A Road Trip New Orleans to Walt Disney World

We drove the Gulf Coast from New Orleans, LA, to St. Augustine, FL, down the Atlantic to Walt Disney World, FL.

Casa Monica

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kimntrent on December 23, 2004

A luxurious hotel for medium prices. This hotel is one of the oldest structures in the oldest city in the U.S. Casa Monica is rich in history and beauty. The lobby (pictured) is grand, with dark woods and beautiful drapes. There is a wrap-around porch on the hotel street level. The pool is raised in the center of the hotel and can be reached two ways (pictured). One way is by the sweeping staircase that Thomas Kinkade paints in his pictures. The rooms were warm and spacious, with white blankets and curtains (pictured). This truly is a great hotel, worth every penny. It's one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen.
Casa Monica Hotel
95 Cordova Street
St. Augustine, Florida, 32084
(904) 827-1888

Hotel Monteleone

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kimntrent on December 24, 2004

This hotel is my favorite in New Orleans. Set on Rue Royal one block south of Bourbon Street, this hotel has it all. As you enter into to hotel from the street, you go up two stairs to the lobby. Set in the center of the lobby are giant, round couches that surround huge vases of flowers. To the right of the lobby is the Carousel Bar. This bar has a night’s sky and a rotating carousel bar. **Hint: Do not sit at this bar if you have put back several drinks. It may make your night worse.** Just past the couches there is a concierge desk, where a person sits willing to help you fill all your adventure needs. Just past that is the reception desk. To the left of the reception desk is a Greyhound Tour desk where you can book a variety of the tours Greyhound offers. To the left of them is a small gift shop, along with bathrooms. To the right of the reception desk, you will see a staircase that goes to the second floor, where the conference rooms are, along with a restaurant where you can have buffet breakfast. Just off of the lobby is a small restaurant that is still part of the hotel called the Aft Deck. It boasts a seafood menu.

There are two sets of elevators, ones in the lobby itself and ones off by the stairs. The ones off of the lobby take you to the newer part of the building. This is where we stayed the first time, in a superior room overlooking the Might Mo. This room was very tastefully done, with a succulent bed and a claw-foot tub. The bathroom had brass fixtures. There were also plush bathrobes.

The second room we stayed in was in the older part of the hotel. It was a standard room that overlooked Canal Street. It was much smaller but still very tastefully done. It also offered the plush bathrobes. If you are on a budget and you really want to stay here, the standard rooms are just as nice.

The hotel went through a complete renovation in 2004. The rooftop offers a coffin-shaped pool, gym, full-service spa, and a cabana bar. **Hint: This is a great location for a beautiful sunset.** The hotel is amazing. And we are not the only people that think this. During Mardi Gras, book your reservations well in advance. I have found that a lot of the guests like to stay here as well. We have also found that both the Internet website and calling in provide different discounts, so check them both out. Overall, this hotel is a do-not-miss on my list. I hope you feel the same way.

Hotel Monteleone
214 Rue Royale
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130
(504) 523-3341

Port Orleans Riverside (Dixie Landings)

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 4, 2005

The Port Orleans Riverside (Dixie Landings) is a very charming, moderate hotel. Although it is not right next to any of the theme parks here at Walt Disney World, it is still my favorite of the hotels. As you pull up, you feel like you have been transported back to the Southern bayou days when gators roamed free. The lobby is beautiful. The reception area is located to the right of the hub of the lobby. To the left is the general store, where you can get a lot of your Disney goodies. Just past that on the left is a small bar where they have acts performing nightly. And beyond that is a pathway that leads you to Boatrights dining hall, a sit-down restaurant that offers breakfast and dinner. Or you can travel further into the Mill food court. There are many options for you here for all meals of the day.

