The Magic of Disney - A Guide to the World

As a former Walt Disney World cast member and now a very frequent visitor, I want to share some of my absurdly extensive knowledge (some might say obsession) of the Mouse's World. Check back for frequent updates, as I visit WDW regularly and will have new things to add.


The Magic of Disney - A Guide to the World

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 1, 2005

Disney's talent for storytelling and attention to detail merge to create some of the finest theme parks in the world in Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.



As soon as you step through the gates of any WDW, you are immediately transported to another world. The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney/MGM Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom combine to form one dynamic world.



In the Magic Kingdom, you will find yourself amongst a world of fantasy. In Epcot, you will discover a world of technology, innovations, and cultures. In Disney/MGM Studios, you will be transported into the world of show business, and finally, in Disney's Animal Kingdom, you will go on wild adventures.
${QuickSuggestions} As it is impossible for me to list all of the tips and suggestions that I have for Walt Disney World, please don't hesitate to send me a message with a question, as I love talking about Disney!



Resorts - WDW has some of the best-themed resorts you will ever see. I highly recommend staying with Disney on the property. There is a resort for every party and budget.



Admission tickets - If possible, get Park Hopper tickets. These allow you to hop from park to park in the same day. This usually makes it easier to plan what activities/parades to do each day.



Dining - Call 407/WDW-DINE as soon as possible to make priority-seating arrangements for any table-service restaurant.
${BestWay} If you are staying at a Disney resort, take advantage of Disney's new Magical Express service. For the time being, it is free to resort guests. A bus will pick you up at the airport, and another bus will claim and transport your luggage directly to your room, hassle-free!


When going to a park, Disney resorts offer free bus service to all parks all day. They run very frequently. This eliminates any need for a car altogether.


Monorails run between Magic Kingdom and Epcot. They are also available to/from some resorts (Grand Floridian and Polynesian).


Boats also run between parks and resorts. They run to/from Epcot, Boardwalk Hotel, and Disney/MGM Studios.


Disney's All-Star Music Resort

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 8, 2005

The All-Star Music Resort is categorized as a "value" resort. As with all Disney resorts, you will have complimentary transportation to all the parks.

The buildings have larger-than-life icons at their sides. For example, the Calypso building has gigantic maracas. This is fun, especially for kids. Some adults may find them gawdy or tacky.

The rooms at the All-Star Music are a bit tight. A family will fit comfortably, but there is not much extra space. The rooms are boldly decorated consistently with the building in which you are staying (i.e., jazz, Broadway, country, calypso music).

There are two pools--one shaped as a guitar, and another as a piano.

You will find a large food court in the main building. This is extremely convenient for all meals of the day, and everyone will find something that they like to eat.

I always enjoy staying here, as it is a good value and is very convenient.

Disney's All-Star Music Resort
1801 WEST BUENA VISTA DRIVE
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830
407-939-6000

Disney's All Star Sports Resort

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 8, 2005

Disney's All Star Sports Resort is categorized as a value resort. As with all Disney resorts, you will receive complimentary transportation to all the Disney parks.

This is a large resort with numerous buildings. Each building has a different sports theme (cheerleading, baseball, etc.) and is decorated with larger-than-life icons. Kids will love this, but some adults may find it gaudy or tacky.

The rooms are on the small side. A family will fit comfortably, but there is not much ample space. The rooms are boldly decorated, consistent with the theme of its building.

The large food court serves all meals and is extremely convenient. Everyone will find something that they like to eat here.

I enjoy staying at the All Star Sports. It is a great value, and the low-cost food court is very convenient.

Disney's All-Star Sports Resort
1701 West Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830
407-939-5000

Disney's Pop Century Resort

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 31, 2005

Disney's Pop Century Resort is the newest Disney resort to open. It is the latest in Disney's value resorts, averaging $99/night depending on the season.

Pop Century is an over-the-top, but fun, homage to American pop culture throughout the 20th century. In the lobby you will find encased "artifacts" from various decades.

