1. Cinderella Castle-The castle is my favorite out of all of WDW. I am completely in awe every time I see it. I have a Christopher Radko Cinderella Castle ornament I purchased at WDW in 2007 (had no idea it was a limited edition and only sold at WDW at the time). I used to hang it on my tree and stare at it as the Christmas lights hit the ornament so beautifully, but now it’s permanently in a glass cabinet to protect it and so I can see it year-round. The Castle is 189 feet tall and is designed to make it look taller than it really is so the castle did not need to have a blinking red light to warn air traffic. (Good call!) There is also a restaurant, a suite and a high point for Tinker Bell to fly from at night. Guests walk through to see the Cinderella story mosaics. The Castle is in the center point of the park and is the most recognized icon in the world.
2. Animal Kingdom-After seeing what Walt Disney World built for their animals and how they are treated, I think I would love to come back as an animal owned by Walt Disney World. What a life! The animals have freedom of movement and they’re not stalked by prey. Trying to spot them is fun while on the safari ride. The attractions are great whether you ride Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR or Kali River Rapids. The entertainment is top notch and is a must see. The Lion King show is my favorite. My son was pulled up to walk with the cast members a few times when he was young. Great memories. Don’t bother to look for a plastic straw. You won’t find one. WDW provides paper straws in the event a straw is dropped and an animal ingests it. The dining is great, also. We love Yak & Yeti! This is, by far, one of my favorite parks.
3. Walt Disney World’s property size-Walt Disney secretly purchased many, many properties under many different names in order to keep the Florida location secret while all of the purchases were taking place. The intention was to have an excessive amount of space to continuously grow within the confines of the WDW property lines without other businesses setting up shop so close to Disney World. Walt Disney regretted not having the extensive acreage to build in California with Disneyland, which also resulted in businesses building so close to Disneyland. He had no buffer. This is why the purchasing of land in many different names for the Florida project was so secretive. Disneyland is 500 acres. Walt Disney World is over 27,000 acres.
4. Disney Springs-This is a large venue of shopping, eating and entertainment. Want to see a movie? AMC Theater is a great place for that. Both of those places are great to spend a rainy day or evening. Dining options are extensive. This is one of my favorite places to visit.
5. MagicBands-Disney released the use of MagicBands in WDW only. The Magicbands are to make a guest’s visit easier and more magical. This also saves money and makes things easier for Disney by saving money on fastpass paper tickets, plastic cards for tickets and room access, which tend to be lost causing Disney more money and time with having to replace them. No more having to take every person’s card out of a pocket for entrance, gain or use fastpass, charge for purchases, use for dining whether charging to the room or using for Disney Dining Plan, etc. By not having to carry a card, guests are less apt to lose them, which makes the MagicBand so much better. They're easily accessible with less risk of losing. This also allows WDW to take your pictures on all rides and combine with photographers’ photos for Memory Maker, which brings in more income for WDW and provides convenience and more unique photos for the guests. I would be remiss to point out the basic fact that it also helps Disney study guests to further offer more benefits that curtail to each person. For more information on MagicBands, click here!
6. Water Parks-Typhoon Lagoon has so many different things to do for all guests of many ages. To name a few, it has a wave pool, water slides, family raft ride, and a shark reef that you can snorkel in amid sharks and other sea life. Blizzard Beach gives you the opportunity to slide down one of the world’s tallest water slides. No other Disney Park has water parks.
7. Utilidors-There is a tour available to see the utilidors, but most guests rarely go on this tour. If you don’t take the tour, you don’t get to see this unique part of Walt Disney World. The utilidors are tunnels that run below Main Street and much of the Magic Kingdom. Walt did not want guests to see a Frontierland Cast Member walk through Fantasyland to exit the park. The utilidors allowed the Cast Members to travel across the park without being seen. The utilidors are also used to transport trash and supplies. With all of this being said, now you know that, technically, the entire Magic Kingdom is on the second floor! So, next time think of all the activities happening below your feet as you are on a ride or walking around.
8. Epcot-World Showcase provides us with a visit to 11 country pavilions complete with dining, dialect through the Cast Members from each country, charm, architecture, history, culture and even merchandise from each country. We get a world tour plus Future World with educational, yet fun, pavilions to explore. Rumor has it that Walt Disney World will be getting a new film for Soarin’ focused on other places other than California. Let’s not forget the new Test Track. Build your own car and compete against others when you are in the car based on how you built your car, which is saved on your Magicband. You scan your Magicband before you get in the car so the system knows when your car will be racing. It is my opinion that the new Test Track is better than the old Test Track. It appears to have more high speed movements before the big launch to over 60 MPH.
9. Resorts-When you stay on Disney property, everything appears to be so much easier and seamless than if you stayed off the property. You fly into Orlando, skip getting your checked baggage, jump on the FREE Disney Magical Coach, go to your resort, check-in, give your carry-on’s to the resort’s bell service (if room is not ready) and go to a park. No need to rent a car, designating a sober driver when you go to Epcot, worry about parking, finding a tram just to get out of the parking lot to get to the park, waiting for your checked luggage or stressing over directions to get you to your next destination. The resort will text or call you when your room is ready with a room number. Go directly to your room whenever you want, because the key is programmed into your Magicband as soon as the resort assigns you a room. Once you get to your room, (if it’s been more than 3 hours since you landed) you will find your checked luggage! All you need to do is call Bell Services for them to deliver your carry-on bags. (Please tip accordingly.) How simple is that?!?! There is a wide range of resorts to stay at to fit your budget, wants or needs. In my opinion, staying at a WDW resort is the only way to go, because it’s the best experience you can possibly have while on vacation.
10. Fantasyland-Magic Kingdom’s new Fantasyland is bigger and better than any other. To name a few, there is the Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Train (not recommended for guests with knee issues), Be Our Guest Restaurant and Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid. All of the attractions, in true Disney style, are high quality and they have great dining and snack options!
11. Golf courses and ESPN-Walt Disney World has four golf courses. The Palm and Magnolia courses are rated 4-stars by Golf Digest. The Magnolia Course is also a Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary certified by Audubon International. Walt Disney World also has the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex that holds over 200 events each year.
12. Cast Members-I would be remiss not to mention the cast members. They are an integral part of the whole experience. Each cast member is patient, friendly and smiling during the good and bad times in order to maintain the Walt Disney World magical experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s the horrible weather conditions, how to run their assigned ride to keep us safe, the necessity for cast members to put on waders to evacuate Pirates of the Caribbean, dealing with the excessive crowds that cause tempers to fly, the incredibly hot character costumes they wear in the hot and humid weather, keeping all of Walt Disney World so clean that keeps us going back for the good, clean wholesome fun……We thank all cast members for making our vacation experience at Walt Disney World a great one.