There are so many life changing experiences that happen at Disney that it’s a challenge to narrow it down to the best ten! After much deliberation and hair pulling, here are the top ten items to put on your Disney bucket list!
10. The Tower of Terror. I’m not one for rides that drop you straight down and the Tower of Terror definitely lives up to its menacing name. The Tower is one of the top thrill rides at Walt Disney World and for good reason! The ride is randomized so you never know how many times you will be dropped plus the experience of walking through the tower really takes you back in time. Disney doesn’t just make rides; Disney makes a story and builds a ride around it. Though it is a terrifying experience, it is definitely a thrilling one you have to do at least once!
9. Festival of the Lion King. Animal Kingdom might seem like it doesn’t have as much to offer as the other parks, but don’t be so quick to overlook this charming park. It’s a great park for all nature lovers and has thrill rides like Expedition Everest and DINOSAUR, but the best experience at Animal Kingdom is the Festival of the Lion King show. Unlike other Disney shows, the Festival doesn’t retell the story of The Lion King. It is an acrobatic celebration filled with traditional African music and costumes. There are even appearances of Timon, Pumba, and Simba himself!
8. Fantasmic!. While we’re discussing shows at Walt Disney World, Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios has to make the cut. In this show, we get a montage of all our favorite heroes and villains. The pyrotechnics are impressive as Sorcerer Mickey battles the evil dragon, Maleficent. The entire lake surrounding the stage catches on fire and clips from our favorite films appear on walls of water. Adults, like myself, are just as mesmerized as the kids. Make sure you get a Fast Pass+ for this show because it is too spectacular to miss.
7. Christmas at Disney World. Experiencing Disney World during the holidays is something everyone should do at least once. Though it will be extremely crowded, as soon as you take your first steps down Main Street you’ll see why! Nothing gets you into that Christmas spirit like Disney decorated head to toe in Christmas decorations. This is also the time that you get to see your favorite characters dressed in their holiday dresses. The highlight of my trip to Disney in December was meeting Belle when she was in her gorgeous gold and burgundy Christmas gown. It’s one of those experiences you only get during the holidays. When the sun goes down, the park just gets more beautiful as the Christmas lights around the park glisten. Snow falls over Main Street which makes for the perfect spot to watch the special holiday parade. Being on Main Street with snow falling on your nose as you watch gingerbread men dancing in the street brings back all your warm and fuzzy memories of Christmas with your loved ones. It’s worth fighting the crowds for this once in a lifetime experience!
6. Ride the Astro Orbiter At Night. Every time I’ve gone into the Magic Kingdom I tend to walk past the Astro Orbiter because it’s very similar to Dumbo, and if given the choice riding in a cute elephant seat beats a rocket ship. However, when I did finally decide to ride the Astro Orbiter I did so at night and it was a much more interesting experience. You have to take an elevator just to get to the ride, so you already have a higher vantage point than Dumbo. This is the perfect spot to view the Magic Kingdom at night. As you spin around and feel the cool night air on your face, you become mesmerized by the sights and sounds of the park at night. There’s just something charming about seeing Cinderella’s castle lit up at night that makes it magical.
5. Sample One Food Item From Every Epcot Pavilion. This one might take you a day or two to complete because it’s rather difficult to eat eleven times in one day. Epcot offers a variety of foods and drinks from all over the world. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try Soki in Japan or maybe you’re craving a Quiche Lorraine from Chefs de France. This is the time to give your taste buds a change of pace. If you want to sample even more exotic flavors, plan your trip to Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival that happens in September.
4. Ride the Monorail. Where else are you going to get the chance to ride on a Monorail? When going to the Magic Kingdom, don’t choose to take the ferry boat to the gates. You can take a boat anywhere, but Disney offers a unique experience with the Monorail. Plus, it gets very congested on the ferry boat which makes for a tough time getting on and off board at your destination. Not only is the Monorail quicker, it’s unlike anything you’ve ridden before. Normal trains don’t run high above the ground! For avid Disney fans, the Monorail might as well be its own attraction!
3. Meet Your Favorite Character I don’t care how old I am, when I enter Disney World I will be one of the first in line to meet Belle and Stitch. They are by far my two favorite Disney characters and my trip would not be complete without seeing them. It’s become a tradition to give Stitch a big hug and I don’t plan to break it! Character Meet-and-Greets are a staple to any Disney vacation no matter how old we get. We are still kids at heart and we are never too old to have a tea party with the Mad Hatter and Alice.
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2. Stay in a Disney Hotel. Disney has quite a selection of hotels ranging in theme and prices. Staying on property gives park goers more opportunities and less stress. Shuttles eliminate your need to drive and park your car in the park, you can have purchases in the park sent to your room and you continue your Disney experience until you close your eyes at night. If you really want to soak up everything Disney, staying on property will keep you in the Disney spirit 24/7!
1. Make Memories With Your Family When it comes down to it, the most important item to add to your bucket list are the memories you share. My best memories as a child are the ones with my family during our vacations to Disney. I remember riding Dumbo with my grandmother who has passed on, and I cherish those magical moments I have with her at Disney because they have been preserved in my mind forever. It might be hot and crowded in the parks. You might wait in long lines for your daughters to meet Anna and Elsa. You might be tired from walking around the park for hours and hours. In the end, it is all worth it because you’ve made beautiful memories with your family. Truthfully, that is the only real item on my Disney bucket list.
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