We’re planning our next Disney trip and a question came up – if you could only do one thing in each park, what would it be? Further – what’s the one thing you can’t miss?
Diana, Dallas TX
What an interesting question!
I’ll start with the one thing that I can’t miss and work from there. There’s a lot of things that “make” my Disney vacation. Overall, the idea of being away with my family for “x” amount of days is what makes the trip special. As you probably know by now, we go away for Christmas. Being away for Christmas makes it extra special – it feels like Christmas lasts longer than just December 25th. When we used to spend Christmas at home, we’d celebrate as a family on December 25th and then return to our normal lives on December 26th. In Disney, there’s no worrying about going to work the next day or our New Year’s Eve plans – we’re away from reality and have the chance to spend quality time with one another.
We each have our own “can’t-miss” attraction, as well as things we enjoy as a family. If I had to pick one attraction, I’d say the Wishes fireworks show at Magic Kingdom. That’s probably the one attraction that we would feel really bad about missing. I feel like the fireworks at Magic Kingdom captures the true magic of Disney. First of all, the castle is one of the most iconic visuals in the world. Everyone knows Cinderella’s Castle. Second, the visual of the castle with the fireworks and Tinkerbell flying by is the same thing you see before every Disney movie. If you grew up watching Disney movies, you feel a sense of nostalgia every time you see the castle or start up a Disney movie. I get that same sense every time I see the castle. The fireworks are unmatched and the combination of Jiminy Cricket’s narration and the “Wishes” song gives me chills every time.
Obviously, if Wishes is my one can’t miss attraction for all of Walt Disney World, it’s also my can’t-miss attraction for Magic Kingdom.
Hollywood Studios is a tough call. I love the rides at Hollywood Studios. I used to be terrified of heights and roller coasters but conquered by fear while in Disneyland. Ever since then, I’ve loved Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. My sister and I would feel bad about missing Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is probably our favorite ride in Disney. We used to have a ritual of going on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster once the clock struck 12am on New Year’s Eve. Tower of Terror is a favorite of mine. I love the themeing and how creepy the ride feels at night. Still, our can’t-miss attraction in Hollywood Studios has to be Fantasmic! On our last trip, we realized that we only had two nights left and had still not seen Fantasmic!. We rushed through our dinner at Coral Reef and jumped on the boat to Hollywood Studios. We just made the show. I’ll never forget the frustration we felt in realizing that we may go our entire trip without seeing it. My mom doesn’t go on rides, so Fantasmic! is something we can all enjoy together at Hollywood Studios. It’s also the one show, if you think about it, that you get to see pretty much every classic Disney character.
EPCOT has two main rides: Test Track and Soarin’. As enjoyable as they both are, I could go an entire trip without them. When it comes to EPCOT, my two can’t-miss “attractions” are Illuminations and eating and drinking around the world. We always spend one afternoon eating and drinking around the world. It serves as our breakfast and lunch. I love the variey of food at EPCOT. You can share nachos in Mexico, a gigantic pretzel in Germany, and finish it off with fish and chips in the UK Pavilion. Nothing better, right? Maybe. I love eating around the world, but given the choice of stuffing my face or seeing Illuminations, I’m going with Illuminations – and I’ll probably feel a lot better about myself the next day!
Animal Kingdom is a great park, but it’s not my family’s favorite. We consider it a “half-day” park. Still, it has plenty to offer. I love Expedition Everest, but no trip to Animal Kingdom is complete without the Kilimanjaro Safari. We enjoy it as a family and love to see the animals – especially the lions!
Last, the resorts. No trip is complete without a stop to the Grand Floridian. The lobby is gorgeous and has an amazing victorian feel to it. During Christmas, the gingerbread house is a true spectacle. And of course, no stop at the Grand Floridian is complete without dinner at Narcoossee’s, my family’s favorite restaurant. Nothing beats eating dinner during Wishes and the Electrical Water Pageant.
So there you have it – my one-can’t miss for all of Disney World, as well as the parks and resorts. I hope this helps you in planning out your next Disney vacation!
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