SATURDAY SIX: The 6 Lowest-Rated Attractions at Walt Disney World

by on August 19, 2017 36 Comments

Filed under: Saving Money, Walt Disney World (FL)

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at The Six Lowest-Rated Attractions at Walt Disney World! You may remember that the last few editions of the SATURDAY SIX took a look at the highest-rated ridesshows and spectaculars at WDW, as voted on by you. This week we are going in the other direction. Len Testa, co-host of the Disney Dish podcast, has sent down thousands-and-thousands of survey results from TouringPlans users, submitted after returning from their Disney trips. After combing through the data, we’re here to present the six attractions which scored the lowest among all the survey, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Fossil Fun Games (Animal Kingdom)

While “games of chance” and carnival-style games are found at pretty much all of Disney competitors – including the Universal Orlando Resort – many guests find them to be extremely tacky and an outright money-grab targeting kids. The Fossil Fun Games at Animal Kingdom are dinosaur themed carnival games at Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama. In Disney’s defense, games such as these fit in perfectly with the overarching backstory of Dino-Rama (which – in short – is basically Chester and Hester quickly putting up a roadside attraction to take advantage of the popularity of the nearby Dinosaur Institute.)

Personally speaking, I love carnival games. I think it’s something fun that kids and adults can do together and the smile on a kid’s face after they win* is just as good as them coming off their favorite ride. For me, the downside of Disney’s games compared to Universal’s are the lackluster prizes. At Dino-Rama the prizes are generic plush that come nowhere close to the level of quality that Disney puts into merchandise. Universal has some cheapo prizes too, but it also has some amazing items that you can’t buy in stores (such as The Simpsons Santa’s Little Helper and Spider-Pig along with this bonkers slice of pizza plush.)

*I’m assuming that part, I never let the kids win.

Overall Score 3.3/5

Fossil Fun Games. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Prizes at Fossil Fun Games. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Fossil Fun Games. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

# 5 – Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade (Magic Kingdom)

While no prizes can be won at the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade, it has a very reasonable cost ($1 for 35 shots) and can be a respite from the oppressive heat while walking through Frontierland. In fact it can be a great spot for parents to rest and recoup while the kids blast away at targets.

In 2015, when Disney removed all guns from WDW (including bubble guns if you can believe it,) it’s surprising that the Shootin’ Arcade wasn’t fast tracked into being completely replaced.

Overall Score: 3.2/5

Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade

They call me “quick draw” Burgan, but unfortunately it’s for my art skills.

# 4 – Journey Into Imagination with Figment (EPCOT)

This one is heartbreaking, because there was a time when a Figment ride at EPCOT could have possibly made the Best Six Rides at WDW list. Since that time, the attraction has been retooled, shortened, and had its wonderful post-show experience pretty much gutted. For a ride based on “imagination,” it falls woefully short on its promise. Thankfully, the ride has the character Figment, possibly the greatest – or at least most memorable – character ever created for a theme park. Unfortunately the Dream Finder has been kicked to the curb and in his place is “Dr. Nigel Channing.” For TV fans, Channing is the theme park equivalent of Cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch, Nikki and Paulo on LOST, and Scrappy Doo all rolled into one.

Overall Score 3.2/5

The Imagination Pavilion featuring Journey Into Imagination with Figment. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Journey Into Imagination with Figment. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Figment. (photo by Daisy Lauren)

Journey Into Imagination with Figment. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 3 – Circle of Life (EPCOT)

The Circle of Life experience in The Land pavilion at EPCOT can best be described as theme park’s version of being scared straight. Who doesn’t like The Lion King? Well, Circle of Life uses Simba, Timon and Pumbaa to educate theme park guests on how they – all of us humans – are destroying the planet. While the attraction itself is over 20 years old, the live action footage used in the movie seems to come straight from the 1970s. The message of Circle of Life is certainly relevant, but the movie itself needs to be updated as well as toned down by at least 10%. Impressionable kids may come away scared from the fires and other infringes upon nature seen in the film.

With an air conditioned theater and generally not that much of a line, Circle of Life used to be a great place to wait out your return time for a Soarin’ FastPass. However, since Soarin’ Around the World now has three theaters, that wait has become much more manageable. But if you need a break from the heat,a comfortable place for a nap, or have never actually seen “wall carpet” you could do worse.

Overall Score 3.2/5

Circle of Life. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Circle of Life. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Circle of Life. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 2 – Innoventions East

Just as DisneyQuest could have been the coolest thing at Disney Springs, but instead became an outdated arcade filled with old technology, Innoventions could have been one of the neatest pavilions at EPCOT (especially after what happened to the Imagination, World of Motion, and Wonders of Life pavilons.) A pavilion that, in theory, should be a showcase for technological advancements, has mostly become a complete waste of space. Instead of attraction sponsors such as Apple, Tesla, or Samsung to wow us with products and exhibits, we have Colortopia, presented by a paint company. Heck, I’d settle for a “Superhero Showcase” featuring “all the characters Universal doesn’t have the rights to.” Something. ANYTHING.

