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Complete Guide to WDW Parks

There’s so much magic waiting for you in the Walt Disney World theme parks! But in order to get into the middle of the magic there’s lots of planning that has to take place!

complete guide to wdw

A Complete Guide to WDW Parks

The Magic Kingdom gives you a chance to let your fantasies come to life. Animal Kingdom offers animal adventures and entertainment. Your favorite stories come to life at Hollywood Studios, and at EPCOT, the power of human imagination meets the magic of Disney.

At a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can experience the same legendary detail, service and storytelling found in the theme parks.

So decide when you want to go and where you want to stay. Once those two things are in place, the planning begins!

Theme Park Reservations Required

It’s no longer as easy as booking a hotel and buying your park tickets. The theme park reservation created when the parks reopened after the pandemic is still in place (with no information as to whether or not it will go away.)

Before you visit a park, you must have a valid admission ticket and a theme park reservation. 

Yes! The magic is waiting for you – but only if you take the necessary steps to get to it!

My Disney Experience




The days of waking up in the morning on your vacation and deciding what you want to do that day are over. If you will be at WDW for 5 days – you must plan in advance what day you will visit what park well in advance. I admit – I’m not a fan! I have always been a “decide on the fly” type of WDW guest but that is no longer possible.


What Parks Do I Want to Visit? A Guide to Each Park

Guide to the Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom was the flagship park at Walt Disney World and is by far one of the most iconic and popular parks. Construction began in 1968 and the rest is magical Disney history! At the Magic Kingdom you will explore a world of endless enchantment complete with all of your favorite characters and the iconic backdrop of Cinderella’s Castle.

What are you waiting for? Use this guide to Magic Kingdom to make your Disney dreams a reality. 

The Magic Kingdom has an incredible number of things to see and do, it’s also a sprawling 107 acres to cover. The best approach is a loose plan and a list of your top priorities including character meets, rides, attractions, and dining. 

How Many Days Should You Visit Magic Kingdom?

It’s recommended that you spend at least two days at the Magic Kingdom during your Walt Disney World trip.

Getting To Magic Kingdom

If you’re staying on property at WDW then getting to Magic Kingdom is as easy as taking a bus, the monorail or a water taxi, it’s one of the many advantages to staying on property.

If you’re staying off site there’s no need to worry, many hotels and resorts close by offer buses or shuttle services to the Magic Kingdom.

If you are driving yourself to the park, you’ll notice that the parking situation is a bit different at the nMagic Kingdom. You’ll be parking about a mile away from the park at the Transportation and Ticketing Center. From there you’ll either take the ferry or the monorail to the park. Plan for an extra 30 minutes of travel time if you are parking at Magic Kingdom. 

You’ll also need to pay to park:

  • Free for Walt Disney Resort guest
  • Passholders: Free (with ID)
  • Off-site guests: $25 per day
  • Preferred Parking: $45 to $50 per day

The Lands Of Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is home to six distinct areas or lands including:

  • Main Street U.S.A.
  • Fantasyland
  • Tomorrowland
  • Adventureland
  • Frontierland
  • Liberty Square

Rides And Attractions At Magic Kingdom

Of course, the rides and attractions are the most exciting part of visiting a Disney theme park, particularly Magic Kingdom. This park has it all from thrill rides like Space Mountain to absolute classics like “It’s A Small World.”

Main Street U.S.A.

Main Street U.S.A. is where you’ll enter the Magic Kingdom and where you’ll find tons of shopping, as well as restaurants and dining options. You can also meet Mr. Mouse on Main Street U.S.A. but in terms of rides and attractions there isn’t much going on in Main Street.

Fantasyland Rides and Attraction Highlights

Fantasyland is home to some of the most iconic rides and attractions at Walt Disney World.

  • Dumbo The Flying Elephant
  • It’s a Small World
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel
  • Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine TTrain
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid

“It’s A Small World” is one of the most iconic rides at Magic Kingdom. It was created for the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York. Then shipped to Walt Disney World in 1966, where it’s been an icon of the human spirit.

Peter Pan’s Flight is another great option in Fantasyland. You will find yourself suspended from above as you glide through the night over charming scenery below. This is a great option for the whole family and even has an interactive queue.

Mad Tea Party is another classic ride at Fantasyland, it is often known as the teacups.

Tomorrowland Rides and Attraction Highlights

Tomorrowland is Magic Kingdom’s futuristic world, but it opened in 1971 so it’s more like a vintage futuristic world.

