2022 Awards: Best Of Attractions
As 2022 draws to a close, we have lots of data to review, and lots of recommendations to make for those of you considering 2023 Walt Disney World vacations. Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing results from our post-visit surveys that we received this year, and helping you interpret what they should mean for your next vacation. Today we’re going over all of the satisfaction data from our attraction surveys. Which park has the highest-scoring attractions? Which attractions are the best overall? Or with a specific age group?
This serves as your obligatory reminder that the accuracy of these results fully depends on the number of people that are willing to fill out post-visit surveys after their Walt Disney World vacations. Make sure to submit your thoughts after your WDW vacations so that we can continue providing meaningful insights!
Overall Attraction Satisfaction
Which attractions have the highest satisfaction overall, across all parks and age categories? We have almost 250,000 unique attraction ratings to work with, so we can get a pretty good idea. Each of these responses rates an attraction on a scale from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). I can average all of the responses to get an overall rating for each attraction. Using that methodology, the winners for 2022 are:
- Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks – 4.78
- Avatar Flight of Passage – 4.77
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – 4.75
- Fantasmic! – 4.72
- TIE! Savi’s Workshop and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – 4.70
Our top 5 (well, 6 really) includes two evening entertainment options, three attractions, and one paid souvenir-building experience. Among us friends, no one tell Disney that Savi’s still rates so highly. They’ll go and raise the price again. In fact, the satisfaction scores at Savi’s inexplicably went up after the price increase in mid-October this year.
Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks are sort of the spiritual successor to Happily Ever After in this top spot. I can’t count the number of Instagram reels of this show that I’ve seen, complete with folks quietly sobbing in the background. And we all know and love Fantasmic! It drew ridiculous crowds when it finally reopened this fall, and Disney is recognizing its popularity by continuing to offer two performances each night through the winter.
I’m personally glad to see Cosmic Rewind on this list. Flight of Passage and Rise of the Resistance are expected, but Cosmic Rewind has more detractors (I get it, it’s difficult for those that struggle with motion sickness). In my opinion it’s more repeatable thanks to the changing soundtracks, and it’s just a lot of fun. It scores major points with me for being much more reliable than Rise of the Resistance. Very little unexpected downtime, which means it’s much less frustrating to experience than Rise.
Parks with Highest Attraction Satisfaction
- Hollywood Studios – 4.32
- Animal Kingdom – 4.15
- Magic Kingdom – 4.06
- EPCOT – 4.01
If we take all of the surveys from each park and average them all together, we can get idea of just how impressive the attraction slate is for each park as a whole. And we have SO many surveys that none of the confidence intervals overlap for any of these parks. This is statistically a reliable ranking.
Hollywood Studios should be no surprise in the top spot. It’s got 3 out of the top 6 attractions, and many other popular and high-satisfaction attractions too. But you’ll “pay” for that popularity with high wait times unless you go into your Studios day with a solid strategy.
Animal Kingdom may come as a surprise in 2nd place, but its satisfaction scores have been buoyed by the closure of low-rating attractions like Primeval Whirl and KiteTails (RIP). For the low-rated attractions that do still exist (looking at you, TriceraTop Spin), not many people choose to ride them, and so they don’t get scored. Then you’ve got attractions like Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, and Kilimanjaro Safaris that are the big draws and get big scores.
Magic Kingdom and EPCOT fall to the bottom of our list, mostly due to attractions that haven’t seen any love in a while (Imagination Pavilion) or have wait times that are too long for what you get (Barnstormer, Magic Carpets).
Full Rankings For Each Park
If you want to plan your upcoming WDW vacation around attractions that rate highly overall, here are the full results for each of the four theme parks. Remember that you can click on any image to open it in full size.
I don’t think that there are any major surprises here. The obvious “loser” is Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, followed by Alien Swirling Saucers. Character meet and greets fall in the middle of the pack, other than Chewbacca and Darth Vader, who rise above the rest.
There is a clear top three here, and also a very clean break between the “good” options and the “not as good” options. What falls below the line? Attractions like DINOSUAR, Na’vi River Journey, It’s Tough to Be a Bug! and TriceraTop Spin. Still, there are many many attractions to choose from that have an average rating of 4 or more, including a lot of live entertainment and exploring areas on your own.
Out of the top 10 attractions in the Magic Kingdom for 2022, you have two parades (mostly only available during parties), two stage shows (only available during parties), two fireworks shows (Christmas and … generic, which is what folks default to when they don’t know the specific show they saw), the Castle itself, and three “rides”.
Magic Kingdom has the largest number of attractions overall, so there are lot of options to choose from with a rating of 4 or above. You could probably fill at least one full day with just those attractions, even if you avoid everything with a lower score.
