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Favorite Rides

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

1. Soarin’

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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.

 

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Welcome Back: News & Updates

I am excited to return to the Happiest Place and give you up-to-date information about everything that’s going on at Walt Disney World! The company has announced several new developments over the last year, some of which will change the face of the theme park completely. Here’s are some of the highlights:

1. Hollywood Studios is Going Through Major Changes

WDW’s park dedicated to the golden age of film is most recognized by its iconic Sorcerer’s Hat, but the famous monument is currently being deconstructed and removed from the park. You can now see directly down the street to the replica of the Chinese Theater. Disney also announced that the park will soon be getting a new name. It’s not the first time—Hollywood Studios was formerly known as MGM. No word yet on what the park will be called.

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2. Polynesian Resort Gets Disney Vacation Club Bungalows

Opening on April 1st, the Bora Bora Bungalows are newly renovated complexes available to members of the Disney Vacation Club. The expansion was built on stilts and wooden decks and sit just above the Seven Seas Lagoon. Each unit has a private deck where guests can watch the fireworks and listen to the accompanying music on private sound systems. Sounds like a sweet deal!

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3. Everything is “Frozen” Over

Hollywood Studios has added several events and attractions based around its hit animation feature, Frozen. After a successful run last summer, the Frozen attractions will return this June. They include a “royal welcome” parade, a sing-along at the Hyperion Theater (former home of the American Idol attraction), a special show hosted by Olaf, and a fireworks display to end the night.

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Some other quick updates—Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom is now serving breakfast, and Animal Kingdom is under construction in preparation for Avatarland, coming in 2017.

 

Images courtesy of wdwinfo.com and wdwmagic.com.

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Animal Kingdom Overview

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One of the most unique parts of Disney World is its famed Animal Kingdom, which strays away from the traditional theme park format in order to bring vacationers an authentic adventure into the heart of Africa and Asia. The park features up-close animal encounters, wild safari rides, and a even a run-in with an animatronic yeti! At the heart of it all is the Tree of Life, Disney’s special homage to the idea that we are all connected.

Animal Kingdom is divided into the following areas:

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The Oasis

This area of the park is dedicated to nature: it features several walking paths filled with exotic trees and animals, each of which ultimately leads you to the Tree of Life.

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Discovery Island

Discovery Island lies at the heart of Animal Kingdom, and is home to the Tree of Life. Seeing this breathtaking landmark is a must for your trip, and if you’re bringing PIXAR fans along, be sure to check out It’s Tough to Be a Bug, the 4D show based on A Bug’s Life.

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Africa

Inspired by the village of Harambe, Animal Kingdom has recreated an authentic African community. This cultural experience features traditional African cuisine and entertainment, and is home to the one and only Kilimanjaro Safaris. These rides take you directly into an African savanna, where you’ll get up close to giraffes, hippos, alligators, and – if you’re lucky – even lions!

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Rafiki’s Planet Watch

This area of Animal Kingdom is perfect for the vacationer that wants to learn more about the animals that call Disney home. Rafiki’s Planet Watch features a unique backstage look at the animals’ habitats, and even has a petting zoo area for young kids.

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Asia

A land that is sure to delight vacationers of all ages, Asia features both stunning architecture and thrilling rides. If you’re looking to explore the culture, check out the Jungle Trek or Flights of Wonder, where you can observe animals in their natural habitat. Feeling brave? Be sure to stop by Expedition Everest, Disney’s highest roller coaster, where you’ll head into the heart of the mountain and contend with a ferocious yeti.

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Dinoland, U.S.A.

Dinoland is a tribute to the animals of our past, and is filled with prehistoric attractions and dining experiences. Little ones will want to check out The Boneyard (where they can dig up dinosaur fossils), and adults will want to take a spin on Dinosaur, a thrilling trip through time.

Images courtesy of micechat.com, wdwlive.com, and disney-pal.com.

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