Sunday, 10 March 2019

A trip to Walt Disney World can be overwhelming for the best of people, and I will be the first to say, you will never get to see and do everything on one trip alone no matter how hard you try,
but there are sooooo many things you really need to see and do, to make sure you really get the most out of your time and your tickets. 

This is a compilation of everything from must do dining, attractions, photo spots, snacks and experiences I would hate for you to miss out on. 

1. Visit a Disney Water Park 

So may people come back from their Disney trips having not visited either one of the waterparks Walt Disney World has to offer. 

For UK guests the weather in Orlando is a massive bonus and this is the perfect chance for adults to soak up some rays and chill out in the lazy river whilst kiddos ride the waves and splash down til their hearts are content. 

There is so much fun to be had at these highly themed water wonderlands and I beg you to try at least one if not both of them on your trip.

2. Eat at A Signature Restaurant 

Weather you are travelling with or without children, be sure to take some time out for a really special sit down meal at least once. 

Its good to really get out of the parks, especially on a two week trip. Remember this is supposed to be a holiday, not an expedition. You should be relaxing as well as having fun.

There are so many dining options, you will able to find a menu whatever your favourite cuisine. 

If you are travelling with little ones you can even arrange babysitting if you want it to be a date night but of course children are welcome in any restaurant on Disney Property. 

Some you may want to consider include California Grill at the Contemporary, Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club and Le Cellier in the Canada Pavilion are all great date night restaurants. 

3. Refresh With A Citrus Swirl

This Cult Disney Parks classic went away for decades and resurfaced back in 2012 if I remember correctly, and thank the lord it did. 

This is the ultimate snack on a hot magic kingdom day and just writing about it now has me salivating.

Fresh frozen orange juice swirled with the most delicious soft whippy ice cream..... 

Get yours at Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland in MK (pretty much opposite the Swiss family Robinson tree house)

4. Take A Raft to Tom Sawyer Island 

So many people don't realise this is an attraction at all in Magic Kingdom, and it generally operates limited hours (around 10am - 4 or 5pm) so you can easily miss it.

Its a great way for kiddos to let of some steam and run around exploring, it makes a change from staying in queues all day, and for any photographers or Disney parks enthusiasts out there, its just a great way to see the park from a different perspective. 

5. Visit The Tigers in Asia 

You can find these cute cubs in the Maharajah Jungle Trek and so many people bypass this walk through area of the Animal Kingdom. 

For some reason people want to hit the main rides and then leave, but there is so much more to see and do and you will really get the most out of your ticket but exploring these areas. 

The tigers can be pretty playful and the enclosure is set up to give people the maximum opportunity to see them throughout the day. 

We've all been to that zoo where you never get to see them because they are right at the back but this isn't the case here. 

6. Eat Chicken and Doughnuts on The Same Plate 

No I haven't gone crazy. Make a reservation at Chef Art Smiths Homecomin' in Disney Springs for this Culinary Revolution. 

This restaurant is a great chance to try some traditional southern comfort food and get a real taste of Florida. 

7. Visit The Contemporary Resort

As an Original Walt Disney World Resort, this hotel holds a lot of history. Explore the public areas, ask cast members for information.

Check out some of the unique merchandise in the Fantasia Store or grab a bite at the Contempo cafe and watch the monorail come by as you eat.

8. Try the Night Blossom in Pandora 

This über instagram worthy drink became a must do when pandora opened and it doesn't show any signs of changing.

Have you even been to animal kingdom if you don't get a picture of this concoction?

9. Become A Wilderness Explorer

Sign up as your enter Animal Kingdom. When you first see the tree of like, the station is just on your right.

This activity is a great way to make sure you really see every nook and cranny of this amazing park, and learn something along the way. I find adults love collecting the stickers just as much as the children!

10. Thank the Phoenicians 

Spaceship Earth (that the big golf ball) in Epcot is an absolute must do in this park. Although epcot has changed a lot in recent years, this attraction really shows what Epcot was originally about.

It might not be a thrill ride but you will most likely learn something as you travel through this giant geodesic dome, and if you don't understand why I have made title of number 10 what I have, you will by the end of this ride. 

11. Enjoy a Character Meal

Weather you are travelling with little ones or not, I would urge you to splurge on at least one character meal.

Its really what Disney is all about, and there are so many different ones, you can find one that will really work for your family.

Chef Mickeys, Crystal Palace, Tusker House and the Bon Voyage Breakfast are all great examples. But more unusual ones like 1900 park fare in the Grand Flo or The Ohana Breakfast with lilo and stitch are also great options.

12. Ride The Monorail

This one shouldn't be too difficult, but I often hear people who think that you can only use it if you are staying at a monorail loop resort, or people staying offsite don't think they can use any Disney transportation.

Well you can and its all free, but the monorail is my favourite for its views and novelty factor.