Currently, only Phase I of the resort is complete, the "Classic Years" half. This includes the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. The "early years", the ‘00, ‘10s, ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, are hopefully coming soon. Each building in the classic years is dedicated to a specific decade. With almost 2,900 rooms, these decorations are quite large. I stayed in the ‘50s building, which had a four-story jukebox and stairwells inside of giant bowling pins. You will also hear decade-specific music being pumped into their specific buildings (i.e. "I Think I Love You") in the ‘70s building.

The rooms are not large as most value rooms are not, but they are certainly big enough to be comfortable for a family. Our room actually had a neat view of Spaceship Earth (the big golf ball at Epcot).

There are three pools at the Pop Century. The largest, the Hippy Dippy Pool, is right in the middle of the resort, outside of the main entrance building.

The gift shop and food court are both in an area called Everything Pop in the main building. The food court is open from 6am to midnight, and serves up every meal of the day as reasonable prices.

As with all Disney resorts, transportation to the parks is complimentary. Although you often have to wait a bit for the buses, the Pop Century does not "share" their buses with other resorts (as the All Stars do).

I enjoyed staying at the Pop Century and would certainly do so again. Much of the appeal comes from the fact that it is so new and not yet rundown at all. Also, I found it to be much more colorful, with more attention to detail, than the All Star Resorts.

Disney's Pop Century Resort
1050 Century Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830
(407) 824-2222

50's Prime Time Café - MGM Studios

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 7, 2005

This is one of the best-themed restaurants in WDW. It is located in Disney/MGM Studios.

Like all great Disney attractions, this restaurant has a story to tell. You are treated like a guest to a big family reunion. Your waiter/waitress is your cousin, and Mom is in the back cooking. You are seated at a kitchen table with a small TV playing clips from old shows. Your waiter/waitress will nag you to clean your plate and possibly make a public spectacle of it. (Note that some people don't enjoy this interaction and find it annoying.)

The menu has home-cooking (i.e. meatloaf, pasta, etc.). The food is not outstanding, but it is decent.

This restaurant is a lot of fun for families. I highly recommend making reservations for this restaurant, as it is very popular. While you're waiting to be seated, you can enjoy a drink at Daddy's Lounge just inside.

50's Prime Time Café
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Orlando, Florida, 32830
(407) 939-3463

Chef Mickey's

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 7, 2005

Chef Mickey's is located in the Contemporary Resort and is easily accessible by monorail from the Magic Kingdom.

Chef Mickey's offers a character breakfast and dinner, both of which are buffets. The characters are of the classic kind: Goofy, Donald, Pluto, Minnie, and the main mouse himself, Mickey.

I have never eaten the dinner buffet, but I can tell you that the breakfast buffet is fantastic. There are MANY delicious options, and you can fill up on as many as you like! There is absolutely something for everyone here.

For obvious reasons, kids will absolutely LOVE this place. It is one of the best character dining experiences in WDW. Definitely make reservations for this one.

Chef Mickey's Restaurant
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Orlando, Florida
(407) WDW-DINE

Hollywood Brown Derby

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 7, 2005

The Hollywood Brown Derby is located in Disney/MGM Studios. It is the priciest of restaurants in this park.

As it is fine dining, the menu is very small. I recall five meal options. The portions were above average, and the food itself was excellent (I had the half rotisserie chicken). The atmosphere leaves a bit to be desired.

I don't recommend this restaurant to families, as kids won't have many menu items to choose from and it is expensive. It is, however, a good place for adults.

Brown Derby Restaurant
MGM Studios
Orlando, Florida

L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 7, 2005

Alfredo's is located at the Italian Pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot.

The atmosphere here is intimate and the menu options are plentiful. I have admittedly eaten much better Italian food than this, but it was still enjoyable.

L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante
Italy Pavilion Epcot - World Showcase
Orlando, Florida

San Angel Inn

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 7, 2005

San Angel Inn is the table-service restaurant in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot.

This is one of my favorite restaurants in all of WDW. I believe that it has THE best atmosphere of any restaurant. Although it is indoors, you feel as though you are at an outdoor restaurant with the El Rio de Tiempo (The River of Time) flowing nearby. The music and the lighting add to the intimate/romantic/relaxing ambience.

The food here is outstanding. The portions were large and the quality was excellent. I believe that I had a dish of enchiladas. I just remember it being delicious.

