Theme Parks

The Walt Disney World resort is located in Orlando, Florida. The resort consists of 4 major theme parks, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. And if you think Disney World is just for kids, then think again! Disney World is home to some of the most luxurious hotels and spas, as well as some of the finest restaurants. Disney World is also home to the 2 most popular water parks in the country, a handful of excellent golf courses for the avid golf fan, the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, Cirque du Soleil’s show La Nouba, a variety of Dinner Shows to choose from, the Disney Boardwalk, and the fantastic Downtown Disney area that has a little bit of something for everyone!

Magic Kingdom

Disney World Magic Kingdom Park is the most visited of all of the theme parks at Disney World. In 2010, the park hosted approximately 17.0 million visitors, making it the most visited theme park in the world.

The Magic Kingdom is designed in the hub and spoke layout. Cinderella’s Castle is the central icon and the hub is located just in front of the castle. The six themed areas, or lands, all fan out from this central hub. The six areas are, Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Fantasyland is currently undergoing a huge expansion that will take over the space of the now closed seventh area that was previously called Mickey’s Toon Town Fair.

Main Street USA

 

Main Street USA

After you pass through the entrance gates of the Magic Kingdom you can enter the park on either side. You will pass through a tunnel which is under the Walt Disney Railroad Station. As you emerge from the tunnels you will exit into Town Square. To the left of Town Square is City Hall, the Fire Station, and Harmony Barber Shop. To the right is the Town Square Theater.

      Town Square

  • City Hall – This is home of Guests Relations, where you can get park maps, make dining reservations, and get a special button to wear for events such as birthdays, anniversaries, first visit, etc. These are all free of charge.
  • Engine Co. 71 – Firehouse Gift Station – Not a working fire station but gifts are available here. There are also fire house antiques located inside. The 71 comes from the year the park opened, October 1, 1971.
  • Harmony Barber Shop – This is a working barber shop and if you have your childs first haircut here you will get a  complimentary Mickey Ears hat with ‘First Haircut’ stitched on the back and a certificate to remember this magical moment. The First Haircut Experience is $18.00. Also from time to time you will hear the Dapper Dan’s Barbershop Quartet performing outside. Take time to stop and listen to this quartet singing in four-part harmony.
  • Town Square Theatre – Since the closing of Mickey’s Toon Town Fair, this is now the Meet and Greet of Mickey, Minnie, and the Disney Princesses. It also houses the Kodak Camera Center where you can buy film, cameras, frames, etc. You will also find the PhotoPass headquarters here, where you can view and order prints of your PhotoPass pictures.
  • Walt Disney World Railroad – Climb the stairs to enter the Walt Disney World Railroad, This is the main stop for the 20 minute ride around the park. It also has a stop back in Frontierland. The Toon Town stop is now closed during the Fantasyland expansion, but is scheduled to open early in 2012 as the Fantasyland station.
  • Characters – Town Square is also home to many characters throughout the day. You will see various characters scattered around the square throughout the day taking photographs and signing autographs.
  • Tony’s Town Square Restaurant – A Full-Service restaurant serving Italian food. As the story goes, this restaurant is where Lady and Tramp had their spaghetti and meatball dinner. It is decorated with scenes from the movie. Reservations suggested!

 

As you turn the corner from Town Square you look down Main Street and see Cinderella’s Castle at the end of the street. We always stop in awe of this magnificent structure and of course take pictures. Many guests are in a rush to head down Main Street to head to an attraction and do not stop to enjoy the many things available here. Here is a list of what you may find down Main Street USA:

  • Shopping – There is no shortage of shopping along Main Street. You will find excellent souvenir, clothing, art, crystal, and jewelry shops located on both sides of the street.
  • Transportation – Most guests find themselves walking down Main Street, however if you are adventurous there are alternative means of travel. Try traveling by horse-drawn trolley, or a Vintage Fire Truck. How about a horseless carriage or even an Omnibus. These are the One Way Transportation vehicles of the Main Street Transportation Company. They may not be the quickest rise from one end of Main Street to the other, but it will be another wonderful memory in your vacation

 

 

 

 

  • Main Street Confectionery – Candy lovers beware!  This place is packed full of chocolates, cookies, fudge, lollipops, and cotton candy. How about some home-made candied apples, peanut brittle or Mickey shaped rice crispy treats. There’s something to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth!
  • Main Street Bakery – One of the best bakeries at Disney World. This is a great place to grab a quick breakfast, lunch, or maybe a snack during the day or on the way out of the park.  Breakfast sandwiches in the morning, cold sandwiches for lunch plus a variety of cupcakes, cakes, danish, cookies, croissants, brownies or cinnamon buns. Great stop for that latte, cappuccino or espresso you have been craving. It’s definitely worth the stop!
  • Plaza Ice Cream Parlor – Looking for a scoop of ice cream before the parade, or maybe an ice cream float (Cola or Root Beer) on a hot summer day?  I suggest the Famous Plaza Sundae! Vanilla bean ice cream covered in hot fudge, whipped cream, and cherries and served in a big ol’ waffle bowl. Who needs dinner!  Warning it can get quite crowded on a hot day!
  • Casey’s Corner – Just across the street from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor is Casey’s Corner, a perfect place for a quick lunch or dinner. They offer several varieties of hot dogs, as well as chili dogs, corn dog nuggets,and nachos.
  • Plaza Restaurant – This is a full service restaurant at the end of main street serving deli-sandwiches, soup, salads,and burgers.  This is a great location with outside seating that has excellent views of Cinderella’s Castle. Reservations suggested!
  • Crystal Palace Restaurant – Full Service Character Meal – One of our favorite places to eat, that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dine with your favorite characters from Winnie the Pooh. The Crystal Palace Character Meal features Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet. They come around to your table to meet and greet you as you enjoy your meal. The kids will love it! Tip: Make reservations for an early breakfast before the park opens. You can be in the park before the crowds and enjoy a great buffet breakfast before the park opens. And an added perk is you can get some amazing photos of Cinderella’s Castle without tons of people in your picture. Reservations suggested!

 Crystal Palace Restaurant

 

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Adventureland

 

Adventureland – As you walk across the bridge into Adventureland you will notice the lush vegetation, tribal masks, conga drums, totem poles, and exotic animal statues. This land is themed to resemble the areas of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and South America. Walt Disney explains it best:

“Here is adventure, here is romance, here is mystery.  Tropical rivers flowing silently into the unknown, the unbelievable splendor of exotic flowers, the eerie sounds of the jungle, with eyes that are always watching.  This is Adventureland.”  Walt Disney

Attractions

    Swiss Family Treehouse

  • Swiss Family Treehouse– This original Disney World attraction is based on the 1960 film “Swiss Family Robinson”. It is a replica of the treehouse that the family in the movie lived in. This treehouse is 90 ft high and 60 ft wide. It is man-made construction with 1,400 limbs made out of steel and concrete, and 300,000 leaves made out of plastic. This is an attraction that has 116 steps and there is no elevator, and is not handicap accessible. It is definitely worth seeing at least once, however it may not be an attraction that you may wish to revisit.

 

The Jungle Cruise

  • Jungle Cruise – Travel down the famous rivers of Africa, Asia, and South America in Tramp Steamers on the world-famous Jungle Cruise. During your adventure you will see many scenes of Walt’s True Life adventures.  Elephants, rhinos, hippos, alligators and more will be part of your adventure, but the best part of your excursion will be your tour guide. Yes, it is the same spiel every trip but if you get a good guide, and there are many, then you will have a great trip. This is surely a don’t miss attraction.

 

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin

  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin –  If you and the kids like Dumbo, then you’re sure to  like this one too. Instead of an elephant you get to ride on a magic carpet. Four guests can ride at a time and you can make the carpet go up and down as it goes around the magic lamp. It is a slow loading ride, resulting in long lines, so if you are short on time I would skip this one. It is a fun ride to go on with the family.  Warning! – Be aware of spitting camels in the area!

 

The Enchanted Tiki Room

  • The Enchanted Tiki Room – Featuring over 150 audio-animatronic singing birds, flowers, drummers, and totem poles. I feel that this is one of the most creative and fun attractions in Adventureland. Not considered a “must see” attraction by most, but I can say that I always enjoy seeing this attraction. If nothing else, it is an excellent place to cool off on a hot summer day. A fun show that the kids will like.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Pirates of the Caribbean –  This is a “Do Not Miss” attraction.  If you have seen the popular Pirate movies, starring Johnny Depp, this attraction is what they are based on. This attraction takes you on a boat ride to the fun and exciting Pirate filled waters and villages of the Caribbean. The audio-animatronics and the music make this attraction great for all ages. And if you look closely, you might even catch a glimpse or two of Captain Jack Sparrow.

 

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Frontierland

Frontierland – Take a  walk through the Old West, complete with banjo music, saloon, and shootin’ gallery. This old western town is a great place to take a stroll or grab a bite to eat. It is also home to some of the best attractions here at the Magic Kingdom park.

Attractions

 

Country Bear Jamboree

  • Country Bear Jamboree–  Come join us at Grizzly Hall for the Country Bear Jamboree. This theatre-style attraction features a cast of audio-animatronics characters. Join the star-studded cast of 18 bears, a racoon, a buffalo, a stag, and a moose singing great ol’ country music. This 16 minute show is great fun for the whole family and a great place to take a cool pit-stop on a hot day.

 

                                                     Splash Mountain
  • Splash Mountain –  What amusement park experience would be complete without a good ol’ fashion log flume ride? Well this is no ordinary log flume ride. This is a log flume ride Disney style. Follow along with the characters of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear from the 1946 classic movie Song of the South. You will travel through caves, bayous, and swamps, enjoying over 100 audio-animatronics while listening to the music of “Zip A Dee Doo Dah”. You will experience several minor drops until the final 52 ft plunge into the briar patch. This is a “Must See” attraction and is one of our all time favorites. You will most likely get a little wet, but it is well worth it. You will be ready to ride it again and again!
                             Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad –  Themed as an Old West runaway mine train, this roller coaster takes you through the southwest desert canyons found in Arizona’s Monument Valley.  Through caves, grottos, and under waterfalls, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad provides enough twists, turns, and rolls to provide enough thrill without having loops or serious drops. There are 20 audio-animatronic figures to enhance the theme. It is considered a mild coaster by todays standard, but it is still a guest favorite and one I consider “not to be missed”.