**Hint: get one of the refillable mugs. They cost a few dollars but are good for all the times you come into this food court, every time you stay at the hotel.**

Just outside the back of the lobby area is the rest of the resort. It is large and beautiful. There are two options for hotel accommodations: Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend. Although I have stayed at both, I tend to sway toward Alligator Bayou. It is very rustic, in a woodsy setting located to the left of the property. This area is reminiscent of the workers' quarters on the Southern plantation homes. Each cluster of rooms has a small pool area, and some even have laundry facilities. The rooms are very rustic-looking, although the general concept of the rooms is exactly the same in each of the areas. The rooms consist of either one king or two double beds. In the back of the rooms are two pedestal sinks with mirrors running along the back wall. The bathroom has the shower/tub combo and the toilet.

Magnolia Bend is like a Southern plantation. The easiest way to get to it is over the bridge off of the lobby. There are pictures below. The rooms are set up the same as the other part of the hotel, just in a Southern style. Each plantation house has a difference entrance. This area of the resort also offers pools among the cluster of building. In the center of the resort is Ol’ Man Island, where you can swim, fish, play on a small playground, and relax by a small bar that also serves hot dogs and hamburgers. A river that takes guests to Downtown Disney surrounds Ol’ Man Island. There is also a 1-mile walking path that will take you to the other Port Orleans property. You can also rent bicycles. There are also four bus stops for the resort buses that take you to the parks, and it's very easy to get to one from wherever you are staying.

Disney's Port Orleans Resort Riverside
1251 Riverside Dr
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830

Marriott's Legends Edge

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kimntrent on December 24, 2004

Best Things Nearby:
The beaches are beautiful.

Best Things About the Resort:
This resort is brand new. When we stayed here, it was still being completed. But the best part about this place is that there is nothing around it.

Resort Experience:
It was beautiful. We had a two-bedroom condo for under $150. It had a screened porch that we sat out on, and we overlooked the pool and water. See the pictures. The room was spacious, and it had a master bedroom with an oversize soaking tub and a bedroom on the opposite side of the room. It had a pull-out sleeper sofa in the living room area. There was also a washer and dryer, along with all the modern amenities of a home. The pool area was amazing, and it had a Jacuzzi that rivals most pools. There was a playground for the kids and a beautiful beach. Overall, for the price, you cannot beat what you get.

Marriott Legends Edge at Bay Point
4000 Marriott Drive
Panama City Beach, 32408
(850) 236-4200

Sheraton Vistana Village

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 2, 2005

Best Things Nearby:
Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World

Best Things About the Resort:
The resort is a city unto itself. It is on International Drive, so there are many restaurants within an arm's reach.

Resort Experience:
This was a very suprisingly beautiful resort. It is the new Sheraton timeshare in Orlando. They are still selling vacation ownership for it. We reserved a two-bedroom unit for $150 that slept six comfortably. It can sleep eight, though. Our unit overlooked the pool area, and at night it lights up so pretty. The rooms were very open, with a kitchen right as you entered the room, and to the left was a room with two double beds (see picture). Then, from the kitchen, you walked into the living room, where there was a pull-out sofa sleeper. Beyond the living room was a patio overlooking the pool. The master bedroom was to the left of the living room and had an oversized soaking tub in the corner. There were all the modern amenities in this hotel room. It would work perfectly for a large family, especially if you wanted to go the the different parks but didn't want to spend the money for a park resort.

It was 5 minutes to both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, set in a great location. The pool area was spacious, with several hot tubs and a large pool with a waterfall. There is a lake just outside the pool area that surrounds it. The lobby was grand, with a huge set of windows overlooking the pool as well, and you can park right outside your hotel room.

Sheraton Vistana Villages Resort Villas, I-Drive/Orlando
12401 International Drive
Orlando, Florida, 32821
(407) 238-5000

Cafe Du Monde

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kimntrent on December 23, 2004

What an awesome little café. They're open 24 hours a day. You sit down, have a few beignets with all that powdered sugar, a cup of joe with or without chicory, or hot chocolate, and watch the world go by. They don’t offer anything other than beignets. No eggs, potato, bacon, or toast here. But it’s a not-to-miss when you go to New Orleans. This café is always packed. They do have a small indoor section, but mainly patio seating under an awning. When it rains, they roll down the side awnings to have it enclosed. They also have a to-go window inside the restaurant. Have patience, and don't hesitate to be aggressive when a table does open up, you will not be the only one that wants it. Also, most of the waitstaff don’t speak very good English. Have patience with them. Words of wisdom: Don't ask too many questions. Last time we were there, they stood there expecting a tip right after we paid. You do have to pay once your food arrives. This place is an icon. If you don't want to be involved in this don't go. Lastly, if you get a little powdered sugar on yourself, good job--just don't wear black.

