Walt Disney World Show-Style Attraction Roundup

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In addition to the many rides at Walt Disney World, there are also many alternate activities such as cavalcades, 3-D Movies, character greetings, and more.

Among the most elaborate of these diversions are the Walt Disney World show-style attractions. Located in all four theme parks, some of the show-style have live actors and some are solely performed by animtronics. They are often a welcome respite from heat and rain, providing an air-conditioned (or at least covered) space to relax and refresh. Almost all of these have multiple showings throughout the day.

None of these stage shows have height requirements and all of them have accessible seating areas for guests with mobility issues. Additionally, most have high guest capacity (many hundreds of guests), which means that there are lengthy queues only during the busiest handful of weeks per year. Disney World’s shows are entertainment for all, but you may find them particularly appealing if:

  • You’re pregnant and rides are contraindicated
  • You have motion sickness issues
  • You have sensory processing issues that are exacerbated by motion
  • You have some other medical issue that contraindicates rides
  • You’re the caregiver for someone with the above issues
  • You’re supervising a young child who is too short for some rides
  • You don’t like rides
  • You prefer non-moving attractions

Magic Kingdom

Carousel of Progress

Country Bear Jamboree

  • What: Animatronic bears sing about their joys and sorrows.
  • Where: Frontierland
  • How Long: 10 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: There are a few references to guns/shooting that are meant to be humorous – this may be a sensitive area for some. This hokey, but mostly charming, show is a favorite of many Disney World veterans, but some new folks find it slow. This attraction often opens later in the day than others.

Enchanted Tales with Belle

  • What: Hybrid show and character greeting. There is LOTS of audience participation; all guests are given the opportunity to play a role in the show.
  • Where: New Fantasyland
  • How Long: 20 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: The theater is smaller than others on the list – seating just a few dozen people. This attraction has not yet reopened post-pandemic.

Hall of Presidents

  • What: Tour of the American presidency. The first half is a video montage and the second half features animatronics of all 46 U.S. presidents.
  • Where: Liberty Square
  • How Long: 23 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: This attraction is a favorite for nursing and napping. May be boring or confusing for non-Americans.

Let the Magic Begin

  • What: Disney characters appear and wave.
  • Where: Castle forecourt
  • How Long: About five minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Outdoor, uncovered
  • Notes: Guests stand in front of the castle to watch this brief welcome to the park. It’s not a must-do for us.
Hall of Presidents

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

  • What: Cartoon characters from the Monsters Inc. franchise appear on screen and magically interact with members of the audience.
  • Where: Tomorrowland
  • How Long: 15 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: Prior to the show, guests have an opportunity to text a joke to the show’s cast for possible inclusion in the show. “Dad jokes” fare best. During each performance, a few audience members will be featured on screen for some gentle ribbing. If you want to avoid this, sit at the far back of the theater.

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

  • What: Watch an animatronic family describe innovations that happened during the past century. It’s heartwarming – trust us.
  • Where: Tomorrowland
  • How Long: 21 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: The theater rotates after each of the show’s four scenes.

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

  • What: Animatronic birds and plants sing and tell vaguely humorous stories.
  • Where: Adventureland
  • How Long: 16 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: There are portions of this that are loud and dark. A simulated thunderstorm may frighten small children.

Epcot

America Gardens Pavilion

The American Adventure

  • What: Videos and animatronics regale you with tales of the glory of America.
  • Where: World Showcase, America pavilion
  • How Long: 29 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: Another fantastic place to nap or nurse out of the sun. May be boring or confusing to non-Americans. There is little nuance to the story and women and people of color feel like an afterthought.

America Gardens Theater

  • What: Open stage hosting a variety of performers.
  • Where: World Showcase, America pavilion.
  • How Long: Varies
  • Indoor or outdoor: Outdoor, mostly covered
  • Notes: These is a multi-purpose stage with rotating offerings during the year. Check your My Disney Experience app for the current production. During the pandemic, Mariachi Cobre and Voices of Liberty. This is the holiday home of the Candlelight Processional.
Turtle Talk with Crush

Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along

  • What: Clips from the animated film, plus a little bit of extra story featuring LeFou. Lots of follow-the-bouncing-ball singing encouraged.
  • Where: World Showcase, France pavilion
  • How Long: 15 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: If you’re only going to watch one Beauty and the Beast themed show during your trip, this is not the one to choose.

