Last year I came up with what I thought were the 10 best attractions in Orlando at it’s major resorts. I’m returning to this subject again, since so many new great attractions opened up last year. It’s time to give you my current list before all of the new 2020 attractions start rolling out in the coming months. My criteria haven’t changed all that much, but my thoughts on many of these attractions certainly have. In case you missed my previous list, here’s how I will be judging these attractions:
- Theming: This is arguably the most important category. We go to theme parks to escape the outside world, and how well a ride puts you in a certain environment has a huge impact on the experience.
- Thrill: Big e-Ticket thrill rides have always been the highlight for pretty much any park. How much of an adrenaline rush an attraction provides will greatly impact a guest’s opinion of it.
- Innovation: Nobody wants to do the same thing over and over again. In the world of theme parks, people are always looking for something newer and better. If an attraction is more unique, it will be rated higher. (This is going to be a big one this year).
- Miscellaneous Category: These are any positives or negatives that are specific to a single ride. They are features that not every ride is going to have. Things like a good soundtrack or a good ride vehicle can win points here.
10. Mako – SeaWorld Orlando
This might come as a surprise to you, as it certainly is to me. Last year Mako snuck in at 10 as well on my list simply because its the best pure roller coaster in Orlando by far. It was so good that I forgave it for not having much theming. As much as I loved it, I assumed that it would fall off the list due to how great the new stuff was and how it was at number 10. That was going to be the case, but then I had the chance to ride it again and was reminded just how awesome it is. I’ve spoken about Mako at length on here, but it is worthy of all the praise it gets. That first massive airtime hill is one of the best sensations you’ll experience out of any of my picks on this list, if not the best. Needless to say, I’m glad it’s still here.
9. Splash Mountain – The Magic Kingdom
This is one of the attractions that fell solely because of new attractions opening up that are higher on this list. I feel pretty much the same about as I did last year. It’s one of those quintessential Disney attractions that is a must-do on any Disney World vacation. The music is still great, the drop is still great, etc. Like I mentioned last year, I still wish they would upgrade the animatronics.
8. The Incredible Hulk Coaster – Universal Islands of Adventure
Like Splash Mountain, Hulk was higher on the list last year and dropped because of new attractions. Unlike Splash Mountain, I have actually learned to appreciate this coaster even more over the last year! Mainly because I got my first night ride on it recently and it was the best I’d ever had on it. Seriously, if you can ride Hulk at night it’s almost guaranteed to be hauling and is one of the best experiences on any ride in Orlando.
7. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Now, this is where things start to get interesting on my list. When I first rode Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run back in August, I thought for sure it would be top 5 on this list. Like I said in my previous review, it’s a dream come true. However, I also said in my previous review that your experience will vary greatly depending on how skilled the rest of your crew is. If you have a bad crew, it’s going to be a bit of a letdown. With the other rides on this list, you’re going to have a more consistently great experience. Overall though, this is the most interactive attractions ever and is still a ton of fun no matter what happens. It comes with a high recommendation from me.
6. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman – Universal Islands of Adventure
The next few attractions were incredibly tough to place. I love Spiderman. I will always love Spiderman. I have nothing more to say than what I said last year. However, I will add that this is going to be an interesting one to watch over the next few years with Disney opening their own Spiderman ride at DCA this summer. If that ride ends up being anywhere near as good as the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, who knows what will happen? Only time will tell…
5. The Haunted Mansion – The Magic Kingdom
It hurts me to see the Haunted Mansion only at number 5 given how high I hold this attraction. Honestly for me what really sells the Haunted Mansion is how well it has aged. In my opinion, out of all the Disney attractions pre -1980, the Mansion has aged the best. This was confirmed to me once again when I rode with a friend recently who had never been on it before and found himself still amazed by the effects that were developed in the 50s and 60s. He couldn’t believe it when I told him it opened with the park in 1971. That right there is why the Haunted Mansion is a truly great attraction.
4. Avatar Flight of Passage – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
What more can I say about Avatar Flight of Passage that I haven’t already said in the past here? It’s great. What might be most impressive about this ride now is the staying power its had. On any given day at any time of the year, the wait time can easily hit 3 hours. That’s insane for an attraction that’s been open for well over 2 years now, and fast passes are next to impossible to touch inside of 60 days. And it’s easy to see why, with its great theming and an unmatched sensation of flight. In 2020, Flight of Passage continues to impress.
3. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – Universal Islands of Adventure
After their last few attractions receiving poor responses from guests and critics, Universal Creative really needed a smash hit with their 2019 opening. Especially with Disney opening Galaxy’s Edge a short drive down I-4. As you can tell by Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure being number 3 on this list, they did. It’s nice to finally have a new ride from Universal that doesn’t rely heavily on screens to provide the entertainment and use real effects and sets to tell its story. And for a coaster, it tells a great story while providing some great thrills. This was my first coaster with a drop track, and it was an awesome experience. This is easily the best attraction at the Universal Orlando resort and it begs the following question: how did the same group of people who made the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon and Fast and the Furious: Supercharged make something this amazing?
2. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Last year, this was my number 1 pick for a variety of reasons. I love it all the same, even though it has finally been dethroned. More than 25 years later and the original and greatest Tower of Terror still holds up. I’m aware that even though it doesn’t seem to be in danger of being replaced anytime in the immediate future, I’m aware that it probably won’t be here forever. Seriously, go out and ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror before anything changes with it. It is one of those theme park experiences that can not be missed.
1. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
I mean what else would you expect would be here? This list was much harder to put together than last years, with the exception of this top spot. The moment I got off Rise of the Resistance for the first time, I knew it was number one in Orlando. It’s number one anywhere. Even with its inconsistency, it’s worth whatever you have to go through to ride it. I have a spoiler-free review of it on this site so I won’t elaborate anymore, but overall Rise of the Resistance is hands down the best attraction in Orlando.
There’s my list for 2020. Be sure to let us know what you think, and feel free to share your own top ten in the comments below!
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