 

                                   Tom Sawyer’s Island
  • Tom Sawyer’s Island –  Next to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and across the Rivers of America, you will find Tom Sawyer’s Island. It’s only access is by a motorized raft. This is a giant playground for kids. The island is home to a fort, mines, caves, a water wheel, a rope bridge, and a barrel bridge. Let the kids go exploring, while the adults sit and relax in the rocking chairs while watching the hustle and bustle across the Rivers of America in Frontierland. Catch a glimpse of the Liberty Bell Riverboat as she sails by. A fun place and great experience for all ages.  Fun Fact:  If you find one of the hidden paintbrushes on the island take it to a cast member and they will exchange it for a Fast Pass to Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  They hide 5 to 7 paintbrushes every morning so get there early. Once they are gone the game is over.
                                       Frontierland Station
  • Walt Disney World Railroad – This is one of the stops for the Walt Disney World Railroad. This is the Frontierland station and is located by Splash Mountain.

 

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Liberty Square

Welcome to Colonial America. The buildings here are reminiscent of those in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is also here that you will see a replica of the Liberty Bell in Pennsylvania. For the countries bicentennial celebration 50 replicas of the Liberty Bell were made, one for each of the 50 states. Since Pennsylvania already had the original Liberty Bell, Disney asked if they could have the replica to display in Liberty Square. They agreed and now Florida is the only state to have 2 Liberty Bells. Make sure you get a picture of the family in the wooden pillory (stocks) over by the Liberty Belle Riverboat.

 

Liberty Bell Riverboat

  • Liberty Bell Riverboat – Come on board for a cruise down the Rivers of America. This 17 minute ride takes you around Tom Sawyer Island on an authentic steam-powered paddlewheel riverboat. Great way to relax during the day.

 

  The Haunted Mansion

  • The Haunted Mansion – This 18th century gothic mansion is home to the “999 happy haunts where there is always room for one more”.  There is a new interactive queue area to enjoy as you wait in line to enter the mansion itself. When the door opens you will be greeted by the butler who will guide you to the library or stretch room. You will then be loaded into the Omnimover system known as “Doom Buggies”, where you travel thru the rooms of the mansion. Not seriously frightening but some children may be a bit reluctant to visit since the theming of the ride makes it seem a little spooky. This is another one of my favorite attractions and considered a “Must See”! Great Fun!

 

Hall of Presidents
  • The Hall of Presidents – The building resembles Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. Inside there are artifacts from the past presidents in the waiting area. You will then move into the 700 seat theater where you will view the multi-media stage presentation. All 43 United States Presidents are featured as audio-animatronic figures, and are quite impressive at how closely they resemble the actual person. The show celebrates the American people, the Constitution, and the struggles and progress of America during its early years. Speeches by Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Barack Obama are featured during this 23 minute show. While entertaining for adults the children may find this attraction a bit boring. But this is another great place to cool off as you enjoyhearing the story of our great nation!

 

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Fantasyland

Sitting right behind Cinderella Castle is Fantasyland, an enchanting world of make-believe and fantasy where dreams can come true. Walt Disney put it like this:

“Here is the world of imagination, hopes and dreams. In this timeless land of enchantment, the age of chivalry, magic, and make-believe are reborn, and fairy tales come true. Fantasyland is dedicated to the young at heart, to those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.” – Walt Disney
Fantasyland is undergoing the largest expansion in the history of Walt Disney Parks. Scheduled to open starting in the fall of 2012, it will be a fantastic new world. See my article on the Fantasyland expansion here for more information.   http://diswhiz.com/fantasyland.
Fantasyland is the favorite place for young kids and young kids at heart, and can get extremely crowded. I suggest coming here early in the morning and use the fast pass attractions to good use.

                               Attractions

 

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel – Formerly Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel, the name was changed to Prince Charming Regal Carrousel to better fit with the changes planned for the Fantasyland expansion. The 90 horse carousel was originally built by The Philadelphia Toboggan Company  in 1917. In 1967, Walt Disney purchased the handmade carousel (and horses) from the Olympic Park in Maplewood, New Jersey. When Disney acquired it the horses were refurbished so that no two are exactly alike. There are eighteen hand painted scenes that tell the story of Cinderella on the wooden canopy that covers this attraction. This is a 2 minute ride with Disney music playing in the background. Great for all ages.
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Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Dumbo The Flying Elephant – There is something magical about this ride. It is a must for all young kids but I have to admit that even as an adult I’ve never made a trip to Disney World and not wanted to ride Dumbo. There is something special about being able to control going up or down. This a slow loading ride and is likely to have long lines unless you make it the first stop upon opening of the park. In March of 2012, Dumbo was moved to its new location as part of the new Fantasyland Expansion, and is now a Double Dumbo ride.  Check out the details here: http://diswhiz.com/Fantasy
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*************************************It’s a Small World

  • It’s A Small World – Yes it’s true, the song does get stuck in your head all day long, sometimes longer. But it makes you feel good so go ahead and sing it! “It’s a small world after all…”  This is just a Disney Classic. You are loaded in boats and you travel around different parts of the world and are able to visit almost 300 children around the world singing, dancing, and playing.  It’s a fun and whimsical ride. Great for all ages and I rate it as, Not To Be Missed!
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Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Peter Pan’s Flight –  This is one of the most popular attractions in Fantasyland. It is a unique experience that has no real special effects. You are loaded into sailing ships and are sailing above the land as you follow Peter Pan and Wendy as they visit London, Neverland, Mermaids Lagoon, And Skull Rock. If you are unable to visit early, it’s best to use a FastPass because the lines get very long. A great attraction for the entire family.

 

Mickey’s Philhar Magic
  • Mickey’s Philhar Magic – This 12 minute 3D film is one of the best I have ever seen. It takes you on a magical journey thru many of Disney’s best animated films. Very well produced with great 3D effects, scents, and a little water magic. This is shown on a 150 ft screen that makes you feel like you are in the film. Great for the entire family and a great place to sit down and cool off!

 

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh – Join Pooh and friends on this adventure thru the animated world of Winnie the Pooh. Bounce along with Tigger, or mope around with Eeyore as you travel thru the Hundred Acre Woods. This is a fun and colorful attraction that all ages can enjoy. The kids will especially love it! I suggest getting there early or get a fast pass by early afternoon as this is a very popular ride.
Disney

**************************************Mad Tea Party

  • Mad Tea Party – Spin and whirl, go round and round in the giant teacups! Themed after the story of Alice in Wonderland this is a fun and whimsical ride. Beware if you tend to get motion sick though. The cups have a wheel in the middle that you can twist to make the cups spin faster. A great chance to make the kids giggle since they love to get dizzy!  Fun for the entire family. And be on the lookout in this area, since Alice has been known to show up and ride along in the teacups with guests!

 

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Tomorrowland

Welcome to Tomorrowland, “the land that never was”. It was originally designed to portray Disney’s view of the future. However the future always catches up with you and therefore there is a need for frequent updating. During the mid 90’s, Disney chose a different path and totally renovated Tomorrowland to take on the look described by the science fiction writers from the 1920′ and 30’s that never came to fruition. It has a great look of neon and lots of shapes and sizes of shiny metal. Several of the best attractions at the Magic Kingdom are located here, so let’s take a look.

***************************************Astro Orbiter

  • Astro Orbiter – Spinning high in the sky above Tomorrowland, these spaceships give you a great view of the Magic Kingdom. Take an elevator to the upper platform to board these shiny spaceships that you control much like Dumbo. It is a slow loading ride so be prepared for a long wait if you don’t get to the park early. Great family fun!

 

Tomorrowland Transit Authority
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover–  Take a 10 minute elevated tour of Tomorrowland in a magnetically powered car. Along your journey you will pass by windows overlooking the Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Ranger Spin attractions. This is a great place to rest and catch your breath while enjoying the sights around you. This is a continuously loading ride and hardly ever a wait, and a good chance to rest your tired feet!
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Carousel of Progress
  • Carousel of Progress – It is the oldest Disney-built attraction, not only in the Magic Kingdom, but the entire Walt Disney World Resort. It is the only attraction in Walt Disney World to have a direct physical tie to Walt Disney. It was built for the 1964 Ney York World’s Fair. After the World’s Fair it was moved to Disneyland, and then in 1975 it was moved to Disney World. This  rotating theater takes guests back in time to the days without electricity. As the theater rotates, it continues to take us through time till present day. It is a clever use of audio-animatronic people and gadgets. The theme song “It’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” plays as the theater rotates, and like that of “It’s a Small World” it tends to stay with you a while. A great family attraction and one I never miss.y

 

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Get ready to board your XP-37 Space Cruisers. This omnimover vehicle is a 2 seater that spins around 360º. It is equipped with 2 laser cannons that you use to shoot at the “Z” targets of the evil emperor Zurg. The object is to shoot as many targets as you can and build up points that are scored beneath your laser. Different targets are worth different points. And to make it more difficult, use the controllers to spin your vehicle in circles as you shoot at various targets. This is a great attraction for both old and young alike. I am always ready to go through again to get a higher score. This is a very popular ride and it is best to use a fast pass on this attraction if you can.

 

Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor

  • Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor – Welcome to Monstropolis’ first comedy club. Mike Wazowski is your ‘Monster of Ceremonies’ and Monstropolis is now running on safe, clean, “laugh power”. You, the guest, have entered into the monster world and are on a quest to collect laughs to generate electricity for the city. Mike is convinced that he can fill the laugh meter, but Roz isn’t quite so sure of this plan. The technology is amazing, as the theater utilizes digital puppetry technology, similar to Epcot’s voice-directed Turtle Talk with Crush. Live actors perform voices behind a large digital screen, while computer-rendered monsters appear with the actors’ voices. The 400 seat theater is usually packed, but the wait for this attraction is usually not very long. While waiting in the pre-show area you can text in some jokes that might actually end up being used in the show. The show is fun and onvolves audience participation which the kids love! The jokes are corny but it is a fun time for all.

