The Delicate Art of Disney Dining Decisions



Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Snacks, snacks, snacks!!! Oh the plethora of culinary options. While there are definitely snacks I think you should make a point to hunt down at WDW, and quick service options I recommend over others, only your table service meals really need planing. We usually have 1 table service a day, and typically it’s dinner. This is for a couple of reasons:

  1. Mornings are the best time to be in the parks. If you arrive at rope drop you can enjoy 2-3 hours of reduced crowds before the late sleepers start arriving.  It’s also cooler in the morning. I don’t like to waste that time eating breakfast. An apple & trail mix on the go, or a cinnamon roll and coffee from Joffrey’s works for me.
  2. Table service meals tend to be more filling. It’s harder to run around enjoying attractions in the hot sunshine with a full belly.

Andy and I love food. Maybe we’re even “foodies.” Trying new flavors and textures of cuisine/wine/beer/cocktails/coffee excites us and we love sharing these experiences together, as well as with our family and friends. Our passion for food and my desire to plan a fluid vacation mean I spend a lot of energy considering our table service reservations during our trip. (Andy would probably claim I obsess, but isn’t planning half of the fun!?)


Confession: I have trouble committing to my dining plans at Disney World. There are so many choices! I make initial reservations as soon as I can.  (180 days out if you’re staying at a WDW resort hotel.) Planning is essential and you’ll hear me say that one million times over. But, I often end up tweaking and changing what I have – chasing the dream of the perfect dining reservations combo. (Is this zeal or obsession?)

It’s a game of strategy. Sort of an algebraic equation:

cuisine type preferences + dining time + restaurant performance + location ÷ favorite must haves + new experiences   = PERFECT DINING PLAN!!


You must balance the type of cuisine you enjoy with the reservation time making sure it’s in the park you’re visiting (or not visiting) that day. I’m constantly combing my favorite Disney sources like Disney Food Blog, for their latest opinions which influence my decisions. Which restaurants are performing consistently high? Which offer amazing service? Finally there’s the pull of old favorites, or forgoing somewhere I had a positive experience a couple of years ago to try something new.

I realize that for some people table service restaurants aren’t that important. Plenty of people are happy to grab quick service for their entire trip. I’m not judging! There are plenty of delicious quick service options. Flame Tree Barbecue at Animal Kingdom, for example. Or, Earl of Sandwich in Disney Springs. Yummy. (And many more!)


But if you’re going to make dining reservations, and you’re like me, you want to make sure your choices are optimal. So how do you apply that magic formula to your planning? I let the Extra Magic Hours guide when I visit what parks. Depending on the park and its proximate locations (i.e. The Contemporary is just outside Magic Kingdom), I decide the best cuisine location in that area. It’s hard to curtail Epcot and Disney Springs restaurants because of their numerous choices. That’s when I turn to sources like Disney Food Blog, who are eating in the parks frequently, to assist in my decision.

Sometimes I still end up changing my mind. For example, we were planning to dine at Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom on our upcoming trip where dinner is sort of Thanksgiving traditional. Liberty Tree has a fantastic reputation for consistently delicious food. Though it has great ratings, there’s something about the pot roast, turkey and stuffing vibe in June we couldn’t get past. So we opted to try out the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen instead, Magic Kingdom’s newest table service spot. The Jungle Cruise theme has high appeal and the food is reportedly pretty good.

And don’t get me wrong – most table service spots are going to provide you with some tasty chow.  I can’t recall a truly lousy meal on any of my trips. But each trip some spots stand out above the rest.

So my advice? You do you! If you want to go crazy and research – go for it! Or perhaps you want to just roll the dice and choose a spot. Either way, here are the ESSENTIAL THINGS you should do:

1.) Make reservations!! I really can’t say that enough. And make them as early as you possibly can. Trust me.

2.) Ensure your location is convenient. Due to the size of Disney World it can take a couple of hours to get from one point to another. Don’t pick a restaurant in Animal Kingdom if you plan to spend the day in Magic Kingdom.

