I’ve been to Disney World twice in my life. Once when I was eight and then again when I was ten. I have been dreaming about going back ever since. The love has become a little more intense lately since I spend a lot of time with my friends who are big Disney lovers. Now I’ve even started following some Disney instagrams (my favourite is Lex – I know we even have the same name).
I’ve been talking a lot more lately with my friends and my mom about how I want to go back. My partner has only been to Disneyland (in California) and I’ve only been to Disney World (in Florida) and we’re both convinced that the one we’ve been to is better.
But since I have been so obsessed lately I thought that maybe others were also dreaming of it. So I talked to my friend Stephen (he also is an amazing baker) and got him to share all of his tips. If you’re planning a trip to Disney or just day dreaming for now like me – you’ll definitely find this interesting.
P.S. Stephen doesn’t work with and is in no way affiliated with Disney (although he’d love to be), he just talks this way naturally because he’s obsessed.
How many times have you been to Disney?
I’ve been visiting Walt Disney World (WDW) in Orlando since I was about 8 or 9 years old. The first time I went, I had broken my arm right before we went. It was a long time after that that we went again, about ten years, spending my eighteenth birthday in the Magic Kingdom. I’ve been to the WDW about ten times, and Disneyland Paris once.
Why do you keep going back?
I keep going back because every time is like the first time, there’s always something new to experience. The parks are updated yearly, whether it’s a new ride, show, character to meet, or restaurant to try. When you go, you truly leave the real world behind, and enter a world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy. No matter how old you are, you believe in magic and fantasy when you enter the park gates. The parks make it possible to believe in that magic while you’re there, that anything is possible and that your dreams can come true if you work and believe hard enough.
If someone has never been to Disney what should they know?
If it’s your first time, the parks can be a bit daunting and confusing. But now there’s the MyDisneyExperience app that makes the whole task of getting though WDW a lot easier. Through it you can buy park tickets, make restaurant reservations, and book fast passes. It also allows you to see ride wait times, character meet locations and schedules, and the different entertainment event times and locations. If you use the app right, you’ll never wait more than half an hour on a line and get to meet everyone that you want to. If you’re traveling from abroad, all the WDW parks have wifi, so there’s no worry that you won’t be able to access the app!
What’s your favourite thing about Disney?
My favourite thine about WDW is the ability to remove yourself from reality. When you’re there, you become a kid again. It’s impossible to be sad while in WDW. The minute you see the castle, meet Mickey, or even put on the ears while on the tram heading to the park gates, reality is left behind and magic and fantasy come to life.
At Disney World, what are the top ten things people should do?
There’s so much to do and see while at WDW.
- The number 1 thing everyone must do is meet Mickey Mouse. It all started with a mouse, and until you meet Mickey it doesn’t feel like you’re in WDW. He’s the gatekeeper to the magic.
- You have to ride the classic rides in the Magic Kingdom, like It’s Small World, Pirates of Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion. These are quintessential Disney rides that have been around since the parks first opened in 1971 and represent Walt’s original plans.
- Don’t worry about dieting while in the parks. You have to have at least one classes WDW snack, like Dole Whip or a Mickey ice cream or pretzel.
- Eating at the Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magical Kingdom. The Be Our Guest Restaurant, part of the 2012-2014 Fantasyland extension of the Magic Kingdom, recreates the ballroom from Beauty and the Beast, allowing you to dine in the Beast’s castle. This is where the MyDisneyExperience app comes in handy. Since you don’t need to purchase park tickets to start booking restaurant reservations, you can book reservations up to 6 months in advance. For the Be Our Guest Restaurant, be sure to book it ASAP, because it’s so popular and booking fills up in that time. If you can’t get a reservation, lunch quick service begins at 10AM, which you don’t need a reservation for. So while you’ll be able to dine in the ballroom, you won’t get the full experience of dinner (like meeting the Beast who only comes out during dinner).
- Watching the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. The fireworks happen every night that the parks are open are the best you’ll ever see.
- Some people find Epcot boring, but it’s my favourite park. You get to experience the world in one day through the World Showcase, which puts on display the best 11 different countries have to offer. Each section of World Showcase is crafted to look like the major landmarks of the county, making it feel like you’re in a piazza in Venice, a Japanese temple, or a Quebec garden.
- Spaceship Earth in Epcot. Spaceship Earth is the ride inside the giant globe in Epcot, and its my favourite ride. It takes you though human history, putting on display our greatest achievements,
- The Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios. This another classic WDW ride that can’t be missed. Though the thought of being dropped form 13 stories up is frightening, you’ll never see the few of WDW that you get from the top anywhere else.
- Expedition Everest in the Animal Kingdom. Another ride for thrill seekers, the wait for this right can be long. But this is the only WDW ride to have a single riders line, so if you’re ok with being split up from your friends, take advantage of that.
- Watch Fantasmic and Illuminations. Fastasmic is the nighttime show at Hollywood Studios and Illuminations the nighttime show at Epcot. Both are fantastic shows that can’t be missed.
What is the most overrated thing about Disney?
The only complaint I have of WDW is the price of the entry tickets. They’ve gone up over years, and will probably continue to go up. But there are discounted prices depending on what time of year you go, so if you can go in the “off season,” the price won’t be so high.
What should people make sure to eat?
Besides the Be Our Guest Restaurant, any of the international restaurants in Epcot. A favourite of mine is Restaurant Merrakesh in the Morocco Pavilion and Chef du France in the France Pavilion. The 50’s Prime Time Diner in Hollywood Studios is another must. This 50’s sitcom inspired restaurants makes you feel like you’re in a classic 50’s home where you have to use proper table etiquette, or else you’ll be sent to the corner.
What should people make sure to buy?
Mickey Ears. Don’t be embarrassed or think you’re too old. If you’re in WDW you MUST wear Mickey ears, it’s part of the experience of letting go and being a kid.
When’s the best time to go?
The early fall in October or early Spring in March. These are off season times, and are typically less crowded. The weather is still hot and you can still enjoy the sun and pool during those times too. July and August are overcrowded and peak times for ticket prices.
Any other tips?
Don’t be afraid of characters. Talk to them and joke with them. You’ll have great conversations full of laughter and surprise if you get into it. When meeting them, remember they are that character, not an actor. Cinderella’s Step Sisters are especially fun.
That’s it! Hopefully you liked this. I’ve been loving interviewing my friends for these posts and I have more of them coming. If you have any Disney related questions for Stephen leave them below! I’ll make sure to get him to answer them and maybe there will even be a follow up post!