You can’t help but want to sing the lyrics when you are at Disney and you hear this famous song. You even believe it, “my, oh, my what a wonderful day!”. So, what exactly makes a great day at Disney? Loved ones being there to share in the day with you, of course. Spreading some “pixie dust” for others (good deeds such as letting someone have your spot in line, giving someone something that is special to you, or simply helping someone who is lost). I like to find as many of these opportunities to spread some pixie dust as possible, not only because it’s good for my children to see so they know how to act as adults, but also, maybe your good deed will change the course of someone’s day for the better.
Another way of making a great day at Disney is getting to indulge in some of your favorites. Keep in mind, these are MY personal favorites, and while I know there are some amazing things I will be leaving off of this list, I have to keep it fairly short. So…with that being said, I’m going to list my top five things to do at each park, according to my taste. Kind of a “if I only had one day at Disney, what would you suggest?” post.
Magic Kingdom Favorites
This is REALLY hard. I have SO many things I could put on this list. But, when I think of Magic Kingdom, these things come to mind:
- Peter Pan’s Flight: This ride just comes to mind when I think of Magic Kingdom. The wait is ALWAYS long, and you will do yourself a huge favor if you are able to get a fastpass for this ride. Hop aboard a magical ship that takes you through the famous movie scenes and truly feel as if “you can fly”.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Another ride that SMELLS and FEELS like you are truly in the movie. The water, the darkness, the smell of the sea….admist a backdrop of magnificent ships and Captain Jack Sparrow. This is a ride that we go on again and again. Some days we have needed a fastpass, and others, we have been able to go right in. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
- Dine like a Princess at Be Our Guest AND Cinderella’s Royal Table: BOG is more budget friendly and you can sample “the grey stuff (it’s delicious!)”. Snag a breakfast or lunch dining option for Quick Service, or choose a Dinner serving time for Table Service and a chance to see “The Beast”. Or, if you are more into all of the Princesses and dining at “THE” castle at Magic Kingdom, then make your advanced dining reservations (ADR’s) at the 180 day mark out from your trip to ensure you are able to snag this coveted character table experience. Even my youngest son loved this dining opportunity. We had our meal at 7:20, and it ended just as the fireworks began at night. As we left, we had nowhere to go except the front row for prime fireworks seating! What a bonus!
- Main Street, USA: What I love about this is that it is supposed to mimic Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri (my home state!). The architecture, the shops, the quaint cafe’s and ice cream parlors all scream of days gone by and truly make you yearn for simpler times. It is a beautiful glimpse into where he grew up and of a time that can only be re-imagined with the dreams of someone like Mr. Disney.
- Splash Mountain: Without a doubt, this ride is worth your time. One thing my family and I commented on was how long this ride was prior to the actual uphill climb towards the thrilling descent. Lots of crazy characters that really take you back in time, to the movie “Song of the South” with the famous Br’er Rabbit.
BONUS; Dumbo, while it typically doesn’t require a fastpass, is also one of my favorites, especially at night, for you to see all the beautiful lights at Magic Kingdom. Finally, while you are at Magic Kingdom, you need to stop by and try their famous Dole Whips! A refreshing pineapple creamy treat that I look forward to each trip! Finally, you MUST stay for the “Happily Ever After” fireworks special, as mentioned above!
For me, Epcot is equally as hard. I have always struggled between which park is my favorite, not that I have to choose, but Epcot is also a park in which I could spend two to three days of my trip just wandering around and enjoying all of the experiences that it has to offer. With that being said…..here are my personal favorites.
- Soarin: I could ride this over and over and over again. The sights of some of the world’s most iconic locations, the hang gliding feel of the ride, the gigantic screen, the music, and we can’t forget the smells that go along with each “stop” you make on the voyage. You feel you are truly there. Fastpasses are suggested for this ride, although if you get there early in the day, you could hop on.
- Test Track: In the words of my son, “I’m so going to drive like this someday!”. Test Track allows you to “build” a car, design the best features possible for not only a safe ride, but also a very fast ride. Your car will go on multiple “tests” prior to being out in the open for the ride of your life. This ride was simply amazing. Fastpasses are suggested for this ride as well.
- Spaceship Earth: Getting to go inside the iconic feature of Epcot, the enormous geosphere (referred to by many as a “giant golf ball”), is amazing. I have never needed a fastpass for this ride. Spaceship Earth takes a little jaunt through our civilization and how communication has transformed over time.
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends: If you love the movie, you will love the ride. A fastpass is typically not needed for this ride. Journey through the seas as you go on a search for Nemo. You truly feel that you are taking a dive!
- Frozen Ever After: I must begin this with telling you that a fastpass will definitely be required for this encounter. Even if you aren’t a fan of the movie, you will enjoy this ride. Take a ride through Norway with some cool Audio Animatronic figures and songs and let the ride show you how “cool” being frozen can be.