3.) Make reservations a time that works for your schedule. If a big lunch makes you uncomfortable, skip table service then. Don’t schedule dinner at 5:00 if you normally eat late. Do what makes sense for you and your family.

4.) Have an open mind. Remember you’re on vacation. Wherever you end up dining, relax, enjoy, and savor the experience!


See ya real soon!

I just need a minute…


… to get up on my soapbox. And speak about Disney’s latest announcement regarding parking.

I get these impulses with Disney.

Like in 2013 when Disney turned the Main Street Bakery into a Starbucks. Sigh. While I love having coffee readily available on Main Street U.S.A., I would much rather they had chosen Joffrey’s – with whom they already have a working relationship. We ❤ Joffrey’s and their tasty coffee and oversized, HUGE donuts.


Or last summer, when Disney announced they are changing the auction scene in Pirates of the Caribbean to be more appropriate and move aware from the idea of selling women. Hello, they’re pirates. It’s a story, and one with roots in art and history, and it is part of Walt Disney’s original concepts. I don’t believe anyone is under the impression Disney is promoting the auctioning of wenches. (Sorry if you disagree here.) WE WANTS THE REDHEAD!! I am not the only one miffed about this. With a quick Google search you can easily discover it’s been a significant controversy among Disney fans, spurring petitions and protest. Disney has been fairly “mum’s the word” about it all since the initial announcement. Pirates of the Caribbean is currently closed for refurbishment and scheduled to re-open next week. Time will tell what roll the iconic Redhead will be playing when it does. Show us your larboard side, dearie.


Now for my current rant, Disney’s latest announcement. NO MORE FREE OVERNIGHT PARKING FOR DISNEY WORLD RESORT GUESTS. First the facts, for reservations made after March 21, 2018, guests at Disney World hotels will be charged a self parking fee, per night, of their stay. The fee, along with its tax, will be added into the guest’s folio at the end of their stay. Valet parking is on the rise also, going up to $33 a night at select Disney Deluxe Resorts and Villas. Here is the breakdown of the overnight fees:

  • Disney Value Resorts: $13 per night
  • Disney Moderate Resorts: $19 per night
  • Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $24 per night

Complimentary standard parking is available to Guests staying at the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Each campsite provides parking space for one vehicle.

A few exceptions: Disney Vacation Club members will not be charged when staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa (whether they use points or pay out of pocket) or if they use points to stay at any other Disney World Resort Hotel.


For right now this fee is only for overnight parking. Day guests, guests who are hoping to shop, dine, or enjoy entertainment at a Disney World resort hotel, will still enjoy complimentary parking.

That seems slightly backwards to me. Guests already paying a premium to enjoy the hotels should not have to pay to park their car there while their head rests on a Disney resort pillow. I could see where if you were just visiting the hotel to dine or shop, and taking up parking from PAYING overnight guests, you could be charged a moderate fee.

Either way, it’s a big change. Parking at hotels has always been free and included as a perk for the Disney World resort hotels. It’s part of that “Disney difference.” How long before they start charging a fee for the Magical Express service to/from Orlando International Airport?

I am annoyed and saddened by this change. I have always been a champion for Disney World Resort Hotels. I think they’re amazing. I am not saying this fee is a deal-breaker on my recommendation of them. I am simply disheartened by this adjustment, because I predict it will not stop here.

With the coming of Star Wars: Galexy’s Edge – the new Start Wars land (as well as the many other new changes we cited in our last post) Disney World will be more in demand than ever. This is a case of simple economics: the higher demand will yield higher prices as more people are wanting to stay and experience a Disney World hotel while at Disney World.


It should also be noted that paying for parking at a hotel is not an unheard of practice. I’ve paid a premium for parking many times when staying at a Philadelphia or Wilmington hotel. It’s just not something I’ve expected from Disney World.

If you were considering a visit to Disney World, go ahead and book that trip before March 21 to avoid the parking fee.

What are your thoughts? Are you frustrated? Does this change your consideration of staying on property?

I am stepping down from my soapbox… for today.

See ya real soon!