 

Stitch’s Great Escape
  • Stitch’s Great Escape – This story is a prequel to the Lilo & Stitch movie. Stitch finds himself a prisoner of the galactic authorities and is being transferred to a processing facility en route to his final place of incarceration. He manages to escape by employing an efficient though gross trick, knocking out power to the facility in the process. It is a “theater-in-the-round” experience and can be considered very scary for small children. The pitch-black darkness in the ride was changed to dim lighting, and several scenes were reworked in an attempt to make it less frightening. Even these measures may not have been enough, because Disney raised the height requirement from 35 inches to 38 inches, and finally to 40 inches in an attempt to keep out younger children. The 39-inch Audio-Animatronic Stitch figure built by Imagineering reportedly is one of the most complex creations of its size. Stitch is also the first audio-animatronic to spit water. Not considered to be a favorite among most but give it a try if you have time.
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Space Mountain
  • Space Mountain –  One of the best attractions at Walt Disney World. Still extremely popular after 35+ years. By today’s rollercoaster standards it would be considered mild, however this attraction is unique because it is housed indoors and inside the ride it is pitch black. There are no loops or huge downward falls and it travels less than 30 mph, but because of the darkness and it’s theming it seems much faster and definitely unique! You are blasted off in your rocket ship through an adventure into outer space, twisting and turning through the stars to a zippy musical track. Great for thrill lovers! You will be ready to ride again and again. This attraction is very popular and usually has very long lines. I suggest using a Fast Pass or heading here first thing after the park opens. Not To Be Missed!
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Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tomorrowland Speedway – If you hear the roaring of the engines and the squealing of the brakes, then you are near the Tomorrowland Speedway. Kids and adults both love to strap themselves into the small Indy sports cars and putt around the 4/10 of a mile track at speeds up to 7 miles an hour. Ok, maybe it’s just the kids that love it. Irregardless you will enjoy being with your kids. There is a 32 inch height requirement to ride in the cars and a 54 inch height requirement to drive the cars. This is a slow loading ride, resulting in long lines that move slow, but the kids will not want to miss it.

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Epcot

“Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”

Walt Disney’s original vision of EPCOT was for a model utopian city, home to twenty thousand residents, which would be a test bed for city planning and organization. His vision would never come to fruition.  After his death the Walt Disney Company  decided that it did not want to be in the business of running a city. So after years of  indecision and  a lot of planning Epcot was built-in two sections.  Future World  to represent the cutting edge of technology and the World Showcase  to showcase international culture and customs. So the really important thing to know is that EPCOT really stands for Every Person Comes Out Tired!  It is more than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom so put on some comfortable shoes and let’s go have fun.

Fun Fact:  The original model that Walt Disney had of EPCOT can be seen when you ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. It is displayed behind a glass wall just before you enter into Stitch’s Great Escape area.

 

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Future World Attractions

Spaceship Earth

 

  • Spaceship Earth – This 180 ft tall geodesic sphere is the iconic and symbolic structure of Epcot.   It is not only main focal point of Epcot, but also the name of the attraction housed within the 18-story geodesic sphere that takes guests back in time  on an amazing journey to show how we have learned to communicate over the years using the Omnimover system.  This is a continuous loading ride that keeps the line moving quickly and is rarely too long of a wait.  If the wait is longer that 20 min try coming back later in the day.  One of my favorite attractions. Not To Be Missed!

 

Innoventions

  • Innoventions – As you pass thru Space Ship Earth the buildings to the left and right are Innovations East and West.  This interactive play area is where corporate sponsors display hands on exhibits highlighting their latest technologies.  Innovations focuses on technological advancements and their practical applications in everyday life.  As technology changes over time so do these exhibits.  Here are the current exhibits:

Exhibits located at Innoventions East:

  • The Sum of All Thrills™ – Test your imagination by designing a thrill ride using an interactive touch screen that lets you determine height and speed while adding features such as dips and corkscrew turns. Once “built,” climb aboard your very own design in the 4-D robotic simulator that uses sight, sound and movement to give you a realistic experience. Guests must meet a minimum height requirement of 48 inches to ride and 54 inches to invert on the ride.
  • StormStruck – Experience what it feels like to be in the perfect storm and discover important ways to protect your home and family in case of severe weather.
  • Don’t Waste It! – Play games that challenge you to recycle, reduce and reuse “virtual trash” to create alternate forms of energy to fuel our homes and communities.
  • Test the Limits Lab – Treat yourself to a safety test where you are invited to shatter, drop and impact some of the products you use at home every day. Enjoy a short film hosted by Timon and Pumba and learn how to be “safety smart.”
  • Environmentality Corner – Learn important information on how you can protect and preserve our environment — learn about papermaking and even make a sample to take home .

Exhibits located at Innoventions West:

  • The Great Piggy Bank AdventureSM – Take an exciting learning challenge that incorporates physical and virtual elements to teach everyone in the family the importance of sound financial planning .
  • Smarter Planet – Get a glimpse at how new advances in computer design can significantly reduce our energy use and how technology is utilized to help solve some of the world’s most complex problems. Create your own avatar, then experience a video game starring — YOU.
  • Videogame Playground – Experience the latest in video game technology as you compete against your favorite sports teams, challenge a villain to a duel or embark on a one-of-a-kind adventure with some of your favorite Disney Characters.
  • Segway Central – Discover the Segway, the world’s first self-balancing, electric-powered personal transporter.
  • Where’s the Fire? – Get your picture taken at the 30-foot pumper truck, become a Fire Chief by answering the most questions at the Burning Questions kiosks, and explore the Play it Safe Maze in this fun exhibit promoting fire safety.

 

Universe of Energy

  • Universe of Energy –   This pavilion hosts “Ellen’s Energy Adventure”  which stars Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye the science guy.  The story is a look back at the prehistoric origins of today’s energy sources.  The show starts off in a pre-show area that last 8 minutes.  You are then loaded into a theater area which are really 6 traveling vehicles that take you on a trip to prehistoric times.  The audio-animatronic dinosaur area is very life-like and impressive.  The ride portion of the show does take 37 minutes from beginning to end but the humor and education of Ellen and Bill Nye make it most entertaining.

 

Mission:Space

  • Mission: Space – This is a motion simulator ride that simulates what an astronaut might experience aboard a spacecraft on a mission to Mars.  Mission: SPACE utilizes a multiple-arm centrifuge that spins and tilts to simulate the illusion of speed and gravitational forces. Realistic sounds from overhead and vivid video images only add to the experience of the simulation.  There are two versions of this ride, Orange Team and Green Team.

The Orange Team is a more intense training session and is the original version of the    attraction, where you will experience forces up to 2.4G—more than twice the force of the Earth’s gravitational pull.

The Green Team has a less intense experience. You do not feel forces up to 2.4G when choosing this option. If you are prone to motion sickness, you should opt for the Green Team.

As you are loaded into your spacecraft you will be given the position of either Navigator, Pilot,, Commander, or Engineer.  During the mission you will be given task to perform as part of the mission.  During the simulation, you will be rocketed  around the moon, experience a brief period of simulated hyper-sleep, and land on the reddened surface of Mars, before blasting back to Earth.

There is a height requirement of 44 inches for this attraction and if you are prone to motion sickness you should consider choosing the green team or by-passing it entirely.

 

Test Track

  • Test Track – This is one of the most popular attractions at Epcot.   Sponsored by General Motors this attraction is a high-speed simulation ride that takes you on a journey through  an automobile testing facility.  You will be loaded into a 6-seat vehicle that will undergo a series of safety and quality test and  where you experience brake and suspension testing.  you are then put onto an outside test track that will take you on a high-speed ride  through banked curves and speeds up to 65 miles an hour.  I will say that it seems like you are going a lot faster.  This is one of the most thrilling rides here at Epcot and thus leading to long lines.  Use a Fast-Pass unless you are able to get here first thing in the morning.  This is a Do Not Miss attraction.

Imagination!

Imagination! – The Imagination pavilion contains attractions, entertainment and shopping that encourage guests of all ages to play and set their imaginations free.  There are 2 main attractions here in the Imagintation pavilion. Journey into Imagination and Captain EO.  Also housed here Image Works.  This is an interactive area for children to help use their imagination.  Lets take a look at the main attractions.

                                                                                                                                    

  Journey into Imagination

 

  • Journey into Imagination – Take a ride into your imagination with Figmet the purple dragon as your host.  As you board your car you will take a journey of sight, sound, and smell.  Dr Channing is out to prove how the 5 senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound capture and control the imagination.  This is a colorful and whimsical attraction enjoyed by all ages.

 

Captain EO

  • Captain EO –  This is a 3D science fiction film starring Michael Jackson.   This 17-minute 3D film experience was produced by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.  The film originally ran here from 1986 till 1994 when it was replaced by “Honey I Shrunk the Audience”.  Captain EO returned  here in 2010 a year after Jackson’s death.  It is a great 3D film and will be enjoyed by all ages.

 

      The Land

 

The Land – This pavilion is dedicated to the land and how we as humans interact with it for benefit and also for the ability to destroy it.  It is a celebration of our environment.  There are several attractions here that we will cover.

 

Living With The Land

  • Living With The Land – Take a 14-minute boat ride through indoor growing areas that explore agricultural advancements.  Guests experience the struggles of the past and plans for farming in the future including Hydroponics, Aeroponics and Aquaculture.  This is a very educational attraction that I always find very fascinating.  This is great for the entire family.

