- Joe Raedle / Getty Images
- Disney cast members tend to develop favorites when it comes to park rides.
- Business Insider reached out to 12 former cast members and asked them to pick out a favorite park attraction.
- Some went with old classics like the Haunted Mansion, while others praised brand-new offerings like Avatar Flight of Passage.
Disney cast members aren’t impartial when it comes to park attractions.
Most of them have a favorite ride or area of either Disney park in the US: Walt Disney World or Disneyland.
Business Insider recently reached out to 12 former cast members who worked at Walt Disney World or Disneyland and asked them to share their favorite park attractions.
Some went with old classics like “It’s a Small World After All” and “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror,” while others highlighted popular coasters like “Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain.”
Here’s what the cast members had to say about their favorite park attractions:
‘It’s a Small World After All’ is a park icon featuring ‘cute’ dolls
- Nick Higgins/Flickr
A former Walt Disney World cast member who worked on rides like “Peter Pan’s Flight,” “Space Mountain,” and “The Carousel of Progress” told Business Insider that their favorite ride was “It’s a Small World After All.”
“I love the dancing dolls,” the ex-cast member said. “I love the way all those dolls dance.”
The former Disney employee also got to work on “It’s a Small World After All” at certain points, and got a glimpse behind-the-scenes at the attraction.
“We could see how it all worked,” the former cast member said.
They added that the large elephant seen during the ride conceals an employees-only staircase, and that the ride also featured a closet filled with waders, just in case employees had to get in the water for whatever reason.
The ‘Matterhorn Bobsleds’ are a snow-capped ‘historic’ peak
A former Disneyland cast member who worked at the park for six years singled out the “Matterhorn Bobsleds” for praise.
When asked why, the cast member told Business Insider that they were impressed by the attraction’s “history.”
According to animated film scholar Michael Barrier’s blog, Walt Disney himself was inspired to construct the Matterhorn while visiting Switzerland to shoot the 1959 live-action film “Third Man on the Mountain.”
‘The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’ is ‘beautifully done’
A former cast member who worked at the Walt Disney Company for nearly eight years, including a stint at Hollywood Studios, told Business Insider that their favorite ride is “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.”
“The theme is beautifully done, from the moment you get in line,” the ex-cast member said.
Chantelle Judd, a former cast member who worked in Frontierland, agreed.
“I’m a big fan of thrill rides, so I would have to say ‘Tower of Terror’ would be my favorite,” Judd told Business Insider. “I like the thrill of it all.”
‘The Indiana Jones Adventure’ is often out of service, but still beloved
A former cast member who worked at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure picked “The Indiana Jones Adventure” as their favorite ride.
The ex-cast member added that they loved the ride even though it was almost identical to the “Dinosaur” attraction in Walt Disney World.
The former cast member said that the ride also “has the record” for being “101” most often of all the rides at the park. At the Disney parks, 101 is code for when a ride is shut down for any reason.
‘Avatar Flight of Passage’ is a brand-new, immersive alien experience that’s worth the wait
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John Quagliano, a former cast member who worked in the Magic Kingdom, told Business Insider that he had an affinity for Expedition Everest – but had to pick “Avatar Flight of Passage” as his all-time favorite ride.
The attraction is relatively new, having just opened in 2017. The 3D flying simulator is based on James Cameron’s 2009 science fiction film Avatar.
“It is the most augmented reality 3D experience you could ever have,” Quagliano told Business Insider. “Next time you go to the park, do yourself a favor – the line might be an hour and a half, but it’s absolutely worth the wait. It’s cool.”
Epcot’s ‘Soarin” is an old favorite
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Former Disney cast member Missy Farni, who worked at Epcot and Animal Kingdom, told Business Insider that she especially enjoyed working at Epcot, as it was her favorite theme park at Walt Disney World.
“I feel like it has an interesting history,” she told Business Insider. “Walt and everybody who created the park had such big ideas for it. I really had respect for Epcot.”
So it’s not surprising that her favorite ride is one popular Epcot attraction.
“My favorite ride in Epcot is definitely ‘Soarin’,’ especially since they re-updated it,” Farni said. “It looks pretty cool.”
‘Splash Mountain’ and ‘Big Thunder Mountain’ appeal to roller-coaster lovers
Christina Hartless, a former Disney cast member who worked at Epcot, told Business Insider that her favorite ride was “Splash Mountain” – despite the “problematic” nature of its inspiration, the controversial 1946 film “Song of the South.”
“It’s kind of like this slow water ride, and then all of a sudden, there’s a giant hill,” she said.
Hartless recommended avoiding the ride when it’s raining, though, saying, “It doesn’t add to the experience.”
Devin Melendy, a former cast member who wrote “Devin Earns Her Ears: My Secret Walt Disney World Cast Member Diary, told Business Insider that she enjoyed working in Frontierland because she was situated nearby her two favorite rides – “Splash Mountain” and “Big Thunder Mountain.”
“It was really exciting to be in one of my favorite lands in the park,” Melendy added.
‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’ is a sweet park classic
A former Walt Disney World cast member who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Business Insider that their favorite attraction was “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.”
When park roles were assigned during the park’s college program, things worked out for this cast member.
They ended up working at The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The former cast member added was an “ironic” twist of fate, as the ride had been their favorite long before that.
“The fact I worked there was just a happy coincidence,” the former employee said.
Epcot’s World Showcase allows guests to see the world without leaving Florida
“I have my favorite attractions, but, honestly, if I was at a park, I was happy,” Meghan O’Neill, a former Disney cast member who worked in Future World in Epcot, told Business Insider. “Just being there was the best thing.”
That being said, one attraction did stand out: Epcot’s World Showcase.
“If you think you’ve seen it all, try Perry’s World Showcase Adventure,” O’Neill said.
Agent “P’s World Showcase Adventure” allows guests to participate in a scavenger hunt while traveling through the World Showcase.
‘The Haunted Mansion’ is one of the park’s spookiest spots
- Jennifer Lynn/Flickr
“My number one favorite ride forever and always will be the Haunted Mansion,” Jake Kleckner, a former Disney World cast member who worked in Frontierland, told Business Insider.
“All my friends got so sick of me riding the Haunted Mansion. I went to a Halloween party one time and I think I rode it four times in a row. I just love the Haunted Mansion. I think it’s so fun.”
Are you a current or former Disney cast member with a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.