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12 Things You Must Do On Every Trip To Walt Disney World

Each and every trip to Walt Disney World is a magical experience for every guest. The vacation destination is filled with endless opportunities to have fun including four theme parks, two water parks, over two dozen Disney Resorts, and Disney Springs. With so much to do and see, guests can sometimes be overwhelmed trying to figure out which experiences are the absolute must dos. Some guests prefer to enjoy thrilling experiences and quick service meals whereas others may enjoy more classic attractions and full service dining locations. No matter what style a guest chooses for their Disney vacation, there are certain experiences that simply cannot be missed. From wonderful attractions and areas in the theme parks to memory making opportunities and nighttime shows, there are plenty of experiences that are must dos. Here are twelve things that guests simply must do on every Walt Disney World vacation.

1. Take A Photo With Cinderella Castle

Perhaps the most recognizable building in all of Walt Disney World can be found at the end of Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. Cinderella Castle invites guests into the park with beautiful architecture and soaring turrets. No visit to Walt Disney World is complete without taking a few moments to simply enjoy the view of Cinderella Castle as well as taking a picture in front of it.

2. Conquer the Magic Kingdom Mountains

While the Magic Kingdom is home to plenty of classic and beloved attractions, it also features several thrilling experiences that form their own mountain range. Guests who spend time in the park love to conquer the Magic Kingdom mountain range on each visit. Splash Mountain in Frontierland brings guests on a soaking journey with Br’er Rabbit as goes in search of more adventure. Right next door is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which brings guests on a daring expedition through the mining town of Tumbleweed. The final mountain in the Magic Kingdom is Space Mountain in Tomorrowland which invites guests into the intergalactic space hub Starport 75 before blasting them off on an unforgettable journey through space.

3. Happily Ever After

Fireworks have always been the perfect way to wrap up a day at Magic Kingdom! Happily Ever After Fireworks has replaced Wishes, but has thankfully lived up to the 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!

4. 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.

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5. Spaceship Earth

Epcot is home to many attractions that guests love, but one of the most recognizable is Spaceship Earth. The attraction is housed in a unique structure found just inside the main entrance to the park and brings guests on a journey that celebrates the history of communication from the beginning of time to modern day. With interactive elements and a glimpse into guests’ unique futures, Spaceship Earth is a must do.

6. World Showcase

The rear half of Epcot is home to World Showcase which features eleven different pavilions that each celebrate a country from around the world. Guests who spend time wandering the pavilions can enjoy unique architecture, dining, history, culture, entertainment, and shopping that will make them feel as though they have truly traveled half way around the world. With countries such as Mexico, China, France, Japan, Canada, and Morocco, guests are sure to love spending lots of time enjoying the beauty of World Showcase.

7. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

Each night in Epcot comes to a close with a wonderful show on World Showcase Lagoon. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth tells a wonderful story that combines music, pyrotechnics, fireworks, special effects, laser lights, and a massive spinning globe. Guests can enjoy the show from all around World Showcase Lagoon and it is the best way to end any day in Epcot.

8. 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!

9. Fantasmic!

Once night falls, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to a wonderful show that features Mickey who imagines an epic battle between good and evil. Fantasmic! is held in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater and combines classic Disney characters and music, pyrotechnics, special effects, wonderful music, dancing water, and projected animation for an experience that simply cannot be missed.

10. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Disney’s Animal Kingdom aims to bring guests up close and personal with nature and its inhabitants, and one of the most popular experiences is Kilimanjaro Safaris. The attraction invites guests into the Harambe Reserve for a two week safari that offers up close experiences with animals like lions, cheetahs, giraffes, elephants, and rhinos. Guests can enjoy Kilimanjaro Safaris both during the day and once the sun has set and each experience is totally unique thanks to the live animals.

11. Festival of the Lion King

Found nearby Kilimanjaro Safaris is a wonderful show that cannot be missed on any trip to Walt Disney World. The Festival of the Lion King is held in the Harambe Theater and brings the story of the classic Disney animated film The Lion King to life. Guests can enjoy acrobatics, fire dancing, aerial ballet, and familiar characters and music for an experience that is unforgettable.

12. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular

It doesn’t matter if you are a Star Wars nerd or not – Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular is the perfect way to close out a night at Hollywood Studios! Watch as the Chinese Theater turns into a huge screen for a 14-minute show full of high-definition projection surrounded by lasers, fire, incredible music and sound effects, and of course – the sky lights up with awesome fireworks! It’s an unforgettable Hollywood Studios moment!

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.