Ten Walt Disney World Snacks that You’ll Want More than Once

Ten Walt Disney World Snacks that You’ll Want More than Once

Ten Memorable Walt Disney World Snacks

Here’s a quick list of ten of my favorite Walt Disney World snacks. To be fair, there are plenty more that could be added to this scrumptious inventory. For today, I’m sharing ten really memorable snacks that I’ve enjoyed on multiple trips and sometimes more than once during a single WDW vacation. 😉 Kids and kids at heart will want to find their own best-loved eats and sips!

Walt Disney World Snacks

Raspberry Eclair

My new favorite calorie splurge is the elegant Raspberry Eclair at Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs. Tart and fruity with a white chocolate decoration, I’m not kidding when I say that I’m absolutely craving every gorgeous bite of this treat.

Walt Disney World Snacks - Raspberry Eclair at Amorette's Patisserie.

Raspberry Eclair

Gelato

Choose your favorite flavor of gelato at Vivoli il Gelato in Disney Springs. My pick is always the Piccola Copetta – a choice of two flavors in a cup. My choice scoops? Peanut butter (when available) and chocolate.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter gelato at Vivoli il Gelato

Savor your favorite flavor of gelato.

Gelato from Vivoli il Gelato at Disney Springs

Chocolate and vanilla gelato.

Citrus Swirl

For a Magic Kingdom treat, I head to Sunshine Tree Terrace and dig into a Citrus Swirl. The orange slushie blended with vanilla soft serve is SO refreshing.

Citrus Swirl at Magic Kingdom's Sunshine Tree Terrace

Citrus Swirl

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake

Originally sold at Starring Rolls Cafe, the Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake has gone through many variations. However you dress it up (Darth Vader!), it’s still chocolate and smooth peanut butter buttercream — and this mixture makes my heart swoon. You can find it now at other locations in Disney’s Hollywood Studios such as Backlot Express.

Darth Vader Cupcake

Join the dark side!

Peanut Butter Cookie

Found packaged as Minnie’s Bake Shop cookies or in Disney World bakery cases, the peanut butter cookie is thick and chewy with satisfying peanut butter chunks. Choose from Peanut Butter or Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie at Goofy's Candy Company in Disney Springs

Cookie at Goofy’s Candy Company.

Minnie's Bake Shop Cookies

Minnie bakes awesome cookies!

Chocolate Croissant

I adore the Chocolate Croissant at Gaston’s Tavern. It’s also found at several other locations, including some resort food courts. As a breakfast item, I find this snack decadent — hey, it’s vacation, right?!

Chocolate Croissant at Walt Disney World

Chocolate Croissant.

Frozen Lemonade

For a thirst quencher in the Florida heat, nothing’s better than a frozen lemonade. Also, the Magic Kingdom’s Cheshire Cafe has an amazing frozen slushy – raspberry lemonade.

Frozen Lemonade at Walt Disney World

Super refreshing!

Raspberry Lemonade Frozen Slushy Cheshire Cafe

Raspberry-Lemonade Slushy

Beignets

Port Orleans French Quarter fans are already in the know about the beignets. Get them for a snack, dessert, or breakfast! Of course, they are messy but these deep-fried pastries are worth it. Wear that powdered sugar proudly!

Beignets at Sassagoula Floatworks at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort.

Messy but good!

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

You’ll find this comforting goodness at several quick-service locations in Walt Disney World. I like it with chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream for old-fashioned, simple flavors. Yum!

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich in Walt Disney World

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich – big enough to share!

Peanut Butter Brownie

Nestled in the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Mara boasts a counter-service menu with some unique items. I’m partial to the Peanut Butter Brownie (yes, I love peanut butter!).

Peanut butter brownie at The Mara

More peanut butter!

I hope you’ll find at least one snack from this list to try on your next visit to Walt Disney World.

Share your memorable Walt Disney World snacks! Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter or comment below to let us know what to try next!

