Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World - Part 1

Magic Kingdom is the park that has the biggest impact on people.

I remember the first time I went, I felt like crying as I looked down Main Street and saw Cinderella’s Castle. A young girl’s dream.

Admittedly I was 22 but the little girl in me couldn’t have been happier.

There is a spark in the air as you enter this park and there’s no surprise they called it Magic Kingdom, you really feel like anything is possible.

Not only are you surrounded by magic but you get to practice some yourself in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. How awesome is that?

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an interactive adventure and using your MagicBand and magic spell cards (given to you at the introduction) Merlin teaches you how to cast spells in order to defend the Magic Kingdom against an army of Disney Villains.

To sign up for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom enter the building to the left when you get into the park and tell a cast member that you’ve never played before. They will go through the rules and give you a short demonstration. Here you will be given your set of magic spell cards and once you’ve seen the demonstration you are free to go around the park, at your own pace, taking on Disney Villains. You can get a pack of free cards every day you visit Magic Kingdom and there are lots to collect.

Main Street U.S.A

Main Street U.S.A is where you’ll find a number of shops selling various things including Disney cooking sets, soft toys and yummy cakes and cookies.

Enter the shops to check out gifts to buy for people back home or, more importantly, get out of the sun as you make your way into, or out of, the park. All of the shops along each side of the street are connected so you can walk from one end of Main Street to the other without being outside, particularly useful on those very hot days.


Tomorrowland is the area we usually head for first, well at least this time we did.

Here you’ll find rides like Space Mountain, a roller-coaster in the dark. My eldest loves this ride and the little one was very disappointed that he wasn’t tall enough to ride. You have to be 44” or 112 cm to ride on Space Mountain, the hubby tried to get me to go on it but there was no way. A roller coaster is bad enough but one in the dark? I don’t think so!

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is a fantastic ride where you use laser-guns to shoot at targets. This ride is great for smaller kids, you get to help Buzz Lightyear defeat Zurg.

One of Disney’s oldest rides is Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress and this one is great for that much needed rest. Sit in the moving theatre and travel through the 20th century watching how technology has improved the way we live. The theatre moves around on a track as you watch the years race by.

If you still need a rest then try out Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, an “emission-free mass transit system of the future”. You get to see all around Tomorrowland including inside some of the rides, get a great view of Cinderella’s Castle, and have a sit down while doing it.

Tomorrowland Speedway is another ride your kids will love because they get to drive their very own car!

You have to be at least 54” or 137cm to ride alone but anyone above 32” or 81cm can ride with an adult. Help your kids race around the track in this awesome ride.

Stitch’s Great Escape! is not really a ride, more of an experience. After seeing the arrival of Stitch you move into a dark theatre and interact with the mischievous creature. This one could be a little scary for the smaller kids, there are loud noises and people tend to scream.

For great entertainment head over to Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor where Mike Wazowski entertains us with jokes and gets the audience involved too. You really need a sense of humour for this one! ;)

Food in Tomorrowland is pretty awesome too. At The Lunching Pad you’ll find hot dogs, pretzels and frozen Coca-Cola; ice cream, smoothies and sundaes can be found at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies and one of the best lunches we had on this holiday, a lobster roll, can be found at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. This sandwich was really tasty and I would definitely recommend it.


Peter Pan's Flight ride, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Entrance to Peter Pan's Flight
Fantasyland is just great for the girls in your group. There are rides for the boys too such as Peter Pan’s Flight where you take a ride in a magical ship and watch Peter as he fights with Hook.

The Barnstormer is a junior roller coaster and anyone above 35” or 89cm can ride, it doesn’t last very long so even the younger ones, or people who don’t like coasters shouldn’t mind this ride.

In Under the Sea - Journey of The Little Mermaid you descend below the waves to watch the story of the Little Mermaid, with all the music and everything. Great ride.

Mickey’s PhilharMagic is definitely one to see, this 3-D musical movie is very entertaining and your kids will love it. Classic Disney characters attempt to put on a fantastic show but have some hitches along the way. This is also another good one for that much needed rest.

Magic Kingdom's newest coaster Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is brilliant. Race through a diamond mine and listen to the singing as you sway from side-to-side.

Fantasyland offers a wide range of food options including flatbreads, chicken breast nuggets and salads at Pinocchio Village Haus and cinnamon rolls, pork shanks and fruits at Gaston’s Tavern.

If you’d rather have a table service meal then try out Cinderella’s Royal Table where I’m sure the girls in your group will enjoy. Here you get to meet Disney princesses while enjoying a very tasty meal. For the less ‘girly’ option (if there’s any objections to Cinderella’s Royal Table) try out Be Our Guest Restaurant where you can enjoy steak, fish or pork meals while sitting inside the Beast's castle. There are 3 different seating areas, each offering it’s own entertainment and you are free to wander around all of the dining areas. When you have finished your meal you can go and meet the Beast and have a photograph taken, if you wish. We ate at Be Our Guest Restaurant and the desserts are awesome.

There’s still loads to cover at the Magic Kingdom but I think I’ll leave it there for now.

Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World

At Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, you get to see all kinds of entertainment. Rides and scenery and it’s all to do with movies. Throughout the summer there was a Monsters University scene carved into trees that you could stand in front of and have a photo taken. I’m not sure if it’s still there but it was awesome.

The view up Hollywood Boulevard

I’ll start with the rides and my boys’ favourite. The first is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror where you take a haunting ride on an elevator. But this is no ordinary elevator. As you sit in your seat it takes you up to the top of the tower and everything goes dark. Suddenly the elevator drops to the ground.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

The Tower of Terror rises and drops you over and over again in a random sequence and if you’re faint hearted I suggest you give this a miss. You’ll be screaming your head off as you plummet towards the ground, if you’re anything like me that is.

This is one of my worst fears and I HATE this ride but because I didn’t want my four-year-old to be afraid I went on it. Twice. I won’t be doing it again but for those who are brave enough it is a great thrill. Just as a side note my four-year-old went on this ride on every opportunity he had, he LOVED it.

To ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror you have to be at least 40” or 120cm.

The Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith was my eldest’s favourite ride at Hollywood Studios. I have never been on this ride, roller coasters that go upside down are where I draw the line, but the Hubby and my eldest went on this ride almost as much as they went on the Tower of Terror.

From all the stories I’ve heard it is thrilling, you blast off in a stretch limousine and speed along the tracks as you listen to Aerosmith music. To ride on The Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster you have to be at least 48” or 122cm.

The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

My favourite ride at Hollywood Studios is a little more tame and is great for the smaller (or less brave) people in the group. Toy Story Midway Mania! is a target practice ride starring all of your favourite characters from Toy Story. It spins as you try to aim and shoot things at targets and get the highest score you can.

Toy Story Midway Mania! is a 4D ride and almost everyone who rides loves it. As a consequence this ride gets SUPER busy, more than any other I’ve mentioned so far. In the six weeks that we were in Orlando we were only able to go on Toy Story Midway Mania! four times. Planning is required when wanting to go on this ride and if possible I suggest you make this your priority when visiting Hollywood Studios, if you don’t you may find a wait time of more than 120 minutes.

Toy Story Midway Mania! Entrance

Studio Backlot Tour is another great ride/tour which takes 35 minutes. Part of this tour takes place on a tram so you do get a rest but it is not for the full 35 minutes. You go behind the scenes to see how special effects in movies are made and sometimes you get to take part yourself. The Hubby tried to volunteer on a few occasions but didn’t get picked, if you’d like to get some great photos and have a fantastic time I think volunteering is a good way to go about it.

If you’re after a rest then I’d suggest The Great Movie Ride where you journey into some of Hollywood’s most famous films. The ride lasts 22 minutes and you’re sitting the whole time, you have entertainment while riding and get to have a break too, what could be better?

Inside The Great Movie Ride

Hollywood Studios offers two shows for your entertainment, both quite different from each other.

The first is Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, you watch Indy and Marion as they perform amazing stunts and show you how they’re done. This show is 30 minutes long and you should pick up a Times Guide for showtimes. Unfortunately this show is sometimes cancelled due to inclement weather so watch out for this.

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular is a show that picks people from the crowd to take part in the show, including children. My two got picked and they thought it was amazing. They were given a line to start the show, got to go on stage, talk into the microphone and got a huge applause! This can happen to anyone, when you’re entering one of the cast members will simply ask if you’re children would like to help in the production. If they do they will be given a souvenir card to keep too.

The second show is Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show and is spectacular. You get to watch professional drivers perform breathtaking stunts in their cars and get to hear all the special effects secrets. A tip here is remember your camera, if you don’t you will regret it! The show is 38 minutes long and if you have people in your group that love cars I suggest you go and see it, they will love it.

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show - A fantastic show not to be missed.

For the evenings Hollywood Studios gives us Fantasmic! a musical show with pyrotechnics, water projections and stunning fireworks which goes on every night at 9pm and 10.30pm.

The show gets very busy and if you don’t have priority tickets you will have to wait in the queue and hope you get in. The theatre has limited capacity and Disney’s advice is to get there early and keep your party together.

To get priority tickets you have to book a meal at The Hollywood Brown Derby and ask for a Fantasmic meal deal. If you do this you’ll be given your tickets when you’re sitting down to eat and then you’ll be able to go to the theatre at your specified time and have VIP seating. This means you won’t have to wait in line and your seats are reserved. The meal deal has limited availability so I suggest booking it early, this is what we did and I don’t think we would have got to see the show otherwise. Waiting in a large queue with a four-year-old that late is probably not a good idea, my little one was worn out just sitting watching the show!

Character meets and various other activities are available throughout the park and you should grab yourself a Park Map and Times Guide when entering.

Have you ever visited Hollywood Studios? Is there something that they've got rid of that you would like them to bring back? What would you look forward to most if you were visiting Walt Disney World?

Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World

As you can guess Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World is all about the animals. You’ll find various different species in all kinds of locations at Animal Kingdom. 