Ah, poor EPCOT. I swear I deduct at least half a point from every attraction just because those dang construction walls make everything so hard to get to. Maybe other people do the same. EPCOT isn’t all about the rides, though. And you do yourself a disservice if you avoid all of the other exploring and entertainment. Of the top 12 attractions here, only 4 are rides. Make sure you take your time to enjoy the atmosphere at EPCOT and learn a few things while you’re there.
Best Attractions by Age Group
Note about how this impacts planning, and excluding seasonal items
- Meet Anna and Elsa at Royal Sommerhus – 4.76
- Meet Princess Tiana – 4.74
- Festival of Fantasy Parade – 4.73
- The Boneyard – 4.72
- Meet Cinderella – 4.71
If you have preschoolers at home like I do, you were probably nodding as you read this list. Characters and playing in rocks. That checks out. 3 out of the top 5 here are in Magic Kingdom. In fact, unlike the overall results, Magic Kingdom has the highest overall attraction satisfaction rating of any park with this age group.
- TIE! Savi’s Workshop and Droid Depot – 4.75
- Slinky Dog Dash – 4.73
- Avatar Flight of Passage – 4.69
- TIE! Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Toy Story Mania! – 4.68
These grade schoolers like everything a lot, so we get a top 6 for them. If you needed any hints or recommendations about which park to bring your grade schooler to, here’s the kick in the pants you need – it’s Hollywood Studios. Which, as a parent, can be a bit of a chore. There is a lot to strategize in Hollywood Studios so your kids don’t end up in miserable hours-long lines. But with 5 out of the top 6 attractions on this list in the Studios, it’s hard to argue about that being the best option.
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – 4.93
- Savi’s Workshop – 4.91
- Avatar Flight of Passage – 4.87
- Rock’n’Roller Coaster – 4.83
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – 4.83
Sure, I might be stereotyping here, but teens these days love music, amirite? Rock’n’Roller Coaster doesn’t appear on any other list, but it makes sense paired with Cosmic Rewind on this list. And overall, teens have some of the highest ratings of any age group at the top of the list. They know what they like, and will rate it accordingly. Of course, there are a lot of attractions that they love to hate too.
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – 4.93
- Expedition Everest – 4.86
- Avatar Flight of Passage – 4.85
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – 4.84
- Savi’s Workshop – 4.80
Young adults fall between those teen years and the ripe old age of 30 (she says sarcastically, feeling like a pretty young adult still). Expedition Everest makes a surprising leap up into second place here – it looks like thrills are what the young adult crowd is interested in. Thrills and building lightsabers.
- TIE! Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – 4.85
- Avatar Flight of Passage – 4.84
- Fantasmic! – 4.75
- TIE! Expedition Everest and Savi’s Workshop – 4.74
Apparently grade schoolers and the over 30 crowd both like a lot of things, so we’ve got ourselves another top 6. The two newest big headliners tie for the top spot, followed very closely by Flight of Passage. So if you’re over 30, gear yourself up for purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane (or three) during your WDW vacation. We’ve also got Fantasmic! appearing on the list for the first time.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris – 4.81
- Soarin’ Around the World – 4.77
- Fantasmic! – 4.74
- Avatar Flight of Passage – 4.73
- Voices of Liberty – 4.70
Well, I’ve found my people. I may not fit in with the seniors age-wise, but I’m digging their collective choices here. This list of attractions makes me think senior adults are all about appreciating journeys and perspective. Head to view some animals in Africa, or from the air while paragliding or riding a Banshee.
What Does This Mean For You?
- Everyone has different opinions and preferences. My favorite attractions won’t be the same as yours, but breaking things down into age groups gets us a little closer.
- When planning your WDW vacation, use things like attractions lists and satisfaction scores to help you decide how much time to spend in each park so that you give your party the best chance to have an enjoyable trip.
- If we want to generalize, prioritize characters for preschoolers, music for teens, and relaxing journeys for seniors. And if you’re a party of just adults, go for the thrills.
Did any of the 2022 winners surprise you? Would you have ranked anything differently? Is there an attraction you’re most looking forward to experiencing in 2023? Let me know in the comments!
4 thoughts on “2022 Awards: Best Of Attractions”
Impressions de France beating out the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along is the win I needed to close out 2022.
Ain’t that the truth.
Are the party fireworks and parades really that much better than the usual, everyday versions or are they getting rated higher because they aren’t viewed as often?
A valid question that I can’t personally answer from experience since I’ve never done a party. But from what I’ve heard, the theming and story behind them make them more on par with Happily Ever After than Enchantment.