Every ride, every show, every attraction at Walt Disney World has a backstory. Some of it you can glean from details left by the Imagineers, but much you can't. Why get only half the magic? Now you can have it all...
You spend most of your time at a Disney World theme park standing in lines (or queues, if you want to be fancy). While you're standing in a line, you're probably thinking about the next line you're going to be standing in. Snap out of it!
Every line has a story to tell, and so does the attraction at the end of that line. Through research, interviews, and personal experience, Disney historian Christopher Smith has uncovered everything there is to know about every significant Walt Disney World attraction, from heavy hitters like Jungle Cruise, Soarin', and Avatar: Flight of Passage to the attractions you visit when the lines are too long everywhere else.
You'll get not only backstories, but information about intensity, ride vehicles, securing the best seat, touring strategies, and "magical details."
Whether you're planning your next vacation to Walt Disney World, or you just want to learn new stuff about the parks until you're there again in person, Chris Smith's Attraction Guide is your perpetual FastPass+ to the most magical place on earth.
Part I: Preliminary Matters
Chapter 1: What is an Attraction?
Chapter 2: About the Attraction Reviews and Descriptions
Chapter 3: Everything You Need to Know About FastPass+
Part II: Magic Kingdom
Chapter 4: Attraction Overview and Strategy
Chapter 5: Main Street, U.S.A.
Chapter 6: Liberty Square
Chapter 7: Frontierland
Chapter 8: Adventureland
Chapter 9: Tomorrowland
Chapter 10: Fantasyland
Part III: Epcot
Chapter 11: Attraction Overview and Strategy
Chapter 12: Future World
Chapter 13: World Showcase
Part IV: Disney's Hollywood Studios
Chapter 14: Attraction Overview and Strategy
Chapter 15: Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard
Chapter 16: Echo Lake and Grand Avenue
Chapter 17: Animation Courtyard
Chapter 18: Toy Story Land
Part V: Disney's Animal Kingdom
Chapter 19: Attraction Overview and Strategy
Chapter 20: The Oasis, Discovery Island, Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Chapter 21: Pandora—The World of Avatar
Chapter 22: Africa
Chapter 23: Asia
Chapter 24: DinoLand U.S.A.
Walt Disney World is no ordinary vacation destination. Disney’s vast Florida property covers approximately 47 square miles, which translates into approximately 30,000 acres. In order to put that size into perspective, the city of Manhattan, in New York, is approximately 23 square miles, and San Francisco, California, is approximately 48 square miles. Yes, you are reading that correctly. Walt Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan and almost as large as San Francisco!
Both the quantity and variety of vacation options offered at Walt Disney World matches its sizeable geographic footprint:
The above amenities are a big part of any Walt Disney World vacation and each contribute to making this destination the Most Magical Place on Earth. Having said that…we all know that the most important (and FUN) part of any Disney vacation (for most guests, anyway) is the attractions! And boy…Walt Disney World has attractions.
Disney’s four major Florida theme parks collectively include almost 100 different attractions. These attractions range from classic hub-and-spoke carnival attractions to advanced motion simulators that are on the very cutting edge of theme park technology.
For most Disney guests, time spent in the parks is a rare commodity. There simply is not enough time to do everything. In terms of attractions, guests face a series of difficult questions when trying to effectively utilize those precious minutes in the parks, including:
The stress of answering these questions is compounded by Disney’s emphasis on making decisions early…very early. As I will discuss in more detail in Chapter 3, guests can make FastPass+ reservations (attraction reservations) for Disney attractions as early as 60 days prior to their arrival date. Guests who fail to do so could be forced to wait hours in line to experience, or even miss altogether, popular attractions like Avatar: Flight of Passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom, Frozen Ever After in Epcot, and Slinky Dog Dash in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The complex nature of planning a Walt Disney World vacation (including the vast array of attractions) has given rise to an entire industry of vacation guidebooks. These books come in almost every imaginable shape, size, and color. Although attractions are, for many Disney guests, the most critical aspect of any Walt Disney World vacation, most Disney guides only provide a few short lines of information about each attraction. That is where this book comes in. The Walt Disney World Attraction Guide is your definitive resource for the attractions in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In the pages that follow, you will find:
A complete description of each attraction experience
A walk-though of each attraction’s queue (which in many cases is almost like an attraction itself)
A description of each attraction’s ride vehicle and the boarding process for guests (including those guests in wheelchairs or electric conveyance vehicles)
A summary of the disability-related services at each attraction
Fun details about the attraction that will enhance your enjoyment of the experience
If you are planning a Walt Disney World vacation and want to experience the best that Disney has to offer in terms of attractions, this is the book for you!
Christopher E. Smith is a lucky husband, a proud father, and a blessed son. He is also a Disney historian, author, and corporate attorney practicing law in Huntsville, Alabama. Theme Park Press published his first book, The Walt Disney World That Never Was: Stories Behind the Amazing Imagineering Dreams That Never Came True, in 2016. Chris has since published three more books: The Backstories and Magical Secrets of Walt Disney World, Volume I, in 2017, The Backstories and Magical Secrets of Walt Disney World, Volume II, in 2019, and The Walt Disney World Attraction Guide 2019. Chris also writes the “Secrets” and “Attractions” recurring articles for Celebrations magazine.
Chris graduated from the University of Alabama in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science. He Graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2004 where he was awarded the M. Leigh Harrison Award, the law school’s highest academic honor.
Chris first visited Walt Disney World in 1984 at the age of 7. That inaugural trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth forever shaped his outlook on life. As a child growing up in rural Speake, Alabama, Chris was accustomed to seeing cow pastures, barns, and cornfields. He certainly did not know what to make of the “magic” of Cinderella Castle, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. But that Disney magic did put a smile on his face that has been there ever since. Chris has visited Walt Disney World countless times with his family and friends over the course of the roughly 34 years since that initial trip. During that time, he has realized what so many other Disney fans already know, that Walt Disney World is so much more than bricks and mortar, attractions and shows, and hamburgers and hotdogs. Walt Disney World is truly a magical place where dreams really can come true.
Chris lives with his wife Alexis, his sons Dakota and Samuel, and his daughters Scarlett and Alice Anne in historic Mooresville, Alabama, the oldest incorporated town in the State of Alabama and the primary filming location for the Disney live-action film Tom and Huck (1995). In his spare time, Chris enjoys going on dates with Alexis, watching movies with Dakota, going fishing with Samuel, getting kisses on the cheek from Scarlett, sharing a cupcake with Alice Anne, watching his beloved Alabama Crimson Tide with his father Edmon, running much farther than he should, eating cheeseburgers and his wife’s world famous carrot cake, and occasionally sipping bourbon on his front porch.