It’s no secret that Walt Disney World is huge—there are four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping and entertainment district, over a dozen resorts and various other activities. With so many options, it can be hard to decide what you want to spend your time doing. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran to the parks, here are 15 things you must do on every Disney vacation.
15. Do Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom At Least Once
You might have to wake up super early, but being at Magic Kingdom for rope drop and getting to watch the welcome show will be worth the loss of sleep. You’ll have shorter waits early in the morning, which will enable you to take a break during the day to recharge.
14. Meet Mickey Mouse
It doesn’t matter how many times you meet him—meeting the big cheese himself is priceless. Every interaction is special and unique in its own way. Also, if you meet him while he’s hanging out in Magic Kingdom, you may even have the chance to talk to him! Here are “The Top 10 Places To Meet Mickey Mouse At Walt Disney World.”
13. Watch Wishes
Nothing really screams ‘Disney World vacation’ quite like Wishes Nighttime Spectacular does. Everyone always takes at least a dozen pictures and videos on their phone during this fantastic fireworks display, no matter how many times they’ve watched it.
12. Have A Dole Whip Float (Or Whatever Your Favorite Snack Is!)
The dole whip float is probably the most famous snack in the Disney parks. Nothing tastes better on a hot Florida day than pineapple soft serve in a cup filled with pineapple juice. However, if pineapple isn’t your thing, you can savor your favorite snack instead! I always get a peanut butter cookie, and my sister loves getting a frozen chocolate banana or Mickey pretzel.
11. Have Mickey Waffles
Everything tastes better Mickey shaped, especially Mickey waffles! These fluffy circular pieces of heaven are guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face and should definitely be on your list of things to have during your trip. The majority of breakfast locations will have this on the menu, and bonus points if you eat at a breakfast buffet and get an unlimited amount!
10. Watch At Least One Show/Parade
Disney Entertainment is truly a work of art. The hard work that gets put into the shows and parades is evident, and I can’t go on one Disney vacation without watching at least one! Disney’s Festival of Fantasy is my favorite parade and Festival of the Lion King is a must see for my family every time we go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
9. Buy a Souvenir
It doesn’t have to be a big souvenir, but having something to commemorate your trip is always a great idea! Whether it’s your Photopass picture from The Tower of Terror or a magnet for the fridge, it’ll bring back fond memories every time you look at it. Here Are “10 Disney Souvenirs That Are Worth The Money.”
8. Have a Rest Day
It’s so easy to get burnt out when you spend every day running around the parks. That’s why it’s so important to have a day where you don’t go to the parks! Use this day to lounge out at your resort, go to Disney Springs and shop ‘til you drop or explore Orlando.
7. Explore Your Resort/Explore A Resort
If you spent the money to stay at a Disney resort, you should most definitely take the time to explore it and take advantage of the amenities! All of the resorts have pools and activities that go on throughout the day. And, even if you’re not staying at a Disney resort, you can go visit them anyway! I love going to the Polynesian, taking a walk on the beach and getting a drink from Trader Sam’s.
6. Do Something New (new show/attraction/experience/character)
It’s so easy to get into a routine on a Disney vacation. You go on the same rides and see the same shows and skip everything else. Next time you visit the most magical place on earth, do something you haven’t done before. Stand in line to meet a new character or do that ride you always pass by. You may find a new favorite to add to your list!
5. Open and Close a Park
Opening and closing a park is exhausting, but rewarding. Staying at a park the whole day gives you the opportunity to take your time. You don’t have to rush from ride to ride because you have all day to get everything you want to do, done. Grab a Mickey Premium Bar and take a stroll through New Fantasyland because you can.
4. Make a Wish in Cinderella’s Wishing Well
This has become a must do for me after a wish I made in the wishing well actually came true. This area often gets overlooked or people just don’t know that it’s there, but you should make a point to stop there on your next trip. There’s just something about making a wish in the place where dreams come true that makes everything extra magical. Plus, the money in the well does get donated, so you get to make a wish and do something good for society!
3. Look for Hidden Mickey’s
This has become a tradition with my family ever since my dad bought the hidden mickey’s book at the Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s fun to read about them and then try to spot them when you’re on a ride or just walking through the park, and it’s easy to make a game out of it, too! Winner gets ice cream!
2. Try a New Restaurant
It’s easy to fall in love with a restaurant and never go anywhere else. However, there are so many dining locations all across Disney property that you should try! If your family always makes a dining reservation for one night during your vacation, take a chance and go to a restaurant you’ve never been to. Or, you can try out a new quick service location while in the parks!
1. Take a Family Photo In Front of Cinderella Castle
This is the ultimate must do on all Disney vacations. Whether it’s a Photopass photo or a selfie on a cell phone, get the family together for a picture with Cinderella Castle in the background. It’s a photo that is guaranteed to bring back memories and put a smile on your face every time you look at it.
A magical Disney vacation should be filled with favorites and new experiences. You’ll still feel like you’re home, but you’ll also gain a new appreciation as you do things you never did before. It really is the best of both worlds!
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!