Walt DisneyWorld’s Downtown

Another of Disney’s out of park recreational area, this is possibly the most popular of the two as it is widely known as the home to Cirque Du Soleil. With plenty of shops, restaurants and entertainment there’s enough here to keep your rainy days and evenings busy.

Here’s my top must see and do’s while in Downtown…

Cirque Du Soleil – An internationally known theatrical experience, A extraordinary feat of acrobatics and daring physical acts. Ticket bookings are a must to get seats and is known to sell out for dates months in advance!

https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/lanouba/default.aspx

DisneyQuest – Disney’s indoor interactive theme park (which allows entry with your Disney ultimate ticket) spans over 5 floors of rides and adventures. A little like an arcade if you will, with heaps of choice you’ll easily be able to re-enter on a number of occasions and still not work your way round the park.

Disney’s Days Of Christmas – Where else would it feel right to celebrate the magic of Christmas every day of the year? This popular shop is open year round and sells exclusive ornaments and trinkets which are hard to resist.. and like me you could end up with enough to have your every own Disney tree at home ūüėČ

Earl Of Sandwich – A personal favourite of mine is Earl’s! The choices and prices for Disney are fantastic when you dont fancy a full sit down meal and something other than a McDonalds. Try the Cannonball and don’t forget the brownie on your meal deal… Totally amazing! There’s even choices of pasta, pizza and soup if your not a sandwich fan!

http://www.earlofsandwichusa.com/

World Of Disney Store – The largest of its kind in the world, Its kinda hard to miss and is where you’ll find those hard to resist pieces…

House Of Blues Music Hall – Dine on a range of southern cuisine while bopping to the sounds of the in house band (Shows start at 10:30pm) With Sunday Gospel all you can eat brunches from 10:30am-1pm, tables book out quickly.

http://www.houseofblues.com/orlando/

Bongos Cuban Cafe РHoused in a giant pineapple Bongos is hard to miss! Aimed at everyone wanting a good time here you can be the leader of the Congo line or enjoy the laughs while dining to the live music from 6pm daily. With an authentic menu the choices for Disney are more varied than your burger and chips deal. Again tables book out quickly so book ahead not to miss out!

http://www.bongoscubancafe.com/orlando.html

Walt DisneyWorld’s Boardwalk

Stretching over a quarter mile of the¬†edge of Crescent Lake near Disney’s Old Key West Resort the Boardwalk is decked out as a 1940’s coastal village who’s charm is a hit with families and those wanting lively nights. Within walking distance¬†from Epcot and Hollywood Studios¬†its a great place to head after a day at the park and looking for some dinner or evening entertainment.

Possibly aimed at an older client this waterfront recreational area is one of the handful of places you can come within the Disney resort for a night out!

My top spots I’ve listed below with links for reservations and event details…

Atlantic Dance Hall – An art deco ballroom/nightclub is where the party happens most nights of the week. With the DJ spining your all time favourites from the 80’s 90’s and today, its a great night out for those over 21, and one of the few places for a night out within the Disney area.¬†Check¬†on-line¬†for opening hours as they can vary.

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/entertainment/boardwalk/atlantic-dance-hall/

Boardwalk Joe’s Marvellous Margaritas – Get the sundowners in at Joe’s, with a massive range of choice with frozen and shaken in a multitude of flavours.

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/boardwalk/boardwalk-joes-marvelous-margaritas/menus/

Jellyrolls – For a night out with a difference visit Jellyrolls with the famous duelling pianos there’s not a request they cant meet. Voted one of the top 100 things to see and do while in Orlando, this over 21’s only bar is an enjoyable night with great entertainment!¬†Tables can book quickly, so reserve in advance. A cover charge is needed.

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/entertainment/boardwalk/jellyrolls/

Funnel Cake – Sold from a market stall in the Boardwalk area, get your hands on a funnel cake. A cake batter deep fried and served with sauce and ice cream, this dish is delicious but oh so naughty!

Boardwalk bakery – Ever see those oh so cute muffins and and treats all Disney themed plaster all over Instagram? Chances are they’ve purchased these cuties from here. Go and have a drool over the window display and why not treat yourself to a coffee and a cake… After all you are in Disney.

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* * Picture from my recent trip to France not from the bakery in Orlando… Had no decent picture but to get a better idea of the decorative choices. * *

Another family favourite is to hire on of the Surrey bikes to cycle around Crescent lake on a sunny afternoon as an alternative to a theme park.

