When people think of Disney World, they envision Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom – but there’s so much more to a Disney adventure! Each park or activity has features that make it ideal for certain conditions. Following are some suggestions to help you make the most of your Disney holiday.
The Hottest, Sunniest Day
The first thing we do when we arrive in Disney World is check the local forecast. (Of course you can also Google it before you leave home.) We choose the hottest, sunniest day for our day at a Disney water park. There are 2 water parks on the Disney property: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Both are excellent. Each one closes for several weeks of maintenance each year, so you may or may not have a choice about which one to visit. Both parks have gorgeous white sand beaches and lazy rivers to float around in air tubes.
Typhoon Lagoon has the most thrill rides. There are high-speed water slides like Crush ’n‘ Gusher and Humunga Kowabunga. There’s also Shark Reef which is a salt water pool filled with sunken treasure and real-live sharks, stingrays and tropical fish. Guests don snorkels and masks and float (no kicking please!) overtop to watch the sea creatures swimming below. It’s incredible! There’s also a huge wave pool in the park and water slides for families and small children.
Blizzard Beach is very family-friendly. You can take a ski lift up to the top of Mount Gushmore to ride the longest family raft ride in the world. (It’s my favorite – fast enough to be thrilling but gentle enough that you don’t bruise your tailbone!) There are also thrills like Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher. Kids under 12 can hang out – literally – on the zip line in the Ski Patrol Training Camp.
Kids lunches in both parks are served in buckets with shovels (selected counter service restaurants) so children can make sand castles too! (TIP: Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!)
Chilly or Rainy Days
Most days in Orlando are warm and sunny but the occasional rain cloud does make its way to central Florida. Rainy and chilly days are good times to visit Disney Quest. Disney Quest is an indoor theme park. It’s located in Downtown Disney. There are 5 floors of videogames, virtual reality and other indoor fun. You can design your own roller coaster – then load it into a simulator and ride it with a friend. Or learn to draw your favorite Disney character with a real Disney animator. Or crew a pirate ship and plunder virtual seas in search of treasure!
Admission to Disney Quest and the Disney Water Parks require tickets that are part of the „Water Parks and More“ option when you buy your Disney Theme Park Tickets.
Long Days, Late Nights
Some days – your team will be full of energy and raring to go. You’ll be able to start early and stay late. For those long days – the Magic Kingdom and Epcot are good choices. Both of these parks are complex. Neither can be completely covered in a single day.
The Magic Kingdom opens early and stays open till after dark. It is still the busiest park so avoid it on the weekends if you can. (If you’re hoping to run into the Dream Squad – get there well before noon.) The fireworks show at the end of the day is unlike any you’ve ever seen! And – on most nights – a real-live Tinkerbell flies down from the top of the castle during the show!
Epcot is 2 parks in 1. You enter Epcot into „Future World“ which opens earlier than its companion „The World Showcase.“ Epcot is often under-rated as a park for all ages. There are all kinds of interactive fun and games for kids and thrilling rides like „Soarin,'“ „Test Track“ and „Mission Space.“
Epcot’s World Showcase is like a trip around the world in an afternoon. You can visit a prayer tower in Morocco or sip coffee on a Paris sidewalk. The restaurants and shops in each of the 11 countries offer unusual tastes and treats too.
The closing fireworks show in the World Showcase Lagoon is not to be missed! It combines pyrotechnics with a heart-pounding soundtrack and visual show that defies description. It’s definitely worth staying for!
Shorter Day, Late Night
MGM Studios also has a great show after dark. It’s called „Fantasmic!“ It includes pyrotechnics (Disney is the largest consumer of fireworks in the world!) with live action, animation and a powerful musical score. Definitely not to be missed – but you can sleep in a little on the day you visit MGM, if you like.
Short Day, Early Night
The Animal Kingdom closes earliest – to accommodate taking care of the animals that live there. For that reason -it’s a great place to visit on the day you want to turn in early.
Following are my suggestions for planning your days at Disney World:
· Hottest, Sunniest Day – Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach
· Cool or Rainy Day – Disney Quest
· Long Days, Late Nights – Magic Kingdom and Epcot
· Shorter Day, Late Night – MGM Studios
· Shorter Day, Early Night – The Animal Kingdom
· Weekday preferred – The Magic Kingdom
Finally, it’s a good idea to mix your days up. For example, follow a long day with a shorter one. People have a lot more fun when they’re well rested and able to enjoy all the magic that a Disney World vacation can offer!