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These Are A Few Of My Favourite Disney Things

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What is your favourite park at Walt Disney World?

What are your “must-do” rides or activities?

What are the things you only do once in a while?

Main Gate

One of the greatest things about Walt Disney World is the diversity of experience you can enjoy there. With the four theme parks, two water parks, golf courses, hotels, campground, scores of restaurants and all the surrounding attractions there is virtually no limit to the things you can enjoy.

Many of our friends who, like Carol and I, are frequent visitors have established some favourite attractions and activities, things they “must-do” every time they visit Walt Disney World.

Here's my list of favourites. Let's start with my favourite park, the Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom

Why does this park top my list? Well, it's the classic, the first Florida park. This is where I first took my children in 1977. It is chock-full of good memories and will probably always be my “special place”! I remember the huge grins on both my daughter Michelle and son Steve's faces as we rode Dumbo together all those years ago. They loved It's A Small World and Peter Pan's Flight.

Peter Pan

About two years ago my son Steve took his family and they stood in line for 90 minutes to see Peter Pan. His comment? “What a hokey ride . . . why did I stand in line an hour and a half for that?” It will never be hokey for me because I'll always remember Steve's reaction when we rode it together in 1977. Peter Pan is one that Carol and I ride every visit.

The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean are two more that we never miss.

Mansion

Pirates

These rides are not “hi-tech” like some of the newer attractions but they still transport me to another world or another time. As I ride I sing along with the 999 happy haunts and the scallywag pirates. “Yo-ho, Yo-ho, a pirates life for me!” As we pass through Adventureland we are always compelled to savour a cold treat. Carol heads to Sunshine Tree Terrace to pick up a Citrus Swirl while I scoot to Aloha Isle for a Pineapple Float. We meet in the middle somewhere and try to achieve simultaneous brain-freezes.

We take a spin with Buzz Lightyear almost every trip.

Buzz

This ride brings out the worst in us. We become ultra-competitive, each trying to outscore the other as we blast Emperor Zurg into the next galaxy! It's great fun!

We enjoy many of the other rides as well but we don't feel compelled to enjoy them every time we visit. Once in a while is good for most of them. Of course, Wishes, the fireworks spectacular, is a “must-do” as well. We try to position ourselves at the back of The Hub, near Casey's Corner to get the best view of the show with Cinderella Castle in the foreground. That leads me to the one other snack we always stop for . . . a Casey's hot dog. Yum!

Many will probably be surprised at my second place ranking. Disney's Animal Kingdom ranks second for me. Why? Well, it's all about the animals.

Tiger

Meercat

Both Carol and I love seeing the animals. We walk all the back trails around the Tree of Life to see and photograph things most visitors miss. Hint: If you walk these trails at noon you will often see cast members feeding the animals and the animals will be front and center for you. There are plenty of photo-ops around noon on the Tree of Life Trails.

Kilimanjaro Safaris is an irresistible draw for us. We sometimes ride it twice, once in early morning and then again just before the park closes. Hint: You can get better pictures from the back row of the truck, but be prepared for the bouncing! It's the bumpiest seat!

Lion at Coppies

Carol is not a fan of roller coasters; she does not like the upside-down experience, but for some reason she really enjoys Expedition Everest. I don't understand why, but I'm glad she does. We ride together once and that's enough for her. I sometimes go directly to the single-rider line and take another spin.

Expedition Everest

After coaxing for a while I finally convinced Carol that coasters are smoother and less stressful if you raise your arms and stop fighting against the rocking and shaking motion. Once she tried it she agreed with me and now she often rides with her arms in the air. The only problem is that she cannot stop giggling when her arms are up. So if you see a woman on Everest, arms in the air and giggling like crazy " that's Carol!

Flights of Wonder is another great show we always enjoy. It always surprises us how many people walk by and skip this awesome performance. The need for conservation is delivered in an entertaining and inspiring fashion. Carol has co-starred in the show four times.

Flights of Wonder

When they ask for volunteers in the owl segment she is always up and waving her hands. Another regular stop is at the gibbon habitat near Kali River Rapids; we love to watch them swinging around their island. If you ever hear them calling to each other you will never forget the experience!

Gibbons

If we have lunch at Animal Kingdom it is almost always egg rolls from the quick service counter at Yak & Yeti; try them " they're great!