Walt DisneyWorld’s Hollywood Studios

Formally known as MGM Studios (which I often still call it the park) is iconic for the giant Mickey Mouse hat from the film ‘Fantasia.’ The park is all about the show biz and getting to see more from behind the scenes with added special effect and backstage secrets. With one of the most popular evening shows Fantasmic,¬†Where you follow Mickey Mouses through his dreams on a epic adventure with lights, lasers, music and fireworks this show is one not to miss!

Personally I think this might be my favourite Disney park, with my favourite rides (Listed below) and shows, this park for me is the first stop on my trips! So after many a visit here’s my top tips of the best things to see and do while here…

New! Frozen Sing-a-long – Here’s the newest and hottest attraction in the parks! Obviously a massive hit with children and adults alike, this attraction is only temporary (but in my opinion very likely to stay) Join Elsa and Anna singing along to your favourite songs in the movie.

50’s Prime Time Cafe – Here’s where you will find massive queues all eager to try the famous peanut butter and jelly milkshakes! Tons of other options to chose from, It actually is ranked as one of the top 100 things to do in Orlando!?

One man’s dream – A must for any true Disney fan, This walk through tribute to Mr Walt Disney informs you of the man behind the magic through interesting facts and explains his brilliant plans of the parks and his empire. There is a short optional film to watch and only 10 minutes long.

Indiana Jones epic stunt spectacular РA humorous stunt show dedicated to the ever popular movies. Using live actors in the show it takes you on a journey to see how these stunts are filmed and shot on location in the movies. With several timed shows a day, chances are high without the fast pass tickets. Pre book to ensure seating during peak season.

The magic of Disney Animation – Another of my early memories from Disney… My parents making us queue for something that wasn’t a roller-coaster left us moaning about boredom, However once the short film as finished and we were taken into the ‘drawing class’ we were hooked. I think I must have 7/8 sketches from that first year! Starting with an entertaining 9 minute film about how the animated characters are made you are taken into the animation station where you can learn how to draw one the famous stars from the films, create a soundtrack to a movie scene, or find out which character you are most like by answering questions with help from the ‘help’ from Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast live on stage – Relive the tale as old as time with this Broadway style show, Opening on the 22nd November 1991 – the same day the animated feature hit the silver screen – making it the first time a stage show opened the same day as the movie that inspired it. I’m a massive hit of any musical (most likely due to my love of the classic sing a long Disney movies of my youth) and love watching the show, I think I’ve seen the show and movie over 100 times between them and I never grow tired of the stage performance.¬†Fastpass+ is available to book for the show and highly¬†recommended¬†with seat¬†choices to ensure a great view.)

Sci-Fi dine in theatre – Trust Disney to choose this theme for one of its unique dinning experiences. Set up as a drive through theatre you can take a seat in one of the classic muscle cars of America – a convertible… Of course. which have been adapted with tables for your dinning needs. A huge hit and with a selection of movie choices its a massive hit!¬†Log onto the DisneyWorld website for the¬†up-to-date¬†listing of movie choices and to pre book as during summer months this restaurant books up¬†months in advance for popular movie choices!

Areosmith’s Rock N Roller Coaster – One of my favourite rides! During the queue it takes you on a walk through of rock memorabilia, and end up walking in during Areosmiths recording in the studio who invite you to join them onto the show…. Cue a super fast limo to get you to the show on time. The ride takes you from 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds and on a wild adventure through the streets of Hollywood with a sound system blasting out the likes of ‘Walk this way’ and ‘Dude’ (Looks like a lady) BRILLIANT ride!

The Twilight Zone tower of terror – My other favourite ride! Normally I hate those shoot up drop down rides, but this take on it I love! The queue takes you around the Hollywood Tower Hotel, before taking the elevator up to the thirteenth floor. before hurteling back down them! The view from the missing walls and opening windows is amazing, and one year we were lucky enough to be on during the firework show, was pretty impressive!

Be sure to find the singing in the rain umbrella located on the streets of America and stand upon the black square for a surprise!

Walt DisneyWorld’s Magic Kingdom¬†

Home to the iconic Cinderella castle, Magic Kingdom is the classic Disney park. Suiting everybody young at heart, the park is the only place where once upon a time is now.

The first of the four parks to open is still the most popular to date as there is no where else will you find the fairy tale enchantment with high thrill rides the park offers.

