Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Walt Disney World's Mountains

Recently, our family was talking about our favorite attractions at Walt Disney World.  My five year old listed them all!  When I asked my 13 year old, he thought about it for a while and said, “Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom!” My response was, “OK, why is it your favorite?” He replied with, “No, I liked Space Mountain. No, Splash Mountain.” Then I asked, “What about Big Thunder Mountain?” ”YEAH! I liked that!” he said.

Great. My son is just as indecisive as I am when it comes to the “What is your favorite ride at Walt Disney World?” question. So, in thinking of his responses, I decided it was safe to say “The Mountains” are my son’s favorite attractions at Walt Disney World!

Three of “The Mountains” can be found at The Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. The final “Mountain” can be found at Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest. For our family, these four attractions are on our “must do” list each trip.

Space Mountain opened January 15, 1975. You must be 44 inches to ride. According to the Disney web site, you “Blast off on a journey into outer space on this classic attraction. Board a sleek, rocket-shaped vehicle in the glow-in-the-dark Space Port and begin a steady climb up the 180-foot high mountain, passing the Mission Control booth and myriad pulsating lights along the way.” This indoor roller coaster is in the dark. There are lots of twists and turns, but none that go upside down. My son rode this for the first time when he was 5 and loved it.

Big Thunder Mountain opened September 2, 1979. You must be 40 inches to ride. On the Disney web site you can read that “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a rollicking runaway train of a roller coaster that rushes through the gold-mining town of Tumbleweed in the Frontierland area.” This is an open air, outdoor roller coaster with lots of twists and turns. This coaster is more jerky to me. Sometimes I feel rattled when I get off. If your child is smaller, you may want to make sure he doesn’t slide around on the seat too much and get banged up.

Splash Mountain opened on July 17, 1989. You must be 40 inches tall to ride. Disney’s web site tells us that “Splash Mountain, a popular flume ride at Magic Kingdom theme park, offers big thrills to big kids, teens and adults. The twists, turns and 3 dips that lead to the grand drop down 5 stories of rushing water will either get you damp or drenched. If soaked is your goal, request a seat in the front or sit on the right side of the hollowed-out log.” We do skip this ride if it’s a cold day! Of all the times I have ridden, in all the different seating options, I have never walked away not wet. I have been drenched and had to ring out my hair and I’ve been wet, but not uncomfortable. If your child does not like to get wet, don’t ride!

Expedition Everest opened on April 7, 2006. While this is not one of the original “Mountains” at WDW, we still count it as one at our house! You have to be 44 inches to ride. According to the Disney web site, “Expedition Everest is a high-altitude, high-speed, roller coaster train ride for big kids, teens and adults to the “Roof of the World,” home of the inhospitable snarling beast, the Yeti, at the mountain’s peak.”   This is my favorite of “the Mountains” even if it makes me sick and queasy in my old age! ;)   My son rode it in February of 2006 when it was still in “soft openings” at age 5. He has loved it ever since and in the pre Magic Band days, we would usually grab a fast pass, stand in line, come back for our fastpass time, ride it and grab another fastpass! We like it that much. It can be intense for younger kids when you pass “the Yeti” and the final drop can get to your stomach if you’re sensitive to that!

I hope you enjoyed our tour of “The Mountains” at Walt Disney World! Which Mountain is your favorite?

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