Even if you haven’t been to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, you know all about it. It’s because the theme park is nothing short of iconic: Not only do they have legendary rides (FYI: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad holds up, even as an adult), but the park also brings the music of our youth to life—because we, just like you, grew up on The Little Mermaid. But the Florida theme park isn’t only about nostalgia; in fact, the park’s ram-packed full of musical attractions. Here are our faves.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
This isn’t just a roller coaster, even if has big drops aplenty. Instead, this Steven Tyler-themed ride is killer nerd-out for any true-blue Aerosmith devotee. But be warned: It’s loud. Loud to the tune of 24 subwoofers, 125 speakers, and a 32,000 (!!!) watt sound system. It puts every ounce of volume to the test, though—cycling through a list of classics, like “Dude Looks Like a Lady,” the ride’s a breakneck limo cruise through L.A., eventually ending up at an Aerosmith gig. And word to the faint of stomach: The ride twists upside down three times. Amazing? Yep. Check the POV video of the ride above.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is one of the newest attractions at Walt Disney World, and it’s not to be missed. It is, after all, based around the most memorable song from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. (That song? “Heigh Ho.”) The ride plummets you through the mine from the iconic film, plunging down lifts and banking on steep turns—all to the tune of “Heigh Ho.” Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is a giant singalong jam.
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
’90s children know it: “A Whole New World,” above, is one of the best Disney songs of all time. (It’s something Disney knows, too: At Disneyland Resort in California, there’s a whole musical spectacular based around Aladdin‘s songs.) Still, our fave Aladdin-and-Jasmine-themed attraction is The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, which recreates the scene depicted in the vid above—the ride whisks people above bustling bazaars and beautiful greenery, all while scored with the film’s music. Also, be prepared to get camel spit on you. (But don’t worry: It’s actually just water.)
Peter Pan’s Flight
The flight in Peter Pan (and its accompanying song) is one of the best parts of the movie. No wonder, then, that there’s a ride at Walt Disney World that recreates the experience, sailing over London and through to Neverland, and yes, Mermaid Lagoon and Skull Rock make appearances. As does a massive honkin’ pirate ship. You don’t think they’d leave that out, do you?
Pirates of the Caribbean
This ride, named for The Pirates of the Caribbean (duh), is a nine-minute immersion into the world of Jack Sparrow (who, if you weren’t aware, was once in a band with Gibby Haynes). Beyond recreating the sensation of being on turbulent waters, you’ll fly by pirates’ grottos, shadowy Caribbean ports, looted cities, and even the dungeons that once held the bad dudes of the open oceans. The ride is full of grubby faced pirates, and best of all: They’ll be serenading you with their anthem, “Yo Ho Ho A Pirate’s Life For Me.”
Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
If there’s one musical movie that was better than Aladdin—though feel free to debate amongst yourselves—it’s The Little Mermaid. Like, who could forget Ariel’s insanely catchy “Part of Your World”? And who could forget the adorable crab, Sebastian, who was the star of “Under the Sea”? Naturally, Walt Disney World’s ride leans heavily on those songs—taking place on a floating clamshell, there’s animatronics, a host of fishy characters, animations, and, of course, watery singalongs. ’90s kids, don’t even front: You know all the words.
Listen, we know that if you’re in Orlando, the last thing you want to see is a Canada-themed attraction. But this 360-degree film is hilarious at best, and makes us homesick at worst—it features the Bay of Fundy, our side (cough, the better side) of Niagara Falls, the old-world charm of Quebec City, TIFF and even, uh, Moose Jaw. (Saskatchewan, stand up!) Alanis may or may not make an appearance in the film, and if you’re feeling patriotic, Eva Avila sings the anthem. Yes, Eva Avila from Canadian Idol.
You know Cinderella Castle, and we’ll be honest: Along with Spaceship Earth, it’s probably the most iconic sight at Walt Disney World. For good reason: All placid idyll, this nearly 200-foot tall castle’s surrounded by a moat, decked out in 16 million lights, and topped off in gold and silver. It’s a complete trip to go inside, but every day, the castle’s at the centre of fireworks and music displays. Dreamy? You bet.
it’s a small world
Yes, it’s kitschy, but it’s a small world (which isn’t a typo, it’s actually stylized in lower case, awwww) still totally rules. Originally developed for the 1964-1965 World Fair, this ride’s a staple at Walt Disney World, and the ride sails from Scandinavia all the way to Australia and everywhere in between, all propelled by its iconic song. Fun fact: The song was originally written by the Sherman Brothers and meant to be a globe-uniting anthem. And we’ll concede: The song is catchy as heck, as evidenced by the video above.
Of course, these rides are only a small sample of the attractions at Walt Disney World. Head over to their site to discover the many musical (and non-musical) things happening in Orlando.