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10 Walt Disney World Experiences We Can’t Live Without

Every guest has a favorite experience that simply must be enjoyed on each Walt Disney World vacation. From a favorite thrilling attraction to a favorite nighttime show, certain experiences are so amazing that they can’t be missed. These experiences scattered throughout the four theme parks are what keep guests returning to Walt Disney World time and time again and each features amazing details, music, and stories that make them so memorable. No Disney guest should have to live without these unique and entertaining experiences, and they should be experienced at least once each vacation. Here are the ten Disney experiences guests can’t live without.

10. Haunted Mansion

No attraction in Walt Disney World is as beloved as the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. The attraction is housed in an impressive manor house on the top of a hill surrounded by eerie and interactive graveyards. Once inside, guests are greeted by the disembodied Ghost Host who narrates their tour through Master Gracey’s home filled with nine hundred and ninety nine happy haunts. The Haunted Mansion is full of special effects and eerie ghosts including Madame Leota, Constance the murderous bride, and a graveyard full of partying spirits. The attraction culminates with hitchhiking ghosts who directly interact with guests and threaten to follow them home.

9. Pirates of the Caribbean

Another classic attraction in the Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland invites guest to set sail for an adventure with swashbuckling pirates. Pirates of the Caribbean brings guests through eerie caves directly into the heart of a burning seaside village that is being ransacked by the rambunctious pirates. Within the humorous scenes, guests can spot Captain Jack Sparrow from the popular film series of the same name and sing along to the classic song “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me).”

8. Spaceship Earth

Guests who visit Epcot are greeted by Spaceship Earth before even entering inside the gates. Housed in a massive geodesic sphere covered in thousands of futuristic silver triangles, the attraction is a must do in the park. Once inside, guests board Time Rovers and travel from the beginning of time to modern day to celebrate the history of communication. Along the way, guests pass through scenes depicting important moments in history like the invention of the printing press, the burning of Rome, man landing on the moon, and the Renaissance. Guests especially love the narration by Dame Judi Dench and the interactive questionnaire at the end which produces a cartoon depicting their future.

7. Pandora – The World of Avatar

Pandora – The World of Avatar is the newest land in the Animal Kingdom theme park. Besides the floating mountains and cascading waterfalls, you will find two extremely popular attractions known as Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Outside of these two attractions, the land is almost like an attraction itself with stunning beauty and ability to interact with guests… especially as it glows at night with glowing walkways and on the unbelievable glowing Pandoran plants.

6. Toy Story Land

Get ready to shrink down to the size of toy while having a blast in Andy’s backyard! Toy Story Land is open at Hollywood Studios and we for one can’t get enough of the fun atmosphere and incredible attractions. The “oldie” but goodie in the land, Toy Story Mania, is still as popular as ever with it’s 3D, arcade style ride. Slinky Dog Dash however is stealing the spotlight! Slinky Dog Dash is a family-friendly coaster where Slinky Dog takes guests on dips and turns throughout Andy’s backyard. After the coaster, get your Alien fix! That’s right, the little green Aliens from Toy Story have their own attraction known as Alien Swirling Saucers. Smooth spins and turns make for a fun attraction that we dare you not to smile on! Outside of these attractions, Woody’s Lunch Box is a great quick-service option with tasty eats. Take in the sights and sounds of the land as you let your inner child out to play!

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5. Festival of the Lion King

The Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to a live show which is sure to amaze every Disney guest. The Festival of the Lion King is housed in the Harambe Theater and retells the classic story of The Lion King through song, dance, aerial ballet, fire dancing, familiar characters, and acrobatics. Guests are sure to find themselves singing along to favorite songs and being amazed by the wonderful performers. The Festival of the Lion King is a must do while in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but guests should consult a times guide as it is only performed several times a day.

4. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Also located in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is an attraction which brings guests directly into the Harambe Reserve for a two week safari. Kilimanjaro Safaris brings guests through the forests and savannah of Africa for up close encounters with animals like elephants, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, flamingos, and hippos. Guests are sure to have amazing glimpses of the animals and want to return time and time again for completely unique experiences thanks to the unpredictable nature of live animals.

3. Happily Ever After

No visit the Walt Disney World or the Magic Kingdom is complete without enjoying a showing of Happily Ever After. The nightly show occurs directly on Cinderella Castle and high in the skies above it. It features an overhead flight by Tinkerbell, mind blowing fireworks, and a castle projection show set to music from your favorite Disney films. Those looking for the best views of Happily Ever After should line up early on Main Street or book a Dessert Party for the special viewing area in the Castle hub.

2. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

Each night in Epcot ends with the wonderful Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. The show takes place on World Showcase Lagoon and gathers guests around the fire to enjoy pyrotechnics, dancing water, laser lights, fireworks, and a massive rotating globe. No guest should miss Illuminations: Reflections of Earth and while there are many amazing viewing spots around World Showcase Lagoon, guests should choose a spot at least an hour before the show begins to guarantee a great view.

1. Fantasmic!

Select nights in Disney’s Hollywood Studios feature a wonderful performance in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater on Sunset Boulevard. Fantasmic! invites guests into Mickey’s imagination where a battle between good and evil is raging. Guests can enjoy a combination of special effects, pyrotechnics, Disney characters and music, a massive dragon, projected animation, and dancing water while being swept away by the story. Since Fantasmic! is so popular, guests should line up to enter into the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at least an hour before show time to guarantee a seat.

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first started visiting Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of that trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning all about the history and small details of the parks and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival each fall. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York and spends her time counting down the days to her next trip.