13. Ride all of the Magic Kingdom Mountains

Even those of you who aren't massive thrill ride fans, please tick off all 3 of the famous mountains in MK.

- Splash Mountain
- Space Mountain
- Thunder Mountain

All 3 of these attractions hold so much detail, history and hidden back stories. If you ever see a detail you don't understand or want to know more about, just ask a cast member at the ride who will be happy to talk to you about it.

14. Go on a Shopping Spree in Disney Springs

Disney Springs is more than just a Disney Store. You can find everything from fine food to casual dining, disney merchandise to artwork to homewares and designer clothing, all in one place.

No matter what your budget and whether you are looking for yourself or for a gift for someone you are sure to find some great buys here.

Just one of my favourites is the Uniqlo store which has like a gazillion disney tees and jumpers all at very reasonable prices. I would recommend looking here before you splurge on something in the Magic Kingdom.

I also love the Market Place Co-Op for all its tableware, mugs, plates, and you can also find dapper day apparel in here too!

and girls if you are fans of Sephora, maybe there isn't one near you at home, there is a pretty big one here so you can stock up on all your beauty essentials.

15. Have Your Photo Taken at the Galactic Purple Wall

Over the last few years disney has added more and more iconic wall patterns throughout the parks which have become somewhat of instagram sensations.

These really are must dos and non more so than the galactic purple wall in Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom. 

You will find the wall on your first right turn when you enter under the Tomorrowland sign. You will also probably find it by looking for a mass swarm of people with their cameras out. 

I have seen photo pass photographers in this area but not always. 

16. Eat A Mickey Waffle for Breakfast

Have you even been to disney if you didn't eat a Mickey Waffle? As far as I am concerned, the answer to that is NO!

17. Get a Sweet Treat from Karamelle Kuche 

You won't need to look Gard for this one, you will smell the sweet caramel from about 3 pavillions away.

This place specialises in caramel sweet treats and my personal favourites are the popcorn and the salted caramel chocolate square but there really isn't a bad choice and the majority are snack credit eligible.

18. Wander around the Boardwalk

The boardwalk is more than just a deluxe resort. You really need to think of this as a destination. Like Disney Springs, just smaller and less crowded.

You can explore the surrounding hotels, take a boat ride, grab an ice cream or even indulge in some signature dining.

At night the place really comes alive with entertainers and theres a great buzz about the place without you having to push your way through crowds.

19. Get a Hot Dog From Caseys Corner

The only way I am letting you off with this one is if you are vegetarian!

Caseys is like a right of passage, its the first quick service I think of in the Magic Kingdom and its arguably the best. 

The dogs themselves are available as foot longers making them easily sharable, and thats before you add all the toppings... Mac and cheese, pulled pork, slaw, shall I go on?

This place gets crowded but you can use mobile order and believe me it will be worth every minute in that queue. 

20. Get Yourself A Set of Ears

You cant visit Disney without a pair of ears, and a great way to start the magic early is to get some before you go. 

Theres no better feeling than packing your Minnie ears in the case. 

My favourite shops in no particular order are:

21. Listen to the Main Street Philharmonics

These guys frequent around Main St USA and around the hubs throughout the day and are not only super talented, but also really funny.

They tend to put on a bit of a show and you can either stand and watch or just grab a Starbucks and listen from afar on the hub grass. 

22. Experience Pandora

This highly anticipated and news addition to Animal Kingdom really is an experience you cannot miss.

Whether you are a fan of the film or havent even seen it, the architecture and landscaping is awe inspiring!

Try to get a fastpass for both attractions but if you cant, rope drop the park and head straight to Flight of Passage.

23. Experience Pandora at Night

I am putting this as a separate experience, because it really is a separate experience. 

At night this land comes alive with lights and sounds and should not be missed. You will also find that the queues tend to die down a bit too so this can also be a good time to queue for the rides if you didn't manage to get a fastpass. 

24. Get a Disney Button

These buttons are completely Free and available from your Disney hotel reception, from guest services and most stores have them at the check out too! The cast member will rite your name or whatever you want on the button.

If its your first time visiting you have to get a first timer badge but if you have a birthday or are celebrating something special you can get a pin for that too.

Cast members will often acknowledge your badge as they see you and wish you a happy birthday or anniversary and every once in a while you may find they treat you to a little freebie or an extra fast pass as well!

25. Make your own Mickey Treat 

Mickey Krispie treats are always a good shout, but there is nothing better than customising your very own, and you can! At Goofys Candy Co. in Disney Springs.

Just choose your chocolate, your sprinkles and your drizzle and you can watch your treat being made right in front of you.

These treats are either $5.49 or you can also use a snack credit. We often go and get some of these on our last day to use up whatever credits we have left. You will also find lots of other sweet treats to spend your credits on too.