Ten Ways to Increase Your Magic Kingdom Experience

Ten Ways to Increase Your Magic Kingdom Experience

Ten Ways to Increase Your Magic Kingdom Experience

Let’s face it. Any day at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World is… well, a really good day. With thrill-seeking rides and family-friendly entertainment, the park never fails to amaze first-time visitors and multi-visit veterans.

Whether you are on your first or fiftieth visit, there are always more ways to increase your Magic Kingdom experience, including Overlooked and Underrated Attractions.

Ten Ways to Increase Your Magic Kingdom Experience

Your Magic Kingdom experience can be enhanced with these ten suggestions. Read on!

Take a Tour

Behind the scenes tours (from a Family Magic outing to a complete VIP extravaganza) cost extra but can really add to your Magic Kingdom touring experience. Call 407-WDW-TOUR to find the perfect add-on tour for your family!

VIP Cast Member

VIP Tour Guide at Walt Disney World

Reserve a Fireworks Dessert Party

Tomorrowland Terrace features dessert parties on select evenings of the year. Choose from patio seating on the terrace or Plaza Garden viewing where guests stand in a priority location. This add-on experience includes delicious desserts. Theme park admission is also required so you’ll want to add this party to a day and/or evening that you know you’ll be touring the Magic Kingdom.

Desserts at Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party

Desserts at Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Free with your Magic Kingdom admission, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an interactive game that takes guests of all ages on a scavenger hunt. By casting Merlin’s magical spells at Magic Portals, you’ll help conquer Hades and become an apprentice sorcerer. Sign up at the Firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A. for your starter pack. If you get hooked on the game, you may want to purchase extra sorcerer cards.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Interactive Game at Train Station

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

A Pirate’s Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas

Help Captain Jack by discovering 5 treasures hidden throughout Adventureland. Sign up at The Crow’s Nest to begin your raids. Collect all 5 treasure finder cards and you’ll receive a collector card signed by Jack Sparrow! Fun for all ages.

A Pirate’s Adventure Treasures of the Seven Seas Map Magic Kingdom

Get your treasure map!

Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial

Speaking of that famous pirate, Captain Jack hosts a pirate tutorial throughout the day in Adventureland. Check your Times Guide or My Disney Experience app for times.

Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial in the Magic Kingdom

Nic participating in Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial.

Apprentice Pirate at Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial  at the Magic Kingdom

Apprentice Pirate certificate.

If your child wants to learn sword fighting, I suggest arriving early and have your child enthusiastically wave their hands to join the fun! If they aren’t picked the first time, go back for a later show. You’ll have better luck at the first show of the day as well as the show that takes place while crowds are waiting for or viewing the afternoon parade.

Attend a Holiday Party

After-hours parties are a terrific way to see the Magic Kingdom from a new perspective. All decked out in holiday decor with special treats and shows, the Magic Kingdom becomes even more unforgettable on party nights. Try Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. We like to attend on a day that we’ve taken off from the parks; visit Disney Springs, relax at our resort, and then be sure to stay to the party until the end when crowds are at their lowest.

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Seek Out the Nooks and Crannies

If you race from ride to show without soaking in the details of the Magic Kingdom, you’ll have missed out on some of the most magical qualities of this iconic park. Even the quick-service restaurants have some special nooks — we love sitting upstairs at Columbia Harbour House and Pinocchio Village Haus. In the back of the Crystal Arts shop, you’ll find fascinating glass blowing demonstrations.

Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom

Sit upstairs at Columbia Harbour House for a relaxing respite.

Rocking Chairs in Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square.

Relax in rocking chairs in Liberty Square.

Street Performers

Be sure to stop and watch some of the street performers throughout the day. The Dapper Dans, Main Street Philharmonic, and Citizens of Main Street are extremely talented and worth watching.

The Dapper Dans in the Magic Kingdom.

The Dapper Dans performing during the holiday season.

