5 Low-Key Attractions at Walt Disney World
Last week, we looked at five of the most thrilling attractions at Walt Disney World, the type of experiences designed to get your heart racing and the adrenaline pumping. However, we know those may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Just like the Mad Tea Party may not be your cup of tea. Say, if you’ve just eaten.
Luckily, Walt Disney World is also home to many low-key attractions for visitors who just want to relax. It’s a perfectly reasonable reaction. Not everyone goes on vacation to have a near-death experience. So, if you’ve ever looked at a jalapeno and thought, “A green bell pepper is plenty spicy enough for me!” then this is the list for you.
Walt Disney World Railroad
The Magic Kingdom offers a lot of laid-back attractions. You can take a trip on “the happiest cruise that ever sailed” with “it’s a small world,” enjoy a sweet and charming storytime with Enchanted Tales with Belle or just spend time strolling the trails on Tom Sawyer Island. All of these are great ways to relax.
But for our money, there’s nothing more chill than grabbing a seat on the Walt Disney World Railroad and setting out for a trip around the Magic Kingdom. Given Walt Disney’s famous love of trains (he even built his own miniature train, the Carolwood Pacific Railroad, in his backyard), it’s a special way to feel close to the man behind the magic.
It’s a 3-foot narrow gauge heritage railroad that traverses 1.5 miles. The round trip lasts around 20 minutes and gives you several unique views that can’t be seen anywhere else, including some audio-animatronics.
Living With the Land
There may be no more low-key attraction in all of Walt Disney World than Living With the Land in Epcot. A slow-moving boat ride that takes you through greenhouses, a fish farm, and a dark ride segment that carries you through a variety of biomes? It’s a bit like taking a stroll through a Bob Ross painting.
The figures (specifically the bison and prairie dogs) seen in the dark-ride portion of the attraction are an odd bit of Disney history. Originally, they were intended to be a part of the never realized Western River Expedition that was to be built in the Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland. Oh, and that dog you see on the porch? It’s the same as the one in Pirates of the Caribbean. And it was modeled after Walt Disney’s real-life pet. Another secret to keep an eye out for is the 82 painted on the side of a mailbox. That’s in reference to the year 1982 when Epcot originally opened.
As the narrator will inform you, the plants you see in the greenhouse create produce actually used in the Walt Disney World restaurants. They’re incredibly fruitful. In fact, 32,194 tomatoes were harvested between May 2005 and April 2006. That’s a world record for the most tomatoes harvested from a plant in a single year. The total weight of all those tomatoes was 1,151.84 pounds!
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Okay. I know I said that Living with the Land is the most laid-back attraction in Walt Disney World, but For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration is definitely the most CHILL. Get it? Chill? Hello?!? I’ll see myself out.
The show, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Hyperion Theater on Echo Lake, features the royal historians of Arendelle recounting the story of Anna and Elsa. Blending live-action characters with scenes from the movie, Guests are invited to sing along as they relive some of the most iconic moments from Frozen.
The show lasts around 30 minutes long, and to guarantee yourself a seat it’s probably best to arrive about 15 minutes before showtime. Luckily, there is a new show just about every hour, so there’s plenty of opportunity. Sit up front for an extra special experience. During the show’s grand finale, “snow” (in the form of bubbles) rains down on the audience. But those near the front may actually get to catch some paper snowflakes! It’s a fun little surprise that you can take home and paste into a scrapbook.
Na’vi River Journey
You may notice a certain theme among some of Walt Disney World’s most relaxing attractions. A lot of them are water-based. Think about it: “it’s a small world,” Living with the Land, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. All slow-moving boat rides.
Na’Vi River Journey in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a stunning addition to the list, taking you deep into the world of Pandora to experience the local flora and fauna along the Kasvapan River. You’ll also encounter the Na’Vi Shaman of Songs, one of the most sophisticated and complicated audio-animatronics ever created by Disney Imagineers. She is almost ten feet tall, with detailed facial expressions and musculature that make her seem truly alive.
While we’re loath to give away all the attraction’s secrets, it’s interesting to note that many of the creatures and scenes that you’ll see along the river are enhanced through digital projection. In fact, if you could see the interior with the lights on, you’d spot a screen that towers almost 100 feet high and 70 feet wide. It’s used to let Guests encounter creatures like the “viper wolves,” but the screens are so skillfully employed that you’ll swear the animals are really there.
Staying with the world of water, we’ll wrap up our tour at Typhoon Lagoon, one of Walt Disney World’s two water parks. While there are a few high-octane slides to experience at Typhoon Lagoon, there’s also a lazy river. It’s called Castaway Creek, which meanders its way around the entire park.
The “creek” winds its way along a 2,000-foot path with five different points of entry for Guests. You can even grab an innertube for ultimate relaxation. Waterfalls? Grottos? Lush foliage? It’s all there. Word of warning though. Once you start drifting along, you’ll never want to leave.