As I said, this restaurant is set for relaxation and even romance. That is not to say that it is also not great for families. I very highly recommend this restaurant to everyone.

San Angel Inn
Mexico Pavilion, Epcot
Walt Disney World, Florida, 32830
(407) 939-3463

Biergarten

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 11, 2005

Biergarten is located in the German Pavilion at Epcot. It is a buffet consisting of various German foods. There were various types of wursts, potatoes, and breads. This is a great place if you enjoy German food. If you are a picky eater, you may not find much that you want to eat, even though it is a buffet. The setting is that of Oktoberfest, and every hour or so, there is live entertainment on the stage.
Biergarten Restaurant
Bavarian Village, Epcot, Walt Disney World
Orlando, Florida
(407) 939-3463

Le Cellier Steakhouse

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 31, 2005

Dinner at Le Cellier is possibly the greatest dining experience I have ever had. The theme here is Canadian, steaks and the like. The decor is intimate, making you feel as though you are dining in a beautiful wine cellar.

We had reservations (highly recommended) and were seated within minutes. Our hostess told us we would be dining in Alberta, Canada, and proceeded to give us some trivia facts about that area, which was neat.

Our server, Claude, came over to introduce himself. Let me tell you, he was an outstanding server that made our experience at least twice as great. See if you can get one of Claude's tables if he's still around (he's on the International College Program). Claude described the menu in appetizing detail.

The dinner menu currently includes:

14-oz NY Strip Steak

Mushroom Filet Mignon

7-oz Filet Mignon

20-oz Grilled Prime Rib-Eye Steak

Herb-crusted Prime Rib

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Free Range Chicken

Canadian King Salmon

Pacific Coast Halibut

Vegetarian Sampler

I ordered the mushroom filet mignon, which was absolutely delicious. It was so tender that I barely needed my knife. It was complemented with wild mushroom risotto that melted in my mouth. I paired the entrée with the St. David's Bench merlot. I'm not a wine expert, but I enjoyed that also.

For an appetizer I enjoyed the Canadian chedder cheese soup (the only item to be on the menu since the restaurant's opening in '82). For dessert I had the maple crème brulee, which was nothing less than heavenly.

Of all the restaurants on WDW property, this is the one that I would recommend highest. Be prepared to spend a little money, but it's worth it.

Le Cellier Steakhouse
Canada Pavilion at Epcot
Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Cinderella's Royal Table

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 31, 2005

Finally! I made it to Cinderella's Royal Table for a meal with the princess characters! For a long while, only the uber-popular character breakfast was offered, but recently, they have made lunch a character dining experience also.

While I was there, we saw Mary Poppins, Aurora, Snow White, Belle, and Cinderella. Lunch is $23.99, which includes a tasting plate appetizer, an entrée, and a pre-selected dessert.

I ordered Major Domo's Favorite Pie, which was "Prime Rib of beef simmered in rich cabernet sauce, served with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables, crowning a light pastry." It was a good portion, and delicious to boot. I wasn't crazy about the dessert, "Blueberry Buckle Cobber with lemon ice cream and finished with creme fraiche." It was refreshing, but I'm a fan of neither blueberry nor lemon.

The interior of the restaurant is spectacular. You will not believe that you are walking THROUGH the infamous castle! The lobby area was occupied by the Fairy Godmother. We climbed the royal looking stairs into the restaurant itself. Make sure to get a good look at the ceiling! It truly looks like a castle from a fairy tale. You may also find yourself sitting next to a gorgeous stained-glass window overlooking Fantasyland.

This is a great dining experience for all ages. Don't hesitate to go to the character dining meals without kids (my friend and I didn't!). However, I do hear that the dinner there is outstanding and sans characters. This place is not to be missed!

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

Boma

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 31, 2005

Boma - Flavors of Africa is a restaurant like no other, so don't let the buffet fool you.

Located in the gorgeous Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boma is decorated by a thatched roof, warm lighting, and vibrant ceiling tapestries. The decor is as colorful, as the various African tastes that beckon you to sample them.

