Season 2 – Episode 9 (Episode 24) of Up the Waterfall

One of the things that makes us love Disney so much is the ability to transport us. Whether it’s visually or through sounds, smells and movement, Disney parks have some of the Best Special Effects around. We’ve discussed some of the Biggest Hits (and Misses) of Disney parks, and among that list were things like animatronics. Jumping off from that point, this week on Up the Waterfall, Scott and I each share our picks for the best special effects used by Disney Imagineers that really “changed the game” so to speak as far as attractions go. And as always, we know that attractions doesn’t necessarily mean rides.

With all of the amazing ride and Imagineering technologies available today, one of the things we explore is that it can sometimes be the simplest of effects that have the biggest impact. For example, growing up, for both Scott and I, the effect of “fire” in Pirates of the Caribbean burning village scene. Another of Scott’s favorites (and mine once I finally got to Disneyland) was the “lava” in the Primeval World diorama on the Disneyland Railroad. Simple rolling logs covered in foil, with lighting, has the uncanny appearance of flowing lava.

Pirates of the Caribbean village fire scene
photo credit: Disney

Effects like this laid the groundwork for today’s Na’vi River Journey‘s Shaman of Songs animatronic, or the newest attractions of Rise of the Resistance and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (which we don’t discuss too much to be completely spoiler-free).

Get comfy and listen along or watch below and see if our list matches yours – OR – if we left one of your favorite Disney special effects out of this episode! Feel free to comment below with your picks, or if you disagree with our choices. If you enjoy our show, we’d love you to subscribe to Up the Waterfall podcast, either on your podcast app of choice, or on Zannaland’s YouTube channel, to see all of the fun as well as hear it. Keep reading below for all the places to find and listen or watch.

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You can watch this Best Special Effects at Disney episode here:


We hope you enjoy this week’s episode of Up the Waterfall!

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