Personally I think the park is less about the rides and more the experience, other than the three ‘Mountains’ there aren’t your big thrill rides at the park. However don’t miss this park out! I feel the park is the most “Disney” and who would want to travel all that way and not take a picture in front of that castle?!¬†

With over 40 attractions and shows spread over 7 lands I’ve got my top tips on what to tick off and my tips for while your in the park.

Top attractions

Enchanted tales with Belle –¬†A live retelling of the ‘tale as old as time’ with Belle and Lumiere. Get there early to snag yourself a part in the show.¬†

The Magic Kindom’s mountain range – An insiders joke to the three thrill rides in the park, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain. Here’s where you need to be savy, use your fast pass+ to pre book times and head back later in the evening when queues are at there shortest. Another tip is to try and ride once in the day and again once it’s dark, makes shift difference!

Dumbo the flying Elephant – Now tell me who’d want to miss out on this classic ride after likely spending most of your childhood wide eyed at the Tv screen when the adverts came on.

Mad tea party waltzers – another of those classics from the adverts, I know I was always jealous of those spinning madly in their teacup.

Buzz Lightyears space ranger spin – A personal favourite, this shoot up style ride has you shooting aliens from the carriage competing against friends and family for that top score! Fast pass tickets are available giving you chance to queue and get on a second time!

Keys to the Magic Kingdom tour – Not included in a days entry, this tour is the ticket to the insider knowledge of the park. On the tour they take you behind the scenes, and to the unseen “1st floor”. Bet you didn’t know Magic Kingdom isn’t on ground level, with a magic underground tunnel systems used by staff!? The tour includes lunch and is half a day. Cost at time of post was $79 per person and is a popular attraction, so will need to be booked in advance.

Festival of the Lion King РA free 30 minute Broadway-esque show, A taster of the Broadway performance if you will. With all your favourite songs from the movie this is a must do for any fan of a sing a long. Shows are very popular and with limited seating make sure you use your fastpass+ service to guarantee you dont miss out.

Mickey’s Philharmagic – ¬†A firm family favourite, and a chance to rest those feet and enjoy some air con ūüėČ while watching the 4D adventures of Donald Duck. Taking you on a musical tour of all your favourite classic movies.¬†Normally has a short wait time due to its huge theater, but on warm days expect the wait time to triple. Pre book on your fastpass+ to ensure viewing.

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor – Help Mike, Sulley and the gang collect laughs for Monsters Inc in this interactive show.

My Hot Tips To DisneyWorld Florida

With parks in Asia, Europe¬†and North America the sun literally never sets on a Disney park. Concentrating on the worlds most famous parks DisneyWorld Orlando, I wanted to share my insider advice and personal recommendations. Spanning over an area larger than San Francisco there is so much to see I wanted to try and help narrow those not to miss moments from my personal experiences, having been lucky enough to have visited DisneyWorld Orlando 7 times. There are always new things happening in the parks and taking size into account its virtually impossible to be able to see everything in one visit… A perfect excuse for a return visit.

Disney Hotels Versus Off Site

Now being an avid Disney fan I will always recommend, if Budget allows to stay in the Disney hotels. By doing so you are entitled to extra benefits like…

Magic hours (Where you can enter the park before anyone else)

Free Airport Transfers (When booking direct)

Free resort transportation and parking (Normally $15 a day per car)

MyMagic Bands (Allows access to your room and park)

Fastpass+ and app (With access 60 days before arrival and 30 before other guests)

Now there are¬†definitely¬†perks to staying off site too, access to International Drive, some hotels off site offer free transfers to¬†the¬†parks (and not just Disney) and if you aren’t planning on spending your entire break within the Disney Parks you’ll need a car hire to access other attractions outside of the Disney¬†boundaries.

