The Endless Magic of Walt Disney World
Want to feel the magic of Disney? Magic Kingdom is the place to start your Walt Disney World vacation. It’s where you walk down Main Street USA and get your first glimpse of Cinderella’s beautiful castle before heading off to one of the many themed lands of the Kingdom. You can choose adventure in Adventureland with Pirates of the Caribbean or the Jungle Cruise. Head to Frontier Land and get wet on Splash Mountain, or take the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness on Big Thunder Mountain. At Liberty Square, enjoy a history lesson with the Muppets and get your scare on in the Haunted Mansion (be careful, a happy haunt may just follow you home!) Then, try Fantasy Land with classics like It’s a Small World, the Carousel and the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. At Tomorrowland, relax on the people mover or jet off to space on Space Mountain! Book in advance, and you can also dine with the princesses in the castle at Cinderella’s Royal Table or with the beast at Be Our Guest for Dinner! End the night with Happily Ever After, the Magic Kingdom Fireworks Spectacular.
At EPCOT, be wowed by the World Showcase and all the countries. EPCOT also has some of the most diverse food choices in all of Walt Disney World. Each pavilion has unique shows and entertainment along with shopping from that country. During Food and Wine Festival you can Eat to the Beat with National Recording Acts and sample foods from 36 countries. Get your thrill ride on Future World you can with Test Track or Mission Space, or take things slower with Spaceship Earth. See the world on Soarin, and learn how Disney cultivates and grows their own food with sustainable resources. It’s actually quite incredible! Cap off the night with Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, a wonderful nighttime show.
Hollywood Studios is a tribute to old-school Hollywood, when going to the movies was the glamourous thing to do! You can also get your Star Wars and Toy Story fix here. Don’t miss the Star Wars Parades during the day! The Hollywood Brown Derby is a great place to get a Cobb salad, or head to Hollywood and Vine for some unique buffet choices!
Finally, there is Animal Kingdom—the largest of all the theme parks. You can get an incredible look at safari animals with one of the coolest rollercoasters, Expedition Everest. The new Pandora Land with Flights of Passion and the Navi River Journey are brethtaking! It’s like you’ve been transported directly into the movie Avatar. The food in this area is also very unique with Bao Bun burgers and protein rice bowls. They even have green beer here! Don’t miss the two Broadway style shows with the Lion King and Finding Nemo. Both are visually stunning and a great place to cool off! Looking for something a little more educational? Dinosaur is a GREAT ride that takes you back to the beginning of time! The Kilimanjaro Safari takes you to a real-life replica of an African Safari where you can see lions, giraffes, crocodiles and more!
- The Wild Africa Trek in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is an absolute must-do. This is a full day tour that is separate from just a regular Park Day. You get an in depth, behind-the-scenes look at Animal Kingdom with a little adventure as well.
- Rent a surrey bike at the Boardwalk. It’s quite a unique and fun place to ride a bike.
- The Fireworks Cruises either in Epcot or Magic Kingdom are a fantastic way to see the fireworks. Not only do you feel like a VIP with the food/beverages, you also enjoy a prime viewing spot for both shows!
Restaurant/Food Recommendations: My recommendation is California Grill at the Contemporary Resort. They have an amazing menu and an even better view of the Magic Kingdom. The steak and sushi are delicious, and they have such an expansive wine selection. Get a reservation around the time of the Magic Kingdom Fireworks show Happily Ever After, for a unique view from above.
Here’s Where We Stayed: Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Resort Review: The Beach Club is amazing and so close to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. It was a 5-minute walk to International Gateway in EPCOT which made it super convenient for the Food and Wine Festival. The lobby reminds of a country club in New England. It is very nautical and grand. The pool is absolutely one of my favorites of any Disney resort, and I’ve stayed at almost all of them! They have a lazy river with tubes in one area, a sand bottom pool that makes you feel like you are truly at the beach and they also have a pirate themed water slide that both kids and adults can enjoy! If you are looking for a little peace and quiet, they do have an adults-only hot tub in a private area of the main pool. There are also a couple of hot tubs for the kids to enjoy.
Insider Tip: Make your dining reservations at the 180-day mark and your fast passes at the 60-day mark to get what you want. If not, check the app 24 hours prior for availability. Another tip: Wear comfortable shoes! Disney is huge and you will do a lot of walking and the right shoes can make all the difference. One last one: if you are celebrating or it’s your first time, ask a cast member for the respective pin, they are free and a great souvenir.