Four theme parks, four water parks, six golf courses, Downtown Disney, and Wide World of Sports make Disney a world -- maybe even a universe -- unto itself. Here are the best new attractions worth adding to your "must-see" list:
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The pre-teens in your family will love this ride in the Adventureland section of Magic Kingdom. Sixteen four-passenger "carpets" circle a giant Genie's bottle, moving up and down, pitching forward or backward at riders' commands. Make sure to duck when you see the camels. They have a tendency to "spit" water at carpet passengers.
- TriceraTop Spin
Take a dizzying, up-and-down journey around a giant spinning toy top that opens to reveal -- what else? -- a dinosaur. At the new Dino-Rama area in Animal Kingdom, your pre-teens will whirl with delight.
- Tapestry of Nations and IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Two well-received celebrations honoring the millennium have been extended indefinitely at Epcot. Tapestry is a twice-daily parade featuring colorful and very tall puppets and gigantic percussion units that resemble colossal timepieces, all marching around World Showcase Lagoon. IllumiNations, meanwhile, is a nightly extravaganza of fireworks, lasers, comets, fire torches, and other pyrotechnics that light up the sky around the lagoon.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold
DisneyQuest, an interactive arcade in Downtown Disney, is more than just virtual reality and video games. The new 3-D Pirates experience is a 5-minute journey through plundered towns, fortress islands, and erupting volcanoes to a final showdown with Jolly Roger and his Ghost Ship. SongMaker, another new attraction, lets guests create their own tunes by combining lyrics, energetic beats, and rhythms in a variety of musical styles. And you can buy the CD to take home.
It's not a ride, but it'll get you onto one faster. The free service is available at 13 rides across all four Disney theme parks. Insert your admission ticket into a turnstile at one of the attractions. The ticket prints out a free pass with the time to return. You'll proceed directly to the pre-show or boarding area with little or no wait.