Third for me is EPCOT. This park is all about education . . . but the learning at EPCOT is all bundled up in a package of fun so you really don't notice. Educators need to look into this to see how it's done . . . learning can be fun!

Our first “must-do” is the very first attraction, Spaceship Earth.

Spaceship Earth

History, communication and science in one easy lesson; we seldom miss it. Another regular is Soarin'.

Soarin

I like the hang-glider ride one more than Carol but she humours me and rides along with me. It all evens out when I stifle my yawns as I wander through Germany's Der Teddybar shop with her.

We always look for Off Kilter, the celtic rock group who play beside the Canada pavilion, we both enjoy them.

Off-Kilter.jpg

When I hear the Jamitors or The British Revolution I stop to listen while Carol dashes off to shop. Our interests aren't always the same but there are so many things to do that we can both enjoy ourselves at all times.

Dining at EPCOT is great, there are so many good restaurants, but our favourite is Canada's Le Cellier. We seldom miss having dinner at Le Cellier.

Last, but certainly not least is Disney's Hollywood Studios. This is also a wonderful park full of many terrific attractions, rides, sights and sounds. I love the “Streetmosphere”, the many street entertainers who put on such entertaining shows.

Streetmosphere

I can sit and watch them again and again, which works out well because Carol can shop again and again!

Studios is home to the newest ride at Walt Disney World, Toy Story Midway Mania. Similar to Buzz Lightyear it's a giant video game that places you in the middle of the action. We try to ride Toy Story several times each trip if we can.

Toy Story Potato Head

We don our 3D glasses and turn into shooting demons, each of us once again striving to totally annihilate our beloved spouse. “I am not your mother . . . break those plates!”

We both enjoy the Tower of Terror and after riding it Carol generally heads down Sunset Boulevard to explore the Villains in Vogue shop while I head to the single-rider line for a spin on Rock ‘n Roller Coaster.

Another “must-do” at Studios is a trip to the Animation Courtyard and a visit with David Rippberger, the Disney Ink and Paint artist who works in the Animation Gift Shop. David creates the hand painted animation cels which Carol collects and we like to visit with him to keep abreast of what's coming up next.

Our final irresistible lure at Studios is a relatively new discovery for us. Italian sausage in a bun at Min & Bill's Dockside Diner. We shared our first sausage in a bun about a year ago . . . as soon we bit into it we agreed we would never share one again. They are just too good to share! Don't miss this delicious lunch treat.

Of course no vacation would be complete without a trip to Downtown Disney. I always take my book along and find a spot to sit while Carol shops.

Days of Christmas Store

I read and people-watch while she scours through the Art of Disney Shop, the Disney Days of Christmas Shop and of course Disney's Pin Traders. Once she has worked up a good appetite she joins me and we head directly to the Earl of Sandwich.

Earl of Sandwich

This place has elevated the simple sandwich to an art form. Wow they're good! We often get back to “Earl's” several times during our stay!

There is so much to do outside the parks that I may make that the subject of another blog sometime. For now I will just mention two more of our favourite “non-park” things. First is dinner at ‘Ohana in the Polynesian Resort . . . we never miss it. Great food, great location, great value! If you time it right and get a window table you can watch the Wishes fireworks extravaganza from your table. They pipe in the soundtrack too!

Second is a camping favourite, if we're staying in our RV at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground we head to the beach at the campground a few evenings during our stay. There is a nice little patio beside the dock and we relax at a patio table as we watch Wishes. They pipe in the soundtrack here as well and as an added treat the fireworks are reflected on the waters of Bay Lake. It's a terrific place to watch the show with no crowds! Shortly after Wishes is over the Electrical Water Pageant sails past . . . what a great way to end a day!

So those are a few of my favourite things! There are so many things to do at Walt Disney World that it just never gets stale for us and I doubt that it ever will!

What are your favourite things?

The previous post in this blog was Garage Sale Gold.

The next post in this blog is WDW or Disneyland - Which is Better?.

Comments (8)

Wendy Crober:

Hi Gary,

I always enjoy your articles as do the rest of our Disney family.

