Walt Disney World, Orlando

4.5 out of 5 stars 171 Reviews

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    View of the Castle from Main Street
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    What do DO?

    by gkitzmil Written May 15, 2009

    what is a "must see" to one is a "ho hum" to another. I have greatly enjoyed Disney's Animal Kingdom and Epcot, Sea World, Universal Studios, the Kennedy Space Center (45 miles or 45 minutes away), and more

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/visit/orlmap.html

    The Orlando/Orange County convention & visitors Bureau suggests the following for discount deals

    Official Orlando Travel Counselor Hotline 1-877-460-6849
    Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. EST

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    Expedition Everest

    by mikelisaanna Written May 2, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Expedition Everest is the roller coaster in Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park. Although not a tall coaster, it is fast and has a lot of rapid movements, including a section where you go backwards. The roller coaster's theme is Mount Everest and the legendary Yeti (otherwise known as the Abominable Snowman), and the coaster actually snakes through and around a simulated Mount Everest. Mike and Anna loved it and rode it twice. Lisa had enough after one ride.

    A hill on the Expedition Everest roller coaster
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    Character Autographs

    by mikelisaanna Updated May 2, 2009

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    A fun thing for kids to do while at the Disney theme parks is to collect autographs from the various Disney characters. The human characters, such as the various princesses, will speak with the children while they are giving their autograph. The animal characters are silent. Our favorites were the Evil Stepsisters (they were telling jokes the whole time and were hilarious), Pocahontas, Jasmine, Mary Poppins, and Tinkerbell.

    Beware that you will have to stand in lines for the most popular characters. The fairies had the longest line (90 minutes). Mickey Mouse and Snow White also had long lines.

    Anna getting Mary Poppins' autograph
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    Blizzard Beach

    by cjg1 Updated Mar 3, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Blizzard Beach is one of Disney's water parks. The park is supposed to look like a Ski Resort in the middle of Florida. There are more high speed plummets slides at this park compared to Typhoon Lagoon. Some of the big slides are: the Summit Plummet and the Slush Gusher. Liz would not go on the 120 foot Summit Plummet (the last time she rode this water slide she wound up at one of Orlando's medical centers....so I was totally understanding). The SLush Gusher is a fun slide but is quite bumpy and fast. Women are warned to hold onto their tops (many have benn pulled off from the force of the water). The Teamboat Springs rapids ride is fun; jump in and ride down. That was fun and no fear of losing a top. The Runoff rapids are fun as well as long as you don't get turned around. We wound up going backwards most of our ride which was quite scary for Liz since she can't swim.

    Blizzard Beach is fun but I liked the laid back atmosphere of Typhoon Lagoon.

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    Typhoon Lagoon

    by cjg1 Updated Feb 20, 2009

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    Typhoon Lagoon is one of the two Disney Waterparks. It has a tropical feel to the park with plenty of greenery and trees. The main attraction of the park is the Surf Pol. It's very large and a big wave is generated every 90 seconds. The wave is very gentle at the shallow end but more intense as you get deeper in the water. They have a bunch of tube rides and slides : Keelhaul Falls, Gang Plank Falls, Humunga-Kowabunga and Crush n Gusher. There is also a Shark reef experience where you can snorkel in the pool and watch the creatures of the tank (if you want a linger 30 minute experience than there is an additional $20 fee).

    Our favorite part of Typhoon Lagoon is Castaway Creek. Grab an inner tube for one or two people and hop on in the lazy river. There are many entrance and exit points along the river to hop in or out of the water. It was so relaxing to lay in the tube and float down the river while passing some nice trees and flowers. It wasn't very crowded that day since it was a weekday and at one pont we were the only people in that section of the river. Time seemed to stand still while we floated that we didn't realize we were in the river for over an hour and quite pruned from the water.

    Locker rentals are available at the park at the High 'n Dry Towels. It is $5 for a small size and $7 for a larger size. $2 is refunded when you turn your key back in. We took a small locker since we didn't bring much except a wallet, towels and our park passes. If you forget to bring a towel, you can rent one for $2.