Cafe Du Monde
800 Decatur Street
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70116
(504) 525-4544

Court of Two Sisters

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 4, 2005

The Court of Two Sisters is one of my favorite places for brunch, which is served 7 days a week from 9am to 3pm and with a jazz trio starting at 9:30am. We have been two times.

The first time we sat inside next to the jazz band. We took two little girls, and they were entertained the entire time. The floors are marble, and one wall is entirely windows while the other wall is made up of mirrors. The windows overlook a gorgeous courtyard, where you can dine as well. The second time we sat in the courtyard under wisteria plants. The tables are set on old bricks, so in some places they wobble a little.

The brunch is buffet-style. There is much traditional New Orleans fare to choose from. The eggs Benedict here are awesome, and they are even better when made to order. The desserts are fabulous. They are constantly refreshing what is on the buffet line, so everything is always fresh.

I would suggest, however, going to the bathroom before you go to brunch here. There is one stall on the first floor and then a very small bathroom on the second floor. It is a very old building, so the plumbing is not the best in the world. You can enter the restaurant from either the Royal Street side or the Bourbon Street side. If you choose the Bourbon Street, side the sign below is what you are looking for, along with a small podium and a gate that are very hidden. The Royal Street side is more noticeable. Overall, this restaurant is a do-not-miss. You can even book reservations online on their website. **Hidden note: If you are a Disney Fan look for this, when waling down Bourbon Street look into the courtyard of the restaurant. There you will see heads made of stone like in the haunted mansion that sing to you. Could this be where the idea came from? Only one flaw, they don't sing here.**

Court of Two Sisters
613 Royal St
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130
+1 504 522 7261

Kona Cafe

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 14, 2005

Kona is a wonderful little café set in the Polynesian Resort. There are actually three dining choices here: Ohana, Kona, and the Spirit of Aloha show. We have dined at all three, and they are all great in their unique way. Kona is located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House (lobby). From the monorail, you enter the house, and it's to your left. From the buses, you enter the house and go up the stairs or the elevator at the back of the building. Or, for a great walk, take transportation to the Ticket and Transportation Center and follow the signs to the Great Ceremonial House. It's a beautiful walk.

This restaurant is an open-air restaurant with no walls dividing it from the rest of the world. The atmosphere is very South Seas. They have American cuisine with a subtle Asian influence. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The waitstaff is amazing—very friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. We have only dined here for breakfast, and the one thing that stands out on the menu is Tonga Toast: banana-stuffed French toast with syrup. It does get a little rich with the syrup, so you may want to get it on the side. It's also enough for two people, so you may want to share. They serve a mad Kona coffee here, as well. The prices are very reasonable.

Along with their regular menu, they have an on-the-premises open pastry kitchen, which in the morning houses a great breakfast buffet and in the evening, a great dessert buffet. Last time we were here, they had an amazing statue of Lilo and Stitch made out of chocolate. For lunch and dinner, they serve other items, such as prime rib, macadamia-crusted mahimahi, and noodle bowls. They do take reservations (priority seating) and can accommodate special needs in advance. This is a not-to-miss when traveling to WDW.

Tip: When you are going to the Magic Kingdom, come here by monorail or boat and dine first, then go inside the Magic Kingdom.

