Five Mediocre Attractions at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando You Should Ride for One AMAZING Animatronic

Audio-animatronics are a STAPLE of Disney and Universal attractions. From Presidents to pirates, Animatronics have been an instrumental part of Disney designs since they were first used in the Enchanted Tiki Room. These lifelike robots have helped tell stories for almost seven decades, and they’re only getting more and more impressive!

Walt with some original Audio-Animatronics in the Enchanted Tiki Room

Now while some attractions are incredible in every way INCLUDING their animatronics, some are incredible ONLY because of their animatronics. And those are the ones we’re talking about today!

None of the attractions on this list would we recommend — if it weren’t for one INCREDIBLE animatronic. And for that reason alone — you should ride it!

Five Mediocre Attractions at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando You Should Ride for One AMAZING Animatronic

Lightning McQueen Racing Academy

Located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is one of Disney’s newest attractions. And it’s…fine. The vast majority of the 15 minute show is a virtual race between Lightning and Chick Hicks — with help from Lightning’s friends, of course. The show itself will likely not dazzle anyone (aside from the biggest Cars fans), however you should check it out to see Lightning!

Lightning McQueen

The car animatronic is incredible! He’s super lifelike — watch him bounce in the wheels and the expression in his eyes and mouth. Trust us, Lightning is worth seeing the show, at least once! Ka-chow!

Na’vi River Journey

Na’vi River Journey is a slow moving boat ride through Animal Kingdom’s Pandora. It’s often listed as one of the most overrated rides at Disney World (ouch). To be fair, it would hard to be the sister ride of Flight of Passage. While we enjoy Na’vi River Journey for its beauty, there is one big reason to ride this one…

Na’vi River Journey

…you guessed it, the Shaman of Song! This gigantic animatronic is one of the most advanced in Disney history. Watching her is 100% worth a trip down the river (as long as the line isn’t too long)!

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Heading over to Universal Orlando Resort, you may be excited to ride Skull Island: Reign of Kong. This 3-D attraction is part simulator, part real moving vehicles as you explore Skull Island and come face to face with the massive primate.  While the majority of the ride is screens, it ends with a HUGE and lifelike ape.


Kong is almost 30 feet tall, making him impressive to anyone, whether you’re a fan of the films or not.

Flight of the Hippogriff

Harry Potter fans: this one is for you! While the majority of the attractions in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are first class, the least exciting one is Flight of the Hippogriff. This coaster sits somewhere between the Barnstormer and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as far as intensity, making it a great ride for littler wizards in your party.

But there’s a great reason that non-little HP fans should jump aboard as well!


Buckbeak!! The only way to see this incredible animatronic Hippogriff is by riding the attraction, so we highly recommend Potterheads do just that. Just don’t forget to bow!

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Okay, okay — this one has a caveat! If you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan who’s dreamt of flying the Falcon since the 70’s THAT’S why you should ride this.

But if you’re not a big Star Wars fan, this attraction isn’t as impressive as others in the park. However, one thing that dazzles us is this guy:

Hondo Ohnaka in Smuggler's Run

Hondo Onaka!! He’s your host on this not-so-legal journey of yours, and he’s more impressive than making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.

What animatronic in Disney or Universal amazes you the most? Share in the comments!

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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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