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10 Non-Negotiables For Your Next Walt Disney World Vacation

10. Dinner Shows

Walt Disney World has some of the best, and most well done, dinner shows around. If you’re looking for something extra to do with your evening on your next trip, think about heading over to Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground for the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue or the Polynesian Village Resort for Spirit of Aloha. Disney’s dinner shows include all you care to enjoy dinner served family style, and each table gives guests excellent views of the shows.

9. Disney Springs

Disney Springs is a must-do at Walt Disney World, as it is an exciting dining, shopping, and entertainment complex, that is constantly getting new venues. Disney  Springs is the perfect place to spend the evening on a day you’ve spent on the water parks or half days in the parks.

8. Character Dining

Character dining is one of the best ways to meet your favorite Disney characters without spending the extra time waiting in line during your vacation. If you have your heart set on meeting Mickey and the rest of the gang, but the thought of waiting in long lines or taking extra time out of your day to do so doesn’t appeal to you, character dining is definitely a great option.

7. Shows

It’s a no brainer that all of the big rides are non-negotiable, but what about shows? There have been so many occasions where I’ve overheard guests wondering where the rest of the rides are in Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. In addition to all of the animal trails (which are also must-do’s in that park) both these parks have a number of shows in addition to rides. Shows are often overlooked, but are definitely not worth missing. I’d recommend taking a look at the times guide for each park, and planning on going on rides in between shows, especially in a location like Hollywood Studios where many of the shows generally end early.

6. Eat and Drink Around the World

There is nowhere else where you can sample different foods and drinks from countries around the globe all in a couple of hours. World Showcase is so unique in that you can walk from country to country trying all kinds of new things. Just remember that if you drink around the world, you should be eating as well, and having just as much water as you are alcohol.

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5. Resort Hop

Even without staying at the Disney resorts, you are still able to go there and walk around. (Though you cannot use amenities that are reserved for resort guests, such as the pools for instance.) It’s always fun to resort hop, and look around to see the elaborate theming of each of the resorts, and enjoy the shops and restaurants at each one. Resort hopping can also be more fun depending on the time of year. In the spring, head to the Grand Floridian to see the Easter eggs, and during the holidays check out the decorations at each of the resorts.

4. Meet Characters

Regardless of where or how you do it, meeting characters is a non-negotiable for each trip. For me, I try to meet characters I don’t see around on a regular basis, but for some it’s become a tradition to meet certain characters on each trip.

3. Disney Snacks

Disney snacks, at least to me, are an extremely important part of a Disney vacation. I’m talking about the popcorn, turkey legs, Dole whips, churros, and funnel cakes. And don’t even get me started on the snacks in Epcot– troll horns, egg rolls, pretzels, strawberry shortcake…

2. Signature Restaurants

On the topic of Disney food, Walt Disney World is one of the best places to go for an ultimate fine dining experience. Even though it’s just a bit pricier than the rest of the food at the resort, having a meal at one signature restaurant per trip will be well worth it. Dining at a signature restaurant can also be a great way to celebrate a special occasion, like a birthday or anniversary, at Walt Disney World.

1. Magic Kingdom Fireworks

Fireworks have always been the perfect way to wrap up a day at Magic Kingdom! Happily Ever After is a beautiful display of fireworks, lasers, projection, music, and storytelling Magic Kingdom is known for. 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!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.