Kona Cafe
1800 Epcot Resorts Blvd
Orlando, Florida
(407) 939-3463


Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 14, 2005

‘Ohana is one of my favorite restaurants in Walt Disney World. This restaurant is set inside the Polynesian Resort, on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House. It is toward the back of the house, going out to the pool area. The restaurant is open for a character breakfast, as well as dinner. Reservations are suggested, and for the prime seating, they should be made several weeks in advance. Prime seating is next to a window overlooking Cinderella’s Castle and the Magic Kingdom. Prime dining time is right at fireworks, during which they dim the lights and pipe in the fireworks music. It is a not-to-miss. ‘Ohana means ‘family’, and this restaurant really makes you feel like that. Periodically throughout the night, they have events like coconut races and hula-hoop contests for the children in the aisles. When it is busy here, your host will give you a buzzer and guide you in the direction of the bar next door or the waiting area just outside the restaurant. They do have bar service here, as well. Once you are able to get a table, you are escorted by a host around the restaurant before going to your seats. You will be taken by the drink bar to be shown all the drinks, pick up a few rolls on the way, and see all the ins and outs of dining here. They call everyone ‘cousin’, so don’t be set back when they do that to you, as well. The restaurant is very open, with beautiful views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. There is glass all around the outer perimeter of the restaurant. In the center is an 18-foot wood-burning fire pit, where your main course will come from. Once seated, your drink order will be taken, and then the fun begins. They bring you pu-pu first (little appetizers)—the fried rice is awesome, as are the little fried things with the plum dipping sauce. Then comes the main course: all-you-can-eat skewers of meats and vegetables. They offer you beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp. The waitstaff comes to the table and asks you want you want, then pulls a few pieces off and goes to the next person.

Hint: They always serve the meat, chicken, and pork first. Then, after you are full with that, they serve the shrimp. Ask for the shrimp up-front. They will do it, but you’ve gotta ask. After you are over-your-limit full, you get hot towels and lemons. Squeeze the lemon on the hot towel, then wipe your hands and face. It cuts the grease. Once you are clean, a dessert menu comes. Try the snow cone. It comes in a sand bucket, and you eat it with a shovel. No joke!

From start to finish here, it is amazing. The waitstaff could not be any better. Don’t forget this place the next time you go to WDW.
Disney's Polynesian Resort
New Orleans, Louisiana, 32830
(407) 939-3463

Cinderella's Royal Table

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 14, 2005

Cinderella’s Royal Table is a one of our family's treats when we come to Walt Disney World. This restaurant is sure to make any little prince or princess’s dreams come true, and maybe even a few big people's, too. How often do you get to dine inside a castle--let alone Cinderella’s castle? This restaurant offers a character breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The entrance for the restaurant is located to the left of the castle, if you looking from Fantasyland. As you enter, you come into this beautiful great room with a giant stone fireplace and huge, vaulted ceilings. There are thrones where you can rest your bum while you wait for your table. You may even get a visit from Cinderella herself.

After your table is ready, you proceed either by elevator or by spiral staircase to the second floor, where the dining area is. It is this gorgeous restaurant where the waitstaff is dressed for the occasion. Don’t worry; you don’t have to be. There are large stained-glass windows all the way around the restaurant that give you views of Fantasyland. If you have children, you may want to request a table close to the window. It will provide entertainment. This restaurant has large, wood-beamed ceilings and linen on the tables, with goblets for water and sodas.

Lunch is significantly cheaper than dinner, but both are amazing. To start, your server provides you with a roll and Mickey Mouse-shaped butter. For my entrée, I had prime rib. I like a good prime rib, and this was good--a perfect cut, not too big or too small, but just right. Then, for dessert, we had a chocolate soufflé cake that was on a white plate, with the castle screened onto it in chocolate. As we cut it open, the chocolate oozed out onto the vanilla ice cream. They have a special fruit punch that comes in a souvenir glass with the logo of the restaurant on it. Really, one of those glasses is worth it.

We have dined here several times, and every time, it is just as amazing. I would recommend it if you have children. We went to the character breakfast one time, and it was jam-packed. For those, go outside the park to one of the hotels. This restaurant does take reservations. I would suggest booking them as soon as you know you are going.

Cinderella's Royal Table at Cinderella Castle
Magic Kingdom
Orlando, Florida, 32830
(407) 824-4321

Cracker Barrell

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 14, 2005

If you are traveling through the South, stop at a few Cracker Barrels. Not just one, but a few. Believe me, you will be happy you did. On our road trip, we stopped at Cracker Barrels in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Orlando, and every time we did, there was something new and wonderful for us to try. They are open from 6am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 6am to 11pm Friday and Saturday.

