You probably recognize this sweater from every photo I posted around Spring Break. What started as a cute sweater at my favorite consignment store on the Cape turned into a lifesaver in Florida.
We left the Cape and headed straight to the airport to visit my cousin in Florida. We’ve only been to Florida at the end of August so we were not prepared for the weather that was about to hit us when we reached MCO.
I had packed these ears to wear with the matching dress but it was rainy and cold. It probably would have felt warmer if it was cold at home but the weather in Florida and the weather in Massachusetts was pretty much the same.
The next day we went to Animal Kingdom to see my cousin at work and it was sunny! So I went for the cropped leggings that somehow matched my new sweater. I threw on an orange tank top underneath and halfway through the day I was able to take off the sweater and feel like I was actually in the Sunshine State.
On our last two days there the weather had finally warmed up and the sweater was left in the room. I did keep with the teal trend though.
It’s no secret my blog has turned into a mini Disney travel blog as I’m counting down the days until I leave for my trip! Today I wanted to share with you my must haves for a trip to Disney!
But the one thing I can’t travel without- a book! It’s a great way to pass time in the airport, on the plane, and during some downtime. When we used to go to Florida during the school year I took James and the Giant Peach with me as that was what our class was reading. It took a plane ride and a few days riding the bus to the parks but I finished the book and then finished another one on the way home. When I got back to school my teacher explained they didn’t get quite as far as she had expected… they were on chapter two.
Speaking of books I’ll have a new What I’m Reading up tomorrow! I have finally put together my review for Crazy Rich Asians and I’ve already rented the next two from the library!
Let me know what you can’t travel without in the comments below!
Here is the soundtrack for today’s post! I am obsessed with the music in Animal Kingdom, I think it’s so unique!
We’ve made it to the last park! Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of my favorite parts of Disney World! From the Maharajah Jungle Trek to Expedition Everest, Animal Kingdom is definitely underrated. The last time I was at Disney, Pandora was still under construction so I cannot wait to explore!
What to Ride
Expedition Everest- Legend of the Forbidden Mountain: my favorite ride at Animal Kingdom! Although the line is usually pretty long, the queue has tons of artifacts from Nepal. This is another ride that has a single rider line option but I don’t think it’s quite as fast as the one for Test Track. The ride itself is an absolute thrill! It even feels like you’re going upside-down. I remember one year talking about how it felt like we were upside-down and a Cast Member explained to me the different types of seat belts and how they tell you if you go upside down. Those cast members, always going the extra mile!
Kilimanjaro Safaris: Simba-1, come in Simba-1! Thai is a ride you can’t miss! While its not a thrill ride in the traditional sense, there is an intriguing story line and the ride is never the exact same as you are passing through a savanna with real animals. Let me know if you see the lions doing anything cool, I’ve only seen them lounging around!
Kali River Rapids: A ride that can ruin the rest of your day if you aren’t in the right seat! You have the potential to get drenched on this ride which adds to the thrill. If you end up going backward down the hill people will comment on how wet you are. One year my Dad and I went on this are were the unlucky two and other people in our boat were saying how they may be wet but at least they weren’t us!
Primeval Whirl: This is a wild mouse type rollercoaster and if you’ve ever been on Goofy’s Sky School (formerly known as Mulholland Madness) you’ll love this one. The cars even spin while they are going through the track!
Dinosaur: this ride used to freak me out and not going to lie… the T-Rex still does. This ride is loud with flashing lights and dinosaurs that if they were real would not hesitate to eat you. You can’t miss it though! Just make sure you don’t come home with a guest!
It’s Tough To Be A Bug: if the wait is less than twenty minutes I definitely recommend stopping by but I am not this show’s biggest fan. I’ve seen this show so many times and the bugs still creep me out!
