In a park that’s 40 square miles, you’re probably pretty overwhelmed with even where to begin to plan for your trip to Disney World. Take a deep breath; I got your back. Here are the best 17 things to do at Disney World by park:
From lions to ostriches, pink flamingos to black swans, we saw them all! This safari offered many more experiences than a typical visit to the zoo. I felt so up close and personal to animals. (But don’t worry — Disney’s lawyers make sure it’s safe, too!) Even though you may be headed to one of the most touristy cities in America, Disney offers different experiences by drawing its guests into different cultures and, well, ecosystems.
I can honestly say this one was worth the hour-long wait, and I can’t say that about a number of others. But with these tips, our wait didn’t seem as long. This ride draws guests into a story about bringing a dinosaur back through time travel. The Dino Ride will rock you around but will leave you feeling exhilarated.
While part of our crew convinced us this was like a slow mine train ride, we quickly found out this was a trick. This fast-paced ride twists, turns, takes you to the top and then heads backwards. We had to ride this one twice because it was just that great. Be ready for the picture!
Wow, this sounds like it could be really dumb, I’d thought. Not having young kids or being one myself, I had low expectations for this show but was actually quite pleased. First off, it’s time off your sore feet. Check! This interactive show included a fire-juggling man, acrobats, lots of music and plenty of dancing. It was basically a musical of The Lion King but only the key songs. Ryan, Taylor and Ally were even called up front to dance and shake maracas for the final number. I wouldn’t consider myself some crazy Disney fanatic, but this show was a nice blast from the past.
Tip: Space Mountain’s line can get pretty long, so consider using a Fast Pass for this one, too. This ride offered a series of drops and spins in the dark. And it gives you a futuristic space-like feel with the dim star-like lights in the dark.
Okay, yes … Disney is super expensive. BUT one good thing is that once you’re in the park, most things are included in the ticket price. And fireworks is one of these. My wait with Riley for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom had a decent of view of the fireworks, making the time more enjoyable. This top attraction isn’t limited to only Magic Kingdom. Part of our crew also hit up the Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular at Hollywood Studios. Not being a Star Wars fan, I was still quite impressed with the show with its movie music and audio clips to accompany the fireworks.
Warning: this seemed to always have a ridiculous line. Riley and I literally sprinted to the ride when we saw only a 30 minute wait on our Disney World app. Unfortunately, we got a tad lost and ended up with a 50 minute wait time. However, the queue line had fun features to pass the time like a Seven Dwarfs version of Candy Crush. Although definitely an enjoyable ride, I don’t think I would’ve waited much longer than we did.
Okay, you just gotta do this one; it’s a classic! And we were quite pleased by the 20 minute wait that moved quickly. But if you’re planning on spinning like a maniac, do your group a favor and give ‘em a warning.
Disclaimer: This is not worth an hour-long wait! Splash Mountain is a good ride to use a Fast Pass. This classic log ride features several hills, Brer rabbit and woodsey decor. Our party was more than ready for the picture on the final huge hill and ended up with a Christmas card pic. Woo hoo!
While Dumbo: The Flying Elephant made my list of top overrated attractions at Disney, the Magic Carpet ride made it in my books for one of the best. Riley and I preferred the view from this classic ride to the view from Dumbo. Other pluses: 5 minute wait, and we went on this one at night. From the ride we could see the castle all lit up. Oh-so very magical!
11. People Mover
We’d hit up most of the rides we’d wanted to and just needed to find some other rides to fill the time till the Electrical Parade. We saw the People Mover had zero wait, so why not?! This 10 minute monorail tour of Tomorrow Land takes you through the park, futuristic decor and even Space Mountain. It was pretty funny hearing screams from Space Mountain and a nice break from being on our feet.
12. World Showcase
Wow. Visiting France in Epcot was easily my favorite part of my trip. Having visited France myself three times, I wasn’t sure how it would measure up. Although it’s obviously not France, I was quite impressed with its presentation. I even had a friend who grew up in France who attested to the fact that the French food was good. Every worker I saw in each country was from that specific country or area. So I ordered and talked to my cashier in French. I’m such a French nerd, but this honestly was the highlight of the trip for me. If you even speak a lick of another language, try it out with them! My cashier even high-fived me for speaking in French.
Also in France I enjoyed watching the Impressions de France, which is advertised in the park map as “experience the grandeur and charm of the French countryside through film.” You literally walk into an ornately decorated theater with red curtains finished with gold tassels, cushioned theater chairs and a 180° screen. Because of this très grande size and high quality film, you feel as if you’re really there. This made me so, so excited to return to France soon!
13. Test Track
We opted for the Single-Rider line for this big-name ride and cut our wait time from 80 minutes (by-stander line) to 40! Although full of jerks, Test Track keeps your heart pumping in anticipation for the next test. The high speeds and change of scenery make this a fan favorite.
14. Spaceship Earth
I’m definitely an adrenaline addict when it comes to ‘coasters. But when in Epcot, you have to be able to say you’ve been in the big “golf ball.” Spaceship Earth is a slow ride that documents man’s evolution of communication. While not the biggest thriller, this ride still piqued my interest with a nice story line, starry scenery and guest interaction. At the end of the ride, each car answers a series of questions where “you’ll have the chance to design the kind of future you want to live in.”
This had to be my favorite ride! The old Hollywood haunted mansion provides an interesting storyline. You enter the “elevator,” and the car exits into the hotel hallway with creepy holograms/ghosts. And BAM! Up and down, up and up, downnnn!! I love roller coasters, but man, this one got me going — but definitely in a good way! Going down I could just feel my hair float above my head and my purse stand in the air. Let’s just say those seat belts are there for a reason.
Considering the fact that I rode this three times, I’d say it makes my list of best attractions… Join Aerosmith as you jump into a “limo” to make their show. This probably was the most “intense” ride I rode due to its fast speed and upside down turns. But don’t let that deter you. (Because I obviously rode it three times!)
I can verify that “spectacular” isn’t an exaggeration. There was plenty of audience interaction, a rolling boulder, fire and punches. We even had fun recalling the “STEVE!!” scene in the Full House episode at Disney World.
Even though I’d been to Disney World as a wee-little 6 year-old, I didn’t remember how ha-UGE it is. Keep these best 17 attractions in mind to make planning a trip to Disney World more manageable and making that trip more time-effective.
You might also be interested in the Top 10 Places to Eat at Disney World.