Everything you’ve ever wanted to know and possibly more!
What MUST I do while I’m there? What should I look out for? Any advice?
Well, considering that this is your first time and you’ll be there for ten days you’ll have plenty of time to hit some of the major attractions. Here’s my list of must do’s:
Magic Kingdom - The parades and the nighttime firework show. These are essential to the Disney magic. Why? Simply because you get to see all the Disney characters on dazzling parade floats while listening to creatively catchy music. I think it is an important start to any trip to catch a parade or two. Especially SpectroMagic (currently showing the Main Street Electrical Parade) - the nighttime parade with sparkling lights. You will be amazed.
Also while visiting the Magic Kingdom park you should try to ride some of the major attractions (eg Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, among others.) You should probably get Fast Passes while you’re at it. It is the most convenient way to get on those rides.
Epcot - This park is full of inspirational and exciting exhibits, fascinating rides, and some of the best cuisine. There are two major parts to Epcot: Future World (where many of the big rides are) and World Showcase (the countries, food, and exhibits). In Future World you should definitely check out Soarin’. It’s a new attraction they’ve added to the Land and if you’ve ever dreamed of flying over California on a hang glider then this is the ride for you. If you’re a thrill seeker you should also ride on Test Track (just listen for the screams and you’ll find it) and Mission: Space. These rides guarantee an adrenaline rush. Next, World Showcase is an absolute beauty. Have you ever wanted to sample different treats from countries around the world? Then World Showcase is the best place to find it. You can walk from China to Italy in minutes, you can taste food from native countries, and you can do it all without your passport. And quite frankly, the shopping here is amazing. At night around the circular lagoon, you will be awed by Illuminations Reflections of Earth. This is the one firework show that Ihave to see more than once on my trip. It features lasers, fire, water works, and a giant globe that unites us as one. Bring tissues because you might be teary eyed.
Hollywood Studios - Thrill rides, movie stars, and Broadway shows can all be found inside this park. Hollywood Studios is notorious for their two big rides: Rockn’ Roller coaster with Aerosmith and the Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror. Both of these rides require fast passes. Get there early because they vanish quickly. You should also try to catch the Beauty and the Beast live on stage show. These are normally packed because of the incredible music and devotion to the classic film. Hungry? Hollywood Studios has a number of incredible restaurants. However, the one that I must always visit is Sci-Fi Dine in Theater. The restaurant is themed around an old-style drive in. There you can sit in a car while enjoying hilarious previews to old thriller movies of the past. Their burgers are phenomenal and worth every calorie. After eating I suggest you ride on the Great Movie Ride. Currently, it is the only dark ride at the park and it is a tribute to Hollywood old and new. The newest attraction is Toy Story Midway Mania. There’s only one thing I can say about this ride: mind blowing. Although, the wait is a killer (FAST PASSES!) it is worth it. It is unlike any other ride I have been on. Finally, the one thing I insist you see is Fantasmic. There are usually two showings each night and the first one is more crowded. It is worth the wait, trust me. You can read more about it here.
Animal Kingdom - This is the beauty of Walt Disney World. Nahtazu! Not only will you find real life animals, you will find ways to better them. On rides like Kilimanjaro Safaris, which is the next best thing to the real deal. You will see animals living and breathing in their native environment. Another ride that you simply must go on is Expedition Everest. The ride is a recent most recent addition to the park which features and incredible life-life Yeti that stalks you as you cruise through Everest. The cuisine from the different countries are really something, too. Africa and Asia provide some delicious and different meals that you should try. And if it’s not food you want then a show you must see is the Festival of the Lion King. There is not another show that I can think of that energizes me as much as this one. You’ll sing, dance, and feel like you really are apart of the circle of life. I haven’t even scratched the surface because Animal Kingdom is always growing and forever changing.
Here’s some Disney Parks tips:
Parades - If you’re late for SpectroMagic (or the Main Street Electrical Parade) and cannot find a spot to view the parade, the one place that is never busy is near the Barber Shop on Mainstreet USA. We almost always get a seat to view the parade right there.
Food - Pineapple Dole Whips from Adventureland are a great way to cool down on a hot day. They are also absolutely delicious.
Downtime - The Town Square Exposition Hall on Mainstreet USA is a wonderful and heavily air conditioned place to relax a little bit during your down time. There are many places to take pictures inside the building, as well as stock up on film for the day.
