Disney World is the Most Magical Place on Earth, right?
Well, it’s not always all pixie dust and Mickey ears. Some of Disney World’s rides are proper thrill rides and they warn you about it in their very names — hello, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. You don’t exactly walk onto that one expecting rainbows and sunshine. But, other rides seem completely kid-friendly from the outside and then BAM! You get on the ride and suddenly you’re hit with a rather terrifying and totally unexpected surprise. Here are the attractions that we didn’t think would be scary…until it was too late. As they say, there’s no going back now.
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Journey Into Imagination with Figment has been an EPCOT staple since 1983. It has gotten quite a few refurbishments and gone through a variety of iterations, but (for now) it is focused on giving guests a tour of the sensory labs. Over the past few years, Figment has really become a park icon, and is now often featured on ALL kinds of EPCOT Festival merchandise. But, the journey into the labs and Figment’s imagination is actually packed with some terrifying surprises.
The attraction itself is a slow-moving dark ride through the Imagination Institute. Dr. Channing, one of the lab employees, takes you room-to-room as you explore the various senses. But (of course) Figment comes along and stirs up a bit of trouble.
With a cute little purple dragon and colorful designs all around the outside and inside of this attraction, you might think the ride will consist of a cute song, fun animatronics, and some cool effects. And that’s all true — BUT it’s also got some really frightening parts. In the sound lab, the room gets extremely dark and there’s a loud train sound. In the smell lab, guests are sprayed with a rather horrifying “skunk” smell.
But the scariest part actually comes near the end. Near the conclusion of your journey through imagination, Figment puts on a big finale that can be a little scary for kiddos and adults alike! As your car moves into the last room, the lights go dark and when Figment says “Imagination is a BLAST!” a rather strong gust of air is blown at you to reveal a colorful land of celebration. If you don’t know it’s coming and especially if you’re sitting in the front row, it can be pretty frightening. Even those who know it’s coming might find themselves closing their eyes and wincing in anticipation.
It can be hard to fully enjoy Figment’s rendition of “One Little Spark” after that terrifying burst. But now YOU know it’s coming, so brace yourself and won’t be fooled by that cute little dragon!
It’s Tough To Be A Bug!
3-D and 4-D shows — they seem pretty harmless, right? I mean, all you do is sit down and enjoy a fun movie with cute tricks. No height requirements, no loops, no fast movements. How scary can it be? Well, if we’re talking about It’s Tough To Be a Bug in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it can be very, very, very scary. This show is themed to A Bug’s Life and takes guests through a special bug presentation.
To be fair, the attraction’s entrance sign does warn the this is a “creepy crawly bug-eyed adventure.” But, we don’t think that really does it justice. As you approach the theater, you get some spectacular views of the Tree of Life and all kinds of beautiful vegetation. You go inside and become an “honorary bug” with your 3-D glasses. And the show starts all fine and nice with Flik and his friends.
And then boom — GIANT spiders everywhere! They may not be real spiders, but let us assure you they can be pretty terrifying. But, that’s not all, during parts of the show, the beautiful seat you sat on will horribly betray you! Parts of the seats create simulations to make you feel like you’re being stung by hornets, crawled on by bugs, and more! Let’s just say, many a child has walked out of here a little less than happy.
If you don’t like bugs, be warned — this is probably not a good attraction for you. And even if you can stand a few bugs, you might want to sit forward (with your back not touching the back of the seats) and pick your feet up so the bugs can’t get you!
Another ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that can unexpectedly scare the pants off of you is Dinosaur. In this ride, you’ll join forces with a paleontologist to go back in time and extract a very specific dinosaur. But, of course, you’re not sent back during a calm period of the past. No, no, you’re sent back VERY CLOSE to the time when something major happened. What’s that massive historical event you dive right into? Oh, just the time when a giant meteor wiped out life on earth…no big deal.
You might be saying “okay, so it’s got a dinosaur in front and some exploding stuff on the sign, that’s warning enough that it’ll be frightening.” And yes, there is a certain amount of adventure and excitement that you already expect going in, but the intensity of this attraction (among other things) is what could both delight and terrify you!
You will quite literally be bouncing around like loose change through an EXTREMELY dark pre-historic jungle full of dinosaurs. Plus, let’s not forget that incoming meteor shower! Let’s just say, it can get a BIT stressful. And to top it all off you’ll have a rather close encounter with a giant T-Rex. And yes, you know it’s not real but for just a split second, you might just forget.
It’s intense, it’s dark, and it’s full of scary creatures. It might be especially frightening for little ones, so watch out!
Stitch’s Great Escape
So, yes, Stitch’s Great Escape is now closed at Magic Kingdom, but it served up so much terror that it still deserves mentioning. You might think “Stitch, he’s cute, I liked the movie he’s in, I’ll ride his ride because it can’t be that scary.” But, that was not the case! Stitch’s Great Escape replaced the even more terrifying ExtraTERRORestial Alien Encounter at Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom. In both attractions, guests sat in a round theater while an alien escaped from its captors.
LOTS of the ride was spent in near TOTAL darkness while water effects, sounds, and other interactive elements from the show were put into play, making you feel like Stitch was walking around, spitting, and oh yeah, burping near you (yuck). Let’s just say that if you didn’t really know what this ride was getting you into, you could be in for quite a few tears from your kiddo afterward.
All these unsuspecting rides serve up a good thrill (or more appropriately put, terror) at Disney World. If you haven’t already ridden these rides, now you know a bit of what to expect. Moral of the story: looks can be deceiving — just because it’s cute, doesn’t mean it can’t be scary too! But scary doesn’t mean bad — it can be great to get a good thrill in and these rides can certainly provide that!
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Were you terrified by any of these rides? Let us know in the comments!