My family has been to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando five times during the past eight years. Each time we visit, we discover something we had overlooked during a prior visit that makes us say, “Why didn’t we do this every time?”
Don’t let this happen to you. Here are three of our “must-dos” – I stole that phrase from the information TV channel at the Disney hotels – among the resort’s 40 square miles of theme parks, hotels, shops and restaurants.
Opening Ceremonies at Magic Kingdom
Nothing gets you fired up for a day at the park like the 10-minute opening show at the Magic Kingdom. Your kids will get a kick out of watching Mickey, Minnie and the crew pull up in a train at the Main Street, U.S.A. station. You can’t help but smile as the citizens of Main Street sing a “Good Morning” song that will be pleasantly stuck in your head for the rest of the day. The show only happens once a day before the park opens. Get there at least 20 minutes before the park opening time for a good viewing spot.
Club Cool at Epcot
Epcot is probably the most sprawling of the four Disney World theme parks, which allows this attraction to hide in plain sight. Located in the park’s Future World section, Club Cool offers soda fountain kiosks where you can pour yourself free samples of Coca-Cola products from around the world. (I highly, highly recommend the Fanta (Melon Frosty) from Thailand.) According to the Disney Parks Blog, Club Cool is one of only three locations in the U.S. that serve these sodas. Hang there for as long as you’d like – we’ll even stop twice on a hot day.
Short Lines During Magic Kingdom Fireworks
To be honest, watching fireworks does nothing for me. If you’ve seen one show, you’ve seen them all. While the horde of humanity gathers in front of Cinderella Castle for the nightly fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom, we will escape to Fantasyland at the backside of the castle. During the 12-minute fireworks show, we can often get on two rides – a nearly impossible feat during the rest of the day. If you’re lucky enough to catch the fireworks while flying high on the Dumbo the Flying Elephant aerial carousel – now that’s a show worth watching!