7 Disney World Classics We Will Always Love

Remember the first time you saw the fireworks at Cinderella’s castle?

Valerie Fraser Luesse
Disney World Fireworks
Dan Anderson

Even the sleepiest, most exhausted eight-year-old will spring to life when those fireworks start popping over the castle. (Bippity, boppity, boo!) Long before Disney's “imagineers” figured out how to use cutting-edge computer technology to send us floating and flying through Pandora, the soon-to-open fictional universe from the movie Avatar, they were creating the classic attractions of our childhood.

And it’s not just the attractions (and Mickey) but the music. Bet you could still sing a few bars of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” and “The Bear Necessities” (forget about your worries and your strife). Nothing against all of the park’s exciting additions over the years, but the next time we make vacation plans for Orlando, our itinerary will include some quality time with Tinkerbell and other classic Disney favorites. Let us know if we’ve overlooked any of yours!

1. Cinderella’s Aforementioned Castle

There’s a little bit of magic in those old spires. They make us dream of ball gowns and glass slippers and a certain handsome prince.

2. It’s a Small World

We know! Now you’ll have that dang song in your head for the next three days, and we’re truly sorry about that. But still. Floating through this colorful universe and watching animated children from around the world sing a sweet little ditty about unity and understanding still gets to us. Maybe we’re just a little nostalgic for a place where “There’s just one moon and one golden sun, and a smile means friendship to everyone.”

3. Carousel of Progress

Envisioned by Walt for the 1964 World’s Fair, the Carousel moved first to Disneyland in California and then to its current home in Orlando. An audio-animatronic narrator introduces family scenes that take us through time—from just before the turn of the century into the modern era with all its conveniences. Sure, it looks primitive compared to attractions featuring current technology—but some of us remember being wowed by it: Those characters are so lifelike! They move like humans!!!

4. Mad Tea Party

Here’s an idea: Let’s all climb into giant teacups and spin around and around! Just not after lunch.

5. Haunted Mansion

It’s creepy—but in a good way. Climb aboard the Doom Buggy and let the Ghost Host talk you through the Musical Crypt, the Tomb of the Posthumous Poetess, the Secret Library, and more. Give our regards to Madame Leota.

6. The Hall of Presidents

In a world where anybody can strap on a virtual reality headset, these audio-animatronic U.S. Presidents aren’t as amazing as when they first appeared. Then again, they’re still pretty special. Sometimes we still forget they aren’t real. And it’s a hoot to get a history lesson from Abraham Lincoln. (Who knew he lived in Florida?)

7. Space Mountain

Holy cow! Do you remember the first time you went sailing through the darkness of this indoor coaster? The twists, turns, dips, and dives; the light show; the pitch-blackness all around so you can’t see it coming—what a thrill! It wouldn’t be half as much fun with the lights on. But Mr. D. thought of that.