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The Ten Things We’re Doing First When the Parks Reopen

Each day that Walt Disney World is closed we miss it a little bit more. There are plenty of rumors floating around about when things will be operational again, but no one knows for sure. Instead of speculating, we’d rather dream about what we will do when the parks reopen. Here are ten of the top things on our list. For the most part they are in no particular order.

Avatar: Flight of Passage

10. Arrive Before Rope Drop to Ride Flight of Passage

It’s coming up on three years since Pandora – The World of Avatar opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Avatar Flight of Passage remains one of the most popular rides at Walt Disney World, and it’s often the hardest to make FastPass+ reservations for. When the parks reopen, we’ll make the effort to arrive before Rope Drop so that we can ride early in the day. There are two advantages to this. First, we will be able to ride with a much shorter wait. Second, we will then have the rest of the day to spend in the parks! Sounds like a win, win situation to us!

Rivers of Light: We Are One

9. Stay for Rivers of Light: We Are One

For years we heard complaints that there was no nighttime show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Rivers of Light: We Are One has changed all of that, but for some reason many people don’t stay for it. We often hear, “I want to see that, we will stay one of these trips”. Rivers of Light is a beautiful show. When the parks reopen we are going to arrive early, get great seats, and enjoy every moment.

8. Hug Some Characters

During this time of social distancing, we are all being discouraged to get within six feet of each other, let alone hug. When the restrictions are gone, we plan to hug as many characters as we can. You know that they’ve missed us, so it’s for their emotional well being as much as it is for ours. Don’t worry, we won’t do it until it is deemed safe to hug again.

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EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

7. Snack Around the World at EPCOT

People talk about “drinking around the world” fairly often, but when the parks reopen we want to enjoy and remember every moment. That is why we will snack around the world instead. We want to order one snack food or one dish from every country in World Showcase. We want the item to be something specific from that country. It would be nice if we could find out a little bit of information about the treat as well. This is a great way to try new foods, and to learn something at the same time.

Overview of Construction in EPCOT’s, Future World

6. Enjoy EPCOT Without Complaining

The last time that we were at EPCOT, we might have complained a little bit about all of the construction walls. That is going to stop! What we would give to be able to see those walls right about now. The future of Walt Disney World’s second theme park looks like it will be incredible. We plan to enjoy the park and look at those walls as progress, not as something to complain about.

Photo Credit: Disney

5. Spend a Full Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

If the construction walls at EPCOT make you want to complain, remember that Disney’s Hollywood Studios recently was a bit of a mess. Many people would only spend half a day there, if they stopped by at all. The transformation of the park is complete, and it is better than we could have imagined. We now plan to arrive early so that we can get in a boarding group, and then spend the entire day. We will try to snag FastPass+ for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, but if not, we’ll just wait in line. It will take a while to ride everything, because there are so many rides now. We will also watch the shows. If we have to pick at the end of the night we will probably choose Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular over Fantasmic!, but with a little bit of luck we might be able to see both.

4. Eat Official Dole Whip

A recipe for “Frozen Pineapple Treat” was released by Disney, and it tastes great. That said, it is not the official Dole Whip recipe. When Walt Disney World is open once again we are going to head to Aloha Isle at Magic Kingdom and enjoy the real thing. The substitute is a quick and easy way to satisfy a craving, but we want it once again without dairy, and in a souvenir Tiki Bowl.

3. Hit Every Mountain at the Magic Kingdom

Once everything is open again, we are going to want some thrills in our lives. There are four mountains at the Magic Kingdom where you can get those thrills! Seven Dwarfs Mine Train may not have the word “mountain” in its name like Space, Big Thunder, and Splash all do, but it deserves a spot. It takes you in and around a mountain, and it is a thrill! Since you can book three FastPass+ reservations in advance you might be able to score three of the four. If you have to pick which one to leave out, remember that the wait for Space Mountain is mostly indoors. That can make a real difference in the Florida heat.

California Grill

2. Watch Happily Ever After From California Grill

Of course we are going to want to watch Happily Ever After from Main Street, U.S.A. at some point soon after the parks reopen. We are also going to want to see if from the observation deck at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The soundtrack is piped in, and you can experience the show from a different perspective. The food at California Grill is as incredible as the view. We are going to want to have one relaxing meal once we’re finally able to return, and we cannot think of a better one than California Grill near the time for the fireworks.

1. Thank Cast Members

Once the parks reopen, the Cast Members are all going to work their hardest to make even more magic than before. They have been in the thick of things, not knowing what would happen with their jobs, whether or not they would be able to collect unemployment (the system in Florida has been full of glitches, to say the least), as well as worrying about their own families and friends. We plan to thank the Cast Members, from the woman on the phone when calling about reservations, to the tram driver, to the man sweeping up after the fireworks, and everyone in between. They all deserve our gratitude.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.