26. See the 8th Wonder of the World

The jungle cruise is one of the greatest if not corniest attractions in Disney World. Its perfect for all ages and genuinely makes me laugh out loud every time. 

I won't spoil any of the jokes for you but brace yourself, just when you think they couldn't get any cheesier... they probably will. 

Make sure you don't miss that sighting of the 8th wonder of the world, or you'll have to queue all over again! 

27. Meet Mickey and Friends

There are numerous places you can meet the main mouse himself.

My favourites include:

Character Spot at Epcot

Chef Mickeys (in his chef whites)

Adventurers Outpost (in his safari gear - see above) 

28. Check in at The Hollywood Tower Hotel

I don't care how much the thought of this ride gives you the heebie jeebies, you HAVE to experience it. 

The queue alone is worth experiencing, but the ride is more than just a 13 storey drop... 

The imagineering here is second to none and there are so many details, I notice something new every time. 

29. Rope Drop Every Park At least Once 

Now I make reference to this all the time in my posts and on instagram etc and totally take for granted and just assume that everyone knows what it means but so many of you genuinely dont, but you NEED to!

'Rope Drop' refers to what once would have been the dropping of the rope, to let guests into the park. Obviously now it is a little more technical than this, what with bag check and magic band turnstiles, but the name such and it basically means getting to a park for opening time.

You will see the park at its least crowded, allowing for some great photo ops and also be able to get onto the most popular rides with the least wait times. 

30. Stay for The Night Time Shows

Now I'm not saying you have to get up at 6am for rope drop and stay for the fireworks in the same day, but every single one of the night time shows in the park has to be seen and my best recommendation is to leave the parks in the afternoon for a nap, some pool time or just to get out of the heat and then go back again later refreshed.

Its important not to burn yourself out on this trip, but there is so much to see and do, you need to plan your time so as not to miss anything. 

If you have little ones who dont like fireworks or loud noises, rivers of light is a great show and my favourite - Fantasmic at Hollywood stdios features loads of your favourite characters, including Mickey alongside fireworks, projections and a great soundtrack. 

I suggest getting in line or getting a spot at least 45 minutes before they start as they are all extremely popular.

31. Go on an African Safari 

Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the most amazing and by far the biggest attractions Disney has ever created. 

Ok so its not actually in Africa, but its as near as you are going to get without actually visiting the continent itself. 

To give you some perspective, you could fit the entire magic kingdom into Kilimanjaro safaris and still have a bit of room.

No safari is ever the same because the animals are left to roam as they please and this can make for some unforgettable experiences and photo opportunities so keep your camera handy. 

32. Get Up Close at Rafikis Planet watch  

So many people either dont realise this area is here or simply don't bother because you have to get a train over there, but if you take the time to visit you can experience some truly unique meet and greets!!

33. Become #1000

You cannot visit WDW without paying those 999 happy haunts a visit.

This is the ultimate in classic disney attractions and one you will probably want to hurry baaaaaack to. 

34. Experience Walt's Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow 

This attraction might now be seriously outdated, but this doesn't mean its completely irrelevant. Theres lots for little ones to learn and its theme tune will have you singing or humming it all day.

It is also one of the few attractions today that Walt himself played a part in. It was actually created by Walt himself for the 1964 New York World Fair. 

This is true Disney history. 

35. Put Peddle to the Metal in Hollywood

It has the cheesiest pre show, but this exhilarating rollercoaster is an absolute must do for anyone who is tall enough to ride it. 

This coaster is super fun and much better than its Parisian sibling. 

It is actually the first proper coaster I ever had the courage to try, and I think it helps that you are inside and cannot actually see how high you are or what is coming next. 

Do not leave the studios til you have tried this one

36. Let it Go

Whether you are the worlds biggest frozen fan, or you are just trying to keep the little ones happy, the Frozen - For The First Time in Forever Singalong show is a must do! 

Its full of frozen fun and Disney magic as well as plenty of gags for the grown ups that leave me crying with laughter every time. 

This show is truly top class and just as good as something you would pay big bucks to see elsewhere.

37. Hub Grass and Chill

Taking time out on your Disney World trip is just as important as hitting all those must do attractions, otherwise you will get tired pretty quickly and thats not good. 

Since its revamp a few years ago, the hub grass area makes the perfect spot to rest and recuperate. 

Grab a Starbucks from the Main Street bakery and kick back.

You can often get some amazing photos from this area too as its not normally crowded

38. Conquer Everest

This attraction has in my opinion one of the best queue lines ever!!! 

The details are insane and I could happily spend hours just looking at all the artefacts and details throughout. 

Though the ride is pretty good too!

39. Cool Off at Club Cool

This Coca Cola branded merchandise spot offers more than just overpriced t-shirts and fridge magnets, but like so many things on this list, a lot of people do not realise what it is and so miss out. 