Where to Eat
Tusker House Restaurant: this is my favorite place to eat at Animal Kingdom! It’s my mom’s favorite too! While they have a lot of fancy food like peri peri salmon and basmati rice and curry chicken you will always find me in the kid’s line for the corn dog nuggets and mac and cheese. Yes, in my opinion the best food at Tusker House is the corn dog nuggets and I would make a reservation just to eat them. What can I say, I’m easy to please. My favorite dessert there is this cute little chocolate cup with pink frosting in it and a little chocolate straw.
Pizzafari: they have a table service and quick service option although I have only been to the quick service side. I would definitely recommend Pizzafari if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat!
Restaurantosaurus: Another quick service tucked away in DinoLand U.S.A. This is another great place to grab some food when you’re looking for something quick!
Anandapur Ice Cream Truck: who can resist stopping for ice cream when it’s easily over 100 degrees?
Maharajah Jungle Trek and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail: These are some of my favorite parts of Animal Kingdom! I love walking through and seeing all of the animals, it really feels like you’re walking through Asia or Africa.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch: home of the Affection Section and Conservation Station. This is another really interesting part of Animal Kingdom. It’s a short ride on the Wildlife Express Train to get there and it’s so worth it! Up until our last trip I had wanted to be a veterinarian and I was always fascinated by the section where you can see vets doing procedures. The coolest thing I’ve ever seen was them working on a turtle whose shell was broken but I’ve seen people writing online that they’ve seen sheep being neutered, a bird’s wing getting clipped, and one person even saw a lion! While looking into what other people have seen I saw a tip, go early in the morning and ask a Cast Member at the translation to radio and ask what the schedule is for the day. They also have a petting zoo!
Festival of the Lion King: A show you have to see at least once! The performers are amazing and it’s such a great show! My favorite part was the aerial performers, they are incredible!!
The Tree of Life: take a few moments to notice all of the different animals carved in the tree! Every time you take a look you may find a new one!
Wilderness Explorers: While I’ve never done this I had to include it because I love Up! and… the wilderness must be explored! I have done the Kim Possible missions in Epcot (now Perry the Platypus) but if the Wilderness Explorers are anything like Kim Possible you have to check it out!
This is another park where I feel like I don’t know anything anymore! I can talk about the classics all day but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out more about Toy Story Land! Here is the soundtrack to Hollywood Boulevard to get you in the spirit!
There are so many changes happening in Hollywood Studios I can’t wait to see everything! While I am disappointed The Great Movie Ride is no longer, it seems like the Imagineers have nothing but exciting things in store.
What to Ride
Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith: My favorite ride in Hollywood Studios! If you’re an inversion junkie here is the only ride at Disney with a loop! I love this ride so much that one year I went home and learned all the words to Walk This Way so that I could sing it next time, unfortunately the next year when we went back I got a different car which means a different soundtrack! Waiting in line you’ll hear different announcements over the PA system… one of my favorites is, “Phone call for Jude on line one. Hey, Jude! Pick up line one!”
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: Another one of my favorite thrill rides! When I was younger we used to go during the first week of school, the best time to go because the lines are so short! One year, there was no wait for this ride and we rode it so much that I had a nightmare about being in The Twilight Zone that night! Looking back, it was so worth it! Another fun story is that one year it was just me and my parents in the whole elevator! So for the photo we all looked scared and then we bought the giant poster version for the shed. The Disney attention to detail is so present here: the ride is only 199′ tall it should have been 200′ but at that height they would have needed to put a light on the top for airplanes and that would have ruined the spooky feel.
Toy Story Midway Mania: This is a ride that when paper Fastpasses were a thing I would be in charge of taking all three cards and sprinting to the Fastpass kiosk. This is a ride similar to Space Ranger Spin in Magic Kingdom but you have to work a little harder than just pushing a button. The queue line is so much fun and has an interactive Mr. Potato Head, but don’t let that stop you from getting a Fastpass, this wait can be loooong.
Star Tours- The Adventure Continues: As a former rebel spy I highly recommend this ride! This is a ride you should do multiple times as there are several videos that give riders a unique experience.