  • Astro Orbiter
  • Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Sping
  • Monsters Inc Laugh Floor
  • Space Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Space Mountain is by far one of the most popular attractions in all of Animal Kingdom. This iconic coaster takes place in the dark and although it may not go upside down there are plenty of twists and turns along the way.

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is fun for both kids and those that are kids at heart. It’sunique because it’s a ride and game in one fun experience. Once you board the ride, you aim at the Z’s and earn points which are displayed on the ride’s screens. 

Insider Tip: For those competitive riders, for maximum points aim for the robots left hand in the first room and the top of the volcano in the second.

Tomorrowland Speedway is sure to be a family favorite as kids get to take the wheel on these gas-powered cars. Don’t worry, they go a max speed of 7.5 mph. It is an extremely popular ride so it’s a great idea to visit at the beginning of your day.

Adventureland Rides and Attraction Highlights

Adventureland has a jungle theme, but there are also a few Aladdin themed rides in this land as well.

  • Jungle Cruise
  • The Magic Carpet of Aladdin
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

Jungle Cruise is an incredibly popular river rafting ride equipped with animatronic animals and lots of dad jokes from the Skipper. Each Skipper is different making each ride unique on Jungle Cruise. 

Insider Tip: For a unique experience try riding Jungle Cruise at night.

Pirates Of The Caribbean is an 8.5-minute gentle boat ride into the world of Pirates. Including the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow, who appears 3 separate times on your journey, so keep your eyes peeled.

Frontierland Rides and Attraction Highlights

The main attractions of Frontierland include the famous Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. If you’re looking to relax a bit while in Frontierland check out Tom Sawyer’s Island.

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Splash Mountain – to close January, 2023 and reopen as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in 2024
  • Tom Sawyer Island

Splash Mountain/Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a must ride in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland. The 11-minute ride will take you over 3 lifts and 5 drops through cheery scenery. But be prepared for the final thrilling drop, it’s a 5-story drop. 

Insider Tip: If you want to get completely soaked on this ride ask to sit in the front.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a great introduction to rollercoasters and the old west theme makes it fun. While there are a ton of mountains and covers to explore as you make your way through the mountain there are not big drops. This rollercoaster does get incredibly busy so it’sbest to visit right away in the morning.

Tom Sawyer’s Island is a gigantic island playground. You can board a raft near Big Thunder Mountain that will take you to the island where kids can explore, and adults can relax.

Liberty Square Rides and Attraction Highlights 

The smallest land at Magic Kingdom is located between Fantasyland and Adventureland. Liberty Square is best known for a single and incredibly popular ride: The Haunted Mansion. 

  • The Haunted Mansion
  • The Hall of Presidents
  • Liberty Square Riverboat

At The Haunted Mansion you’ll climb aboard a gloomy Doom Buggy for your journey through the haunted chambers. You’ll have a ghoul as your own private guide as you attempt to find your way out of the creepy haunted abode.

The Hall of Presidents is great for anyone wanting to throw a little history into their Magic Kingdom trip. This theater is home to 46 Presidents. It’s also a great place to beat the heat in the warmer summer months.

Characters At Magic Kingdom

Recent events have changed the way that Walt Disney World handles character interactions. Although meet and greets are slowly starting to return to the Magic Kingdom, the character cavalcades are the best way to see all your favorite characters. 

These cavalcades are unscheduled mini parades through the park that take place throughout the day. Some of the character cavalcades include Royal Princess Processional, Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcades and Magic Kingdom Cavalcade.

  • Alice In Wonderland
  • Ariel
  • Cinderella
  • The Fairy Godmotther
  • Aladdin
  • The Beast
  • Tiana
  • Gaston
  • Merida
  • Elena of Avalor
  • Pooh and Tigger
  • Peter Pan
  • Rapunzel
  • Lady Tremaine, Anastasia & Drizella
  • Mary Poppins

Magic Kingdom Dining

The themed dining at Magic Kingdom is spectacular and here is a list of some of the best table service and quick grab locations.

Tip: Be sure to make dining reservations for the table service restaurants or you will be disappointed!  

Main Street U.S.A.