Skip the FastPass… what?!

Sometimes you should skip the FastPass+ for the iconic rides with stellar queues. For instance, Peter Pan’s Flight has an interactive queue that will be missed if you only go on this ride via the FastPass entrance.

Peter Pan's Flight Interactive Queue

Watch for Tinker Bell!

Electrical Water Pageant

Think the fun is over as you exit the gates? It doesn’t have to be. Time your exit to coincide with the Electrical Water Pageant. Taking place on Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon, the barges pass by the Magic Kingdom (usually about 10:35PM) when the park is open late.

Electrical Water Pageant on Seven Seas Lagoon

The iconic Electrical Water Pageant.

What extras does your family enjoy in the Magic Kingdom? Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter or comment below to share your ideas!

In Remembrance of the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes Fireworks

In Remembrance of the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes Fireworks

Wishes Fireworks Ends

During a family dinner this past week, we were lamenting the end of the Wishes fireworks display at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World (WDW). Our teen son, Nic, exclaimed “Wishes has been the fireworks show for my whole life”. Well, then I realized that this goodbye was going to be harder than I thought.

Nic’s first visit to WDW was in 2002. At first, the fireworks were difficult for him to watch as he was sensitive to the noise. But over the years, he grew to look forward to viewing Wishes on every visit. And at 17, he still loves to watch the show. As does our whole family.

Wishes Fireworks Magic Kingdom

Since the show debuted in 2003, technically Nic did see the previous show — Fantasy in the Sky. But by the time of his second visit to Walt Disney World in December 2003, Wishes had become the nighttime entertainment at the Magic Kingdom. Michael and I have watched it as a couple, as parents, with our parents next to us, with friends, with Disney Parks Moms Panel family, and with other family members. That’s a lot of Wishes memories that bind us together with the special people in our lives.

When You Wish Upon a Star is one of my all-time favorite songs. It always makes me tear up. And every time Jiminy Crickett announces the following my eyes got watery and my lip quivered…

You see, the most fantastic, magical things can happen, and it all starts with a wish! -- Jiminy Crickett Click To Tweet

So, today, I’m just going to take a moment to remember Wishes, as well as the holiday variations enjoyed over the years. We’ve watched the show while staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, Contemporary, and Wilderness Lodge. Sadly, most of my fireworks photos are blurry, but here’s a few memories in honor of Wishes:

Wishes Fireworks

2003: Watching Wishes from Polynesian Beach.

One of my favorite memories was when my family surprised me with a Wishes fireworks birthday cruise.

Wishes Fireworks Birthday Cruise

Wishes Fireworks Birthday Cruise

Wishes Fireworks

Watching Wishes while on a fireworks cruise.

This slightly obstructed Wishes view was taken from our balcony at the Grand Floridian.

Wishes from Grand Floridian balcony

Wishes from balcony at Grand Floridian

During my December 2007 Disney Parks Moms Panel training, we enjoyed watching Wishes from the Train Station.

Watching Wishes Fireworks

Watching Wishes during 2007 Disney Parks Moms Panel Training.

And the following year, we went to a private party for the Disney World Moms Panel, and again watched the fireworks from atop the Main Street train station. Stellar view!

Wishes from atop Main Street Train Station

Wishes from Main Street Train Station.

And who doesn’t love noshing down on sweets while watching the Wishes fireworks. In 2011, it looks like we were enjoying the dessert party!

Desserts at Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party

Desserts at Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party.

One of our favorite unique views of Holiday Wishes occurred while waiting to enter Be Our Guest Restaurant for an evening dinner reservation.

Wishes Fireworks from Be Our Guest Restaurant entrance.

Wishes Fireworks from Be Our Guest Restaurant entrance.

Check out a little video from that perspective.

We’ve seen Wishes from many different vantage points around the Magic Kingdom.

Watching Wishes fireworks in Magic Kingdom

Wishes from Frontierland.

