There are so many things to see and do (and eat!) around the Walt Disney World Resort, that narrowing it all down to a single list, or trip, can be quite difficult. Get started with our must do’s from the list below, and put together your own list as you begin planning your next trip!
1. Rope drop a park
Arriving early at the parks gets you more time in the middle of the magic before the afternoon crowds set in. Rope drop is also a great time to get some photos without lots of people in the background, or even just to stroll down Main Street or toward the Tree of Life without feeling as rushed as you might later in the day. If rope dropping every day of your trip seems exhausting (because it is) plan select days to rope drop- For a midday break you can always spend the afternoon at the pool at your resort!
2. Visit other Disney resorts
Each Disney resort is intricately designed around unique themes that are well worth seeing, especially if you are visiting during the winter holidays when the resorts are decorated for the seasons, or Easter when there are chocolate hand painted eggs on display in many of the lobbies. The easiest way to visit other resorts is through your dining reservations- Spend a meal or two outside of the parks and relax with a dinner at another Disney resort.
3. Eat classic snacks
There are so many classic Disney snacks, it likely isn’t possible to get through everything you’ll want to try in one trip. Whether you do some research and make a list or just see what catches your eye while you’re there, you’re sure to find something for everyone! Some of our favorite snacks include the cheeseburger spring rolls from Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom, Joffrey’s Donuts (which you can find all over the resort) and churros!
4. Plan a signature dining experience
It’s tempting to skip lengthier table service meals just because of the time they take up, but trust us, sometimes relaxing with a nice meal is just what you need in the middle of a theme park trip. Plan a date night at somewhere like Le Cellier in EPCOT, or California Grill at the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, or bring the whole family, perhaps with lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios, or to Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom.
5. See some characters
No Disney trip is complete without characters! Keep an eye out for their appearances around the parks or book a character dining experience to see them. Chef Mickey’s can be the perfect pre-Magic Kingdom breakfast with Mickey and pals, and Garden Grill in EPCOT features characters interacting with you while the restaurant slowly turns through scenes of the Living with the Land ride. Whether you spontaneously stumble upon a character cavalcade or plan a meal with “Chef Mickey,” make sure characters are a part of your trip.
6. Take in a couple of shows
Don’t pass up shows for rides just because they’re shows. Some fan-favorite Disney attractions are actually shows as opposed to rides. In the Magic Kingdom alone, many Guests would recommend the Country Bear Jamboree, Carousel of Progress, and Mickey’s PhilharMagic (we’d add the Enchanted Tiki Room to this list, too!) Festival of the Lion King in Animal Kingdom is continually praised as one of the greatest family shows in Orlando, as well.
7. Do some pin trading
Pin trading is a fun way to build up your Disney memorabilia collection. Trade pins with Cast Members in the parks and focus on collecting pins based on certain series or releases, favorite characters or attractions, or just…whatever you like! Pin trading is lots of fun and especially nice to do at Disney resorts on your days off from the parks.
8. See some animals
You can see animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and EPCOT. While in EPCOT, take the time to explore The Seas with Nemo and Friends to see manatees, seahorses, dolphins and more. It might seem sort of out of the way compared to the rest of the park, but it’s so worth a visit! While in Animal Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safaris is a must-do attraction, as well as the park’s animal walking trails with stops in front of many of the park’s species of animals.
9. Stop for photos
It’s so easy to pass up stopping to take pictures as a family when you have things like Space Mountain to get to, but you’ll be so thankful you stopped when you get home and have the photos! To help make the most of your photos, use Disney’s PhotoPass service by posing for photos at the various PhotoPass locations around the park. You can also purchase Memory Maker (which comes at a cheaper rate if you buy it before you go) to download all your PhotoPass pictures for a lower rate.
10. Start planning your next trip!
It simply isn’t doable to see and do everything in one trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, so if you’re wondering what else to do, well….You could always start planning your next trip! If you had a good time on your vacation the planning process will be fun and you could get to it right away. Plus, Disney sometimes has special offers available for Guests who book their next stay during their current stay.