chillness that follows a ride like this. You're so focused on getting the best score, having fun with the other people with you, that you forget all the stress outside the ride. Suddenly you're not just thinking about the crowds, you leave the ride ready to face anything.
I've never left this ride without laughing and carrying on with the people in my party. Make sure you get a fastpass+ for this one, and avoid some of the longer lines this ride attracts!
Spaceship Earth - EPCOT
Located in the big 'EPCOT ball' as many call it; Spaceship Earth is an Omnimover attraction proper. The vehicle is slow-moving, holding two guests per vehicle with an onboard screen and speakers. Guests will board these ride vehicles at the base of the giant structure, where it will carry them up a steep incline up into the 'ball.' This is admittedly one of the harsher parts of the ride; it's slow but steep enough that you're pushed into the hard seats.
While in the structure, you're a treated to a history of humanity and communication. The ride vehicle is treated as a time machine, and you're the esteemed guest getting to view these historic scenes in the comfort of a slow-moving vehicle. The vehicles are large enough, that two people can sit comfortably in a 'bubble' away from others. The experience lasts for fifteen minutes, and you're treated to wonderful scents and relaxing music originating from these historic eras. (Gotta say, people are paranoid about the scents at Disney Parks, but I always friggin love them, maybe it's a sensory thing!)
The end of the ride takes you past a giant set piece of a lunar view of earth, before the vehicles slowly rotate backwards in preparation for the final decline. This occurs at roughly the same angle and speed as the incline, so still pretty rough on the back if you have issues with that. I would argue however this is less rough for one reason; theres a distraction that takes your focus away from it, that appears on the decline and not the incline. At the beginning of the attraction you have pictures taken of your face. (you are prompted to look up) At the end, the screen is utilized by asking guests what kind of future they want to see. Once all the answers are completed, you are treated to an adorable semi-customized video using this info and the pictures. Both faces are placed on the characters, and you get to see your 'future' together. Something small, but enough to take your attention away from the gravity pulling you into your seats!
I am of course dooming myself with this one, as Spaceship Earth was closed for refurbishment before all this started, and the next time we see it the ride will be different! So y'know, it's chill now, probably will be chill after!
World Showcase - EPCOT
This isn't technically a singular attraction, but this is my list, and World Showcase has always been important to me. I know, another EPCOT entry, but it's my favourite park and there's a lot there, past and present that have helped me relax. World Showcase is a section of EPCOT reserved as a space for different countries to be represented and share culture in a miniaturized setting. The area wraps around a man-made lake known as World Showcase Lagoon and features many countries, and an array of architecture. If you haven't guessed already, I love the opportunity to learn while having a good time!
Starting from the left side when entering from the main entrance of EPCOT, you've got: Mexico, Norway, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, UK, and Canada. Each Country is built specifically with the thought of culturally representing these spaces. Great care and research was used, and they are each specifically staffed by people from their respective countries! This is done through the Cultural Representative Program, where students and others can apply to work at their respective country for one year. It all creates an authentic experience, great if you don't have the money to travel to these countries!
There's also just so many little spots to discover. You can either walk through quickly, checking out stalls and the architecture, or you can look deeper and explore each country. Japan for example has an amazing quick service place in a more hidden second level to the area. There's a beautiful path, and gorgeous gardens back there. In the UK pavilion if you go behind the stores, theres a beautiful plaza area with lots of seating. These are small examples, but these little areas can easily become great hidden gems for your trips.
Not to mention how many things that you can do throughout. If you're legal drinking age, you can drink around the world, trying mixed drinks or drafts famously originating from these countries. If food's more your thing, then try food from around the world! We were on the quick service meal plan our last trip, while the Festival of the Arts was taking place. There was more food booths, and our snack credits actually worked on a lot of the food, meaning we walked out of there super full, without taking out our wallets!! Speaking of Festivals, EPCOT often hosts different festivals, so you're often seeing new things each time as they're constantly bringing in new artists, cooks, flower people, everything!
World showcase is my jam, and I wonder if part of it is an Autism thing, as it seems to be a favourite for many of us!!
Anyway, so that's my list. It's tough out there right now. So just remember it is okay to just be doing your best right now. Hopefully this can help transport you away for a bit, and provide some much needed respite from the stress.
I hope you all have a fantastic day, a fantastic week, and if you don't I hope it gets better!