There are some things that you just must do when you are at Walt Disney World during your first trip or two. You will find yourself compiling your own list of what you want to “try” the next time and some that you must do again. It is very difficult to see everything here every time you come so naturally these “must do” lists emerge.
25. Ride the Boat transportation
There are many boat styles and voyages around Walt Disney World. They move people from resorts to parks, parking lots to parks, parks to parks, cross water within the parks, sometimes they are even featured attractions within the parks, just choose one and enjoy smooth sailing.
24. Ride the Monorail
You have a few opportunities to do this, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything to do it. You can ride from the Transportation and Ticket Center, where you park if you are going to Magic Kingdom, to Magic Kingdom or one of the monorail resorts (Polynesian, Contemporary, and Grand Floridian) or to Epcot. It is an iconic ride that everyone should ride at least once each visit to Walt Disney World.
23. Dine at a Character meal
This proves to be the proverbial hitting-two-birds-with-one-stone idea as you can meet and get photos with several characters at one time and get a great meal too. Choose either by which park you will be in, which characters you want to meet, or by the menu. Several of these are buffets so you can really get your money’s worth here. Eat a bunch of ice cream at that buffet and you do a good job of hydrating yourself too!
22. Get your photo with a character
There are Disney characters all over the parks so pick one that has a short line, or choose a favorite Disney film and look specifically for those characters, just get started and have fun with those engaging, animated, Disney characters.
21. Have a Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar
This has to be the most loved ice cream bar on the planet. It is a Premium experience and should be experienced at least once during your Walt Disney World visit.
20. Have a Dole Whip
This is a classic Disney treat that is a frozen pineapple dessert made by Dole. Try the Dole Whip Float which is the Dole Whip ice cream on top of pineapple juice, it is awesome!
19. Get some kind of headwear
The traditional Mickey Ears can be embroidered with your name on the back and are often the most sought-after headwear, but Minnie ears with the bow are also. You will find quite a selection of ears and other hats or headbands available to meet your Disney stylin’ needs. Have fun, you’re on vacation!
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18. Meet a princess/Watch Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial
Do whichever one of these is the most wanted. Princesses are available for Meet and Greets in each of the parks so check your Times Guide for times and places for them. The Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial takes place several times a day on the stage facing Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland, Magic Kingdom.
17. See a Live show
You won’t find shows like these outside of Disney! If you are visiting Animal Kingdom you can take in Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo-the Musical; Disney’s Hollywood Studios has Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast LIVE.
16. Eat a Turkey Leg
This is another one of those Disney-things. They are huge, and hard to put down. They taste delicious, but holds quite a bit of calories. They smell good and they are hard to resist. Please, if you cannot finish it just throw it away, don’t feed it to the birds in the parks.
15. Eat and shop at Disney Springs
This is a fun non-park day activity. There are many interesting shops with unique merchandise and a wide array of restaurants to choose from. You will find the largest Disney store in the world there where they will help you find any Disney merchandise you are looking for. Visit the Christmas Shop and have your ornament personalized. Taste all the flavors of Goofy’s Glaciers at Goofy’s Candy Company before selecting the one you want. Have a custom candy apple made there too. Ghirardelli ice cream sundaes are pretty spectacular and you can get a free taste of Ghirardelli chocolate candy too. Basin is a store that will make you rethink how you wash your hands with their wonderful products. Clothes, housewares, trading pins, running shoes and apparel, art shops, Starbucks, etc. the list goes on and on. It is just a lot of fun so try to fit it in.
14. Attend a Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor comedy show
This always seems to surprise park guests when they stumble in here, not knowing exactly what it is but leave after laughing out loud for 20 minutes. Trust me, this is fun.
13. Take one special tour
If you have time, try to take in a special Disney tour. One that is easy to jump into relatively unplanned, and is very inexpensive is learning about how to grow things in a hydroponic garden at Behind-the-Seeds Tour located in The Land pavilion. Sign up for this is located near the entrance to Soarin’.
