With so many things to do at Disney World, it can be difficult to find the time to see everything especially if you are a first time visitor or on a tight schedule.
We asked those in the know which attractions are not to be missed:
“If you could list three unmissable things to see at Disney World what would they be?”
These Disney bloggers have some excellent advice on what to see and do at Disney, from classic attractions to some that may well just surprise you! We’ve listed all of them below:
1) Michelle, The Purple Pumpkin Blog.
A visit to Walt Disney World is often a trip of a lifetime! With so much to see and do in one trip it can be overwhelming, so here are three unmissable things to see and do at Walt Disney World.
1. Cinderella Castle – Okay, this is an obvious one since it sits at the end of Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom, so it’s not like you are going to miss it! Make sure you have a photo taken in front of the Castle – there are always several Disney Photographers that will do this for you. And if you can’t find one, it’s easy to take a selfie with Cinderella Castle as the backdrop. Try not to miss the daily show – Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire – which is performed several times on the Castle stage. Did you know you can dine inside the Castle? Cinderella’s Royal Table is located inside, and you can meet not only Cinders herself, but other Disney Princesses too. This restaurant is very popular, so it is vital that you book an Advance Dining Reservation at 180 days out. And you simply cannot miss the fireworks – Happily Ever After – not only do you have the fireworks blasting off behind and around the Castle, but there is also a light show projected onto the front walls. Not to be missed!
2. Ride one of the Mountains – It could be Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, or Big Thunder Mountain – you could do all three, but make sure you do at least one! My personal favourite is Splash Mountain – with a five-story drop, it lives up to its name!
3. Eat around the World – A lot of people strike off Epcot and Epcot World Showcase as boring (and maybe for young kids it is), but I think of World Showcase as a theme park for adults! With 11 different countries represented, there are plenty of opportunities to sample different foods and drinks from around the World. If you can visit during September to November, then you will be treated to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival which is a great event to visit.
2) Mike Belobradic, Luxury Disney Travel Blogger.
Since most visitors will generally see all of the obvious Walt Disney World icons on their own, I’ll go beyond the obvious with my answers.
1. Hoop Dee Doo Revue – This rollicking dinner show at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort is a classic Disney experience and one of the longest-running shows at Walt Disney World. It’s an authentic original, featuring good food and a great show that’s not to be missed. Great for all ages. A true hidden gem.
2. The view from Disney’s Aerophile hot air balloon – Take a ride 400 feet in the air and soar over Disney Springs in Disney’s very own hot air balloon ride. The view is breathtaking and is equally magical on a clear day or night – definitely something to see on your Disney vacation.
3. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – The Crown Jewel of all Walt Disney World Resort hotels is a destination worth seeing all on its own. Book a meal here, browse the shops and stroll the grounds of this upscale property to really appreciate the best-of-the-best of Disney resort hotels. Who knows, you may just end up staying here on your next Disney vacation.
3) Kimberly Stroh, The Savvy Mama Lifestyle
There is so much to see at Walt Disney World, but my top three are personal favorites as well.
1. Happily Ever After Fireworks Show – A trip to Disney World isn’t complete without evening fireworks, so don’t miss Happily Ever After Fireworks Show at the Magic Kingdom.
2. Flight of Passage at the Animal Kingdom truly showcases Disney’s newest ride technology – it’s awesome.
3. Haircut on Main Street – a lesser-known activity is getting your haircut at the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street. They even offer a special first haircut package that’s one of the best deals on property.
4) Arielle Tuan, The Little Dismaid
There are a lot of experiences at Disney World that are considered “Must-Do’s,” especially for first time guests. Lately, Disney has created some amazing new shows, attractions, and lands, which has grown my personal “can’t miss” list by a lot. As of now, here are 3 things at Disney World you simply can’t miss:
1. Happily Ever After – These nightly fireworks show replaced Wishes at the Magic Kingdom a little over a year ago, and while I loved Wishes, Happily Ever After is an amazing spectacle. It is worth waiting at least an hour to get a good spot in front of the castle. With crystal-clear projections, creative fireworks, heart-tugging music, lasers, and fire effects, it truly is one of the best firework shows in any of the Disney Parks.
