When friends and readers are planning a trip, I’m often asked for my advice about things that they absolutely mustn’t miss, and always about the best rides: what’s worth queuing for, what’s worth using a FastPass+ for, that sort of thing. This got me thinking about my favourite experiences at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida: the things that I would rush round and do if I only had, say, a day at each park. So here’s my little list of Disney World’s best rides – I know it’s subjective, but these are my own personal faves. I’m bound to add to it, so do refer back every so often!
You absolutely must experience the new Frozen Ever After ride at the Norway Pavilion (you’ll need a FastPass+ ticket here – it’s popular) and of course my absolute favourite, Soarin’, which is brand new and takes you around the world on the most incredible journey.
Test Track is good and REALLY fast, and – if you have a strong stomach, Mission: SPACE. Turtle Talk with Crush is fabulous if you have little ones, who can actually get to chat to the dude himself; The Seas with Nemo and Friends is delightful, and Spaceship Earth is the classic ride that takes you up inside the iconic, faceted globe.
The gorgeous evening show, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, is always worth staying into the evening for. A great place to see the show is from the Rose and Crown pub. Get there nice and early (and order the fish and chips!).
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
Pandora – The World of Avatar on 27th May. I absolutely cannot wait to visit the bioluminescent rainforests and lush floating mountains and climb aboard my very own Banshee! This breathtaking new world will feature two main attractions: Avatar Flight of Passage (the one where you get to board your own Mountain Banshee and soar above Pandora), and the Na’vi River Journey, which is a boat ride that will take you through the rainforests.
Elsewhere at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, my must-dos include: The Festival of the Lion King which is a short show – half an hour – that reminds me of the incredible entertainment you get on Disney Cruise Line ships (and always makes me cry). Kilimanjaro Safaris are utterly fabulous – board a truck with the rangers and set out with them into the Savanna for some wild animal spotting.
There’s Expedition Everest if you’re a fearless coaster fan – a proper rollercoaster thrill ride, and Kali River Rapids if you want to get wet! Don’t miss the Maharajah Jungle Trek. I’ve talked about it before, but it really is magical and a must-do for me.
Another absolute must is to schedule time for some of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park’s incredible new night time entertainment. The whole place is a riot of music and colour and fun. Rivers of Light (top) is now up and running (I saw a preview and it’s utterly magical), and make sure you’re there to see the Tree of Life awaken (it’s also quite difficult to photograph, sorry!).
Magic Kingdom Park
Magic Kingdom is split into different areas or lands, each with a different theme. One of my favourite parts of the park is the fabulous Fantasyland, where you’ll find the enchanting new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (FastPass+ it), my favourite Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, and classics like Peter Pan’s Flight (FastPass+ it), It’s a Small World (don’t waste your FastPass+ on this ride – the queue always moves really fast) and Dumbo the Flying Elephant, amongst others.
In future-themed Tomorrowland, there’s the amazing and slightly terrifying Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, which will bring out the competitiveness in everyone, however small, oh and the Tomorrowland Speedway, which is a classic.
In Frontierland, don’t miss Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a classic old rattly roller, as well as Splash Mountain, a thrilling flume ride (you will get wet!), and in Adventureland there’s my fave Pirates of the Caribbean – a wonderfully atmospheric boat ride, as well as the Jungle Cruise (another classic).
The brand new, nightly show: Happily Ever After starts 12th May and will incorporate state of the art light displays, lasers and projections (more than any Magic Kingdom show ever before), with Cinderella Castle incorporated in the show itself and featuring characters, stories and music from more than 25 different Disney tales, from classics like Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, and brand new features like Moana and Zootopia. I can’t wait to see it.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Rides and attractions include the brilliant Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’Roller Coaster, and Toy Story Mania (mega competitive family fun – don’t miss!). Star Wars Launch Bay is fab (get a pic with Chewy!). Also, don’t leave without experiencing a delicious frozen golden margarita from Anaheim Produce on Sunset Blvd, and make sure you stay until 9pm to experience the amazing Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular evening show, with lasers, strobes and pyrotechnics – it’s incredible.
And that’s it! They’re my current faves. What would you add/take away? I’d love to hear your top tips!