Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Walt Disney World Must Dos for Disney Rookies

Our travel party - three generations
of Disney fans!
Yesterday I was asked by Glenn (@D_LandObsession) for advice on someone's very first trip to Walt Disney World.  Immediately, the ideas started swirling.  There is just so much to see and do!  Also, there are so many perspectives to share this from - a mom, a thrill seeker, a non-thrill seeker, and really I could go on.  So, here are my tops and below you will find links to some other people's opinions on must dos for rookies.  Of course, there is so much more to experience what I have listed here!

Magic Kingdom:
My personal favorites are some of the classics, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion (I still wish the ride would stop one of these years when I am in the attic - there are too many details to take in as you make your way by in the Doom Buggies!) and  Peter Pan's Flight. For a very laid back experience, you can't beat Liberty Belle Riverboat, the Carousel of Progress and Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover.  But if you were to ask my thrill seeking husband, he would say Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain.  For my girls, there is no doubt that Prince Charming's Royal Carousel, the Mad Tea Party, Aladdin's Magic Carpets,  the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and It's a Small World would top their lists.  We experience each of these several times each trip, sometimes several times in a row!  For Joey, he would say Tomorrowland Speedway, Buzz's Space Ranger Spin and Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.  Of course, Wishes, the nighttime fireworks show, is unbelievable and I try to see this as many times as I can each trip.

The Fife & Drum Corps at the American Adventure
Epcot has so much to offer!  Of course, first thing you must experience is Spaceship Earth (though if you are traveling at a busy time of year, head to this attraction later in the day.  It can be very busy first thing!).  My children would say head straight for The Seas with Nemo and Friends.  The trip through the Big Blue in the Clam Mobile in search of Nemo is one of their favorites, but they also love Turtle Talk with Crush.  In the Land Pavilion, be sure to take flight on Soarin', as well as an educational boat ride on Living with the Land.  Both are family favorites.  But by far my favorite part of Epcot is strolling through World Showcase and sampling drinks and foods from around the world.  As you do so, I highly recommend finding times for Voices of Liberty at the American Adventure, as well as the Fife and Drum Corps.  Both are great performances that we never miss!  Of course, there is plenty of live performances around World Showcase.

Queue area of Toy Story Midway Mania
Disney's Hollywood Studios:
There are four things that I highly recommend at Hollywood Studios.  First is Toy Story Mania. Hit this very first thing entering the park.  The queue area fills quickly and fast passes are generally gone much faster than those for any other attraction.  My kids love this and try to outdo each others scores!  Being a Star Wars fan, I highly recommend making your way to Star Tours. This attraction is my favorite in this park.  Finally, The Muppets 3D Vision is a favorite too.  What a fun show from the preshow area to the finale.  We love it!  But I think besides Wishes, Fantasmic is the greatest nighttime spectacular in Walt Disney World.  If you are a thrill seeker, well, you have Rock N Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror to get your adrenaline going, both favorites of my husband.  Our whole family enjoys the Beauty and the Beast show, and my girls could not leave DHS without seeing Disney Junior Live.

A close encounter
on Kilimanjaro Safaris
Disney's Animal Kingdom:
Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of my favorite attractions in all of Walt Disney World.  Every trip is a new experience.  We have been lucky enough to have several "close encounters" over the years.  I also love strolling along Pangani Exploration Trail.  The gorillas are amazing to watch and we make sure to take some time to just observe them for a while.  You never know what you will see!  The Maharajah Jungle Trek is another favorite.  The tigers are just beautiful, especially when you can catch them not napping!  My husband loves Expedition Everest and that would top his list.  For a show, we really enjoy the Festival of the Lion King, something we experienced for the first time last trip!  Another favorite if you happen to cross paths with her is D'Vine.  An amazing performance worth watching for!

Outside the Parks:
There is so much to do in Walt Disney World outside the parks.  When we are visiting Epcot, we take a midafternoon break, head through International Gateway and head to the Beach Club for a Kitchen Sink.  If you are looking for a fun dinner show, I cannot recommend Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue enough - we love it!  Of course, then there is Downtown Disney.  There isn't a Disney souvenir you can't find here!  For some free Disney fun, head to Port Orleans Riverside to listen to Yeehaw Bob, a piano player at River Roost who gets the crowd into the show singing and clapping!

You never know when a little Disney magic will
happen - sometimes it is just around the corner!
I really could go on and on!  But I hope this gives you a good idea of a few of the things we just have to experience each trip!  Of course, every Disney vacation we experience something new and add that to our favorites.  But my top advice for someone traveling to Walt Disney World for the first time is to just take your time and enjoy every site and sound around the parks.  Sometimes are most magical moments happen at the least likely spots!  Finally, plan out the things you know you want to do and experience those firsts.  There is so much to do, you cannot possibly do everything in one vacation (well, unless you plan on being there much longer than we can, which is usually a week!).

Ok, I know there are a lot of other great experiences at Walt Disney World, so what did I forget?  Leave a comment and add your advice for a Disney rookie - what should they be sure to experience?

For more suggestions, Joanna at Joanna and Her Technicolor Interwebs has an entire series of Top 5 things she believes everyone should experience at each of the Disney parks, as well as Downtown Disney and Disney transportation.


DisneyonWheels said...

Great list! I love that no matter how many times I go I still find something new to do. :)

Beth D. said...

It's so great! Right now, all my girls can talk about is the new Little Mermaid attraction! :-) We will hopefull be experiencing lots of new things next trip. Everyone will be tall enough for all the attractions, except Emily may miss the cut off for a couple. That's a milestone in itself for us!