Turtle Talk with Crush

  • What: A cartoon turtle (Finding Nemo’s Crush) interacts with audience members.
  • Where: Living Seas pavilion
  • How Long: 17 minitues
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: The theater is smaller than most, seating several dozen people. Kids are often asked to sit on a carpeted area near the screen.

Animal Kingdom

Feathered Friends in Flight

Feathered Friends in Flight

  • What: Education and entertainment featuring live trained birds.
  • Where: Asia
  • How Long: 25 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Outdoor, mostly covered
  • Notes: There are a few points during the show where birds fly close to the audience. If you have a bird phobia, stay away.

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond

  • What: A musical retelling of the Finding Nemo story, featuring live actors and puppets.
  • Where: Between Dinoland and Asia
  • How Long: About 35 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: This show is a replacement for Finding Nemo – The Musical, which was a casualty of the pandemic. This production is currently closed and will open “sometime in 2022.”

Celebration of Festival of the Lion King

  • What: Acrobats, singers, and other performers tell parts of the Lion King story.
  • Where: Africa
  • How Long: 30 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: This show is currently modified from its pre-COVID form. Some acts have changed and audience participation has been minimized.

Kite Tails

  • What: Jetskis pull themed kites around the lagoon.
  • Where: Asia
  • How Long: 15 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Outdoor, uncovered
  • Notes: On sunny days, the uncovered seating can get HOT. The balloon-like kites are supposed to crash into th closed seating area. Even when you know that, it’s still equal parts shocking and amusing.

Hollywood Studios

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

  • What: Tale as old as time. An abbreviated version of the film story performed by live actors.
  • Where: Sunset Boulevard, near Tower of Terror
  • How Long: 25 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Outdoor, covered
  • Notes: If you want to see a Beauty and the Beast show at Disney World, this is the best of the bunch.

Fantasmic!

  • What: Part fireworks, part stage show. This is the main nighttime event at DHS.
  • Where: Sunset Boulevard
  • How Long: 25 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Outdoor, uncovered
  • Notes: Fantasmic has yet to reopen post-COVID. We expect it to return in 2022.

For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along

  • What: Live actors tell stories and sing songs from the Frozen film. They are backed by movie clips and lots of fake snow.
  • Where: Echo Lake
  • How Long: 25 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: The main characters are two random residents of Arendelle, though Anna, Elsa, and Kristof do make appearances.
Lightning McQueen Racing Academy

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

  • What: Stunt show featuring characters from the Indiana Jones films. Many of the stunts are explained.
  • Where: Echo Lake
  • How Long: 30 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Outdoor, mostly covered
  • Notes: The show has been modified post-pandemic, with audience participation now limited. There simulated gunshots and fire that frighten some children.

Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy

  • What: Video screens and one talking car tell you about the Racing Academy.
  • Where: Sunset Boulevard, near Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • How Long: 10 mintues
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: Mostly appealing to young kids who like the Cars franchise.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

  • What: Live actors and puppets tell the Little Mermaid story against a movie backdrop.
  • Where: Animation Courtyard
  • How Long: 17 minutes
  • Indoor or outdoor: Indoor
  • Notes: This attraction has not yet reopened since the pandemic. There have been rumors of its permanent closure circulating for years, but Disney has yet to announce anything official.

In addition to these show-style attractions, there are also several movie-style attractions, which we’ll cover soon in a similar post.

For other similar attraction roundups, see Walt Disney World Flying Spinner Roundup, Walt Disney World Gentle Water Ride Roundup, and Walt Disney World Roller Coasters: What’s the Difference.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

4 thoughts on “Walt Disney World Show-Style Attraction Roundup

  • January 17, 2022 at 12:21 pm
    Permalink

    Additional shows, some with caveats:

    Awesome Planet (Epcot Land pavilion, in-theater effects)
    Impressions de France (Epcot France pavilion, evenings only)
    Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival (Epcot Imagination pavilion, uses 3D glasses, in-theater effects)
    Mickey’s PhilharMagic (MK, uses 3D glasses, in-theater effects)
    It’s Tough to Be a Bug! (AK, uses 3D glasses, in-theater effects, can be scary)

    Reply
    • January 17, 2022 at 1:03 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Sarah – I’m planning another post to cover movies and 3D movies. This will definitely be on that list.

      Reply
      • January 17, 2022 at 5:26 pm
        Permalink

        Ah, I see the distinction now. Thanks!

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