Our VERY knowledgeable dinner server, Maureen, was able to describe the various food options in great detail. When asked about the large selection of African wines, and she suggested I order a "wine flight." Not being an expert on libations, she explained that this would include 3-ounce pours from three various wines. I ordered the "red wine flight," which was only $9 and added up to about 1.5 glasses. The glasses came on a placemat that described their various origins and tastes. All three were quite good, but I really enjoyed the very mild Brampton.

Finally, we were off to attack the buffet. Our goal was to try a bit of EVERYTHING. My taste sensory was truly on overload. Some of the food did have very strong flavors (watch out for the cilantro chili salad dressing! Peanut rice?). I love trying new things, so this was a great experience for me. There are some "neutral" options for those (understandably) less daring (i.e. salmon, rotisserie chicken, and prime rib). There is also a kid’s menu consisting of pasta and meatballs, fries, and chicken strips.

The dessert options are truly out of this world. There was a very large selection. A great thing was that the desserts were in small portions, which maximizes your ability to try as many different ones as possible! The Zebra Domes are the standout favorite, but I don't want to give to much away.

If you enjoy distinct tastes and trying new things, you will love this restaurant, and the price is right.

Boma-Flavors of Africa
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Orlando, Florida, 32830
(407) 939-3463

California Grill

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by BostonChick on September 2, 2005

For many, California Grill is the pinnacle of fine dining in Walt Disney World. Located on the 15th level of Disney's Contemporary Resort, California Grill offers a priceless view of the Magic Kingdom.

I made reservations at 8:20pm, as the "Wishes" fireworks show would be visible from the large restaurant windows at 9pm.

We checked in at 7:30pm and requested a window table. We were told that a window table would be a wait of 1.5 hours after our scheduled reservation. We were also told that just being seated would take 40 minutes beyond our reservation time.

I was in too good a mood to be upset. The hostess suggested that we check out the view on the observation deck. My jaw dropped at the gorgeous views of the Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts. While we were taking loads of pictures, our buzzer went off within minutes of checking in!

We make our way back to the hostess, who seats us at a window table!! Our server Kevin was extremely knowledgeable about the food preparations and wine pairings, as I would expect a server in such a restaurant to be able to do.

The menu changes on a weekly basis. As Kevin did help me "steal" a menu, here is the short list of what was offered as entrées when I dined there.

Wild King Salmon w/Corn Spoonbread Soufflé

Veal Tournedos w/Ricotta Gnocchi

Grilled Pork Tenderloin w/Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta

Black Grouper w/Olive Oil Whipped Potatoes

Wild Mushroom-Ricotta Stack w/Herb Pasta Leaves

Halibut Steamed w/Banana Leaf

Oak-fired Beef Filet w/3 Cheese Potato Gratin

Roasted Petite Chicken w/Cipollini Fondue

For a first course I ordered the Hearts of Romaine Salad, which had a delicious "Green Goddess Dressing." I ordered the Grilled Pork Tenderloin as a main course. It was very tender, and the cheese polenta was so tasty, so I highly recommend it.

At 9pm, the lights in the restaurant dimmed and the music from the "Wishes" fireworks over the castle played through the speakers. Watching the fireworks 15 floors high and dining on a decadent meal was just, well, magical. It is Disney, isn't it?

Time for dessert! Kevin told us early in the evening about a certain dessert called "Chocolate and Cherries, Cherries and Chocolate" that would take 45 minutes to prepare. His description of it made my mouth water, so I was quick to order it on his suggestion. Imagine, if you will, a warm chocolate cake tart filled with molten chocolate that is so decadent, you wonder if you could ever eat a "common" Hershey bar again. Where are the cherries you ask? The cake sits on a small pour of cherry puree. But there's more! To go with that warm chocolate, there is a serving of cherry ice cream with chocolate shavings... mmmmmmm!

California Grill is simply an outstanding restaurant. If you and your wallet are up for a little indulgence while in Walt Disney World, consider dining here, as it is certainly memorable. Enjoy!

California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort
4600 North World Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830
(407) 934-7639

Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 22, 2006

The Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review takes place at Pioneer Hall at the Fort Wilderness Resort. Simply take any bus to FW from any park or take the boat from Magic Kingdom.

