I am totally and completely Disney obsessed. Disney has been a huge part of my life ever since I can remember. My first trip was when I was three years old, and I have been every year since then. Every time I go back to "The Most Magical Place on Earth," I fall more in love with it. There are new improvements being made to Disney World every day, making it that much better every time I visit. Although there are so many more places to travel, nothing beats the amazing feeling of happiness you experience when you walk down Main Street U.S.A for the first time and see Cinderella's Castle at the end of it. It is such an overwhelmingly indescribable feeling that everyone must experience once in their life. My mom is a Disney travel agent, so she is very knowledgeable about Disney World's 4 parks. It is so much fun to travel with her because she knows so many tips and secrets about Disney. Here are some of the things that you absolutely must do when you go visit Mickey Mouse in Orlando, Florida.
1. Eat a Mickey waffle
I am a huge fan of waffles, and Mickey Mouse waffles are by far the best waffles in the world. I swear there is a secret ingredient in the batter that makes them taste so sweet and delicious. Plus, the fact that they are in the shape of Mickey probably improves the flavor. This is the perfect breakfast to start your day in the parks!
2. Fully take in Main Street U.S.A.
Main Street U.S.A. is located in the Magic Kingdom. At the end of the street, you'll spot Cinderella's Castle, but don't forget to take In the environment of Main Street. Modeled after Walt Disney's childhood town in Missouri, Main Street U.S.A. transports you to the early 20th century with old school architecture and buildings including a working emporium, barbershop, hot dog restaurant, movie theater, bakery (now featuring Starbucks), and more shops and places to eat. There is an indescribable feeling that I get when I walk down Main Street for the first time. This is also a great photo-op in front of the castle.
3. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Newly opened in March of 2014, this fun roller coaster is The Magic Kingdom's newest attraction. Hop aboard a tilting mine cart and sing "Heigh-Ho" with the seven dwarfs from Snow White. This roller coaster is not as intense as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, making it the perfect little coaster for young children (if they meet the height requirement).
4. Eat at Be Our Guest restaurant
Although it usually has a long wait, the food and experience cannot be beat. Especially if you are a Beauty and the Beast fan. Dine like a king inside Beast's castle in Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland. Choose between 3 dining rooms, and get ready to indulge in some delicious food with a French flair. Check out the enchanted rose in the rose room while you wait for your food.
5. Watch Wishes firework show
Every night in the Magic Kingdom before closing, the most spectacular fireworks show is put on. Get a good spot in front of the castle so that you can see the accompanying images that flash across the castle to the popular songs that everyone knows and loves. Then tilt your head up and get ready for the sky to light up with fireworks. Look closely to watch Tinker Bell "fly" down from the castle. No one does fireworks like Disney! This will be the perfect end to your day in the Magic Kingdom.
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6. Toy Story Mania
This most popular attraction is located in Disney's Hollywood Studios. This interactive 4-D attraction lets you hop in a cart with a partner and compete for points in virtual games featuring all of your favorite Toy Story characters. Expect some friendly competition! Recently, the Disney Company announced that they are expanding this attraction, which sometimes has more than a 2 hour wait!
7. The Great Movie Ride
An oldie, but a goodie: The Great Movie Ride may be old fashioned and boring to some, but it is one of my favorites. Step inside a replica of the famous Chinese Theatre and transport yourself back in time to the golden age of Hollywood. On this attraction, you'll ride through some scenes from Hollywood's greatest films, including The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Mary Poppins, and Alien.
8. Kilimanjaro Safari
In Animal Kingdom, you have the chance to go on an authentic African safari and see some real-life animals from an open-air vehicle. Hold on tight because it will be a bumpy ride through the lush savanna.
9. Festival of the Lion King
This live stage musical is truly amazing. The show features music and characters from the film and uses elaborate costumes, dance moves, acrobatic tricks and stunts, and puppets. Get ready to dance in your seat to the upbeat music. Find this fun festival in Animal Kingdom.
