Welcome to the most magical place on earth! Walt Disney World located in Orlando, Florida. Having been a Florida resident for over a decade, frequent visits to Disney were inevitable especially with friends and family from out of town. The Disney annual pass came in extremely handy! Over time, I learned a few tricks on how to make my repeat visits more fun and enjoyable especially during the brutal Florida summers.
Walt Disney World consists of 4 theme parks called Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios , 2 water parks called Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, Downtown Disney and over 30 resorts which include Vacation club villas for all budgets. Dedicating just a day at the parks is just not enough if you want to get the complete magical experience. A little bit of advance planning can definitely take you a long way. Keep on reading…
Magic Kingdom opened its doors in 1971 as first of the four theme parks at Disney World. Ever since, it welcomes over 20 million visitors annually, making it the most visited theme park in the world. Now, the big question is what’s so magical about it? I mean it’s just a theme park, right? Well not quite and let me tell you why. The magical experience begins as soon as you step foot on Disney’s property. From the parking lot employees dressed in their peculiar uniforms to the ferry boat ride, it is all part of the experience. Once you are inside the park, you won’t miss the massive Cinderella castle. Before you go too far, I would highly suggest you pick up a map of the park and a times guide to get information regarding shows and character appearances, yea, Mickey needs a break too. The park is basically divided into 6 themed lands which are: Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasy Land and lastly Tomorrow land. Guys, to be honest, there is a LOT to do and can very easily get overwhelming, however, a little positivity and a rough plan can certainly make your experience fun. Here are my recommendations of things you must not miss:-
-Picture on Main Street with the Cinderella Castle in the background
-Grab a Mickey or Minnie mouse shaped ice cream bar, and get a photo clicked with your favorite character in Main Street
-The Magic Carpets of Aladdin in Adventure Land
-Walk around Tom Sawyer Island and ride the Splash Mountain in Frontier Land
-Cruise the rivers of America at Liberty Square
-Meet more of your favorite Disney Princesses (hooraayy), fly with Peter Pan abroad a magical ship and dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table (reserve and once more reserve ahead!) all at Fantasy Land
-LOL at a live Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor comedy show and get on a speedway at Tomorrow Land
For all the animal and nature lovers, this park is for you. Animal Kingdom is the largest theme park in the world! The park’s icon is the Tree of Life, a 145 feet tall artificial tree. My favorite part has to be the Kilimanjaro Safaris. It is a bumpy ride where you get to see wild animals such as lion, giraffes, zebras, African elephants, etc. The park is divided into 6 sections which are called Oasis, Discovery Island, Pandora- The World of Avatar, Africa, Asia and Dinoland USA. The Festival of the Lion King is another one not to miss. I guarantee you will be singing and clapping during the show. As you head to Asia, experience traveling through turbulent rivers of a jungle landscape on a wet raft ride called Kali River Rapids and finish it off with delicious Chicken tikka masala (it was yummy!) from the Yak & Yeti restaurant.
“Travel around the globe, under the sea, into Outer Space….and beyond!”. Someday I will travel the world but until then, Epcot does it for me. I get to taste all kinds of food and drinks from around the world without having to leave the country! They also run an International Food and wine festival from end of August till November, if you are a foodie then you definitely don’t want to miss this event! Now just like the other Disney parks, Epcot is divided into different sections which are Future World East, Future World West, Showcase Plaza and World Showcase. As you enter the park, the first thing you will notice is a gigantic white golf ball which is called Spaceship Earth. I would highly recommend this ride, Mission Space and Test Track all located in Future World East.
Future World West has another one of my favorite section, The Seas with Nemo & Friends which also has a 5.7 million gallon aquarium! Showcase Plaza and World Showcase have different sections representing various countries from all over the world such as Morocco, Italy, Germany, China, etc. The employees at each pavilion are dressed according to the country they represent, everything from the architecture to the food give you an illusion that you are indeed in a different part of the world, it is just amazing! A little birdie told me that there a margarita stand opening up at Epcot soon.
Ever wondered how movies are made? Or what happens behind the scenes? Hollywood Studios is a park dedicated to the show business which includes film, television, music, and theater. Lights…camera…action! If you are a Star Wars fanatic, I would suggest taking a Star Wars Guided Tour to enjoy the full force. Hollywood Studios has 7 sections which are Hollywood Boulevard, Echo lake, Muppets Courtyard, Commissary Lane, Pixar Place, Animation Courtyard, and Sunset Boulevard. Here are my recommendations:
-For all the young Frozen fans, stop by the Echo Lake section for a show called For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration and for the future super heroes, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.
-Experience the magic of the Muppets in a 3-D show at Muppets Courtyard.
-You can also meet Mickey and Minnie at Commissary Lane and dine in at a Sci-Fi Dine-in theater restaurant.
-Voyage of the Little Mermaid, a live show at the Animation Courtyard.
-Rock n Roller coaster starring Aerosmith and a Beauty and the Beast live show at the Sunset Boulevard
Walt Disney World also has 2 water parks called Typhoon Lagoon water park and Blizzard Beach. If you are looking to beat the Florida heat, you will love these parks! For all those who are planning a trip to Disney World in Florida, check out my previous post on Florida here. As promised here are my tips that might be helpful during your visit.