It’s an old-fashioned restaurant with the best hospitality around. The wrap-around porch has rocking chairs in every size from little bums to big bums to two-people-in-one-chair bums. They have wine barrels that have been converted into checker boards, as well. When you enter the restaurant, you are transported back to the good ol’ days. The country store greets you with wonderful treasures of your youth, from clothes to knick-knacks to foods. They also have a great book-on-tape lending library for your road trip. You pick it up at one restaurant and you drop it off at the next. And if you forget and take it home with you, you can just mail it back. It is probably one of the very few trusting places around. The staff here was more than helpful. The country store staff will actually look for something if you can’t find it.

The waitstaff, I think, has eaten everything on the menu, and they know it all. The restaurant consists of large booths and tables that could probably hold about eight but only seat four. We have had breakfast and lunch here, and both meals warrant trying dinner next time. For breakfast, I had the Sunrise Sampler. It consisted of two eggs, grits (which I substituted off), gravy (also a 'no' in my book), homemade biscuits, real butter, and preserves, plus fried apples or hashbrown casserole and a choice of sausage, country ham, or bacon. It's enough for really about three people. My husband loved the Country Boy Breakfast, which had your choice of ham, pork chops, or steak, plus all of the above and an extra egg. He loved the biscuits and gravy.

For lunch, I had the Chicken 'n' Dumplin's Platter. It comes with three sides, so I chose the country green beans, which were done just right, the macaroni and cheese, not your normal at-home Kraft but the real stuff, and fried apples, which I didn’t care for, but everyone else did. All this, along with biscuits or corn muffins. Again, my husband loved the chicken fried chicken or just the fried chicken. The desserts looked wonderful, but we never had room. You can’t go wrong with the food here, or the prices. And the best part is that there is no rushing you here. If you are in the South and you have never been, now is your time to go.

P.S. Try the caramels behind the pay counter.

Cracker Barrel Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel
700 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130
(504) 613-2330

Universal Studios Island of Adventure

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kimntrent on December 23, 2004

This is really a two-day park. Everyone had told us it would take only one day, but that's not true. The park rivals Walt Disney World. Island of Adventure is great; with its amazing roller coasters and kids' rides, there's something for everyone. They have pubs and Green Eggs and Ham all under one park's roof. Dividing the two is City Walk. If you want to dine anywhere there, make reservations before the day is over. It is packed at night. Universal Studios is great. Much more detail than the one in Hollywood. This is an awesome park overall.
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Orlando Resort
Orlando, Florida

Daytona USA

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 2, 2005

If you are a racing fan, this is the place to go. Daytona USA is located at the home of the Daytona 500. This is the kickoff to the NASCAR season. What better place to check out the drivers, the cars, and the history. It is perfect for the whole family.

This 60,000 square foot area has several things to entertain you, from a tour of the track and infield of the Daytona race track to the Richard Petty driving experience and to an interactive area where you can ride in the cars, work in the pits, and watch the NASCAR movie. There is a great store to purchase all that NASCAR merchandise that you want and a small café to top it off. It is perfect for the whole family. This year, 2004, they had Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning Daytona 500 car on display directly from the track.

The third NASCAR movie is wonderful. I have seen it twice. They have a NASCAR experience where you get to drive your own race car around the track in your own race against others. Beware of some of the drivers. There are a lot of exhibits dedicated to the great ones, like Richard Petty, as well.

Open Daily 9am to 7pm, except Christmas; there are extended hours during peak seasons.

Cost: Adults, $21.50
Seniors, $18.50
Children (6 to12), $15.50
Children under 6 are FREE
Speedway Tours, $7.50
DAYTONA USA Annual Pass, $49
Richard Petty Driving Experience, $134
All of these tickets can be ordered online at daytonausa.com. Check it out when you are in the area.

