Choosing only 10 of the most Amazing places here is very difficult. The entire Disney World is so incredible! This is one of the elements of Walt Disney World that makes it so attractive to vacationers. Whether your idea of beauty is in landscaping, architecture, food or fireworks, it is all here. Let me share some of the places that I find the most beautiful and amazing.
10. Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom
The table service and signature restaurants at Walt Disney World are among the most beautiful restaurants I have ever had the pleasure of dining in. Even food is beautiful here! I made a list, to try and narrow it down, but it is very difficult. I decided on one, which can be enjoyed by a day guest, or a savvy reservation-making guest: Be Our Guest restaurant in New Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom. (Yes, I am aware of Victoria and Albert’s, but I like the places that have availability and affordability for a wide range of guests for this type of list.) Be Our Guest invites you into the Beast’s Castle for a quick service lunch, and a reservation only dinner. The entrance makes you realize how special you are to be able to walk through the iron gates, down the stone bridge, to heavy doors guarded by gothic stone creatures. We also love the choices of the three distinct dining rooms – the West Wing, Grand Ballroom, and Castle Gallery. The food offerings are different at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is a beautiful place for fans of Beauty and the Beast to dine in.
9. Liberty Square Riverboat at Magic Kingdom
This is a beautiful vessel. If you have not ventured onto this working steam engine paddle wheel boat, make sure you take a spin on her around the Rivers of America. There are three levels for guests to linger on during the 17-minute, ½ mile cruise around Tom Sawyer’s Island. Liberty Belle is the last remaining riverboat at Walt Disney World. You will board her at Liberty Square onto the Promenade Deck. If you go up from this level you will reach the Texas, or Sun Deck. Why do they call it the Texas deck? These river boats were so tall guests could almost see to Texas when riding them down the Mississippi River. The Texas Deck is where you will find an open room where you may take a seat (there is only minimal seating on the boat), look at some old photos or maps, and get a peek at the Pilot in the Pilothouse on the deck above you. The Pilothouse Deck holds the Captain’s Quarters and the Wheelhouse. If you take the steps all the way down to the Main Deck, the one closest to the water, you will see the boiler and the pistons that run the paddlewheel being tended to by a Cast Member.
8. Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom
If you’ve had a chance to visit Animal Kingdom’s newest land, Pandora – The World of Avatar, chances are you were impressed with its sheer beauty! You were likely rushing to one of the two attractions held in this land known as Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. If you have a moment to stop and explore Pandora’s setting (the Valley of Mo’ara), you might want to look up at the unbelievable floating mountains. Get this – there are 22 floating mountains in total! Plus, look around at the lush landscape and be in awe of the 250 varieties of living plants that are integrated with Pandoran plants. Just amazing!
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7. “It’s A Small World” at Magic Kingdom
This attraction houses around 300 dolls with extravagant hand-made costumes that I find a beautiful representation of nations around the world. The dolls are dressed in traditional costumes from their cultures. You board shallow boats and take a voyage around the world while the dolls “sing”, sometimes in their own tongues, but always enough English to hear that song in your head for some time after riding this. Guests will hear the classic song in English, French, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. The voyage is 10 minutes long but you visit every continent on earth through this journey. Just try to see this through the eyes of a child and grasp the happy message through the song. We may look different, and sound different, but we can join together in song and dance, bringing harmony to our cultures. The costumes were created using materials traditional to each region for that costume. Disney World seamstresses, under the direction of designer Alice Davis, created each of these costumes by hand. The dolls are set in scenes created by the famous Mary Blair who created backdrops that look like the pages of a children’s illustrated classic book. Something about this ride can take you back to your childhood. This has become a classic Disney attraction that actually began when it first appeared in the New York World’s Fair in 1964-65. Walt personally oversaw the creation of this attraction.
No one does fireworks like Disney! I have always loved Magic Kingdom’s fireworks, and Happily Ever After is one spectacular display. Each fireworks show at Disney tells a story, like everything else here. It isn’t just an assortment of flashing tails and exploding lights. The Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is for any and every guest whether you are or are not a huge Star Wars fans. Plus, let’s not forget about the view fireworks offered during the nighttime show Fantasmic! IllumiNations at Epcot is a classic that we can’t get enough of with great views from all around the World Showcase. Disney’s fireworks against the dark sky accompanied by music is a beautiful thing. While Animal Kingdom doesn’t have fireworks, we do recommend their nightly Tree of Life Awakenings projection show and the Rivers of Light show on the water.