Where to Eat
50’s Prime Time Cafe: a restaurant that takes you back to the 50’s. This is a restaurant full of American comfort food but don’t forget your manners. Keep your elbows off the table, take off your hats, and you better clean your plate. If you want dinner and a show this is definitely the place to go.
Backlot Express: I’ve only been here a handful of times but it’s a great quick service option. If you love Star Wars be sure to check out the Dark Side Chicken and Waffles!
Hollywood and Vine: If you’re going to Hollywood and Vine I would recommend tying it into the Fantasmic show. You get a really good buffet for dinner and then you get priority seating to Fantasmic, Hollywood Studios’s nighttime spectacular! Honestly, I don’t remember the food here too much but I can tell you the desserts are fabulous! You also get to meet characters here, I’ve met Mickey, Minnie and the gang as well as Disney Junior characters like Jake and Sofia the First.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant: This is a restaurant styled after drive-ins. You eat lunch/dinner in a table modeled after a car (or a flying saucer table) while watching clips of old black and white movies! You’ll even see the classic intermission reels. I definitely recommend getting the milkshake!!
PizzeRizzo: While I have never been there I 100% plan on stopping there on my next visit (only 11 days!). It combines my love of pizza, my love of the Muppets, and my nickname- Rizz. What could be better?!
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular: a super fun show where you can see how movie stunts are done! In my opinion this is what Hollywood Studios is all about. This year I will finally be over 18 (last year I missed it by a few days) and I will be waving my arms wildly to try and be a part of the show! Make sure to stop at the well near the entrance, the sign may tell you not to pull the rope but you should do it anyway!
Muppet Vision 3D: I love the Muppets and I love this show! This is a short show that gives you a behind the scenes look at what goes on in a typical day with the Muppets. It all ends with a giant tribute to all nations (but mostly America) led by none other than Sam the Eagle! Insider tip: look under the doormat after going through the turnstiles!
Take a moment to stop and watch the Citizens of Hollywood. The Citizens of Hollywood are performers you can find on Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, and the entrance to Echo Lake. These are interactive shows and they’re a fun way to take a break during a busy day.
This week I’m focusing on Epcot, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. I’ve always loved Epcot because it’s such a cool concept, when you walk in you are in Future World and then you can travel the world through 11 different pavilions. Here is the link to some Epcot music if you really want to get in the spirit!
What to Ride
Test Track: I’m still unsure if the new Test Track is as good as the old one but this is still a ride you cannot miss. While the old preshow is gone you can enjoy it here. The new Test Track is sponsored by Chevrolet and looks like something out of Tron. One of the coolest things about the new version is that you get to design your own car! My tip for Test Track is to take the single rider line, you have to miss some of the interactive elements but it can save you so much time! The cars fit 6 people so all the families of 4/5need single riders to fill seats. Of all the single rider lines at Disney I find this one the most efficient, my family of 3 has gone on the single rider line and 2 of us have even ended up in the same car. One last fun fact about Test Track, the outside turns are banked at 50 degrees while Daytona’s Speedway is only 31!
Soarin’: I actually can’t speak too much to this ride. While I adored the old Soarin’ it has since been updated to be Soarin’ Around the World. If the new ride is anything like the California version I can’t wait to see it! Here’s a fun fact about the old Soarin’: the year before it opened in Florida our Disney World vacation was changed to a Disneyland vacation due to a hurricane (after lots of hard work from my Dad) and so I got to ride it just before it opened in EPCOT and it has been one of my family’s favorites ever since.
Living with the Land: this is a nice boat ride through the Epcot greenhouses where you can see Mickey shaped pumpkins earning their ears! While this isn’t a thrill ride it’s a nice way to break up your day!
Journey Into Imagination: My Dad would probably kill me if he saw I put this on my list and didn’t include Mission: SPACE but the theme song is so catchy! And who doesn’t love Figment!
