Walt Disney World

Orlando, Florida

I've only actually been to Walt Disney World four times in my life. Once when I was six years old then three times in the last five years. It's a wonderful, magical place and VERY different to Disneyland Paris. Here's some of my favourite things and tips and tricks for WDW! 
I've only ever been to Walt Disney World in the summer months and it is HOT. Like way way hot. This summer we went in mid august and the heat was insane, but the lines on the other hand were not. I think if you can go at a relatively off-peak time its definitely easier to get around. It was also the beginning of the Halloween season while we were there which was very cool and it was amazing to see the park decoraated for the season.

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The Parks

The Big Four

Magic Kingdom

Without doubt the most iconic of all Disney Parks, the magic kingdom is full of whimsy and wonder and sparks your imagination at every turn. My absolute favourite thing is strolling down Main Street USA and taking photos at the castle. 

Here's my top four attractions for Magic Kingdom:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, New Fantasyland. A high speed ride throught the workplace of the Dwarfs So much fun, but make sure and get your Fastpass 'cause the line can be loooooooong.

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Frontierland. Another escaped mine cart racing through the mountains of the old west. This ride is actually well worth the wait as it's one of the longest rides in the whole of WDW. 

  • Peter Pan's Flight, Fantasyland. This is my all time favourite ride, I suppose because Peter Pan is my all time favourite character, film, book... the list goes on. Sailing over the story of Peter Pan in a flying pirate ship is pretty magical if you ask me.

  • Haunted Mansion, Liberty Square. This last trip to WDW I really fell in love with the Haunted Mansion. i just love everything about it. It's not too scary but  has a fab storyline and amazing special effects. 

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EPCOT

EPCOT is huge. Like you could easily get there for park opening and not leave til close and still not get everything done. 

For me the best parts of EPCOT are the character meet and greets and the World Showcase. It's also a GREAT place to eat.

Here's my top four attractions at EPCOT:

  • Meet Joy and Sadness at The Character Spot. This might have been the best character meet I've ever experienced. Sadness is another one of my faves so it was the best to meet her. 

  • Meet Baymax at The Character Spot. Another awesome meet and greet, Baymax's personality really came through and he was super funny. 

  • The Frozen ride, Norway Pavillion. I'm not the biggest Frozen fan, I truly felt the hype was never going to end, but this ride is surprisingly enjoyable. Like really fun. But definitely worth getting Fastpass.

  • Soarin', The Land Pavillion. A sensory experience paragliding over the world. truly feels like flying, amazing.

Hollywood Studios

Where to begin with this park? There was so much new stuff in this park since the last time we visited. The new Toy Story Land is absolutely insane. I love the theming and how the characters just wander around. The two new rides are so much fun and I love how they have incorporated Toy Story Mania into this new section. We weren't there for the opening of Galaxy's Edge but it looks so cool from the higher rides. We were really sad that the Great Movie ride is now closed down but they're renovating it into a Minnie and Mickey ride. I did feel with Hollywood studios that it was still very much under construction and a lot of it felt closed or temporary, but at the same time I love the Hollywood vibe throughout the park, especially in the area near Tower of Terror. 

My top four attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios are:

  • Rock'n'rollercoaster starring Aerosmith. One of my all time favourite rides in any of the parks. A super fast roller-coaster in the dark surrounded by the absolute tunes of Aerosmith!

  • Toy Story Mania. A carnival inspired ride where you ride through an arcade shooting at targets and racking up points.

  • Star Tours. This is also one of my favourite rides in any park. It's an unbelievable simulator ride through space, piloted by the one and only C3-PO. 

  • Character Meet and Greets. Hollywood studios is a great park for meeting characters. We got to meet Olaf, Mike and Sulley, Chewbacca and Kylo Ren!! 

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Animal Kingdom

The Animal Kingdom is pretty cool. There's a real safari and a conservation project to help the animals flourish. I'm not a big fan of Avatar but the Avatar world Pandora is really beautiful. Some of the best attractions for me are:

  • Expedition Everest. A super fast trip through the Himalayas and and encounter with the Abominable snowman!

  • Avatar: Flight Of Passage. This is a totally immersive experience where you ride on the back of a Banshee and fly over Pandora. A truly amazing experience.

  • Kilimanjaro Safari. An actual safari ride through the plains of Africa visiting all the animals and learning about their lives there. 

  • Meet Russell and Dug. We had such a cute moment meeting Russell and Dug at Animal Kingdom, Russell was just hilarious. 

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Tickets

Where and how to buy you Walt Disney World Tickets.

There are a few different ways to get your tickets for Walt Disney World. The newest craze is the magic band. If you are staying in a Walt Disney World Resort you'll automatically get your tickets on one of these bad boys.
If your not staying on site The best place to get your tickets is Attraction Tickets, they are always the cheapest and will always throw in some extra perks.

Where to stay

There are SO MANY options when it comes to where to stay at Walt Disney World and a lot depends on your budget. 