Daytona 500 Experience
1801 W. International Speedway Blvd.
Daytona Beach, Florida, 32114
(386) 947-6800

Oak Alley Plantation

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 2, 2005

This plantation is beautiful—one of the most historic places in the area, I think. Set off the Mississippi River, the path of oak trees directs you to a beautiful plantation home, where your tour begins. Inside, you are guided through the various rooms of the actually quite small home. The pictures I have of the inside are from the second floor, looking onto the entryway and the dining area. The cloth contraption you see above is a fan, with which a servant would fan both the flies and heat away during meals. The plantation has a wrap-around porch that provides beautiful views of the grounds. There are also servants’ quarters here, along with a gift shop and blacksmith shop, a small restaurant for a sit-down meal or a quick cafe to-go, and a patio where you can sip a mint julep. The plantation is open for operation seven days a week, except Christmas and Thanksgiving.

November-February: 9am to 5pm
March-October: 9am to 5:30pm
They are usually open from noon to 4pm on New Year's Day. Please call to confirm hours.

Open to all ages; however, I found that children get bored very easily. Think about this before you drag little ones there. We took a tour bus there from the French Quarter, but if you rent a car and drive, I think you will see more. Check it out the next time you are down south.

800/44-ALLEY or ContactUs@OakAlleyPlantation.com

Oak Alley Plantation
3645 Highway 18 (Great River Rd,)
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70090

Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 2, 2005

This was our first year at the International Flower and Garden Festival, and it was amazing. Epcot is all decked out with flowers from all over the world. Below are several pictures of flowers from within the park, just to give you an example of what you will see. This festival runs through May, and both sides of the park participate. On the Future World side, you see various flower exhibits, along with demonstrations. On the World Showcase side, you will see how each country uses flowers in its region. My favorite was France, with its roses. There are flower-power bands that play at the America stage throughout the month. For information on who will be there, check out Walt Disney World's website closer to the time you are going. There are no additional costs to attend this event, just admission to the park.
Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival
Epcot Center, Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World, Florida


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 4, 2005

SpectroMagic is Walt Disney World’s version of the Main Street Electrical Parade. Although it really is very different in style, they carry the same base - lights and night time. For this parade, you must line up about 1 hour in advance. I tend to go on Main Street or back by Splash Mountain, where it will end. This really is the least crowded place. But if you want a great view for the fireworks, then stay closer to Main Street. If these two places are taken, Liberty Square is good. We have sat across from the Liberty Bell.

This parade encompasses all of the Disney magic. The characters are decked out in nighttime attire. I have added a few pictures so you can see. This parade runs during the warmer times of the year. We saw it last in May, but it runs from about February (Presidents Day weekend) to the end of October. Check park schedules before you go. Also before you go, you can always check on Disneyworld’s Web site. The music is very catchy. I find myself singing it even after the parade. It is perfect for the whole family.

**Tip: If you are going to E-ride nights, go see SpectroMagic and then head back to the bridge to the Splash Mountain/Big Thunder area to watch the fireworks. Then enjoy E-ride nights from there. There are less people to fight with when the E-ride nights start.**

Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World, Florida


Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 25, 2005

Are you looking for something to do when it rains or is cold or is way too hot and humid? Yes, in Florida, it does it all. Well, here you have spent all this money on tickets, so get you into everything. Have you really gone to everything? Many people forget about DisneyQuest, an Indoor Interactive Theme Park on Downtown Disney’s West Side. Why would you want to go there when there is so much to do everywhere else? To start, your tickets usually include it. If you have a flex pass or an annual pass, then 9 times out of 10, it does. After all of the parks close, this is a great place to go. They have the best burger in Walt Disney World at their café. It is called Foodquest and is located on the top floor, a division of the Cheesecake Factory. Yes, they do have the best cheesecake too. Here you can sit in Alice in Wonderland's dining area and enjoy a bite to eat before spending the night having a blast. This place is perfect for all ages. There are I-remember-when games like skee ball and Ms. Packman in their free arcade area. Then, a floor below it, they have an arcade area that costs extra because you get tickets towards prizes. All of the interactive rides here are included in the price of admission. For those who don’t have it included in their tickets, it is anywhere from $28 to $34, depending on your age.

There are well over 10 interactive areas. To get there, the genie from Aladdin takes you on an adventure in his elevator to the first floor of fun. We usually go from there in another elevator to the top and work our way down. Although these are not all of them, these are the areas I would not miss. There will probably be lines, but they are not very long.

