I was thinking about my favorite Disney attractions: Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Carribean, Radiator Springs Racers, Splash MOuntain, Jungle Cruise, Tiki Rooom, Indiana Jones, and the Canoes. Even though this is a Disneyland forum, I'll also mention my favorite Walt Disney WOrld attractions: Horizons, Spaceship Earth, World of Motion, Journey Into Imagination (original). I started thinking about what elements these share that make them stand out above all others.
It seems to me that most of these feature heavy use of audio animatronics. They also have a memorable musical score that greatly enhances the attraction. Also, most of these are slow moving enough so one can savor the experience, rather than have it feel rushed.
True, Indiana Jones is fast, but it has those other elements. Even though Splash Mountain has a couple of flume drops, my personal favorite parts are the animatronic characters and music.
Even the canoe has the animatronic Indians and animals on the shore.
Also, they all truly surround the guest in total immersion of experience. It isn't hard to lose yourself on any of these and forget for a moment that it's all "just a ride."
So, it seems that these elements: Use of Animatronics, memorable music, savorable pace, total immersion all seem to be at least a big part of the "formula" for a classic Disney attraction.
Any one in agreement? Or disagreement? What is on your personal list of necessary elements for a classic Disney attraction?