Located in Epcot, this is probably my favorite attraction in all of Disney World. Soarin' is a flight simulator that lets you fly over scenes of California. With all of the special effects, including smells and wind, it really feels like you're flying over San Diego's beach and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Try to stand the long wait for this attraction, because it is worth it.
11. Spaceship Earth
Located in the "giant golf ball" in Epcot, is this 15 minute dark ride that demonstrates the story of how human communication has evolved. Although some say this attraction is the perfect place to take a nap on, it is one of my favorites. It is very interesting and relaxing as well, after a long day in the park.
12. The entire World Showcase
I desperately want to travel the world. That is why Epcot is my favorite park in Disney World. Epcot is comprised of Future World and the World Showcase which includes 11 countries. These "pavilions" are designed to look and feel like you are truly in a particular country. Disney did such a great job with designing authentic buildings that truly represent the country that you are in. In these pavilions, you will also find authentic food, entertainment, and shops with merchandise from the countries. Some of the pavilions feature attractions like movies and rides. My favorite pavilions are Canada, France, Germany, China, and Norway.
13. Les Halles Bakery
Located in the France pavilion, is this French bakery featuring so many delectable French pastries and food. I HAVE to get something from this bakery every time I am in Epcot. Items include various quiches, croque monsieur, éclairs, croissants, brioche, parfaits, macarons, café au lait, and much more. You'll be drooling at the display case.
14. Watch Illuminations
I may love this firework show in Epcot more than Wishes in the Magic Kingdom. It has been around for a long time, and is truly a classic. The music is transcendent and the graphics and fireworks cannot be beat. Gather around the World Showcase to catch this beautiful fireworks display on World Showcase Lagoon. You will not regret watching this gorgeous display.
15. Eat a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar
No matter how cold it is, you have to indulge in this simple, yet delicious treat. The delicious snack of vanilla ice cream covered with rich, hard chocolate is served on a stick, so be sure to eat it fast if it does happen to be hot out!
16. Stay at the Grand Floridian
This stately Victorian style resort and spa is definitely a splurge, but it is worth it! Located a monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom, this hotel will make you feel like royalty. Relax in the luxurious lobby to the sound of classy piano music under an ornate chandelier. Shop in some of the nice shops and take a dip in the pool. This resort is elegant and classic.
17. Ride the monorail
Step aboard "the highway in the sky" and enjoy the ride. The monorail is an above-ground transportation system that runs on a track. Although the monorail only goes to the Magic Kingdom and 3 resorts, it is worth it to take a ride for fun! Be sure to listen closely when the doors close and the Spanish voice says the catchy phrase "por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas" meaning, "please stand clear of the doors."
18. Experience Disney at Christmas
Disney is already magical, but when you combine it with the most wonderful time of the year, it becomes even more magical! My family and I have gone to Disney around Thanksgiving time, and I think that it is the best time to go. The weather is still nice in southern Florida, there are virtually no crowds, therefore no wait times, and the parks are fully decorated for Christmas! Think elaborate light displays, topiaries, giant Christmas trees, Disney Christmas music, festive parades and events, and Christmas themed treats! Disney goes all out for Christmas, and it's special.
19. Stand in line to meet a character
This is so worth it, especially if it is a character you truly love deep down. Meet and greets are not just for little kids, and they make for the perfect Instagram. I am not ashamed to admit that my friends and I stood in line to meet Peter Pan for 45 minutes. Sure, we could have been riding rides or doing something else, but meeting Peter was so worth it!
20. Experience Disney with friends
My junior year of high school, my 5 best friends and I planned a Disney trip over Mardi Gras break, and I have to say, it was my favorite trip to Disney World. Nothing beats walking around the parks and riding attractions with your best friends. It is best to experience The Happiest Place on Earth with the people who make you the happiest.
Although I always say that I would rather vacation somewhere other than Disney World, every time I go back I fall more in love with the magic. Nothing beats "The Happiest Place on Earth."