 

Circle of Life

  • Circle of Life – This 20 minute wide-screen movie is about our relationship with the land.  It is hosted by the stars from The Lion King.  The story is about Pumba and Timon cutting down trees and damming the rivers to build the Hakuna Matata Vacation Resort.  Simba shows up to show them what happens when we don’t take care of our environment.  This is a well made film with outstanding photography.  Scenes were filmed in over 30 countries.

 

Soarin’

  • Soarin’ –  Take flight on this multi-sensory motion simulator ride.  You will be seated on multi-passenger gliders that will lift you up 40 feet in the air in front of a 180º IMAX screen.  You will soar through the clouds and experience the sights, sounds and smells of the spectacular California panoramas.  You will move just like you were on a hang glider itself.  This is by far the most impressive motion simulator ride I have ever experienced.  As you leave you will be begging for more.  This is another very popular attraction and I highly suggest getting there as soon as the park opens or get a FastPass before 10am.  If not you may have a 90 to 120 minute wait ahead of you.  A Do Not Miss attraction!

 

The Living Seas with Nemo and Friends

The Living Seas with Nemo and Friends –  This pavilion is home to a massive aquarium that holds on of the largest man-made ocean environments in the world.   It’s 5.7 million gallon salt-water tank is home to over 6000 inhabitants covering over 60 species of sea life. As well as a playground for our fish friends it is also home to a couple of attractions that also celebrate sea life.

 

  • The Living Seas With Nemo and Friends Ride – Here you will be loaded into “Clam-Mobiles” and be taken on a field trip with Mr Ray.  Of course along the way Nemo disappears and you are all in pursuit as you travel thru this underwater paradise.  Disney combines the real life of the underwater sea world with the animation of the characters of Nemo.  A very impressive combination and one needed to be seen by the whole family.

 

Turtle Talk with Crush

  • Turtle Talk with Crush – The Disney Imagineers have created an amazing new technology that uses 3D voice-activated computer animation to communicate with the audience in real-time.  Guests are seated in a small theater with a large screen of the underwater world.   Crush shows up and has conversations and interacts with the audience. Children are encouraged to sit down front on the floor while the adults can use the bench seating. This is an amazing experience that the children and adults will find entertaining.

 

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 World Showcase

The back section of Epcot is called the World Showcase. The World Showcase contains pavilions representing eleven countries. In clockwise order, the pavilions are:

  • Mexico Mexico
  • Norway Norway
  • China China
  • Germany Germany
  • Italy Italy
  • United States The American Adventure
  • Japan Japan
  • Morocco Morocco
  • France France
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom
  • Canada Canada

Each of these pavilions have shops and restaurants, and are designed to represent the people and culture of each country.  Some countries  also contain rides and shows that also are part of the experience.  Each one is also staffed by citizens of these countries, as part of the Cultural Representative Program. Each representative must share their culture and customs with guests visiting their countries over the course of a year while living and working at the Walt Disney World Resort.  This really adds to the experience.  Let’s take a look at each country and what it has to offer.

Mexico

Mexico Mexico –  The Mexico pavilion’s towering pyramid is modeled after an actual Aztec Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan, Mexico.  As you enter you will be taken into a plaza filled with festive music.  Enjoy shopping, dining, and be sure to take a ride on the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. There is a full service restaurant inside the Mexico Pavillion and a counter service restaurant just outside on the lagoon.  Great place to enjoy Illuminations.

  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros – Take an 8 minute boat ride through the El Rio del Tiempo.  You will travel through the Columbian, Spanish-Colonial, and modern Mexican cultures with Donald Duck and The Three Caballeros as your guide.  Part of the ride is like going through It’s a Small World with the dolls.  Well worth the time and enjoyed by the whole family.

Fun Fact:    The nightly fireworks show “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” is controlled from a small office atop the building. The office’s window is barely visible from street level, but can be seen at an angle.

Norway

Norway Norway – You will enjoy this lovely Scandinavian village with its stone and wood architecture.  Great place for shopping and dining.  If you like trolls this is the place to be.  Catch the  Maelstrom  an adventure cruise that take you through the history of Norway.  If you are into authentic Norwegian food then stop in at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.  A full service restaurant that is home to Princess Storybook Dining.  Enjoy a great buffet meal and as you eat enjoy some of the Princesses as they come by your table for autographs and photos.

  • Maelstrom – A 16 passenger Viking-style boat ride takes you  through a Viking village  waterfalls, and a mythical forest where you are sure to encounter trolls. Hold on it can be a bit rough.   Great for all ages.  As you exit you can stop and enjoy a short film on Norway or if you choose you can skip this portion and exit back outside.

China

China China – You will enter China thru Paifang Gate.  You will soon discover the beauty and the details of this amazing pavilion.  Just thru the Paifaing Gate you will see the Temple of Heaven.  This building serves as the entrance of the “Reflections of China” attraction.  You can also gram some good Chinese food at the full service restaurant Nine Dragons of grab something quick at the Lotus Blossom Cafe.  You can also see the Dragon Legend Acrobats perform during the day at different times.  These children put on a great show and usually attract a big crowd.  You can also spot Mulan around here at different times.

  • Reflections of China – This is a film presented in Circle-Vision 360º.  It takes you on a tour of China’s countryside and historical structures and buildings.  This 13 minute film will take you to the Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City and several scenes from the outlying areas like Hunan and Suzhou.

 

 

Germany

Germany Germany – Welcome to 16th century Germany.  It’s beautiful architecture and cobble stone plaza transports you back to a charming Bavarian village.  From the Clock Tower that features a glockenspiel that chimes on the hour to the Fountain in the Plaza that portrays St George slaying the dragon these are the focal points of this German Village.  While there are no attractions here guests will have a grand time shopping and eating in the village.  From Beer Steins to Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks or maybe some traditional German candy or wine.  It is all right here in the village along with some very fine crystal.  Looking for traditional German Food.  Biergarten full service restaurant offers a buffet of traditional German foods in a Oktoberfest setting. Sommerfest is a counter service restaurant that offers bratwurst and frankfurters with sauerkraut along with soft pretzels and apple strudel. As you leave the German village head off to the left and catch a glimpse of the German miniature train.  It was built for the Flower and Garden Festival but was left on display due to its popularity.

 

Italy

Italy Italy – Experience the ambience and architecture of Venice complete with the 83-foot bell tower of St. Marks Square.  There is also a replica of the 14th century Doge’s Palace.  In the central plaza you will find the “Fontana de Nettuno”.  This beautiful fountain is a beautiful photo spot.  From time to time you will experience actors and singers performing in the plaza as well.   Be sure to check out the formal garden with its olive trees, Mediterranean citrus, kumquat trees, and the cypress and pine trees. There are two opportunities here for dining.  Tutto Italia is a full service restaurant serving traditional Italian cuisine.  Also check out Via Napoli, an authentic Italian pizzeria where guests can watch their pizzas being made then cooked in a massive stone pizza oven.  Finish off your visit shopping for genuine Italian goods including Italian chocolates.

 

 

 

The American Adventure

United States The American Adventure– The American pavilion is centered directly across the lagoon from Future World.  It’s structures are done in Colonial English Georgian Style.  These buildings were inspired by Independence Hall, Monticello, Colonial Williamsburg, and Boston’s Old State House.  The Main Building holds the attraction The American Adventure and a counter service restaurant Liberty Inn which serves of course burgers and hot dogs.    Inside the lobby is a rotunda and is where the Voices of Liberty perform throughout of the day.   The Voices of Liberty is an eight-member a cappella group that hosts patriotic choral performances and one of my favorite shows.  Across from the pavilion is the America Gardens Theatre, an outdoor amphitheater. The America Gardens Theatre hosts concerts, singers, and bands from around the world. Many entertainment acts from around the world perform on this stage. During the holiday season, the theater hosts the Candlelight Processional.  This Disney tradition is a moving presentation of the Christmas story in readings by a celebrity narrator and music by a Mass choir and 50-piece orchestra. A must to see if you are visiting during the christmas holidays.

  • The American Adventure – This attraction is an inspirational story of America shown on a 72-foot screen and with state of the art audio-animatronics.  Hosted by Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain along with 35 audio-animatronic figures used in scenes depicting the Pilgrims’ arrival at Plymouth Rock, the Boston Tea Party, George Washington at Valley Forge, the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the Civil War, slavery and the invention of the telephone. The 29 minute show is presented in a theater-like auditorium, with sets and characters rising out of the stage floor to represent scenes from different historical periods. The characters provide insight into American life of the past through conversations in which they discuss the current events of their time sometimes using actual recordings.  A truly amazing show that everyone should see.

 

Japan

Japan Japan – A towering 5-story blue-roofed pagoda sets the stage in one of the most beautiful pavilions here at Epcot.  The pagoda is a replica of the Horyuji Temple and is surrounded by beautiful Japanese gardens and footbridges that crossed streams brimming with water lilies and stocked with colorful koi fish. Bamboo, Japanese maples, and monkey puzzle trees along with evergreen shrubs complete the landscape of this Japanese village.   The Japanese pavilion also offers one of the largest shopping venues in the World Showcase.  The Mitsukoshi Department Store offers kimonos, authentic Japanese apparel, Bonsai trees and wind chimes.  If you are a Hello Kitty or Anime fan them you have come to the right place.  One of my favorites is the Pick a Pearl counter.  Guests choose an Oyster from the tank and the Japanese staff member will open it and you will keep the pearl inside. It is a show in itself.  Above the Mitsukoshi Department Store are two full service restaurants.  Teppan Edo is a teppanyaki style restaurant  where chefs prepare stir-fried foods right in front of the guests. Toyoko Dining  restaurant offers traditional Japanese cuisine in a formal modern setting.  Entrees  include sushi and sashimi, steak, chicken, and shrimp.  If you like sushi, this is the place!!

 

Morocco

Morocco Morocco–  The Koutoubia Minaret (a detailed replica of a famous prayer tower in Marrakesh) stands guard over the entrance of Morocco.  The Morocco Pavilion has 2 fascinating sections: the Ville Nouvelle (new city) and the Medina (old city).  In the center of the courtyard is an ornate fountain lined with thousands of multi-colored tiles. Be sure to visit the many shops in the village featuring rugs, brass pots, and handmade crafts for starters. You may also want to visit Restaurant Marrakesh for some traditional Moroccan cuisine while being entertained by beautiful belly dancers.  Aladdin, Genie and Jasmine also have been known to visit these parts.

