Does an attraction like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror inspire you only with terror despite its fantastic theming? Is Expedition Everest a must-do for your friends and family, while a trip on Wildlife Express Train is about as wild you get? Fortunately, Walt Disney World offers some great ways for you to chill while your companions satisfy their thirst for a thrill.
Part I of this article explored attractions at Magic Kingdom where chill seekers and thrill seekers are likely to part ways. Part II considers Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including options for those who prefer a more relaxing experience and places for your party to meet back up.
Mission: SPACE and Test Track are both found in Future World East. A great place to hang while your friends experience these attractions is the Espresso Coffee and Pastries stand, located just outside of Innoventions East heading toward Mission: SPACE and Ellen’s Energy Adventure. It typically has a short line, especially in the morning, and it offers peaceful nearby benches where you can enjoy a beverage. Or if it is hot, you can take your beverage back into Innoventions East and find a bench.
In the same general area as the coffee stand, you can catch a performance by the JAMMitors drumming group while you wait. The 10-minute performance by this “clean-up crew” attracts an energetic crowd, and they perform up to seven times a day.
Meet back up: Both Mission: SPACE and Test Track have post-attraction interactive exhibit areas; you can access these areas by walking through the attractions’ gift shops.
To many, Soarin’ is a gentle experience, but it can be quite scary for those afraid of heights. Luckily, Soarin’ is located in the Land Pavilion, which has lots of places to sit and enjoy its mellow soundtrack. Bonus: If you take a step outside the pavilion, you can hear some of the original background music for Epcot. Another option is to experience the Circle of Life film, an attraction that many people skip in lieu of the other attractions in the Land.
Meet back up: The Land Pavilion can get crowded, especially in its Sunshine Seasons food court, so it is best to agree on a specific place to meet. On the lower level of the pavilion, there are benches at the exit to Soarin’; on the upper level, benches near the restrooms are a good place to meet.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The end of Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios features two of the most hair-raising attractions in all of Walt
Disney World. Straight ahead is the terrifyingly tall Tower of Terror. To the left as you face the Tower, the Rock n’ Roller Coaster loops and turns through the dark. But there is one word that will ease your fears—shopping! In addition to the gift shops for both attractions, which have some of the best-themed souvenirs in the park, Sunset Boulevard is lined with shops such as Villains in Vogue and Sunset Club Couture.
Meet back up: Make your way back down Sunset Boulevard through the shops and have the rest of your party meet you at Starring Rolls Cafe. There, you can all enjoy a snack (the cupcakes are incredible!) or move on to another part of the park.
Star Tours is on the opposite side of the park in the Echo Lake area and is frequently mentioned as one of the more nausea-inducing attractions in Disney World. Again, shopping to the rescue! Tatooine Traders has tons of Star Wars merchandise. Shoppers come in waves as they exit the attraction, but you can take advantage of the times in between when there are fewer people in the shop. Another option is to wander over to the entrance of Muppet*Vision 3D and enjoy its fountain featuring Kermit and friends.
Meet back up: The Muppets Fountain is a great place to meet back up for a photo op.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
If you are with thrills seekers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, they will be heading right when entering the park. In Asia, send your friends ahead to Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids while you enjoy one of a selection of iced or hot teas at the Royal Anandapur Tea Company. After, take a stroll through Maharajah Jungle Trek. This lush Southeast Asian forest exhibit showcases several animals, including Malayan flying foxes and Asian tigers. Cast Members will be happy to provide more detail about any of the animals or vegetation along the trek.
Meet back up: You will pass right by Kali River Rapids after going through the Maharajah Jungle Trek, so arrange to meet after your group rides.
In DinoLand U.S.A., DINOSAUR can be a rough ride as your vehicle rocks and lurches to escape ferocious predators. At the entrance to DINOSAUR, however, you can meet a much less menacing dinosaur. Dino-Sue is a life-size replica of the famous Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton discovered in South Dakota in 1990.
Meet back up: My meet back up advice to you here is … don’t. At this point, the rest of your party can go on to the section of DinoLand with Primeval Whirl and TriceraTop Spin. Unfortunately, this is an area of the park that I have often found extremely hot and with not much to do if you are not riding. Maybe meet back up somewhere else in Animal Kingdom. Or end your day and beat everyone else back to the hotel pool.
Now that you know there are many alternatives to Disney World’s more-thrilling rides, you may just find that your more adventurous traveling companions are sometimes waiting for you!