Top 5 Must-See Animatronics at Walt Disney World

BB8 rise of the resistance
BB8 rise of the resistance animatronics

We ranked our Top 5 Walt Disney World Animatronics; did your favorite make the list?

Walt Disney World is a realm where imagination and innovation blend seamlessly, offering an immersive theme park experience unlike any other. Central to this magic are the animatronics, which have been a key part of Disney parks since Walt Disney himself envisioned Disneyland. These mechanical marvels, evolving from the early designs of Disneyland, have revolutionized theme park experiences worldwide, setting a new standard for storytelling and immersion.

With the recent installation of the Hatbox Ghost at the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom, it’s the perfect time to explore the top 5 animatronics that have become icons in their own right at Walt Disney World.

Related: The Hatbox Ghost has Arrived in Magic Kingdom

Navi Shaman of Songs

Shaman of Songs – Na’vi River Journey, Animal Kingdom

In Pandora – The World of Avatar, the Shaman of Songs animatronic is a technological marvel. She mesmerizes visitors with her lifelike movements and enchanting song, showcasing the pinnacle of current animatronic technology. This animatronic is perhaps the most impressive I have ever seen, and well worth the wait for the attraction!

hall of presidents 00

President Abraham Lincoln – Hall of Presidents, Magic Kingdom

The Abraham Lincoln animatronic in the Hall of Presidents is a tribute to Disney’s long-standing history with animatronics. This realistic representation of Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address, demonstrating the blend of history and technology. The scene when honest Abe stands is powerful enough to bring a tear to your eye and is a must-see for all Disney guests.

kylo ren

Kylo Ren – Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Hollywood Studios

In Rise of the Resistance, Kylo Ren’s animatronic brings the intimidating First Order leader to life with startling realism. His dynamic presence adds a thrilling element to this immersive Star Wars adventure. Kylo appears several times throughout the attraction: on the bridge, cutting the top of the elevator with his lightsaber, and even stopping you with the force as you attempt to escape (this last one is often replaced with B mode of Kylo in a Tie Fighter on screen).

I also wanted to add a special shout-out to the BB8 animatronic that joins you in the briefing with Rey (see image above). BB8 is GREAT here, and I am always super happy to see him!

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The Hatbox Ghost – Haunted Mansion, Magic Kingdom

The Hatbox Ghost is getting a bump here due to him being new and highly anticipated. I also think the effects are well done, immersive, and worth the wait! A legendary figure in the storied history of Disney animatronics, the Hatbox Ghost is famed for his chilling effect of making his head disappear and reappear in a hatbox. His addition to the Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion adds a classic touch with a modern twist, especially when the new animatronic is viewed through the lense of the new lore that was added courtesy of the latest Haunted Mansion film.


The Jail Cell Dog – Pirates of the Caribbean, Magic Kingdom

This beloved scene features a dog holding the keys to a jail cell, while pirates try to coax him closer. This animatronic captures a humorous and memorable moment in the ride, showcasing Disney’s attention to detail and storytelling. The scene is funny, the dog is lifelike, and the scene is incredibly memorable (and was a great addition to the live-action Pirates of the Caribbean movie).

These animatronics are not just technical achievements but are a core part of the storytelling magic that Disney is known for. They continue to awe and inspire guests, embodying the spirit of innovation and imagination that Walt Disney envisioned.

Which of these animatronics have you seen? Did your favorite make the list? Leave us a comment to tell us what you think!

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Top 5 Must-See Animatronics at Walt Disney World 1

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Chris B