15 Essential Experiences at Walt Disney World Resort

Dole Whip

No matter what you do, a trip to Disney World is sure to be an absolute blast. That said, there are a handful of activities that really do feel as though they’re essential parts of any Disney World visit. If you’re planning a Disney getaway, no matter how short or how long, these are the things we feel you absolutely must experience to ensure your vacation is complete. Going for the first time? Unsure which experiences we’re referring to? Check out this list to get an idea of what you need to add to your Disney to-do list.


1. Seeing Favorite Friends

One of the most magical things about visiting any Disney park is the ability to see your favorite Disney friends in person. Fortunately, characters seem to be around every corner, making this a pretty easy thing to accomplish. Nevertheless, we feel it needs to have a place on this list, as no Disney trip would be complete without a wave from Mickey Mouse!

2. Having a Mickey Bar

Mickey-shaped food is another super magical thing about Disney World. Our favorite mouse-shaped snack? Mickey Bars, of course! After all, what could be better than ice cream, chocolate, and Mickey Mouse in one treat?

3. Donning Mickey Ears

As you walk through the parks, you will almost certainly notice that a huge number of people are wearing Mickey Mouse ears. These ears come in a variety of colors, themes, and styles, meaning you will almost certainly find some you love. Be sure to grab a pair of ears early in your trip so you get plenty of use out of them.

Dumbo and Toddler

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4. Conquering the Mountains

Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and even Expedition Everest are all must-ride attractions. Be sure you catch them all so you can tell others that you conquered the Disney mountains.

5. Experiencing Themed Dining

At Disney, even lunch is a magical event. Amazing food can be found around every corner, and in many cases, this food is served up in themed dining rooms, meaning you could be eating in a completely different time or place. Whether you choose to dine with an “outdoor movie” at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, in a castle at Be Our Guest, or in a rainforest surrounded by animals at Rainforest Café, you can make any meal an adventure while in Disney World.

Be Our Guest

6. Trying a Churro

Yes, Mickey Bars are essential, but this doesn’t make churros any less important. A warm churro covered in cinnamon and sugar is the perfect treat in the morning or the evening, and tastes even better while walking the paths of your favorite Disney park.

7. Riding the Monorail

There are a few different ways to get to Magic Kingdom. A bus is an option, and is the most efficient for most Disney hotel guests. Meanwhile, those staying at the Contemporary Resort might choose to simply walk to the park. Guests who come in through the Ticket and Transportation Center might choose the ferry boat, which is fine. However, the most wonderful way to get into the Magic Kingdom is the monorail. For this reason, you absolutely must ride the monorail at least once during your Walt Disney World visit.

8. Snapping Photos with Landmarks

Clearly, you’re going to want photos to share with friends and family, and to look back on as you reminisce. What better way to snap some photos than in front of some of the famous Disney landmarks? The silver ball at Epcot, the castle at Magic Kingdom, the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, and the Chinese Theater at Hollywood Studios are just a few of the most popular places to snap a photo in Disney World.

9. Walking Around the World

A visit to Magic Kingdom is a no-brainer when in Disney World. However, what some people don’t realize is just how important it is to see other parks too. In particular, we recommend taking at least one full day to see Epcot. While in Epcot, you simply must walk around the world showcase and experience the many sights, smells, and flavors of the countries represented.

10. Hopping on a Dark Ride

Walt Disney himself was the inventor of the classic dark ride. Therefore, it only makes sense that you would want to experience at least a few dark rides during your visit to Disney World. Some of our favorite dark rides include Peter Pan’s Flight, Finding Nemo, and the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

11. Munching on Popcorn

Popcorn is another Disney staple. You’ll find popcorn stands all over the parks, and each one sells refillable souvenir buckets. If you’re a big popcorn fan, go ahead and invest in a bucket at the beginning of your visit. You’ll almost certainly save some money, and you’ll go home with an awesome souvenir.

popcorn castle

Bonus Tip!

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 Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius! Discover More >


12. Going on Safari

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a fabulous park that doesn’t get enough love if you ask us. Be sure to check it out during your visit, and don’t forget to hop on the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride and then stroll through the trails to see the animals.

13. Taking to the Skies

Disney World offers a wide variety of awesome ways to take to the skies. These include the amazing Soarin’ Around the World ride in Epcot, Avatar Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom, and of course, the new Skyliner transportation option. Be sure to try at least a couple of these next time you visit.

14. Kicking It Old School

While the newer Disney rides are absolutely spectacular and sometimes even astounding, sometimes what you really need is a trip down memory lane. Taking the time to experience some of the old classic rides such as the People Mover, the carousel, and “it’s a small world” offers a sense of nostalgia that is comforting and helps some people decompress and relax.

15. Enjoying a Dole Whip

Last but certainly not least, we must mention Dole Whip. Honestly, Adventureland just wouldn’t be Adventureland without one of these delicious, creamy, pineapple frozen treats, and getting one is an absolute must when in Magic Kingdom.

Dole Whip

About Chelsea

Chelsea is a lifelong Disney fanatic who lives and travels full time in an RV with her son and husband. Their family takes full advantage of their unique living situation by visiting Disney parks on both sides of the country as often as possible. In doing so, the Gonzales family gathers loads of great tips and info about the parks, which Chelsea is thrilled to share with readers here. Visit Chelsea's blog: Wonder Wherever We Wander! Here you’ll find a wealth of valuable information as well as a variety of reviews and resources to help you navigate the often uncharted territory of roadschooling.

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