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    Downtown Disney

    by cjg1 Updated Feb 20, 2009

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    Downtown Disney is full of restaurants, entertainment and shopping. There are some chain restaurants such as the Rainforest Cafe and Planet Hollywood as well as other options like Raglan Road and Portobello Yacht Club. They have some really fun stores ike the Lego store and the Disney Christmas store.

    We spent some serious time here shopping, dining and having a great time.

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    Cinderella's Castle

    by cjg1 Updated Feb 11, 2009

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    Cinderella's Castle is the focal point of the Magic Kingdom. Walt Disney was inspired by several French castles as well as Neuschwanstein Castle. The castle is quite nice to look at and inspires all sorts of reactions from kids and adults alike.

    Inside the Castle is Cinderella's Royal Table; a nice table service restaurant, the Cinderlla Suite at the top of the castle (if you can afford it), a gift shop and some very pretty Mosaics depicting the Cinderella story.

    Th castle is the focal point for the night time fireworks show when the castle comes alive with beautiful lighting.

    View of the Castle from Main Street

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    Disney - Magic Kingdom Theme Park

    by vichatherly Updated Nov 24, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This was the busiest theme park in terms of number of people. As with Disney it is more aimed at the kids in the family and so we were struggling on that count as there were 6 adults and no kids. The place is well worth going to see even if you haven't got any kids in tow. Disney parks are spectacular and everything in them is there for a reason and has some Disney design feature.

    Fastpass is a good idea
    A good tip would be to use the fastpass as soon as you get into the park. This takes a little bit of forward planning but its not too difficult. For example most people head for Space Mountain first and queue for hours. This is where you get you fastpass for which is timed for a couple of hours later. The you head off to a another attraction and wait fir the time of the fastpass to arrive. It certainly helps in the wait in the queue.

    Rides that we had a go at included
    Space Mountain, which is an indoor rollercoaster. This was the best ride in the park.
    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - A gentle roller coaster for the kids and ladies of the group.
    Swiss Family Treehouse not really a ride more of a walk up and a round a big tree.
    Splash Mountain a gentle log ride in the world of Brer Rabbit.

    We also had a go at Buzz lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, which is where you try and help Buzz zap the bad guys. The info could have been a bit better at the beginning as who knows what was going on with the scoring. Great fun though and a good tip would be to zap anything and everything that moves!

    We also took in Monster, Inc Laugh Floor which was funny, but not that funny.

    Best small ride had to be the Mad Tea Party. This where you get into Alice's tea cup and spin it so fast that the outside world becomes a blur!

    I finished off the day as the others were shopping with The Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square. Educational if rather freaky at times!

    Food wise, I did like the hot dogs at Casey's Corner and the Citrus Swirl cups were excellent

    Mickey and Minnie at Disney Magic Kingdom Crowds at Disney Magic Kingdom Space Mountain - Disney Magic Kingdom Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Disney Magic Kingdom Woody's Roundup - Disney Magic Kingdom
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    MIDWAY MANIA

    by moiraistyx Written Sep 24, 2008

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    This was one of the most fun things we did during our trip to Hollywood Studios. The wait online totally sucked, nearly 2 hours, but the kids were real troopers. Disney did a great job at giving those waiting online lots to look at. The ceilings are made up like board games (checkers, scrabble, chutes and ladders, candy land) and the walls are decorated with giant versions of childhood favorites (jax, paints, monkeys in a barrel). There is a human size version of Mr. Potato Head that sings and tells jokes. I recommend that park goers use the fast pass option on this ride.

    Once you finally get to board the car for this ride you are in for a treat. Basically its a giant target. The car has a paint ball gun at the front of each seat. To fire the balls you fill the string. I learned real quick that you don't have to let go of the stupid string and that you can pull that string as fast as you can to fire the balls like wild fire. The object is to get the highest score by hitting as many of the targets as humanly possible. Richie and I kept yelling out our scores to each other in between scenes. I still say he only beat me cause it took me 2 screens to figure out the stupid string thing. The boys had loads of fun playing this and were eager to wait another 2 hours to ride it again.

