My husband and I just returned from a two week holiday in Orlando, Florida. 7 of those days were spent in Disney World. We divided our days among the four parks and I truly cannot wait to share the high points with you! Consider this your official guide: what to experience in Disney World.
There were a few things I was very stubborn about concerning our trip and one of them was allowing ourselves sufficient time to explore all parks. I had heard Disney World in comparison to Disney Land (we were blessed to visit in 2014) was massive in size. I was so happy my stubbornness allotted us the time that we needed to truly experience every highlight.
In case you do not know Disney World has 4 huge theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. I am going to divide this blog into the four parks and focus on the highlights in each said park. I hope this will help break it down for you and give you a small glimpse into the magic you WILL experience! Keep in mind this is my husband and I’s humble opinion’s ♥
Magic Kingdom is truly where the magic happens! This is the park where you will find the infamous Disney castle and have the chance to experience Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland, etc. One thing that Benjamin and I did do was focus solely on the attractions that we wanted to do the most because we knew we would not have time to do it all (even with 7 entire days). Our favorite thing to do in all the parks was find the best rollercoasters, best treats and best live performances.
These were our favorite at Magic Kingdom:
Thunder Mountain Roller Coaster (Frontierland)
Splash Mountain (Frontierland) pictured below *You will get wet, possibly soaked when you take a huge dive off the mountain.
Pirates of the Carribean (Adventureland) pictured below
Swiss Family Tree House (Adventureland)
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Fantasyland)
Space Mountain Roller Coaster (Tomorrowland)
Tomorrowland Speedway (Ben especially loved this!)
IF YOU WANT TO RELAX
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (Tomorrowland)
People Mover (Tomorrowland)
I allowed myself one treat a day at Disney and tried to eat as I normally do otherwise. The great thing about Disney is that you walk and stand ALL day long, so you will burn extra calories and need more energy. That made me feel A-OK with a treat a day and one of my favorite treats is Starbucks!
Because it was so hot in Florida, my go-to drink at Starbucks this trip was a Grande Non-fat Iced White Chocolate Mocha. Seriously sooo delish!
And don’t forget about the epic fireworks at Magic Kingdom every evening! pictured below.
Bandana Tank SOLD OUT | Hi-Rise Denim Shorts (wearing size 25, but I would recommend sizing up to 26 for the best fit)
This is the park where The Lion King and Pandora (Avatar) come to life! If you are an animal lover you will have the opportunity to go on the Kilimanjaro Safari and see giraffes, elephants, rhinos, lions, etc, up close!
These were Ben and I’s Favorites at Animal Kingdom:
Avatar Flight of Passage (Pandora) – This ride may have been Ben and I’s favorite ride and to be honest, we aren’t really fans of Avatar. We can not stress this enough, fan or no fan, GO ON THIS RIDE! It’s that incredible! I also wanted to mention that the line is worth waiting in. Ben and I were able to go on it twice and waited well over an hour each ride. Just do it, trust us.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain (Asia)
Kali River Rapids (you will get wet, possibly soaked)
IF YOU WANT TO REST
Festival of the Lion King (live performance in Africa)
It’s Tough to be a Bug (Discovery Island)
Rivers of Light (Night Light Show)
Soft Pretzel (make sure to get cheese sauce). P.S. This is the perfect treat to share.
Hollywood Studios is where you will get to check out Toy Story Land as well as experience many live performances like Beauty and The Beast as well as Fantasmic (a night light show), etc.
These were Ben and I’s Favorite Attractions:
Slinky Dog Dash Roller Coaster (Toy Story Land)
Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (Sunset Boulevard) pictured below
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Sunset Boulevard) pictured below
IF YOU WANT TO REST
Beauty and the Beast Live Performance (pictured below)
Scoop Front Bodysuit in Grey wearing XS | Belt | Sandals SOLD OUT | Adidas Cap | Black Denim Shorts wearing size 26, I sized up one size for the best fit | Kendall & Kylie Purse Wallet SOLD OUT | Magic Band
Voyage of the Little Mermaid (live performance)
Walt Disney Presents (the story of Walt Disney, museum and short film)
Frozen – Sing Along (live performance and sing along)
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (live performance)
Fantasmic (Night Water Show)
* Something I learned on this Disney trip is how relatively easy it is to meet Disney characters. Just look for “Celebrity Spotlights” (lines will generally be 20 to 30 minutes) and you can meet various characters. It’s how we got to meet Olaf ♥
Vanilla and Chocolate Swirl Soft Serve Waffle Cone (yuuuuuuuuuummmyyy)
Scoop Front Bodysuit True Red Chevron wearing XS | Hi-Rise Denim Shorts wearing size 25 but would recommend you size up for best fit | Athletic Slides SOLD OUT | Kendall & Kylie Purse Wallet SOLD OUT | Adidas Cap | Magic Band
I want to be completely honest. I didn’t realize going into Epcot what it was. Disney explains it best, real life meets Disney and I was disappointed. It lacked the magic of Disney for me with the focus more on science and culture. And I recognize to some that would be totally up your alley but my personal opinion was lackluster. If I were to recommend someone going to Epcot, you would only need half a day and go for two rides: Chevrolet Test Track and Soarin’. Those are amazing attractions! As for the rest, I honestly could have done without.