Overall Score 2.6/5

Innoventions. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Colortopia in Innoventions. (photo by Brandon Glover)

“So much room for activities!” – Stepbrothers (photo by Brandon Glover)

The sign at night looks neat, so there’s that. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 1 – Stitch’s Great Escape

As we have said before, Stitch is a character Disney is going to shove down our throats whether we want him or not. For wrestling fans, Stitch is the Roman Reigns of the theme park world. Like Figment, the artistic design on Stitch is great, and he sells a whole lot of merchandise. However, this attraction stinks, period. The fact that Innoventions scored .5 higher says everything you need to know. INNOVENTIONS! With the addition of Tron, we are getting closer and closer to the Tomorrowland we really want (despite the fact that the whole area is a thematic mess.) Space Mountain is a signature Disney ride, the TTA is the perfect way to relax, kids love the Speedway, and Monster Inc Laugh Floor is an underrated gem. One of these things is not like the other, and it’s time for Stitch’s Great Escape to hit the bricks. You can’t have a ride that specifically appeals to young kids and then have it take place mostly in the dark, with movement designed to creep guests out, and then have seating which makes it hard for families to experience it together well.

Overall Score: 2.1/5

Stitch’s Great Escape. (photo by Brandon Glover)

So there you have it: The Six Lowest-Rated Attractions at Walt Disney World! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

This sign makes more sense if
you see it as a warning…

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:

6 Pieces of Disney Merchandise That Don’t Exist (But Totally Should!)

Walt Disney World Locations Used in Hulk Hogan’s THUNDER IN PARADISE

6 Times THE SIMPSONS Totally Nailed Being A Theme Park Fan

6 Ways Disney Can Introduce MARVEL Into The Theme Parks

Six Things We STILL Can’t Believe Actually Happened at WDW

Six Most Unique Dining Experiences at Walt Disney World

Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, Mr. ‘Ohana Tim Grassey, crazy cat lady – and our Fearless Leader – Laurel Stewart, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with goofballs co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde , while fellow Potterheads may enjoy Meg’s work on the Central Florida Slug Club.

FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2017 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!

Posted on August 19, 2017

36 Responses to “SATURDAY SIX: The 6 Lowest-Rated Attractions at Walt Disney World”

  • I’m not the only one who ever said it, but it’s astonishing that a company known for its creative imagination, and a whole class of employees called “Imagineers”, can’t come up with anything better for the Imagination pavilion than the Journey into Imagination ride turd. One would think that pride alone would be enough to get Disney to replace this ride.

  • I agree with 4 out of the 6. Stitch is not a great ride, but I do enjoy the queue enough to keep it from being my dead last attraction. Am I rushing to do Stitch, no, but I don’t hate it as much as most. I also still enjoy Journey Into Imagination; it’s not as good as it used to be, but there are a lot of attractions I would put lower on my list than that.

  • I understand there are a lot of constraints and interests that are at play here, but it is very distressing that EVERYONE, blogger and guest alike, have begged for Disney to rip out Stitch…only to instead lose Great Movie Ride, Maelstrom, Universe of Energy, DL’s Tower of Terror, and probably a bunch more that I’m too sad to remember.

    The Disney community — nay, THE WORLD — ain’t seen this kinda unity since the Epcot hand!

  • They could fix the stitch issue with bringing back the original Alien Encounter. Was it intense? Yes, you could say that for smaller guys, but it was AWESOME!! Not to mention it was one of the top rides till they shut it down.

    • I think Stitch’s Great Escape shows the danger of just plopping an IP on top of a ride just for the sake of it.

    • My grown kids still talk about seeing Alien Encounter when they were young. They loved it and still say they wish it would come back! Also we always get a picture taken when we go ride Journey into imagination its now a tradition, it does need some new things added but I hope they dont take it out. Also still liked The great movie ride and Ellens energy they could have improved them. It is odd that the Disney Company is lacking Walt Disneys imagination.

  • For me Tomorrowland Speedway is the absolute worst ride in WDW. I know kids love it but the cars are loud, smelly VERY bad, and the steering is horrible. They really could overhaul this ride and make it SO much better. Replace the gas engines with electric ones, fix the mechanical issues with the cars and give it a little theming and it would be great!

  • I’m not sure I’d consider the midway games and Shootin’ Arcarde as attractions, but if we must, they belong on the list. Otherwise, total agreement that the Tomorrowland Speedway is a blight upon WDW, and Stitch is a blight upon humanity in its entirety.

    • On Disney’s own website, Fossil Fun Games is listed as an attraction in Animal Kingdom. Now granted, “staring at Echo Lake” now counts as an attraction as DHS, but we have to go by Disney’s definition.

  • “The Circle of Life” is utterly self-defeating and I expect it to be the number one entry on Saturday Six “Attractions with the Most Chutzpah” list at some point.