12. Ride Kilimanjaro Safari
Count up all the different animal species you can spot. This is a truck safari through the recreation of an African landscape. Yes, the animals are real. They are real enough to block the road sometimes and slow things down a bit. You won’t regret taking the time to do this.
11. Then go ride DINOSAUR!
To visit an extinct animal! This is a fun thrill-ride through time back to visit the dinosaurs.
10. Ride at least one of the “mountains”
But try to hit them all! Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Expedition Everest, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. They are all worthy of standing in line for.
9. Challenge yourself to go down the tallest water slide
Or at least start with one with the mindset that you will bump up your experience the next time you visit. I am working my nerve up to the really big one at Blizzard Beach. Hey, I started with the Family Raft Ride so I am making progress.
8. Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream
Everyone should visit this attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It provides a well-put-together display of photos, art pieces, a full size replica of Walt’s office, models, and concludes with a film. They all attempt to show you the many things that inspired Walt Disney and things he created to make his dreams come true. If he ran up against a challenge, he would invent something that would get him over that hurdle and finish what he wanted to. He was brilliant in so many areas yet never lost his sense of fun and exploration. This will give you a whole new perspective on the man and the mouse and all the Disney parks.
7. Ride the thrill rides in Hollywood Studios
This includes Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. In my opinion, these are must-dos! The queues and ride experience are so detailed and none like any other! You could also include Star Tours in this, which a classic but the new relaunch has multiple scenarios, so every ride is unique.
6. Dine at a table service restaurant in Epcot’s World Showcase
You may like to choose one that has entertainment as well as good food. Biergarten is a buffet in Germany and it has a fantastic show. If you like lively Belly Dancing you may enjoy the Restaurant Marrakesh. Mexico’s San Angel Inn Restaurante means being serenaded by a Mariachi band. If your group is all about the Disney Princess’ check out the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. If you can’t swing a table service restaurant this time, make sure you try food at some of the quick-service locations. These include Yorkshire County Fish Shop (United Kingdom), Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie (France), Tangierine Café (Morocco), Katsura Grill (Japan), Liberty Inn (The American Adventure), Sommerfest (Germany), Lotus Blossom Café (China), Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe (Norway), La Cantina de San Angel (Mexico).
5. Design a virtual vehicle at Test Track
And then go through a vehicle proving ground with it to see how it performs. If you do not have a lot of time for this, go through the Single Rider line.
4. View a Parade, and Fireworks
No one does these like Disney does! Check your Times Guides for the parades in Magic Kingdom and the Fireworks shows in Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There are no fireworks shows at Animal Kingdom, but rather a nighttime light show on the water accompanied by music.
3. Stay at a Disney World resort
I have stayed both on property and off, and I can honestly say I have never regretted staying in the Disney resort. We have been at most of the properties, from the tent camping in Fort Wilderness to the Beach Club, spanning the cheapest to the deluxe resorts. What was most important to us was to be immersed in the Disney magic as much as possible for the days we were able to be here. You can really get away from it all and the resorts are all comfortable, clean, welcoming, and close to the parks with the added benefit of saving us time. Disney resort guests also have the advantage of extra magic hours where you can be in a specified park from one hour earlier than official opening time and up to three hours after official closing times for the park. We like riding the buses “home” at night and not having to drive anywhere, unless we want to. It just adds so much to your vacation to stay in a Disney resort.
2. Ride whatever is the newest ride
The rides in Animal Kingdom’s Pandora: World Of Avatar are the newest at this time. You may have to wait in the standby line if you are unable to get a FastPass+ time for these but it will be totally worth it. The Na’vi River Journey can be enjoyed by the whole family while Avatar Flight Of Passage does have height requirements.
1. Experience Classic Disney attractions
Pirates of the Caribbean, Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover, Walt Disney World Railroad, Liberty Square Riverboat, Hall of Presidents, Carousel of Progress, “it’s a small world”, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Carousel and Peter Pan are attractions that have become part of the classic Disney World experience.