I've written about Disney World before, but always from the perspective of someone who has already been there. Today I'll share a few insights for people who have never been, so they can see a good number of things they're going to come across when they enter the park. Believe you me, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Disney World is LOADED with things to do. This post is about the most popular park for our family (we love them all, but this is by far our favorite), Magic Kingdom. One day is fun, but it's not nearly enough time to see all they have to offer. In fact, a few days might even not be enough, and they're always adding new items/events/attractions. I think that's a good thing because if you're local and looking to buy a season pass, Disney is never going to get old.
The first thing I think worth noting is they have character breakfasts. It is recommended to have a reservation because these places book up fast. Our family members were lucky, they had a small wait, but they got in. They reserved a spot for all of us, but some of us were in a line for a ride clear across the park, so we told them to go ahead without us (bummer for us, but I've been before and they are awesome!).
The character breakfasts come in buffet form. This is my oldest son's breakfast and you can see he's got a ton of variety on that plate. A nice, hearty breakfast to be sure. There are lighter selections too, of course. This is just one type of restaurant in Disney World. You can find anything from stand-in-line and go find a seat to eat places, to something more formal...or anything in between. There are also vendors all around the park, as is traditional in this type of environment, that sell drinks, snacks or quick bites to eat.
Cinderella's Castle is a big attraction. People congregate around this area all day and night. It is THE photo opp. of the day too, to have your picture taken with it in the background. There are photographers who will take your picture for you and you can pick it up later in the day, or you can take your own.
The inside of the castle is open and there are shops and such you can go to inside. My 2nd oldest son's girl wants to take my granddaughter to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside where little ones can get the special hair-do treatment. There is a slicked back hair gel, knight session for the boys too. I can't count the number of children I saw running around with glitter up-do's and princess dresses, or with 'Frozen' hair braid extensions. The boutique is definitely very popular.
I've heard tell there is a hotel room in the castle too. It is my understanding that this isn't a place where you can pay to stay, but rather is by invite only. The only ones I've heard of staying there are the members from the band, One Direction. You get an idea from that example though, who gets invites to that room. What fun it would be to stay in the castle! I wonder if you have to stay inside all night?
The castle is where the nighttime fireworks take place too, and at night it's lit up and very beautiful. My picture above doesn't even begin to do it justice. It's really a spectacular sight to see.
The parades pass by the castle, so you'll often find people lining up early to get their seats on the curb. I always wish I'd saved myself a seat for the parade, but it takes up my Disney 'do time,' so I never do. It's okay though, the parades are huge, and you never miss what's going on, even if you're not right up front. Pick up one of the brochures you'll see all around the park. The map on them will come in handy many times over, and the parade times and locations are all listed in there too. The parades are spectacular.
I like every single one of them I've seen. If hard pressed to pick a favorite, I think I'd have to go with the electric parade at night.
Disney World has a lot of live shows going on at any given time. The one above was on the stage of Cinderella's Castle. It was full of song, dance and so many of our favorite characters. There is no charge to see the shows, and they're always a good length of time and very well done. These are enjoyable for kids and the adults too.
The famous princes and princesses from past and present are always found out and about at the Magic Kingdom.
And of course Disney World is a place where you will find Mickey and Minnie. Sometimes they're walking around different areas of the park, sometimes they're in shows together, or you can come across them (and many other Disney characters) in character visits that are spread out around the park.
At the Magic Kingdom, you will find dancing in the streets. We came across this show right when we walked in. The characters from The Incredibles were dancing on stage with a live DJ and Frozone came out into the audience to strut his moves, and boy did he have them!! It wasn't long before people were trying to crowd in for selfies and to do some dance moves with him. He worked the crowd like a pro.
There are all kinds of great souvenirs to buy for anything at all you like Disney. I'm a fan of Star Wars, not a huge diehard, but definitely a fan, so when I came across the R2D2 shirt I was hooked. How cute!
I like the Jedi in Training cap,
and Chewbacca in Mickey ears. ;) These are just a few of the many, many items they had for sale that were Star Wars related. Big or small you're going to find it there.
