Reviews of bucket-list-worthy things to do all over the world

Jen's Walt Disney World Bucket List


No one can tell you which are the most bucket-list-worthy Walt Disney World Resort rides, shows, and attractions. One person’s number-one-favorite might not even make the next person’s list. Below are my picks for the best things to do at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. To give you some background, I like music, animatronics, creative touches, the ability to immerse guests in the story, and no stomach-churning motion simulation. If you agree, this list can help you ensure that you hit the true highlights at each park.

This list is from the perspective of teens and adults. If you have small children, you may have other favorites that aren't listed here. Note that some of these rides have height requirements and/or other restrictions. 

I have personally done everything on this list except for those items indicated with a *.

Jen (California, USA)


Jen's Walt Disney World Bucket List!

Magic Kingdom 

If you like mild rides:

Peter Pan's Flight
Delightful "flight" from London to Neverland.

The Haunted Mansion
A dark and not-too-scary ghostly journey with a fun song at the end.

Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirate-themed boat ride with a catchy song.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Adorable trip through a Winnie the Pooh story.

Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
Musical journey through the tale of the Little Mermaid.

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
A Toy-Story-themed video game comes to life.

Jungle Cruise
Live skipper recites a corny script. More fun at night when the animatronic animals look almost real.

it's a small world
“it’s a small world” sung in different languages by beautifully-costumed dancing dolls.

If you like wild rides:

Splash Mountain
Log flume ride with adorable theming. (Warning: You will get wet. You may get drenched.)

If you like shows:

Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Laugh-out-loud funny show where animated hosts poke fun at members of the audience. If you don't want to be "picked on," you can decrease your odds by sitting in the very first row.

Stitch's Great Escape!
Special effects make you feel as if Stitch is wreaking havoc on you in the dark.

Carousel of Progress
A look at the past told through animatronics. Classic Disney!

Enchanted Tiki Room
Animatronic bird show. Classic Disney!

If you like roller coasters:

Space Mountain
Super-fast, outer-space-themed ride, set to exciting music.

Big Thunder Mountain
A ride on a runaway train through the old west.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Nondescript high-speed roller coaster highlighted by a brief slow ride through the Seven Dwarf's mine.

If you like themed restaurants:

Be Our Guest restaurant
Eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner in one of three dining rooms inside Beast's castle. Dinner is table service and is more expensive, but it includes an exclusive meet-and-greet opportunity with the Beast! My favorite room (for adults) was the dark, intimate West Wing. (Reservations are required.)
Animal Kingdom

If you like mild rides:

Kilimanjaro Safaris
A jeep ride through various outdoor animal exhibits. (We rode three times: mid-day, just before sunset, and after dark. It was easiest to spot the animals during our two daytime rides, although we did see some lion courtship during the night ride. Our pre-sunset ride was the most spectacular ride of the three. At one point, there were giraffes EVERYWHERE, and then they spontaneously began to run with the springbok (small hooved animals that leap into the air when they run) like a scene out of a movie. Apparently such a spectacle is rare, but it did seem that most of the animals were most active just before sunset.)

Na'vi River Journey
The most beautiful boat ride ever. Special effects make the magical setting come alive. The ride is over far too soon. (Note: wait times are often very long (therefore this ride is a good use of your FastPass+ if you can't get one of the nearly-impossible-to-get reservations for Avatar Flight of Passage).)

If you like wild rides:

A wild jeep ride back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Kali River Rapids
Your typical river rapid ride. (Warning: You will get wet. You may get soaked.)

If you like shows:

Festival of the Lion King
Songs from Disney's The Lion King animated movie sung live, along with characters and acrobatics.

Finding Nemo - The Musical
A Broadway-style retelling of Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo.

If you like roller coasters:

Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
A roller coaster ride in and around "Mount Everest."  (Warning to those who can generally enjoy roller coasters, but are prone to motion sickness: there is a brief backward portion of the ride.)

If you like motion simulation rides:

Avatar Flight of Passage
A very-convincing ride through a beautiful landscape on a the back of a flying animal. (The wait times are very long. If you can't secure a nearly-impossible-to-get FastPass+ for this, check the wait times on Disney's app and try to visit during a slower time of day.)

If you like themed restaurants:

Satu'li Canteen
It's tasty offerings and theming will immerse you in Pandora.

If you like themed lands:

Pandora - World of Avatar
Take some time to wander around this jaw-droppingly-spectacular land. Be sure to visit during the day and at night.

If you like zoos:

Various animal exhibits throughout the park
The playful gibbons and awe-inspiring large bats were our favorites. The animals are generally on exhibit only during the daytime. Check your park map for locations.

If you like mild rides:

Journey Into Imagination With Figment
Fun, silly, musical slow-moving ride.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Adorable, musical journey "under the sea."

Frozen Ever After
A cute musical boat ride featuring the beloved characters from Disney's Frozen animated movie. (It is best to have a FastPass+ for this ride as the standby waits are extremely long.) (Warning to those prone to motion sickness: there is a brief backward portion of the ride.)

Spaceship Earth
A history lesson told with animatronics. This is kind of a must-ride because it's inside that great big iconic ball that has become the symbol of Epcot.

Living with the Land
Boat ride through an impressive greenhouse.

If you like wild rides:

Test Track
High-speed car ride.

If you like shows:

The American Adventure
An entertaining animatronic U.S. history lesson.

If you like motion simulation rides:

Soarin' Around the World
Gentle motion-simulation journey over beautiful places all over the world set to an equally-beautiful soundtrack.

*Relaunched! Mission: Space
If you have a very strong stomach (i.e., you are not prone to motion sickness), you might enjoy this simulated space mission.
Hollywood Studios

If you like mild rides:

Toy Story Mania!
It's like playing an old-fashioned video game on a big screen. If you love Toy Story or the wait isn't long or you have a FastPass+ for it, it might be worth it.

If you like wild rides:

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
An amazingly-themed drop ride.

If you like shows:

Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage
Broadway-style show that is truly excellent!

A delightful pyrotechnic nighttime spectacular!

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
Live performers provide an impressive look at movie-making magic. (If you're an adult and you'd like to be "an extra" in the show, arrive early and act super-enthusiastic when they ask for volunteers.)

If you like roller coasters:

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Wild loop-the-loop indoor roller coaster.

If you like motion simulation rides:

Star Tours - The Adventures Continue
The 3-D images and well-synched movement allows guests to take an intergalactic trip.

Other Walt Disney World Bucket List Adventures

Visit a Walt Disney World theme park on your birthday

Parasail above Walt Disney World

*Have a family reunion at Walt Disney World

Take someone on their first visit to Walt Disney World

Stay at a Walt Disney World  Resort hotel

Splash at a Disney water park at Walt Disney World in Florida (Blizzard Beach; Typhoon Lagoon)

*Be one of the first people to enter the Magic Kingdom at the daily rope drop

Find a Hidden Mickey without any hints

*Play miniature golf at Walt Disney World (Fantasia Gardens; Winter Summerland)

*Take a behind-the-scenes tour at a Walt Disney World theme park


Seasonal Walt Disney World Bucket List Adventures

Go to a Christmas party at a Walt Disney World theme park
(Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom)

Visit Walt Disney World at Christmas time

*Dress up in costume and go to an after-hours trick-or-treating party (Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom)


Walt Disney World Bucket List Adventures that Require Some Pixie Dust (i.e. experiences that money can't buy):

*Voice a character in a Disney World ride

*Be in a Disney World parade or show

*Be a Jungle Cruise skipper for a boat full of people

*Stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite

*Tour the Cinderella Castle Suite