Food - The Land is not only a great place to relax, they have an amazing food court within. You can find all types of cuisine ranging from home style to Asian. They’ve also got fresh salads and sushi. I especially love coming here because it isn’t very busy most of the time.
Fireworks - Rush to China. I prefer this spot the most for the fireworks and it doesn’t fill up as much as other parts. However, there are a couple tricky trees that always get in the way. They do not ruin the show, but are rather irritating.
Rides - Soarin’ is one of the busiest attractions at this park. But never fear, when Fast Passes run out there is always another option. If you skip Illuminations, run over to Soarin’ and right before closing the wait will be at least 20-30 minutes long. This is in comparison to the 70-90 wait during the day.
Thirsty? - Want a free drink? Everybody does. The best way to get a free drink is at the Cool Club Station in Future World. Here, you can sample Coca Cola products from around the world. You’re limited to a small cup, but you can try as many times as you’d like. It is also a wonderful place to be when it is boiling hot outside.
Shows: Get to the shows at least 20-30 minutes prior to their time. It will be helpful especially if you want a good seat. The Voyage of the Little Mermaid also has Fast Passes. If you’d like to view that show it is the best way to go. No wait or anything.
Fantasmic: This show is always a beast. People line up hours before hand just to get seats. The arena, which seats up to 6,900 guests, is always filled to capacity with people even in the standing area. Whenever we visit we do the Dining Plan. You can eat at either Hollywood and Vine, the Brown Derby, or Mama Melrose. When eating at the any of the selected restaurants you will receive a ticket to reserved seats at Fantasmic. You still have to show up 30 minutes before the show but you go through a back entrance and you have saved seats. Personally, this is the best way to get seats for the show.
Rides: Expedition Everest runs out of fast passes quickly. However, it isn’t as bad at night before closing. The Kali River Rapids is also a great way to cool down. The line is practically dead at night as well. It also adds a certain mystery to the ride.
Shows: Just like all the other shows, arrive a little bit early to get good seats. The Finding Nemo Muscial fills up quickly and so does the Festival of the Lion King. They’re great shows, so be there early.
Parades: Mickey’s Jammin Jungle Parade is a fun and exciting showcase of the exciting life within Animal Kingdom. The colorful floats and recognizable characters make this parade one that can’t be missed. The best spot to see the show is between Asia and Africa. This spot doesn’t fill up as fast as the others and is full of shade.
Extra Magic Hours:
Staying at a Disney Resort? Well, you’re in luck. The Disney Parks feature Extra Magic Hours. On select nights one of the parks stays open extra hours after closing and is exclusive to resort guests only. You can finally hit up all the rides that are usually busy in a small amount of time. Plus, it is less crowded and cooler at night. You’ll never have to slow down.
Some advice: You have the gift of time. 10 days is wonderful to explore the parks. Take advantage of the time you have and enjoy the parks. Don’t feel that you have to rush, just cherish. :)
Disneyland: the do’s and the don’ts.
- Always have your camera ready! You never know when something amazing will happen. Keep it charged, bring batteries, have an extra memory card, too. The basics!
- Keep hydrated. If you plan on going in the summer it ishot, hot, hot! If you don’t get liquid in your system then you will probably have a ton of fun in first aid. Cups of water are free, which is a plus especially considering that it costs some $$$ just for a bottle. Go to Coke Corner on Main Street USA.
- Wear plenty of sunscreen. If you’re anything like me and you burn easily, then pack the sunscreen because you will be outside for the most of the day.
- If you have extra FastPasses that you don’t need, be a pal and give them to somebody else. Trust me, you’ll make their day.
- Wear comfortable shoes! If you’re trying to be fashionable by wearing heels or some awkward boot, you will regret it in the long run. There is a lot of walking involved.
- FastPasses are a must! They will save you time and a headache.
- First Aid could be your best friend. They’ve got free sunscreen, liquids, information, and goodies for whatever you need.
- Buy those special cups that offer free refills. They save you money and are really cute!
- Take in the scenary. There are so many small details in every corner of the park
- Get a pair of Mickey ears and have your name embroidered on them. If you’re going to only get one souvenir from the park then it has to be Mousekears.
- Get the 4 main treats from Disneyland: Churros, Mickey Premium Bars, Corn Dogs, and Dole Whips. You’ll be glad you did.
