All the Thrill Without the Thrill Rides

Posted:  Entertainment Parks Recreation

When you think of amusement parks do you conjure images of high-speed roller coasters, rides with sudden plummeting drops or even rides that constantly spin?

Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Well if you are like me, these thoughts cause you more fear than a feeling of thrill and excitement.

If you won’t go on Tower of Terror, Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, or even on Big Thunder Mountain, you might leave yourself wondering without the thrill rides what else thrilling is there left to do?

Well, you are in luck because here are my top 4 most thrilling experiences at Walt Disney World, no roller coaster need apply!


  1. Fireworks and Night Time Shows

With the Walt Disney Company being the largest consumer of fireworks and the second largest purchaser of explosive devices in the world, you can expect to enjoy some pretty thrilling firework displays.

Happily Ever After Fireworks from the Magic Kingdom

With the ever-increasing use of technology and innovation, Disney continues to thrill its guests with a variety of amazing nighttime spectaculars.   At Walt Disney World guests can enjoy a thrilling combination of water, lights, animatronics, and fireworks at Hollywood Studios with Fantasmic, and at Epcot with the current Illuminations show.  At Animal Kingdom Park, guests can awe at the wonders of Rivers Of Light, a stunning display of animatronics, water and lights.

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

However, on my most recent visit to Walt Disney World (May 2019), I got to experience Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom.   It was the most stunning display of light projections, lasers, and fireworks I have ever seen. Combine that all with an amazing Disney soundtrack and it’s enough to thrill any guest.

Happily Ever After Fireworks from the Magic Kingdom


  1. Disney Springs Night Life

If you are wondering what to do for a fun and thrilling night out, then head to Disney Springs! Whether you are on a trip with friends or with your significant other, then a night out at Disney Springs will be full of excitement.

Disney Springs

There are a variety of restaurants and lounges to choose from. The Edison is an amazing industrial gothic themed restaurant and lounge, where you can dance to live music, be entertained by live performances, and enjoy wonderful food and cocktails.  The Hangar Bar also offers a great atmosphere; where you can enjoy an evening with friends listing to a live band perform while overlooking the water. While enjoying your view over the water, you may catch a glimpse of guests experiencing Amphicar Rides where they are in a vintage vehicle that drives from land into water.

Amphicar at Disney Springs

Or if a thrill would be to dine at an Iron Chef restaurant, then visit the Morimoto Asia Restaurant, for some delicious Asian inspired dishes.  And before all the nightlife begins, what’s more thrilling than shopping at one of the many Disney stores and finding that perfect souvenir or gift for yourself, for a friend or for a loved one.


  1. Pandora

If you are a fan of the movie Avatar like me or even just an admirer of the special effects, then Pandora–The World of Avatar, at Animal Kingdom Park will be a thrilling place for you.

Floating mountains in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

When you enter Pandora and wander through the Valley of Mo’ara you will have the thrilling experience of feeling like you have been transported right into the film.  Pandora is amazing, down to every detail, with the giant floating islands, massive colour flowers and exotic plants, and the river and waterfalls.  Pandora evokes all your senses, even your sense of smell!

Floating mountains in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Even at night, you will have an amazing spectacle, where the plants come to life and light up with bioluminescence. You can even have the chance to meet a Pandora Ranger and see the Pandora Drummers.  You can even dine at the Satu’li Canteen and enjoy some Avatar inspired food. Or at Pongu Pongu enjoy the ever so colourful and delicious Night Blossom.

Pongu Pongu drink from Pandora

Guests can also visit ACE Avatar Maker inside Windtraders and create their own custom Avatar action figure



  1. Food and Dining Experiences

You may think what is so thrilling about just eating food? Well, then you should come to visit the Food and Wine Festival, which runs every year, at Epcot, from late August to mid-November.

Epcot International Food and Wine Sign

Why not come try unique traditional cuisine, from around the world, and taste foods that you have never tried before.

Lobster Roll from the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Visit the France pavilion, and try some escargot.  Or stroll over to the Japanese pavilion and watch as the chef prepares your food right in front of you at Teppan Edo. At China, you can dine at Nine Dragons.  The inside of the restaurant is beautifully decorated, the food is delicious, and we were lucky to catch live performers as we headed to the restaurant.  These are some of the many amazing dining experiences to have at Epcot from one country to the next you have the thrilling experiencing of feeling transported to that country; however, there are wonderful places to dine all over Walt Disney World.  At Hollywood Studios the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is a 50s style drive-in theater, where guests dine in a vintage car while viewing sci-fi clips on the movie screen. You definitely can’t go wrong with the classic hamburger at this restaurant.  At Disney’s Springs, guests can walk through a tunnel and enter a secret door to Enzo’s Hideaway and be transported to Italy in the 1920s during the prohibition era.  The food is amazing, and I would highly suggest Nonna’s Pasta, it’s delicious!

pasta from Enzo’s Hideaway

At the Magic Kingdom, guests can experience the feeling like they have stepped into Beauty and the Beast and dine at Be Our Guest.  For the prix fixe dinner, there are many wonderful French inspired dishes to choose from.  There are also many amazing restaurants throughout Disney World resorts.  At the Polynesian ‘Ohana’s offers a family-style dinner, with phenomenal food, just make sure you come hungry!

Skillet from ‘Ohana restaurant at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

The inside of the restaurant boasts an amazing south pacific atmosphere, where guests can learn to hula, all while enjoying the amazing views of the Polynesian resort.  Finally, what could be more thrilling than enjoying great food while also meeting your favourite Disney characters?  There are so many amazing character dining options to choose from all over Walt Disney World.  At the Grand Floridian guests can enjoy a lovely character breakfast at 1900 Park Fare. This is where I got to meet one of my most beloved Disney characters, Winnie the Pooh.

Winnie the Pooh from the character breakfast at 1900 Park Fare

breakfast options at 1900 Park Fare

Cape May at the Beach Club also offers a character buffet breakfast where you can try Mickey waffles, and meet Minnie Mouse and friends. At Animal Kingdom Park guests can meet Donald Duck and friends at Tusker House, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The décor inside the restaurant is amazing, and I loved the dinner buffet; the food was delicious.

With so many amazing themed restaurants to choose from at Walt Disney World, guests get more than just dining; they get incredible dining experiences!

Dessert Trio from Be Our Guest



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