Least Favorite Disney Attraction for Families

by Adrienne Krock, staff writer
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Let’s face it: Disney puts together a quality product at its many theme parks, which is why so many of us flock there year after year for vacations. They’re good. Really good. But. There are different strokes for different folks and some of their offerings fall short for various families. This week we asked the Parenting Panel: What is your least favorite attraction for your family? Just to make it a tad more challenging, if the panelist was writing about Walt Disney World (WDW), we added a caveat: If your answer is Stitch’s Great Escape, please also pick a second choice. We couldn’t make it too easy, could we? A number of the panelists managed to find at least one attraction in common – one that visitors can find on both coasts. Here’s what the panel had to say:

Parenting in the Parks columnist Adrienne Krock’s three boys are now 12, 9, and 6. They’ve been visiting Disneyland since they were each just weeks old and Annual Passholders since their 3rd birthdays. Adrienne starts off:

At Walt Disney World, my least favorite attraction is The Tiki Room: Under New Management, but the reason has nothing to do with my family. The good, old-fashioned original Enchanted Tiki Room is just so far superior in every way that I cannot bring my family to ever sit through the Walt Disney World version again.

But with that said, I do have a least favorite family attraction: "It’s Tough to Be a Bug!" WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

"It’s Tough to Be a Bug!" is an interactive 3-D movie.A bug spits "poison" at guests. Wasps "sting" unsuspecting guests in the back. And to top it off, giant spiders come down from the ceiling! Sure, the poison is just water, but do young children realize that? I know grown adults who avoid this attraction!

So whether in Florida at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park, or California at Disney California Adventure Park, my vote goes to "It’s Tough to Be a Bug!"

Chris, also known as GusMan, is always planning his next family trip to WDW and loves to help others plan their trips as well through sharing his experiences. Chris writes:

I will admit that I am one of those people who subscribe to the idea that most attractions at WDW is worth at least one try. After all, we tell our kids the line about how do they know they wont like it unless they try it. In essence, we have to practice what we preach. However, there are attractions that after that first try, you steer clear for years to come.

At Animal Kingdom, I think “Its Tough to be a Bug” is touted as a fun 3-D family attraction that features characters from A Bug’s Life. And while I loved the film, and I think the attraction is good in general, it seems like every time we decide to give it a shot, there are at least a dozen small children that get terrified after what I would like to call the “attack” scene. Between the buzzing of stinging insects, the spiders that come down from the ceiling, and getting stuck in the side by “a wasp,” it is easy to see why. The effects are great but unless you read a review or information from a guide book, parents may underestimate the special effects impact this attraction may have on small children. Getting traumatized at Disney is not expected—especially for young ones.

I know that I may be one of only a few that may feel this way, but when it comes to the most annoying and rather disappointing attraction to resurface was Captain EO at Epcot. Now, I know that there are some that love this attraction of past, now resurrected, and I can completely respect that. My wife and I were looking forward to experiencing it for the first time ourselves during a recent trip and we finally convinced the kids that it would be fun, and a blast from their parents past. We really enjoyed the pre-show and the behind-the-scenes footage on how it was made. However, what we experienced not only gave me a headache from the 3-D effects, but the dated storyline just made me feel like I wasted 20 minutes of my time. I know that this attraction was a technological breakthrough when it came out, and I was real excited to see it. However, it really did not live up to the hype in my opinion. The music was the only good part, but only if you were a fan of Michael Jackson or music from the 1980’ in general. Other than that, it just seemed cheesy and not up to what we would consider to be current Disney standards. Personally, I think it is the worst attraction in Walt Disney World next to Stitch’s Great Escape.

The Great Movie Ride is an attraction where many kids become bored since they are not familiar with movie culture beyond their own years. Personally, as an adult, I like it. However, to see my youngest tolerate the ride with signs of agony all over their face makes me wonder if it is really an attraction suited for the family. I don’t consider this a “bad” attraction, but one that I think would benefit from a renovation that would allow it to cater to guests of all ages, while keeping the main storyline intact. Even as a movie buff, it would be great to ride the attraction every couple of trips where you would see new movies, along with movies that were most likely enjoyed by the whole family. That way, when the ride is over, everyone feels entertained since connections were made between the content and the guests.

I still have an overall opinion that there are no bad attractions, but some attractions are best suited for someone else. Regardless, it brings up a point that before you go, read up on what might be your attractions of choice and see if they interest your traveling party.

Emily Loftus is a wife, mom of 2, portrait photographer and Disneyland fanatic from Reno, Nevada. Emily writes:

Every kid can get scared on a ride, but sometimes you leave a ride somewhat shocked at the experience you’ve just had. There are some attractions that offer more than the typical chills-up-the-spine kind of scare. I have experienced several less-than-kid-friendly attractions at Disneyland, but the two that stick out to me most were both in A Bug’s Land at Disney California Adventure.

