Category Archives: Favorites
One of the best things about Disney World is the wide array of spectacular shows, fireworks displays, and parades held held throughout the parks. Each of them is themed differently and offers a unique experience. Here are my top five favorites:
This classic Hollywood Studios water show stars Sorcerer Mickey and takes audiences on a journey through iconic Disney animated films. Following the narrative of a dream sequence, characters like Simba, Pocahontas, Ursula, Jafar, and Maleficent all make appearances as Mickey tries break the nightmare. The show ultimately culminates with a fireworks celebration and a journey on the Steamboat Willie River Boat. It’s not the best that Disney has to offer, but everyone should see it at least once.
4. Main Street Electrical Parade
I’m not the biggest fan of parades, but this one is worth it; held after dusk in Magic Kingdom, the Main Street Electrical Parade features enormous glow-in-the-dark floats that travel around the park. Some of the stories represented are Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Cinderella. The beauty of this parade is breathtaking, and it’s a great way to cap off your night in Magic Kingdom.
3. Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
This holiday extravaganza can be found in Hollywood Studios during Christmas time. The Streets of America are draped in millions of sparkling lights that flash to various Christmas songs. The sheer magnitude of this show is unbelievable, and it’s really something that everyone should experience at least once. The details on each building are incredible, and each new song that plays features something different. You can catch the Dancing Lights show on select nights from November to January.
This Epcot must-see is completely different than any other show at Disney—it’s not based on anything mythology from the movies, but rather it features a premise designed by Walt himself. Epcot as a whole is meant to bring nations and cultures together to work towards a brighter future, and IllumiNations inspires just that. The show takes place in the center of World Showcase Lagoon when all the countries around it go dark. A metallic globe rotates on the water and captivating images are projected onto it as it turns. It eventually cracks open and makes way for a gorgeous and inspiring fireworks display. I revisit this show each time I come to Disney, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone for something a little different.
You probably saw this coming, right? Wishes is the ultimate Disney experience; there’s nothing quite like gathering on Main Street when the sun goes down to watch the Castle light up and hear your favorite characters come to life as fireworks adorn the sky. The movie scores and original songs that play during the show are a stirring encapsulation of what Disney is all about, and there’s nothing quite like seeing the Castle transform right before your eyes. In the end, it’s nothing short of magical.
While this post isn’t strictly Disney Parks, the studio’s animated films are the foundation for many of the rides and pavilions in both Orlando and Anaheim. Classic Disney movies have shaped many of our childhoods, and here’s a countdown of my top five favorites:
5. Beauty and the Beast
A classic tale about appreciating what’s on the inside, Beauty and the Beast features some stunning animations and dazzling scenery. It’s one of those movies where, for me personally, the side characters are more entertaining than the main ones; Belle and the Beast are iconic, but I prefer Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and even Gaston (if you get the chance, go see the character performer in Magic Kingdom—he’s hilarious!). The really selling point of this movie, though, is the soundtrack. Look no further than “Belle,” the movie’s impressively intricate and catchy opening number.
4. The Little Mermaid
Before The Little Mermaid came out in 1989, Disney was in somewhat of an animation slump. This film about a young mermaid that longs to walk on land helped reinvigorate the franchise, and was a pioneer in the field of animation. Much like Beauty and the Beast, I enjoy the supporting roles more than the main ones, and you can always count on Sebastian and Flounder and even Ursula for a one-liner or a tune that’s an instant classic. Truth be told, I’m still obsessed with “Part of My World.”
There’s something mesmerizing about Aladdin and its parent tale, Arabian Nights. The film’s atmosphere always immediately grabs my attention, and the setting still feels so unique. Aladdin and Jasmine are one of my favorite Disney couples, and “A Whole New World” will never get old. Abu is one of the best animal sidekicks, and Genie is an unforgettable Disney addition.
Mulan is the ultimate badass, and she was definitely my hero growing up. She’s brave and strong and honorable and is willing to sacrifice her self for others—not to mention that she ultimately saves all of China. Mulan was a feminist icon before any of us even knew what that even meant as kids, and the message of this movie is head and shoulders above the others. Mushu and the other characters are also totally awesome, and it’s impossible to forget the words to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”
How do I even begin to explain the special place in my heart for Hercules? It’s been my favorite since I was a kid, and, tragically, it’s one of the least represented films in the parks. Still, there are plenty of reasons to love it. It’s far and away the cleverest and best-written animation of the studio’s Renaissance era. Maybe you won’t get all the jokes when you’re little, but the movie gets funnier every time you watch it. Hercules is the ultimate hero, but it’s his leading lady that really steals the show; Meg is no princess, and she’s all the better for it. Mentor Phil and flying sidekick Pegasus are great secondary characters, and Hades is by far one of Disney’s best villains. The soundtrack of this movie is also outstanding, and “Go the Distance” will forever be my pump-up jam.
The attractions at Walt Disney World are iconic, innovative, and immersive—but which one’s the best? It depends on your taste, but here’s my list of the park’s top five greatest rides. (Disclaimer: I’m no thrill-seeker! You can keep your Rock n’ Rollercoaster and your Tower of Terror.)
5. Pirates of the Caribbean
This classic Magic Kingdom ride is such a must-see that it inspired an entire movie franchise. It takes you on a boat ride through deep, swash-buckling caverns as 18th century inhabitants pillage, plunder, and party all around you. There’s nothing really thrilling about this ride, save for a small drop at the end—the enjoyment comes from the atmosphere and attention to detail as you traverse the water-way. A fun legend surrounding the ride helps add to its captivating theatrics; many Disney visitors have long-since acknowledged that Pirates is haunted by a (mostly) friendly ghost named George, who will break down the ride if you denounce him in your boat.
4. Haunted Mansion
Speaking of ghosts, another one of my favorites is the Haunted Mansion. Similar in style to Pirates, Haunted Mansion takes you via Doom-Buggy through the ghoulish residence of Madame Leota. The technology on this one is pretty impressive, and there are so many undead beings floating around that you’ll have to ride multiple times to catch all the details. But don’t worry—this ride never gets old.
3. The Great Movie Ride
This Hollywood Studios landmark doesn’t have the universal appeal of some original Magic Kingdom favorites, but as a lover of all things movies, it’s a must-do for me. I’m hooked right from the queue, which features a clip-show of great films throughout the years. When you are seated in your vehicle, everything is flashing dazzling lights and you really feel like a part of Hollywood. The live-action part of the ride is always entertaining, and can change each time you return. This one truly lives up to the name.
2. Kilimanjaro Safaris
Instead of taking you on a journey through the movies, Kilimanjaro Safaris brings you to the African savannas. This ride in particular has the most potential for a completely unique experience each go-around, and new animals are constantly arriving at the location. It’s an adventure unlike anything else at Disney, and has become a landmark attraction over the years. As an animal-lover, I really enjoy this up-close encounter with the parks’ residents.
Fly over California in this amazing attraction located in Future World, Epcot. Your vehicles are only a few feet off the ground, but their swinging momentum coupled with the dazzling scenery in front of you really makes you feel weightless. Some of the scenes are even accompanied by scent to add to the immersion. This ride always has a really long wait, but it’s definitely worth it, and the journey’s ending is unforgettable.
Honorable Mentions: The Jungle Cruise, Test Track, & Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
Images provided by buzzfeed.com, pinterest.com, grumpymickey.com, and thegreatmovieride.tripod.com.