We highly recommend watching from California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Magic Kingdom's Fireworks from California Grill's Observation Deck

Magic Kingdom Fireworks from California Grill Observation Deck

We hope the new Happily Ever After fireworks show is equally memorable for families planning their Walt Disney World vacations.

What will you miss about Wishes? Share your favorite Wishes memory!

Ten Classic Magic Kingdom Attractions that are Underrated

Ten Classic Magic Kingdom Attractions that are Underrated

Ten Classic but Underrated Magic Kingdom Attractions to Include in Your Next Visit

Your Magic Kingdom itinerary is already jam-packed and you’ve got to see princesses, ride a dwarf train, and have lunch inside a Beast’s Castle. Yep, I get it. When you need a filler between waiting in long lines for popular rides or maybe rain has pushed you to look for indoor fun, some of these overlooked Magic Kingdom attractions at Walt Disney World will provide unexpected amusement.

10 Overlooked Magic Kingdom Attractions

Let’s take a closer look at Ten Lesser Known Attractions to include in your next Magic Kingdom visit(s). These quintessential pastimes are great for the whole family.

Walt Disney World Railroad

It takes 20 minutes to do a full circuit on the Walt Disney World Railroad. Or you can alight from the train at any of the stations — Main Street, U.S.A., Fantasyland, and Frontierland. Take some time off your feet and enjoy one of Walt Disney’s favorite pastimes. During one visit, our son was chosen to be a guest conductor aboard the WDW Railroad; it’s still a favorite memory.

WDW Railroad Engine

The Walt Disney World Railroad circles the Magic Kingdom

Swiss Family Treehouse

Okay, there are 116 stairs to climb at this Adventureland attraction. Unfortunately, folks with ambulatory issues will have to sit this one out. If you are able to make the climb, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful vistas and charming rooms nestled within the Robinson Family’s treehouse home. My favorite room is the library.

Child climbing Swiss Family Treehouse in Magic Kingdom

Climbing the Swiss Family Treehouse is a fun adventure!

Country Bear Jamboree

While tech-savvy kids may find this attraction dated, remind them that this is one of the attractions that Walt Disney helped create. Grizzly Hall is home to 18 bears proud of their hillbilly songs. Warning: You may find yourself singing and clapping. Reminder: You don’t know anybody so have some knee-slapping fun. I love watching the talking heads — Melvin, Buff, and Max.

Country Bear Jamboree sign at Grizzly Hall

A wild and wooly good time!

Tom Sawyer Island

As your log raft crosses the Rivers of America, you’ll leave even more of the real world behind. Go ahead and wander; Walt Disney made sure this island was full of exciting nooks and crannies to explore. I love the meandering paths and sitting for a spell (in the shade!) at Aunt Polly’s Dockside Inn.

Barrel Bridge on Tom Sawyer Island

Our son enjoying a snack on Tom Sawyer Island. Fun for all ages!

Liberty Square Riverboat

Embark on the Liberty Belle’s 17-minute, half-mile cruise around Tom Sawyer Island. Watch the river’s edge for unexpected scenes or sit back (note that seating is limited) and rest your park-weary feet. Visit the Salon on the Promenade deck to see historical photos and maps. You’ll also find padded benches in this interior area.

Liberty Belle Riverboat

Cruise aboard the Liberty Belle

The Hall of Presidents

This stirring, patriotic presentation inside a replica of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall offers a respite from rain, Florida humidity, and tired feet. If you or a traveling companion needs a rest, head to The Hall of Presidents. Here’s two options: you can enjoy the time to relax and enjoy a presentation on American History OR take a 23-minute nap. I’ve done both many times.

Hall of Presidents building

Hall of Presidents is a replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Don’t miss the roll call with the U.S. Presidents that follows the film. It’s a genius showcase of audio-animatronics.

Currently closed for renovation.

