Ranking the Disney World Boat Rides from Worst to Best

Have you ever thought about how many times you board a watercraft of some sort during a trip to Walt Disney World? From pirate ships to Viking cruisers, you’ll float along more times than you probably realized!

Frozen Ever After

But not all theme park boat rides are created equal. Here is our ranking of the Walt Disney World boat rides from worst to best.

10. Liberty Square Riverboat

 

Liberty Belle at night

 

No offense to the Liberty Belle, but this is a tame attraction. While it is pretty cool to ride an actual steamboat around Magic Kingdom’s Rivers of America, the attraction is 20 minutes long and pretty lackluster (unless you love plastic deer). The Riverboat can’t compete with the more thrilling or technologically savvy rides on our list, which is why it sits at number 10.

9. Gran Fiesta Tour

 

Where’s Donald? on the Gran Fiesta Tour

 

I actually love the Gran Fiesta Tour (especially after a trip into La Cava del Tequila), but it needs a makeover! There are lots of rumors (hopes) that the ride transforms into a Coco-themed attraction, which would likely move it up considerably on our list. For now, it will have to enjoy not being last.

8. Kali River Rapids

 

Refreshing raft ride on Kali River Rapids

Animal Kingdom’s raft ride gets you more than a little wet — you get SOAKED. More often than not, I walk off the attraction needing a towel and a blow dryer. The big drop isn’t notably exciting and the illegal logging theming is a bit underdone — basically the amount of wet just isn’t proportionate to the quality of the ride. For these reasons, Kali floats into number 8 on our list.

7. Living with the Land

 

Living with the Land in Epcot

Honestly, from here on, the list was incredibly hard to rank. Living with the Land is a quiet favorite of a lot of Epcot patrons — especially older kids and adults who have a passion for gardening, farming, or nutrition. While the entire attraction isn’t on water, you do float through Epcot’s greenhouses where you can see giant watermelons, fish, and hidden Mickeys in the vegetables. Compete your visit with a nosh at Sunshine Seasons, where all of the produce is grown in the greenhouses you just saw!

6. “it’s a small world”

 

“it’s a small world” in the Magic Kingdom

 

This classic is a must-do at least once in every Disney guest’s lifetime. Climb aboard the “happiest cruise that ever sailed” and see the adorable dolls from around the globe sing the catchiest song of all time.  We love “it’s a small world” but truthfully, it would land higher on our list if the song wasn’t stuck in our head for days after.

5. Na’vi River Journey

 

Shaman of Songs at Na’vi River Journey

 

Na’vi River Journey is a visually stunning attraction in Pandora – the World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While the technology isn’t generally as impressive as its sister attraction Flight of Passage, the giant Shaman of Songs animatronic at the end is absolutely incredible. Like, “I have found myself waving at it because it’s so realistic” incredible. If you can snag a FastPass for Na’vi, or it has a 45-minute wait or less, we highly recommend it.

4. Jungle Cruise

 

The classic Jungle Cruise

Is there anything as great as sailing the rivers of the world while a skipper tells you corny jokes and you look at mechanical animals? Didn’t think so! This classic was an opening day attraction at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The ONLY and I mean only, reason this doesn’t land higher on our list is the variability — a lot rides (pun intended) on your Skipper, and if you get one who isn’t up to par, then the attraction falls a little flat. Luckily 9 times out of 10 the Skippers are great, and so is your boat ride!

3. Frozen Ever After

 

Elsa and Anna… and Olaf, in Frozen Ever After

 

Whether you’re a Frozen fan or not, everyone should climb aboard the viking ships at Frozen Ever After. Sure, I was sad when Maelstrom closed, but I quickly forgot about the oil rigs and polar bears when I rode this attraction. The animatronics are AH-mazing, the story flows perfectly, and the music is beautiful. You’ll be blown away by Elsa’s ice palace and you’ll “awww” over how cute Olaf and Sven are. Whether you like it or not, Frozen is here to stay — and we can’t Let it Go!

2. Splash Mountain

 

Splash Mountain

 

No visit to Magic Kingdom is complete without a trip to the Briar Patch! Hop into the infamous log flumes and enjoy the story and music of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear. Look around and enjoy the attraction prior to the big drop — which is easier said than done with a five-story fall around the corner! But if you do, you’ll notice lots of little details like the opossums swinging above you or all of the “Brer” animals’ mailboxes. A trip down Chickapin Hill is a rite of passage, and a quintessential Disney must-do.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean

 

Those scurvy pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean

 

Yo-ho, yo-ho a pirate’s life for me! Sailing into the number one spot is the Disney classic, Pirates of the Caribbean. Pirates has everything — it’s a family ride that everyone can enjoy, but it still has action for the older kids, nostalgia for the parents, and Johnny Depp!

Pirates of the Caribbean is as Disney as it gets, and it never gets old! That’s why Pirates of the Caribbean easily scores the top spot on our list. Savvy?!

What do you think — did we rank the Disney World boat rides correctly? Let us know in the comments! And rate the rides yourself in our Rate and Review section here!

 

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Molly is a lifelong Disney enthusiast, and former Walt Disney World Guest Relations Cast Member and tour guide. Her Walt Disney World favorites include Festival of the Lion King, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Fantasmic!, Mickey-shaped pretzels and rice krispie treats, and anything with Buzz Lightyear! She lives in Orlando with her husband (who she met in Guest Relations) and their two rescue dogs, Kronk and Cruella de Vil (Ella for short!)

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10 Replies to “Ranking the Disney World Boat Rides from Worst to Best”

  1. Hi Molly,

    I think you did a great job ranking these beloved attractions! It’s not easy is it? I think your top two are right there. Also, I want to say how surprising it is how much I enjoy the living with the Land ride. A fun ride and a nice rest for the feet on a busy day!

  2. Definitely, have disagreements here. I, nor anyone I know has gotten soaked on Kali River Rapids. It depends on your luck more than anything. It’s a lot of fun and a great relief on a hot day.

    It’s a small world easily goes at 10 for me. It wouldn’t be on a list if up to me. While I also love POTC I don’t think I would have it as #1 either especially since the changed the ride to be more family friendly yet is completely against the dynamic of pirates.Living with the land is also a pretty cute neat ride as well.

    1. Then I must have the worlds worse luck. Cause I’ve ridden it 3 times and each time all I needed was a bar of soap on a rope, a shower cap, and a luffa to complete the full shower experience. Not complaining though. At 110 degrees in the shade, in 10 minutes I was more dried out than my 107 year old salt water sea captain grandma (She was the original leather face).

    2. Pirates has always been “family friendly”. It has just been changed to (1) integrate elements from the movie franchise and (2) to make it more politically correct. Which, by the way, I consider ironic in light of the fact that Splash Mountain is based around one of the most politically IN-correct films that Disney ever produced, yet it is totally unchanged.

  3. I would give the Liberty Square Riverboat more love. It’s at least an 8. The queue for Kali is better than the ride, and the Gran Fiesta is a one-timer.

    In fact, on a nice warm breezy day, I would put the Riverboat near the top.