2. Avatar: Flight of Passage – In my opinion, this is hands-down the best attraction at Disney World. It is a flight simulator that completely immerses you into the world of Avatar, and which has a very unique ride system. Combined with amazing technology, the sweeping musical score from the film, and sweet smells of jasmine, this ride is a definite “must-do,” despite the long wait times.
3. Meeting Mickey – This may seem like an obvious answer, but no trip to Disney is complete without meeting the main mouse. I go to the parks so often and don’t usually stop to visit Mickey, but I would still count it as a “can’t miss” option at Disney World. Especially if you have kids, or are coming to the parks for the first time, you have to get a hug from Mickey. It will make the heat and the crowds worth it.
5) Meg, Megforit
This is one of the hardest questions because there is so much to do inside of Walt Disney World. There are 4 parks, tons of resorts, a huge outdoor mall, water parks, etc. But I have narrowed it down to my top 3 things to experience in Disney World.
1. Magic Kingdom – “Happily Ever After” Fireworks Shot – At the end of the day, the Magic Kingdom park puts on the most stunning show! This show is so much more than a few fireworks set to a soundtrack. It is going to be the highlight of your visit to Disney World. Complete with lasers, lights, projections, and the newest state of the art fireworks – I guarantee you haven’t seen anything like this before. Aside from the sheer innovations, it will touch you emotionally and tug at your heartstrings.
This opening narration will give you goosebumps as it’s delivered. As the music plays the castle projections begin. You won’t believe your eyes at how REAL and VIVID these images are. The Disney Cinderella castle transforms into a new royal look that makes the whole crowd gasp. You can’t understand how something is that colorful and realistic. The music builds and builds upon itself until…the beat drops and the fireworks rise!
I urge you all to stay for Disney’ “Happily Ever After” show when you visit the Magic Kingdom Park. This is an attraction that stands on its own and completely worth it.
I can’t let you leave without mentioning that there are so many new things coming to Walt Disney World. There is Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land! There are many little-hidden treasures for your to discover inside and outside the theme parks on Walt Disney World Resort property. My advice would is to be open to discover the small stuff. Slow down and relish in the simple fact that you are in Disney. Someone else’s baby might be screaming. It might be 100 degrees F. The humidity might be styling your hair. Your own kids might be testing the tantrum limits. TAKE IT ALL IN STRIDE. Take a deep breath. Let it go, as Elsa says! Enjoy the time with your loved ones – that’s the most important piece of a Disney trip. Remember this quote from the great Walt Disney himself…
2. Animal Kingdom – Pandora – A new world is waiting to be explored inside Animal Kingdom and it is themed after the Avatar movies. It’s one of the most beautiful man-made places I’ve ever seen. You first walk down a long walkway to get to Disney’s Pandora, the Na’vi’s (blue people) homeland. You can only see the impressive floating mountains from the outside. As you enter this 12-acre new addition you quickly feel transported. You left Animal Kingdom and Mickey Mouse behind. It is a park on its own. The details are what makes the place incredible. There is not one inch of this place that wasn’t meticulously thought out and decorated. (But that’s the Disney touch, isn’t it?)
There are two rides, a restaurant, and a bar. The best part of Pandora is the ride: Avatar Flight of Passage. It is by far the best ride in all of Disney World. (This also means it has the longest wait times. Up to 4 hours at peak season!). Be sure to grab a Disney “FastPass” for this ride as early as 30 days in advance on the MyDisney Experience app.
Come to this land and you’ll feel transported to another planet. But the coolest thing happens when the sun goes down. This whole Pandora world illuminates in bioluminescent glory! It’s something that needs to be seen to be believed, so don’t skip Pandora world in Animal Kingdom.
