Theme parks are full of entertainment options from dining to shows. At the heart of the parks lie the most essential part – the rides. Recently, we had a post discussing a few of Disney’s most underrated attractions and that left us wondering, which ones are overrated? Recovering from their previous bouts, Michaela and Andrew decided it was time for another thread and draft to decide which of Disney’s attractions truly are the most overrated.
Andrew: Here we are again, Michaela. After a surprisingly cordial thread on the merits of rope dropping, it’s time to get back to our roots of trying to one up each other. Insults will be traded, envy will abound, and mind games will be played! But first, some ground rules because we aren’t barbarians.
- Five picks each, you pick first and then we alternate. I am nice.
- Only American Park attractions and no duplicates, meaning the same ride can’t be picked twice even if there is one in both Disneyland and Disney World.
- Leave the mothers out of this.
Before we begin, we should probably discuss some of our criteria for what makes attractions overrated. Our previous draft thread was simpler, taking our favorite dark ride attractions. This is more nuanced and will probably take some reasoning after each pick. I’m sure you’ll pick attractions I love and vice versa. The main idea I’m following is that I will be picking attractions that are, in my eyes, overhyped and generally have long wait times. Any other criteria that you’re trying to follow?
Michaela: Andrew that sounds about right! Generally I find that overrated attractions have consistently long lines, even though the attraction is not worth all the standing around.
I cannot wait to beat you once more in an amazing fashion. I’m ready to hop right into it if you are!
Pick 1 (Michaela): Dumbo The Flying Elephant
Dumbo is one of many boring spinner rides that exist in Disney Parks (The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, The Astro Orbiter, I could go on) but for some reason Dumbo always has a CRAZY wait time. The ride in Magic Kingdom was so busy that they decided to double the number of Dumbo rides they have! They have TWO Dumbo spinners right next to each other!
There is little theming, you’re just riding in giant plastic elephants, and during the day standing in line outside for this ride is scorching hot. I do occasionally enjoy a ride on Dumbo, especially at night when Fantasyland is all lit up in Disneyland, but in my opinion the hype for this ride is ridiculous. At least the Astro Orbiter is on the second floor in Magic Kingdom, that makes that spinner more exciting.
In my opinion, unless you have little ones, Dumbo is not worth it unless it’s a walk-on. I think many Disney commercials use Dumbo as a focal point of Disneyland and Disney World, and that makes Dumbo seem like a wondrously magical experience, but it simply is not. It has the exact some ride mechanism as TriceraTop Spin in Animal Kingdom’s DinoLand U.S.A., a ride that is almost universally disliked!
Alright, enough with elephants. What is your first pick Andrew?
Andrew: A strong first pick, even if I would have gone somewhere else! I do love a ride on Dumbo at night, especially in Magic Kingdom. Storybook Circus turns into a ghost town and the ride becomes a walk-on. That said, no one should ever wait more than 10 minutes for a spinner ride even if it does have elephants leading the way.
Pick 1 (Andrew): Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom)
I’m going into Disney’s busiest park and taking the busiest ride. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train certainly has some qualities. The show scene inside the mine is solid making good use of a few dwarf animatronics. The outside is picturesque and the attraction certainly does more than your typical kid coaster. But the flaws outweigh the positives for me.
I’ve never seen the roller coaster with less than an hour wait. Never. I don’t care if it’s 9 AM or 11 PM, that queue will be packed and will take a good chunk out of anyone’s day and that means I’m only ever going to ride this attraction via a very hard to get FastPass.
Once I am on the attraction, I’m left thinking that it’s cute instead of some marvel of Imagineering. It’s the worst Disney mountain, both in terms of aesthetic and the actual ride system. Pacing is also an issue with the ride as every time it seems like that attraction is about to take off, it slows down or stops. In the end, it’s a 2 minute roller coaster that has 2 hour wait times and that’s not worth it especially considering it might not even be in the top 10 attractions in Magic Kingdom.
What’s your next pick Michaela?
Michaela: I must say, amazing pick Andrew. I agree with everything you said about Mine Train. The only way my family and I rode it last trip was rope dropping Magic Kingdom, and even then it was a 40 minute wait for us.
Pick 2 (Michaela): Autopia/Tomorrowland Speedway
Another classic Disney attraction is my second pick. Take a slow, bumpy ride around an un-themed area and smell lawn mower exhaust the whole time!
Unless you’re a young’n you’ve probably driven a car before. And, I bet you’ve driven a car faster than 6 mph, the top speed of an Autopia car (thanks google). I am aiming this overrating more towards Tomorrowland Speedway, the Walt Disney World version of Autopia, because average wait times seem to range between 30 and 40 minutes for this attraction. For that amount of waiting I could be going on Space Mountain!
The queue, like Dumbo’s, is outside, and the ride doesn’t get any less hot. Riding with a child (the only reason you should really be riding this) makes the experience worse, because for some reason kids love hitting the middle rail that keeps the car on track.
If you add in the fact that there is basically no theming (Autopia’s Honda sponsorship is atrocious) then this makes for an extremely overrated attraction. People wait more than a half hour for an experience that isn’t very pleasant.