In fact, shopping at Disney for most anything that is related to their characters, shows, themes etc., is amazingly fun. There were some etched glass things I loved, oh boy, how I loved them, and a scene from Beauty and the Beast that I'd love to own. If you're a shopper, this is the place to go. One day, I'm going to go back and spend far too much money in their Christmas store. I'm just noting that... lol. I'll probabaly blog about it when I do. :)
My son liked the Star Wars life-sized exhibits the best, because he's a clown. And we love it. :)
Disney World is also a place where you can don a Goofy hat (literally in my son's case above), and noone even blinks an eye. The number of children wearing Mickey or Minnie ears is expected, but it's certainly not a child thing alone, as you can see in the photo below. ;) Adults everywhere are getting into the fun of Disney, and that's one of the best things about it. Disney World is fun!
Because The Magic Kingdom has so many things for people of any age, it is a great place to spend the day with family. Our last trip we took everyone but my daughter who was going camping instead with her best friend. I wanted her to come because of the wedding proposal (the two on the left) we knew was coming that day, but she had fun. For me, it's nice to have any of the family around, it's even nicer though when everyone's there. I especially love when all four kids are together. No matter how old they get, they still love to be around each other. Disney World is a fun place for that to happen.
This was the first time my youngest and I got to ride the 7 Dwarf Mine Train ride. This opened in 2014, but we seem to always pass it or have something else going on when we're in the area. It's not just for kids. My second oldest and his girlfriend (both grown) went on it too, and we all thought it was fun!
Perhaps I'm partial because I'm grandma, or as sweet little one calls me, Grandma Rosey (she picked the name so I love it!), but I don't' think so... Disney World is awesome because it evokes big heartfelt smiles like this one!! The PeopleMover ride is a simple one where you sit down and it takes you through different places in the area (including inside of places like the BuzzLightyear Ride and Space Mountain). It's slow moving but still nice, especially if you've been on your feet all day, and my granddaughter LOVED it!! It does go thorugh the dark at some points though, and I didn't know how she'd handle it. She was a real trooper though. She reached right for my hand and held it real tight, and I reassured her by oohing and ahhing at the 'stars' and asking who turned out those lights??! :) Little bit got the belly giggles on this ride, and I couldn't help laughing myself. Leave it to a two-year-old to make something simple, something extraordinary. :)
Speaking of the kids, one of the areas of the park has a section of children's rides (that adults can accompany their children on, which is nice). One of those rides is the Barnstormer Roller Coaster. It was naptime for little bit (my granddaughter) by the time we got here (and the big kids had moved on to another park to go ride the Tower of Terror), so my youngest rode it alone. I walked right beside him in the line and then when it was time to get on the ride, I went around to the exit to wait for him to get off. He was so thrilled to be able to 'ride a big ride on his own.' lol It's funny the things that stick out as fabulous when you're 8. ;)
Disney World has a lot of interaction opportunities for you, if you like that kind of thing. We like that kind of thing. The whole family joined in on a conga line going through the parade. The characters were doing it too, and you can see some of my crowd waaaaaaay in the back on the left in this picture. ;)
This is the outside of Space Mountain. I think I got this picture when we were riding the Monorail on our way out of the park.
Disney World has a lot of sit down opportunities too, which is great if you have little ones with you who benefit from being able to sit, but still get to have something exceptionally cool going on around them. In this case (photo above) it was a Monsters Inc. (short movie) we went to see. Both the 2-year old and the 8-year old loved this one. They were mesmerized the whole time. Little man got the big kid jokes, and enjoyed when the camera hit people in the audience. Little miss just fell in love with Mike Wazowski up there talking.
The treats available are too numerous to mention. There's not a sugary indulgence you can think of, that isn't available at Disney World. I've always admired the cute cookies, but I've never purchased any. This time I took a few home (the three you see on top of the rest). They were actually pretty tasty!
And of course, when it starts getting dark the light-up toys and such come out. I did get my granddaughter a Frozen wand and my son a Mickey's Sorcerer Sword, but it was really the balloons I wanted. I like the clear one with the Mickey head inside. I'm too big to get one for myself though, and the kids already had their hands full with their super cool light-ups.
Next time though, I'm getting a balloon...for the kids, of course. ;)
Disney World is definitely worth all the hoopla, hubbub, and even the price of admission. It's a day well spent and an instant way to make lifelong memories.