“it’s a small world”

A Walt Disney classic, “it’s a small world” showcases children from around the world. And yes, they sing this special little ditty during the entire voyage. 😉 The colorful collages created by Mary Blair delight visitors of all ages. Some people love it; some hate it. Confession: I’m a fan of the boat ride, costumes, Mary Blair artwork, and… the song.

Final scene in "it's a small world"

Cruise through “it’s a small world”

Mickey’s PhilharMagic

Don your “opera glasses” to join Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse on a 3D musical adventure. Since I can’t hold a tune, I try to quietly sing along to my favorite Disney songs. 😉

Mickey's PhilharMagic sign at night

Join Mickey and Donald Duck in this 3D musical adventure.

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Another piece of Disney history! Carousel of Progress was developed for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair by Walt Disney. Sit back in the revolving theater and watch the four nostalgic acts of the show presented by audio-animatronics. This 17-minute presentation will have you singing “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.” It’s been one of my all-time favorite Magic Kingdom attractions since my first trip at age 11.

Carousel of Progress sign

Carousel of Progress is a family favorite!

Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

In a narrated ten-minute journey, you’ll get a relaxing tour of Tomorrowland as you weave in and out of the futuristic buildings. We’ve seen Space Mountain with the lights on a few times during rides on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Wow! And of course, I love to hear one of my favorite quotes — “Paging Mr. Morrow. Mr. Tom Morrow“.

 

Of course, you can’t see and do everything on a visit, however I would highly recommend including at least one of these ten underrated Magic Kingdom attractions in your itinerary. Show some love to the classics!


Find Games on Calendars.com

After you conquer the most popular rides, what attractions in the Magic Kingdom does your family recommend?

Ten Epcot Attractions for Younger Kids at Walt Disney World

Ten Epcot Attractions for Younger Kids at Walt Disney World

Ten Epcot Attractions for Younger Kids at Walt Disney World

Epcot is often viewed as a park for older kids and adults. However, there are many Epcot attractions for younger children!

Young kids in Epcot

In fact, if you don’t pay a visit to Epcot while the kids are younger, you’ll miss out on some spectacular attractions that may no longer appeal to your brood once they are older.

With that said, I don’t want you to rush into Epcot without a plan. Utilize FastPass+, escape the park during the busiest (and often hottest) afternoon hours, and/or take breaks when needed. Epcot requires a lot of walking. A lot.

Epcot Friendship Boat Transportation

Tired feet will appreciate taking a Friendship Boat across World Showcase Lagoon.

Even with a teen, we tend to tour Epcot on two separate days. We might tackle Future World one morning, and then World Showcase on another evening. Of course, park hoppers help to break up a tiring Epcot day. There are many options for breaking up Epcot days, including touring until the International Gateway in World Showcase and then taking a boat to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Epcot Transportation Friendship Boat

Hop on a Friendship Boat.

If you are a one park per day family, then plan for rest stops. If you aren’t returning to your hotel for a mid-day break, then be sure to sit for small respites — Epcot has some wonderful hidden areas (the park in United Kingdom is a favorite!) where you can relax.

Hyde Park in Epcot's United Kingdom

Hyde Park is a lovely place to relax with the family.

Future World Attractions

Touring these Future World attractions first thing in the morning or later in the day (early evening is optimal!) is a good strategy for less crowded conditions. However, since these attractions are not headliners, you may be able to visit throughout the day with little to no wait, depending on the time of year that you visit. Of course, school holidays always yield longer lines.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion

This pavilion showcases a slow-moving ride in a “clamobile”. Join Pixar friends Marlin and Dory as you search for Nemo through vibrant ocean scenes. After, explore the 5.7 million gallon salt-water tank filled with sharks, dolphins, turtles, and more species. Don’t miss my favorite area — the manatee rehabilitation room. Love those “sea cows”!