  • Crystal Palace (Dine with Pooh and Friends) – Reservations required/recommended
  • Tony’s Town Square Restaurant (Italian, a-la Lady And The Tramp) – try the meatballs and spaghetti, Lady and the Tramp style and don’t skip the bread! – Reservations required/recommended
  • Casey’s Corner – best hot dogs and delicious corndog nuggets
  • Main Street Bakery (Starbucks)


  • Be Our Guest – try the grey stuff, it’s delicious! Don’t miss out on the Center Cut Filet Magnon at Be Our Guest either! They also serve a fantastic breakfast – Reservations required
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table (Dine with Disney Princesses) – Reservations required
  • Cheshire Cafe
  • Gaston’s Tavern – grab a warm massive warm cinnamon roll and some Lefou’s Brew (it’s a frozen apple juice concoction with hints of toasted marshmallow that is topped with a passion fruit-mango foam.)


  • Cool Ship
  • The Lunching Pad – warm cream cheese stuffed pretzels


  • Jungle Navigation Co Skipper Canteen – Reservations required/recommended
  • Liberty Square
  • Liberty Tree Tavern (Thanksgiving year-round) – Reservations required/recommended

Misc. Tips For Magic Kingdom

  • If you want to catch a character cavalcade pay attention to cast members taping off sections of the sidewalks.
  • There is a Tangled themed bathroom in Fantasyland.
  • You can travel between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot by using the Disney World monorail system. The trip will take about 30 minutes.

Any day spent at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is sure to be fun for the whole family. Whether you are interested in thrilling rides, amazing shows, or meeting your favorite Disney characters, you’ll have a magical time.

Guide to EPCOT

Experimental-Prototype-Community-Of-Tomorrow. Today Epcot is known as a fantastic park where you’re able to immerse yourself in different countries and cultures from around the globe.

Use this guide to Epcot for inspiration to one of the most magical places on earth.

Whether exploring the World Showcase, sampling delicious global cuisine or drinking around the world, Epcot is sure to be a great time. Epcot also holds some epic festivals throughout the year including the Epcot International Festival of the Arts and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

Let’s talk about the best way to plan your trip to Epcot.

Getting To Epcot

Epcot is by far the easiest park to access within the Walt Disney World theme parks. If you’re staying on property every single mode of transportation will take you to Epcot. You can easily take the monorail, skyliner, bus, boat or even walk to the park. Take your pick! Most off-site hotels and resorts will have shuttle services to take you to Epcot.

If you’re driving to Epcot, you won’t have to pay for parking if you are staying on property or are a Disney passholder. However, parking for everyone else is $25 per day.

Getting Around Epcot

Epcot is a massive park that encompasses 300 acres (about half the area of Central Park in New York City) and inside the park there are several transportation options. These include the Friendship Boats that can ferry you in the World Showcase. The boats travel between Canada and Morocco, as well as Mexico and Germany.

Epcot Rides and Attractions

The focus of Epcot is both technologically and educationally based. There are only 10 true rides in all of Epcot, but they are some of the best in all of Walt Disney World.

The main sections of the park include:

  • World Discovery
  • World Celebration
  • World Nature
  • World Showcase

World Discovery

Recently the main section of the park was split into 3 different sections and World Discovery is one of them. You’ll find that World Discovery is focused on science and technology.

  • Mission: Space
  • Test Track

Test Track has a very creative concept for a thrill ride. You’ll hop into a convertible and experience what it’s like to be put through the rigors of vehicle testing. The highlight of Test Track is a 65-mph zip around the outside of the building in a vehicle of your design.

Mission: Space is the forgotten thrill ride of Epcot. There are 2 different versions of the ride, orange and green. Orange is the standard version, which is a simulated trip to Mars. Green is similar but has less intense motion and a modified storyline.

World Celebration

  • This section of Epcot has been under construction for much of the 2022 season. But Disney will be unveiling a new Moana inspired attraction named Play! Pavillion and Journey of Water.
  • Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth is a dark ride that is located inside the iconic Epcot geodesic dome. The 15-minute ride that chronicles the development of communication. You’ll love the chance to get inside the famous Epcot dome and Spaceship Earth is often rated among the top rides at Walt Disney World.

World Nature

World Nature focuses on the natural world and holds most of Epcot’s rides. The main focus is The Seas Pavilion, The Land Pavilion, and The Imagination Pavilion.

The Sea Aquarium

  • The Sea With Nemo And Friends (in aquarium)
  • Turtle Talk With Crush (in aquarium)

Turtle Talk with Crush is a great interactive show that allows audience members to have improvised dialogue with the beloved, Crush. In case you are unaware, Crush is the surfer dudeturtle from Finding Nemo.