3. EPCOT – World Showcase – There are 4 theme parks and EPCOT is one of them. EPCOT stands for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”. Walt Disney himself had the vision of this being a futuristic and innovative park. He also had the vision of countries living side by side in unity. And that brings us to the back side (and my favorite side) of the EPCOT park, The World Showcase. The World Showcase area features 11 countries. They were originally sponsored by the countries themselves as a move towards diplomacy.
The cast members in each country are originally from those countries and speak the languages. It makes your “trip around the world” much more authentic. Each country area has architecture, clothes, food, rides, shops, and music that is quintessential to that region. You can visit, Morocco, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany, China, Norway, America! International Travel without your passport!
6) Kimberly Tate, Stuffed Suitcase
My family is all about the rides when we go to WDW. It’s hard to keep our list to just three so in between running to these three rides we’d definitely have to meet Mickey Mouse and grab a Dole Whip and Mickey Head Ice Cream to stay powered up!
1. Test Track – First up, we wouldn’t dream of going to Disney World without experiencing Test Track. It’s probably our favorite ride in the whole park.
2. Hollywood Tower of Terror – even though I’d have to sit that one out.
3. Soarin’ over the World – Our last much catch ride would have to be Soarin’ over the World.
Kimberly has some more Disney tips that maybe helpful to anyone looking to visit soon.
7) Krista Joy, Disneyways
1. Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot (Epcot) – The feeling of flight is brought to life in a way only Disney could do it! Board (to me what feels like a giant porch swing!) and enjoy a180-degree, 80-foot IMAX projection dome with stunning panoramas as you are “swept” from one beautiful place in the world to the next! You are raised 40 feet in the air, you feel the gentle breeze in your face and smell beautiful smells. It may seem crazy but I tell my friends this attraction is life changing, definitely unmissable!
2. Pirates of the Caribbean (Magic Kingdom) – Pirates of the Caribbean is considered to be one of the most spectacular attractions ever created for a theme park. For this one 9 minute attraction, you will board a small boat for big adventure on the water! It all starts with going down a small waterfall in complete darkness! From there you sail through Pirates Grotto, The Fort, Burning City, The Dungeon and sing along with pirates and privateers! It is unmissable Disney magic at it’s best.
3. Test Track (Epcot) is where you’ll put a virtual vehicle (that you created!) to the test! Your heart “races” with excitement as you buckle up in a 6-passenger “simulation car”. Fly through straight-aways, hug curves banked at 50-degree angles, maneuver switchbacks through inclement weather, and scale hills that are up to 3-stories high! At almost a mile long, with a peak speed of 65 mph, Test Track Presented by Chevrolet is a thrilling ride that you’ll find unmissable.
1. Fantasmic – The go-to night time specular is Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom. While it is a fantastic show, it’s easy to forget about our favourite night time show at Hollywood Studios, and that’s Fantasmic! Before Happily Ever After debuted, Fantasmic was the only nighttime show that took you through the movies and characters in a spectacular way. We think it still has one of the best finales of any Disney show.
2. Tusker House – If we could only eat at one restaurant at Walt Disney World it would be Tusker House. Tusker House is everything you want in a Disney restaurant. All the best characters coming right to your table, fantastic buffet food, great service and the ability to get great seating for the Rivers Of Light show. Tusker House is also one of the very few restaurants where the breakfast offerings is as a good the dinner offerings.
3. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party – Although the Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom is seasonal, we plan our trips to make sure we are there for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. It is truly the best hard-ticketed event at Walt Disney World. The atmosphere is completely different than Magic Kingdom during the day, and we have an absolute blast every time we go. The only time you get to dress up in the parks and the candy is amazing!
9) Bert Anderson, First Time Mom
Hands down, the top three must-sees at Disney World are, in order of most important:
1. Toy Story Land – It’s BRAND NEW! Even Disney’s older attractions are in pristine condition so an absolutely brand new park for young and old to visit needs to be at the top of your list.
2. Happily Ever After Fireworks – Arrive early so you can get a good seat although there is no such thing as a bad seat when it comes to Disney fireworks.