 

 

France

 

France France– Make your way across the Atlantic to the streets of grand Paris.  The France pavilion is an authentic replica of a Paris neighborhood during the LaBelle Epoque era, which means “The Beautiful Time”.  Beautiful lush gardens and quaint little shops and a scaled down Eiffel Tower put you right into a Paris neighborhood. The center fountain is a great place to sit and relax. or pose for a photo.  There are also two talented performers called the “Serveur Amusant Acrobats” that perform during the day.  They build a tower out of wooden chairs and then balance on top.  Quite an entertaining show.  It its wine or parfume you are looking for then you have come to the right place.  My favorite shop tucked away in the back is the “Boulangerie Patisserie”  A French bakery that serves cookies, croissants, eclairs, mousse, quiche, cheesecake, souffle, tarts, cheese platters and sandwiches accompanied by French roast coffee.  If it’s French cuisine you are looking for then you have two choices.  Les Chefs de France is a full service restaurant that features traditional French cuisine in a more casual setting.  If you are looking for a more elegant evening try Bistro de Paris.  This upscale full service restaurant features gourmet French cuisine in a quieter enviroment.  There is a dress code for this establishment.  The French does have one attraction called Impressions de France

Impressions de France – This is a panoramic film shown throughout the day in the Palais du Cinema.  Unlike the films in China and Canada this theater has seating.  This 18 minute film celebrates the history and pageantry of France.  You will discover the French Alps, the gardens at Versailles, the beaches at Cannes, and the waters of the Seine.  Your tour will be complete as you travel to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

 

Epcot’s International Gateway

 

Epcot’s International Gateway – Located between the France and United Kingdom pavilions the International Gateway serves as a second admission point into Epcot.  It provides access to the Epcot resorts area hotels –  Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk, Walt Disney World Swan and Walt Disney World Dolphin.  The Disney resorts are all less than a half-mile walk to the gateway while the Swan and Dolphin are under a mile.  Guests are also able to use the Friendship water launch that services all five resorts.  You can also get to the Disney Studios through this path bu beware it is about a 25-minute walk between Epcot and the Disney Studios.

 

 

United Kingdom

 

United Kingdom United Kingdom – Cobble-stone streets, classic old British architecture and English gardens are experienced here. There’s a wide selection of shops and a street comedy improve troupe here to entertain you.  There are many picturesque locations for you to enjoy.  Take a photo in a working English phone booth or enjoy a concert in the pavilion area from a band called “The British Revolution” that plays music from old British rock bands. Want a real treat then try out the Rose and Crown Pub.  This full service restaurant serves traditional English specialties such as Fish and Chips, Bangers and Mash and Cottage Pie.  A variety of beers and ale’s are also offered in this charming little pub.  For a prime view of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth from the Rose & Crown Pub & Restaurant, take a seat on the popular patio before sunset. But get there early for a table on the patio cannot be guaranteed; outdoor dining cannot be requested in advanced. Want a quick meal try the Yorkshire County Fish Shop located on the side of the pub.  Here you can get traditional Fish and Chips and also offers imported beers, ciders and soft drinks.  Outdoor seating available.

 

Canada

Canada Canada – The centerpiece in this pavilion is the “Hotel du Canada” which is a replica of the historic hotel “Chateau Laurier” in Ottowa.  The pavilion showcases beautiful gardens, the Rockie Mountains, and a 30-foot waterfall.  Also apparent in the theming are the totem poles that signify the culture of the Northwest.  Canada also has what I consider the best restaurant at Epcot. Le Cellier Steakhouse is located below the Chateau and is designed to resemble a wine cellar.  Stone arches and ambient lighting create an intimate setting.  The food here is fabulous from the bread sticks to a great selection of steaks.  The signature dish here is the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup.  You are sure to have a memorable meal here.  The one attraction here is O’Canada located inside the Maple Leaf Mine.

  • O’ Canada – This 14-minute film is presented in CircleVision 360 and highlights Canada’s natural beauty, it’s cities and diverse population.  This beautiful film features footage from Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver, and Niagara Falls and is narrated by Canadian comedian Martin Short. This is an updated version that replaced the original film in 2007.  Great for the whole family.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios

 

Welcome to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood.  This theme park is dedicated to entertainment and offers guests behind the scene glimpses of Hollywood style action.  There are live shows, thrilling attraction, backstage tours, parades, and special events There are six themed areas and several streets and buildings much like a real motion picture studio. Opening  on May 1st, 1989 this was the third park built at Walt Disney World.  Let’s take a closer look at the  areas and attractions.

 

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Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard  with its art deco architecture serves as the parks main street.  You will find Guest Services to the right as you enter where you can rent strollers and lockers and serves as an information station. The street is lined with numerous shop on both sides and is designed to look like Hollywood during the 1920’s and 30’s.  Also along the way you will come to The Brown Derby restaurant fashioned after the classic Hollywood eatery.         The most noticeable structure located at the far end of the park is Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat (made famous from Disney’s classic movie Fantasia) which serves as the icon of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Behind the hat you will find a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater complete with the sidewalk filled with footprints and handprints of movie stars.

 

The Great Movie Ride

  • The Great Movie Ride –  Housed inside Grauman’s Chinese Theater is the attraction The Great Movie Ride.  Inside the queue area of this attraction are costumes and movie props from old classic movies.  You then enter a longer queue area where a huge screen displays scenes from old classic movies.  You then enter the loading area where you are loaded into large trams that take you on a 19 minute ride thru some of the most exciting scenes of Hollywood movies.  Using audio-animatronics, special effects and old film footage you will be entertained from scenes from Casablanca, Singing in the Rain, Wizzard of Oz, Alien, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Mary Poppins to name a few. There are also a few surprises along the way.  This is a great attraction and really generates the magic of Hollywood.  It always puts a smile on my face.

Dining

The Brown Derby

The Brown Derby –The Hollywood Brown Derby brings back the Golden Age of Hollywood.   This is an authentic replica of the famous Brown Derby, a longstanding Hollywood landmark and hangout for Hollywood’s biggest and brightest personalities.  The upscale atmosphere  with its wood paneled walls and the caricatures of famous Hollywood faces keep the tradition of the original restaurant.  The Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and serves contemporary American cuisine.  The menu specialties include seafood, steak and poultry selections. This is one of the best restaurants in Walt Disney World.  The food, the service and the atmosphere is worth the expensive price that goes with it.

Fantasmic! Dining Experience – As of June 2010, Fantasmic! Dining Packages are now available during lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Lunch packages can be booked on all dates Fantasmic! is scheduled. When there are two performances of Fantasmic! on the same night, the package is valid for the first performance only. Make reservations by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 up to 180 days in advance. Pick up your VIP voucher for Fantasmic! at the end of your meal. There is no additional charge for the package itself. However, the package, which includes the Fantasmic! seating pass, MUST be guaranteed at the time of booking with a credit card, and a $10 cancellation fee applies if not cancelled at least 48 hours beforehand.

 

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Echo Lake

 

 

Echo Lake – At the heart of the area is a clear lagoon adorned with palm trees and even has a dinosaur in the middle of it.  The areas surrounding Echo Lake is home to many popular attractions as well as some of the best restaurants.

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

  • Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular –  This is a live show based on the popular Indiana Jones movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”  There are several live reenacted famous scenes where actors, stunt personnel and a few chosen members of the audience participate.  The music and the special effects are part of a great and exciting attraction.  This attraction is Not To Be Missed.

 

The American Idol Experience

  • The American Idol Experience – This one really surprised me.  I have always been a big American Idol fan but I just didn’t see this attractions appeal.  I could not have been more wrong.  You walk into the theater and the stage is amazing.  The sets, the lightning, and the music really put you in the mood.  The host comes out and introduces the judges and then you get a chance to hear 3 performers sing and you get to vote on your favorite.  The whole show from start to finish is a great experience.  It you are wanting to be a performer then you come by first thing and audition.  Good Luck!  Hope to see you on stage.

 

Sounds Dangerous

  • Sounds Dangerous – This attraction is open seasonally.  This is mostly due to its popularity or should I say lack there of.  It is ranked among the least favorite at Walt Disney World.  That being said I would try it if you have extra time to kill.  As you enter the theater you will be given a set of headphones to wear. This is a film starring Drew Carey as a blundering detective in a pilot television series called Undercover Live.  Carey’s character wears a hidden camera in his tie but it get’s damaged so most of the 12 minute film is in total darkness.  The action continues in the dark leaving only your hearing and imagination to continue solving the case.  It is a clever attraction and can be scary for some young children.

Star Tours

  • Star Tours – This updated version “Star Tours: The Adventure Continues” opened in May 2011.  This is a motion simulator ride now in amazing digital 3D.  The new film has C3PO as your pilot of your Starspeeder 1000.  You will now encounter new destinations, new characters and new journey through the Star Wars universe.   Join R2-D2, Yoda, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader on this amazing journey and remember “The Force Will Always be With You.”

 

 

Jedi Training Academy

  • Jedi Training Academy – This is a very popular show that takes place on a stage outside the Star Tours attraction.  This 30-minute session is held several times a day and is a training program for future Jedi Knights.  Jedi Masters will choose several young guests between the ages of 4 and 12 years old to participate in this program.  Those who successfully complete the training will be given the title of Padawans and wil receive a certificate. Dur to the popularity of the show those interested in being one of the young participants in the show have to go through the following  process:

Sign ups are at the Sounds Dangerous attraction early in the day where it’s first come, first served and when all the spots are full the list is closed for the day so go early to sign up.  Twelve participants between 4 and 12 years old are chosen for each session.

Consult the daily Entertainment Times Guide for performance times.

