Walt Disney World Resort: Top Attractions

Walt Disney World Resort, with four theme parks, big and bold water play parks, and Downtown Disney—a dinner, entertainment, and shopping complex—is still Orlando's number one attraction. And with Walt Disney World joining in on the celebrations of its sister park Disneland's 50th anniversary this year, the attractions are even greater.

Disney's Magic Kingdom
Divided into seven lands, Disney's Magic Kingdom features such endearing classics as "Pirates of the Caribbean" boat ride and "It's a Small World" with its singing dolls. Kids will also enjoy Mickey's PhilharMagic, an innovative 3-D production. In honor of sister park Disneyland's 50th anniversary, Disney World is hosting "Cinderellabration," a new thematic show beginning May 2005 that celebrates the sweet blonde triumphing over her wicked stepsisters and marrying the prince.
Additional Info: 407.824.4321, www.disneyworld.com

Disney-MGM Studios
Careening cars, jumping motorcycles, and fast boats pay homage to this portion of Disney's 50th birthday celebrations in "Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show." On a backlot tour, see props and faux fires, and scream as the Rock 'n' Roll Coaster blasts you from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 stomach-wrenching seconds.
Additional Info: 407.824.4321, www.disneyworld.com

Disney's Animal Kingdom
To celebrate the big birthday, Lucky the Dinosaur, an audio-animatronic critter, roams the park and interacts with guests. He endears himself to kids by laughing, sneezing, and hiccupping. Other highlights: the jeep-like Kilimanjaro Safari ride on which you might see rhinos, hippos and zebras, and the high-energy Festival of the Lion King, with songs and costumes from the Broadway show.
Additional Info: 407.824.4321, www.disneyworld.com

Soarin' Over California, a hit at Disney's Anaheim-based California Adventure debuts at Epcot in May 2005 as part of the big 50th birthday celebration. Visitors are lifted 40 feet over the park to enhance the aerial views of California appearing on the domed screen. The result: flying over California's wine fields, coastlines, and redwood forests while staying in Orlando. Other Epcot highlights include the 3-D version of Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and "Body Works," a bumpy ride through the human body.
Additional Info: 407-824-4321, www.disneyworld.com

Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach
On Crush 'n' Gusher, Typhoon Lagoon's new water coaster, raging streams push you along a hilly, twisting track. At the wave pool, the surf curls six feet high. Ketchakiddee Creek features bubble jets and fountains for pre-schoolers. The ski-themed Blizzard Beach, another water park, lures thrill-seekers with Summit Plummet, a speed slide that plunges riders straight down at 55 miles per hour. This is great water-park fun!
Additional Info: 407.824.4321, www.disneyworld.com

Downtown Disney®
Kids and teens enjoy Downtown Disney, an entertainment and dining complex smack in the heart of Walt Disney's famed Orlando resort. The VirginTM Megastore is stocked with all the latest tunes, and the LEGO Imagination Center® sports a 12-foot-tall T-Rex made out of the colorful blocks. AMC® Pleasure Island 24 Theatres boasts two dozen screens. But the highlight of Downtown Disney is the Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba—a spectacle of near-impossible acrobatics, odd characters, and music that surely will dazzle and shoo away any hints of boredom.
Downtown Disney: 407.824.4321, www.disneyworld.com

Dine with Disney Characters
Be sure to book breakfast, lunch, or dinner with your children's most beloved Disney characters at one of the many restaurants and resorts in the Walt Disney Resort complex. Meals with Disney characters get kids up-close to their heroes. The fantasy-come-true food ops, the majority of which are breakfasts, focus on different characters and take place at selected restaurants in the parks and at three Disney resorts. Goofy "hangs ten" at the Beach Club, Mickey dines at the Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Resort, and Cinderella and friends gather at the Grand Floridian for their buffet dinner. Don't forget the camera as the kids will love getting home and framing photos of them chomping good eats with their favorite Disney characters.
Dine with the Characters: 407. 824.4321, www.disneyworld.com

Thrill Rides
When at Walt Disney World, teens want to go straight to the action. They can rocket to Mars on Mission Space at Epcot and speed along the road at Test Track. At Disney-MGM Studios drop 13 stories in a runaway elevator at Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and also ride the Rock 'n'Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. And of course, there's Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain. Even though it only propels riders at a mild 28 miles per hour, the neon lights and dark tunnels add excitement.
Disney with Teens: Thrill Rides: 407. 824.4321, www.disneyworld.com

Disney for Young Kids
Splurge and "hire" your Pal Mickey to tote along as a guide to the park. This plush toy employs technology to let you know that Disney characters are lurking nearby and to remind you of show times. Pal Mickey will tell you when the "don't miss" shows Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom, and Beauty and the Beast and Playhouse Mickey, both at Disney-MGM Studios, are playing. And don't also miss the Magic Kingdom's Toontown Fair, where kids can meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald and other characters.
Disney with Young Kids: 407.824.4321, www.disneyworld.com

Disney Park Tips
The FASTPASS, available at 25 popular attractions, cuts your wait time by giving you a one-hour window in which you come back and get on a much shorter line. Trust us when we say it's quite possibly a better invention than the light bulb. Magical Express meanwhile, which starts May 5, takes the "lug" out of luggage for guests staying at most Disney lodgings. Porters grab your bags at the airport carousel and deliver them (and you) to your hotel room for free. Going home, avoid the airport lines because Disney checks your luggage and gives you a boarding pass before you leave the hotel. This service is available for domestic flights on participating airlines.
Disney Park Tips: 407.824.4321, www.disneyworld.com

Published: 11 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication



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