Plan to see the first show of Turtle talk with Crush. It’s not-to-be-missed for younger kids and their parents. Children will be invited to sit on the floor in the front of the theater, so that they can peer into the undersea window and vie for a better position in which to chat with Crush. Innocent questions posed by the offspring can result in memorable laughs. This show is totally cool for your dudes and dudettes!

Club Cool

Coca-Cola fans (and visitors looking for a free thirst-quencher ;)) can sample products from around the globe. Kids of all ages have fun sipping these tasty and some not-so-tasty (yep, I’m referring to Italy’s Beverly) beverages. What’s your favorite?!

Child sipping beverage at Epcot's Club Cool

Take a sip!

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure

Phineas and Ferb’s pet, Perry the Platypus takes on an alter ego, Agent P, in this hands-on World Showcase adventure. Kids of all ages delight in becoming secret agents to help foil arch-nemesis, Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. Clues are sent to a borrowed FONE (Field Operative Notification Equipment) or a family-owned smartphone that direct newly commissioned agents to one of seven World Showcase pavilions. Each location highlights a new 30-45 minute adventure. Try one, several, or all of them!

Sign for Agent P's World Showcase Adventure

Help Agent P save the world!

Treats, Toys, and/or Snacks in World Showcase

Look for unique treats, toys, and/or snacks in the World Showcase pavilions. On one Epcot trip, we had our son choose a different candy from each each country — a definite highlight of his vacation. Visit the shops, bakeries, ice cream shops, food stands, and restaurants for a smorgasbord of tasty edibles.

Variety of snacks including Pocky at Epcot's Japan pavilion

Candy in Epcot’s Japan.

Journey into Imagination

Another slow-moving ride that is perfect for guests of all ages! Dr. Nigel Channing’s sensory labs will delight your senses as you travel through this imaginative journey. Set your imagination free with the mischievous purple dragon named Figment. And, hold your nose in the Smell Lab! There’s a small interactive exhibit, ImageWorks – The “What If” Labs, that follows the ride.

Child playing in Epcot's ImageWorks

Jump on squares to create different sounds at ImageWorks

Kidcot Fun Stops

Mickey Mouse travels the world with his teddy bear, Duffy. During your adventure around the globe, take a breather while watching the kids join in artistic fun at any of the eleven Kidcot Fun Stops.

Kidcot Fun Stop in Epcot

Kidcot stations are fun stops in Epcot.

A Cast Member will provide a free cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear for your child to decorate and adorn with a commemorative stamp at each station. Ask the Cast Member about their home country. It’s especially fun to have them write your child’s name in their native language. By the time your World Showcase tour is over, Duffy will be completely decorated for a take home souvenir!

Kidcot Fun Stop in Epcot

Take a break at Kidcot Fun Stops.

Street Performers

One of the most popular performances to watch with kids is in France. Gravity defying acrobats –Serveur Amusant™ — delight young minds with their balancing acts.

French acrobat in Epcot

French acrobats amuse young audiences.

Characters

Disney characters can be found throughout Epcot. A quick look at the Times Guide (an informational sheet that you can pick up when entering the park) or on your My Disney Experience app will give you the daily schedule for character greetings. Stop by Epcot Character Spot in Future World or seek out Disney friends throughout World Showcase.

Child posing with Mary Poppins in Epcot's United Kingdom

Visit characters throughout World Showcase. Don’t forget your autograph book!

World Showcase Diversions

Don’t miss the little things. These unexpected diversions can really add to your youngster’s visit to Epcot.

Model train village in Epcot's Germany

Watch the train in Epcot’s Germany

Koi Pond in Epcot's Japan

Check out the Koi Pond.

World Showcase Attractions

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

Young kids love the mystery of Mexico’s pyramid and the twilit Festival Marketplace inside adds to the adventure. Kids like posing for a picture wearing a sombrero, trying out the maracas, and spotting the volcano on the way to Gran Fiesta Tour.

Child posing with sombrero inside Epcot's Mexico

Try a sombrero in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion.