Hoop Dee Doo is way too much fun, I only wish I had gone long ago. The Pioneer Players put on a really fun and entertaining show, singing interactive songs such as "Oh Susanna!" and "Davy Crocket." This is a fantastic choice for families, as the musical numbers will have everyone on their feet. I was most impressed with the tongue-in-cheek comedy that had the adults in the audience in stitches.

During the show, you are served all-you-care-to-eat grub. This includes cornbread, salad, fried chicken, BBQ ribs, baked beans, corn on the cob, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. It was all delicious. Unlimited beverages (including draft beer, wine, and sangria) are included.

If you are looking to splurge a bit for a filling (but not fancy) meal and a foot-stompin' good time, this is it!

Hoop Dee Doo Review
Wilderness Lodge
Walt Disney World, Florida
(407) WDW–DINE

Magic Kingdom

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by BostonChick on August 9, 2005

The Magic Kingdom is quintessential Disney. As soon as you step through the gates and onto Main Street USA, you are instantly transported to charming early America via magic and fantasy.



Main Street USA

Strolling down Main Street USA, you will find quaint shops (chock-full of all those fun and overpriced souvenirs). My favorite stop on the street is The Confectionery candy shop. I challenge you to NOT go inside after walking by and smelling the sweet fragrance outside the door. The Exposition Hall directly to your right after entering the gates often has a lot of character meet and greets inside, so be on the lookout there. For a quick bite, grab a hot dog at Casey’s Corner, or for a table-service meal, check out Plaza Restaurant. It is located on your right at the corner leading to Tomorrowland. They have great sandwiches at some of the best prices in WDW.



Check out the board at the end of Main Street USA and find out how long the wait times are for your favorite rides. There will be a cast member there updating the times, and they are also available for any questions you might have. Now it’s time to pick a place to start!



Tomorrowland



I usually head to Tomorrowland first. Step forward in time as Tomorrowland shows you a fantasy-like version of the distant future a la Jetsons. It is directly to your right at the end of Main Street USA.



Don’t miss:



Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin - Make sure you grab a FastPass for this popular attraction. In this ride, you will be seated in a two-person vehicle that makes full 360-degree spins at the touch of a joystick. It is as though you are in a video game as you have a laser gun and battle your partner to see who can shoot the most letter Zs (for Zurg of course). A digital screen tallies up your score. This ride is a blast for kids, and adults will enjoy it also.



Space Mountain - Disney’s classic roller-coaster thrill ride. Buckle up as you launch into space (aka pure darkness) on a very twisty track. Every drop will surprise you, as you have no idea what’s coming next! Thrill-seeking kids and adults will enjoy this ride. Make sure you get a FastPass here.



Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress - I beg of you, do not miss this attraction! This attraction was created by Walt himself for the NY World’s Fair in 1964. It is a stage show involving animatronics and a revolving audience. ‘Nuf said, now check it out for yourself.



Fantasyland



In Fantasyland, just behind Cinderella’s castle, you will find yourself in a true land of make believe. This charming land has the most pixie dust.



Don’t miss:

Peter Pan’s Flight - The origin of the sacred pixie dust, Peter Pan. Jump into a flying ship and soar away above England with Peter Pan. This is a true Disney classic. Many people have the same feeling, so make sure to get a FastPass for this one.



It’s a Small World - Recently reopened after extensive renovations (yay!). I will be going on the ride for the first time with the renovations in a couple of weeks. Check back for an update.



Philharmagic - A recent addition to Fantasyland, this attraction is a 4-D movie following Donald Duck’s adventures through various Disney musical memories. Kids and adults will love this sensory experience.



Haunted Mansion - Located just outside Fantasyland in Liberty Square, the mansion ominously beckons your exploration. This is one of the few attractions where you will find the cast members truly playing their role (please move to the DEAD center of the room!). Experience Disney’s mastery in storytelling in this ride.



Frontierland



This land will take you to the Wild West with shooting galleries and saloons. Listen for the background music as you’re walking around; it’s some of my favorite.