A New Chapter


Disney World is a part of my life. It holds a lot of real estate in my core memory. As a child I was fortunate to have my family take us every couple of years. We bonded through imagination and adventure. In my college sophomore year I joined the Disney College Program for 8 months. Working at Walt Disney World I fortified friendships with people across the country and around the world. When I met Andy he knew me well enough to insist we join our hearts together in the place I love so dearly. We married at Sea Breeze Point on Disney’s Boardwalk and shared our first dance at The Living Seas.  We’ve since visited together to celebrate anniversaries and make memories as a married couple. Since our last trip in June 2015 we have been blessed to have had a little girl, who is now nearing her second birthday. (Hence my hiatus.) This June it is her turn to have her first trip, and I will have a new beginning visiting Disney World as a mommy. Navigating Magic Kingdom with her unique toddler pace and needs is uncharted territory.


We got this.

It’s an interesting time to embark on a fresh start, as Disney World itself is rapidly evolving and growing. Simultaneously we have reached a new chapter. Changes at WDW that have occurred over the last two years and that will continue well into the next  two years are almost too numerous to name.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has finally opened Pandora and the night time spectacular Rivers of Light. The construction at Disney Springs is nearing completion. It seems as though I’ve been hearing continuously about a new restaurant opening there. And with a current 56 dining options, it’s no wonder…

Who will recognize Disney’s Hollywood Studios once Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars-themed (mega)land are open? A nice pairing to the innovative, fully immersive Star Wars themed hotel that’s being cooked up. Details are being released slowly, and it promises to change your idea what a hotel experience can be. I almost forgot to mention that The Great Movie Ride has closed and will be replaced by Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

New Fantasyland wasn’t the end-line for Magic Kingdom, there’s the new Tron coaster coming next to Space Mountain, as well as a live entertainment theater coming to Main Street, U.S.A. (I’m still not sure how I feel about that one.)

Oh yeah, and of course the complete re-imagining of Future World in Epcot. Goodbye Universe of Energy, Hello Guardians of the Galaxy.  Mission Space will get an update similar to Soarin’ and there will be a space-themed restaurant. World Showcase will not be left out. France is welcoming a Ratatouille attraction and China will receive a new film.

Image result for disney concept art skyliner


What about the major reboot of Caribbean Beach that includes the Skyliner transporting guests to Epcot’s International Gateway and Hollywood Studios? The Skyliner will also be connected to Pop Century and Art of Animation. It over-shadows the Uber/Lyft style Minnie Vans that will take you anywhere on property for a flat $25 rate, if you’re not inclined to wait for the bus/boat/monorail.

Hungry? Did you know that mobile ordering is sweeping through counter service locations? Order on your phone and the food will be hot and fresh for you when you arrive at your dining location.

And the ever growing Disney Vacation Club is building a new property –  Disney Riviera Resort. This will be the 15th DVC property, and it’s said it will be connected to the aforementioned Sykliner. Outside of that not many details have been released, and I thought the concept art looked a little bland. What do you think?

Is your head spinning? Mine is. While I’m eager and excited for new experiences to pair with old favorites, it does make me apprehensive. Disney is good, but there’s a lot of quality control needing to happen. Can they support this rate of growth and maintain the Disney Difference? And the GREAT white elephant in the room: cost. Walt Disney imagined his parks to be a place available to everyone. It’s not a secret Disney World’s prices have been climbing. When does it become a place for only the exceedingly privileged? Some may argue we’re already there. Is this all change for the positive? Only time will tell. I hope I’m wowed.

In the meantime, I need to up my game and start thinking about park-friendly toddler snacks.

See ya real soon!

WTDW – Splash Mountain

Splash MountainDear friends, today I would like to tell you a about a girl, rapidly approaching 30, who loves Walt Disney World. She also simply adores Florida, with its plentiful year-round sunshine, palm trees, citrus fruits, and soft, sandy beaches that reach out to turquoise waters. Most of all, she loves Florida’s warm climate. This particular girl HATES the cold. It makes her nose run, and it traps her inside for long periods of time, interfering with her running schedule. And generally, the short freezing days that lack sunshine make her grumpy.

