“Cool” Attractions at Walt Disney World

Disney has a variety of attractions to cater to the variety of guest interests.  This post is going to focus on attractions that will help keep guests cool during the hot and humid summer weather.  Or as my wife called them, this morning, “Attractions my wife enthusiastically drags me to that I secretly love.”

When my family has gone to Walt Disney World in the summer, we try to avoid the parks in the middle of the day.  Our plans, usually, getting the parks first thing in the morning and going a lot of attractions, then returning to the hotel for a mid-afternoon swim until the mid-afternoon thunderstorm comes to chase us out of the pool, finally returning the parks in the evening when it has cooled down.  However, guests can’t always do that.  Where can they go “cool for a bit” and get out of the heat when they are in the park?  Thankfully, every park has place or two or three that they can get out of the heat.  Here’s the breakdown:

Animal Kingdom:

It’s Tough To Be a Bug: Located at the base of the Tree of Life in the Discovery Island section of Animal Kingdom, this 3D show takes guests through what it is like to be a bug.  There are some scenes which can be intense and frightening for smaller children.

Festival of the Lion King: This stage production is currently on hiatus until Summer 2014 while completes its move from the Camp Minnie-Mickey area of the park to its new location behind Tusker House Restaurant.  This 28-minute production takes guests through a production based on the The Lion King.  The show, in its new location, will be the same as before with guests divided into four sections elephant, giraffe, warthog, or lion.

Finding Nemo: The Musical: This 30-minute show turns the movie Finding Nemo into a musical.  The show takes place in the 1500-seat Theater in the Wild located by Dinoland U.S.A.  Guests get to see a show featuring puppets, dancers, acrobats, and animated backdrops during the retelling of the Finding Nemo story.  Guests will also new songs created just for the show.

Finding Nemo: The Musical and It’s Tough To Be a Bug are available for Fastplus+ reservations.

EPCOT

EPCOT has the most opportunities to “cool” off and watch a show or in some cases go on an attraction.

Future World

Circle of Life: Located in The Land pavilion, this 20-minute movie takes guest through the environmental concerns involving the construction of the fictional Hakuna Matata Vacation Resort.  The environment looks to take a major hit until Simba comes and reminds Pumbaa and Timon to care for our rivers and trees.

Living with the Land: This is one of my favorite attractions in EPCOT.  Also located in The Land Pavilion, the 14-minute boat ride takes guests through biospheres of Earth before humans.  After this introductions, guests are taken into Disney’s four greenhouses and aquaculture facility.  A very interesting and educational attraction.

Turtle Talk with Crush: One of the shorter shows but one of the most entertaining.  At only 10 minutes, guests get to interact with Crush, from Finding Nemo.  Crush will ask guests especially children questions and answer them, in sometimes, humorous manner.  This attraction can be found in The Seas pavilion.

Ellen’s Energy Adventure: One of the longer shows at 45 minutes.  The show starts with Ellen DeGeneres dreaming that she is on Jeopardy! competing against her former college rival, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, and Albert Einstein.  All of the categories are in her weakness subject….energy.  Thankfully, her neighbor, Bill Nye the Science Guy, comes to help Ellen and teach her about all things energy to win the game of Jeopardy!

Spaceship Earth: The iconic EPCOT landmark houses a 16-minute journey through recorded history narrated by Judy Dench.  This exhibit is perfect for a mid-day break as most people visit it when they first enter the park leading to longer wait times.  In the middle of the day, the wait times are much shorter.

World Showcase

American Adventure: A 30-minute show located in the American pavilion takes guests through American history.  The audio-animatronic show is narrated by Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain.  The end of the film was last updated in 2007.

Impressions de France: This rather dated, in my opinion, movie takes guests through France from the countryside to the city of Paris.  The theater screen is 200 degrees around so it can very difficult to see everything taking place during the movie.  Located in the France pavilion.

Malestrom: A journey back to midevil Norway on a dragon-headed boat.  This attraction has some dips and very dark which could turn off some less adventurous guests or small children.  There is a short film at the end which combined with the ride makes of a 16-minute attraction.  RUMOR: Due to the popularity of the movie Frozen, this attraction could be getting a much-needed face lift to incorporate some of the characters and scenes from the movie into the attraction.

