Walt Disney World is a big place with myriad things to do. There is no way you can do it all in one trip or even several trips. Disney is always changing so there are new things to do every time you go. With that being said, there are certain things that are classic Disney World-experiences Disney fanatics wouldn’t think of missing on their trip. Here are 20 I can think of. Can you think of more?
1) Staying at Disney – While it’s not always possible, Disney fanatics love being in the Disney “bubble”. There’s something to be said for enjoying the Disney magic 24/7. Plus, in some cases, your Disney resort is within walking distance of your favorite theme parks.
2) Riding the monorail – Is there anything more Disney than riding the monorail through the Contemporary? Yes it has a smell, which is not necessarily pleasant, but it’s familiar, right?
3) Taking pictures with the park icons – Cinderella Castle is one of the most photographed icons in the world. Try to get a photo of your entire family with the castle in the background. Do the same with Spaceship Earth at Epcot, Tower of Terror at the Disney Studios and the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom. They make great souvenirs.
4) Meeting characters – For most kids and many adults, it’s not a trip to Disney without meeting the Big Cheese himself, Mickey Mouse! Mickey is literally everywhere. You can find him visiting the four theme parks, riding in the parades and serving up fun and good food at Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary. Take time to visit your other favorite characters. It’s like meeting real celebrities!
5) Watching the parades – Don’t you dare miss the Magic Kingdom parades! They could very easily be the best thing you do on your trip. The Magic Kingdom has two daily parades; Festival of Fantasy at 3 pm and the Main Street Electrical Parade, which runs once or twice each evening. The sights and sounds will amaze you!
6) Enjoying the lights – While the parks are beautiful during the day, you simply must see the transformation when the lights come on. Some of my favorite nighttime spots are Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom, World Showcase in Epcot and Sunset Boulevard in the Disney Studios. Stay out late and enjoy the lights!
7) Enjoying the hotel pool – Most hotels have a pool of some sort. The Disney hotel pools are spectacular! They all have a fun theme and are large, with plenty of seating and places to relax. The Disney value hotels have multiple feature pools. At Yacht & Beach Club, Stormalong Bay is a mini-waterpark! Reserve some down time at your hotel pool.
8) Dining in World Showcase – Where else can you visit 11 different countries in one day? Epcot’s World Showcase, of course! One of the best ways to really immerse yourself in World Showcase is to dine in one of the many restaurants. Enjoy authentic Mexican food at San Angel Inn in Mexico, fire-roasted pizza at Via Napoli in Italy, bratwurst and polka music in Germany or fish & chips in the UK. The opportunities abound!
9) Shopping – Everyone in your group will want something. Budget some money for souvenirs. Disney fanatics collect pins, refrigerator magnets, Christmas decorations, even Mickey ears! For a unique shopping experience, browse the countries in World Showcase. Visit the largest Disney store in the world at Disney Springs.
*Bonus tip: The stores on Main Street USA stay open up to an hour after park closing.
10) Visiting Disney Springs – Formerly Downtown Disney, Disney Springs is a dining, shopping and entertainment mecca. Plan at least one evening to visit.
11) Resort hopping – While you can’t stay at every Disney resort, you can certainly visit them! Take a morning to visit the monorail resorts, especially at Christmas. Plan a meal at Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge and enjoy the beautiful lobbies. Take a walk around Art of Animation and plan out your next trip.
12) Seeing the fireworks – Do not, I repeat, DO NOT miss Wishes at the Magic Kingdom. This is the best fireworks show you will ever see. Trust me!
13) Enjoying some Disney snacks – Why does an ice cream cone taste better on Main Street? Stop by Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom for a delicious Dole Whip. Drink around the world in World Showcase. Enjoy a tasty carrot cake cookie in the Disney Studios. Be sure to eat a Mickey bar-bite the ears off first!
14) Riding the Disney Mountain Range – Disney is famous for its mountains. Mountains in Florida, you say? That’s right! The Magic Kingdom has Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and 7 Dwarfs Mine Train (where you go IN the mountain). And don’t forget the biggest Disney mountain of all, Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. Hold on to your hat!
15) Riding the PeopleMover – Enjoy the PeopleMover (Tomorrowland Transit Authority) for a relaxing tour of Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. *Bonus tip: If the ride is not too busy, ask to go around again.
16) Buzz Lightyear – Help Buzz & Woody defeat the Evil Emperor Zurg on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Ride multiple times to increase you score.
17) Toy Story Midway Mania – Disney fanatics are familiar with the mad morning dash to the Disney Studios most popular attraction. Go ahead and join the chaos!
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18) Eating and drinking – Food and drink is a big part of any Disney World vacation. The parks and resorts are teeming with fun, themed restaurants and lounges, offering every kind of food and drink you can imagine.
19) Enjoying the smells – Disney fanatics are familiar with the smell on Pirates of the Caribbean. What about the wafting of baked goods on Main Street? And who can forget the refreshing whiff of pine trees and orange groves on Soarin’?
20) Seeing Illuminations – Don’t leave Epcot early! Hang around after dark for the fireworks, laser lights and a spectacular music score in Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Linger a while afterward to enjoy the lights, sounds and atmosphere.
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!