Most people plan a trip to Orlando with the intention of going to Disney World. When I go to Orlando, nine out of 10 times I am going to Disney. I can always count on Disney World to put a smile on my face, even if I am just driving past.
The options are endless at Walt Disney World. If you want to go to an amusement park, they have four. If you want a water park, they have two. If you want to shop, eat or even watch performances, then visit Disney Springs. However, I think I’ll start with the amusement parks.
The Magic Kingdom is the most known park of them all, and that is mostly thanks to Cinderella’s Castle which is in the heart of Magic Kingdom and at the end of Main Street U.S.A. This park is also known for the famous Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain.
The Magic Kingdom is also known for it’s the spectacular fireworks show every night at nine p.m. and the holiday transformations it hosts that make the park seem like a scene from a movie. Another cool thing is the only way to get to the park itself is by a monorail or ferry.
Moving onto the next park and that is Epcot. Epcot is an interesting place because not only does it represent countries from all around the world, but it incorporates rides into them. The monorail system also connects the Magic Kingdom to Epcot so going from one park to the next is easy without getting in your car!
I love Epcot for the cultures it shows. You can walk “around the world” because the countries are in a giant circle, and try new foods and drinks from each country without even leaving Disney World!
Many of the rides at Epcot are really cool. Test Track by Chevrolet is a thrill that allows you to create (and by create I mean you design the specs of the car and then get on the ride) your own car and test it out on the track to see how fast you can go, how the brakes work, and more. They also just opened a new ride for the movie, Frozen! Along with other rides like Mission: Space, Nemo and Soarin’.
The third park is what used to be named MGM Studios, and is now called Hollywood Studios. This park is home to some of Disney’s biggest thrills, Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster. The lines for these two are usually about two hours so I highly recommend getting fast passes. Hollywood Studios also has Star Wars and Toy Story Mania, along with lots of shows to watch!
The final park is the Animal Kingdom which is a special place. Here you get the opportunity to learn about animals from all over the world, in Asia, Africa and more. There are some rides but Expedition Everest is another huge ride and definitely a hit. Kilimanjaro Safaris is a ride that everyone loves and is great for all ages because you get on a safari bus and drive through different terrains to view animals from elephants to lions to hippos!
Disney’s the Animal Kingdom also just opened Pandora- The World of Avatar in May 2017. I have yet to visit since it opened but I will be going in a few weeks and I am so excited! There are a couple of new rides and lots of foods and drinks to try.
Aside from the amusement parks, there are two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Both are unique because each is themed. So Typhoon Lagoon is much more tropical and has a surfing program if you want to learn how to surf. Blizzard Beach is obviously snowy related with rides like Summit Plummet and Tobbagan Racers.
If thrills and rides aren’t really your thing, Disney world has a downtown shopping area called Disney Springs. This is one of my favorite places to go, usually on the night that we get to Orlando and it’s too late to go to a park. They have restaurants like Rainforest Cafe, House of Blues, Planet Hollywood and Paradiso 37. There are other quicker places to eat besides a restaurant but they have a huge variety.
Shopping is a big part of Disney Springs too. They have stores that you would find in a mall like Lily Pulitzer, Fit2Run and Sephora; but they also have some magical Mickey stores like the Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique, Disney’s Days of Christmas, pin traders shops, Goofy’s Candy Company and the World of Disney. There are so many things to see and do in Disney Springs that you could make a day of it!
Another huge part of my childhood was spent at ESPN Wide World of Sports. I have competed here for both gymnastics and cheerleading. It is right in the middle of Disney property and hosts many large events.
One big event that Wide World of Sports hosts is the Cheerleading Worlds. Every year at the end of April, a weekend long competition occurs and teams from all over the nation and some parts of the world compete to be number one. I have competed here in many competitions for cheerleading but unfortunately never at Worlds. However, year after year I was lucky enough to compete here for gymnastics and win some pretty good awards.
To me, Disney World is like its own town. There are places to stay, places to eat, things to do, places to shop and more. If you get the chance to go to Disney World, try to do as much as possible and enjoy it. I know that whenever I go, I instantly get in a better mood and have a smile on my face, thanks to the Disney magic!