The first is "It’s Tough to be a Bug." With versions of the same 3-D movie attraction at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort, being familiar with the film A Bug’s Life, one might be tempted to think that the attraction would be mostly docile, fun and possibly have a couple scary moments involving the film’s grasshopper characters. Our family found the film to be scary from beginning to end. To be fair, my children were quite young the first time we saw it. They were in the 2-to 3-year-old range and had to be carried out, crying. The room fills with a noisy fog of “bug spray” after a grasshopper screams in your face, and my toddlers just couldn’t hack it. Even today, they avoid the attraction, saying that they have no desire to see “that scary thing!”

The second is Francis’ Lady Bug Boogie. This ride is scarier for a mom, with a very young child than it is for older children. There is no height restriction, and watching the ride, I made the decision that it would be fine to ride it with my 1 and 2 year old children. Unfortunately I learned that though it might seem fine, but it’s actually quite rough. You have no control over the movement of the car, like you do in the teacups. I held my 1 year old daughter on my lap, but the ride operator informed me that she was not allowed to sit on my lap, so next to me, on the seat, she went. My husband was in another ride vehicle with our young son. Both kids were thrown hard against the side of the ride vehicle, when the ride started. We were not expecting the ride to be so bumpy and rough. This same scenario happened a couple years ago when my sister first rode this ride with her son. Needless to say, I always mention this to moms of babies. Now that my kids are older we ride it with no problems whatsoever.

MousePlanet columnist Chris Barry his wife Diane, 11-year-old Samantha, and twin 8-year-olds, Casey and Alex, live on Long Island and are all major Disney and Walt Disney World fans. Chris writes:

Least favorite attraction? Really? Isn’t that sort of like your least favorite child? An impossible and unthinkable question for sure. Maybe that’s a little too drastic of a comparison. Maybe it’s more like your least favorite M&M color. When push comes to shove, they’re all pretty darn good aren’t they? Certainly, my least favorite Disney attraction is way better than most any other ride in any other place. How can I choose my least favorite?

I put the question to the family members first. My 12-year-old daughter, Samantha was first. She’s been to Walt Disney World seven years in a row. She’s only been on Splash Mountain three times. No matter how cool the rest of the ride is, the drop just ruins it for her. She loves the characters, the music, really everything about it. She just can’t get over that drop and the anticipation of it just takes over and prevents her from enjoying herself.

One of my twin 8-year-old boys, Casey, can’t handle The Haunted Mansion. Forget it. Despite the fact that it’s not really that scary, he just won’t go near it. I dragged his brother Alex on it last summer and he enjoyed it. Alex tried to talk his brother into it, but there was no hope. Needless to say, Casey picked The Haunted Mansion as his least favorite, which is a shame because it’s pretty high on my all-time favorite list.

That story aside, the brave little Alex is really no big fan of Snow White’s Scary Adventures. He’ll go if we’re all going but he’ll only go once per trip. He doesn’t readily admit it, but I think it kind of freaks him out. Considering it’s going away soon, I guess he won’t miss it as much as I will.

My wife and I were tougher on this subject. It was hard to find a ride or attraction that we really don’t like. Most attractions had a caveat to them. Diane doesn’t feel that Dumbo is worth any kind of wait. I’d have to agree. So, unless we hit it first thing in the morning, we can avoid Dumbo altogether. That said, we do really like flying around looking at the view of the castle. We just don’t think the few seconds of airtime is worth a long wait. Diane is also no big fan of the Carousel of Progress. However, she will concede that it’s definitely worth using as a cooling off break on a sweltering summer day in the Magic Kingdom. We tend to look at the silver lining rather than dismiss an attraction altogether. Except, that is, when it comes to what I consider to be my least favorite. I suppose it’s a little unfair because I still haven’t experienced it.

Liberty Square is one of my favorite areas in Walt Disney World. I love the details. Love the riverboat. Love The Haunted Mansion. Love sitting on those rocking chairs people watching. But, I just can’t seem to get myself into The Hall of Presidents. I know it’s a classic. I’ve heard all of the arguments. I just can’t imagine this entertaining me at all. It seems like school on vacation to me. I don’t mind that in Epcot or Animal Kingdom. I actually really like it in those parks, but the presidents just don’t do it for me. Maybe someday…but I doubt it.

Like I said before, a bad Disney attraction is still worlds better than most any other ride or attraction in any other park. Overall, we found it hard to really choose our least favorites. I guess that’s why we keep going back for more year after year.

Jenny is a former theme park employee, avid Disney fan(atic), and an at-home mom to 2 Disney vets (5- and 4-years-old.) Jenny writes:

It is difficult to pick a least favorite family attraction. I asked my kids what their favorite and least favorite attractions were, and their answers provided a little insight into maybe what would qualify a favorite or least favorite ride for our family. My daughter (6 years old) seems to follow my mentality that a good attraction is defined by return on investment. Her answer to least favorite ride was Dumbo because the line is so long (yes!) As a parent, Dumbo is one of my least favorites for that very reason. Standing in the sun with two little ones for 30 minutes minimum is not my idea of fun. Her favorite ride is Splash Mountain, "because of the drops." I agree, and will add that using FastPass for a five to 10- minute wait for an almost 10 minute ride is a great return. I think my daughter and I would also agree that based on this same principle, Heimlich's Chew Chew train fits the qualifications for a least favorite attraction (though, I personally can't stand that ride no matter how short the line.)

