Disney fanatics can easily tell you their favorite activities and attractions to experience. Many of the attractions, rides, shows, and even restaurants that we hear of tend to be more of the popular ones. While the most known experiences may be amazing and memorable, there are other experiences that will make you smile from ear to ear. Here are 10 Disney experiences that you may not know about and can’t miss at Walt Disney World.
10. The Kiss Goodnight
Every single evening just before the last guests leave the park at closing, there is a very special closing ceremony that takes place called The Kiss Goodnight. Many guests may not be aware of this because by the time this plays, the majority of families have scrambled to the exit and boarded a bus, monorail, ferryboat, or car to go back ‘home’. This 2- minute ceremony is played every 30 minutes after park closing and begins with the beautiful Cinderella castle twinkling lights along with the song When You Wish Upon a Star. While this is playing, a narrator greets the guests with a beautiful speech relating to making dreams come true. If you are a true Disney fan like I am, I know you will choke up at how sweet and heart-warming the speech is. Even if you’re exhausted, wait a little while longer so that you can enjoy this show. It is worth the wait, and you will be able to exit the park with ease when its over since the majority of the guests have already left.
9. Character Palooza
Ever wonder where some of the rare characters went? They haven’t totally disappeared! One of the best experiences that you may have not head of is at Hollywood Studios. The unofficial and unannounced character meet and greet known as Character Palooza is a 20-30 minute interaction between characters and guests. It is a great way to meet some of the more rare characters that aren’t out and about usually. There is no way of knowing exactly which characters or at which time they will be out for meet and greets. Character Palooza has recently been taking place near Tower of Terror, so be sure to check in the afternoon for their arrival. It is also common for cast members to brush off questions about this meet and greet to keep crowds at a minimum.
8. Electric Water Pageant
If you’re staying or visiting any of the resorts in the Magic Kingdom area, you’ll love checking out the nightly Electrical Water Pageant. Many do not know about this because it is only offered at the Magic Kingdom area resorts. Every night guests find a comfy spot along the beach of their resort to watch larger than life mythical sea creatures and flags light up the lake with correlating Disney tunes. This fifteen-minute parade is very cute and loved by many that stay at these resorts! Be sure to ask the front desk for the time that this water parade will perform.
7. Aerophile (Previously “Characters in Flight”)
Have you ever seen the larger than life ‘hot air’ balloon as you approach the gates of Walt Disney World? This isn’t just a decoration; you can actually ride it! There is nothing like seeing Disney World from way high up in the sky. The Aerophile balloon is the world’s largest helium balloon that takes you up 400 feet in the air for a tethered 10 minute ride above Disney Springs! This hand-painted beauty offers spectacular views of the resorts and parks at a distance and are perfect to ride at nighttime to see the Epcot fireworks. Looking for a little romance? This is one way to feel the romance as you soar high above the property. There have even been proposals here! Next time you head over to Disney Springs, be sure to catch your ride on Aerophile.
6. Citizens of Hollywood
There are hundreds and thousands of guests that pass the amazing Citizens of Hollywood Performers in Hollywood Studios due to their tight schedules with rides and attractions. It wasn’t until last year when I took the time to watch these performers in action that I realized that they truly are an incredibly talented cast of entertainers that make guests laugh hysterically with their over the top shows along Hollywood Boulevard. You will get to relive the golden era of film with their roles as vintage stars of Hollywood. The best part is that most of their shows are very different because they incorporate the audience in most of them. These shows happen at random times throughout the day and different characters will appear for each one. They take place right in the middle of the ‘streets’ of Hollywood Boulevard. Next time you’re checking out Hollywood Studios, be sure to take the time to enjoy these performers.
5. Walt Disney Presents
This attraction is not hidden by any means, but many often bypass it. Originally opened in 2001 as One Man’s Dream this attraction tells the biography of Walt Disney’s life in a beautiful multi-media gallery of photos, models, and artifacts. There are some really amazing aspects portrayed in here and how the story of his dreams came to life. There is also a great 15-minute film tribute narrated by Julie Andrews that every Disney fan should watch.
The attraction also serves as an introduction to the new ideas that are being imagined for Disney World – including the upcoming Star Wars and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. It is also an incredible learning opportunity with a common theme amongst its entire memorabilia; anything can be possible if you just put your mind to it, and all dreams can come true.
4. Epcot Diving
If you are scuba-certified, you’re in luck! DiveQuest, located in The Seas pavilion at Epcot, is a larger than life 5.7 million gallon salt-water aquarium tank where guests can swim and mingle with over 6,000 sea animals. Children that are 10 and over, along with a parent, can join in on the fun as well (as long as they are certified too). How cool is it to brag that you went swimming with sharks, dolphins, sting rays, and turtles along with a plethora of other sea life at Disney World? You may even be lucky and have Mickey Mouse himself join in on the dive!
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The Harmony Barer Shop, located at the entrance of Main Street U.S.A., offers haircuts for adults and children of all ages. Its old-fashioned charm and amazingly sweet cast members will put a smile across your face. Not only will you enjoy getting a haircut at the happiest place on earth, but you will also be entertained with a few songs from the most delightful quartet there is, The Dapper Dans. Babies or toddlers that have their first haircut here are in for a special treat as well! They will receive a pair of Mickey ears and a special certificate. This is a fun experience that should be enjoyed at least once!
2. Nighttime Safari Rides
The Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the most beautiful Deluxe Resorts on the Walt Disney World property. It offers stunning views of wild animals on a huge savannah and infuses African culture in every square inch of the property. The vibrant colors and theming is absolutely enthralling. One of the most unique experiences guests can partake in is a one-hour nighttime Safari ride across the savannah to explore animal inhabitants. Your night vision goggles will allow you to make the most of your journey when seeing the wildlife in their natural habitat. You can register for this experience whether you’re staying at his resort or not. IT is open t everyone that would like to enjoy it! The cost of this experience is $70 per person. It is well worth the experience if you have never done it before and are looking to try new things!
1. Magic Kingdom Flag Retreat
It’s always a tear jerking experience for me (and many others) whenever I witness an observance to honor our great nation. Each day around 5 PM, the Magic Kingdom has a flag retreat ceremony to not only honor our nation but to also pay tribute to the men and women that defend the United States and give us our freedom. If you are a veteran or are visiting with one in your party, you (or they) can be chosen to partake in the ceremony, and will receive a pin, certificate, and photo. This is a beautiful way to pledge your allegiance and enjoy a heartfelt service.
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!