BONUS You must stay for the IllumiNations fireworks spectacular. Also…..The. Food. That is all. It’s amazing. Sample some from as many countries as your stomach can tolerate! Finally, the countries themselves are their own attractions. There isn’t just one that I can say we loved the most. But one example is that while in Morocco, my daughter got some amazing henna drawn on her hand that lasted well beyond our trip. Epcot is simply amazing.
Hollywood Studios Favorites
There is so much that I love about Hollywood Studios. I loved walking in and seeing the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. There are currently alot of changes going on at Hollywood Studios, and this post could very well be edited with some new favorites after our next trip this spring. Let me hop into what my favorites were up to our last trip in 2017.
- Fantasmic: It helps to snag a fastpass for this epic firework extravaganza. Sit down and enjoy this show that includes Mickey Mouse, fireworks, boats, ships, FIRE, and glorious scenes from dozens of Disney classic films. There are live characters blended in with the digital projections, all taking you in and reminding you of why you love Disney so much.
- Toy Story Mania: Grab a fastpass for this ride, or arrive early to hop to this one. Toy Story Mania is a 3D Based “game” in which you compete with the person sitting next to you to get the most points by going through several Toy Story themed rooms. Very cute, VERY fun, and definitely worth your time.
- Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage: Lots of singing and dancing, in this condensed version of the movie. Fastpasses are optional, but not usually needed. Sit back and enjoy the songs of Beauty and the Beast, watch the characters in motion, and feel as if you have watched the entire movie all over again.
- MuppetVision 3D: This may have been my son AND my husband’s favorite attraction at Hollywood Studios. They are both HUGE Muppets fans (cmon, who doesn’t love “Kermie”). There are bits of Muppet-type humor woven in throughout the pre-show and main feature, and it leaves you feeling a little nostalgic for the days when the Muppets were at the height of their popularity. A fantastic attraction for the kid in you.
- Star Tours: The Adventure Continues: Calling all Star Wars fans….this ride is a MUST! Super exciting fun and adventure awaits on this motion simulator ride. The ride is one big adrenaline rush as you are on a fast paced track with lots of dips and swerves and turns through the Star Wars locations. Definitely grab a fastpass for this adventure!
BONUS: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror….My daughter and sweet friend Katie LOVED it and I know it deserves to be on this list. Jump onboard as you manuever through the Twilight Zone in this free fall thrill ride. Also, if you have time, watch the stage show Voyage of the Little Mermaid. It’s a nice little adventure with Ariel and friends.
Animal Kingdom Favorites
Animal Kingdom is in a world of its own. To me, it’s a park where you really start to feel you are in another world, miles away from civilization. Give Animal Kingdom a chance to show you all that it has to offer. You won’t regret it!
- Kilimanjaro Safari’s: You will need a fastpass to catch this trek. It is simply amazing, how you feel you have been transformed into the jungle. Something only Disney can design. The live animals, the glorious waterfalls, the “bumpy” ride that feels like you are really riding on a real safari adventure. Remember, most animals are usually alert and active early in the morning or right before sunset. Try to get your fastpass for those times!
- Avatar Flight of Passage: The new “it” ride at AK. Climb on the back of a banshee (which you can even feel “breathing”), and soar and glide your way through Pandora. You will experience smells and sights like no other and the wind and water from the ocean. Needing a fastpass isn’t even a question…it’s a must!
- Expedition Everest: Amazing to see at night, where you can see all the lights that Animal Kingdom has to offer. Expedition Everest is an amazing thrill ride that goes forwards, backwards, and you encounter a Yeti that can frighten even the toughest of people! Hold on tight during this ride! Fastpasses recommended, unless you can grab a spot early in the morning at park opening.
- Kali River Rapids: Remember how I advised on bringing ponchos for the Florida showers that pop up out of nowhere? You also need those ponchos for this ride unless you want to leave drenched (like my husband was!). You never know when you will get soaked on this ride, but it’s inevitable, it will happen. Journey through the rainforest and ruins on this whitewater rapids ride. Try to book it for later in your day, so you don’t take the chance of being soaked for the rest of your afternoon. Lockers are available for storage and highly recommended. You could even sneak in a dry set of clothes.
- Festival of the Lion King: This. Show. I don’t know that there is a better show at Disney. Acrobats, fire, animals, singers, themed costumes and larger than life characters make this a stand out performance. I was simply in awe throughout this show. Do it.
BONUS: It’s Tough to Be a Bug: The cast of A Bug’s Life takes you through an interactive and educational story on insect. Finding Nemo: The Musical is a condensed version of the movie but so worth it. A great mix of live actors simulating the glorious characters from the movie make you feel that you are right there in the ocean with them. Extra songs and lots of moments that make you laugh make this show unforgettable.
That’s it! These are a list of my personal favorites, maybe even some of yours. If you would like to seek out another adventure at Disney or this stimulates your need to go for the first time, let me help you make that happen! firstname.lastname@example.org