I asked my son (4 years old) what his favorite and least favorite rides were, and his answers were based more on the thrill level and content of the ride. His least favorite ride is Pirates of the Caribbean, "because of the drops." It may also partly be because he ends up getting dragged on this ride every time we go, since it is a favorite of just about everyone else we go with. His favorite ride is Mr. Toads Wild Ride because he "gets to drive."

Bottom line, when I take the kids myself, we don't go on anything we don't all agree on. Except for the times we ask (bribe) my son to go on Pirates of the Caribbean.

It's your turn—keep the discussion flowing!

Visit the Parenting on the Parks section of our MousePad discussion board, and share your opinions about this topic or many others, or send your suggestions via e-mail. Reader-submitted tips might be used in a future article, and you might be selected to participate in an upcoming panel discussion!

 

Comments

  1. By jimthedj

    I think everyone forgets that the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House is an attraction. When the park opened in 1971, the 1960 movie that it recreates was barley relevant even then and was a bottom of the line "B ticket".

    Today, even the kids parents don't know the movie or even heard of it. I dare say, if you covered the sign and asked guests what Disney movie the attraction recreates, 80% of guests would not know.

    But even if everyone knew the movie... there is more entertainment value in the que areas of Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, & Space Mountain than the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. When I get to the end i think, "where is the attraction?, that was it?". Reminds me of the "line ride" in an episode of south park.

    But I get it. It's a tough problem for imagineer's... what CAN you do to update a 4 story cement tree in Adventure land?

  2. By UsBurchs

    When I saw the title of this thread, I automatically said "It's Tough to be a Bug" and apparently many other people feel the same way!

    That one is a doozy. I love the effects and all, but it was just too real for my four-year-old. I thought he might like it, seeing as how he thought the movie was fun, but it took a good hour, a trip to the dinosaur part of AK and winning him a stuffed dino to make up for the trauma we apparenly put him through! Lesson learned!

    Two years later, he still mentions that as a scary ride when I'm giving advice to friends and family traveling to the parks.

    I think a lot of kids have a problem with the "dark rides" because they can't see what is going on inside. My biggest tip for that is to watch the rides on YouTube before your trip if it's something you think you want to take your kids on. You might think it could ruin the fun, but for the kids, they just want to know that the ride isn't going to freek them out and seeing it ahead of time gives them that knowledge - enough to get on the ride and try it out for themselves.

    However, you just can't do that with "It's Tough to be a Bug". If you want 3-D and special effects, then try "Philharmagic" or the Muppet version at Hollywood Studios. MUCH tamer and not as scary.

  3. By AJDerrick

    Quote Originally Posted by jimthedj View Post
    But I get it. It's a tough problem for imagineer's... what CAN you do to update a 4 story cement tree in Adventure land?

    If you're in Disneyland you take out the Swiss Family Robinson gear and put Tarzan in.

    I agree, Tough to be a Bug is really hard on a lot of little kids. Some of the dark rides can be pretty scary too--as a general rule we usually recommend starting with Peter Pan just because it seems a little more light content-wise.

    I'll never forget being on the Great Movie Ride and listening to a child have a meltdown because one of the live cast members said we were all going to die. "But I don't want to die!!!" It was sooooo sad. And then there was the Alien scene...poor kid.

  4. By 3Princesses1Prince

    I'll agree with "Tough to be a bug" as a non-family-friendly ride. We enjoy it, the little ones sit in our lap to avoid some of the effects.

    One that we rode once and will never ride again is Astro Orbitor! That was uncomfortable for even my small frame to ride with my child.

  5. By JPinCT

    I have to add my two cents in on this one. From many years of experience, by far the Attraction from Hell is Tomorrowland Speedway. From the outside you are unable to gauge how long the line is as the facade blocks what's going on behind so many the unsuspecting guests hop in line only to find a long and winding line inside. While in line you're subjected to gas fumes, noise, as well as pounding sun as much of it is outside, all to get in a car that is slower than my grandmother pushing a lawn mower. Once in a car, you can still be waiting 15-20 minutes before you get in motion, that is if the car actually will get in motion. You'll see a dozen cars unable to start or get in gear at any trip. The only good thing about the Speedway is that its location makes it a pretty easy ride to bypass. Hit the Tomorrowland fun stuff, when you're done with Space Mountain you walk up the lane and into Cosmic Ray's, but come out the far door and the kids will never even see the Speedway. You won't have crying kids whining they missed a ride, and you'll save yourself an hour minimum of heat stroke and nausea.

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