This particular winter is being very tough on said girl. The temperatures have been exceptionally low, with plenty of snow to go around. This morning the girl awoke to a fresh 5 inches of powder – that while beautiful, left her toes numb and mood as gray as the sky.

IMG_2739Retreating to her cozy office, the girl turned her thoughts to Disney World in an effort to cheer her winter gloom. Before long she was imagining herself strolling down Main Street, U.S.A. deciding which attraction to visit first. Determined to be in a better mood, the girl decides to take her imaginary self to Splash Mountain in Frontierland. A great choice! Before long she is singing a snippet of the ride music to herself:

“Everybody’s got a laughing place, A laughing place to go-oh-oh! Take a frown, turn it upside down, And you’ll find yours we know -oh-oh!”

DSCF0370Sage advice, no? This log-flume style attraction follows the tale of Br’er Rabbit who ventures from home and meets Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear, who have grand ideas of roasting Br’er Rabbit. With a bit of cunning, Br’er Rabbit tricks Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear into letting him loose and throwing him into the briar patch. As the story goes, Br’er Rabbit is able to maneuver through the briar patch, while the larger Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear are entangled in the painful thorns, barely escaping the briar patch’s Br’er Gator. As the ride wraps up, Br’er Rabbit is happily back at home and  it’s a “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Day.”

DSC05287The Splash Mountain storyline and music is derived from Disney’s 1946 film Song of the South, where Disney first interpreted the famous Uncle Reemus stories of Br’er Rabbit.

One of the great things about Splash Mountain is that the ride is nearly 11 minutes long. Through those 11 minutes is wonderful balance of story, scenery, music, and ride that includes 3 dips and one large 5 story drop where you appear as though you are plunging into the briar patch.DSCF0371The view from atop before you slide down into the briar patch is lovely. It’s always fun to get a bit of a high vantage point at WDW.

DSCF0363Being a log flume style attraction you may certainly get a little wet – which on many days at Magic Kingdom is a welcome thing. Riders in the front of the log are at higher risk of taking on more water than riders in the back. I have never been completely, totally soaked to a point of unpleasantness on this ride.

Riders must be 40″ tall to board, and generally I find Splash Mountain to be quite kid friendly. But as always, use your own judgement if you have a kiddo who is height/drop nervous.

TIP*  This attraction is popular and the queue can get very lengthy in the afternoon. My advice is to use a FASTPASS+ for this attraction or visit in the morning to avoid a long line. If you do find yourself in a situation where the standby entrance is lengthy and you’re out of FASTPASS+ don’t worry too much about it. The queue line is pretty well shaded and pleasantly scenic – a great way to spend time with family or friends.

Splash Mountain is the perfect spot to cool off a bit on a warm, sunny Florida day and lift your mood if you’re in the need of a pick-me-up like this girl today. But if you’re in Disney World, chances are your mood is more than fine, and you’ll simply just join in the merriment.

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Zip-A-Dee-Ay. My, oh my, what a wonderful day…

W.T.D.W. – Character Meet and Greets

DSC00269Most Disney lovers have a favorite character or two. I have favorite characters like I have favorite attractions. In other words, I have a lot of them. I’ve always loved the all of the VIP characters (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, Chip and Dale), but of those I particularly enjoy Pluto and Donald. I love Donald’s cranky nature. Then of course there’s the Toy Story gang. Who doesn’t love Buzz Lightyear? And the princesses… Seeing Cinderella in Magic Kingdom is sure to make anyone’s day. A chance happening with the Peter Pan gang? Yes, please. Alice and The Mad Hatter? The Mad Hatter’s funny accent and off-center comments always makes me laugh. What about Whinnie the Pooh and friends? Eeyore tugs at your heart while Tigger brings out the bounce in everyone.

DSC_0977Characters can be found all over Walt Disney World. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom all have multiple locations for character meet and greets. And there are parades and shows where you can catch characters in action dancing and waving to guests. Catching a character’s eye as a child, and seeing them wave to you, or blow you a kiss can mean the world.

