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10 Essential Experiences You Must Have At Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is the perfect vacation destination as it is spread out over a massive amount of property and home to four theme parks, two water parks over two dozen Disney Resorts, and Disney Springs. Each of these locations is filled to the brim with attractions, entertainment, dining, shopping, recreation, and more making it the perfect vacation for any guest. While there are plenty of guests who absolutely love Walt Disney World and visit time and time again, there are also many guests that don’t have that luxury and can only visit once every few years if that. Guests who are headed to Walt Disney World for the first time might be overwhelmed by the amount of experiences to enjoy, but there are some things that are so amazing that they cannot be missed. From wonderful attractions to nighttime spectaculars that are sure to thrill everyone, there are special experiences that each guest must enjoy. Here are the ten essential experiences guests must have in Walt Disney World.

1. Haunted Mansion —

The Magic Kingdom is home to some of the most beloved experiences in Walt Disney World including an eerie one that resides in Liberty Square. The Haunted Mansion invites guests into an impressive manor home where nine hundred and ninety nine happy haunts cause all sorts of supernatural occurrences. Throughout the journey, guests take a scenic tour of the house and encounter many different memorable characters including Madame Leota, Constance the bride, and the disembodied Ghost Host. The thrilling culmination of the Haunted Mansion features three hitchhiking ghosts sitting with guests in their Doom Buggies and following them home!

2. Pirates of the Caribbean —

Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom is home to an attraction that brings guests on a thrilling adventure on the high seas. Pirates of the Caribbean brings guests into the Castillo del Morro where they board boats and set sail. After moving through eerie caves, guests find themselves in the middle of a raging battle complete with cannon fire. The seaside village that is being ransacked then comes into view and guests can enjoy all sorts of swashbuckling antics while trying to spot Captain Jack Sparrow.

3. Magic Kingdom Mountains —

The Magic Kingdom is home to a quartet of thrilling attractions that are each found on a mountain. Splash Mountain in Frontierland brings guests on a soaking journey with Br’er Rabbit who sets off in search of more adventure. While on his journey, he is constantly evading capture by Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear and guests join his as he plunges down a thrilling drop into the Briar Patch below. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is located right next door to Splash Mountain and brings guests on a wild journey through the mining town of tumbleweed. With lots of twists, turns, and drops, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the wildest ride in the wilderness! New Fantasyland is home to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train which has guests board mine carts that swing from side to side as they journey across the whole mountain. Guests even get a glimpse into the mine where the Dwarfs work and a million diamonds shine! The final mountain in the Magic Kingdom is Space Mountain in Tomorrowland where guests can blast off into the thrilling darkness of space on a journey that is totally out of this world.

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4. Soarin’ Around the World —

Many guests love to explore Epcot thanks to its unique attractions and World Showcase. Future World is located in the front of the park and is home to The Land Pavilion which features a very popular attraction on its lower level. Soarin’ Around the World brings guests on a high flying adventure that makes them feel as though they are hang gliding over some of the most beautiful locations in the world. Guests can dangle their feet over locations like the Great Wall of China, Mount Kilimanjaro, Monument Valley, Iguazu Falls, the Taj Mahal, and Sydney Harbor.

5. Frozen Ever After —

The Norway Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase is home to another very popular attraction that brings a popular Disney animated film to life. Frozen Ever After brings guests into the kingdom of Arendelle where Anna and Elsa live. The sisters are throwing a summer celebration and guests are invited to sing along with them and other favorite characters like Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, and the trolls. The highlight of Frozen Ever After is when Elsa can be found on her ice castle balcony belting out the classic song “Let It Go.”

6. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror —

Disney’s Hollywood Studios brings the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to life through wonderful experiences that bring classic films and television to reality. One of the most popular attractions in the park is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror found at the end of Sunset Boulevard. The attraction is housed in the Hollywood Tower Hotel which was abandoned years ago after five guests were struck by lightning in their elevator and trapped inside The Twilight Zone. Guests soon find themselves headed for the same fate as they board a service elevator and ascend into the unknown.

7. 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!

8. Kilimanjaro Safaris —

Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings the beauty of nature to life through wonderful attractions and entertainment. Kilimanjaro Safaris is located in the Africa section of the park and is a favorite attraction of many guests as it invites them to embark on a two week safari in the Harambe Reserve. Guests can have up close and personal experiences with animals like giraffes, cheetahs, lions, elephants, hippos, rhinos, and more on this wonderful experience that can’t be missed!

9. Avatar Flight of Passage —

The newest area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Pandora – The World of Avatar. The beautifully themed land brings the world of Avatar to life through otherworldly vegetation, floating mountains, and an attraction that is insanely popular with guests. Avatar Flight of Passage invites guests to genetically link to a Na’vi and partake in a rite of passage by riding on the back of a banshee. The thrilling attraction has guests board special bikes and enjoy a gorgeous journey through the world of Avatar. With lengthy wait times, guests who want to enjoy Avatar Flight of Passage should definitely plan on booking a FastPass!

10. Happily Ever After —

Once night falls in the Magic Kingdom, the skies over Cinderella Castle are lit up with beautiful fireworks as part of the nighttime entertainment. Happily Ever After showcases the wonder of having a happy ending by combining special effects, projections onto Cinderella Castle, favorite characters and music, and beautiful fireworks. Happily Ever After is the perfect ending to any day in the Magic Kingdom and is an essential experience for every guest.

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.