 

Dining

50’s Prime Time Cafe

50’s Prime Time Cafe –  Mama is your host and you better behave or she will keep you in line.   Keep those elbows off the table! This is one of my favorite places to eat.  Open for Lunch and Dinner meals or served menu style.  You will be seated in a 50’s era kitchenette area.  The food is old-fashioned comfort food such as Meat Loaf,  Pot Roast ,Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Fried Chicken will all the trimmings! Don’t forget and ol’ fashioned Milkshake.  The food is great and the interaction with your server makes for a fun and exciting meal.

Hollywood and Vine

Hollywood and Vine – Character Breakfast and Lunch. Join Little Einsteins June and Leo, Handy Manny, and Special Agent Oso for breakfast and lunch at Hollywood and Vine. Sing and dance along with your hosts, the Playhouse Pals, as they entertain you with interactive moments featuring everyone’s favorite Playhouse Disney songs. Meals are served buffet style with traditional breakfast foods served for breakfast and a good selection of carved meats, pastas, vegetables, sides, breads, and desserts for lunch  Dinner is also served buffet style but there are no characters for dinner.  Dinner consists of carved and grilled meats, fresh fish, salads, vegetable and pasta selections, fresh fruits, breads, and desserts.  This location participates in the Fantasmic! Dining Experience.

 

Fantasmic! Dining Experience – As of June 2010, Fantasmic! Dining Packages are now available during lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Lunch packages can be booked on all dates Fantasmic! is scheduled. When there are two performances of Fantasmic! on the same night, the package is valid for the first performance only. Make reservations by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 up to 180 days in advance. Pick up your VIP voucher for Fantasmic! at the end of your meal. There is no additional charge for the package itself. However, the package, which includes the Fantasmic! seating pass, MUST be guaranteed at the time of booking with a credit card, and a $10 cancellation fee applies if not cancelled at least 48 hours beforehand.

 

Backlot Express –  This is a counter service restaurant that serves Burgers, Hot Dogs, Deli Sandwiches, and Chicken Sandwiches.

 

 

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The Streets of America

The Streets of America is like visiting the streets of New York CIty and San Francisco.  The building and facades are very realistic and believable.  When the park first opened these streets were only accessible through the Backlot Tour.  It has since been opened up to walking traffic and is home the  Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights during the holiday season. This area is also a meet and greet area for characters as well.  Several attractions and restaurants are here as well.

 

Lights, Motors, Action – Extreme Stunt Show

  • Lights, Motors, Action  – Extreme Stunt Show – This is a 33-minute stunt show inside a large 5000 seat stadium where you will experience car chases, hollywood stunts and large explosions.  Set in a Mediterranean village, a  movie spy thriller is filmed live with explosions, jumps, spins and death-defying stunts by a  cast of professional drivers, stunt managers,  and a production crew.  The director and assistant director will invite a select few audience members to participate in the fun. During the scene changes segments of this energetic show are taped and shown on oversized screens, showing how the different camera angles enhance the special effects. This is a fun and exciting show and is held several times a day. Check the daily Entertainment Times Guide for performance times.

Muppet Vision 3D

  • Muppet Vision 3D – This is one of my favorite 3D shows.  The show stars Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Gonzo, Sam Eagle, Scooter,  and many other well-known Muppet characters.  The queue area and the 12 minute pre-show area are full of great props.  There are several elevated TV screens inside the pre-show area that feature an entertaining show as well.  After the pre-show you will proceed into a 584 seat theater complete with a large screen and audio-animatronic characters.  The film itself is funny, entertaining and complete with all the old 3D effect gags.  Great for the entire family.  Not To Be Missed!

 

Studio Backlot Tour

  • Studio Backlot Tour – This is a 35-minute behind-the scenes guided walk and tram ride taking you on a backstage look at how movies are made.  You begin with a look at a special outdoor viewing area showing how the Pearl Harbor battle scenes are created using pyrotechnics and water cannons and water tanks.  As you exit the queue area leads you into a Prop building with hundreds of props used in past movies. You will then load onto 200 seat tram that will take you through production buildings, the wardrobe building with costumers at work and a scenery shop.  Along the way you will see topiary’s and vehicles used in past Disney movies.  You will then be driven out to Catastrophe Canyon for a special effects demonstration.  You will exit the tram into the American Film Institute Showcase that features themed exhibits relating to the special effects in movies and costumes and props relating to some of the famous movie villains.

 

Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground

  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground –  Imagine yourself the size of an ant crawling in someones backyard.  This is a fantastic play area for young kids and pre-schoolers.  Disney’s attention to detail here is amazing. Inside you’ll find sprinklers, ants, and huge blades of grass. There are many photo opportunities here and kids will have a great time playing in this area.

  Dining

Toy Story Pizza Planet –  Fashioned after the Pizza Planet from the Toy Story Movies. Individual pizzas, meatball subs, salads, cookies are on the menu. Arcade games are inside for the gamers of the family.

Studios Catering Co. – Located just outside the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground this outdoor counter service restaurant serves deli sandwiches and wraps.  Great place to grab a bite while the kids are on the playground.

Mama Melrose Ristorante Italiano – A full service restaurant serving traditional Italian dishes.  This location participates in the Fantasmic! Dining Experience.

Fantasmic! Dining Experience – As of June 2010, Fantasmic! Dining Packages are now available during lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Lunch packages can be booked on all dates Fantasmic! is scheduled. When there are two performances of Fantasmic! on the same night, the package is valid for the first performance only. Make reservations by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 up to 180 days in advance. Pick up your VIP voucher for Fantasmic! at the end of your meal. There is no additional charge for the package itself. However, the package, which includes the Fantasmic! seating pass, MUST be guaranteed at the time of booking with a credit card, and a $10 cancellation fee applies if not cancelled at least 48 hours beforehand.

 

Nearby on Commissary Lane:

Sci-Fi Drive-In – This is a full-service restaurant with one of the most creative themes.  It is themed after a drive-in theater.  You sit in 50’s era cars while watching old sci-fi film clips while you dine.  The menu consist of deli sandwiches, burgers, ribs and shrimp pasta to name a few.  They are best known for their wonderful milkshakes.  Great experience for the entire family.

ABC Commissary –  This indoor counter service restaurant serves a variety of items such as burgers, salads, fish-n-chips, and chicken curry to name a few.

 

 

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Animation Courtyard

Through the Disney Hollywood Studio Gates you will find the Animation Courtyard.  The centerpiece of this area is the Magic of Animation building where you will find shops of Disney art and several attractions as well as a couple of meet and greet areas for characters.

 

The Magic Of Disney Animation

The Magic Of Disney Animation– The Magic of Disney Animation in Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park is an interactive, 20-minute show where Guests of all ages discover the art of how Disney characters are created, hosted by a Disney animator and s Mushu from the Disney movie Mulan. After the show guest are able to view the area where the Animators worked while working on films such as The Lion King.  You can then take some time to join in a number of different workstations that bring the magic of Disney animation to life.  There is also a couple of Meet and Greet areas inside with some of your favorite characters.

 

Animation Academy – This is one of those well-kept secrets in Walt Disney World.  This attraction is not publicized that well, and if you don’t just happen to come across it you may not even know it is there.  Here is your chance to learn to draw different Disney characters.  This class is offered every 30 minutes and is a 20 minute class for guest of all ages.  You are seated at large tables with a piece of paper and a pencil.  The instructor then takes you step by step showing you how to make the simple shapes into a character.  I was amazed how simple the process is when you are shown step by step. You do not know ahead of time which character you will be drawing and it can change from class to class. So next time you are in the animation courtyard stop by for a little training at the Animation Academy.  You may go home with a work of art!

 

 

Walt Disney:One Man’s Dream

  • Walt Disney:One Man’s Dream – This wonderful exhibit was created  in 2001 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth.  It is a self guided tour through the life of Walt Disney using photographs, audio interviews, and memorabilia that show his life accomplishments.  There are over 400 artifacts on display. At the end of the exhibit guest are invited into a theater every 15 minutes to enjoy a film celebration the accomplishments of Walt Disney.  It is a well made retelling of the  fascinating life of the man and the magic of Walt Disney

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid – This is one of the cutest and clever stage shows at Walt Disney World.  Using live actors, puppetry, and special effects along with movie clips and music the story of the Little Mermaid comes alive on stage.  Very well done and extremely popular so get there early and get a FastPass.  This one is great for all ages.

Disney Jr.  – Live on Stage

  • Disney Junior – Live on Stage – If you have pre-schoolers you will not want to miss this show.  Join the gang from The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, The Little Einsteins, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates.  The show is gives the kids a chance to sing and dance and play around and have fun.  Characters come to life with enchanting puppets, bright visuals, whimsical scenery and catchy songs.   There is no seating in the theater so be prepared to sit on the floor with your kids.  Hint:  Do not sit too close to the stage or you will not be able to see everything on stage.

 

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Pixar Place

 

Just down from Walt Disney – One Mans Dream you will pass through the gate into Pixar Place.  The Pixar Studios sign above is a replica of the original Pixar Studio sign in Emeryville, California.  Toy Story Midway Mania is the only attraction on this street but be sure to take in all the toys in the area.  There is also a meet and greet area here for the Toy Story characters.

Toy Story Mania

  • Toy Story Mania – This is one of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World and with good reason.  When you enter into the queue area you are immersed into the world of Toy Story.  The area is decorated with supersized board games and playthings such as Crayola crayons, Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Tinkertoys, Viewmaster, and a Barrel Full of Monkeys.  At the back sits a huge audio-animatronic Mr Potato Head.  He comes to life singing, telling corny jokes, and is able to interact with the guests and he can even remove ne of his ears.  Standing in this queue area is indeed entertaining in itself.  Once you leave the main queue area you will stop and pick up your 3D glasses and ten you will be loaded into the ride vehicles.  This is a 3D interactive attraction inspired by classic carnival games. The vehicles will spin around and move from game to game where you will throw pies, darts, rings, balls and even eggs at different targets.  You will find yourself trying harder and harder at each game trying to increase your score.  This is a fun and exciting attraction with great technology and fun for all ages.  This is definitely a Do Not Miss Attraction.  You will be ready to go back again and again.  This attraction is very, very popular and I suggest you get there early and get a FastPass because the lines get long and the FastPasses will usually run out after a couple of hours.