The Land Pavilion

  • Soaring Around The World (Land Pavilion)
  • Living With Land (Land Pavilion)

Soaring Around the World is a thrilling experience of simulated hang gliding. You’ll depart the ride with a real sense of awe.

The Imagination Pavilion

  • Journey Into The Imagination With Figment (Imagination Pavilion)
  • Images: Works: The What If Labs (Imagination Pavilion)
  • Disney / Pixar Short Film Festival (Imagination Pavilion 

World Showcase

The most famous part of Epcot is hands down the World Showcase. It’s located around World Showcase Lagoon and is chock full of restaurants, shops and cultural experiences from around the world.

11 Countries Of Epcot’s World Showcase

  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Morocco
  • Japan
  • USA
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • China
  • Norway
  • Mexico

Most of these countries do not have rides except for France, Norway and Mexico. Some of the best and fan favorites include:

  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – France
  • Frozen Ever After – Norway
  • Gran Fiesta Tour – Mexico

Remy’s Ratatouille Aventure is located in France and is one of the newest rides in the park. This is a trackless dark ride that uses 3D screens and physical sets to shrink the riders to the size of Remy. Kids and Ratatouille fans will love this ride.

Frozen Ever After, located in Norway, is a standard boat ride that takes you through the story of Frozen. Fans of the movie will love the twists and surprises of the ride.

Characters At Epcot

Meeting characters at Epcot is unique because you’ll get to meet them in their home countries. This means you can meet Belle in France, Alice in the United Kingdom or Mulan in China. Epcot is currently offering character meet and greets but at a greater distance. Some of the characters include:

  • Goofy and Pluto at Spaceship Earth
  • Elsa and Anna in Norway
  • Joy (Inside Out) at Imagination Pavilion

There are also several character meals offered at Epcot. They are offered at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and the Garden Grill. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is located in Norway and features a meal with the Disney Princesses. Characters you could dine with include Aerial, Belleand Snow White among other Princesses.

The Garden Grill is at the Land Pavilion and here you can have a meal with classic characters like Mickey, Pluto and Chip and Dale.

Character Meet and Greets at Epcot

Surprisingly, Epcot has a lot of character appearances and it’s an easy place to meet specific characters. You can see many of your favorite characters around the World Showcase including

  • Mary Popping (U.K.)
  • Jasmine (Morocco)
  • Snow White (Germany)
  • Mulan (China)
  • Donald Duck (Mexico)
  • Belle (France)
  • Alice (U.K)

Epcot Dining

If you’re a foodie, then Epcot is going to be right up your alley. The sheer number of dining options in the World Showcase alone will make you giddy with excitement. Every country has specialty restaurant options, and the food options are seemingly endless.

While the options are endless, there are few highly recommended dining options for you to consider. Reservations are needed.

Table Service

  • Rose and Crown Dining Room (U.K.) – best fish and chips in the U.S.
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse (Canada) – don’t miss the poutine
  • Chefs de France (France)
  • Spice Road Table (Morocco) – legendary hummus fries with citrus chipotle
  • Teppan Edo Restaurant (Japan) – hibachi style dining with large portions
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante (Italy)
  • Biergarten Restaurant (Germany)
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Norway)
  • Nine Dragons Restaurant (China) – underrated and afforadable 
  • San Angel Restaurant (Mexico) – try the pollo a las rajas and stay for the great views
  • Garden Grill Restaurant (Land Pavilion) – great for families

Quick Service

  • Yorkshire County Fish and Chips (U.K.) – amazing fish and chips 
  • La Crêperie de Paris (France)
  • Tangierine Cafe (Morocco)
  • Sommerfest (Germany) – get the noodle gratin
  • Lotus Blossom Cafe (China)
  • La Cantina de San Ángel (México)


  • L’Artisan des Glaces (France) – give the Roulé Lard and Fromage or the Croque Monsieur a try 
  • Gelateria Toscana (Italy)
  • Joy Of Tea (China)
  • The Refreshment Port – try the cronut and thank me later!