As we’ve discussed before, everyone has different priorities when visiting the parks. I tend to be an attraction junkie. Bring on the rides! My favorite attractions take priority in my time when visiting a park and I love planning and scheming so I can get in as many as possible on a given day. Bonus points are granted if I manage to visit my favorites multiple times in a day. Other people tend to enjoy the shows and entertainment – they never miss a 3:00 parade. Yet still are the people who love to go character hopping. They begin their day with a Guidemap and Times Guide with the listing of character appearances and times and they plan out who they want to see and when they want to visit them.

DSC_0173 DSC_0161DSC_0157You are never too old or too small to make friends with a Disney Character or two. Above, my mom grins with Chip and Dale – who have always been favorites of hers. My cousin, though just a little one, is just as thrilled to meet them. He loved to rub noses with the characters he met, which you can see him doing with Chip on the left. For anyone who can’t keep Chip and Dale straight I will tell you how I remember: Dale has the red nose while Chip has the black nose – like a chocolate chip.

RichandRafiki3RichandRafikiOn our last trip to WDW my hubby and I didn’t take any time to visit with characters. We were there in August, it was hot, we were far from well rested, and waiting to see characters just didn’t seem important to us at the time. I confess now it’s something I regret not making time for on our trip. Character visits make great photo opportunities, which are wonderful for sharing with family and friends. But it’s more than that – visiting a character is an experience. Characters are just that, characters – full of fun and personality. They grant you an experience to interact with them and have a moment of charm or silliness. Most characters like to clown around with guests and you’re sure to find a smile and a great memory in taking the time to say hello to them.

In my last post we met my buddy Rich, who told us the story about dancing with Princess Tiana. Rich’s character antics also included meditating with Rafiki (above) and goofing around with Chip and Dale with his brother. Rich give Chip quite the pick up/spin around hug (below).

So my advice is to take some time to meet a character or two and create a memory.

Rich Miller ExperienceCharacter Meet and Greet Tips:

  • Consult your Guidemap and Times Guide. To make sure you don’t miss out check your guides to get the times and places you can find characters, especially if you are looking to meet someone specifically.
  • Leave enough time in your schedule. Don’t get in line to meet Mickey Mouse on Main Street U.S.A. at 11:00 AM when you have a Fastpass for Splash Mountain in Frontierland on the opposite side of the park at 11:30. Know that you may have to wait in line to visit characters, especially the popular ones such as good ol’ Mickey. Just leave enough room in your schedule to not feel rushed.
  • Have your camera and autograph book ready. Being ready for pictures and autographs will make your visit run smoother.
  • Keep and eye out.  While most of the time characters are in predesignated locations at specific times, you never know when a character will pop up. I’ve seen Goofy water-skiing outside of Magic Kingdom and Peter Pan skipping through Fantasyland. Surprises are everywhere at WDW.

W.T.D.W. – Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom

Night CarouselWhen is the last time you rode a carousel? They’re so enchanting. Full of beautifully carved horses trimmed with detail, winding around to tinkling music. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t be awed by their charm.DSC_0200

Carousel horse detailDSC_0205In the heart of New Fantasyland, directly behind Cinderella Castle,  is Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. Originally known as Cinderella’s Golden Carousel, the name changed in June of 2010 to Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. The name may be new, but this ride is anything but. Originally crafted in 1917 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Co., this carousel took residence in Detroit, Michigan until 1928 when it moved to Maplewood, New Jersey. In 1967 Disney purchased it and completely refurbished it – painting each horse by hand. In true Disney fashion, no attention to detail was spared. There are 90 unique horses and one chariot, all trimmed in gold, banners, and flowers. Only one has a gold bow tied on the tail, which some say belongs to Cinderella. Of the 90 horses, 72 are still from the original carousel.

