8 August 2013

Two Weeks at WDW | Favourite Rides & Attractions

So, i'm back with another Walt Disney World series entitled "Two Weeks at WDW" which is quite fitting, actually, seeing as when you're reading these i will actually be spending two weeks at Walt Disney World!

I wasn't quite sure what to go for, this year, as last year i went very in depth about the parks and surrounding resorts, etc. So, this time i decided i would do the opposite. For the next two weeks i'll be telling you all about Disney's bits and bobs, everything from my favourite attractions to what to wear, and even to the pros of staying on property. Just things that i enjoy and have learnt along the way. My Disney posts from last year are actually my most visited and most popular posts to date, so i'm just hoping to further add to those. I've tried to pick topics that are not just helpful but fun too, so lets get started!

I thought i'd begin with something fun, so here is my selection of my favourite rides and attractions.

Lets kick things off with my personal favourite park, Magic Kingdom. Unlike at least two of the other parks, MK has a bit of everything. A little bit of Adventure, with a splash of fantasy, a touch of the future and just a hint of the wild, wild west. There really is all sorts of attractions here, so if you've only got the luxury of a day or two at Disney World, i'd probably go for MK.

I don't know if they're my favourite of the park, but the two largest rides that happen to be in my top whatever are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. Thunder Mountain is a high speed, rickety run away train that whirls and curls around mountains and under rocks, through a village and swings right by the river running through MK. I'd say if you have any injuries, like back pain, this might not be the one for you but if you're just after some good old fashioned, harmless rollercoaster fun than go for it! As for Splash Mountain, this is a little more stomach pulling. It all seems quite lovely, bobbing through the story of Brear Rabbit, Brear Fox and Brear Bear but it's not until you reach Brear Fox kidnapping Brear Rabbit and threatening to throw him down the 5-story, 45 degree waterfall into the Briar Patch that you start to get nervous. However, it's over in seconds and despite your thoroughly wet t-shirt you'll be racing to do it again.

If you're looking for something with an almost guaranteed short-ish wait time, and something long enough to let you cool off than Mickey's Philharmagic is your stop. It's a 3D show with the spectacle fondly named operaglasses, in which Donald steals Mickey's sorcerer hat turning everything into turmoil. It's a spectacle for all the senses, even smell and touch! One for the whole family, it's like nothing you'll have seen before.

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin would seem like it would lean towards the males in your family, but fear not it will inspire the competition in all of you! Here you are entrusted in taking down Zurg, and all his minions, by Buzz. Use your laser gun to hit the 'Z' targets and rack up your score - don't forget to check out where you've come at the end of the ride!

Something that you'll have to gain a Fastpass for, or prepare to wait upwards of an hour usually (unless you're fast!) is Peter Pan's Flight. It's an absolute classic and has been there since MK's opening. It's a favourite for newbies and veteran visitors, so be prepared because it's not one you're going to want to miss. You're taken up in a flying boat, through the Darling's nursery, over the garden, and a barking Nana, over the streets of London and ant-like cars. You'll go on to explore Neverland and we all know how the story ends, but it's a classic.

Pirates of the Caribbean has been updated many times and the latest includes Captain Jack Sparrow. Although a very simple ride, with (usually) a very short wait time and a lots of air conditioning, you board a ship to take you through the pillaging pirates and find Jack Sparrow along the way. There isn't too much i can say without spoiling this, but just make sure to take everything in, it's a good'un!

Honourable mentions: The Haunted MansionJungle Cruise.

Onto EPCOT, and if you've ever wondered it stands for: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. There! Now you know. EPCOT is big on culture and less on the rides, but this park probably contains my all time favourite attraction.

Soarin' is my favourite Walt Disney World Ride of all time. Yes, i have other favourites but Soarin' is something else. Board a hang glider to travel over California. Here, all your sense will be heightened and you really will feel like you're flying through the air. Travel over the orange groves, the ocean, waterfalls and last but not least you end with a firework display at Disneyland in California. This is something that cannot be explained but just must be ridden, however it's another busy one so be sure to grab a fastpass as soon as you get into the park to be in the knowledge you won't be waiting around. Just one tip, make sure to smell the oranges!

Right at the front of EPCOT is it's infamous (golf?) ball. This sphere houses Spaceship Earth, another Disney classic. Travel through time and space on this audio-anamatronic journey of human connection from the dawn of time to the 21st Century. Just one tip, do NOT open your nostrils during the burning of Rome. You will regret it.