Can’t Miss Drink Carts

  • U.K. Beer Cart
  • Choz de Margarita (México)
  • La Cava del Tequila (México)

Epcot Festivals

Epcot holds many special festivals throughout the year. Many visitors plan their entire trip to Walt Disney World around these festivals. The most popular include:

  • Festival Of Arts (Jan-Feb)
  • Flower And Garden (March-July)
  • Food And Wine (August-November)
  • Festival Of Holidays (November-December)

Epcot Tips

  •  Use the My Disney Experience app for the character appearances schedule at World Showcase
  • The World Showcase does not open until 11 am. Other areas of Epcot open earlier but keep in mind that World Showcase opens later
  • Be prepared for a lot of walking! The park is 300 acres so make sure to wear comfortable shoes when you visit Epcot
  • Explore off the beaten path in the World Showcase. 
  • There is so much to see and do that many of the smaller details and galleries are completely skipped over. These are some of the true treasures and experiences at World Showcase.

Epcot provides the unique experience of being able to travel around the world in one place. When compared to the other Walt Disney World theme parks this one truly stands out. Where else can you experience 11 countries in one day? Make sure to pack your comfy shoes and appetite for your day at the World Showcase. It’s an experience that you will never forget!

Guide to Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios opened as Disney-MGM Studios in 1989, and the park was renamed Hollywood Studios in 2008. The entire park is an ode to the movie industry and is known as one of the must visit parks at Walt Disney World.

Between the fantastic shows and rides featuring the newest technology you’ll escape into some of your favorite movies of all time. Use this guide to Hollywood Studios to disappear into your favorite movies while at this amazing theme park.

The latest additions to the park are some spectacularly famous ones with Toy Story Land completed in 2018, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge which opened 2019. 

Getting To Hollywood Studios

If you’re staying on the property at Disney there are several options in terms of getting to Hollywood Studios including skyline, bus, boat or walking to the park. If you’re staying off site your hotel or resort may offer a shuttle service to Hollywood Studios.

If you’re driving to Hollywood Studios, you won’t have to pay a parking fee if you are staying on property or are an annual passholder. For everyone else the fee is $25 per day to park.

Getting Around The Park

Getting around Hollywood Studios is going to require a lot of walking. It’s the only theme park at Walt Disney World that has no in park transportation options. The good news is that Hollywood Studios is also the smallest park at 135 acres.

Rides And Attractions at Hollywood Studios

In recent years Hollywood Studios has seen several massive expansions so that the park could include even more movie magic. Hollywood Studios is home to some of the newest and most popular attractions at Walt Disney World. The park has several lands including:

  • Hollywood Boulevard
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Echo Lake
  • Grand Avenue
  • Animation Courtyard
  • Toy Story Land
  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge 

Hollywood Boulevard

You’ll enter the park through Hollywood Boulevard, where the streets are lined with shopping and dining options. The main attraction is the Chinese Theater where you’ll find Hollywood Boulevard’s one and only ride: Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is the newest addition to Hollywood Studios. It’s a trackless dark ride that takes you through a busy adventure featuring the parks iconic duo Mickey and Minnie Mouse. This ride is great for the entire family.

Sunset Boulevard

On Sunset Boulevard you’ll find another stretch of street lined with shopping and restaurant options. You’ll also find many of the park headliners on Sunset Boulevard including:

  • The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror
  • Rock’n’Rollercoaster Featuring Aerosmith
  • Beauty And The Beast (stage show)
  • Fantasmic! (night show)
  • Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy (show)

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a nearly perfect ride and one that has become a favorite of every visitor who dares to ride it. As you wait for your turn to plummet in an elevator, you’ll hear the screams of fellow passengers as they experience pure terror. This ride consistently ranks among the top rides at Walt Disney World.

Rock’n’Rollercoaster is perfect for you if you’re looking for a thrilling high-speed coaster that loops and corkscrews through the dark. If you love rollercoasters this is a can’t miss ride at Hollywood Studios.

Echo Lake

The Echo Lake area is a small oval lagoon in Hollywood Studios. Interestingly, the lagoon is shaped that way because it was designed as one of the ears of the gigantic hidden Mickey that the park makes. You’ll know you’ve reached Echo Lake when you see the giant dinosaur, Gertie.

  • Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
  • Jedi Training: Trials of The Temple (live show – closed)
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! (stunt show)
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing Along Celebration (show)

Star Tours – The Adventure Continues was groundbreaking when it launched and remains a fan favorite today. You’ll enter your star tour vehicle, and the movement of the vehicle and screen will transport you into an epic journey through the Star Wars universe.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! Is a great show to catch at Hollywood Studios. The show is over 30 minutes, but it takes you behind the scenes of the famed Indiana Jones films. Great for both kids and nostalgic adults, the show is entertaining, and the stunts are fun for the whole family.

