Walt Disney World offers a dizzying array of vacation options, and it can be hard to know which ones to make time for. Here are 10 WDW experiences everyone should try once. We’ve included a mix of dining experiences, specially ticketed events and magical extras spanning a range of prices, from free to not-so-free, so there’s something for every taste and pocketbook!
10) Victoria & Albert’s
A meal at Victoria and Albert will cost you, but its award-winning cuisine is well worth the splurge. Whether you go all out with the personalized 10-course gourmet meal catered to your tastes, or opt for a simpler, globally-sourced meal in the dining room, you’ll soon discover why it’s hard to find a better restaurant on Walt Disney World property.
9) In-Room Celebrations
Want to make your Disney vacation even more magical? In-room celebrations, though pricey, are great to do once, especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion while at Walt Disney World. You can choose from a variety of Disney characters, holidays, themes, and packages, and when you arrive, your room will be decorated just for you, with souvenirs, goodies, a welcome banner and other fun surprises.
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8) Resort Extras
If you’re looking for something extra-special to do beyond the parks, there are lots of activities available at specific resorts that could fit the bill. Kids and adults alike can try their hand at archery or horse-back riding at Fort Wilderness Lodge, you can rent paddleboats and other watercraft from various resorts, there’s free animal viewing from platforms at Animal Kingdom Lodge, or you can relax with a horse-drawn carriage or sleigh-ride at Port Orleans Resort. The options are endless!
7) Backstage Tour
If you’ve ever wanted to know how animatronics are created, or explore the secret underground tunnel system under Magic Kingdom, or maybe make friends with a dolphin, then you must try a WDW backstage tour! There are a variety of packages spanning all the parks, and whichever you pick, you’ll see locations usually only seen by cast members.
6) Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
This specially ticketed event is an absolute MUST for Halloween lovers. No one does Halloween like Disney, and this event includes special entertainment, a spooky parade led by the Headless Horseman, creepy tunes by the barbershop quartet “Cadaver Dans”, Halloween fireworks, tantalizing seasonal goodies not offered outside of the event, and even trick-or-treating (for kids AND adults)!
5) Cinderella’s Royal Table
If you’re like most Disney fans, you can’t get enough of Cinderella Castle. So you may want to save for a once-in-a-lifetime meal in the iconic castle itself! Cinderella’s Royal Table offers character dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the location is perfectly stunning. You’ll definitely feel like royalty at a table overlooking Fantasyland – and the view of fireworks from within the castle are simply magical.
4) Night Safari
The savanna is a very different experience after dark. Animals are active at night that you may not see during the day, so we highly recommend a night safari! You can splurge on the Animal Kingdom Lodge Starlight Safari, which takes you through the savannas at the resort, or simply hop on board Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom for one of their new nocturnal tours.
3) Memory Maker
We’ve all posed for shots at coveted Photopass photographer locations. Well, imagine being able to download all of your Disney vacation photos (including those taken on rides) to share, save and print as you see fit? Memory Maker allows you to do just that, and while it’s not cheap, it’s definitely worth doing once. You’ll also get fun animated photos and ride videos that no other guests have access to!
2) Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
This must-taste event allows you to savour dishes and wines from all over the world. Dozens of special booths are set up in Epcot’s World Showcase, allowing you to eat and drink around the world! A variety of workshops, events and entertainment are also part of the festival; you’ve never seen, heard or tasted Epcot like this!
1) Christmas Resort Hopping
Resort hopping is one of our favorite things to do outside of the parks, and Christmas time is the best time to do it! Some resorts have massive gingerbread displays during the holidays, with special seasonal treats offered – but all resorts are exquisitely decorated and worth a visit. Our favorites are the Beach Club’s huge, working gingerbread carousel, the Grand Floridian’s life-size gingerbread house. Best of all? This must-try experience is completely free!