Andrew: No argument here, as I truly despise Tomorrowland Speedway (and to a lesser degree, Autopia). From a wait time perspective it is definitely overrated but, then again, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone say that they love the attraction. Maybe I’m not talking to the right people. Either way, I’m definitely winning this draft so far 😉
Pick 2 (Andrew): Peter Pan’s Flight
Look, it’s a great attraction. Iconic, beautiful, magical, whatever adjective you want to throw at it. But the popularity of Peter Pan’s Flight has hit an apex. At this point there is truly no good time to go ride this attraction, similar to Mine Train. Wait times are over an hour regularly and, even if I love the ride, that simply isn’t worth it to me.
For all of the praise that Peter Pan’s Flight gets, it is short and the novelty can wear off. I love flying over England but from that point on the attraction becomes similar to a book report. Unlike some of Disney’s best rides, I don’t think Peter Pan’s Flight rewards repeat rides and I hardly ever ride it at this point unless I’m taking someone new to the park or luck into a FastPass.
Yes, Peter Pan’s Flight is one of Disney’s best dark rides but when Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride or Snow White’s Scary Adventures are both sitting right beside it with a 15 minute wait instead of an hour and 15 minutes then the choice is easy and it’s clear that Peter Pan’s Flight is overrated.
Sorry that I’m doing so well with my picks, Michaela. I know it must be hard on you. What will you take with your 3rd pick?
Michaela: Only you think you’re doing well Andrew. While I do think Peter Pan’s Flight has some obnoxious wait times, it is certainly a beautiful ride, and I would argue one of the most beautiful dark rides in the American parks.
Pick 3 (Michaela): Na’vi River Journey
One of Animal Kingdom’s newest attractions, Na’vi River Journey, takes you through a Pandoran jungle. It has now been open for over 2 and a half years, and still has crazy wait times. At the moment I am writing this, the River Journey has a 120 minute wait time.
I’ve been on this attraction once, and enjoyed the scenery and the interesting foliage and animals in the ride, and was highly impressed by the animatronic at the end, but it seriously lacks story and any sort of thrill. Pirates Of The Caribbean, a ride with a similar ride system, is a much better (in my mind) attraction than the Na’vi River Journey, yet always has a shorter wait than this Animal Kingdom attraction.
In no way is this ride worth a wait more than perhaps 30 minutes, if you catch me on a good day. Just because a ride is newer than other attractions does not automatically indicate that the new ride is superior in any way. I think Na’vi River Journey is a perfect example of a ride that is completely over-hyped, enough that people are willing to wait two hours for it.
Andrew: In my opinion, your best pick yet. How Navi River Journey, albeit a beautiful ride, continuously has hour plus wait times years after it’s debut is confounding.
Pick 3 (Andrew): Test Track
Epcot is devoid of thrill rides so Test Track being one means that it will have long waits. Unfortunately, those long waits aren’t really justified at this point. The Test Track ride system is fun but the actual story of the ride is lacking and doesn’t make it worth the hour(s) of waiting in line.
As Michaela herself talked about on a recent podcast, the Test Track renovation (at this point it’s been nearly a decade) did not do the ride any favors. It could have aged into a quirky, exciting thrill ride. Instead it’s robbed of personality and isn’t all that interesting.
Maybe the wait times will go down once the park has more attractions to offer? At this point it seems like Test Track simply isn’t worth it and the only reason for it’s popularity is due to a hole in what Epcot is offering.
Michaela: Yeah, Test Track is at this point overrated. It’s unfortunate too, because before the renovation that ride was both thrilling and hilarious! I 100% think wait times for Test Track will lower when all of the park’s construction is complete. I hope Cheverolet ends its sponsorship in the near future the so ride can evolve into something better.
Pick 4 (Michaela): Toy Story Midway Mania!
I want to preface this by saying I think Toy Story Midway Mania! is a great attraction. With that said, it is also so unbelievably overrated. Midway Mania is one giant video game; a giant video game that often has over an hour wait.
This ride is easily the most popular on Disney California Adventure’s Pixar Pier, and is a popular ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World. It’s similar, in theory, to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, but instead of there being actual animatronic aliens, all you’re doing is shooting at a screen.
The game and pretty much the entire ride, apart from the movement of the ride vehicles, is something everyone could do on a phone or a tablet. Or, rather, you would walk thirty feet down the pier in DCA and play actual real-life midway games.
The most real life this attraction gets is the life-sized Mr. Potato Head that ISN’T EVEN in the attraction! It’s in the queue! Why do people get in line for this attraction when the line is an hour long? I do not understand. I never ride this ride unless I have a FastPass for it. It’s like DCA’s version of Peter Pan’s Flight. A super long line for no good reason.
Ohhhh man, I really feel like I came back with that last pick. I hope your next pick is a doozy! What do you have for us next?
Shmandrew (Michaela wrote that) Andrew: A really strong pick indeed. The one defense I have for Toy Story Mania is that people always have fun on it and I would absolutely destroy you if we played against each other (Michaela’s note: He wishes). The wait times are ridiculous though.