3. Pandora’s Avatar Flight of Passage – This is a 3D ride that discovers the world of Pandora. It’s great for young and old visitors! Plus it’s not too thrill seeking so if you can’t do adrenaline pumping rides this is right up your alley.
10) Monet Massa-Sena, Theme Park Princess
1) Happily Ever After Presented by PANDORA® Jewelry – Magic Kingdom Park – If you can only catch one nighttime show during your trip to the Walt Disney World® Resort, Happily Ever After is the show you need to see. This 18-minute show in Magic Kingdom Park features scenes from some of your favorite Disney films, including Toy Story, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Up, and Frozen. With lasers, projections, pyrotechnics, and fireworks, this is a show that will delight and inspire the entire family.
2) Pandora – The Land of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Celebrate the magic of nature as you fly on the back of a banshee, float along a river into a bioluminescent rainforest, and explore the Valley of Mo’ara when you journey 4 million lightyears to Pandora, located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
3) Toy Story Land—Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Shrink down to the size of a toy this summer as you enter Toy Story Land, the newest area in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Race through the land on Slinky Dog Dash, avoid getting chosen by the claw on the Alien Swirling Saucers, and challenge your family to see who can get the highest score on Toy Story Mania!
11) Katrina Belle, Katrina Belle Beauty
1) The fireworks show at Magic Kingdom is so beautiful and moving. I watch my recordings of it over and over! They’ve really stepped up their game since I was a kid and now it includes a medley of Disney songs accompanied by a light show that projects onto Cinderella’s castle. Tinkerbell makes her appearance near the end of the show and flies across the front of the park.
2) The Food and Wine festival at Epcot. There are specialty dishes from different countries all around the world, spaced out around the World Showcase in the back half of the park. Last year my favorites were the mead, which I had never seen before, and rustic scallops, as it is unique to pair seafood with heartier, earthier flavors. They also have added local food stations featuring dishes from Florida, featuring foods such as seafood and citrus. A new feature that they have also added are flights of wine or cider, so you can taste more of what they have to offer instead of having to order a full-size drink.
3) The new night hours at Animal Kingdom. When I was a kid the park would sadly close at sunset. Now they have a beautiful light show and the entire Pandora section lights up at night. It really is a wondrous “wow” moment walking through Pandora after dark. The line for the Avatar rides on Pandora are usually very long but worth the wait, especially the Flight of the Banshee simulation ride.
12) Susan, 5 Minutes for Mom
1. Toy Story Land is now open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the new coaster Slinky Dog Dash is a must ride attraction. Hop aboard this family-friendly coaster and take a ride on your own slinky dog.
2. Pandora – The World of Avatar – In Animal Kingdom, fans of Pandora will not want to miss a visit to Pandora – The World of Avatar and the opportunity to soar through a 3D adventure on the back of a mountain banshee on Avatar Flight of Passage.
3. Magic Kingdom is a must when visiting Walt Disney World, nothing beats seeing Cinderella’s castle at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. Arrange to have a meal inside the caste at Cinderella’s Royal Table, it is a special treat fit for any princess.
13) Dawn Monroe, Hustle Mom Repeat
Three things I would never miss seeing at Disney World:
1. Festival Of The Lion King.
2. Mickey Mouse.
3. Watching the fireworks over the castle from Main Street, then staying after the park closes to hear the kiss goodnight!
14) Josh Bender, Travel with Bender
1. I can’t go past Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Space Mountain is a classic. Even though I’m pretty tall (6’9”, 205cm) I managed to squeeze into one of those teeny tiny carts and get zipped around in the dark for an exhilarating 60 seconds.
2. Splash Mountain is also a must, but ensure you bring along a poncho to stay dry… unless you actually want to get wet!
3. The Jungle Cruise in Adventureland is surprisingly fun, as my guide had everyone laughing thanks to his non-stop jokes for the entire ride.
With such a great collection of advice from some of the best Disney Experts around we hope that this gives you a taste of the best things to see and do at Disney.
If you could list three unmissable things to see at Disney World what would they be?
Let us know by leaving a comment below right now!