Here’s the thing about Disney World. TV commercials and heart-melting youtube videos like this
one make you think that Disney is a children’s wonderland – if you spend the thousands of dollars it will cost to take your family to Disney you’ll be giving them a lifetime experience that they’ll never forget. They won’t come out and say it, but if they probably want you to think that if you don’t let your child experience Disney…you’re a jerk.
Let me tell you that this is the fartest thing from the truth. Do you know who’s having fun at Disney? The adults without any children! Only as an adult can you appreciate that Disney World is amazing – sure the lines are long, and the parks are crowded, but you can relive all your favourite childhood memories, eat great food, go on rides, and in even drink a Grand Marnier slushy while you walk around a reconstructed French neighbourhood situated along a pristine man-made lake.
Sure, there are the little girls dressing up like a princess, and boys dressing up like pirates. But guess what? That lasts like an hour. The rest of the time they’re
a) Being overwhelmed by the Florida sun, and massive crowds,
b) Bored of waiting in line – I heard a boy waiting to get into the Magic Kingdom tell his dad that he was boooorrrreeed. You’re 10 minutes from the freakin’ MAGIC KINGDOM, kid!
c) Scared by the characters, the rides, or a combination of these things. I saw a kid reduced to tears, and another refuse to go on a ride after reading that the dinosaurs inside were lifelike and potentially frightening to small children.
In summary I think it’s wonderful that parents want to give their children the gift of disney, but I don’t regret that I didn’t get to go as a kid, and I’d love to go back again as an adult, but next time I’d slow it down to truly enjoy everything thats out there. This time we rushed through every park to check off every major attration and we spend an amazing, but exhausting time soaking up the sun, riding roller coasters, and eating great food. Below are some of our tips and highlights.
The Crystal Palace
- An buffet style restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. Other than the roast beef and chicken the food here is not
great, but the service is amazing. The real reason to visit here is for the character visit. During your time at the restaurant the cast of Winnie the Pooh stop by your table one by one for a photo opp.
Be Our Guest – One of the newest restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. It was nearly impossible to get in (we had to wait until 9PM for a no-show in order to et a table). The lure here is that you dine in the great hall or study of the Beast’s castle. After dinner you have the opportunity to meet the Beast in his study for a photo opp.
- This little walk-up in the Magic Kingdom is home to the famous Dole Whip Float – pineapple soft-serve on top of freshly squeezed pineapple juice. It smells amazing, and it’s delicious and refreshing.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
– We stopped here for lunch while touring Disney Hollywood Studios. Even without a reservation we only had to wait about 15 minutes for a table, and the service was friendly and speedy. The calamari and pizza were delicious.
Disney Hollywood Studios - The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The wait was long, and I nearly shat my pants, but it was amazing.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom - Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Main Street USA.
Disney’s Epcott - Soarin’, Test Track, Tour the country Pavilions.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom - Expedition Everest (my favourite rollercoaster by far), Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition (I saw a freakin’ giraffe).
We stayed at the Holiday Inn
at Downtown Disney, which I chose because it was relatively affordable, and had amazing reviews on tripadvisor. Overall it was a nice hotel, but avoid rooms overlooking the highway right next door (it was a little noisy because we were on the 5th floor), and I’d only eat at the restaurant again out of sheer convenience. The food was okay at best.
What I liked about the hotel was the pool, the friendly staff, and the location. It was a quick walk to Downtown Disney, to a grocery store, and even a McDonalds. Holiday Inn also share’s a free shuttle to the parks with the neighbouring hotels.
- Visit Undercover Tourist - they offer the best discounts on park tickets and they’ve ship the actual ticket directly to you. They also have a great app that you can use to get an idea of wait times for each ride.
- Visit the parks as soon as they open – lines, even at the major attractions, only become daunting after lunch. – Leave before closing – you may miss the fireworks, but you’ll also miss THOUSANDS of people leaving all the parks at exactly the same time.
- Use cabs wisely. Be aware that there is a toll for cars to enter the Walt Disney parks and that includes taxis. If you’re taking a cab directly to the park you’ll have to pay an extra 16 dollar fare on top of the 15-25 dollar cab ride from Downtown Disney. We avoided this by taking a shuttle from the hotel to the park, and taking a cab home at night. The exception is the Magic Kingdom – taking a cab to their Contemporary Resort gets you to walking distance of the park without having to pay the toll.