As an Orlando native and a Cast Member, there's nothing I'm more tired of hearing than "If you don't like roller coasters, why do you even come to the parks?" Walt Disney World (WDW) is an internationally-known theme park, and guests come from around the globe to experience the sights and sounds of Walt Disney's imagination. They often ask for recommendations about whether this ride is better than that one, or if the line is worth the 30 seconds, and my answer is always: "I've never ridden it."
I am not a fan of heights, or speed, or adrenaline, and therefore thrill rides are definitely not things I seek out. It becomes tiring, however, when people I've just met get personally offended that I've never experienced being dropped out of the air in The Hollywood Hotel Tower of Terror, or been blacked out on Space Mountain.
If you share my aversion to thrill rides, and want to know what WDW can offer you, I've compiled a list of things to do that don't involve half a day's wait in line or the chance of vomiting.
As a Cast Member at Hollywood Studios, I get upset when I hear Annual Pass holders and regulars complain about there being nothing to do in my park. Yes, the thrill attractions are few in number, but the cinematic dedication of the park doesn't lend itself to roller coasters. My favorite show on the Walt Disney property is the Beauty and the Beast floor show, and not only is it spectacular entertainment, but it's also a place to sit down with high-powered fans trained directly on you.
Next time you're in the parks, I urge you to give the shows a try. From Indiana Jones' Epic Stunt Spectacular! to Festival of the Lion King, to Finding Nemo the Musical, to Fantasmic!, the shows at WDW won't disappoint.
Epcot is home to several themed festivals throughout the year, and whether you visit every weekend or on vacation, the chances of you catching one at its height are pretty large. This past week, I enjoyed the lovely sights and scrumptious food offerings of the International Flower and Garden Festival. Often bringing new decorations, lively stands, and delectable treats, the festivals are a great alternative to waiting hours in line for 30 seconds of adrenaline.
While your party waits for Mission Space, you can enjoy the butterfly garden, art stands, or culinary creations of the international festivals.
3. Not-So-Scary Rides.
As a kid-based theme park, obviously there are rides with less thrill and more magic. Adults often get caught up in the principle of the thing and forget how fun it can be to ride on a magic carpet. I'm not above waiting in line for a kiddie ride, especially if it has a view like this one.
My favorite attraction at WDW is probably Spaceship Earth. Unfortunately, it's closed now for renovations, but that big ball on Epcot's skyline is this scaredy cat's safe place.
Although I was new to the party scene this year, I had a blast gathering candy and running around Magic Kingdom after hours at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2018. There is also the popular Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. These are separately ticketed events that start around the holiday season to celebrate Disney-style: with shorter lines and exclusive candy.
(Can you guess who I bounded as? Hint: she's an expert on laryngitis).
5. Food hunts.
I am a sucker for dessert, and Disney delivers when it comes to rolling out new sweets. I follow several Disney food blogs to find the best places to eat (hint: if they serve chicken nuggets and burgers, that's not one of them). From themed dining to experimental dishes, WDW is a gold mine for people that are willing to walk the parks for the little stand in the back serving that beautiful treat you've had your eye on.
This Maleficent cone was at Sleepy Hollow Treats (Magic Kingdom) for Halloween time. Keep an eye out for new seasonal additions.
6. Scavenger Games.
Although I've never done it, I've heard great things about the Sorcerer's of Magic Kingdom. It's an interactive scavenger game where you cast spells throughout the park and search for hidden treasures. Head to the Firehouse on Main Street USA to get your starter kit, and you'll be making magic in no time.
7. Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Disney's Animal Kingdom offers many attractions, but sometimes the actual animals get overlooked among flying banshees and colorful parades. Kilimanjaro Safaris is a wonderful attraction in the back of the park that brings you up close and personal with beautiful creatures from the African savanna. Less like a zoo and more like a sanctuary, this attraction shows guests the importance of conservation, while offering stunning encounters with exotic wildlife.
In my recent visit, a giraffe named George stopped our procession of safari trucks to munch on a snack. The 16-minute ride may have slowed the wait time a tad, but the breathtaking experience of being dwarfed by a giraffe beats ride-induced motion sickness any day.
Whether you're just queasy on rides or looking to try something new next time you visit, WDW is a treasure trove outside of the flashy thrill rides on the brochures. Although I may want to be part of the world that enjoys being hurtled through the air every which way, I think I'll join Ariel in keeping two feet on the ground. There's plenty of other neat stuff for me to discover and still be the girl who has everything.