When it comes to the absolute best Disney parks ride, everyone probably has a different answer. While some might be loyal to Splash Mountain or Tower of Terror, I know in my heart that the best is (and always will be) Pirates of the Caribbean. The ride is a classic, appeals to all age groups, and has tons of that famous Disney detail (not to mention that very distinct and iconic smell). For me, though, it's got some personal memories, too.
The attraction itself is exactly what you think of when you think of a Disney parks ride. It's not a thrill ride or a roller coaster, but more of a "story" ride that rewards paying close attention to details. Plus, it's got a catchy-as-hell theme song that you won't be able to get out of your head for months. The level of detail in the scenes is extraordinary, and there's always something new to notice. It's got a few "thrill" moments with minor drops, but unless you're supersensitive to motion, you can hop on the ride after lunch without fear. It's a true Disney classic that's been around for generations, and the dark, cool, relatively slow-moving interior can be a welcome respite from the sun on the hottest and sunniest of days.
Regardless of your feelings on Disney's domination of the entertainment landscape, you've gotta admire their clever corporate synergy, which is never more evident than in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The ride, of course, inspired a successful movie franchise, which then in turn inspired new edits and added details in the original ride. For me, it was actually the Pirates movies that helped me fall in love with the ride as a tween. Forget Jack Sparrow: sitting in that boat (in the front, of course), riding through the pirate-filled waters, I might as well have been Elizabeth Swann, the ultimate butt-kicking, quick-thinking, army-leading heroine of the early 2000s. Even though she doesn't appear in the actual ride itself (although her wedding dress does appear in the back of one room), that came to be what I associated the ride with most: a brave heroine I could look up to.
For me personally, the Pirates ride holds a special place simply because of the nostalgia it brings up for me. So when I hop into a front-row seat on one of those boats, I'm suddenly 13 again, and that amazing feeling is something no shiny new ride can ever hope to match.