As Disney Fanatics, my family and I have several activities that we do on every Disney trip. It’s not as if we have to do the same things on each of our Disney trips. It’s just that there are those favorite attractions, dining choices, and shopping experiences that have become a very special part of every Disney visit. Here are nine of our favorites.
1. Perfect Photo “Op” – One of the most popular “photo ops” at Walt Disney World is at the Magic Kingdom just before you enter the Park. With the WDW Railroad Station in the background and the
elaborate, colorful floral image of Mickey Mouse’s face in the foreground, this makes for an excellent Disney photo keepsake. At any given time of the day, you will see couples, groups, and families in that perfect pose in front of this popular scene. Also, the image of Mickey and the surrounding floral designs change with the seasons and special events or anniversaries, and your pictures will reflect those changes.
2. Favorite Snack – Another ritual we participate in is the “gobbling of the famous WDW turkey legs”. These succulent, humongous, smoked hunks of meat are the perfect early afternoon snack. By themselves, they would be considered a full lunch, but when shared, they become the perfect snack.
These turkey legs are smoked to perfection; crispy on the outside with a delicious moist smoky flavor on the inside. You can purchase these popular meat treats at the “Turkey Leg Cart” located in Frontierland, Magic Kingdom. The photo “op” here is also exceptional; it’s hard not to smile or laugh at a picture of a person chomping down on one of these supersized turkey legs. Check out “Our 10 Favorite Snacks at Walt Disney World – Theme Park Edition.”
3. “Walt Disney – One Man’s Dream – From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdom” – A Disney trip would not be complete without a visit to this outstanding historical trip through the life and legend of
Walt Disney. Located at Hollywood Studios, this informative exhibit includes such items as Walt’s 2nd grade school desk, the original Audio-Animatronics Abraham LIncoln figure from the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Mary Poppins costume, and so much more. This tribute to Walt Disney, one of the greatest creative visionaries of all time, is filled with hundreds of artifacts depicting the achievements of this ingenious individual. It seems each time we visit, something new has been added to the exhibit.
4. Tom Sawyer’s Island – This unusual island, accessed by motorized log rafts, is a place where adults can “let their hair down” and become a kid again. Here on this special island, Mark Twain’s stories of two mischievous young boys who share many adventures along the mighty Mississippi River. Their tomfoolery is recreated in the form of dusty dirt roads, creaky suspension bridges, floating barrel bridges, secret caves with narrow passageways, and even the replica of an old Western fort. Children and adults alike can romp around this fun-filled island for as long as they want. There are several areas where you get an excellent view of the Liberty Belle Riverboat as it makes its way around the island on the Rivers of America. Tom Sawyer’s Island is also a great place to retreat to when it gets overly crowded.
5. Favorite Dining – As Disney Insiders, we have sampled many dining venues, and I am highlighting our favorite quick service restaurant, Columbia Harbour House. This nautical themed restaurant offers a variety of scrumptious menu choices including chicken or fish nuggets, a fried shrimp plate, battered fish platter, New England clam chowder, tuna sandwich, fries, salads, etc. The seafaring atmosphere with fishing nets, a large harpoon, nautical maps, fishing vessel photos on the walls, and in one area a large wooden steering column. The dining area is very large, complete with upstairs dining. If you’re lucky enough to get by a window, you have a great view of the Rivers of America, or on the other side a great view of the Haunted Mansion. We are creatures of habit, and this is one delicious habit we are not willing to give up.
6. Main Street Electrical Parade – Another must for many Disney insiders is experiencing the Main Street Electrical Parade. There are not adequate words to describe this nighttime spectacle of glowing, spinning, gliding floats carrying familiar Disney characters in scenes from Disney classic films. Millions of twinkling lights, characters, and the most innovative electronic musical arrangements make this very popular parade a “must see”, and for most of us it is an “every visit” event. Hundreds of visitors line up several hours ahead of time to get that perfect spot for viewing this magnificent parade. As each float passes by, the crowd comes alive with clapping, dancing, and the interaction between the crowd and the parade performers is phenomenal. You have to see it to believe it!
7. Rides and Attractions – We usually make a list of those rides and attractions that are on our “bucket list” each time we visit Disney World. For instance, some of our favorites are Space Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Expedition Everest, Tower of Terror, Toy Mania, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, just to name a few. As Disney insiders, we know what we like, and we make sure reservations are made for our favorites.
8. Sweet Treats – How can you possibly visit Walt Disney World and not get a taste of something incredibly, tantalizingly, sweet? Answer: “You can’t!” May I suggest one of our favorite treats, an ice cream sundae from the “Plaza Ice Cream Parlor”. Here are some of their luscious offerings: ice cream floats, single and double dip ice cream cones, and ice cream sandwiches. Let me describe my favorite, the All American Sundae–chocolate and vanilla ice cream with hot fudge, warm peanut butter drizzle, whipped cream, and a cherry on top–so scrumptious! The other sundaes are also very yummy!
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9. Shopping – A trip to Walt Disney World always includes shopping. You can’t visit this most magical place on earth and not bring back wonderful gifts and souvenirs for family and friends, and a few for yourself also. One of our favorite shopping places is the Emporium on Main Street. This store is designed to resemble the old-fashioned stores operating at the turn of the century. All the light fixtures, furniture, and shelves have the look of that period of time. Even the cast members wear period clothing.
Actually there are several shops connected by open doorways, and you can visit each shop without ever going outside. The Main Street Emporium is the largest gift and souvenir store in the Magic Kingdom. Just name it, and they’ll have it here: Disney themed t-shirts, caps, dinnerware, apparel, toys, a large selection of trading pins, toys, plush, and so much more. Located near the entrance of the Magic Kingdom, this is the store many visitors shop at on their way out of the Park. After the final “Wishes” show, this store can be quite a challenge; you will find yourself shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of last minute shoppers. The cast members who work here, however, are well trained in dealing with crowds and are extremely patient and will keep the lines moving. It’s the perfect way to end your day at the Magic Kingdom.
After you have become a Disney Fanatic/insider, you too will discover those activities that will become regular “every Disney trip” things to do. Everyone has their favorite attraction, dining venue, special events, etc. that they don’t want to miss on each trip to Walt Disney World, but some rides and attractions
are a must for every trip.
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Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper