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The 5 Most Underrated Walt Disney World Experiences

Offbeat surprises await the guests who are willing to try these attractions.

by
Chris Queen

Bio

September 12, 2013 - 1:00 pm
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Walt Disney World

A Walt Disney World vacation offers a ton of truly special experiences — from thrills and chills to charming family attractions. The resort has truly lived up to its reputation as the “Vacation Kingdom of the World.” Every year millions from all over the world travel to central Florida to enjoy popular attractions like It’s A Small World, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Expedition Everest, and Mission: SPACE.

First-time guests — and even a few seasoned guests — often miss out on off-the-beaten-path attractions and little underrated gems throughout Walt Disney World. Sometimes these experiences go unnoticed because they’re older and don’t take advantage of flashy new technology. Others wind up being “best kept secrets” for guests who stay on property. Occasionally, guests just walk by others without even noticing them.

Here I’m presenting a list of my top 5 most underrated experiences at Walt Disney World. They include a couple of Tomorrowland attractions that are retro-fantastic, a quaint getaway from the bustle of Adventureland, an entire resort that guests often overlook, and a special nighttime treat. The common thread between all of them — besides that fact that I think they’re underrated — is that they’ve all been around practically since Walt Disney World opened.

Without further ado, here are the top 5 underrated experiences at Walt Disney World. Enjoy…

5. Carousel of Progress

Carousel Of Progress

The Imagineers — going all the way back to Walt Disney’s day — have taken pride in their ability to tell stories in unique ways. One prime example of a quintessential Disney storytelling innovation is the Carousel of Progress.

Walt personally supervised the development of the Carousel of Progress for the 1964-65 World’s Fair. The attraction employs an inventive theater-in-the-round concept and one of the earliest examples of Audio-Animatronics to tell the story of how “industrial advances over the past century have changed everyday living for an American family.” Even the theme song, the Sherman Brothers’ “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” reflects a certain nostalgic exuberance.

Is it corny? Yes. Are the old-school Audio-Animatronics a bit outdated? You bet. Is it worth checking out? Without a doubt. At the very least, the Carousel of Progress is an air-conditioned respite from Florida’s often oppressive heat. But if you’re willing to let its message sink in, you’ll get an infectious glimpse into Walt Disney’s optimistic futurism. Let’s face it — the chance to see the future through Walt’s eyes makes the Carousel of Progress worth the ride.

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Top Rated Comments   
I'm actually going to be staying (in my family's small camper) at Fort Wilderness in October. Been there before and really enjoyed it. In total agreement with the People Mover (this is a better name than "Transit Authority). My family has actually adopted it as our standard "Let's get off our feet for a bit" activity.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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The Carousel of Progress makes me happier than any other place in Disneyworld. I'm never ashamed to be caught singing along.

The Hall of Presidents is another underrated classic, as is the America Pavillion at EPCOT.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Been going for about 30 years with grandkids and you've introduced a couple new ones to me.
Thanks; See you there.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fort Wilderness also has a first class hotel, so you don't have to "rough it". It's our favorite place after Animal Kingdom Lodge (nearly a tie).
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I promise I’m not hating, Disneyland fans, but which is more enduring, the classic Swiss Family Robinson or a cartoon featuring Rosie O’Donnell as a baby gorilla? "

That there is realistic casting.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
What is your obsession with Disney? How is their porn division doing?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
What? Are U f'n goofy?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
You should throw in Tom Sawyer's Island. Usually only a line to get on the flat boats to get there. If you have some kids who need to burn off some energy, it's the place to go. There's plenty of benches and shady seating. There's generally no crowds even when the park is full, and there's the fort, the caves, etc, to keep smaller ones busy for a while. Sure it's kind of dated, but I think that's part of the charm.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, absolutely. Tom Sawyer's Island is one of my favorite parts of the park. It is a little zone of quiet fun in the middle of Disney World.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm actually going to be staying (in my family's small camper) at Fort Wilderness in October. Been there before and really enjoyed it. In total agreement with the People Mover (this is a better name than "Transit Authority). My family has actually adopted it as our standard "Let's get off our feet for a bit" activity.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whenever we visit WDW we do the Carousel of Progress and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (still prefer the name WEDWAY People Mover), wouldn't miss them! And I really miss the "Walt Disney Story" film that used to be shown just inside Main Street, to the right of the train station.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know a guy, not me, who's honeymooned three times at Disney World.

You would think that He would make the connection by now.

I've also heard that Will Smith is thinking about remaking Swiss Family Robinson using Jada, Jaden, Willow and Trey. *sighs sadly, lowers head and walks away muttering to self *

50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
We stayed at Fort Wilderness back in the mid-eighties and, one day, were the only passengers riding the tram back to the place. Without warning, the tram began to swerve back and forth on the road then a whistled rendition of "It's a Small World" came through the overhead speakers. I like to think the driver had always wanted to do this and had seized the chance when hardly anyone would notice.

It's one of my favorite memories of WDW.

50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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