The Tree of Life, Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Walking into the Animal Kingdom is quite different to Epcot, for a start there’s lots more trees!

Once through the entrance you should pick up a park map and a times guide which they keep on stands just inside the entrance. There's two paths that take you into the park but don’t worry they both lead to the same place that has a wonderful view of the Tree of Life.

Lots of people linger there, taking photos and looking at the tree so you may find you’re slowed down a little here. If you’re wanting to take a photo of the Tree of Life later in the afternoon is better, there’s less people hanging around so less chance you’ll end up with a stranger in your photo!

Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the first rides I wanted to mention. You take a very bumpy 22-minute ride in what looks like a large bus (see below) through the African Savannah. On this trip you’ll see giraffes, elephants, lions and lots more, including a wonderful view of their savannah.

The Kilimanjaro Safaris Truck

Be sure to have your camera ready, you can get some wonderful photos of these beautiful animals, but be warned - you’ll have to have a steady hand because the trip will not be steady! Kilimanjaro Safaris gets busy, not all the time but occasionally so I would recommend booking Fastpass+ for this one, especially if you have limited time.

Such a beautiful animal. It can be found on the Safari

Another place you can see some amazing animals is Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, a walk through a tropical forest. Gorillas, hippos and exotic birds are amongst the animals you’ll see and this is another great way to get some fantastic photos.

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is a self-guided walking tour, you take it at your own pace and can spend as much time as you like viewing the animals. There isn’t a queue and I don’t know that we’ve ever had a problem viewing the animals, you may have to wait for the viewing area to clear a little but most people will let the little ones through so they can see the animals.

Maharaja Jungle Trek is another walking tour and this one is my personal favourite. You get to see bats, a Komodo Dragon and my favourite animal, the tiger. Sometimes the tigers come so close to the windows that you could almost touch them (if it weren’t for the really thick glass!). I love this walk and it will amaze the kids when they get to see animals they wouldn’t see at a zoo in the UK.

Like at Epcot, Disney have introduced new entertainment for the children. The kids get to be Wilderness Explorers, get given an information booklet filled with questions and details about animals and on their way around the park can collect badges (stickers).

Taking their books to marked places around the park they will be asked questions or given tasks and once completed they’ll be given the sticker for the corresponding task. There are 31 stickers to collect, but here’s a tip - don’t try and do it all in one day, you can always visit another day and continue your collecting.

There are two very different shows to see at Animal Kingdom and they both have showtimes throughout the day. Check out the times guide to find out when they start.

Festival of the Lion King is a 30 minute show with music from the film ‘The Lion King’, dancing and acrobatics. You even get to join in! This is a great show and gives you a half-hour sit down, believe me you’ll need it.

The second show is a MUST see.

Finding Nemo - The Musical kind of tells you what to expect from the name, that is if you have seen the movie. If not - shame on you! Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the surprise but this show is amazing and everyone should see it when visiting Animal Kingdom.

Isn't he amazing?

There are lots of other rides to check out too and a couple of our favourites were Kali River Rapids, a raft ride through rapids. This ride does get busy so Fastpass+ is a must, unless you’re arriving first thing and heading straight for it with no pauses for anything else.

You will get wet on this ride and may even get ABSOLUTELY SOAKED. It depends where you sit in the raft and who you’re riding with but if you don’t want to get wet I recommend you give this one a miss. I have to admit that I loved this ride, as did my kids. Getting soaked is quite refreshing in the Florida heat and keeps you cool for a while afterwards.

To ride on Kali River Rapids you have to be at least 38” or 97cm, my four year old loved this ride and every time we went to Animal Kingdom he wanted to go on it.

Expedition Everest - from
across the lake.

Thrill seekers will enjoy Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, a roller-coaster that takes you on a wild ride through the middle of the mountain.

This is not one for the faint hearted, I’ve been on it once and I’ll never be riding again but if you like coasters you’ll like this.

Expedition Everest is my eldest son’s favourite ride, he’s nine and loves it. Anyone below 44” or 112cm cannot ride, my four-year-old was not happy about this at all and did a lot of complaining about not being able to go it!

Fear not though, there are smaller rides for the younger ones at Dinoland U.S.A where you’ll find the TriceraTop Spin, a friendly fly with the dinosaurs.

I could go on and on about the rides in this place, there are so many, but I won’t, the rest is up to you. Be aware that the majority of attractions at Animal Kingdom are outdoors and keeping yourself and your children hydrated throughout the day is important. If you’re looking for a great place to eat at the end of your day I recommend Rainforest Cafe, located just outside the entrance to Animal Kingdom. The kids will love being amongst the animals while they eat and the food is great.

Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a daily fireworks show for obvious reasons but instead they have Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade which goes through the park every day at 3.45pm. You’ll get to see Mickey Mouse and all his friends as they take their trip along the paths of the Animal Kingdom, be sure to watch your children’s faces - it is priceless.

Donald Duck - it will melt your heart.

With so much to do at this park I feel like I’m leaving too much out, like I said I could go on and on. Hope this helps you out if you’re planning on visiting Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World.