Turtle Talk with Crush is probably more one for the little ones, but don't worry parental units you'll get a kick too. This is one of Disney forward thinking attractions, and something you really won't see anywhere else. Sit inside a small room with a giant screen window to the ocean in front of you. Call Crush for a chat about what it's like to live under the sea, and i'm sure he'll have a few questions for you too! The little'uns are encouraged to ask Crush questions and sure enough he'll answer them for you! Not to be missed.

Last, but not least, Ellen's Energy Adventure. Ellen Degeneres is probably one of my favourite people so if you want to see some classic Ellen comedy and some really vintage Ellen hair, then head on over to the Energy Pavilion. Follow Ellen on an energy adventure, literally! Go back to the dinosaurs to see where things really started with a bang.

Honourable mentions: O Canada!Maelstrom & Living with the Land.

Disney's Hollywood Studios, previously named MGM Studios, is all about the big screen - silver and otherwise. Here you'll see everything from animation to live extreme stunt shows, so it's full of surprises. It's actually a working studio so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for costume altering and new sketches.

Toy Story Mania is Hollywood Studios newest addition, and even though this year it will have been open six years you can tell it's 'new'. Fastpasses are out of action within an hour, or so, but if you're lucky they can sometimes last the morning so get there quickly. This has a similar feel to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin the the Magic Kingdom. You use a 'shooter' to hit targets, like balloons and plates, in a circus, fair style game. See how quick you can shoot and who can get the highest score.

If you're looking for something a little more high speed and extreme, don't forget to check out Lights, Motors, Action!. This is an extreme stunt show involving lots of cars, props, actors and, the one and only, Lightning Mcqueen. They'll have you on the edge of your seat, and it's not just a show to watch the cast talk to you the whole way through, with a little bit of audience participation if you're lucky!

A real Hollywood Studios classic is Beauty and the Beast - Live. This is simply a beautiful production of the infamous Disney animation. Here you can watch the story unfold and sing along to all your favourites. Meet Belle, Beast, Lumiere, Mrs Potts and Cogsworth too. Beware that this, although under a large roof, is classified as an outdoor attraction so if the weather is against you, especially heavy rain and storms, the planned shows can be delayed or cancelled.

The Great Movie Ride is one of my favourites, it's another HS classic and was opened the same year as the park in 1989. This can have anywhere from a five minute wait time to an hour, or over, so just wait it out if you're not happy with waiting long. This ride takes you through some of the classic films shown on the silver screen from Singing in the Rain to the Wizard of Oz and beyond, so if you're a film junkie you'll love this. Be ready for some surprises along the way, and if you're thinking this sounds a little dull, i'd give it a go and hold onto your hats.

Fantasmic! is definitely more of a show and an attraction but i just couldn't not mention it. I'm not sure why but since my first visit to WDW this has been my favourite attraction/show. It's just full of magic and stars the big cheese himself, Mickey Mouse. You'll watch Mickey fight the Disney villains who are trying to burst his dreams and overtake him evil, but he won't let that happen! This show stars some of your favourite characters and some of the classic villains too. Not one to be missed, it's a lot of fun.

Disney's Animal Kingdom is kind of self explanitory, but there's far more to it than meets the eye. I always think of this as my least favourite park, but after looking into it's attractions i'm not entirely sure way is it's home to some of my top five!

Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition is one of the coolest rides at Walt Disney World. It's unlike anything else that's available and this'll save you the flight to Africa. Board a large, open air jeep with your safari game driver for a 'two week safari' that, sadly, gets cut short (of course). You'll see all sorts of animals on your journey, like giraffes, antelope, cheetahs, elephants, and the newest addition of zebras, and even lions if you're lucky. The animals here are totally free roaming so you're not guaranteed to see anything but you're usually likely to see something!

I really love the Festival of the Lion King. It's a dancing, singing spectacular starring some of your favourite Lion King characters. It's the ultimate singalong, audience-partcipation-of-the-best-kind kind of show. It tells the story of Simba in a deconstructed way, but is based around your favourite Lion King tunes. It really is not to be missed, there's so much to see you've just got to go check it out for yourself.

Finding Nemo - The Musical is a similar thing, except this time it follows the story you know and love. This is an amazing show where the actors have large fish puppet style characters, it's very hard to explain, but it's very clever you barely even see the people. You'll learn so great new fishy songs that'll be stuck in your head for the rest of the day and don't forget to just keep swimming!

Honourable mentions: Flights of Wonder & Expedition Everest


*All images are my own unless otherwise stated

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