    Patrick and Sebastian with Potato Man the line for the ride Monkeys
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    BE A JEDI IN TRAINING

    by moiraistyx Written Sep 24, 2008

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    As soon as the boys heard that there was a Jedi training show and that some boys would be chosen to train with a "REAL" Jedi, they all couldn't wait, especially Patrick. Little P is a die hard Star Wars fan, and since we were in Hollywood studio on his birthday, we all hoped that he would be picked to be one of the dozen boys chosen to train. Lucky for P he was chosen. I have to say this was the best any of the boys listened through out the entire trip. Little P glowed as he was taught how to use his light saber and he just about fell off the stage when Darth Vader walked through the doors onto the stage. We all kept joking that Patrick would be the one boy who would jump up and tell Vader that he wanted to join the dark side, but he didn't, it would have been funny if he had. The training shows are every couple of hours or so and are held on an outside stage near the flight simulator.

    Patrick as a Patawan His skills improve Patrick battling Vader Vader and a storm trooper Vader's entrance
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    INDIANA JONES STUNT SHOW

    by moiraistyx Written Sep 18, 2008

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    This is a really fun show at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I really liked that they pulled folks from the audience and had them play extras in the show. Being a long time Indiana Jones fan, it was cool to get a behind the scenes look at how the movie was made. I have to admit that some of the bangs actually made me and Patrick jump. I laughed when I looked over and saw Sebastian and Hammy holding their ears. I could feel the heat of the flames and explosions from where we were sitting. I'm not sure if I can pick a favorite scene or actor, it was all really cool. I don't recommend this show for the easily frightened or very young children. Be sure to arrive about a half hour early if you want to get a decent seat. Its also easiest to get out if you simply wait for everyone else to leave. There's a video posted of part of the show.

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    EXPEDITION EVEREST

    by moiraistyx Written Sep 18, 2008

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    Patrick is now officially addicted to roller coasters. We waited online for this ride for a little over an hour and we are so glad that we did. While you are waiting online you are treated to a variety of art work, including pictures and masks, native to the land of the Yeti. They even have a display of the evidence supporting the existence of the infamous best complete with photos and tales from native peoples. I really liked the display of masks that was there. When you finally get to board the coaster car, you are treated to forwards and backwards thrills with both complete darkness and light. I have to admit that the Yeti portion of the ride is actually stupid. Patrick loved the ride and wanted to wait another hour to ride it again, but it was just to gosh darn hot and I was starving. This would be a great time for ticket holders to use the fast pass option.

    Expedition Everest from a distance masks artifacts statue clothing
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    THE TOWER OF TERROR

    by moiraistyx Written Sep 6, 2008

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    This ride scared the living crap out of me, but Patrick absolutely loved it. You start off watching a short movie skit about a dark and stormy night when a family check into the hotel, but was never heard from again. The elevator conductor guides you into the car where you pull down a harness over your shoulders. As the doors close the conductor yells something into the riders, but you can't tell what he's saying. You ride up a bit then the doors open and some holograms come on telling you to go back then they disappear. The car comes out of the elevator shaft and goes in a curvy pattern to another elevator shaft. The doors close behind you leaving you in pitch black silence. The next thing you know the car just drops. It drops so fast your shoulders are pressed against the harness. The the car is lifted up and the doors open you can see the onlookers down below, but the ride is not over, before you know it, you are dropping again and being lifted again to another set of doors. This happened a total of 4 times for us. I squeezed Patrick's hand so hard I thought I was gonna break it. Rumor has it that the total number of drops and raises differs each time you ride the ride, but in all honesty, I have no intention of riding this thing ever again. Patrick loved it, but agrees that he doesn't want to go on it again. This ride is definitely not for the week at heart or pregnant women. If you get motion sickness I don't suggest this ride for you either. It is definitely thrilling and causes the heart to race and the adrenaline to pump.

    The Tower of Terror
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    Walt Disney World "Why didn't I think of that?"

    by godblessthesooners Written May 24, 2008

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    Ok, so we've all undoubtedly been to Walt Disney World, and we've all seen the surging crowds and the ride lines longer than Larry King's career. And of course we all have our solutions to these problems to make our time there more enjoyable, and I'm here to add to this list.