  • The most popular multiple entry ticket is the Disney Ultimate which allows access into the 6 parks (Including the water parks) for 14 consecutive days. Meaning you can enter as many parks a day as you like. Also included in your ticket is unlimited entry to DisneyQuest an interactive indoor theme park in the Downtown Disney area, But also there is a round of mini golf included daily at either the Disneys WinterSummerLand or Disneys Fantasia Gardens before 4pm. (Something I only recently learned!)
  • No outside food or drink is allowed into the parks, So expect to pay higher prices for in park dining.
  • Take advantage of the free WiFi within the parks and hotels, and get those pictures uploaded.
  • Also for those with android and apple phones you are able to download the app with is filled with information about each ride and gives up to date wait times.
  • Holiday events may require additional tickets purchased, for example on Halloween the park closes early to standard entry and empties for re entry for Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party.
  • Dinning in Disney’s most popular and newest restaurants can need reservations up to 6 months before you travel! Ensure you book ahead to avoid disappointment. Either contact via email through the individual restaurants or contact your hotel to book on your behalf.
  • Don’t panic when your hotels location describes it’self as 45 minutes from Disney with the area Disney covers it can take 20 minutes for a journey between their own parks.
  • When it mentions table bookings up-to 180 days before arrival they aren’t joking! People get so bored of the standard burger, pizza or chicken nuggets and chips all the parks offer it’s unsurprising people want a little variation in their diet! If there’s something you fancy in particular then get your name down! Often they don’t ask for a deposit and will take your details and ask you notify them should your plans change and want to cancel. Most have a few tables saved for walk in’s but they are hard to get a hold of and are luck of the draw!

Walt DisneyWorld’s Epcot

Internationally known thanks to its iconic ‘Golf Ball’ Spaceship earth, but also thanks to its nightly firework and laser spectacular Illuminations, a high energy show from the world showcase lagoon.

I love this Disney park, and it differs to the other parks by paying homage to countries all over the world thanks to its world showcase. With the chance to see typical architecture, dinning experiences, street performers, and a little chance to Introduce yourself to local culture.

Here’s my top tips of what to see and do while in Epcot.

The World Showcase – So I mention it a lot in the post, Epcot’s world showcase is a mixture of nations, cultures and experiences set out surrounding the world showcase lagoon. With destination themes of Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada each comes with its own little quirk, be it sampling wines in Italy, Dining in a UK style pub, Shopping for Bonsai trees in Japan or sailing the Fjords of the Vikings in Norway’s theres plently to see and do, and worth taking the time to explore the different areas.

Years ago it was all about purchasing the passport to collect your stamps travelling around the world show case, however I prefer my adult versions and let the kids have their chance…

Around the world in 11 drinks – With a bar in every ‘Country’ it almost seems sill you pass this game up… Obviously if travelling with children it’s not the best idea, however when I travelled with friends we had a great day out and drank in some of the best themed bars Florida has to offer! Make sure if your playing this to respect you are in a family environment, the idea is meant to be light hearted and last a day!

Around the world in 11 dishes – Way more fun than the drinking version, eat your way around the world showcase trying new items from the menus on offer. Each ‘countries’ area will have a choice of dining on offer whether a quick snack, diner or silver service… The hardest part is limiting yourself to one dish in every place!

Club Cool – Coca Colas ‘Exhibit’ showcasing samples of flavoured soda from around the world… for free. A great way to cool off in the summers heat, and a way to try some interesting flavours that you maybe wouldn’t try otherwise.

Soarin’ – A thrilling journey hang-gliding over the state of California, feel the wind in your hair and with a view from 40ft in the air its not a ride to be missed.

Princess storybook dining РLocated in the world showcase in the Norway area, dine within the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and be surrounded by your favourite princess and prince in a regal setting. With cuisine to match its nation within the park you can dine on a feast of hot and cold dishes all themed to suit its Norwegian setting. Tables book up very quickly for the princess dinning experiences, due to its popularity its worth getting a table booked up to 6 months in advance.

With an ever popular Nemo theme there are two rides within the park dedicated to the massive hit ‘finding Nemo.’ You have The Seas With Nemo And Friends, taking part in a mission to help find Nemo aboard your clamobile, or the interactive show Turtle Talk with Crush.

Mission space – Is a high thrill ride with a difference. When boarding the ride you have a choice of either travelling with the Orange team or with the Green the latter being a milder less intense version for those not so keen on the more exhilarating version.

Segway tours – Unfortunately not included within your park entry this Disney park is one of the only to offer this one of a kind tour. Travelling round the world showcase your guide will tell you all the secrets from behind the scenes and take you on a world tour through 11 countries.

Coral Reef Restaurant – Located in the Living seas pavilion, this is the only dining room you’ll find in Florida located next to a 5.7 million-gallon aquarium! With over 4,000 inhabitants including angelfish, sharks, rays, turtles its a fun way to spot your favourite characters from Finding Nemo on this huge living reef. With handy fish guide to let you know what’s in the waters is yours to keep as a souvenir. Another favourite restaurant this gets booked up quickly, and as it is so different its worth reserving a table up to 6 months in advance.