My parks in order are MK, Epcot, AK and HS although we visit all parks every trip. My favourite rides or shows that cannot be missed are:

MK - Peter Pan (all time fav), Haunted Mansion (especially during the Halloween Party), Thunder Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean

Epcot - Soarin' and Spaceship Earth, World Showcase Players (love the Christmas show!)and Off Kilter

AK - Kilimanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest,Flights of Wonder and the character greeting area in Camp Minnie/Mickey especially when it's decorated at Christmas

HS - Toy Story Mania preferably multiple times, Backlot Tour, The Great Movie Ride, the Beauty and the Beast Show and Ariel.

My sister-in-law and I always say that we really need to be on a quarterly visiting schedule so that we can go during all our favourite times of year like you and Carol we live in Canada and we can't visit as often as we'd like.

This was a fun blog - I'll be interested to see what others post.

Thanks,
Wendy

Brian Jones:

My favorite park? Easy.

The park I'm in. That simple.

Tried to eliminate one park at a time to shorten the list by imagining which park I like least, which park I'd skip in a pinch.

Can't do it.

Connie:

It starts when we enter Orlando airport, then when we are greeted by the Welcome to Walt Disney World sign...actually signs leading to it. Then our chosen resort's lobby and on to our room, enjoy pool.

The real excitement happens when we hear the instructions upon entering the monorail. Then, walking down Main Street taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of Magic Kingdom.

I enjoy the experience of entering EPCOT via Monorail around Spaceship Earth and the other attractions.

I do enjoy Animal Kingdom and a few things at Hollywood Studios(although my least favorite park). But entering Magic Kingdom provides the most magical experience. I just LOVE Disney World so much...I cannot bring myself to go to too many other places.

Disney and Hawaii are my love's far as travel is concerned. My niece and nephew usually join me. We are the 3 Mouseketeers! They are a teenager and young adult now, but we have so many wonderful memories together. Thanks for letting me share.

Casey:

Disney World is my families absolute favorite place to vacation. We often wish we could go every year but right now every other year is it for us. We will be there in October and are going to MNSSHP and I can't wait. This will be a new experience fo us. We have gone at Christmas our last two trips.

Like you my favorite park is Magic Kingdom! When you walk in the park and see the Castle the magic truly is there. My favorite rides are Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder RxR, Jungle Cruise, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.

My next favorite park is Epcot. My favorite rides are Soarin and Test Track. I also enjoy Spaceship Earth and Mission Space.

Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom are a tie for my next favorite. At Hollywood Studios my must do rides are Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania and Rock'n' Roller Coaster. At Animal Kingdom my favorites are Expedition Everest, Kilamanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur and the Flights of Wonder. I am not real big into shows so I don't spend a lot of time but I do love the It's Tough to be a Bug at Animal Kingdom.

As for restaurants my favorites are 'Ohana, Teppan Edo and Le Cellier. We unfortuantely are not getting to eat at Le Cellier this upcoming trip but are going to give Yachtsmen Steakhouse a try so I really hope that it is good.

We don't really have a favorite resort because our last two trips we have only stayed at the Wilderness Lodge but this year we are trying out Boardwalk Inn.

I love trying new things at Disney World and that is the great thing about vacationing there, you can never get bored because there is so much to see and do.

Deb McKinney:

in addition to favorites mentioned by others I want to add a not to be missed attraction at Hollywood Studios "The Great Movie Ride"

It is easy to miss, but among the best at Disneyworld, especially for adults !!
As for resorts my favorite place to stay. ... The Beach Club Resort

Collette Beuther:

Gary, your blogs are so well-written!

I have a love/hate relationship with roller coasters. I soon found, like Carol, that if I stayed relaxed and did not stiffen up it actually went better. I adore the theme of Expedition Everest and the queue area a lot, but the ride itself always gives me a headache. I finally realized the problem was all those people screaming inside the mountain making so much noise!

Shockingly, I discovered on the same trip that Rock 'n' Roller was the most fun for me!?! Its seats are well-padded for softness and the great music covers up all the other noise. Could it be the smoothest coaster ride at WDW?

I always have to go to Magic Kingdom first, just for the sake of tradition! Perhaps Animal Kingdom is my favorite park, because I love the animals, too.

So hard to choose favorites...

Shirley:

Favorite park? Hands-down the Studios. There is nothing like riding Tower of Terror. The first time, before you drop and you know it's coming--shear agony--and then screams of delight. Can't get enough. Also enjoy the Mermaid and Beauty shows and Toy Story Mania although the lines are so long. Drawing with the animators has become a new must-do for us.

Favorite restaurants? Mama Mellrose for the fruita de mari, sangria, and bruschetta. Also enjoy Sci-Fi Diner cause it's just so much fun. Used to like Brown Derby but have been disappointed a lot lately, so not sure if we'll return.

Sure do wish they'd add the Indiana Jones ride that Disneyland has. Then it would be just perfect. And we really enjoy the street performers. They are a hoot!

Can't decide between the other three parks as to a next favorite, so, here, in no order whatsoever:

Animal Kingdom: Love love love Expedition Everest. Due to medical reasons, we can't do upside down any more (bye bye Rock-n-Roller Coaster), but this ride, from the front seat, is so much fun with unbelievable views. Also enjoy the safari and A Bug's Life. We used to like Tusker House before it went buffet. Now we do the barbecue (can't think of the name of the restaurant however). I just like walking around since it's cooler and pretty here.

EPCOT: Soarin' for sure. Feels like you're flying. So much fun. American Adventure--gotta do it every time we visit and I cry every time they get to the civil war--that song just gets me. Walking around countries makes you feel as if you are really there. Love the interior of Mexico; it is so atmospheric. Just wish the restaurant was better since it's such a pretty site. Gotta have fish & chips at UK. Lunch in France is so good. Ditto on brats and strudel in Germany. Egg rolls in China.

Magic Kingdom: Mickey's Philharmagic (it is magical!) although my order may change with the new addition of Belle's area. Peter Pan is a given even with the long lines; I don't know why I love that ride, but I do. Just walking around, seeing how beautiful everything is the attraction for me at this park. Hall of Presidents, though not as good as American Adventure in EPCOT, is still worth a look and it gives your feet a much needed break. Monsters Inc. is always good for a laugh. Love Liberty Tavern for pot roast. Dole Pineapple Whips - Yea! Haven't eaten in the castle but hope to try it someday soon.

Just love to go to the other deluxe resorts and take it all of the details that Disney does so well.

Thanks for a great article!

Dan:

Hi Gary, just recently found this allears site and your blogs are fantastic; I love and admire your passion for Disney!

For myself for park order I would have to say Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios then Animal Kingdom although this list is ever changing each time I attend the park.

As I continue to get older my love for parks continues to change I still remember being a young kid and hating going to Epcot and then going a couple of years ago when 18 loving it and really appreciating what it has to offer. I am going to Walt Disney World again at the end of this month and I can only expect that this list will change yet again.

For each park though each has a particular ride that no matter what I must see to being with at Magic Kingdom I head straight to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, everything about this ride is just magnificent. The atmosphere the sights you see, Jack Sparrow, the drops even the smells. (Not to mention it’s a great way to cool off waiting inside of the quene)

For my next choice at Epcot centre it would have to be a newly found ride for me which is Journey into the Imagination, I actually didn’t even discover this ride till last time at Disney a couple years ago but instantly fell in love with the ride. There is something about Figment that gives me pure joy on this ride and really makes me feel like a kid again. I only wish that when I had gone before I was able to see the other versions that it has been through.

For my third park at Hollywood studios the attraction that I would choose is the rock n roller coaster, not only is it one of the best rollercoasters that I have been on but it also has one of my favorite band’s music blasting during the ride. (In reality the only reason I started to love Aerosmith was due to after going on this ride when I was young) The loops and the instant 0 to 60 in those 2.8 seconds is the best rush, plus it’s a definite ride to go on over and over again to try and hear all the songs on each car.

Finally at the Animal Kingdom my must see at this park would be DINOSAUR the ride, there’s something about having the feeling of actual dinosaurs that near you that just is unreal. I love going on that ride the thrill of the dinosaurs coming out of nowhere looking like they will attack you.

Though for me in the end every attraction and ride is always a must see at Disney, they all bring up the same joy and perfectness for me every time making me feel like a kid again. Again thank you very much for your blogs I love them.

Dan

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 22, 2012 8:44 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Garage Sale Gold.

The next post in this blog is WDW or Disneyland - Which is Better?.

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