You will also find these Coke post mix machines with a variety of flavours for you to try...for FREE!!

But these aren't just any old flavours. These are flavours from around the world and are well worth a try. May I take a second to highly recommend the Beverley! 😁

40. See the Sights from the Peoplemover 

This is one of my all time favourite attractions. This constantly moving train of cars means there is very rarely much of a queue and if there is, it goes down very quickly making it a go to between fastpasses.

But don't let this be the only reason you ride it, and please don't use it as an opportunity to check your messages/emails. The views on here are spectacular. You get to see Tomorrowland, the castle and even inside some of the parks most iconic rides.

I don't want to completely spoil this one so I will leave it there. 

41. Use the Sweetest ATM Around

This one is purely for novelty value/for the 'gram' but it really has to be done!

I mean who doesn't love cupcakes? and where else can you get one from an ATM machine? 

You can find this sweet spot in Disney Springs, probably surrounded by a load of girls on iPhones making boomerangs with their friends!

42. Watch the Tree of Life Awaken

With the recent additions to Animal Kingdom over the last few years, there is no reason not to spend a full day in this park now.

The tree of life awakening is the perfect way to end your day. Its a beautiful projection onto the tree and can be seen a number of times during the last hours of the parks opening so don't worry if you just miss one as it happens about every 15 minutes (check the days times guide for exact times)

43. Climb to the Top of a Tree

Ok, not just any tree, the Swiss Family Treehouse Tree. 

This attraction is missed my so many, but is a great way for little ones to explore and let of steam. With so many little details they will likely not want to come down.

It also offers amazing views over Magic Kingdom which is worth the walk. 

44. Around the World in 1 Day

World Showcase in Epcot is an absolute cosmos of culture, from the architecture to the attractions and the staff. 

If you take the time to explore the pavilions, you will definitely learn something new in each of them. Be sure to wander through the pavilions and go all the way to the back as there is so much more than meets the eye to a lot of them.

Not many people know, that all the employees in the pavilions are from the country itself and the majority are actually on the Disney cultural exchange programs, so you can ask them all your burning questions about their home countries and come away with some serious wanderlust.

45. Have Warm Hugs with Olaf

To be fair, all meet and greets are great for a first timer but Olaf is super fun and one that I feel isn't all that well advertised.

On my last trip I almost missed him completely and only noticed where he was in Hollywood Studios on the last day.

The building is a little hard to find so be sure to ask a cast member if you want a cuddle with this frozen fella.

46. Meet the Citizens of Hollywood

All the parks have street performers in various forms, but the Citizens of Hollywood in the studios are some of my favourites. 

They are really funny and really interactive, so don't be surprised if they talk to you. Be sure to stop if you see them, you never quite know what is going to happen when they are around. 

47. Find Hidden Mickeys

Hidden mickeys are a super fun activity you can do throughout your trip without having to go out of your way, or spend any money! WIN! 

They are literally everywhere, some are bigger and more obvious than others but there is usually at least one in every attraction and they are all over the parks. 

Just keep your eyes peeled and see who can find the most. 

48. Pop Down the Old Rose n Crown

Ok so a pint of your favourite is probably going to cost you double what it would back home, but theres just something super cool about drinking a British pint, in a British pub.... in Orlando! 

Its also really fun seeing which parts of the UK all the cast members are from who work here.

49. Try the Grey Stuff... Its Delicious! 

Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom has been a must do since the day it opened and it isn't getting any easier to get a reservations so make sure you log on 180 days before you travel. 

The dinner is a signature meal and so 2 table service credits on your dining plan, making it a bit pricey, but the breakfast and lunch are a great use of a quick service credit. 

The decor and theming is the true highlight here, be sure to check out all the different dining rooms!

50. Stay at a Disney Resort Hotel

If there is one thing you take from this list, then please let it be this last one. 

My first ever trip was at an onsite hotel, and since then I have done both on and offsite but for someone who has never been to WDW, staying on site can make a world of difference to your trip.

Staying on site saves you so much transportation time. It also gives you extra magic hour benefits and allows you to make you fastpass reservations 60 days before your trip rather than 30. 

I genuinely don't think it matters which Disney hotel you choose. Whichever you like best or can afford is fine. I have always gone for moderate hotels as we have done this to get the free dining plan offer, however the value hotels are fun, accessible and just as good quality and if you can afford it, the deluxe resorts will make your stay extra special.

But whichever you choose, the extra time in the parks and easy to use transportation system is an invaluable perk. 

You will also be able to use the FREE Magical Express transfer. Read more about that here.

So thats it, my 50 first timer must do's! 

Let me know if you have any others, or if you manage to complete all of mine. And dont forget if you need any help planning your next trip to the most magical place on earth, don't hesitate to get in touch  and message me on Instagram or email



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