 

 

Luxo Jr.

  • Luxo Jr. – Just outside of Toy Story Mania is Luxo Jr. He is a six-foot tall version of Pixar’s desk lamp mascot.  This is an audio-animatronic version that performs periodic shows throughout the day.  It is a cute little show and one you will want to stop and watch.

 

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Sunset Boulevard

As you make your way down Hollywood Boulevard from the park entrance you will come to Sunset Boulevard on your right.  This was the first park expansion area that opened in 1994.  At the end of the street looms the Hollywood Tower Hotel which is home to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  Also near by is the acclaimed Rockin’ Rollercoaster.  There are several specialized shops along the way filled with themed gifts from classic films and Disney characters.  There are two outdoor amphitheaters off Sunset Boulevard.  Theater of the stars host Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, and the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater is the home of the nighttime show Fantasmic. Let’s take a closer look.

 

Beauty and the Beast  – Live on Stage

  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage –  This is a wonderful musical stage show based on the hit Disney movie Beauty and the Beast.  It is performed several times a day in the covered Theater of the Stars.  This is a Broadway style show that features musical numbers and scenes from the hit movie.  The show runs 25 minutes hitting upon the highlights and important scenes and songs.  The show is well performed with excellent choreography, sets, costumes and dancing, and acting.  Great for the whole family and a show I think is Not To Be Missed.  Be sure the check the daily times guide for performance times.

 

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith  – This is one of best and exhilarating rides in Walt Disney World.  The pre-show is set inside a recording studio and it makes it seem as though Aerosmith is in the room with you. You are late for the concert and the band has seen to it that you will be traveling by limos.  As you enter the loading area you are loaded into long stretch limo cars.  This is when the real fun begins.  This indoor roller coaster features a high-speed launch of 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds, three inversions, rock-concert lighting and a specially created Aerosmith soundtrack blasting from 120 onboard speakers in each coaster limo. Wow!  This is a very popular ride and I would suggest getting there early or getting a FastPass early.  Sometimes they are out of FastPasses after a couple of hours in the morning.  There is a 48″ height requirement for this attraction.  This attraction is Not To Be Missed!

 

Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror

  • Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror – At 199 feet this is the tallest attraction at Disney World.  It is also on of the most popular attractions as well.  The theming of this attraction is among the best anywhere.  Set in the Hollywood Terror Hotel let’s just say things have not been well taken care of since lightning struck the building decades ago.  The exterior queue winds meticulously un-maintained gardens and as you enter the lobby you can tell things have not been well maintained.  As you leave the  lobby of the hotel you are directed to the library for the pre-show movie. From there you move into the bowels of the hotel where the boilers and maintenance elevators are to await your trip into the Twilight Zone.  This is a clever ride using ride cars that move from room to room as you experience the sights, sounds and gags of the Twilight Zone.  You finally come to rest inside the elevator shaft where you are launched skyward unexpectedly  then, just as suddenly, the cables ‘snap’ and electrical sparks shower. The vehicle then plunges 13 stories. The elevator abruptly rises once more, with an unpredictable series of shorter drops and climbs. At one point, the doors of your elevator open to reveal the Disney’s Hollywood Studios 13 stories below you! You are eventually returned to a dimly lit rear hallway of the Hotel, where you exit the elevator. With the use of random drop sequences you never know what to expect as every ride is different from the last.  This is a fascinating and exciting ride filled with state of the art special effects.  This is a Not To Be Missed attractionThere is a 40″ height requirement for this ride.

Fantasmic

Fantasmic – Fantasmic is a spectacular 25 minute live action,laser, fireworks, animation, fire, and music performance shown 2 to 3 nights a week in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater. Access to the theater is at the end of Sunset Boulevard just before you reach the Tower of Terror.  This is an incredible show with a lot of special effects.  It is also very popular and can get very crowded.  The theater can seat 6900 guest and an additional 3000 guest are brought in for standing room only.  For the best seats your should arrive at least an hour and a half  prior to showtime.  If there are two shows available for that day the second show is usually less crowded.  You can also opt for the Fantasmic Dining Experience.

Fantasmic! Dining Experience – As of June 2010, Fantasmic! Dining Packages are now available during lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Lunch packages can be booked on all dates Fantasmic! is scheduled. When there are two performances of Fantasmic! on the same night, the package is valid for the first performance only. Make reservations by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 up to 180 days in advance. Pick up your VIP voucher for Fantasmic! at the end of your meal. There is no additional charge for the package itself. However, the package, which includes the Fantasmic! seating pass, MUST be guaranteed at the time of booking with a credit card, and a $10 cancellation fee applies if not cancelled at least 48 hours beforehand.

 

Dining

Starring Rolls Cafe –  Located at the corner of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard this is a great place to stop in and have a quick breakfast or lunch.  There is a good selection of assorted bakery goods here and some great deli sandwiches.

 

Rosie’s All American Cafe – This is a burger stand with outdoor seating.  Due to its location it can get very crowded.  Cheeseburgers and Chicken Nuggets are on the menu.

 

Catalina Eddies– This is another walk up food stand that serves pizza, salads and deli sandwiches.  Outdoor seating available.

 

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Disney’s Amimal Kingdom

 

Walt Disney World’s  Animal Kingdom with it’s 1700 animals representing 250 species is dedicated to nature and conservation.  It is the largest Disney theme park and the largest animal-themed park in the world covering more than 500 acres.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, meaning they have met or exceeded the standards in Education, Conservation and Research.  This is a beautiful theme park with its great attention to nature.  There are fantastic shows and attraction and some great dining locations as well.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is divided into 7 areas:

  • Oasis
  • Discovery Island® area
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey
  • Africa
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch® area
  • Asia
  • Dinoland, U.S.A.® area

 

 

The Oasis

The Oasis – As you pass through the entrance gates you are surrounded by lush tropical paths, waterfalls, streams and tropical wildlife.  This tropical retreat sets the atmosphere for this beautiful theme park.   Be sure to watch for the tree kangaroo, sloth, wallaby and several species of exotic birds in this natural habitat setting.  There are several small shopping area here as well as the Rainforest Cafe Restaurant.  The trails go to the left or the right but both will meet at the bridge that crosses over into Discovery Island.

 

Dining

 

Rainforest Cafe – This is a part of the national chain of restaurants.  It is a themed restaurant with plants, waterfalls, and special effects and animatronic animals that give you the feeling of eating in the rainforest.  This location is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is an entrance outside the Animal Kingdom so you do not need a park admission ticket to dine here.

 

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Discovery Island

 

Discovery Island serves as a hub area for the Animal Kingdom.  The centerpiece of this island and the Icon for Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the Tree of Life. This massive man made tree is 145 ft tall and contains over 325 animal carvings that 20 artist engraved into the limbs, trunk, and roots of this tree.  It is an awesome sight to see.    From Discovery Island you will be able to venture into the other lands of the park. In clockwise order Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, and DinoLand USA. On Discovery Island there are two attractions to explore.

Attractions

It’s Tough to be a Bug

  • It’s Tough to be a Bug –  Located inside the Tree of Life this 3D interactive movie brings to life the stars from the movie Bugs Life.  It is a clever film using special effects and audio-animatronics.  There are some scenes that could frightensome young children.  There is usually not a long wait for this attraction and the queue line winds around the base of the tree so take time to enjoy the animal sculptured into the tree.

 

  • Discovery Island Trails –  These are beautiful walking paths and trails around the base of the Tree of Life.  These paths are beautiful landscaped and contain several viewing areas for small animals such as lemurs, kangaroos, a giant Galapagos toutoise and other wildlife.  There are many places for photos and you will blown away by the beauty of nature

 

Dining

 

Pizzafari – This is a counter service restaurant serving cheese and pepperoni pizzas, chicken caesar salad, antipasto salad, or a hot italian sandwich.  Water, soft drinks, beer and wine are also available as well as a selection of desserts.

 

 

 

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  Camp Minnie Mickey

Camp Minnie Mickey – This is a fantastic meet and greet area for meeting the Disney charactrers.  There are several wilderness trails that lead to a covered meet and greet area for each character. One of the best live show at Walt Disney World “Festival of the Lion King” performs here as well. This is a beautiful area with a lot of photo opportunities.

 

Attractions

 

Festival of the Lion King -This is one of the best stage shows at Walt Disney World.  It is a Broadway class production based on the award winning Disney animated classic, The Lion King.  The colorful costumes, the energetic music, and the talented performers make this 28 minute production one of the best.  The show is performed in an enclosed air-conditioned ampitheatre that seats 1450 guests in four sections of metal benches that surround the stage. It is a very popular show and it will be a good idea to arrive early.  Shows are performed throughout the day so be sure to check your times guide for the performance times.

 

 

 

  Character Meet -n- Greet Trails

Character Meet -n- Greet Trails – These trails leat to a covered area where one or more characters will be waiting for autograph and photo opportunites.  You can expect to find several of the characters like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Pluto.  There are signs posted at the beginning of the trails identifying which characters are present.  Also you may see additional characters around the Camp Minnie-Mickey area.  We have seen Lilo and Stitch, Thumper, Miss Bunny, Timon, Pocahontas, and Rafiki in the area as well.

 

Africa

Africa – As you enter Africa you are transformed to the village of Harambe. Harambe is Swahili for “come together”. The village is a combination of a number of some of the favorite places in Africa discovered by Disney Imagineers while on a scouting  trip for Animal Kingdom’s Africa.

