I agonized long and hard over what my #3 choice would be. After the big two, everything else just falls in the gene pools of 'love it', 'like it', 'don't care much for it', or 'hate it with the fury of twelve suns' (yeah, little room for slack there). So #3 on will be more like log numbers versus actual favorites. In the end, I chose this pick with not just the strength of the ride but with the adding amazing theming. Disney's Animal Kingdom's Expedition Everest suits very well for #3!
Like Magic Kingdom (and really every Disney park, although Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios are not as defined), Animal Kingdom is divided into themed lands and Expedition Everest is located in the Asia section of the park in an area called Anandapur.
But, unlike the other parks, AK is incredibly foliaged covered (and extraordinarily hot...at least 5 to 10 degrees hotter than the others parks, I kid you not) and their lands are a bit more twisty, so your target isn't as readily apparent as it might be elsewhere (and you might notice the signage to the left in this picture, but unless you're looking for it, it kind of blends into the scenery too much because it's so heavily themed).
I get lost sometimes in AK more than the other parks (but I am navigationally challenged, so all must be forgiven).
But you know as you start to approach, because it's the biggest mountain in these here parts!
Even once you can see it, you are still NOWHERE near it, so there is still more of a hike coming (but stop off and take pictures because there are some amazing knick-knacks scattered around:
Eventually you get close:
But you'll notice that even the entrance building for the ride is quite a ways from the mountain:
And there is a specific reason for this. I may have mentioned my dislike for Fastpass lanes because they bypass the queue lines and this ride is the poster child for that. I'll try to keep these in order best I can and try to limit to just last year, but I may need to pull from previous years, so bare with me. And, depending how long the line is, the queue does actually go pretty far back, so the good stuff goes on for a very long time. Here is a pic from far back in the queue:
The first "room" you enter through the queue is the travel agency (all part of the storyline, not a real one). It's a bit hard to get pics in here because the line is moving so fast at this point and, unlike Pirates, it's not the kind of line where people can skirt around you, so forgive the quality:
The second "room" you walk into is the "shop" but again, it's still part of the queue:
Next up is the "museum" and this is my absolute favorite. These artifacts are either real items from Nepal or were copied by Disney artists from real Nepalese artifacts but, of course, the Yeti stuff is all made up (or is it?):
Funny thing about this one - I have a deer phobia (probably because I've wrecked three vehicles hitting one) so this epitomizes what deers look like in my eyes!
Recognize anybody familiar? Yep, SyFy's Josh Gates!
There is only one more "room" before the actual loading dock and this is where the Fastpasser's come in (so see what all they've missed?):
OK, enough of the "rooms", let's get on the ride, shall we? You can ask to sit up front (we have) and they will accomodate. Just understand that there is a longer line for those coveted seats, so prepare to wait a bit longer. You board a "tea train" that is making a run through the mountain:
Still more props in the ride area:
the luggage of riders who never came back!
Even though it is a fairly good speed roller coaster (by Disney standards anyway), it's still slow enough to allow for picture taking:
It was so nice to see the waterfall working again! It's been off forever!
Going a bit faster now:
but you slow as you start to climb toward the temple:
and the music gets more ominous:
peak coming up:
and don't forget to look down:
but still not the tallest - can you see the Swalfin and Tower of Terror in the distance?
You've finally made it to the top, but uh oh, the Yeti's been here:
Wonder what it looks like from the front row? Wonder no more!
and you've got no choice but to go back down the mountain BACKWARDS!!
The Yeti's not done yet, he's tearing up more and more track around you:
This is the best ever photo I've gotten of the Yeti (and of course with my new camera):
When it first opened, he used to move and swoop down at you, but he hasn't worked in years and is running in "B" mode now (which basically means the base moves, but technically he doesn't - considering the high cost of him, they could either fix him or, since they now have new audio animatronic technology to make him lighter, they could just re-do him...it's just sad).
After a few more turns and hills, you're back at the station:
And like other Disney rides, there is still plenty to see once you exit including a fabulous gift shop (a real one) with more artifacts:
and things outside as well:
including a great shot of riders taking their tea train tour:
My little Sissy has never been a ride person. I have several childhood memories of her screaming on rides and them having to stop it to let her off. But she's different in Disney (that ought to be our motto...Different In Disney! I say it often enough). She tested herself on Big Thunder and Space and Splash Mountains, so when Everest arrived, she was not only excited to ride it, she conquered it!