  • If you stay onsite at a Disney Resort you will usually get a meal plan included which is actually so so worth it. We forget how late the parks stay open and if you want to eat in the parks you're going to pay a pretty penny. There are many different tiers of resort at WDW, we've stayed at Disney's Old Key West resort and we've viewed the Saratoga springs and Polynesian Resorts. They are all absolutely stunning and for me it's so important that there is a kitchen available in the apartment/villa which each of these have. As far as I know these are all on the higher price range. 

  • We have also stayed in two of the Marriott Vacation Club Resorts in the Disney Area. The Marriott Grande Vista and the Marriott Imperial Palms Resorts. Imperial Palms is where we stayed most recently and I think it may be my favourite Marriott Vacation Club I've stayed in so far. The three bedroom apartment was spacious and luxurious which a kitchen of dreams. I would easily live there. The Marriott resorts always have lovely pools nearby and a barbecue and fire-pit for grilling or making s'mores. There's usually a Starbucks onsite too. The only thing about staying in the Marriott is you cannot buy a Disney meal plan seperately so it is super important to budget for your meals. 

Where to eat

There are so so so many amazing places to dine at Walt Disney World, especially in the newly renovated Disney Springs and there are still so many places I want to try but here are six of my favourite table service restaurants at WDW.

Marimoto Asia, Disney Springs

Some of the best Asian food I've ever had in a beautiful bright open setting. This was a splurge night out for us but so worth it. We had the Whole Duck Pancakes to share and some Gyoza and hot and sour soup to start.

House Of Blues, Disney Springs

For some 'southern cooking' this is your only man. With an extensive menu of Ribs, Wings, chicken, Jambalaya, Gumbo and Burgers there's something for everyone.  I had the Impossible Burger and it was so so good. Completely vegan but so so delicious. This is one of my favourite places to eat at WDW for the atmosphere. There's always live music and it's just a lot of fun.

Cinderella's Royal Table

Within Cinderella's Castle this magical experience is well worth it's high price-tag. A delicious All- American fine dining experience accompanied by the Disney princesses strolling around the restaurant and greeting families. Little Princesses and Princes are greeted with a wand or sword on arrival.

Disney's Spirit Of Aloha Dinner Show, Polynesian Resort

A jaw-dropping dinner show and a different cuisine. 
After receiving your lei on arrival this dinner show of fire, acrobats and Hawaiian style dance and music is accompanied by a shared table of delicious Hawaiian cuisine. A really fantastic experience for the whole family or a romantic night out.

Be Our Guest, Magic Kingdom

Literally stepping into Beast's castle and taking a seat in his ballroom, or if you're lucky enough - the west wing. This atmospheric experience offer's an array of stunning French Cuisine perfectly suited to Beauty and the Beast. You can even 'try the Grey Stuff' and say hello to Beast himself as you wait for your meal.

T-REX, Disney Springs

If you like Dinosaurs, and I love Dinosaurs, you'll love T-REX. This restaurant is fully decked out as a prehistoric world and not only that but the menu is even Dino themed. In this restaurant you are pretty much looking at a standard American cuisine of burgers, shrimp, steak. but it is a lot of fun.

Money Saving Tips

Staying in a Disney Resort

This may seem like it's a costly splurge but actually, staying onsite at a Disney resort can save you a lot of money on meals and snacks. If you stay in one of the mid-tier hotels or higher you will usually get a meal plan included which gives each person in you party 1 snack, 1 counter service and 1 table service meal per day. Your meal coupons are added onto your magic bands and can be used in so many ways and in every single restaurant and in most snack carts. You can even use your snack voucher for a TRENTI Starbucks! So you will definitely eat like a King and you don't have to worry about budgeting while you're there as it's already paid for before you arrive. 
(Be aware though, service charge is extra adn compulsory for parties of 7 or more)

If your staying off-site, eat off-site.

There are so many cool and unusual restaurants to try that are not on Disney property and are therefore much more affordable if you're not staying in a Disney resort. Also if you have a kitchen do a grocery shop and make a big breakfast and sandwiches to take with you in your hotel before you hit the parks.

Invest in a refillable popcorn bucket

This may seem silly or extravagant but actually this kept me and my family so happy during our recent trip. I bought a Toy Story Alien popcorn bucket for $25 (I know it's a lot) but you can refill it for just $2 in any of the parks. Perfect for keeping me occupied in long lines or keeping my constant hanger at bay.

Bring water bottles

This is IMPORTANT. Not only is plastic actually killing our planet but a 500ml bottle of water or a soft drink costs almost $5 at the parks. I bring my Bobble water bottle everywhere as it has a filter built in and you can either fill it up at water fountains or ask for cups of water at any counter service restaurant to fill it up.

Lunch at the parks.

If you are going to buy lunch at a counter service restaurant I strongly reccommend using the My Disney Experience App and ordering in advance. The secret to saving money on this one is order a Kids Meal which is usually almost half the price of an adult meal. Not only does this come with and soft drink and a piece of fruit and sometime s a dessert, it is so much food. It is more than enough for a lunch and I am a hungry girl that likes her food.

©2018 by My Pretty Perfect Mess.