Prince Charming Regal Carousel brings the Cinderella story to life as it turns, with 18 ornate hand-painted vignettes. During the day, bright and vibrant colors give the ride life, but at night, 2,300 lights give the carousel a glimmering magic. The music is a medley of beloved organ tunes that give mix of fun and nostalgia as the horses spin, bringing a cool breeze to your face (and I suspect a smile to your heart).

DSC_0222DSC_0220Prince Charming Regal Carousel is a no-brainer for kids. Young ones love the entire experience, and if they are like me as a child (OK… and probably still as an adult), take special care to select just the right horse. As an adult I will often overlook this experience, making more room in my schedule for more dare-devilish attractions. But I think that is silly of me, and next trip I will be sure to fit in a turn around on the carousel with my prince charming. After all, I love going to WDW so I can let go and be a kid again. I do think that I’ll take a nighttime spin though. How can you resist the lights?



Hello October!


Vinlymation on the windowsill.

Vinlymation on the windowsill.

Hello October! How did you sneak in here? I swear I had my eyes wide open, but I blinked, and now I find September gone again and October 3 days old. I also discovered it’s been almost two weeks since I blogged!

**Radio Silence…….**

Sorry about that. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, my hubby and I just bought our first house! Exciting as it is, it has taken over my life. Built circa 1900, as you can imagine, the house needs a fair amount of TLC. We moved in and things were everywhere. It’s been driving me nuts. Cluttered space, cluttered mind – if you ask me. AND to top it off, getting our internet provider to provide us with internet seemed almost as difficult as a summit of Mt. Everest. But all is well now. Our stuff is out of storage, the internet is working, and I have painted and mostly set up my new studio/office space. Enjoy pictures to your left.

I am particularly enjoying having access to my Disney Parks coffee mugs again. Hubby and I are both coffee people. We love it. We grind our beans at home every morning and brew plenty for us both. I love to sip while I blog. I really think coffee is half the reason I choose to blog first thing in the morning. We bought this set of mugs on our honeymoon. There is a blue mug featuring Mickey, the green with Minnie, a yellow mug with Donald, and a brown mug with Goofy. I choose a different mug each morning depending on which character my mood most resembles. I chose Minnie this morning because I was feeling perky and ready to get some work done. As a side note, I love these new mugs I have seen on the Disney Store website. They have finally made a VIP character set to include Pluto!! Want them.

Anyway, the combination of my brief hiatus with my new space has really left me itching to blog. Fortunately, October is a very busy month at Walt Disney World with plenty to talk about. The first big happening is Epcot’s kick off of the 18th annual Food and Wine Festival. Secondly, Magic Kingdom is decked for Halloween and Mickey’s Not So Scarey Halloween Party is in full swing. Each of these amazing events will have its own post over the next week – so stay tuned!

M.M. – Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar

DSC05026Pictured above my friends, is pure happiness. A perch in the shade with my favorite ice cream treat in the ENTIRE WORLD: Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar. Welcome back to MUNCHY MONDAY, the tastiest day of the week.

Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar:


Perfection. A frozen serving of silky, creamy vanilla ice cream covered with a thick, rich chocolate shell in the shape of the iconic Mickey ears.

IMG_0644Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar is a whole-lotta-name. My family and I usually just call it a Premium Bar, and I’ll treat you all like one of the gang and refer to it as such here. Sold exclusively by Disney, we can thank Nestle for bringing this delight to us. The bar comes packaged in a red, blue, and white wrapper featuring a smiling Mickey face. (You can see the wrapper stuck under my cup in the picture above.) Now-a-days you can find a Premium Bar just about anywhere on Walt Disney World property. They’re available at all theme parks, as well as Downtown Disney, from an ice cream cart. You won’t have to trek far in any park to find one of these carts set up with a big, blue umbrella and a sign displaying what goodies it offers. You may also be able to find a Premium Bar in the food court of your WDW Resort Hotel. Just ask a cast member if your hotel serves them up.