Pirates of the Caribbean – Battle for Buccaneer Gold. It is an interactive game where you put on a headpiece and one person drives while others in your group fire cannons at buccaneers and their ships to race for gold. We did this several times over. Every time, it turns out differently. Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters is awesome. This is a ride where you get in two-person bumper car vehicles. It is easier with two, but you can ride single. While one person is driving, the other person takes the cannonballs that you drive over and load them into the blaster. Then you aim them at other cars. If you hit a target then the car goes spinning out of control.

These are only a few of the rides to go on. You can take a Jungle Cruise, build a roller coaster and ride it, and become an animator. All it takes is imagination.

Tip: In Alice’s Café, there are computers where you can check your personal home email for free.

DisneyQuest Interactive Theme Park
1486 East Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830
+1 407 828 4600

E-Ride Nights

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kimntrent on January 25, 2005

If you want something that very few people can get, try E-Ride Nights. It is available at the Magic Kingdom and is a special after-hours event held on select nights throughout the month. Nights vary from month to month. This event does cost extra from your admission to the park. It is $12.72 for adults and $10.60 for children ages 3 to 9. The great part of this is that you must be staying at a resort hotel to get in. No off-site, no day-trippers allowed. The tickets are very limited--I think there are only 5,000. The park is open rain or shine for this event. You must purchase your tickets at your resort, so either do it the night before or first thing in the morning. What do you get? Well, you get all the E ride attractions. Not E-ticket rides, but E rides. Attractions usually included are: Big Thunder Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Haunted Mansion, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain.

Here’s how it works: After 4pm on the day of the E ride night you can trade your ticket for a wristband. There are several locations where you can do this. We found the shortest line to be at Space Mountain in their arcade. After you get your wristband, you are worry-free for the rest of the night (3 hours after the park closes). When the park closes, you will go up to one of these rides and show them the wristband and head to the ride. No waiting in long lines.

Tip: If you have someone who is not going to go on rides, I have found that they are able to stay with you without a wristband. So grandma, who is there to watch your little one instead of baby-swap, will not get kicked out. We have done this several times, and now it is a not-to-miss for us. It’s like having the park all to yourself. There are food vendors open also during this time. Not all of them, but some of them. One of my favorites is the Nestle Bakery on Main Street. You get a warm chocolate chip cookie, a glass of milk, and park your bottom right in the middle of Main Street USA. No matter how hard you try this is the only time you will get to sit right in the middle of Main Street USA. Or walk right down the middle of it, too.

Another Tip: The best starting point we found was back by Thunder Mountain. So we watched the fireworks from the bridge to Thunder Mountain; then, after the park closed, we were not fighting with people leaving to go in. After you are all tired out from this, buses are outside, waiting to take you to your bed. If you have the extra money to spend, I would suggest doing this.

E-Ride Nights
Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World, Florida

How to enjoy a road trip

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by kimntrent on December 23, 2004

This road trip was amazing. I highly suggest that everyone take one in their lifetime. We flew into New Orleans and stayed there for three days. From New Orleans, we rented a van from Alamo. We took I-10 through to Biloxi, then drove down to Biloxi on the the beachfront and stopped at a Waffle House for breakfast. The casinos there are amazing. From Biloxi, we went back up to I-10 and drove over Mobile Bay before turning down to Robertsdale in Alablama. There we stopped at Sonic Drive-In for a snack. From there, we drove the Gulf Highway to Panama City, turned in our van there, and rented two cars from Avis (no drop-off fees in Florida). We drove to Jacksonville, where we ate at a Cracker Barrel. From there, we headed to St. Augustine, and the next day, we drove to Daytona to go to the speedway and take their tour. Then it was back to St. Augustine that night. After St. Augustine, we drove the Atlantic to Daytona again and inland to Orlando. We went to Universal Sudios Island of Adventure (really a two-day park). The next day, we drove into Walt Disney World for a week. Then, from Orlando, we flew home. One piece of advice: most airlines consider it to be a round-trip even if you are arriving and departing from two different cities.


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