Top 10 Most Impressive Disney Audio-Animatronics

Audio-Animatronics are some of the most iconic elements of Disney's rides and experiences, and they are truly astonishing to see. Many of us Disney fans have memories of witnessing a certain Audio-Animatronic for the first time and being utterly fascinated by how realistic it looked.

Disney Imagineers put so much time and effort into making these Audio-Animatronics look as great as they do, so it is only fair to give them the appreciation they deserve.

Because I had to pick from so many different amazing Audio-Animatronics at every Disney Parks, some fan favorites did not make the cut (sorry, computer scientist from Spaceship Earth). We all have our own favorite Audio-Animatronic, but we'll break down our take on the Top 10 most impressive Disney Audio-Animatronics worldwide.

Belle & Prince Adam–Enchanted Tales of Beauty and the Beast

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog.

Enchanted Tales of Beauty and the Beast is a newer attraction at Tokyo Disneyland, and its technology is extremely innovative. Throughout the ride, you come face to face with Belle and The Beast and follow along with their story. These animatronics are able to suspend disbelief by being so lifelike yet also capturing the expressiveness of their animated counterparts.

The most impressive moment is the transformation of The Beast into Price Adam, as it is unlike anything that has ever been done before using projection mapping, a robotic arm, and the Pepper's Ghost Illusion. The finale of the ride is Belle and her prince dancing to the theme of the movie, surrounded by characters who have now returned to their human form! This ride is one to marvel at and does justice to the iconic film it is portraying.

Lightning McQueen–Radiator Springs Racers and Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog.

The Lighting McQueen Audio-Animatronic in Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy and Radiator Spring Racers is a unique and fluid animatronic. He is a completely life-sized car yet such a humanlike character with his fluid movement and facial expressions. He can blink, talk, and most importantly—drive!

There are many different Cars characters in Radiator Springs Racers as well, and each of them are distinctly unique and lifelike. If you have never seen Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, escape the heat on a hot Florida day and see this amazing Audio-Animatronic in action!

Mr. Potato Head–Toy Story Mania

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog.

This Audio-Animatronic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios resides in the queue for Toy Story Midway Mania! The giant Mr. Potato Head figure is extremely impressive, especially when he interacts with individual guests in the queue. Mr. Potato Head can look to a specific guest with his eyes and speak to them, forming the words with his mouth in a truly lifelike matter. He can also remove his ear and reattach it to “hear you better.” This figure is such a fun and unique character, which ultimately makes the long wait time entertaining. Make sure to check him out next time you wait for Toy Story Mania!

Jack Sparrow–Pirates of the Caribbean

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog.

Jack Sparrow was added to the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2006. This ride existed before the movies, so as the movies became so successful, Imagineers added characters from the movie into the ride.

I distinctly remember seeing the video of Johnny Depp surprising guests at Disneyland as a child and being convinced that when I rode the ride, the figure of Jack Sparrow was really Johnny Depp! This Audio-Animatronic looks extremely similar to the actor and has become such an important part of the classic attraction.

Abraham Lincoln–Great Moments with Mr Lincoln

Photo Credit: Disneyland.

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln opened in 1965 at Disneyland and was refurbished to its current version in 2009. The Abraham Lincoln Audio-Animatronic in this attraction was the very first human Audio-Animatronic! It debuted in Walt Disney’s presentation at the 1964 New York World’s fair and was extremely unique and revolutionary at the time. Lincoln stood up from his chair and gave his 5-minute speech, which amazed the audience.

Though the original figure is not the one used in the show now, you can still see it on display at the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Make sure to stop by and pay your respects to this extremely important part of theme park history. No one can say how the future of Audio-Animatronics would have gone without Mr. Lincoln!

Kylo Ren–Rise of the Resistance

Photo Credit: Disney Dose.

When this Audio-Animatronic is fully working, it is one that truly enhances the entire experience of the ride. Kylo Ren can be seen in Rise of the Resistance two times, one time extremely up close before the explosion that ultimately allows guests to reach their escape pods. When you can get up close to Kylo Ren, you are able to see how lifelike he looks.

Unfortunately, this figure malfunctions frequently, which may cause guests to experience the “B-Mode” of this attraction, where Kylo Ren appears on a screen. Have you ever seen the B-Mode of this attraction? Even though it does not compare to the marvel that is the Kylo Ren Audio-Animatronic, it is still interesting to experience the ride in a different way!

Hondo Ohnaka–Smugglers Run

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog.

Another astonishing Audio-Animatronic in Galaxy’s Edge is Hondo Ohnka in Smugglers Run. Hondo is an iconic character in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels! As a Clone Wars and Rebels fan, it is always so cool to see Hondo in person as he explains how to pilot the Millennium Falcon and obtain the cargo.

This figure is extremely technologically advanced, featuring 40 functions in his face alone! He makes the experience of Smugglers run so immersive. This figure also malfunctions very frequently, and in these cases, Hondo will let you know about the ride on the screen behind where his Audio-Animatronic usually is. If you are a fan of Rebels and The Clone Wars, make sure you stop by and say hello to your favorite mischievous pirate!

Rocket Raccoon–Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!

Photo Credit: Disneyland News.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s California Adventure was refurbished into Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! in 2014. With the addition of the new theming came the addition of the iconic Rocket Raccoon Audio-Animatronic in the pre-show. Rocket crawls out of the vent and interrupts the pre-show to let you know about the mission with the Guardians.

This Audio-Animatronic is extremely like the character we know and love and is voiced by Bradley Cooper! It is amazing to see such a beloved Marvel character come to life. He is also a part of the preshow in the Halloween Guardians of the Galaxy—Monsters After Dark at the Oogie Boogie Bash After Hours Event with a new script!

Albert–Mystic Manor

Photo Credit: Disney Parks.

In Hong Kong Disneyland’s iteration of what we know as the Haunted Mansion, we are able to meet Lord Henry Mystic’s adorable pet monkey, Albert. This Audio-Animatronic is extremely expressive and cute, even with his mischievous behavior! He is the key part of this attraction and has made Disney fans around the world fall in love with him.

In Mystic Manor, you are able to explore the manor with Albert and even help with some magical trouble caused by Albert! If you haven’t seen this Audio-Animatronic, make sure to watch some videos of Mystic Manor. It is a truly one-of-a-kind experience that is overlooked by most Disney Fans.

Na’vi Shaman–Na’vi River Journey

Photo Credit: Disney Parks.

One of the most beloved and amazing animatronics is the Na’vi Shaman in Na'vi River Journey at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This Audio-Animatronic reportedly cost $10 million to build, and it shows through her fluid and lifelike movement. Every time I go on this ride and see the animatronic, my eyes just well up in tears because of how beautiful and impressive she is, especially with the spiritual song playing in the background that she sings along with.

This animatronic is what makes Na’vi River Journey such a popular ride, and I would urge everyone to wait for this ride (even during high wait times) just to experience this animatronic for themselves! Read our tips for visiting Animal Kingdom here.

Honorable Mention: Spiderman–Disney’s California Adventure

Photo Credit: Disneyland News.

Though Spiderman flipping through the air is such a mind-boggling moment, Disney Imagineers call this technology a “stuntronic” since it is an animatronic that does stunts. Therefore, I thought Spiderman deserved his own category for most impressive “stuntronic!” You can read more about Avengers Campus here.

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