    First, the surging crowds. No doubt holidays and summertime attract people to theme parks like free beer at a sports bar. Yet in my experience, the best time of year to visit Walt Disney World if you can pull it off is the first or second week in December. At this time, the Thanksgiving crowd has left to try and treadmill off all that turkey, and the Christmas crowd is still frantically buying gifts and hasn't arrived yet. This means that you will enjoy the least crowded time of year that Walt Disney World experiences. Plus, you get the bonus of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas, with bubble snow on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, as well as all the free sugar cookies and hot chocolate you can drink.

    Second, the long lines. Now, there is obviously no way to make everyone standing in line disappear for you, nor is there a way to always have short lines. More than likely, you will always have some kind of a wait on a ride. HOWEVER, you can minimize your wait time by taking advantage of how crowds typically move in a theme park. Let's take Magic Kingdom for example: when the park first opens, where does everyone go? To the main rides of course - Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad, etc. This means, that unless you are one of the first few hundred people in the park after opening, you will probably have a better chance of Publishers Clearing House showing up at your door than you will getting on the ride before lunch. Yet even though you may get on that ride in a good time, the lines at the other main rides will now be circling the park. So, the thing to do is to ride your favorite main ride first, then immediately go and grab FAST PASSES for another main ride you would like to ride in a bit. I say main ride, because since at this time most everyone will be cramming and elbowing for a spot in line on these rides, the smaller, less extravagant rides will be virtual ghost towns. So (with Magic Kingdom as our example), after riding your main ride and grabbing your fast passes, you might take a stroll over to Frontierland to ride Peter Pan or Snow White, or to another land to ride other such lower-scale rides.

    A few more tips that you CANNOT MISS -----

    FAST PASSES - obviously good during the hour time slot printed on the ticket, and ANY TIME AFTER!!!!! So if you have a fast pass that says to return any time between 10:00 and 11:00 in the morning, you could keep it in your pocket and return to the ride even at 4:00 in the afternoon or whenever, and they will still accept it!!! So no pressure if you're stuck in line and can't make it to the time slot printed in the fast pass.

    TAKE A NAP!!! Sometime right after lunch, if you can, leave the park and go take a 2-3 hour nap. Then, when you return to the park at around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, you will be refreshed and energized, while you pass hundreds of people so irritated they just tackled Mickey so he would take a picture. So not only will you be energized and in a great non-tackling mood, but you will be able to take advantage of the lower crowds that happen in the evenings when all the people that stayed through the morning and hot afternoon are migrating out of the park.

    UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO WALT DISNEY WORLD!!! This book will change your disney experience undoubtedly. The people who write it spend months and months at Walt Disney World collecting data about the parks. It is where I learned my tips above, and there are many more to find in the pages of this book, including restaurant reviews, ride ratings, and crowd migration data to allow for the lowest possible wait times for all parks at Walt Disney World. They publish a new one every year so it would be well worth it.

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    Downtown Disney with Kids

    by laforstraveller Written May 13, 2008

    I was somewhat apprehensive about bringing two small kids to Downtown Disney thinking it would be just retail shops, restaurants, and clubs. But, after having read a guidebook noting that there was a fountain for the kids to play in at the Marketplace, I took my chances. I'm sure glad I did. My three year old son had a blast running through the sidewalk fountains! (If you go, you'll notice that the fountain "heads" are in the shape of Mickey heads. Disney's eye for detail is amazing!) Logan probably played in the fountain for an hour and a half. He absolutely loved it! If you have little one's, they won't be able to resist the urge to run through the fountain. Remember to bring a towel and a change of clothes!

    There are several great photo ops around Downtown Disney Marketplace, so don't forget your camera.

    My kids loved the LEGO store and the Once Upon a Time toy store. I loved the Ghiradelli shop and we all loved Rainforest Cafe.

    Sheer fun! Logan at fountain by Once Upon a Toy Are we having fun yet? Mickey and Minnie at the pin trader's shop Pooh Corner
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