Attractions

 

Kilimanjaro Safari

Kilimanjaro Safari – Your expedition begins as you climb aboard an open- sided safari vehicle and venture out on an exciting expedition through the wildlife preserve. This attraction is for guests of all ages and provides the chance to see African animals as they roam the 100-acre savanna. Guests will have the chance to view the common African animals including elephants, giraffes, zebras, antelope, gazelles, crocodiles, monkeys, hippos, lions, cheetahs, warthogs, ostriches, black rhinos, storks, pelicans, flamingos, and wildebeests.  The ride can be a bit bumpy as it crosses rickety bridges, rocky hills and rivers—but you’re rewarded with spectacular animal sightings.

Since animals have minds of their own, no two Kilimanjaro Safari experiences are the same. You may even catch a glimpse of one of the many baby animals that were recently born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.

 

Pangaini Forest Exploration Trail

 

Pangaini Forest Exploration Trail -As you leave your safari expedition follow the signs to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. This walk-through tour is designed to inform and entertain and can be enjoyed at your own pace. Pangani, which means, “place of enchantment”, is the perfect description of this 5 acre habitat  that offers a magical look at some of Africa’s most interesting inhabitants. Follow the trail that takes you into a lush, tropical forest in the heart of Africa where you can explore a variety animal friends. Here are some of the inhabitants along the trail. Colobus Monkeys, Okapi, Naked Mole Rats, Hippos, Gerenuk, Meerkats and the Western Lowland Gorilla.Lilly, An Endangered Western Lowland Gorilla and Her Mother, Kashata, By: Gene Duncan

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Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Rafiki’s Planet Watch – The only way to reach Rafiki’s Planet Watch is by train.  Guest board a unique train called the Wildlife Express.  Along the way guests get the chance to see a little of the Animal Kingdom backlot, including animal holding buildings for rhinos and elephants, and Giraffs. The trip takes about 7 minutes from Harambe Station.  Once you arrive there are three areas in which to discover. Habitat Habit, Conservation Station, and Affection Section.

Habitat Habit! As you leave the train station you will take a short walk to the Main building.  This path is called Habitat Habit and it is where you  can see cotton-top tamarins and learn about the efforts to protect these endangered primates in their natural homes. Along the way, guests can also learn how to provide animal habitats in and around their own homes.

Conservation Station  This is the main building and it showcases the various conservation efforts supported by the Walt Disney Company. It also gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s animal care facilities, including a veterinary examination room complete with a two-way communications system so the veterinary staff can answer guest questions.

Affection Section  This is where you have the opportunity to interact with the animals. At first, it appears to be the usual petting zoo variety of animals, but you’ll discover that they are exotic breeds of sheep, goats, deer, pigs, etc.

This is a very nice trip back behind the Savanna and very educational as well.  There are usually a few characters around inside the main buiding as well.

Wildlife Express Train

 

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Asia

Asia – This was the first expansion area added to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, first opening in 1999. Like Africa, the section’s attractions are part of a fictional place, the kingdom of Anandapur (which means “Place of many delights”).

 

Attractions

 

Maharajah Jungle Trek

Maharajah Jungle Trek – The Maharaja Jungle Trek is a zoological nature walksimilar to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, but with an Asian setting and Asian animals. This is one of my favarite trails at the Animal Kingdom. Take your time hiking the trails that take you by the Bengal Tigers and the Giant Fruit Bats. Disney does a great job with their theming and landscaping and you quickly forget you are in the middle of a theme park in Florida. You will enjoy this trail full of unusual animals and beautiful landscape.

 

Kali River Rapids

Kali River Rapids –  This attraction is themed as a rafting expedition along the Chakranadi River, courtesy of “Kali Rapids Expeditions”. In keeping with Animal Kingdom’s message of conservation and environmental protection, the theme of this attraction deals with illegal logging and habitat destruction. For those looking to cool off on a hot day Kali River Rapids will not dissappoint you. When you see the numerous signs that indicate that you WILL get wet, believe them! Sometimes you may come out soaked.

 

Expidition Everest

Expidition Everest – Climb aboard a railway car for a full-steam-ahead adventure bound for Mount Everest. Your trek across the treacherous terrain of the towering Forbidden Mountain begins with a few scenic twists and turns, then sets out on an ascent towards the summit. Expedition Everest is a high-altitude, high-speed, roller coaster train ride for big kids, teens and adults and  home of the inhospitable snarling beast, the Yeti. The excitement begins when it’s discovered that the train tracks end in a twisted wreck of metal. From here, the train careens backwards and forwards through darkness, frigid canyons and treacherous caverns. This attraction is exciting and well theamed. Not to be missed!

Flights of Wonder

Flights of Wonder -The Flights of Wonder is a 25-minute show takes place in the Caravan Stage, an outdoor amphitheater. It is a very entertaining show and great for the entire family.

Though the cast changes on occasion, the Flights of Wonder show may include birds from these species:

  • Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
  • American Bald Eagle
  • Augur Buzzard
  • Barbary Falcon
  • Eurasian Eagle Owl
  • Gray-Crowned Crane
  • Harris Hawk
  • Ibis
  • Indian Runner Ducks
  • Macaw
  • Pigeon
  • Seriema
  • Toco Toucan
  • Yellow-naped Amazon Parrot

 

 

Dining

 

Yak And Yeti –  The Yak & Yeti Restaurant provides fine table-service dining during lunch and dinner. Situated at the base of Mt. Everest in the small town of Anandapur , this grand old house turned restaurant sets out adventurous meals of Asian cuisine that combines flavors from China, India and Nepal. Reservations suggested.

 

 

 

Flame Tree BBQ –  Enjoy a counter service meal of barbecue chicken and ribs or delicious pork sandwiches.  Flame Tree BBQ’s outdoor seating has some of the best views in the park, with its tables on terraces down on Discovery River with a beautiful view overlooking Expedition Everest. Some of the seating areas are covered. Some of our favorite foods in the park.

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Dinoland USA

Dinoland USA – Travel back in time more than 65 million years ago at DinoLand U.S.A., which lies in the Southeastern corner of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. DinoLand U.S.A. features fun for all ages – including several unique rides, a live show, play area, carnival games, eateries and specialty shops.

 

Attractions

Triceratop Spin

Triceratop Spin – This would be the Dumbo attraction of 65 million years ago.

 

The Boneyard

The Boneyard – This is an interactive playground area for children 4 and up. There are lots of things for children to climb on, over, around, and through. Kids can discover the bones of Tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops and others from the dinosaur age. Great place for kids to use up a little energy.

 

Primeval Whirl

Primeval Whirl – Take a trip through time on Primeval Whirl, a roller coaster in the DinoLand U.S.A.  This ride invites big kids, teens and adults to go for a whirl in a spinning “time machine” car for dinosaur-themed excitement and thrills. In addition to sudden dips, hairpin turns and tight curves, this coaster spins each car on its own round-and-round path. You never know which way your car will twirl as you race around, making this ride a new experience each time.

 

Dinosaur

Dinosaur– The mission: Go back 65 million years to capture a mild-mannered dinosaur without getting caught in the jaws of the angry, carnivorous and hungry Carnotaurus. Then you have just 60 seconds to escape! The attraction begins in the Dino Institute Discovery Center, which is designed to give you the feel that you are in a natural history museum. Murals and displays around the room as well as a short presentation about how the asteroid came and wiped away the dinosaurs are all in preparation for your journey through time. Through a short presentation you find out that the institute has a new high-tech vehicle that is designed to take you back to the time that dinosaurs roamed the earth…the vehicle is called the Time Rover. In the presentation you learn that Dr. Grant would like to defy rules and send you back the time period just before the asteroid hit, he actually wants you to bring back an iguanodon. Soon after speaking with Dr. Grant you are rushed into your Time Rover and before you know it you are one with the Dinosaurs. Trekking through forest-like areas with sightings of dinos in the area you are not in any real danger yet. That is until a huge carnotaurus starts chasing your Time Rover. All of the sudden you are starting to lose power. Losing the power along with a few other set-backs you start to feel as though you may not be making it back home anytime soon. After a sudden burst of speed rushes you back to the present, monitors show that you did indeed pick up that iguanodon. Warning: The ride vehicles are very rough and the dark scenes and loud noises may not be suitable for everyone. One of our favorite attraction at the Animal Kingdom and one we will tag: Not to be missed!

 

 

Finding Nemo – The Musical

 Finding Nemo – The Musical – Finding Nemo – The Musical captures the heart, humor, characters and story from the Disney·Pixar animated film Finding Nemo and adapts them into a mesmerizing 30-minute Broadway-style musical stage show. The performance is for audiences of all ages in the air-conditioned Theater in the Wild in the DinoLand U.S.A. area. The innovative lighting, sound, special effects and stunning  theatrical puppets—some as large as cars—make Finding Nemo – The Musical a must “sea” production.

 

Dining

 

 

Restaurantosaurus –  Restaurantosaurus features fast-food favorites—hot dogs,  burgers, fries, salads—for lunch and dinner in a dinosaur-centric restaurant adjacent to an ancient archeological dig site in the DinoLand, U.S.A. area.

 

 

 

Epcot

    Epcot    “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” Walt Disney’s original vision of EPCOT was for a model utopian city, home to twenty thousand residents, which would be a test bed for city planning and organization. His vision would never come to fruition.  After his death the Walt Disney Company  decided that it did not …

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios  Welcome to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood.  This theme park is dedicated to entertainment and offers guests behind the scene glimpses of Hollywood style action.  There are live shows, thrilling attraction, backstage tours, parades, and special events There are six themed areas and several streets and buildings much like a real motion …

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom

    Disney’s Animal Kingdom   Walt Disney World’s  Animal Kingdom with its 1700 animals representing 250 species is dedicated to nature and conservation.  It is the largest Disney theme park and the largest animal-themed park in the world covering more than 500 acres.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom is accredited by the Association of Zoos and …

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Magic Kingdom

 Magic Kingdom Disney World Magic Kingdom Park is the most visited of all the theme parks at Disney World. In 2010, the park hosted approximately 17.0 million visitors, making it the most visited theme park in the world. The Magic Kingdom is designed in the hub and spoke layout. Cinderella’s Castle is the central icon …

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