Disney World is a conglomeration of rides, shows, food, shops, characters, and more. You can easily find something to do to keep you busy for every moment of your vacation. Every experience at Disney is different and everyone has an opinion on what are the must-do things while at Disney World. The following are our top 15 non-negotiable things you have to do at Disney!
15. Arrive at Magic Kingdom at rope drop – there is something magical in being one of the first guests to walk through the gates in the morning. At Magic Kingdom, you can view the Welcome Show before heading in and you can also experience a few popular rides before the lines get too out of control later in the morning!
14. Stay on-site – unless you live very close to Disney World, staying on-site is a great way to make your vacation feel even more magical. You won’t have to worry about fighting crowds in the parking lot each morning in the parks and you get special access to Extra Magic Hours which lets you into the parks early or allow you to stay late at night.
13. Enjoy a character buffet – all four of the parks (and many of the resorts) offer wonderful character buffets. Character buffets afford two great opportunities. First, you get some amazing food (and you can enjoy as much as you’d like)! Second, you get the ability to meet some of your favorite characters in a less frenzied atmosphere – characters will make it to everyone’s table and you will be allowed to take photos with them, so there is no need to rush over to another family’s table when you see your favorite!
12. Utilize Disney transportation – Disney has a bevy of transportation options to shuttle you around Disney World. The Monorail is the classic option to get you from Magic Kingdom to Epcot. If you want to head to Hollywood Studios from Epcot, you can always catch a boat from International Gateway to the front of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. All of these options are very enjoyable and add to your vacation by allowing you to truly relax.
11. Take in a special event – there are myriad special events at Disney World. Between a variety of running events throughout the year, Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, Epcot’s Garden Festival, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and Candlelight Processional, there are many special ways to make your trip to Disney just a little bit more magical.
10. Enjoy a classic attraction in Fantasyland – when you mention Disney World to people, they invariably think of Magic Kingdom and the classic attractions that comprise Fantasyland. These attractions are designed for everyone’s enjoyment. Some of these attractions can be very popular, so make sure to get a FastPass or head there first thing!
9. Experience One Man’s Dream – located at the entrance to Pixar Place in Hollywood Studios, this self-guided tour gives you access to Disney history from Walt’s trip to California and the creation of Disney Studios, the creation of Disneyland, and his original vision for Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The attraction has something to offer for anyone to enjoy!
8. Get a Mickey pretzel – Mickey pretzels are a delicious snack to enjoy on the go in the parks. No trip to Disney is complete without one! You can spice things up a little bit and try a jalapeño and cheese pretzel – an interesting twist on the original!
7. Watch one of the fireworks shows – be it Wishes at Magic Kingdom or IllumiNations at Epcot, be sure to watch one of these fantastic shows. Both offer amazing fireworks set to music. I am partial to the fireworks in Magic Kingdom. Even though it is more crowded, the experience is much more whimsical and awe-inspiring as Disney utilizes Cinderella’s Castle as a backdrop for the nightly fireworks.
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6. Meet Mickey Mouse – one of Walt Disney’s most repeated quotes is that people should “never forget that it all started with a mouse.” Disney offers a variety of ways to meet Mickey Mouse – you can meet him at Town Hall in Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom, dining with him at Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios or at Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary Resort. You’re also able to dine with him at Garden Grill in Epcot or at Tusker House in Animal Kindom. Even adults will get excited meeting with the mouse that started it all!
5. Get some Disney souvenirs – you’ll want to remember your time in Disney World in some way and Disney has many different ways for you to do so. You can get a t-shirt, a photo from one of the wandering photographers or one of the attractions, a stuffed animal, a Disney pin, or something else! Any of these are phenomenal ways to remember your vacation.
4. Take in an attraction – when thinking of a theme park, people often get focused on the rides. It is easily to pass by some very enjoyable attractions. Magic Kingdom offers Country Bear Jamboree, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and Hall of Presidents to name a few. Epcot has some wonderful films celebrating the countries of World Showcase. Animal Kingdom recently re-opened the Festival of the Lion King, in addition to Finding Nemo and Flights of Wonder. Every attraction on this list is enjoyable and definitely worth your time!
3. Go on a Hidden Mickey hunt – when Epcot was being built, Imagineers left behind their autographs by hiding Mickey heads in the scenery. The pastime has become so popular that there a variety of guidebooks dedicated to the subject. Depending on your level of dedication, you can try and seek them out during attractions or you can make it an intense scavenger hunt!
2. Enjoy the hidden details – Disney does a wonderful job of theming the parks. Guests can easily become fixated on a showcase attraction like Splash Mountain and in their rush to get to the attraction, the can miss the wonderful details in Frontierland and in the queue itself.
1. Stay at Epcot or Magic Kingdom until closing time – the crowds tend to clear out after the fireworks at both parks. Wandering Epcot after the fireworks allows you to explore the countries of World Showcase and the details hidden inside. Magic Kingdom offers a wonderful surprise for those who can make it another 30 minutes after closing. Both experiences are definitely worth it!
Disney has so much to offer it is easy to craft your own experience at the parks. With the recent addition of MyDisneyExperience app and the overhaul of the FastPass+ program, it is even easier to schedule and view your trip at Disney World. Even with all of those choices, there are certain things that you must do on your trip to Disney. Which do you think is your number one must do?