5. Deluxe Resorts
Animal Kingdom Lodge has 43 acres for exotic animals to call home, and for you to view from the resort. The beauty is watching these large animals moving through the areas they call home. The architecture, such as the lobby is stunning with thatched roof, large beams, mud fireplace, carved seating, themed lighting, and the sound of drums being played creating an all-inclusive experience. On the coast of Seven Seas Lagoon sits Disney’s Polynesian Village resort, a lush, tropical piece of paradise that you could call home. Also on the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon lies the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and it is indeed grand. This elegant resort is set in the Victorian time period with furnishings reminiscent of that era. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is breathtaking! It celebrates all the charm and warmth of National Park lodges from the Northwest Territory of the US. The giant fireplace with rows of rocking chairs and leather arm chairs begs you to come and relax. The lobby is several stories high with rock and wooden beams and light fixtures that gives off warm golden light inside small teepees. Outside we have waterfalls, a natural pool, a geyser, bubbling springs, tall pines, sandy beach and boat docks. Water trickles inside the lobby through a stream. This resort is the most peaceful, and I think the most beautiful, of all the Disney resorts.
4. Epcot World Showcase
Where do you start with the beauty of this section of Epcot? Each country pavilion has received such focused attention on the gardens and architecture that it is impossible to choose one over the other. The Canada pavilion gardens and water falls are stunning and they change seasonally. The formal gardens in United Kingdom and France are so appealing to the eye. Blending these with the rest of the fountains and architecture of the pavilions and it is all breath-taking. The Japan Koi Pond and surrounding garden area is so peaceful and relaxing and truly beautiful. The pond in China with its charming bridges and rock cropping’s coupled with the buildings surrounding it, gorgeous. I could spend hours in Italy looking at the container garden and the intricate architecture throughout. Germany is completely adorable and brings a playful yet beautiful addition to World Showcase. Morocco’s intricate tile mosaics, fountains, light fixtures, and architecture, is more beautiful than could have been imagined when they began their work. Mexico has lush landscaping that transports you to their beautiful country. The inside of the Mexico pavilion, where it is always twilight, is so appealing. Norway has a simple and beautiful landscaping, not only on the ground, but even on a roof! American Adventure always has such attractive patriotic flowers in red, white and blue, coupled with the colonial architecture that takes me back to Colonial Williamsburg, which is another one of my favorite places. The Cast Member costumes, most dressed in something akin to traditional costumes, add to the beauty and enjoyment of their pavilions. I can’t pick one thing from World Showcase over all the others that exceeds in beauty, can you?
3. Christmas Opportunities
Magic Kingdom during the holidays decorates Main Street U.S.A. and Town Square with a giant Christmas tree, lights, greenery, and bulbs. Cinderella Castle has the most stunning icicle lights dripping off of it. The Christmas Parade is exceptional and can be seen during the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and during the day the week of Christmas. Epcot has it’s International Festival of the Holidays with holiday greenery, Christmas trees, special food and merchandise booths, performers telling the story of their country’s way of celebrating the holidays. To top it all off there is the Candlelight Processional at American Gardens Theater. Watch as robed Cast Members, carrying candles, march into their place in the theater singing classic Christmas music and then are joined by a visiting celebrity who reads the story of the first Christmas from the Bible in between musical selections. It is a beautiful sight to see and to hear. These opportunities are each beautiful and really put you in the Holiday spirit!
2. The Oasis at Animal Kingdom
This is not a flashy part of a Disney park, rather, it is full of nature which is simply beautiful. The Oasis is a portion of the park that we all walk through to get to the rest of the park. It is lush and brings some cooler air thanks to the heavy shade provided. There are tropical flowers, plants, trees, unique animals in their habitats, even caves and a waterfall. It is the place to visit with large colorful parrots. This small area just holds so much that you won’t see in any other theme park and it is a spot you can slow your pace down and enjoy all the natural beauty living there. If you are in too big a hurry to get to Pandora, Everest, Dinosaur, or the Safari, make sure you slow down when you are exiting the park as you will pass through it again.
1. What else could this be, but Cinderella Castle?
This is the most photographed place on earth, so it must top the list! It really is beautiful. I love slowing down and looking at the intricacies of this gorgeous piece of architecture. The back is just as beautiful as the front. As I mentioned earlier during the holidays it is decorated with thousands of icicle lights turning it into something frozen in ice that is stunning. Who would not want to live in that castle? There are times during the day that you can walk through the base of the castle, gaining a good view of the intricate mosaic that tells Cinderella’s story that will mesmerize you, no matter your age. To dine inside at Cinderella’s Royal Table is a rare treat. It is a place that you must have a dining reservation for, but has eluded most of us due to those reservations disappearing like vapor 180 days out. It is a beautiful dining room that truly makes you feel like royalty. The place many of us dream about is that illusive Castle Suite. Some were given a free night in the Castle Suite during a special promotion a few years ago. Please, Disney, please, bring that opportunity back to us. It is used currently for visiting celebrities who request it.
It is my hope that this list has brought images to your mind that you have seen here bringing you back to Walt Disney World for a few moments, and inspired those of you who are coming for the first time to notice the small details that all add up to a very beautiful resort for you to explore over and over again and still see something new and amazing each time!