Don’t miss:



Splash Mountain - Sometimes I wimp out on this one because I don’t like drops, but if you’re feeling adventurous, I encourage you to try it. The drops (yes, there is more than just one big one) are actually secondary to the storytelling of Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit. This makes it one of Magic Kingdom’s longest rides.



Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - This was my favorite ride as a kid. It’s a bit of a roller coaster minus the drops. The twists and turns here, however, are not to be underestimated.



Adventureland



This is the smallest of lands in MK, but cannot be missed.



Don’t miss:



Pirates of the Caribbean - Possibly THE ultimate classic Disney attraction made even more popular by the recent movie. Again, Disney’s storytelling abilities are showcased as you sail through a pirate village, dodging cannons along the way.


Parades and Shows



Share a Dream Come True Parade - This is the afternoon parade (3pm) that runs from Frontierland, through Liberty Square, and down Main Street USA. This parade was created for 2001’s 100 Years of Magic Celebration. It features various characters/princesses in large snow globe-like floats. If you’ve never seen it before, definitely check it out.



Spectromagic Parade - This parade runs at night from Main Street USA towards Frontierland. It runs depending on the season. During high season, it can sometimes run twice a night, whereas other seasons it only runs twice per week. Check the brochures when you get to MK. I love this parade enough to arrange my Magic Kingdom visits solely when Spectromagic is playing. It is not to be missed. Floats covered in thousands of brilliant lights drive along to some of the most beautiful Disney music.



Wishes Nighttime Spectacular - Magic Kingdom is well-known for having some of the most impressive fireworks shows. Wishes, which replaced Fantasy in the Sky in 2003, is quite a sight. The pyrotechnics in Wishes easily trump those of Fantasy in the Sky. The music is not as strong in my opinion, but who can resist beautiful fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle?



Cinderellabration - This show is in front of the castle and showcases Cinderella’s coronation with all the princesses in attendance. I found it to be a significant improvement from the Cinderella's Surprise Celebration. Cinderella, Belle, Aurora, Jasmine and Snow White are all in attendance in their best ball gowns.



EPCOT

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by BostonChick on September 3, 2005

EPCOT, Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, is a unique park dedicated to discovery, technology, and the unity of nations around the world. In the past few years, Epcot has received some of the best attraction additions, using unparalleled technology.



Future World



Future World is the area located around Spaceship Earth (the big golf ball) and consists of various pavilions. The following are the attractions you should not miss.



Soarin’ - This recent addition to Epcot comes from Disney’s California Adventure. It is located in The Land pavilion. In Soarin’, you are seated in a hang-glider-type swing and are raised up about 20 feet above the ground as your feet dangle below. You face a large IMAX-like screen that shows a gorgeous montage of California scenery. Your hang-glider sways and swoops in sync with your flight. The concept of this ride is fairly basic, but it is just breathtaking. Lines for this have been lengthy, so be sure to grab a Fastpass early in the day.



Mission: SPACE - This attraction is not for the faint of heart. You are seated in a pod-like vehicle with three other people. Each person has a different role in the rocket’s launch (pilot, navigator, commander, etc.). By way of extreme centrifugal force, this ride simulates the force felt in a rocket launch. It is a technological marvel, but be very sure that you are prepared for it.



Test Track - This is the longest ride in Walt Disney World and a great one at that. Ride in a "test car" as it goes through various tests before going on the market. The speed test is the most fun, as your car rides out onto a speedway with hairpin turns reaching up to 65mph.



Spaceship Earth - For me, this is a Disney World classic. Ride inside the infamous "golf ball" as you travel through time, learning about the world’s evolution of communication and technology.



Journey into Imagination with Figment - This ride has been through the gamut of refurbishment, but finally, they got it right. The people wanted lots of Figment, and they got it. This colorful and melodic ride is lots of fun, especially for kids.



World Showcase

The World Showcase is truly unique. Take a relaxing jaunt around the lagoon and visit various countries from around the world. Adding to the atmosphere are the cast members, who are actually natives of each of the countries.



The represented nations include Mexico, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Norway, U.S.A., and United Kingdom.



Shows



At night, EPCOT comes to life with a magnificent celebration of nations, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Grab a spot anywhere around the lagoon and watch an amazing display of fireworks, lasers, fountains, and music.