Gran Fiesta Tour: A boat ride that follows the three Caballeros in a journey around Mexico. While it’s very similar to It’s A Small World you have to go see it and find out what happens to Donald. It’s located inside the Mexico Pavilion which is a breathtaking indoor Mexican market!
Frozen Ever After: I can’t even write a review on this since I have not been on it since it was Maelstrom! While I’m excited to see the new ride I don’t think it will ever compare to the original!
Where to Eat
When my family goes to Epcot we actually don’t usually plan to sit down and eat lunch. We’ve gotten breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, I definitely recommend eating there it’s a great place to get all you can eat food and meet princesses! We’ve also eaten lunch at both the Nine Dragons restaurant and the Lotus Blossom quick service restaurant.
One thing I’ve done in the past is my own personal under 21 take on a beer in every country, where I got a dessert in every country. I didn’t quite get through all 11 and about halfway through I transitioned to getting a piece of chocolate in every country instead. My favorite place to grab a dessert is definitely the French bakery! If you’re looking for somewhere to sit after getting your pastry head into L’esprit de la Provence, the gift shop is amazing and has tables off to the side!
Club Cool: While I’m not a soda drinker I recommend stopping in to try the Beverly!
Pin Central: If you are big into pin trading you have stop by! They have all the collectable pins you could ever need!
A lot of people end up entering Epcot through Future World and then find themselves short on time when it comes time to enjoy the countries. If you want a foolproof way of making sure you don’t get distracted by all that Future World has to offer come in through the International Gateway. If you find yourself at any of the Epcot area hotels (Yacht Club, Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, or the Swan and Dolphin) you are a short walk/boat ride away from this hidden entrance!
Jumping Fountains in Future World: try putting your arms out and letting the water go in between… can you make it go through just your hands?
My Top 4 Pavilions:
This is such a hard one but I have narrowed it down to Norway, France, Canada, and Morocco! I’m not too sure how Norway will hold up now that they have replaced the viking display and Maelstrom ride to become Frozen tributes but I’ll keep you updated on those. France has to make the list as I took five years of French in junior high and high school and it is so fun to see all the things I had learned about. One year my parents wouldn’t buy me a cream puff unless I ordered it in French! Canada has beautiful flowers and the best video, in my humble opinion. It stars Martin Short and has to be one of the funniest things in Epcot. The attention to detail goes down to having some buildings look like they are in French Canada and some take on more on an English Canada style. Last but not least is Morocco! The attention to detail in this one is astounding as well! Rumor has it that the king of Morocco actually sent his own designers to help create this area. Another fun fact about Morocco is that it is the only country that does not light up during IllumiNations because the tower is a prayer tower and doing so would violate Muslim beliefs. For more fun facts head over to Disney Fanatic.
Mum’s Top 4: Japan, Canada, Norway, and Mexico.
Dad’s Top 4: Japan, Canada, China, and Norway. He gives an honorable mention to Mexico even though it is dark.
The English gardens: tucked away behind the stores and the Winnie the Pooh meet and greet is a nice place to relax and possibly catch the Beatles tribute band, the British Invasion.
The Japanese gift shop: a fun place to crack open an oyster for a pearl. It’s also a great place to grab crazy snacks to try. One of my favorite memories in that store is picking out crazy flavored snacks to bring home to my cousin Nick.
The Terracotta Army: inside one of the buildings in China is a replica of the Terracotta Army and it’s so cool to look at!
Street Performers: from the Chinese acrobats to the balancing act in France the street performers are always entertaining.
In a few short weeks I will be headed to the Most Magical Place on Earth! I wanted to share with you my own version of “Disney must dos” in the wise words of everyone’s favorite host, Stacey Aswad. If you want to put yourself even more in the Disney mood listen to this YouTube video!
What to Ride
Arguably one of the most important things to do when in Disney. Here are the rides you absolutely cannot miss:
The Jungle Cruise: a Disney classic! You cannot miss the chance to take a ride along the rivers of Asia, Africa, and South America, I promise you’ll be quoting the jokes for the rest of your stay.
