One of my very favorite sights in the whole world.
So last week I was at Disney World, auditioning for one of their Christmas shows; while I had a really great audition experience, I am about 99.9% sure that I will not be hired this time around. There’s always next year, right? But because I am such a Disney fan, I am starting about a month long of Disney related Whatever Wednesdays, so if you love Disney, make sure to come back each week to discuss our favorite things about Disney!
Anyway, when I wasn’t off trying to impress the Mouse, I was in the parks, for as many hours as they were open (and more, if you know what Extra Magic Hours are; if you don’t, come back next week to find out!). This trip was only my second visit to Disney World (I have also previously been to Disneyland once), so while I already have favorite rides and shows, there is plenty I have yet to do.
So here’s the deal:
I’m going to share my favorite Disney attractions, and then you’re going to share yours so I know what to do next time I go! If you’ve never been to Disney World, here are my suggestions for what you really should NOT miss when you do get a chance to visit.
Disclaimer: I don’t like roller coasters; if you’re looking for big thrills, you’re better off going to Universal Studios (definitely worth it if you don’t like roller coasters either, but that’s another post for another day).
In no specific order:
Magic Kingdom is by far my favorite of the parks, though it is also usually the busiest. There is no end to the magic that occurs everyday in front of Cinderella’s Castle in the form of live shows and parades, and most of the rides are themed after a specific Disney movie or character.
- Wishes Fireworks Spectacular–Of course you MUST watch the fireworks in Magic Kingdom at least once during your trip. Nothing is quite as magical as seeing Tinkerbelle fly out of Cinderella’s Castle with a backdrop of fireworks and a Disney soundtrack playing. If you stay for the Fireworks, you’ll probably catch the equally magical Celebrate the Magic! show which portrays scenes from Disney movies, projected onto Cinderella’s Castle.
- NEW Festival of Fantasy Parade (Main Street)– I don’t remember when this started, but it’s a new parade and it’s BEAUTIFUL. Because it comes down Main Street during the afternoon, it’s easy to find a spot to watch, but make sure you don’t wait until the parade has already started to claim a spot. In this parade, you’ll find all of your favorite Disney characters (including Anna and Elsa if you’re a Frozen fan), and even a fire-breathing dragon (literally). The floats are gorgeous and the music follows whatever float is coming down the street at the time (so if the float has Belle and the Beast on it, the music is probably going to be “Beauty and the Beast”).
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (Tomorrowland)- my family and I accidently stumbled upon this awesome ride on our first visit to DW; it’s an interactive video game style ride where you and a partner ‘fire lasers to defeat Zurg in this shooting gallery-inspired game’. Super fun and a little more interactive than some of the slow moving movie inspired rides.
- Pirates of the Carribbean (Adventureland)– check out where the wildly popular franchise began in this classic slow moving ride filled with creepy animatronics depicting pirate inspired scenes, many of which found their way into the movies. A really fun boat ride, especially good for when you want to get out of the hot Florida sun.
- Jungle Cruise (Adventureland)- I adore Jungle Cruise because it’s different every time; your boat driver guides you through the jungle filled with animatronics (animals and people) telling bad jokes the whole way that you can’t help but laugh at.
- Haunted Mansion (Liberty Square)- Possibly my favorite ride in the Magic Kingdom; same style as Pirates of the Carribbean-animatronics, riding through a big creepy house full of projected ghosts…it’s really fun. Just beware hitchhiking ghosts!
- Fantasmic!– If you do nothing else while you are at Disney, you MUST see Fantasmic. Even over the Magic Kingdom Fireworks. It was my very favorite thing we saw the entire time we were there. Set in a gigantic outdoor amphitheater, Fantasmic is pure spectacle, made to entertain and awe the audience as you take a look into Mickey’s imagination. Pyrotechnics, fireworks, water works, and every Disney character you can think of appear in this 30 minute show that will stay with you long after you leave the theater.
- The Studio Backlot Tour– This is a really fun tour that shows some of the behind-the-scenes magic of Disney. Half-special effects show and half guided tour, you’ll see how big movie studios make live special effects, and also get a peek into some of the Disney offices, such as Wardrobe and Set Design. Just be careful not to sit too close to the end of a row, cause you’ll get soaked when you reach Catastrophe Canyon. Trust me.
- The Muppets: 3D Vision- I love the Muppets; I know a lot of people think they’re creepy, but I think they’re hilarious and very clever. This 3D show is all laughs, and you even get to see some of the Muppets off screen!
- Star Tours– Star Wars fans, rejoice! Star Tours is back after being closed for remodeling, and it’s better than ever. A simulator ride, Star Tours jumps on board with C3PO and R2D2 in a exciting ride through planets and space battles. If you’re like me and hate heights but like fast moving rides, this is the one for you.
Epcot has fewer attractions than the other parks. We rode some in Future World, but the true fun of Epcot is in the World Showcase and walking around the different countries. Most of the Epcot rides are educational or historical. When I have more time the next time I go, I’ll probably explore Future World’s rides a bit more.
- Voices of Liberty (World Showcase: The American Adventure)- Americana a capella group that will blow you away with their musical prowess.
- Living with the Land (Future World West)– this was a fascinating boat ride that took us through Epcot’s greenhouses. We got to see some really exotic plants and some really weird ways to grow them.
- Spaceship Earth (Future World East)- another slow moving animatronics ride that goes through the History of the world. There’s a fun interactive bit at the end with creating a possible future based on a questionnaire you fill out.
- Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie (World Showcase: France)- ok, so this isn’t an attraction. It’s a bakery. But it had the BEST baguette I’ve ever eaten in my entire life, and I’ve been to Paris. Like, the real one. In France. Score for Disney World. You can pick up other delicious French cuisine at this quick-service restaurant.
This was my first time in Animal Kingdom, and we only spent about two hours there; I can’t wait to go back and explore some more!
- Kilimanjaro Safaris (Africa)- SO MUCH FUN. You get in a safari jeep and drive through an animal reserve. No cages. No bars. Just you, a jeep, and some wild animals. It’s about 25 minutes, although the animals have the right of way, so if they’re in the road, you’re stopped until they get out. Great opportunity for pictures of the wildlife.