Disney/MGM Studios

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by BostonChick on September 18, 2005

Enter the world of show business at Disney/MGM Studios. Here you can stroll down nostalgic Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Blvd. This park has some of the best stage shows on property and is home to two of the best thrill rides.



This is my favorite park for nostalgic reasons (I used to work at Fantasmic!). I love the set-up of the various streets, especially Sunset Blvd with that nostalgic Hollywood Babylon feel. The attention to detail at this park is some of Disney’s best.



Here are your ‘must-see’ attractions at the Studios.



The Great Movie Ride - Being a major film buff, this is my favorite attraction in all of WDW. This ride takes you on a journey through some of the most classic movies ever made. You feel as though you’re IN the movies as your tour gets hijacked. Don’t worry, there’s a Hollywood ending.



The Magic of Disney Animation Tour - This tour through the animation studios is approximately 40 minutes long. Take a look at an active animation studio where some of your favorite animated films were made. Any fan of Disney movies will enjoy the video montage shown of classic Disney animation moments.



Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith - In my opinion, this is the best coaster Disney has to offer. It is famous for going 0 to 60 in less than 3 seconds on takeoff, not to mention turning you upside down more than once. Scream away--no one will hear you, as Aerosmith music is blasting into everyone’s ears.



Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - Okay, I have to admit, I don’t do this ride, but I have to include it. I have been on it a few times and never again--I hate drops. This is admittedly a great ride, where you are dropped 13 stories a number of times (you will never know for sure what that number is exactly). The attention to detail in the lobby of the ‘hotel’ is among the most impressive.



Shows and Parades

Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage - A 30-minute stage show showing some of the musical highlights from the movie has live singers. This is a really cute show for kids and fans of the movie (like me!).



Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – Play It! - Sit in the audience of a perfect replica of the original soundstage. Play along as all guests have the opportunity to win a chance in the Hot Seat and win real prizes.



Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show - The latest addition to Disney/MGM Studios, this show has an enormous amphitheatre to match an equally enormous ‘stage’. Professional stunt car drivers perform intense stunts as seen in the movies. It is so impressive that I could hardly keep my eyes open out of fear. Don’t miss this show.



Fantasmic! - This show stands above all others in WDW. It is truly like no other. The outdoor amphitheatre seats 8,500 people in front of a massive mountain that is surrounded by a moat. Words can’t possibly describe this journey into Mickey’s imagination. Guests often leave raving about how amazing the show was.



Stars and Motor Cars Parade - This is a unique parade where various Disney characters are escorted in motor cars that are appropriately themed. The best place to watch is on the stairs of the ABC studio building.


Disney's Animal Kingdom

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by BostonChick on November 5, 2005

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Go on a wild adventure through Asia, Africa and the Jurassic period at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. DAK has some of the best theming in WDW. Who else besides Disney can recreate the African Savannah?


Africa


Kilimanjaro Safaris - Hop aboard an open-air all-terrain safari vehicle and spot a multitude of African wildlife living in their "natural" habitat. Your safari guide will point out and tell you about all the various wildlife. Watch out, there are a lot of bumps!


DinoLand U.S.A.


Dinosaur - One of Disney’s best thrill rides, this ride is bumpy, intense, and scary! Travel back in time to when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Watch out for those carnivores! This ride uses the effect of sound to the brink of its limitations making it quite the sensory experience.


Shows


Festival of the Lion King - In my opinion this is the best show at DAK. Do NOT skip it. Singing, dancing, gorgeous costumes, amazing acrobatics and fire juggling keep the energy high and the audience smiling.


Expedition: Everest


The latest thrill ride in WDW is no disappointment. Standing at just under 200 feet, Everest is an impressive sight. Board a train that twists and turns in and out of the mountain trying to escape the monstrous Yeti. Be prepared for some darkness, backwards turns and one heck of a drop...and watch out for that Yeti!!

Disney's Animal Kingdom
Walt Disney World Resort
Orlando, Florida, 32830
(407) 824-4321

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j45609-Orlando-The_Magic_of_Disney_-_A_Guide_to_the_World.html

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