What’s not to like about Walt Disney World? Children and adults alike flock to the Magic Kingdom for fun-filled days unrivaled by perhaps any other entertainment attraction in the world. One could spend an entire week at the park and still wonder if they saw and did everything. But if you only have a day or two to explore the massive complex, you may want to do some homework and make a list of what appeals to you the most as you’re planning your trip.
Here are 10 of the more popular things to see and do to get you started.
1 Putting the Feed Bag on
Sure you can still eat junk food at Disney, but why would anyone want to? Some people have the wrong impression of Disney World restaurants, perhaps from previous experiences at other parks. They may think the quality of food won’t be very good since the crowd is captive once inside the gates. They would be very wrong.
Another false impression is that it would require taking out a second mortgage to feed an entire family. There are some pricey high-end restaurants, but there are also plenty of moderately priced ones and you’ll find every type cuisine from German to Cajun to a good old American hamburger.
Some of the top chefs in the Orlando area work at Disney World and they use nothing less than the best and freshest of ingredients.
2 Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Rum
The most popular ride since 1967 is Pirates of the Caribbean. Disney engineers constantly update the ride with new features such as the addition of Capt. Jack Sparrow.
When designing the ride, a miniature model was built. Once this was approved, Walt Disney himself hired 120 actors. The actors were filmed as they played out various scenes so the engineers could see what worked best. Once this was completed, plaster molds were made of the actors to build the characters seen today.
Originally an outdoor ride, the engineers ran out of space. They decided by moving the ride inside they could use levels, thereby creating the space they needed.
3 Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
No trip to Disney World would be complete without a frightening trip to The Twilight Zone-themed Hollywood Tower of Terror. This ominous looking 13 story (of course) spooky ride looms at the end of Sunset Blvd.
Once you walk through a garden full of decaying plants, you’ll enter the dust and cobweb covered lobby. Most of the decorations are reproductions, but a set of leather chairs are actually Renaissance antiques and some bronze work dates from the 19th century.
After visiting the library, where very strange things happen, you’ll enter the elevator. People will vanish before your eyes as lightning flashes. As the elevator doors open on each floor optical illusions will raise goosebumps. Since the ride is computer operated what you will see and how many times the elevator goes up and down is random. So even if you’ve been on the ride before, don’t let that stop you from going again. It’s a new experience every time.
4 What About the Kids?
Many of the rides require a person be of a certain height which eliminates small children from zooming down Space Mountain. However. There are plenty of rides they can go on which are just as thrilling to them as Tower of Terror is to adults.
There is Splash Mountain, Toy Story Mania, Tomorrowland Speedway, Kilimanjaro Safari, TriceraTop Spin, and a plenty of others to keep them busy all day long. After all, it’s Walt Disney World, where children reign supreme.
5 It’s the Fourth of July Every Day
If you think your town or city puts on an impressive fireworks display every year on the Fourth, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The Disney display is HUGE and it happens every night. This is an absolute must see so don’t leave the park before nightfall if you can help it.
The display lasts for 16 minutes and begins just after a projection show on Cinderella’s Castle, which is also spectacular. It’s best to check the schedule to see when they begin as the time changes periodically and you want to beat the crowd to get as close to the castle as you can.
6 The Haunted Mansion
This eerie haunted estate is home to ghosts, ghouls, and goblins. In fact, it’s home to 999 happy haunts. The cars taking people through the mansion are called “doom buggies,” giving a hint that this attraction is more silly fun than heart-stopping fright.
The special effects are truly amazing, maybe even more so than any other ride. The Haunted Mansion is not particularly scary though younger children may find it to be so. It is more of a dynamic look at what can be accomplished through the use of computerized animation and it’s spellbinding.
The building was completed in 1963 but it took the engineers until 1969 to fully develop the ride. Like most everything at Disney World, it consistently changes so returning guests will always see something new.
7 Nationalities Really Can Co-Exist
Do not miss It’s a Small World. This water ride is fun for kids and adults. All nationalities are represented as animated children from all countries sing and dance to the tune “It’s a Small World,” which will get stuck in your head for days.
The ride is very tame and relaxing and you’ll be oohing and aahing while trying to take it all in. It embodies the positivity and child-like wonder at the heart of Walt Disney World. Maybe this is the reason this ride has ranked high on the popularity list year after year.
8 Mickey’s PhilharMagic
This is a 12-minute 3D film which is a real treat. Guests are seated in a plush 486-seat theater, complete with 150-foot wraparound screen. The show features songs from the most popular Disney movies and kid-friendly special effects. You’ll see all your favorite characters, including the humorous mishaps of Donald Duck. It’s well worth watching and a chance to escape the heat and rest your feet.
9 Let’s Bungle Through the Jungle
Sail down exotic rivers in Africa, Asia, and South America on the Jungle Cruise. You’ll encounter headhunters, rhinos, boa constrictors, and an angry red-eyed lion as it debates jumping in the boat and feasting on the passengers.
Don’t worry. You won’t be in danger. The headhunters and the animals are not real, but they are realistic looking and their movements are computer controlled. The cheesy, pun-filled patter of your tour guides are part of the charm of this classic ride.
10 Get a Haircut
Few people realize they can get a good haircut at Disney World, but it’s more than that. Tucked away in a little corner of Main Street is an actual barbershop. Once the haircut is finished the barber will sprinkle pixie dust of whatever color you choose throughout your hair.
If someone brings their child in for their first haircut, they will receive a certificate, a lock of their child’s hair, and a pair of mouse ears embroidered with the words “Baby’s First Haircut.” How cool is that?
Of course, Walt Disney World offers enough cool things to see and do that you could spend a week trying to do it all, but it helps to have a “must-see” list. Now that you know these 10 things you don’t want to miss, isn’t it time for a vacation?