O Canada: A 360-degree theater takes guests into a 14-minute movie narrated by Martin Short.  The movie, which at some moments makes fun of itself and Canada, is about Canada and its landscapes and culture.  It includes a brief moment of my favorite winter pasttime….curling!  One of the better attractions.  The only negative is guests stand throughout the movie.

Wonders of China: Another 360-degree theater shows guests a 19-minute movie about China.  The movie debuted in the spring of 2003.

Hollywood Studios:

Hollywood Studios has a lot of stage shows but they also take place in outdoor theaters so while you are sitting, you are also still outside in the heat and humidity.  However, there are still places to go and beat the heat.

Beauty and The Beast Live on Stage: A 20-minute version of the movie Beauty and The Beast in a Broadway-level production.  The theater is located in the Sunset Boulevard section of Hollywood Studios.  The show repeats throughout the day so there are plenty of chances to see it during the middle of the day.

Disney Junior Live on Stage: A stage show geared toward the littler guests.  This show, which my family has seen every time we have gone to Disney World, has the same basic story line: Minnie’s Birthday.  However, the cast of “helpers” has changed.  Currently, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates help Mickey and gang put together a surprise birthday party for Minnie.  Guests will sit on the floor for this production.  There are benches on the sides and in the rear of the theater for those guests who don’t want or can’t sit on the floor but space is limited.  The attraction is located in the Animation Courtyard.

Great Movie Ride: 22-minute ride through movie history.  If you take small children, there are some moments of peril and simulated gun fire.  My family took our daughter on this ride when she was five or six and it took many snacks of popcorn to calm her down after the ride.  Located on Hollywood Boulevard.

MuppetVision 3D: The Muppets take guests to the MuppetLabs where they are developing MuppetVision 3D.  The labs suffer a failure and a 3D character named Waldo escapes the lab.  The show involves the Muppets trying, through 3D tricks and gags, to capture Waldo and return him to the lab.  The pre-show and show is 25-minutes long and the attraction is located on New York Street.

The Voyage of the Little Mermaid: Also located in the Animation Courtyard, The Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a 17-minute stage production of the movie.  The theater is dark and can be scary for small children.  The show is excellent and very popular and can have long lines to get into the theater which holds a lot of people.  Fastpass+ reservations are available for this attraction.

Magic Kingdom

Carousel of Progress: Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress that debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City returned the Magic Kingdom with an updated show.  The show takes guests through the 20th century and a peak into the future.  The show is located in Tomorrowland and is 20-minutes long.  The attraction is rarely crowded so wait time is usually based on how much time is remaining in the show.

Country Bear Jamboree: An original from when the park opened in 1971.  The 16-minute show in Frontierland has guests watch the animatronic Country Bear sing a collection of country songs.

Enchanted Tiki Room: Located in Adventureland, Tiki Birds sing their way through this 10-minute show while guests relax on benches in the Enchanted Tiki Room.  There are over 300 birds which sing and dance during this show.

Hall of Presidents: The 20-25 minute show is located in Liberty Square.  The show is based on other World’s Fair attraction designed by Walt Disney: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.  This show takes guests through American history as told by the US Presidents and includes a full reading of the Gettysburg Address.  An attraction much like the Carousel of Progress where the wait time will be dictated by how long is it until the next show.

Mickey’s PhilharMagic: A 12-minute show where guests are taken on a journey through some Disney’s iconic moments and songs.   It is a 3D show and the theater can be dark.

Monsters LaughFloor: A 15-minute comedy show featuring the characters from Monsters Inc. and Monsters University.  It is an interactive show where guests participate in the show by texting jokes into the show.  The pre-show includes spotlights on guests which funny captions underneath and one person is selected at random to be one of the running gags throughout the show.  Located in Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland Peoplemover: The 10-minute ride throughout Tomorrowland gives guests a chance to see over Tomorrowland and parts of Fantasyland.  This is great opportunity to get off your feet.  The ride is usually not crowded and Cast Members will allow to take a second or even third journey if you ask and there are not people waiting.  Some people use this attraction to see what rides have short or long wait time and do some “on the fly” park planning.  The ride, though outside, is completely covered so guests can at least escape the sun but not the humidity.

I hope this post gives readers a chance to discover some attractions which can be used to beat the heat during the upcoming summer months.

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