- Don’t stop in the middle of the path just to find something. You will annoy everyone around you. Distance off into a less crowded area.
- Don’t ruin the fun for anyone else. Seriously, we do not care if you’re having a bad day. People go to the parks to escape reality. Leave your problems at the gate.
- Don’t ask the cast member when the three o’clock parade starts. You will sound silly. Plus, there are time sheets that give you that information.
- Don’t scream in people’s ears on the Haunted Mansion. You will generally get someone mad.
- Don’t get a FastPass for Big Thunder Mountain. The line always moves and changes throughout the day.
- Don’t go on a ride if you have a heart condition. Don’t ever risk it.
- Don’t start arguments with cast members, they are just doing their job.
- Don’t smoke in people’s faces. Some people get sick easily. Go to the designated smoking areas and take care of your business.
- Don’t use flash photography on dark rides. EVER.
What does it take to become a dancer / Disney princess actor in Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or on the Disney Cruise Line?
Well, this typically depends on what they are hiring for. According to the Disney Auditions website there are auditions for different shows, stunts, etc.
- Must be at least 18 and authorized to work in the United States.
- Please provide a current headshot and resume.
- Please be warmed up and ready to begin at the times listed.
- All dancers will learn a ballet combination. Selected dancers will learn advanced jazz and hip hop.
- Please wear form fitting attire to show your silhouette. Character heals are preferred for women during the jazz routine.
- Some dancers step out into principal ballet roles with some females on pointe. Please bring pointe shoes if you have past experience.
- Advanced registration is not required.
To be more specific, Disney Cruise Line is currently looking for “female dancers - 5’5” – 5’8”; versatile, diverse, exciting; jazz trained; some dancers may step out into ensemble vocalist roles, singing ability is a plus.”
Walt Disney World is looking for “female movers- Movers should have some experience with dance. These performers help bring to life shows such as Festival of the Lion King; Disney Channel Rocks!; Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it! and many more! Especially seeking male movers.”
Disneyland isn’t hiring any dancers or characters at the moment.
Any of your other questions can be answered here - Disney Auditions.
Where does Rapunzel do meet and greets?
Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland, Fairytale Garden
Disneyland - Fantasyland, just look for her tower!
Is there a good strategy to go through the Magic Kingdom?
If I were you, I’d head to the 3 mountains first. As silly as that sounds, they are the 3 E-Ticket rides within the parks. Get the FastPasses because they tend to fill up rather quickly. Enjoy the rest of the park at your own pace. I’d say start in Adventureland first (the left) and Tomorrowland last (it’s so much better at night).
What do you think the best place to view Wishes?
A couple years ago my family and I went to the roof of The Contemporary Resort to watch Wishes. It was absolutely incredible. Other places to watch would be from The Grand Floridian’s beach. They’ve got chairs and it seems really quiet in that area. The Polynesian Resort is also a great place to catch Wishes. Definitely book dinner at Ohana and request a table near the window. They play the music throughout the restaurant so that you can enjoy the food and the view.
How much larger is Disney World compared to Disneyland? How long do you think it would take do all of Disney World?
Think of it this way – they call it Walt Disney World for a reason. It’s 47 square miles of vacation paradise. So, you’ll need much more time to go visit everything compared to Disneyland. There’s a total of 4 parks, which means you should take a day for each park. If you have more time then you’re lucky because some parks take longer than others. And if you have some down time be sure to check out the two water parks – Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. If you need to do some shopping then hit up Downtown Disney. Typically six days will do, but that’s if you rush.
Any general tips for people going to WDW during the Christmas holidays?
Bring a camera! Seriously, everything there is absolutely breathtaking- from the castle to the hotel lobbies, you’ll be floored by how beautiful it all is.
Anyway, the festivities start way before Christmas, it actually starts in November. Arrive early so that you can do all the activities. One event that you definitely have to go to is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but be warned that you do need to buy tickets to this event. However, it is worth it. The queue for rides goes down, there are many characters that walk about, and the nighttime parade is in full swing. If you head over to Epcot, they have the Candlelight Processional, which is stunning. There’s an incredible choir and guest narrator. You never know if it’s somebody famous! Get in line 60-90 minutes prior to the show. The first showing fills up quickly, so be patient. Also, at Hollywood Studios there’s the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. It’s a must see show that happens every fifteen minutes on the Streets of America. I highly recommend seeing it because the lights fabulous and well put together. That’s all I can really think of. Have a great time!