*Ben did want to mention that he enjoyed Living with the Land where you sail through the greenhouses of the Land Pavilion on a boat tour and the Mission: SPACE. He didn’t think Epcot was as much of a drag as I did, hehe.
Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich.
WHAT TO PACK
Ponchos- if you are visiting Florida in the rainy season. It will rain almost every day in the afternoon and you will be very happy you brought it along. Ben and I purchased ours from the dollar store ahead of time and were very happy not spending $10 a piece at the park.
Hat- I would not have survived (especially the first few days as I adjusted to the climate) without. I am extremely sensitive to the sun and guaranteed would have been sun sick if I would not have had a hat to wear. A ball cap was my hat of choice.
Sunscreen– pretty self explanatory. I lathered myself every day with it.
Refillable Water Bottle– Ben and I chose to buy a Disney water bottle that I could have for home and filled up at every water fountain in the parks. This will save you a lot of money. Here’s a cute water bottle that is similar to the one I bought.
Small Backpack and Wallet/Purse- You will need a small backpack to carry extras (like ponchos, sunscreen, your water bottle, etc). Benjamin ended up carrying my backpack for me 90% of the time so if I were to recommend, get your guy to pick out a back pack he likes. OR if you really must have a cute one make him carry it, like I did, hehe.
*I also purchased a small crossbody that was a wallet (held my cards inside). This was great because I had easy access to my phone and money. Things disappear in a backpack pretty quickly so I wanted to make sure we weren’t digging around for things all day. The wallet/purse that I purchased was absolutely perfect. I hardly noticed I was carrying it around with me.
*Another thing to mention. Disney allows small to medium backpacks and purses on all of their rides. So, you will not have to worry about finding lockers. You store them at your feet while riding so make sure everything can zip up.
WHAT TO EAT
Be Our Guest Character Dining at the Beast’s Castle
Ben and I choose one character dining experience every time that we visit Disney (you have to book way in advance through Disney). This is your chance to fine dine as well as meet beloved Disney character’s. We thoroughly enjoyed eating with the Beast (who made an appearance every 30 minutes or so and roamed around his castle).
We were seated in the West Wing where it was dark so the photos are not great but I still wanted to share them with you. We were served a three course meal: appetizer, main course and dessert. They give you options for each course so you can choose accordingly to what you are hungry for!
The detail on Chip was absolutely amazing and made entirely of chocolate ♥
As for the rest of our meals, Ben and I tried to keep it as low cost as possible. We generally eat very light throughout the day. Ben loved a hot dog around lunch and if we were hungry we snacked on vegetables or fruit (which you can find at little market places throughout the parks) or that is when we would have our treat.
For our main meal of the day (supper) we were able to find venues where we could both eat for $25 to $30. We enjoyed pizza, burgers and fries, chicken, ribs, etc. You do not have to fine dine every night to have delicious food and there is endless variety. Just pay attention to the food that you do want to try as they don’t have the same restaurants from park to park.
We found these amazing thin crust pizzas at Disney Springs (not a park but worth a stop). It’s a great place to eat and shop!
WHAT TO BUY AT DISNEY
If you were to only buy one thing at Disney I would recommend the Magic Band. This little baby will get you into the park every day, connect you to your fast passes and any photos that Disney takes of you (rides and professional photos that they offer around the park). It makes everything so easy and connects you right to the Disney App! And they are only $12.99.
The first thing I bought was Minnie Ears to enjoy the entire duration of our time. When we were at Disney Land in 2014, I didn’t buy the ears and I regretted it. They are so much fun, cost $24.99 and are the perfect item to get you in the Disney spirit.
Starbucks (you are here) Mug. You may have caught my Instastories and learned of an item I buy every trip that I travel? And that is the Starbucks destination mug!!! I purchased the “Florida” mug but there were also Starbucks mugs for every park (magic kingdom, animal kingdom, etc) as well as Orlando mugs. I love this travel tradition the most because it makes me think of our amazing trip every time I use the mug and the memories are always so special!
Disney Fridge Magnet. Ben and I do not like clutter but we strangely like our magnets. One magnet from every place we travel.
Last but not least, I will leave you with a friendly tip. Take pictures at the beginning of your day. Once the heat sets in, we all look a little worse for wear. Plus you will want to enjoy the water rides and Ben and I got soaked!
P.S. There was one thing Ben and I did not particularly enjoy about Disney World. Can any of you guess what that is? Transportation.
We shuttled to the park every day from our hotel and could not believe how long it took to get to the park. And not only that, but if we park hopped (you can take a bus, ferry or tram) the commute was at least an hour. One day it took us two hours. This is one benefit of Disney Land. It’s so easy to get around. That is not the case with Disney World.
None the less, Disney is a MAGICAL experience and I hope you enjoyed my travel diary : what to experience at Disney.