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The Ultimate Walt Disney World Experience Checklist – 10 Things You Must Do!

Every Walt Disney World vacation is a magical one and whether guests are visiting for the first or hundredth time, there are certain experiences that they must have. With four theme parks, two water parks, dozens of Disney Resorts, and Disney Springs, there are endless experiences to have including attractions, dining, shopping, entertainment, and relaxation. With so many amazing things to see, guests should be sure to narrow their must do lists down to make sure that they get to enjoy their top experiences while on vacation. While every guest has their favorites, there are some experiences that must be enjoyed no matter what on each Disney vacation. Here is the ultimate Disney experience checklist with ten things all guests must do on each trip to Walt Disney World!

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10. The Mountains –

Guests who visit Walt Disney World definitely need to make conquering the mountains a must do on their experience checklist! There are five mountains to conquer throughout Walt Disney World, and guests need to be brave to experience them all! Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland invites guests on a soaking journey with Br’er Rabbit as he searches for more adventure and ends up plunging into the Briar Patch below. Right next door to Splash Mountain is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which brings guests into the mining town of Tumbleweed for the wildest ride in the wilderness through caverns and sharp turns. In the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train which allows guests to enter into the mines where the dwarfs work and even spot Snow White and the Evil Queen. Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom is home to Space Mountain which rockets guests into deep space in near darkness for a thrilling journey through the stars. The final mountain of Walt Disney World is located in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Expedition Everest invites guests into the Forbidden Mountain where they find themselves desperately trying to escape the clutches of the fabled Yeti.

9. Haunted Mansion –

One of the most beloved and classic attractions in Walt Disney World is the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. Guests who are brave enough to experience the attraction pass through an interactive graveyard before entering into Gracey Manor which is home to nine hundred and ninety nine happy haunts. Throughout the experience, guests encounter Madame Leota hosting a séance, a swinging party of ghosts in the main ballroom, eerie hallways where doors move of their own accord, and a murderous bride named Constance.

8. Pirates of the Caribbean –

Located in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom is an experience which brings guests to the high seas to sail with swashbuckling pirates! Pirates of the Caribbean brings guests on an epic journey through eerie caves, pirate battles, and a burning seaside town which is being ransacked by the pirates. Featuring the classic song “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” guests are sure to love this experience and return time and time again.

7. Toy Story Mania –

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to an attraction which allows guests to shrink down to the size of toys and indulge in some healthy competition. Toy Story Mania invites guests into a midway extravaganza featuring several 3D midway games hosted by Woody, Buzz, and the Toy Story gang. Guests get to shoot at different targets including balloons, plates, and little green aliens while trying to score as many points as possible and claim bragging rights.

6. Soarin’ –

One of the most popular attractions in Epcot can be found on the lower level of The Land Pavilion. Soarin’ takes guests on a hang gliding adventure over beautiful sights all around the world including the Matterhorn, the Great Wall of China, Iguazu Falls, and Epcot. Guests simply love the experience of hang gliding over these beautiful places without ever leaving Epcot!

5. Spaceship Earth –

A classic attraction which is a must do on any Walt Disney World vacation is Spaceship Earth in Epcot’s Future World. The attraction is housed inside a giant geodesic sphere that is decked out in thousands of futuristic silver triangles. Guests who enjoy the attraction travel from the beginning of time to modern day to celebrate the history of communication by passing through scenes depicting big moments in history like the burning of Rome, the Renaissance, and man landing on the moon.

4. Kilimanjaro Safaris –

A quintessential experience that every guest must have while enjoying Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Kilimanjaro Safaris. The attraction invites guests on a two week safari inside the Harambe Reserve where guests can have up close encounters with animals like giraffes, elephants, zebras, lions, and hippos. Each visit to Kilimanjaro Safaris is completely unique thanks to the live animals, so guests should try and visit more than once on each Disney vacation!

3. Happily Ever After Fireworks –

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!

2. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth –

Each day in Epcot is brought to an end by a showing of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. World Showcase Lagoon comes to life with the performance which combines laser lights, pyrotechnics, dancing water, fireworks, beautiful music, and a giant globe to gather guests around the fire as one. The show is an amazing way to end a day spent enjoying Epcot and definitely can’t be missed on a Walt Disney World vacation.

1. Fantasmic! –

On select nights, Disney’s Hollywood Studios plays host to Fantasmic!, an amazing show that is very popular with guests. The show invites guests into Mickey’s imagination where a battle between good and evil is raging. Special effects, live acting, Disney characters, dancing water, pyrotechnics, projected animation, a massive dragon, and beautiful music are used to tell an amazing story which can’t be missed while visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios 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.