Walt Disney World is filled with magic and happiness around every turn. What happens when it feels like you’ve discovered everything and the magic starts to fade away? I understand this, and it certainly can happen. I was practically raised in the Magic Kingdom and have been visiting Walt Disney World for nearly twenty-three years. My family and I are annual passholders. How have we not gotten bored of the parks? Sick of riding the same rides and meeting the same characters? We have a secret: every trip we strive to do at least one new thing. Below, you will find a list of five tips (in no particular order) that my family and I use to keep our vacations fresh and new and the Disney magic alive and well.
5. Eat Somewhere New
This tip is possibly the easiest- and delicious- way to spice up a trip. We are fortunate that with four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs and over twenty-five resort hotels, there is always somewhere new to eat. Ditch the hamburger from Cosmic Rays and explore the flavors of Africa at Boma, located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Or, for a unique take on quick-service, try Satu’li Canteen in Pandora. Personally, my family and I try to have at least one character dining experience a trip and we are having a blast eating through all the different options.
4. Discover a New Ride/Show
As I mentioned earlier, my parents took it upon themselves to make sure I grew up surrounded by Disney magic and we went a lot. Even with all of those trips, did you know the first time I stepped foot onto Tom Sawyer’s Island was less than a year ago? There are a lot of attractions and shows to see and it’s nearly impossible to do everything in one trip. In fact, you shouldn’t try and do everything in one trip. It turns into everyone running from ride to ride, without truly appreciating Disney. It’s okay to leave something out and get to it at your own pace. I find that leaving something out just makes you more excited about your next trip!
3. Scavenger Hunts
Want a fun new take on a classic attraction? Try Hidden Mickey hunting! There are so many videos and books available to help you find all of the documented Hidden Mickey’s throughout the parks and resorts. It’s actually become a competition within my family to see who can spot more.
There are also scavenger hunts that take place during the many festivals EPCOT has. For example, finding the many Remys from Ratatouille scattered throughout the World Showcase during the Food and Wine Festival or the annual Easter Egg hunt. Completing these hunts also comes with reward, for this year’s Remy’s Hide and Squeak we got a cup exclusive to the event.
2. Find a New Fireworks Spot
Call me crazy, but I don’t enjoy watching fireworks right in front of Cinderella castle. It’s crowded, hot, and typically you can’t see. Instead, I think fireworks is a great time to get a snack with your family and find a quiet spot off the beaten path to watch fireworks.
On our last trip, we hopped on the monorail from the Magic Kingdom over to the Polynesian. We sat outside on Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace with a gorgeous breeze coming off of the water. We had a couple Tahitian Torches and Kalua Pork Tacos, and watched the fireworks. They even pipe the sound in so you can hear the music of Happily Ever After! It was a great view and a lot less stressful than being stuck in a hot, humid crowd of thousands of people. It was the absolute perfect ending to the night and we can’t wait to find more hidden spots like that.
1. Take A Guided Tour
Calling all Disney fans, if it’s your first time visiting Walt Disney World or your hundredth: take a guided tour. You’ll thank me later. The amount of knowledge that the cast members bring to the tour is exceptional. You’ll learn hidden facts and trivia and venture into backstage areas that are usually off-limits to the regular guest. There are several different tours that occur in each park, all at different price points. For example, for twenty-five dollars per person you can go on the Behind the Seeds tour, which takes you through the different greenhouses you ride through on Living with the Land, located in EPCOT. Or, for the more hardcore fan, check out the 7-hour Backstage Magic tour, that takes you to the utilidor tunnels underneath the Magic Kingdom, to the costuming department, all the way to EPCOT.
Last February my family and I did the Keys to the Kingdom tour and were blown away by the knowledge of our tour guide. We learned about the hidden references the windows on Main Street regarding legendary Imagineers, the secrets behind creating the Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion, and we got to see where they hold the parade floats backstage. To this day we still talk about the tour, passing along our knowledge to friends and family. It certainly made the trip special for us, and we can’t wait to take more tours.
If you have any tips or tricks that keep the Disney magic alive for you, let me know in the comments below. See ya real soon!