Grand Avenue

You’ll find Grand Avenue between Star Tours and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and it’s home of the Muppets! This is a very small area of the park, but for Muppet fans you’ll want to take in it’s one and only attraction.

The Muppet Vision 3D show is about 15 minutes long and is a must for any Muppet lover. The premise of the show is that the Muppets are showing fans the newest 3D technology. It’s Muppet humor for the masses and you’ll find it’s a staple for a Hollywood Studios visit.

Toy Story Land

This land opened in 2018 and instantly became a fan favorite and a hit. Toy Story Land puts you in Andy’s backyard and is meant to make you feel like you are the size of a toy. This part of the park is often crowded, just keep that in mind.

  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Alien Swirling Saucers

Slinky Dog Dash is better than the average kid friendly coaster. Ride it at night for an even better experience.

Toy Story Mania is a fun carnival style game attraction. There are 3D elements, and you will be teamed up in a group of 4 as you ride through 5 different carnival style games. You’ll wait in fairly long lines for this attraction but the good news is that the queue is indoors and has interactive fun elements.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

As the newest addition to the park in 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is one of the most popular lands at Hollywood Studios. You’ll find yourself on the planet of Batuu. Fans can meet Ray and Chewie or decide to join the dark side. You’ll notice that Storm Troopers patrol the area and keep everyone in line. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a truly immersive experience.

  • Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Star Wars: Rise of The Resistance is known as the best ride at Hollywood Studios. And is it any wonder why? The ride is full of surprises and fully immerses you into the Star Wars universe. It’s a can’t miss attraction at Hollywood Studios.

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler Run will give fans the chance to pilot the famous Millennium Falcon. You’ll join a team of 6 as you attempt to collect Coaxum from famed smuggler, Hondo. Pilots even have the ability to crash the ship!

Characters At Hollywood Studio

There are a ton of characters to meet at Hollywood Studios, and many of the characters here are exclusive to the park. Character cavalcades are the best way to see a ton of characters at once and Hollywood Studios offers several cavalcades including Mickey and Friends, as well as Pixar Pals. The Pixar Pals cavalcade includes favorites like Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Bo Peep, the Green Army Guys and Mr. and Mrs. Incredible.

Hollywood Boulevard Characters

On Hollywood Boulevard you can meet classic characters like Daisy, Donald, and Chip and Dale.

Sunset Boulevard Characters

On Sunset Boulevard you can meet Cars characters outside of the Lightning McQueen Racing Academy show. Including characters like DJ and Cruz Ramirez.

Echo Lake Characters

At Echo Lake you can meet Olaf from Frozen. 

Toy Story Land Characters

At Toy Story Land you can meet all of your Toy Story favorites including Woody, Jessie, Buzz and Bo Peep. And you can catch the Green Army Guys marching through Toy Story Land.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Characters

In Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge you can meet Chewie and Rey and from the dark side you’ll notice regular appearances from Storm Troopers and Kylo Ren.

Dining At Hollywood Studios

While it may not be known for its dining options there are plenty of great ones at Hollywood Studios.

Hollywood Boulevard Dining

  • The Trolley Car Cafe (Starbucks)
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby (table service – fine dining – reservation required)

Sunset Boulevard Dining

  • Rosie’s All American Cafe (burgers)
  • Catalina Eddie’s (pizza)
  • Hollywood Scoops (ice cream)

Echo Lake Dining

  • Tune-In Lounge (50’s cafe)
  • Hollywood and Vine (table service)
  • Dockside Diner (hot dogs)

Toy Story Land Dining

  • Woody’s Lunch Box (sandwiches)

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Dining

  • Docking Bay 7 Food And Cargo (American with a twist)
  • Ronto Roasters (Ronto wraps)
  • Oga’s Canteen (Star Wars cocktails/mocktails)
  • Milk Stand – try the famous blue Bantha milk

Tips For Visiting Hollywood Studios

  • For the Tower Of Terror a 13-minute wait is actually no wait time at all.
  • It’s best to avoid Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during mid-day, generally crowds pick up significantly around 1 pm.
  • Utilizing single rider lines is a great way to save time at Hollywood Studios. Both Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run and the Rock’n’Rollercoaster offer single rider lines.
  • Save shows for the afternoon, you’ll want to rest your legs and take a break from the heat by then.