Pirates of the Caribbean: another classic that would be a shame to miss! My favorite thing about this ride is spotting Jack Sparrow.
“Triple Mountain Whammy”: this is another Stacey-ism that refers to Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! It’s so hard to pick a favorite because they’re all so different but if I had to pick I would choose Space Mountain.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: this had just opened last time I went to Disney and it was so worth the wait! It is 100% worth the FastPasses if you chose to use them on this ride. The way they designed the cars allows you to actually swing them!
Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: while this isn’t a thrill ride I would say it’s worth your time if the wait isn’t too long! With the new Christopher Robin movie coming out I feel like this will be pretty popular when I get there but it is always fun to find yourself in the land of Heffalumps and Woozles.
It’s A Small World: disclaimer: after riding It’s a Small World this song will get stuck in your head at any moment for the rest of your life, and once it’s there it’s hard to get it out. That being said, it’s totally worth it!!
Haunted Mansion: this is a ride where the details really stand out to me. I know Disney puts this much attention to every attraction they have but there’s just something about this ride that gets me. Make sure you take a peak at the gravestones as you are waiting in line, they’re quite entertaining. And don’t be afraid of your host, your ghost host, he’s just Paul Frees- the voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy.
The Liberty Square Riverboat: not my personal favorite as I’d rather be riding rollercoasters but I had to include this for Mum! This year she may not find it as relaxing as I’ll be asking her to take my blog photos while we’re on it 😉 There is one thing I love about the Riverboat though- if you go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party they dock the boat and you can see grave keeper/zombie figures looming around the boat.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin: I am awful at this attraction! I cannot hit anything for my life, which just gets worse when my Dad sits next to me and gets 999,999. I would recommend looking up which targets are high points before stepping on- here’s one: underneath Zurg in one of the final scenes!
Carousel of Progress: here’s another catchy theme to get stuck in your head: there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day! This attraction was featured at the World’s Fair and takes you through American history in an entertaining way.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority: paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow, head on over to the TTA for a relaxing ride around Tomorrowland. This is another classic you absolutely should not miss!
Where to Eat
Cinderella’s Royal Table: my insider tip is to go during one of the last reservations and then by the time you are done eating you can watch the fireworks from underneath the castle!
Crystal Palace: a fun buffet with Winnie the Pooh and friends! I’m sure they have great adult food there but I always go for the mac and cheese, corn dogs, and dessert.
Liberty Tree Tavern: they have great food and even better milkshakes!
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe: definitely an under appreciated option! I usually get a burger and you have the freedom to put whatever you want on it as there’s a topping bar. That may not be a big deal to some of you but a mentioned above I’m a picky eater so it’s easier to just put it on myself.
Aloha Isle: The home of the oh-so-famous Dole Whip. Even if you prefer chocolate ice cream over fruity ice cream you have to get one!
Here’s a picture from my iPod Touch circa 2011 of the fireworks under the Castle. It’s definitely worth it to wait until 9pm to eat dinner if you ask me!
Look for hidden Mickeys! They are everywhere in the parks/hotels. In Fantasyland you can also look for hidden Pasquale’s.
Tom Sawyer Island: it’s not a ride but I could easily spend half a day over there exploring all of the caves!
Kingdom Keepers: a book series, definitely geared more towards kids but I remember reading when I was there and it was so fun to imagine the story unfolding in the park. From what I remember it makes you look at the park in a totally different way!
Don’t forget to meet some characters while you’re there. This photo is from when Rapunzel and I decided blondes do in fact have more fun.
Here’s my last tip: if Disney gives you Extra Magic Hours use them!! One night during our last trip it was pouring and the park was open until 1 in the morning but we still had so much fun! Extra Magic Hours are just for people staying on the Disney Property so wait times are significantly lower.
I hope you enjoyed my whirlwind tour of Magic Kingdom! More parks will be coming soon!