I was wondering if there are any cute things couples can do?
There are so many things to do with a loved one at the parks and resorts. If you’re hoping for a romantic dinner then book the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill, which is a great spot to catch the fireworks, too. In the parks, you can typically just hold hands and take things slow. Enjoy each other’s company as well as the atmosphere. One ride that I think would be really romantic is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority at sunset. The park is slowing down, lines are dropping, and the view of the castle is magnificent. Another great thing is to just watch the fireworks! Set up a spot on the Grand Floridian beach with chairs because it’s quiet and romantic by the lake.
How do you get to eat in the restaurant in Pirates of the Caribbean? And is there a hidden mickey in the tea cup ride?
1. The restaurant is called the Blue Bayou and is located in New Orleans Square. You could either walk in or make a reservation. I’d prefer to have a reservation. You can book a meal at guest services (city hall) or call over the phone.
2. Yes, there is a hidden Mickey on one of the lanterns.
Do you have any tips or guides on how to conquer all (or most) of the Disney World parks in ONE day?
Hmm, Go to the E-Ticket rides first and get FastPasses. You can avoid long lines that way and you can spend more time hitting up the rides. Go as early as possible, too. When the parks opens at first, it is almost empty in some parts, so go to Fantasyland. I’m not sure what else works. Just go with the flow. Eat light.
Is the eletrical parade still on at Disneyland?
Nope, its in Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom
When’s the best time of year to go?
Where are the best places to eat in Walt Disney World?
Magic Kingdom – The Crystal Palace where you can eat with Winnie the Pooh and friends.
Epcot – Pretty much anywhere in World Showcase. I love Japan though because they cook in front of you.
Hollywood Studios – Sci-Fi Dine in Theater has the best burgers and the atmosphere is fun! If you want the Fantasmic dinner plan then go to Hollywood and Vine. They’ve got a fantastic buffet with steak and other delicious desserts, veggies, and pastas.
Animal Kingdom – Yak and Yeti where you can eat Indian and Asian food. Basically, everything is exotic from their rice, tempora, and even duck.
The Grand Floridian – 1900 Park Faire. Enjoy a vast buffet and dine with Cinderella. Seriously, if you want to meet her and don’t want to stand in line then this is the place. The food is great, too!
The Contemporary Resort – Chef Mickey’s. You can eat all sorts of goodies here for breakfast and dinner. The best part is meeting Mickey and the gang over waffles and bacon for breakfast or steak and potatoes for dinner.
Animal Kingdom Lodge – Boma. If you want to try something different, then Boma is where it’s at. They got such incredible buffet of soups, meat, and pasta. Whatever you choose, you’ll be glad you did.
How much would you recommend saving for the trip?
Save plenty. If you want to eat at the best restaurants, get all the latest souvenirs, and stay at a wonderful hotel - save, save, save. There are ways to stay cheap though. You can eat at quick services, stay at a value resort, and avoid Downtown Disney.
Which hotel would be the best, yet cheapest to stay in?
Like I said before the Value Resorts are a great way to stay on property and still enjoy the parks. They feature bus services and themed rooms. If you want to learn more about them then check out the main site. You could also stay at any of the Friendly Neighbor resorts, such as the Hilton.
Where are the best places to eat in Disneyland?
I’ll be honest with you – If I’ve got a corn dog from Disneyland then I’m happy. But I’ll tell you what, I also love the Carnation Café on Main Street USA. Their food is delicious is cheap compared to the other restaurants. Another great place to eat is the Blue Bayou where you can watch the Pirates of the Caribbean boats float by. The theme of the restaurant is killer and the food is delicious. The prices aren’t too bad either.
Which deluxe resort hotel would you recommend staying at?
Deluxe resorts are pricey, but definitely worth it, and my favorite way to stay at Walt Disney World. My favorite of all the resorts is the Contemporary Resort, which was recently refurbished. The rooms are decorated nicely and the view of the Magic Kingdom is breathtaking depending where your room is. You get the view of the fireworks. Nothing beats that. Basically, any resort on Bay Lake/Seven Seas Lagoon is worth it. You have the monorail, the view of the Magic Kingdom, and that’s all you need.
If you have any questions, tips, or advice – leave it in my ask box. Thanks!