Hollywood Studios has so much to offer that you’ll find yourself wanting to spend more than one day in these immersive lands. Whether you spend time together in Andy’s backyard in Toy Story Land or help with resistance at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge you’ll always remember your time at Hollywood Studios.

Guide to Animal Kingdom

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, you’ll experience the magic of nature with rare animals and wild amusement. Home of one of the world’s most magical celebrations, the nightly Tree of Life Awakening. Between the iconic Expedition Everest and the amazing animals including meerkats, rhinos, African lions and warthogs you’re sure to have a wild time at Animal Kingdom.

Use this guide to Animal Kingdom to plan an epic trip to this zoo meets theme park.

Getting To Animal Kingdom

Since Animal Kingdom is set apart from the other Disney theme parks – those animals need space to roam – there is only one transportation option. 

If you are staying on property, you’ll need to take a bus to the park. If you’re staying off site, most hotels and resorts offer a shuttle service to Animal Kingdom.

If you’re driving to the park, you’ll simply park in the Animal Kingdom parking lot.

Rides And Attractions At Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is a celebration of nature, animals and our planet. The park is separated into 6 main lands including: 

  • The Oasis – Entrance
  • Discovery Island
  • Pandora – The World Of Avatar
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • DinoLand
  • Rafeiki’s Planet Watch

The Oasis Rides and Attraction Highlights

You’ll enter Animal Kingdom through the Oasis where you will there find animal viewing opportunities, as well as a few dining options. The animals you can view here include wallabies, barbousas and exotic birds. There are no real rides or attractions in this area of the park.

Discovery Island Rides and Attraction Highlights

Perhaps the biggest draw to Discovery Island is the Tree of Life, and it is a can’t miss at Animal Kingdom. Take some time to walk around this gorgeous installation and take in the intricate wood animal carvings. You can also view flamingos, vultures, and otters in Discovery Island.

  • It’s Tough To Be A Bug (3D show)
  • Adventure Outpost (Meet Mickey and Minnie)
  • Discovery Island Trails (animal viewing)

The Discovery Island Trails surround the Tree of Life, and most visitors don’t even notice them. The trails will take you through animal exhibits, but the real highlight is the chance to see the Tree of Life from every angle. These trails are also a wonderful place to escape the Disney crowds.

Pandora – The World Of Avatar

Pandora is based on the 2009 film, Avatar. Even if you’re not familiar with the movie, this is the most popular land at Animal Kingdom for a good reason. It’s a fully immersive land and the scenery and details are beautiful.

  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Avatar Flight Of Passage

Avatar Flight Of Passage is the most popular ride at Animal Kingdom. This is a must ride as you climb atop a winged mountain banshee for a 3D flight you’ll never forget. You’ll fly over Pandora’s otherworldly landscape on this fully immersive adventure.

Na’vi River Journey is a slow boat ride that’s perfect for all ages. On this ride you’ll discover and experience Pandora’s diverse wildlife as you are fully immersed into the world of Avatar.


Africa is set in the fictional African village of Harambe. It’s got fantastic theming and great African themed rides.

  • Kilimanjaro Safari
  • A Celebration Festival of the Lion King (show)
  • Wildlife Express Train (to get to Rafeki’s Planet Watch)
  • Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Kilimanjaro Safari is consistently one of the most popular attractions in the park. This unique ride meanders through the beautiful African landscape with real animal sightings along the way. You could ride Kilimanjaro Safari multiple times during your visit and experience something completely different each time.  You never know what you’ll see during the safari, maybe you’llget stuck behind a herd of zebras or watch in awe as giraffes saunter by, no matter what you experience it’ll be something you never forget.

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail has a zoo feel as it’s all about the animal exhibits. On this trail you’ll see gorillas, zebras, birds and a few other animals. It will take about 30 minutes to complete the trail.


Asia is set in the fictional Anandpur, and is split into two distinct sections, India and Nepal.

  • Expedition Everest
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Maharajah Jungle Trek (animal viewing)
  • Feathered Friends Of Flight (show)

Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is a rollercoaster unlike any other in the parks. Among the top 3 rides at Animal Kingdom the lines are usually very long at Expedition Everest. Don’t let that stop you from riding because the queue is filled with authentic designs and artifacts that illustrate the Tibetan and Nepalese relationships with the Yeti. This is one of Disney’s best roller coasters but it’s not for the faint of heart.

