Our Disney “Don’t Miss” Lists

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Okay, friends, if you read my Tips and Tricks for a Dreamy Disney Vacation, then you already know that we enjoyed a very special vacation this summer.  This is my second and last post about that experience, I promise, but I thought those of you who have vacationed at Disney or might someday vacation at Disney might appreciate this.  Plus, it is a fun way for me to document our adventure for our own future reference!

As soon as we hopped in the car for the long drive home from Florida to Ohio, I asked each person in our crew (ages 3 to 40ish) ten questions.  These questions covered their favorite aspects of our Disney experience to what they would change about our trip if they could.  Each interview and photo collage below reveals the details of our trip through a different set of eyes!  Any experience that was mentioned by more than one person must have been very special, so those are highlighted in purple.  If you would like more information about any specific park, ride, shop, or restaurant, you can just enter the title in the search bar on the Disney website.  Enjoy!

Mary Ann, Teacher, Writer, and Mom of two boys
Favorite Park: Tie between Magic Kingdom and EPCOT
Favorite Family Ride: Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios
Favorite Thrill Ride: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Snack: Chocolate cake pop from the Main Street Confectionary at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Restaurant Meal: Lunch at T-Rex at Disney Springs
Favorite Dining Experience: My birthday luau at the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian Village Resort
Favorite Souvenir: A caricature drawing by an artist at the All-Star Sports Resort
Favorite Disney Moment: Watching my three-year-old nephew’s excitement at the Festival of Fantasy parade at Magic Kingdom
Disney Tip: It’s probably going to rain, so pack a pair of extra shoes in your suitcase and bring a poncho to the parks.
One Thing You Would Do Differently: I would save a little extra money for expensive meals and special snacks.

Scott, Teacher, My Brother, and Dad of Two Boys
Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom
Favorite Family Ride: Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Thrill Ride: Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Snack: Cinnamon ice cream from L’Artisan Des Glaces in France in the World Showcase at EPCOT
Favorite Restaurant Meal: Chip ‘n’ Dale Character Breakfast at the Garden Grill at EPCOT
Favorite Dining Experience: Lunch at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Souvenir: Memory Maker Photo Pass (professional photos of the family from all of the parks)
Favorite Disney Moment: Watching my nephews experience Disney World for the first time
Disney Tip: Download My Disney Experience app on your phone to watch wait times and book fast passes
One Thing You Would Do Differently: Get everyone moving faster in the morning to get to the parks for early entry.

Stacey, Teacher and Mom of two boys
Favorite Park: EPCOT
Favorite Family Ride: Frozen Ever After at EPCOT
Favorite Thrill Ride: Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Snack: Caramel apple from Main Street Confectionary at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Restaurant Meal: Family-style Polynesian dinner at the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian Village Resort
Favorite Dining Experience: Patio view of Cinderella Castle at Casey’s Corner in Magic Kingdom
Favorite Souvenir: Alex and Ani bracelet with Cinderella Castle, Walt, and Mickey purchased at the Emporium in Magic Kingdom
Favorite Disney Moment: Only one? Maybe watching the boys enjoy an impromptu tea party in Morocco in the World Showcase at EPCOT . . .
Disney Tip: Plan carefully, but also do something spontaneous! For example, we tried using a water taxi for the first time, and it was a special moment.
One Thing You Would Do Differently: I wish we wouldn’t have said we would come back to do something or return to enjoy a ride again later. I wish we had done those things in the moment. Weather and time sometimes prevented us from doing the things we planned to come back to.

Gavin, Age 13
Favorite Park: Hollywood Studios (with EPCOT a close second)
Favorite Family Ride: The Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Thrill Ride: The Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios
Favorite Snack: Mickey pretzel with cheese (available all over the place)
Favorite Restaurant Meal: Nachos at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Dining Experience: Eating with dinosaurs at T-Rex at Disney Springs
Favorite Souvenir: Customized phone case from Launch Bay Cargo at Hollywood Studios
Favorite Disney Moment: Seeing the castle, hearing the happy music, and riding my first Disney ride (Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) and thinking “THIS is Disney . . .”
One Thing You Would Do Differently: Skip the 50’s Prime Time Café. We waited a long time even with a reservation, sat at a table that was too small for us, and the experience and food weren’t as good as I expected.
Disney Tip: Leave half a day open to hang out at your hotel and swim.

Carson, Age 11
Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom (with Hollywood Studios a close second)
Favorite Family Ride: Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom
Favorite Thrill Ride: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios
Favorite Snack: Apple cinnamon ice cream from L’Artisan Des Glaces in France in the World Showcase at EPCOT
Favorite Restaurant Meal: Nachos from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Dining Experience: Luau at the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian Village Resort
Favorite Souvenir: A soccer jersey from a gift shop in England in the World Showcase at EPCOT
Favorite Disney Moment: Watching my little cousin wave at characters in the Festival of Fantasy parade at Magic Kingdom
Disney Tip: Be sure to ride the monorail.
One Thing You Would Do Differently: I would have taken a little more time to swim. Our hotel had a neat baseball-theme pool.

Ethan, Age 8
Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom
Favorite Family Ride: Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Thrill Ride: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios
Favorite Snack: Fresh popcorn from popcorn stands at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Restaurant Meal: Pizza from Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in Italy in the World Showcase at EPCOT
Favorite Dining Experience: Luau at the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian Village Resort
Favorite Souvenir: Mickey Mouse beach hat from the All-Star Sports Resort gift shop
Favorite Disney Moment: Being with my family and sharing adjoining hotel rooms with my cousins
Disney Tip: Get up and go to the parks early to get through security more quickly.
One Thing You Would Do Differently: I would skip the gift shops to have more fun!

Aidan, Age 3
Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom
Favorite Family Ride: Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom
Favorite Thrill Ride: Frozen Ever After at EPCOT (It’s only a thrill ride if you are three years old!  Check out his face on the one small hill!)
Favorite Snack: Mickey-shaped sugar cookie from the Main Street Confectionary at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Restaurant Meal: Pizza from Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in Italy in the World Showcase at EPCOT
Favorite Dining Experience: Getting character autographs at the Chip ‘n’ Dale Character Breakfast at the Garden Grill at EPCOT
Favorite Souvenir: Robot puppy from the gift shop at the exit of Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Disney Moment: Watching the Festival of Fantasy parade in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom
Disney Tip: Let little kids make choices, too, and go on family rides all together.
One Thing You Would Do Differently: Meet more characters!

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