I’ve never considered myself that much of a science fiction fan, since I’m not that into Star Wars or Star Trek (although I do know the difference), but several of my favorite movies and TV shows happen to be from that genre: Back to the Future, Firefly, Quantum Leap, Lost, and, of course, WALL•E. Although we’re still waiting for a WALL•E attraction, there are other attractions and experiences in the Disney Parks that will appeal to sci-fi fans.
So, here are seven things to do in Walt Disney World if you love sci-fi.
1. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
Naturally we have to start with the experience that has “sci-fi” in the title. I mentioned the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater in my posts on cars and cinema. The restaurant is themed like a drive-in movie, and during your meal you get to watch sci-fi and monster movies from the 1950s and 1960s. Check out the menu on AllEars.Net (there’s also a kids’ menu).
After the Sci-Fi Dine-In, the most logical place for a science fiction fan to hang out is Tomorrowland. As I discussed in my post on space, Tomorrowland is designed as a retro-futuristic space port, with the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover as the local transportation system, and Space Mountain as the inter-galactic gateway. I’m told (OK, I confess I read it on Wikipedia) that it’s reminiscent of the style of early 20th century science-fiction comic strips like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, so if you like your sci-fi old-school, you’ll love the atmosphere there.
3. Star Tours
You can’t talk about sci-fi for long without someone bringing up Star Wars. If you’d like to be immersed in that universe, you’ll want to spend some time in and around Star Tours in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You could even enroll your child in the Jedi Training Academy! Look at all the little Padawans!
4. Captain EO
In addition to Star Tours, George Lucas’s influence is also found at an attraction in Epcot: Captain EO. He executive-produced this film starring Michael Jackson. I think it’s fun for nostalgia but otherwise pretty dated, but many sci-fi fans love it.
5. Mission: SPACE
I debated about putting this attraction on the list because while it’s space-themed, it tries for more realism than fantasy. I decided to include it because it is a mission to Mars after all, which is not currently a realistic possibility. If you have a strong stomach, choose the orange version; otherwise, stick with green.
6. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
I don’t consider this attraction all that science-fictiony, but since it’s named after a famous science fiction television series, it earned a spot on this list. It’s also one of my favorite attractions. Enter if you dare!
Time travel is what put this attraction on the list. Guests are visiting The Dino Institute museum when they are invited to travel back 65 million years to find an iguanodon and bring it back to the present day. Of course, the trip doesn’t go exactly as planned!
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Your sci-fi extravaganza will take you to all four parks in a day. I’d start at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, since you just have the one attraction (DINOSAUR) to do there. Then move on to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There you’ll want to ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Star Tours. You should also try to see the Jedi Training Academy even if you don’t have kids along, because it is a fun show. Have lunch at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (make sure to make your advanced dining reservations before your trip). After lunch, take the boat over to Epcot and experience Captain EO and Mission: SPACE. Then take the monorail (itself a very science-fiction-esque way to travel) over to Magic Kingdom and spend your evening in Tomorrowland. If you’d like to have an alien serenade you during dinner, eat at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café.
Are there any sci-fi fans out there?