A Day at Disney! (and my Pro Tips)
Okay okay, so this post is about a month late - considering I went to Walt Disney World in February, but hey better late than never!
In case you didn't know, I am in fact a crazy Disney person. I even worked there for a year after college doing the Disney College Program and it was #MAGICAL! So whenever I get a chance to go back to my castle home, I always go for it - even if it's just for a day!
Disclaimer: going to Disney for just one day is not for the weak. It's going to require good shoes, a mixture of stamina and endurance, and just the right amount of espresso. But I believe in you. The trick is to remember you can't do all the things, so just have fun doing the things you can do!
I was lucky enough to go with my 2 friends, Susan and Katie - who are also alumni of the Disney College Program - so it's safe to say we know what we're doing.
1. First things first is to dance in front of the castle. This is very important.
Pro tip: TAKE ADVANTAGE of the photopass people! Go wild. I've never gone wild for a photopass person who didn't like it.
2. Usually when I walk into Magic Kingdom, I take a left at the castle and straight shoot it to my home base, Liberty Square. This is where I worked during my program and made some of the best memories OF MY LIFE! I worked in the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe (it was Christmas everyday!) and Memento Mori (welcome mortals).
Pro tip: There's a sled right in front of the Christmas Shop and it's one of the best photo ops! Make sure to get the castle behind it.
3. Then we made our way to Adventureland to make our FastPasses for the day!
ProTip: You can do this on their app before you go to the park, which I definitely recommend if you have specific things you want to do! We were just up for whatever and didn't buy our tickets until that day, so we used the kiosk.
4. PHILARMAGIC - aka one of my favorite little shows!!
ProTip: If you can, try to get a seat in the middle (both left to right and front to back)
5. We galavanted our way to New Fantasyland and stumbled upon Gaston!
Pro Tip: INTERACT with the characters!! They're more than just a statue to take a picture with! We asked Gaston if he had any boy advice and his advice was to not date boys, date men. Thanks Gaston, thanks.
6. THEN! We did The Little Mermaid Under The Sea attraction! This attraction is always so cute and fun. BUT! It got STOPPED. Which really wasn't a big deal at all, but because it's Disney and filled with magic - they gave us another fast pass to any of the mountains! So to Splash Mountain we went!
Pro Tip: Disney has A LOT going on. Attractions are going to stop. But in my experience, they're always going to do their best to make it right. Which is why we get to do fun impulse things like this! It's all a part of the experience.
7. Lunch time!! We usually always eat at Harbour House in Liberty Square which I highly recommend. They have some of the healthier options!
Pro Tip: If you're planning your trip way in advance, try to get a reservation at Be Our Guest! It's still quick service, but in Belle's castle!
8. COFFEE AND THE FESTIVAL OF FANTASY (parade). Y'all. This is important. What you need to do is get yourself in the Starbucks line by 2:30, order your magical coffee (which I swear tastes more magical there), and then take your happy caffeinated self to see the parade - it's going to get in front of the Starbucks by like.. 3:10ish maybe? I don't know, just be there! It's the festiivalllll of fannntasyyyyy (some of you are singing that in your head).
Pro Tip: Do not miss this step.
9. Okay, what you need to do is just follow that parade straight out of Magic Kingdom. There's really no better way to leave a park than dancing your way out with Mickey Mouse. Just look how flattered he was!
Pro Tip: This really is a good time to leave the park because you're basically just being shuttled out, like a fish swimming with the stream.
10. This is when we went to Animal Kingdom and who did we see but KEVIN. KEVIN!! Kevin from Up!! I had never met Kevin before, and I could tell he was about to go back home - so I knew I had to run if I wanted to catch him. I wish I could upload the video I took of me sprinting through Animal Kingdom to say hi to Kevin - I kinda lost my mind. But this picture will do!
Pro Tip: Animal Kingdom has some of the more random characters like this, but they come and go quick! So yes, chase after them!
11. Then Pandora!! Ahhh this was so so cool! I hadn't seen it yet and I really thought it was so amazing!
Pro Tip: If you're planning your trip in advance, get a fast pass to avatar! (I don't want to say there's no way you're getting a fast pass for it day of, but yeah, there's pretty much no way)
12. The Festival of the Lion King show!! Oh my gosh, I'm so so glad the timing worked out for us to go see this show, it's definitely one of my favs. I don't think I've ever seen it and not cried. Can You Feel the Love Tonight gets me every time!
Pro Tip: Disney is just as much about the shows and parades and characters as it is about the attractions (rides) - if not more! Walt Disney World is the best *entertainment* park in the world, so make sure to open your eyes to more than the rides!!
13. From there - it was time to go to Epcot! Except we were racing the clock. We knew we wanted to go to the World Showcase and still make it back to Magic Kingdom in time for fireworks.
Pro Tip: If you just want to go the World Showcase and not walk through Future World (not that Future World isn't amazing, but every minute counted at this point) - there is a second entrance! What you need to do is take the BUS to the Beach Club and walk along the water to get to the World Showcase! It kinda feels like a back door, but it's not.
14. The World Showcase! I could write a whole post about what to do in each of the 11 countries, but again - timing. We had one mission, and one mission only: get a grapefruit beer in Germany. I'm getting ready to live in (real) Germany this summer, so we figured this was the best way to prepare..
Pro Tip: Most everyone who works in the World Showcase is actually from that country, so make sure you talk to them! These German guys gave us some good tips on how to Prost!
15: It was about 7:00 and fireworks were at 8:00 in Magic Kingdom! So we went out of the front of Epcot and took the monorail to MK!
16. Happily Ever After!!! (aka: Magic Kingdom's firework show) I had never seen Happily Ever After - when I worked there it was a different (just as amazing show) called Wishes. I CRIED IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL.
Pro Tip: There's not really a huge tip for this, except to just enjoy it. Seriously, just stand there and enjoy it and remember how lucky you are to be there. There's going to be a ton of people and I'm not going to lie - you're going to be tired and you're going to be bumped around a lot. BUT NONE OF THAT MATTERS because that's how magical this show is.
And that was our day at Disney! We left exhausted and covered in pixie dust, just how it should be. Obviously there's way more to do there and so many more tips, but if I had to do this whole day over - I really wouldn't change a thing!
The thing about Disney is everyone is going to have different favorites and different experiences, so it's all about what you love! My friends and I love meeting characters and watching shows, you might love pirates and space mountain. My overall big tip would be to just let the day happen. Go in with some plans and ideas of what you want to do, and let Disney do the rest. You'll be surprised by the fun un-planned things that will happen if you let them (like impulse Space Mountain and chasing a giant bird through DAK).
I love you, Disney!