No point in not continuing this as a series, I suppose, right? As in my last Top 5 post, about Hollywood Studios, I’m thinking of family-friendly attractions that appeal to kids right around five and under. Family-friendly meaning, it’s not going to be something that only the kids can do by themselves, such as a play area or the like. I know my children would adore the Oz play garden at Epcot right now, but I can’t do it with them, so I’m leaving it off this list. For the record, my daughter loves Test Track passionately and always has, but there is a height requirement so my son couldn’t do it, so things like that are off the list too.
Getting right into it:
#5: Gran Fiesta Tour with the Three Caballeros. Although I think the movies in the World Showcase are terrific, and you should definitely explore each pavilion with your kids, the films themselves aren’t really suited for younger children in general. Now – odds are at least someone can say that their kids LOVE them, and I’m sure that’s true! But I think on average, the movies are less likely to hold the attention of younger kids and are better for, say, 7 and up. I’m not here to debate that though! Instead I’ll put my money on the Gran Fiesta Tour for a good young-kids ride. After the boats in ‘small world’ and Pirates, who wouldn’t love a good boat ride? And this one is, I think, more kid-friendly than Maelstrom which gets a bit intense. Though my youngest liked it, my daughter at age 5 did not. The only down side of Gran Fiesta Tour is that, going into the temple at the start, it does look as if it might be a bit spooky. Get through that though and it’s downright jolly!
#4: The Seas Pavilion, including both Nemo & Friends, and Turtle Talk with Crush. You may be asking why this isn’t closer to number 1 since it seems quite obvious and is actually targeted directly at kids. Well, here’s why. First of all, Nemo & Friends… well, I find it a disappointment. You sort of can’t go on it if you DON’T have kids – not unless you really, really love Nemo. It doesn’t transcend its theming, not even at the very end with the aquarium. It’s neat technology, but I had thought that the idea would be to have the Nemo fish teaching you about sea life, instead of just riding through and sort of recapping the movie. Meh. Crush, on the other hand, is BRILLIANT. I loved sitting through that with and without kids. But *with* kids, you have to prepare your little ones in advance for the fact that Crush might not talk to them and they shouldn’t take it personally. And depending on personality, even if you do prepare them, they might still be disappointed. My daughter cried pretty hard for a while afterwards when it ended without Crush answering her question.
#3: Living With the Land: I was a bit skeptical as to whether this would definitely appeal to the kids, to be honest. I love this ride and make a point to go on it every time (yep, another great boat ride!), but I wondered if my children would be interested. But my son liked the whole thing – I think he liked anything that wasn’t really loud, though he did cry at the end of Peter Pan’s Flight – and my daughter loved it. She talked about it for quite a while after. My favourite part is really the part in the greenhouse, but what stuck with her was the part where you go through the different ecosystems. The fact that this part of the ride is overlooked by the Garden Grill, where we’d eaten dinner a few nights earlier, really appealed to her. If you do this ride I’d suggest eating at the GG first, so that you can point it out while you’re there. It’s an added dimension of neat for the kids later!
#2: Spaceship Earth. Everyone ever must go on this ride. I don’t know any age group that wouldn’t enjoy it, except perhaps a very jaded teen or pre-teen who was hoping for something faster that went in upside-down loops. 😉 Both my children loved it, and my daughter still remembers it well as an attraction that taught her and also “seemed like it was going back in time”. I’ll admit I like the prior version with Jeremy Irons a bit more than this version, but kids aren’t going to miss anything. I just like Jeremy Irons’s voice. 😉
#1: Journey Into Imagination with Figment! Now, I am aware that this attraction is a letdown compared to the original, and it would not top my list of recommendations for adults. But younger kids love Figment and they don’t know how cool it used to be. 😉 My daughter talked about Figment for weeks afterward. Much as I might cringe at the part with the skunk, it stayed with both kids. 😉 My son was a bit alarmed at the train part, because he’s not a fan of loud noises, but over all there is so much whimsy in the look and feel of the ride that it’s easily overlooked. Plus they had a terrific time afterwards playing all the games; I have a wonderful video of my son jumping around onto all the musical instruments and making music. Speaking for myself, I love Eric Idle and love that they extended his role past the “Honey I Shrunk the Audience” movie into this ride. And I loved the “Imagination” song before I even knew it was a Sherman Brothers tune!
So there you have my picks… as always, if you agree or disagree I welcome comments and input! All kids are different and I bet some will hate everything I put on here and prefer all the Circle-Vision movies. ;D