The calm and silly boat ride is inspired by The Three Caballeros, a Disney film that debuted in 1944. What kids enjoy is helping to find Donald Duck. He’s disappeared! So, José Carioca (a Brazilian parrot) and Panchito (a Mexian charro rooster) need your help to find him.

Sign for Epcot's Mexico pavilion attractions

Head inside the pyramid in Epcot’s Mexico.

Frozen Ever After

Travel through Arendelle with Queen Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and other Frozen friends! A “summer snow day” is the perfect time to visit the frozen willow forest, Troll Valley, and North Mountain aboard a gently gliding boat. Along the way, you’ll hear favorite Frozen songs in this attraction at the Norway pavilion in Epcot.

Don’t leave Norway without stopping by Royal Sommerhus to meet Anna and Elsa.

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

A memorable fireworks show brings guests together around World Showcase Lagoon at the end of an Epcot evening. Earth’s birth, the history of humanity, and joyful hope for the future are all celebrated in this fiery display. If your little one is unsure of loud noises, visit a nearby shop where the sound will be diminished.

Epcot's fireworks during IllumiNations show light up the sky

If your child is afraid of loud noises, try watching IllumiNations from inside a shop.

Extra Epcot Tips

Plan a vacation during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival as the topiary arrangements add an extra layer of free fun to your family’s itinerary.

Disney topiaries at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Check out the floral exhibits at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Never underestimate the allure of the Disney monorail. Take the kids for a ride on the monorail before leaving Walt Disney World!

The Disney monorail passes through Epcot's Future World

Consider the Disney Monorail a must-do attraction!

Epcot should definitely be on your touring agenda. These attractions and others like Spaceship Earth will entertain the whole family.

What do your kids enjoy in Epcot?

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion, and Storytelling

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion, and Storytelling

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling

Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK) far surpasses the other three Walt Disney World (WDW) parks when it comes to its ability to immerse guests into the various experiences and stories that the Imagineers carefully craft. Joe Rohde’s theme park is an extraordinary achievement. Since opening in April 1998, DAK has been providing guests of all ages with multiple layers of sensory and emotional stimuli.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

The lighting, landscaping, architecture, graphics, and color palette are all layered in overwhelming detail.

The level of immersion and designed detail at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is unique at WDW. The only other park on Florida’s Disney property that comes close is Typhoon Lagoon. (Love that place, but for a variety of reasons, including temperature, water parks are not necessarily on my touring plan every time I visit Disney. 😉)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

Astounding details are woven into the landscaping near Expedition Everest.

My first visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom occurred in January 1999, less than one year after its opening. From that excursion and onward, this park has continuously held a special place in my overall Disney experience. Although there are many criticisms leveled at DAK, some legitimate and others ridiculous (in my opinion), there is no other Disney Park in the United States that offers the range of emotional impact related to its explicitly detailed design and execution.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

The Entrance and Reveal at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The experience begins at the entrance, not unlike many of the other Disney parks, however, Disney’s Animal Kingdom sets itself apart in significant ways. The necessity to walk through the Oasis to get to the Tree of Life and the remaining themed areas of DAK, works magic every time it is experienced.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

The Tree of Life is the park icon for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The fact that you cannot see any details of the park beyond the foliage and paths of the Oasis as you enter the turnstiles is unique for the parks at WDW. With Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there is no effort or any mechanism by which any aspect of the entrance to the park is a mystery. Spaceship Earth cannot be hidden. Hollywood Boulevard and several of the other themed areas at the Studios can be plainly seen even before you enter the turnstile.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

Meandering pathway through the Oasis

The Magic Kingdom and the carefully designed reveal of Cinderella’s Castle is closer to what Disney’s Animal Kingdom presents. Cinderella Castle, by design, is slowly experienced as you pass under the Walt Disney Railroad Station and turn the bend into the central hub at City Hall or the Exposition Center.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