Pick 4 (Andrew): Soarin’ Around the World
I’ve had a lot of conviction in most of my picks and have thought that they make sense not just for me, but for everyone. This one is more of a personal preference. I’ll start by saying that I absolutely love the original version of Soarin’. The film is great and feels authentic. Along with that the geography works and makes the transitions smoother.
Over the last few years I’ve soured on Soarin’ Around the World. At this point I don’t really enjoy the movie, although the ride system is still great. One of the problems in this new film is the curved screen. The lines in the movie drive me insane as the Eiffel Tower is crooked, along with a few other landmarks that have a slight tilt to them. I certainly understand not caring about this, and I wish I cared about it less. But I love clean lines and symmetry in photos and cinematography and that just can’t happen with the curved screen.
More than that though is all of the CGI and forced transitions in this new film. The Taj Mahal scene has never looked the least bit real to me and the African elephants fall under that (giant) umbrella too. Why every scene is transitioned out with a surprise like an elephant throwing dirt or a kite sneaking up on the camera is beyond me. It’s like the creators thought the golf ball in the original film was funny (it was) but then decided to use it in every transition.
All of this leads me to call Soarin’ Around the World overrated. It’s not an attraction that first timers should skip but it is one that just doesn’t live up to the public opinion for me and that’s essentially the definition of overrated.
Last pick Michaela! Make it a good one (because you have to find a way to catch up!)
Michaela: I have thought long and hard about my last pick, not because I am in anyway losing this draft, but because I wanted to end on something I feel strongly about. Thus, my last pick was made.
Pick 5 (Michaela): Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
I’m going to be frank. I don’t think this is a very good attraction. It’s old, boring, and lacks any real excitement. It’s a show run by animatronic birds which are unbelievably outdated. For some reason this attraction has a cult following, with large amounts of merchandise and a restaurant in Disneyland (the Tropical Hideaway) themed around the attraction.
I am fully aware that the Enchanted Tiki Room is a classic Disney attraction that Walt Disney helped create, and I am sure that it was an amazing show in the time that it was new, but for me personally it’s now just a waste of space.
The Tiki Room isn’t overrated in its wait time, but in the fact that people would have an absolute riot if any changes were made to the attraction, or if it was replaced with something else. It doesn’t have a high capacity for guests, it never has much of a line, and yet Disney doesn’t touch it because it’s so ‘treasured’.
If it were me I would move the Enchanted Tiki Room to a museum, or somewhere were it could be preserved outside of the park. I don’t even know why this attraction exists in Magic Kingdom because it doesn’t have any historical relevance compared to Disneyland’s version.
There you have it, the five rides that I think are overrated in Disney parks. Considering that you only chose one attraction that was on my list (Peter Pan’s Flight) I feel pretty good about this draft. Let’s see if you can wow me with your last pick!
Andrew: I knew eventually you’d pick an attraction I love. The Tiki Room is charming and sweet, the type of attraction that theme parks need. It takes up next to no space, is a break from the heat and has a sense of humor. But I digress, because I know I’ve picked things you love.
Pick 5 (Andrew): Walt Disney World Railroad
I considered Frozen Ever After and Mission: Space here but decided to follow your lead with a less conventional route. Let me preface this pick by saying that this definitely does not include the Disneyland Railroad, which is a beautiful ride with plenty to look at all the way through.
For the record, having a railroad is a good move. It pays homage to Walt Disney, offers some kinetic energy and adds to the charm of Main Street. Unfortunately, the Walt Disney World railroad offers little else of interest. The only special route this railroad takes is a brief glimpse into Splash Mountain. There’s no dioramas, dinosaurs or pretty passages by the river like the railroad’s west coast counterpart.
Yes, there is some allure to riding the train itself but that novelty wears off after a stop and there is nothing to keep guests on there. Yet many people praise the Walt Disney World railroad on the same level as they praise the Disneyland one and that is why it is firmly overrated for me. If they were to add dioramas or a few more interesting visual notes then I’d happily take it off this list!
Well Michaela, this was far different from our first draft thread in that neither of us really picked what the other had on their lists. I feel like all picks were justified though (even if my heart still hurts about your Tiki Room pick). I guess that goes to show overrated attractions really are in the eye of the beholder. Any closing thoughts? I know you’ll congratulate me on my win behind the scenes but feel free to do it on here as well.
Michaela: The WDW railroad is definitely an unconventional pick, but I can respect it. Considering that I disagree with one of your picks (Soarin’ Around The World), and you disagree with one of mine, I would say we came out pretty even!
Even though I think most of the attractions listed are overrated, I still enjoy most (sorry Tiki Room) and don’t hate their existence in the parks. They just don’t deserve the average wait times they have!
Andrew: Completely agree with you there. Everything we picked should still probably be experienced if you’re going to the parks. We just wouldn’t stand in line for their typical wait times and don’t always understand why those waits are so high.
All in all, this was a fair and enjoyable fight. Looking forward to more down the road!
Who do you think won the draft? Did we miss any overrated attractions? Let us know in the comments below! If you’re planning a trip to a Disney Resort, check out our planning guides to help you out along the way. Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney! Please subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email and like our Social Media pages, both of which you can find on the right side of this page. Have a great day!