10 Non-Negotiables For A Walt Disney World Vacation


A Walt Disney World vacation is fun from the moment guests pass through the gates onto property to the last glimpse of Cinderella Castle. With four theme parks, two water parks, over a dozen Disney Resorts, and Disney Springs there is something for every guest to enjoy at each moment of a Disney vacation. With so many amazing experiences to be had, guests can sometimes feel overwhelmed when trying to decide what things they absolutely must do. Whether they are fans of classic attractions like Peter Pan’s Flight or thrilling experiences like The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, there is something for each guest to love. However, no matter what a guest’s favorite experience is there are some non-negotiables for a Walt Disney World vacation. There are the experiences that are so amazing and unforgettable that they simply can’t be skipped. Here are ten non-negotiables for a Walt Disney World vacation.


10. Haunted Mansion –

One of the most beloved attractions in all of Walt Disney World can be found in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square and is sure to spook even the bravest of guests. The Haunted Mansion invites guests to pass through an interactive graveyard and into Gracey Manor where they can experience nine hundred and ninety nine happy haunts. Guests move through eerie scenes, meet unforgettable characters like Madame Leota and Constance the Bride, and even pick up a hitchhiking ghost. No visit to Walt Disney World is complete without visiting the Haunted Mansion at least once.

9. Pirates of the Caribbean –

Also found in the Magic Kingdom is an attraction which allows guests to channel their inner Davy Jones and take to the seas as swashbuckling pirates. Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland brings guests through eerie caves, past ship wrecks and skeletal mermaids, and eventually into a burning seaside village being ransacked by the pirates. Along the way guests can glimpse Captain Jack Sparrow and enjoy amazing effects and the catchy theme song “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me).”

8. The Mountains –

Guests who are looking to experience thrills in Walt Disney World cannot miss the opportunity to conquer the mountains. The Magic Kingdom is home to four mountainous attractions and a final one can be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland invites guests on an adventure with Br’er Rabbit which culminates in a thrilling drop down into the Briar Patch. Located right next door is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which brings guests into the mining town of Tumbleweed for the wildest ride in the wilderness through eerie caves and caverns. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland allows guests to gently sway from side to side in mine carts as they explore the mines where the Seven Dwarfs work. Finally in the Magic Kingdom is Space Mountain in Tomorrowland which blasts guests off into outer space for a thrilling journey in near darkness. The final mountain of Walt Disney World can be found in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Expedition Everest begins as a slow tea train tour but soon takes a turn as guests find themselves deep inside the Forbidden Mountain trying to escape the fabled Yeti.

7. Spaceship Earth –

No visit to Epcot is complete without enjoying a ride on Spaceship Earth located just inside the park’s main entrance. Spaceship Earth brings guests from the beginning of time to modern day to celebrate the development and history of communication. With scenes depicting man landing on the moon, the burning of Rome, and the Renaissance, guests can feel as though they have traveled through history before disembarking.


6. World Showcase –

The entire rear of Epcot is home to World Showcase which features eleven different pavilions each focused on a specific country. With pavilions including Morocco, Mexico, China, and Canada, guests can explore each area and enjoy architecture, culture, history, cuisine, and shopping unique to that country. A highlight of World Showcase is also the food as each pavilion is home to at least one full service dining location that serves up delicious and unique options.

5. Toy Story Mania

One of the most popular attractions in all of Walt Disney World shrinks guests down to the size of a toy in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Toy Story Mania in the Pixar Place section of the park brings guests into the world of toys and brings them through a series of 3D midway games hosted by Woody, Buzz, and the gang. With interactive components and a healthy dose of competition, guests love returning to this entertaining attraction time and time again.

4. Kilimanjaro Safaris –

Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrates the beauty of nature and the environment and teaches the importance of protecting them. The flagship attraction of the park is Kilimanjaro Safaris which invites guests on a two week safari in the Harambe Reserve. Guests can board safari vehicles and enjoy unique encounters with animals including giraffes, zebras, elephants, lions, and cheetahs. Since the animals are free roaming, guests are sure to have a completely different experience each time on Kilimanjaro Safaris, making it a must do attraction on a Disney vacation.

3. Happily Ever After –

No day in the Magic Kingdom is complete without a showing of Happily Ever After at night which is a beautiful display of fireworks, lasers, projection, music, and storytelling. With 18-minutes of “heart, heroism, and humor”, Happily Ever After will send you on your way with your own “happily ever after” ending to an unforgettable Magic Kingdom day. Some of the best viewing spots can be found on Main Street and guests should definitely not miss this amazing show!

2. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth –

Each day in Epcot is culminated with an amazing performance that symbolically gathers guests around the fire. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth occurs on World Showcase Lagoon and combines fireworks, pyrotechnics, laser lights, dancing water, and beautiful music to share a story of unity. Guests can find great viewing spot all around World Showcase Lagoon but should plan on arriving at least an hour before the show begins as it is very popular.

1. Fantasmic! –

On select nights in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests can enjoy an amazing performance housed in the massive Hollywood Hills Amphitheater. Fantasmic! brings guests into Mickey’s imagination where an epic battle between good and evil is raging. The story combines special effects, Disney music and characters, pyrotechnics, dancing water, projected animation, and one massive dragon for an unbelievable show that simply can’t be missed on a Walt Disney World vacation.

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.