DinoLand U.S.A.

An area designed around dinosaurs with impressive small details to take in throughout the land.

  • Dinosaur
  • Triceratops Spin
  • The Boneyard (playground)
  • Chester and Hesters Dino-Rama (games)

Dinosaur hasn’t aged well technologically but it is an Animal Kingdom classic. You’ll enter a 12-person vehicle that powers through the bumpy jungle in search of dinosaurs. In hopes of tracking them down before a meteor strikes the earth and wipes out their population. Although it shouldn’t be at the top of your ride list at Animal Kingdom if you’re close by it’s worth a ride.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch

This is a highly conservation centric land that you’ll need to take a train to explore. The visit to Rafiki’s Planet Watch will take about an hour round trip.

  • Affection Section (petting zoo)
  • Conservation Station

Conservation Station is a small conservation themed educational space. The visits here are sort of hit or miss in terms of animal encounters. There are times that vets will be working with animals here enabling great animal encounters but other times this is purely educational. The Conservation Station is also a seasonal offering.

Meeting Characters at Animal Kingdom

Recent events have changed the way that Walt Disney World handles character interactions. The character cavalcades at Animal Kingdom are a bit different because they take place on the river and are known as Character Flotillas. A few of the cavalcades include Mickey and Friends Flotilla, Goofy and Pals Set Sail and Donald’s Dino Bash.

Characters You Can Meet At Animal Kingdom

  • Pocahontas
  • Daisy and Donald Duck 
  • Russell and Dug
  • Scrooge McDuck
  • Launchpad McQuack
  • Timon
  • Rafiki
  • Thumper 
  • Terk
  • Jiminy Cricket

Shows At Animal Kingdom

Entertainment is a top priority at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You’ll find everything from epic stage shows to impressive street performers.

Street Entertainment

Animal Kingdom offers a great variety of street entertainment that you’ll just stumble upon throughout the park, so make sure to keep an eye out. These include things like the Pandora Rangers, Swota Waya Drum Ceremony and Kora Tinga Tinga.

Tree Of Life Awakening

The illumination of the Tree of Life Awakening is something to see and can’t miss during your visit to the Animal Kingdom. The nightly lights show cycles every 10 minutes.

Animal Kingdom Dining

Animal Kingdom is known for having some of the best food at Walt Disney World. The creative dishes at this park will leave you wanting more.

Discovery Island

  • Tiffin’s Restaurant (global cuisine)
  • Rainforest Cafe (chain)
  • Flame Tree BBQ
  • Eight Spoon Cafe – you don’t want to miss the Pulled Pork-Jelly Doughnut Sandwich 


  • Satu’li Canteen – don’t miss the Cheeseburger Steamed Pods – Bao Buns
  • Pongu Pongu – you can’t miss the Pongu Lumpia!


  • Tusker House Restaurant (African cuisine – Characters – Reservations required)
  • Harambe Market – try the Mediterranean bowls or the grilled corn on the cob
  • Tamu Tamu Refreshments – where you can find the only Dole Whips in park


  • Yak and Yeti Restaurant – don’t miss the Ahi Tuna Nachos (reservations required)
  • Anandpur Ice Cream Truck

DinoLand U.S.A.

  • Restaurantosaurus (American cuisine)Trilo-Bites – the buffalo chicken chips are amazing

Tips For Visiting Animal Kingdom

  • You’ll be walking most of Animal Kingdom so make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
  • Visit Pandora at night for a completely different experience.
  • To see the animals at their most active time, ride Kilimanjaro Safari in the early morning or close to dusk.

A trip to Animal Kingdom is such a unique experience and one that the whole family will remember for a lifetime. The amazing rides and the exotic animals make for a winning combination!

What to Pack!

So now that you have the highlights of all the things to see and do at Walt Disney World – ready, set – PACK!

The more you can bring with you, the better it will be. Yes, you can buy things you may forget or run out of – but keep in mind that unless you can leave Walt Disney World property to head to Target or Walmart – purchasing things on property is EXPENSIVE!

Do all of the Disney resorts have diapers, toothpaste, sunscreen, etc.? Yes – but the price for these things is HIGH!! VERY HIGH! Something as simple as toothpaste can cost you double (or more) on property.

Suggested Packing List



TIP: Don’t forget to save time during your trip to visit Disney Springs! Disney Springs is full of shopping, dining, entertainment and fun!

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