Look at the details in every corner of Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

It is a well-known fact in Disney lore that the slow reveal to Cinderella’s Castle is copied directly from Disneyland’s reveal of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Walt and his Imagineers designed the entrance to Disneyland as the overture to “the show” and a direct analogy of entering a movie theater or theatrical production. The turnstile, the archway into the lobby (City Hall area), the popcorn available immediately upon entering the “lobby” at either side, and Main Street USA rolled out as the red carpet towards the main attraction, Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Hub. The adventures of the themed lands lie beyond. This purposeful manipulation of these stimuli attracts and compels guests forward to explore.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

All roads lead to amazing scenery

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is analogous to the Magic Kingdom only in that its entranceway was carefully designed to manipulate your senses and have a distinctive emotional impact on your experience. The care by which the entrance to DAK is designed is carried throughout every remaining inch of the park. Beyond anything else, this is what I admire most about the Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

Stop and take in the splendid views in the Oasis.

The Story Revealed by Joe Rohde

The other, and perhaps more significant, analogy that can be drawn between the Magic Kingdom/Disneyland and DAK is that each owes its existence to the dreams of one man. Joe Rohde is unquestionably Walt Disney’s stand-in for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

View from DinoLand toward Discovery Island. Discovery Island leads to DinoLand U.S.A., Asia, Harambe, and soon… Pandora.

Walt’s passion to tell stories and provide the guest with adventure, education, and immersive experiences by careful design of every single detail of Disneyland is well documented. It can be clearly seen that Joe Rohde’s passion has always and continues to achieve the same with DAK.

Joe Rohde is unquestionably Walt Disney’s stand-in for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Click To Tweet

Kim saw firsthand the exquisite detail that went into the Wild Africa Trek when she took part in the opening day ceremony in January 2011 with Joe Rohde in attendance (yes, I’m still jealous!).

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

Opening of Animal Kingdom’s Wild Africa Trek. And, there’s Joe Rohde!

The Work of Art

Over the years, I have spent many hours slowly soaking up and appreciating various details of the work of art called the Animal Kingdom. Frustratingly, I know that I have only barely scratched the surface. During any of my trips to WDW, a must do is simply wandering and admiring small chunks of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

Along the Maharajah Jungle Trek, you’ll wander the ruins of an ancient palace

Joe Rohde and the Imagineers have continued to plus the park with every addition or modification made since 1998. The masterful use of aesthetics continues to astound me: Anandapur and the addition of Expedition Everest, the expansion of Harambe, and several of the modifications made to Discovery Island are just a few of these examples.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

The details present in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom bring life to the mythical kingdom of Anandapur.

Animal Kingdom’s extraordinary use of design, story immersion, and details is encouraging when considering near and future development in the park.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

Dino Institute in DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Favorite Aesthetics

Some of the most salient aesthetics at DAK for me include: the ingenious use of graphic design apparent in the signage across the entire park, the wall and brickwork found within Asia, the mountaineering props and gear spread all over Anandapur, the queues for Expedition Everest and Dinosaur, the Restaurantosaurus, the entrance to Harambe, and the entire park at nighttime.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

Expedition Everest looks even more mysterious at night!

DAK at night is especially wonderful to walk AND run through! Yes, Kim and I ran the Expedition Everest Challenge 5K back in 2008 and 2009!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

As it was purposely designed to be, DAK’s aesthetics and artful design cannot be described well with words. Photographs do a better job, but there truly is nothing like being able to touch Disney’s Animal Kingdom in person. I am looking forward to my next visit!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Masterful Aesthetics of Design, Immersion and Storytelling/ If you are considering a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you’re not sure if you should include it in your itinerary, then this post will help you! The park is beautifully designed! Click through to check out design details and the magic of Disney storytelling.

The palentologists and graduate students of DinoLand’s story”live” at Restaurantosaurus.


Share your thoughts on Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the comments below. Do you have an upcoming trip planned?