Riders’ Advisory

In October my wife and I visited Disney World for our honeymoon and take my word for it, it definitely is the Happiest Place on Earth. Having never been to Disney World before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect outside of the fact that I knew I was going to have fun. Even with such an amorphous expectation, Disney World completely blew me away. The rides, the roller coasters, the food, the attractions, and the overall atmosphere of the four parks completely captivated me. If you’ve never been (or haven’t been in a while), I can’t recommend it enough.

Now to tie in me shamelessly advertising for Disney with my actual job. Something that we do as librarians is readers’ advisory. Readers’ advisory is where we suggest books, movies, music, etc. to patrons based on their interests. We also do this when we make book lists or blog posts that are typically titled something along the lines of “If you liked…” Fitting with the librarian tradition of readers’ advisory, I wish to embark on a new type of advisory: riders’ advisory. This is going to work very similar to readers’ advisory, but instead of me suggesting books similar to other books, I am going to suggest movies (and one album) similar to my favorite rides at Disney World.


Because all of the rides in the Tomorrowland portion of Magic Kingdom all fit the same theme (Disney’s view of the future), I am lumping them all together for the sake of brevity. Tomorrowland has a lot of fun space-themed and future-themed rides, but the one that takes the cake is Space Mountain. In Space Mountain, the rider is whisked away to the distant future, where people traverse the solar system using bobsled-like rockets. Although the ride is a little uncomfortable and loud, these two factors don’t detract from the fact that it is one of the best rides at Magic Kingdom. Because Tomorrowland is sci-fi inspired, I decided to pick out some movies that are heavy in space-travel to fit this theme.


Ad Astra

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

Depending on who you ask, this ride is either one of the best or one of the worst at Disney World. In this ride, travelers are put into carts mounted with laser tag-like blasters and are then moved through a shooting gallery comprised of various Buzz Lightyear inspired scenes. Within the shooting galleries, riders use their blasters to shoot targets on the walls and gain points. While the ride doesn’t offer much in terms of thrills, it does allow you to be competitive with the other passengers as you rack up points shooting the targets. Overall, this ride is a cross between an alien invasion movie and a life-size arcade machine. For this reason, I picked out two movies similar to this ride: one about a full-size arcade game, and one about an alien invasion.


Independence Day

Mission: SPACE

This is a ride that is so intense it fits into the category of “do once so you can say you did it, but never do it again.” If you’ve ever wanted to see what it is like to be an astronaut, this is probably the cheapest way to do it. The reason I say this is because during this ride you are strapped into a little simulator pod and spun around in a centrifuge like an astronaut to simulate different levels of g-force. While physically taxing (and potentially vomit inducing), this ride is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. If you are big into space movies and sci-fi, this is the closest you can get to feeling like the characters in these films. After walking away from this ride (and nursing myself back to health for the 45-minutes that followed), I have a new respect for Matthew McConaughey’s character in Interstellar.


The Martian


Dinosaur is a fun track ride with a great plot. Before the ride starts, the rider is instructed that it is their job to go back in time to the Jurassic period and take back a dinosaur for scientists to research. The catch is that you are teleported to seconds before the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs hits. As a result, the ride feels like a race against time as you speed through prehistoric environs as you try to make it back to the present before the asteroid hits. Although the animatronics show the ride’s age, everything about it is really well done and is actually pretty thrilling.

Jurassic Park

Ice Age. Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Have you always wondered what it would be like to soar down a Los Angeles freeway on your way to a rock ‘n’ roll award ceremony? Wonder no more, because that is exactly the plot to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios. This ride starts out immediately thrilling as it launches you from zero-to-sixty miles per hour in a staggering three-seconds. From there it only gets better as you fly through hairpin turns and loops on your way through L.A.

Aerosmith's Greatest Hits