    The plot of the show is that Timon and Pumbaa are going to raze some natural property and build a luxury golf resort. Luckily, Simba comes along and warns them that such things are bad for the planet.

    What the FUZZ? To watch this film, one has to sit in the middle of acres upon acres of natural swampland that has been razed, backfilled, backhoed, and terraformed to death until it became luxury resorts, golf courses, water parks and theme parks! The unmitigated hypocrisy of this film just gets me every time.

    Luckily, most guests probably miss this angle, and the film’s message is a good one.

    • I had a whole paragraph posing a theory that Circle of Life was actually the work of someone vehemently anti-Disney and yet somehow was able to slip their message into the park.

  • Thanks again for another excellent and hilarious column. 🙂
    In just a couple years we’ll have Stars Wars alongside Pandora next to other immersive resort experiences…and it will then be painfully obvious that whole sections of each park will need to be gutted…not repurposed, updated or refreshed, but torn out and let’s start over.

    (I enjoyed Alien Encounter but strongly felt it did not belong in the Magic Kingdom.)

  • They should rename Innoventions “Future World’s Dead Mall” at least until it gets leveled (or so the images from D23 would indicate)

  • I love that shooting gallery. The rest are already dead to me.

  • We had never gotten around to figment…. and now that we have we wish we hadn’t. We kept commenting on how awful that this would be the ride representing imagination in a world made on the very concept. Scary stuff.

  • They could easily save Journey into Imagination from this list by just restoring it to the original ride, circa 1985 (with lightly updated production values).

  • Will & Derek – Clever point on the Circle of Life, but I still love it and before Soaring came along, it was the star and only reason to go into the Land. I grieve over losing Innovations (we used to spend most of our time in both sides) and Wonders of life. These pavilions were truly in the spirit of Epcot (if not Walt’s vision) The Space and the new World of Motion are terrible and so completely out of place that they ruin the feel of the park. The original rides in their original forms were best with the exceptions of The updates on the Seas and the World of Energy. Some pavilions were meant to be in constant change and kept up to date with new exhibits and Disney, you broke my heart and betrayed me when you didn’t make good on your promised commitments to use Innovations that way, abandoning Wonders of Life and worst of all, neglecting DisneyQuest until it withered up and died. Shame on you.

  • I was surprised the scores were as high as they are but I’m guessing a lot of guests (self included) skip lots of them. Which brings me to a question… Which attractions are most & least popular based on how many ratings you receive? E.g. Big Thunder might have an average of 4.2 across 10000 reviews and Swiss Family Treehouse might have 3.8 on 800 (made up numbers there).

  • I think Stitch is fine. Would you rather have an empty show building. And for those who loved Alien Encounter, here’s your chance to go inside and see the old ride pretty much the same as it was. I don’t know why its such a hated ride. Stitch is a great movie & the ride is typical Disney.

  • I actually enjoyed Stitch’s Great Escape, but I found the seats unbearable. I’m a small person, but found when the restraints came down I felt crushed, to the point where I try to hold it away from my body. I don’t understand the need for such tight restraints when the seats don’t move at all.

  • Off topic a bit but am I the only one sick of roller coasters in WDW?
    If I wanted to ride roller coasters I would go to Six Flags, Kennywood or a dozen of other such parks.
    I miss the theming and animatronics of Horizons, World of Motion and now, the Great Movie Ride.
    Where are the true Imagineers?

  • Something has to be at the bottom. I honestly love most of these things. I’d rather spend the day doing these things at the bottom of my list, than a regular Monday 😀 I would really wish and hope they could removed Alien Chili Dog burp and is the only reason I don’t go on that ride. Also the computer stuff at the end Imagination needs to be replaced, I can do better things on my phone. Crayola could do an old school Imagination exhibit. I really like the shooting gallery and like seeing the carnival games at Dinosaurland. I would never play them but I get how it makes a cool enviorment.

  • I LOVE Figment . . . I always have as to me, he is right under Mickey himself. Figment is a cute, adorable character. I think Disney messed up when they changed the ride, but it diminish my love of Figment. I am not a fan of the Speedway, but my nephew and niece both loved it. I would always ride with them and let them drive. Even when they were little, I’d push the gas, but they would drive. It all but makes me motion sick, BUT when the slam into the side, I squeal and they giggle. My nephew is now 16 but he still enjoys riding as he laughs at me and my niece. She is 11 now and loves it as much as always. I am counting down the days until I no longer have to ride it, BUT . . . the smiles and the laughter and all the giggles from the niece and nephew on the ride over the years is priceless to me and worth every single second of the wait and the ride! And Innoventions . . . .it could be SO much more than what Disney has done with it. It’s sad actually. I mean . . . it’s Disney . . . its technology . . . it’s all this great space . . . why in the world do they not do something with it?? It’s a waste. I like Stitch, but do not like the attraction. If they want it to be Stitch, I can be on board with that, but they need to put in a totally new ride/attraction.