The cultural phenomenon known as Barbenheimer is upon us. If you haven’t heard, this is the combination of two mega movie releases this week – Barbie and Oppenheimer. I went and took part in this sensation, thoroughly enjoyed both films in succession and then moved along with my life. Just kidding! Instead, I came home to write on this website and started thinking about what Disney attractions make the best double features (we’re using a very loose term of ‘features’ here.) In this post, I’m going to pick my favorite attractions to ride back-to-back at each Disney Park I’ve been to.
For those that think this website is above using something big in pop culture and then turning it into my own content, I appreciate you. I don’t know why you have such a high opinion of me but theme parks are a very serious subject that shouldn’t be used for jokes or ridiculous blog posts ever. I beg your pardon while taking a break from (checks notes) reviewing hot dogs and figuring out which order to ride Fantasyland attractions in.
Now that’s not to say there weren’t some rules and thought in this. I saw Oppenheimer, I’m versed in theoretical physics and all that heady stuff now! We’re going through 8 parks in this blog post (all of the American and Tokyo parks) and talking about each one of them individually. As much as I’d like to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris followed by Jungle Cruise, there’s no park hopping allowed! That would take too much time in between our double feature.
That’s the main rule! Other factors I considered include:
- Distance between the attractions. No one wants to walk a long ways between their two movies. Criss-crossing the park for two attractions does not make for a good double feature.
- Similar theme or vibe. This doesn’t necessarily have to happen as we’ve seen with Barbenheimer but it doesn’t hurt!
- Quality of attraction. This wasn’t an exercise of picking the two best attractions in each park I’ve been to but I didn’t want to include anything that wasn’t enjoyable. Sorry to Aladdin’s Flying Carpets, which could pair with Carousel of Progress for a creakiest attractions double feature.
- This is absurd. We just wanna have fun!
We’ll start on the west coast before heading to Walt Disney World and Tokyo. I’ll add in my reasoning, which is obviously beyond reproach, for each pick underneath it.
Disneyland – Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion
I started with Disneyland Resort because this was easily my best pick. These two attractions point to how good a pair of original attractions can be in a broadly themed land. Nothing held back the storytelling or the creativity and they’ve now both been classics since the 1960’s. That they inspired their own movies is a testament to just how amazing they are. We have walkability here, similar design in the facades and a sort of dark comedy that many modern theme park attractions can’t pull off, or they aren’t given a chance to pull off. Riding these back-to-back feels like a Disneyland rite of passage more than it feels like an addition to my dumb blog post.
California Adventure – Grizzly River Run and Radiator Springs Racers
Once in a while you just want to watch two movies that have a similar aesthetic and that’s where we’re going here. The rockwork around Grizzly River Run and Radiator Springs Racers are two of the most visually impressive parts of California Adventure. It’s interesting to compare and contrast the style there as they are representative of different regions but share some similarities in design. Add in that they’re both very fun and I’m sold!
Magic Kingdom – Country Bear Jamboree and the Enchanted Tiki Room
Let’s get weird with it! No, these aren’t the most popular attractions in Magic Kingdom but this is a very feasible double feature to pull off during the hot Florida afternoon. That both Country Bear Jamboree and the Enchanted Tiki Room are shows is a little bonus. You’ve got a very comedic 40 minutes between these two with some of Imagineering’s most memorable animatronic work put on display. Really, I wanted to just put Country Bear Jamboree twice but in the name of journalism (HA!) I followed the self-imposed rules.
Epcot – Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Spaceship Earth
This was a hard park to pick. I settled here because:
- These two attractions are fairly close together.
- The Guardians ride on a spaceship?
- Going to outer space followed by the climactic view in Spaceship Earth seems like a nice through thread.
- A rock and roll song followed by Dame Judi Dench narrating is funny.
Hollywood Studios – Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Rise of the Resistance
Sometimes you’ve got a nerdy double feature. This one is for the theme park junkies! Yes, both of these rides are fun and new but the real reason I paired them is because we have two examples of trackless ride systems. We’ll start with Runaway Railway, which is plenty advanced but less technically impressive than Rise. Maybe bring your engineer friend along with you on this one so they can explain how this all works? Or, you know, don’t.
Animal Kingdom – Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest
A ‘Taming of the Beasts’ edition and one that is worthy of crossing the park for. Hopping on the back of a banshee to ride it through Pandora before freezing a yeti with the emergence of your presence makes for a thrilling adventure! We’re really following the Animal Kingdom mythical beasts motif in this one. Not only is there some fun here but we’re including two of the best attractions in all of Walt Disney World.
Tokyo Disneyland – Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast
Not only are these similar ride systems but we’ve also got the exclusivity of both of these attractions being unique to Tokyo Disneyland. The distance between them isn’t much and they both play off of the classic Fantasyland dark rides. There were no shortage of good options here but this one checks all of the boxes needed for a great back-to-back!
Tokyo DisneySea – Journey to the Center of the Earth and Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage
If Barbie and Oppenheimer have taught us anything it’s that sometimes opposites attract. Sinbad explores the self-discovery side of things while Journey takes riders on a more fearful journey. In the end, they’re both adventure stories and some of the best around. The contrast of dark ride to thrill ride is one I was wanting to pull out somewhere in this post and I snuck it in with the last option. Let all these double features begin!
What are your favorite rides to do back-to-back? Planning a Disney trip? Check out our Travel Guides to help get you there! If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney please subscribe to the blog via email or WordPress and like our social media pages. You can find all of those things on the right side of this page. Thank you very much for reading, we appreciate it!
Categories: Weird Stuff