We gotta hand it to Disney: they sure know how to entertain us before they entertain us.
Disney is so committed to putting on a show that many of our favorite attractions greet us with a pre-show before we even make it to the main event! And some of these are so iconic that they’ve become attractions in their own right. While the pre-show experience looks a lot different at the moment — and many of them are being completely bypassed — we’re looking forward to experiencing these attraction hype sessions again one day!
Here are our picks for the best pre-shows in Disney World!
Haunted Mansion is one of the most beloved attractions in Disney World. And the experience starts well before guests even reach their Doom Buggies! The Haunted Mansion pre-show is iconic. It introduces us to our Ghost Host, who proceeds to narrate our tour throughout the ride. In fact, this pre-show is so well-known that the Stretching Room portraits are some of the most popular Haunted Mansion imagery!
The Haunted Mansion pre-show sets up both the story and the tone for the rest of the attraction perfectly. All we can say is, “Welcome, foolish mortals.”
The Enchanted Tales with Belle pre-show takes guests into Maurice’s cottage, where you’ll see a number of his inventions. But the most exciting part of this room — and the reason it made our list — is the magic mirror on the center of the wall. The Cast Member tells the story of the magic mirror, letting guests know it was a gift to Maurice so he could see Belle at the castle anytime he wanted. The Cast Member then has the audience repeat the line, “Take me back to the day Belle and Beast fell in love,” and magic ensues — the mirror transforms into a door!
This magic mirror effect is incredible, and it’s one of our favorite parts of the entire attraction! Which is exactly why Enchanted Tales with Belle earned a spot on our list.
While we still feel a bit nostalgic for the old version of the pre-show starring Gary Sinise, the new version starring Gina Torres still holds up. And we love them both for the same reason — they get us pumped up for our upcoming mission!
The atmosphere and props inside the pre-show room make us feel like we’re really getting ready to be launched into orbit. Which is fitting, since the attraction itself is pretty intense — especially if you’re braving the Orange Mission!
Okay, first can we just acknowledge what an incredible character name “Dr. Grant Seeker” is? The DINOSAUR pre-show takes us into the Dino Institute Briefing Room. Here, Dr. Helen Marsh — hi, Phylicia Rashad! — teaches us about the Time Rover which will transport us to the past. And then Dr. Seeker pulls a sneaky and tells us he’s sending us to the (super dangerous) end of the Cretaceous period to find an Iguanodon.
This pre-show prepares us for our adventure and sets us up for some serious dramatic irony with Dr. Seeker’s last line, “Trust me, what could go wrong?” Spoiler alert: a lot.
There’s so much to love about the Tower of Terror pre-show! The theming in the pre-show rooms is incredible, and there are several Easter eggs that fans of The Twilight Zone might spot. Here, we’re introduced to the tragic backstory of The Hollywood Tower Hotel as we prepare for our own journey on the maintenance elevator.
This pre-show is another one we find ourselves quoting constantly. Plus the Imagineers even threw a Hidden Mickey into the scene — let us know if you’ve spotted him before!
All we can say is WOW! The Rise of the Resistance pre-show spans several different scenes, including a briefing from Rey and Poe, a transport flight piloted by Lieutenant Bek and Nien Nunb, and a giant First Order hangar complete with Stormtroopers and TIE Fighters. And yes, that’s all BEFORE you’ve even reached the ride itself!
This pre-show is so intricate and involved, it truly is the gold standard for setting the story for an attraction!
With a combination of incredible effects, impressive storytelling, and intense detail, these are the pre-shows in Disney World that get us the most excited to experience the attraction ahead. Thanks to these marvelous introductions, we’re transported directly into the middle of an adventure!
What is your favorite attraction pre-show in Disney World? Let us know in the comments!
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