I thought I would do this post just before I start doing my Christmas posts and 2016 disappears completely. But if you have been reading my blog over the past year you will know I went on a family holiday to Florida. When I got back I started doing a daily blog of what I got up to, but I never managed to complete that series. So I thought today I would share some of my recommendations in case you have trip planned next year.
Preparation is Key
I will start of by saying this Florida is a destination you need to plan for. Long gone were the days that you could spontaneously decide what you were going to do each day. What I mean by this is you need to plan everything before you leave, and I mean everything. So is worth reading posts like this and even hitting YouTube and watching so holiday vlogs. I would also recommend watching TimTracker on YouTube he does regular updates of the new things in Orlando.
So for this post I’ll share with you a couple things I recommend for each of the parks I visited and a few things out with the parks also. I apologise in advance, this may be a long post.
Big Thunder Mountain – One of the classics at Magic Kingdom, this rollercoaster is definitely a must on the attraction to do list. And it’s suitable for most of the family. I would recommend you use one of your fastpasses for this as you don’t want to be stuck in a 90 minute queue.
Main Street Ice Cream Parlour – There is loads of amazing places to eat in the Magic Kingdom. But sometimes the random snacks you have throughout the day can be the most memorable. And that was the case for this 2 scoop, hot chocolate fudge sauce, whipped galore, served in a waffle bowl sundae!! Also stopping for regular snacks will work out cheaper than sitting have a meal.
Fantasyland – Now you can’t really skip fantasyland as it’s park 6 areas to the park. But as a keen photographer and avid Disney fan, this was the part of the park where I felt like I was in Disney. This part of the park includes recreations of princess castles including Ariel’s and Belle’s. Plus this is where you will find the Be Our Guest restaurant which set out to look like the inside of the Beast’s Castle.
Soarin Around the World – This one of my favourite rides from the Disney parks, so much so it was one of the only ones I went on twice. Again this is a hugely popular attraction so I would advise you to book a fastpass. This is also one of the tamer simulator rides but I think it is the most impactful!
Frozen Forever After – If you love Frozen and you aren’t bored of it yet then you’ll love this! That being said I have heard that those who hate the film have loved this ride. This one of the newest rides (opened June 2016) so it features a lot of cool new animatronics, including a walking Olaf! Possible Fastpass may be needed here, I rode it on it first week so not what waiting times are like now.
World Showcase – I would definitely say this is one of the best things about Epcot! I loved my trips to Epcot purely to see the WS. Each pavilion is set out to look like a typical town from the country it’s representing. You can learn about each country’s culture, shop authentic products and sample local delicacies. There are points in your day that you forget you are in Orlando. Each pavilion is also very photogenic.
Toy Story Mania – This was such a fun ‘Shoot Em Up’ and definitely a lot more enjoyable than the Buzz Lightyear one at the Magic Kingdom. It’s 3D and you play in teams of two and you fire your guns at the assortment of targets on the screens. Another ride you should use a fastpass for. It is that popular they are building more tracks to keep up with the demand!
Fantasmic – In my opinion one of the best night entertainment shows at Disney. Such a great show featuring good and evil, you follow Mickey as he rids the show of Disney Villians. A great use of props and projections and of course fireworks. This is a very popular show so my advise would be to either start queuing early or use a fastpass (people with fastpasses get seats first).
Star Tours – A classic Hollywood Studios ride, this one is worth a try wither you are a Star Wars fan or not. This a simulation ride and they have recently updated it to tie in with the most recent movies. I do prefer the older one as that was a simulation of you flying through the Death Star but the new one was still entertaining. You probably would get away with not doing a fastpass for this ride.
Kilimanjaro Safari – This is the highlight of the park. Such a brilliant attraction and Disney teach you so much about their conservation efforts. You will definitely need a fastpass for this, plus it is over an hour long so think of it more as a booking so you can plan your day around it. We done at about 8pm so we got the sunset and it was a lot cooler too.
Evening Opening Hours – We got experience the new late hour at AK. And to be honest I think this is when the park really comes to life! So much live music, brilliant lighting and street performers it really does make you feel like you are walking through an African or Asian village. The new Hours have also brought so new entertainment shows too.
Tree of Life Projection Show – This is one of the new late hour entertainment shows. This has got to be one of the most magical experiences ever. The way the Projection works is, it makes the tree look as though it’s coming alive and it takes you through the story of each of the animal based films. I don’t know if it has set times to see it as we kind of just stumbled upon, but it’s definitely a must see.
Festival of the Lion King – This is a classic show at the AK. If you love The Lion King and you love the broadway show then you will love this! It’s heavily influenced by the Broadway show it just involves a little bit of audience participation and obviously it’s not as long. You could also get away with not using a fastpass for this as there are regular shows throughout the day, but the option is there.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – The best attraction from my trip hands down, I loved this so much that I went on it twice even though it was about a 50 minute wait each time. Again this is a simulation that involves going up side down and twisting so it may not be for everyone but its definitely worth finding out, even if it’s just to say you have been on it!
CityWalk – Just like Disney, Universal has area for dining, shopping and nightlife. CityWalk is on the door step of each park and offers a wide variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment. Some restaurants include; Bubba Gump Shrimp, Cowfish, and Hard Rock Cafe. It is a great alternative from eating in the parks themselves.
Not Going to the Parks…?
- Florida Mall
- Millenia Mall
- Orlando Premium Outlets
- Disney Springs
- Cracker Barrel
- Bubba Gump Shrimp
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Olive Garden
- T-Rex Restaurant (Disney Springs)
Entertainment and Attractions
- Kennedy Space Center
- Adventure Golf
I hope you enjoyed this post, sorry that it is a bit long but I wanted this to be a bit of resource style post at the same time. If you have your own recommendations for an Orlando holiday please let me know in the comments.
I shall hopefully see you next time with some Christmas themed posts.