Hundreds of books have been written about visiting Walt Disney World. There is so much going on that there is obviously no way that we could possibly inform you about everything you need to know. However, this is a short, sweet, simple version to hopefully give you a head start on your vacation planning. Get ready because there's a lot to take in and you don't want to miss a thing! There are four magical parks to visit: Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot.
Between the four parks, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot Center, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Magic Kingdom is where it all started. We think of it as the mother ship. As you walk up and see the train station sitting high and mighty alongside the “Magic Kingdom” sign, you will feel right at home. You can almost hear Mickey saying, “Come right in.” Under the train station’s tracks, the Mickey Mouse garden of flowers with the backdrop sign of “Let the Memories Begin” will be your first photo. Next up is Main Street where you will view Cinderella's Castle at the end of the road. Cute shops and restaurants adorn the street and it's such a happy place. You’ll go on lots of amazing rides, which are more like exhibits. Our faves are: Dumbo the Flying elephant (yes, for the young and old), It’s A Small World (one of the originals and still beloved), Little Mermaid Under the Sea, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain (launch through space aboard a rocket ship), Splash Mountain (float through a bayou of singing characters and then fly 5 stories down on the water), Big Thunder Railroad (go through a haunted gold-mining town on a runaway train), Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (challenge your opponents and test your arcade skills), Haunted Mansion (hop on this ride and see the coolest haunted mansion ever), Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Pirates of the Caribbean (you might even catch a glimpse of Johnny Depp). That’s just a partial list. Don't forget to meet some characters (there are many in each of the four parks). Cinderella, Ariel, Mickey and Minnie are some of the oldtimers here!
Our favorite places to eat: Be Our Guest Restaurant (excellent food, awesome desserts), and Winnie the Pooh character meals at the Crystal Palace. For quick snacks, give the ginormous turkey leg a tasting. And don’t leave without trying a Mickey Ice Cream Bar. They’re the best!
Hollywood Studios brings us more rides and shows. These include: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (favorite of all), Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith (listen to great music while enjoying the thrills of a super-fast roller coaster, Toy Story Midway Mania (challenge each other as you shoot at targets), Indiana Jones Stunt Show, Beauty and the Beast Stage Show (a mini Broadway show), and Frozen's For The First Time In Forever show. Most exciting are the Star Wars Experiences... train in the way of the Force, view props from the movies, meet Star Wars characters and go on Star Tours, the 3D motion-simulated space flight.
Restaurants we love: the Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose. For a quick bite, Pizza Planet has some great pizza. It’s also an arcade so if you need to take a break, the kids can have fun while you’re resting your feet. And, if you’re still longing for something delicious yet sweet, go to Hollywood Scoop for great ice cream, or pick up a mouth-watering chocolate-covered apple (mmmmm).
We also love the Tree of Life (the centerpiece of Animal Kingdom and a great places for photos), The Lion King (another extraordinary mini ‘Broadway’ show), Affection Station, Kilimanjaro Safaris (see lots of jungle animals in their habitats), It’s Tough to Be a Bug, Kali River Rapids (a rip-roaring raft ride), DINOSAUR, and our favorite there, Expedition Everest (an exciting roller coaster that will pump you up). Mealwise, we love Tusker House Restaurant, Flame Tree BBQ (excellent sandwiches!), the Restaurantasaurus character buffet, and Rainforest Café -- you can’t go wrong with any for a quick bite or sit-down meal. And don't forget to end your evening with the Rivers of Light Show!
The last of the theme parks, Epcot, has more thrills and fun. Rides/exhibits not to miss: Soarin’ (sail away and glide around the world), Test Track (what a thrill as you race around a track and test the endurance of your own race car), Spaceship Earth, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, The Circle of Life, Journey into Imagination (a boat ride that includes some dinosaurs along the way), MISSION: Space, and The Seas. Entertainment and Education at the same time!
This is our favorite section because it means that there will be lots of new memories and experiences to enjoy. This is a partial list of Disney fun to come:
If you need a break from the walking and the heat, visit one of Disney’s water parks. Our favorites are: Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, both very different experiences. We like them both for different reasons so give them both a try if you have the time.
For more great restaurants and shops, there’s Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). If you haven't seen the change, you will be in for a huge surprise. Disney Springs is gorgeous, adorned with wonderful shops, and extraordinary restaurants. Our favorites are still there, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants, T-REX restaurant, and House of Blues, but there are so many new and exciting resturants to try now, too. We love the Boathouse! The shops are wonderful, with plenty of selections of gifts for yourselves or others! At night, there are plenty of clubs to keep the young adults entertained. Each club has a different theme and all provide a tremendous amount of fun.
Have a great vacation, meeting, or family reunion! Happiness is what Disney is all about!!!