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

Credit: Disney Tips

Every guest who travels to Walt Disney World has a set list of traditions and experiences that they must enjoy at some point during their vacation. It could be something as simple as taking a picture in front of Cinderella Castle or something a little more elaborate such as enjoying dinner at a signature restaurant like California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. While these traditions are wonderful, there are certain experiences that are so amazing in Walt Disney World that every guest should enjoy them. From thrilling attractions to classic ones and amazing nighttime entertainment, there are so many incredible experiences that should not be missed. Here is the ultimate Walt Disney World experience checklist with the ten things that every guest should do on a Disney vacation.


1. Magic Kingdom Mountains

The Magic Kingdom is home to a trio of thrilling mountains that each have their own attraction. Space Mountain in Tomorrowland is home to the intergalactic space hub Starport 75 where humans and aliens alike can board rockets and blast off into the thrilling darkness of space for an out of this world journey. Splash Mountain in Frontierland brings guests on a journey with Br’er Rabbit who sets off to find more adventure. Guests board logs and set sail on an epic, but soaking experience that ends in a thrilling drop down Chick A Pin Hill. Also in Frontierland is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which brings guests on a wild ride through the mining town of Tumbleweed on a runaway train.

2. Happily Ever After

Once night falls in the Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle and the skies above it come to life in an unforgettable experience. Happily Ever After celebrates the magic of dreaming of a happy ending and watching it come true through fireworks, favorite Disney music a, and beautiful projections on Cinderella Castle itself. No evening is complete in the Magic Kingdom without enjoying Happily Ever After and some of the best viewing spots are on Main Street.

3. Haunted Mansion

One of the most beloved and classic attractions in all of Walt Disney World perfectly combines spooky with humorous in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. The Haunted Mansion has guests board Dom Buggies and set off for a tour of the mansion which is home to nine hundred and ninety nine haunts. With favorite characters like the hitchhiking ghosts and Madame Leota and eerie scenes like the attic and graveyard, every guest must enjoy the Haunted Mansion while in Walt Disney World.


4. Soarin’ Around the World

Epcot’s Future World is home to The Land Pavilion which celebrates the beauty and diversity of the planet and its environment. Soarin’ Around the World is located on the lower level of the pavilion and brigs guests on an unforgettable hang gliding experience over iconic locations from around the world. Guests will love to dangle their feet over the Great Wall of China, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Eiffel Tower, and even Epcot on an attraction that cannot be missed!

5. Test Track Presented by Chevrolet

Also found in Epcot’s Future World is Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, a thrilling attraction that brings the automotive world to life. After designing their very own SIM cars, guests can embark on a thrilling journey on the track to see how their models rank in responsiveness, efficiency, power, and capability. With a high speed outdoor loop at the end, this attraction is the perfect combination of thrilling and hands on.

Photo Credit Cliff Wang

6. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

Note: Illuminations’ last show will take place on September 30, 2019. “Epcot Forever”, a temporary fireworks spectacular, will begin October 1, 2019.

Each day in Epcot comes to a close with a beautiful show on World Showcase Lagoon. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth celebrates the beauty of our world and the story of how it came to be through a combination of pyrotechnics, laser lights, fireworks, and more. With viewing locations all around World Showcase Lagoon, it is easy for guests to find an incredible vantage point and enjoy a perfect end to any day in Epcot.

7. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to several very thrilling attractions including one that brings a classic television show to life. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror invites guests into the Hollywood Tower Hotel which clearly was abruptly abandoned many years ago. Guests discover that five guests were trapped inside The Twilight Zone and find themselves heading for the same fate on an elevator that is in control as it drops and lifts them in a randomized thrilling pattern.

8. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrates the beauty of nature and a popular attraction that simply can’t be missed can be found in the Africa section of the park Kilimanjaro Safaris brings guests on a tour of the Harambe Wildlife Preserve where they can enjoy up close encounters with animals such as lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and more from their open air safari vehicles. With spectacular views of the savannahs and unpredictable moments thanks to live animals, Kilimanjaro Safaris is a must enjoy attraction.

9. Avatar Flight of Passage

The newest and most popular experience in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can be found in the Valley of Mo’ara in Pandora – The World of Avatar. Avatar Flight of Passage uses technology to link humans with an Avatar in Pandora so that they can experience the Na’vi rite of passage of flying on the back of a banshee. Guests can enjoy the otherworldly beauty of Pandora from the air while also experiencing adventure and thrills on this incredible attraction.

10. Rivers of Light

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is also home to its own nightly show that celebrates water and fire and how they are vital to life. Rivers of Light features massive barges that look like beautiful lotus blossoms which move throughout the lagoon and spray water that images from nature are projected upon. Guests will be amazed by the perfect combination of technology and nature and are sure to love this phenomenal ending to a day in the park.

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.