IMG_0645 Now that you know where to find them, let’s talk strategy. Everyone has a different approach to how they eat a Premium Bar. Hubby, as seen to the left, digs right in, biting off an ear. He prefers to enjoy the chocolate & vanilla flavors together in bites. I’m not really a bite-my-ice cream kinda gal. I like to savor the ice cream slowly as it melts. So I very carefully eat the chocolate shell first and then eat the vanilla ice cream layer by softly melting layer. You can see below, how I’ve already got the side of the chocolate coating off, exposing the vanilla ice cream. My strategy also makes the Premium Bar last longer. Win.

DSC05027Like Pineapple Dole Whip, I shamelessly eat more than one of these during a WDW trip. I simply love them. They’re the ideal treat – sweet, cool, and refreshing. Incidentally, I’ve discovered that despite of the countless hours I’ve spent at Walt Disney World and the many, many times I’ve enjoyed this treat, I have very few pictures of it. I will say that this reason is probably two pronged. Firstly, it’s so tasty you want to eat it immediately, and photographing it doesn’t really come into consideration. Secondly, we usually visit WDW in the summer. And it’s HOT. There is little-to-no time for snapping pictures before you start to have a melting mess on your hands. But the melting mess, especially when you’re a kid, is part of the fun.


W. T. D. W. – It’s A Small World at Magic Kingdom

This week, WHAT TO DO WEDNESDAY is going to one of the Magic Kingdom’s original, classic attractions: It’s a Small World.

Happiest Cruise that Ever SailedThis popular attraction and its accompanying tune are no strangers to most people. However, you may not know the original attraction dates back to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The first version was created by Walt Disney as a kinetic sculpture installment for the UNICEF pavilion of the World’s Fair. An interesting aside, this was also when Disney piloted The Carousel of Progress and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, now known as The Hall of Presidents.

The original installment at the World’s Fair had no trouble gaining regard, leading to Disneyland’s full ride version which opened in 1966. When the Magic Kingdom opened at Walt Disney World in 1971, It’s a Small World found a second home in Fantasyland.

Small WorldAs you enter the queue for the attraction, there is a glittering white scene featuring a large clock tower. The smiling face of the clock sways back and forth. Every fifteen minutes, the clock tower jumps to life and opens up, revealing the time. Not everyone knows this, and I confess that it was years before I saw it for myself. It’s fun to watch while you’re in the queue.

DSC01701DSCF1602For those who aren’t familiar with it, here’s the rundown of the ride: At the end of the queue you board a boat and set sail at a very leisurely pace. The boat makes its way through one large, colorful room at a time. Audio-animatronic dolls of children dance, twirl, skate, and play instruments. They are elaborately garbed in costumes representing various nations of the world. The sets are vibrant and alive with movement. The music makes stylistic changes to showcase the culture on display as the boat progresses and the lyrics are sung in different languages. In the last segment of the ride, all nations are presented together decked out in a monochromatic color palette. Lastly, as your boat heads to offload, you see “goodbye” written in a variety of languages.

Small World HulaDSC00972 DSC00978I love this attraction. My husband doesn’t feel similarly, and I know others who feel as he does. But no offense to them – I just don’t think they get it. This ride is absolutely gorgeous and ornately detailed. The scenery and costumes are elaborate and rich, with bright color everywhere. Everything is in motion, turning and twisting and I find that so visually pleasing. I’m sure part of my love for this attraction comes from my feminine admiration of the dolls. When I was a little girl I used to play a game with myself pretending I could select one doll to take home. I would search for the perfect doll all through the ride, and day dream about the choice throughout the day. But I was never quite able to make a decision from among my favorites, and still can not. I know for my husband, it’s the music that gets on his nerves. The repetition drives him bonkers. I enjoy it. I think it’s charming and joyful, so the repetition doesn’t bother me.

A great perk of this attraction is that even on crowded days the wait time usually isn’t too long. The line always looks worse than it is because of how the queue zig-zags, but it usually moves steadily.

All in all, It’s a Small World is always a must see for me, frequently more than once. (Though my husband vows he’ll no longer go on it. Guess I’ll be a single rider, or looking for a new ride partner!) It’s a classic attraction with an always pertinent message. Kids love it – and so do adults who know how to have fun.

Thanks for checking in. See you next week!