Disney World, located in the heart of Central Florida, is an extremely popular tourist destination for people of all ages. There are several activities, theme parks and attractions to see when you visit Disney World. For many people, the main draw of Disney World is the four theme parks. These parks are, perhaps, the focal points of the entire Disney World resort complex. With four unique theme parks to occupy your time, you can easily spend a relaxing and exciting vacation at Disney World.
The first Disney World theme park is the Magic Kingdom. This theme park is very similar to the Disneyland resort, but with a few key differences. The Magic Kingdom is significantly larger than the Disneyland resort. While you may see some similarities between the two as far as the style and the theme go, the Disney World version of this park does cover more acreage.
One of the first things you see when you enter the Magic Kingdom is Cinderella's Castle. This castle is a recreated version of the popular Disney princess's castle. While there isn't a ride or attraction inside the castle, there is an excellent restaurant, a souvenir shop and a guest suite. The restaurant, Cinderella's Royal Table, features a medieval themed dining hall where all the favorite Disney princesses roam around. This character meal is an excellent opportunity to grab a picture or an autograph from your favorite Disney princess. If you want to dine at Cinderella's Royal Table, you should definitely make a priority seating as far in advance as possible. By doing this, you can insure you have a table at one of the most popular restaurants in all of Disney World. If you want to wait until you arrive to try to get a table, you probably will not have much luck as this restaurant is almost always packed. The gift store, located in the heart of the castle, features Disney Princess themed merchandise as well as unique Walt Disney souvenirs. This is a fun store that has some of the more hard to find Disney World souvenirs and should be a stop for any Disney shopper. The newest addition to Cinderella's Castle is a luxurious guest suite located at the top of the castle. This suite is often given away to lucky visitors who win random contests and drawings. As of now, you cannot purchase a stay in the Cinderella Castle suite.
There are many rides and attractions at the Magic Kingdom. If you want to get a feel for the classic Disney rides, you can check out Space Mountain, Dumbo, the Jungle Cruise, the Pirates of the Caribbean or It's a Small World. These rides have both been at the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland for many years. The Magic Kingdom has incorporated some newer rides and attractions as well. There is a new Winnie the Pooh ride in Fantasyland that draws a crowd each and every day. You can also shoot lasers with Buzz Lightyear at Tomorrowland. The Magic Kingdom is always reinventing itself while still remaining a classic theme park at the same time.
One of the classic activities to do at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World is the parade. The parade at this theme park is known for its music and characters. Usually, the Cast Members in charge of the parade will pick one special family to be the head of the parade. It depends on the theme of the parade as to what this family ends up doing. It is always a fun and unique experience, however that not many people have the opportunity to do. Sometimes, high school bands will also perform in the parades or at other locations around the Magic Kingdom. You can wait for the parade anywhere around Main Street. If you just want to see one of the high school bands perform, they usually perform at the back of Tomorrowland.
The fireworks display that closes the day in the park is shown right over Cinderella's Castle. The fireworks display over the Disney World castle is probably one of the most iconic images of the Disney company. Oftentimes, there will be live actors representing characters like Tinkerbell to round out the effect. You can see the fireworks anywhere around the castle. If you want to get the full effect, however, it is best to stand on Main Street and face the castle. This way, if there are any live actors, you will be able to see their role in the performance. If you spend a day at the Magic Kingdom, the closing fireworks show is a wonderful way to end your day.
The next theme park people associate with Disney World is Epcot. Epcot is a very unusual park in that it does not focus so much on fantasy as it does technology and education. For those that don't want to go to an educational theme park, Epcot may surprise you. The park is divided up into two sections. The first half of the theme park is dedicated to the new and developing technology that is in the world today. You can experiment with the hands-on displays of the two Innoventions pavilions. At Innoventions you can ride a Segway, play state-of-the-art video games, or send your friends and family at home video emails. There are always new and exciting things to do and see at Innoventions. If you would rather ride some rides, Epcot has several for you to choose from. You can experience the ups and downs of vehicle testers at Test Track. This ride takes you through several of the vehicular tests that newly developed cars go through. This ride culminates in a speed test where you speed around the outskirts of the entire attraction. Test Track is one of the most popular rides at Epcot so the lines can be long. The attraction is well worth the wait, however.
There are several simulator rides you can experience as well. The two newest simulator rides at Epcot in Disney World are Mission Space and Soarin' Over California. On Mission Space, you and the people sitting on either side of you will pilot a simulator from Earth to Mars. This is a different kind of ride as it is actually a centrifuge that spins to create the feeling of G-forces and the weightlessness. This can be a fun ride as long as you don't mind the effect of the G-forces on your body. People can often find this unpleasant, so Disney has offered a version that does not put the G-forces on you. You can also ride Soarin' Over California. This is the newest and, by far, the most popular simulator ride in Epcot. This attraction takes you up in the air over the various landscapes of California. While you are taking in the scenery, several different scents and effects are pumped into the room to give you the feeling that you are actually flying over the state. Because of the very large screen that the movie is played on, you can really lose yourself in the imagery and scenery. It can truly feel like you are soaring over California even though you are at Disney World in Florida.
If you journey to the back half of Epcot, you will see the World Showcase. This part of Epcot, while totally and completely different from the technological side, is extremely popular with guests. The World Showcase is a large circle of pavilions around a man-made lagoon. Different countries operate these pavilions. You can go to Mexico, Germany, the UK, Norway, Italy, America, France, Morocco and many more countries as you walk around the lagoon. Each country's pavilion will have at least one kind of restaurant where you can sample that nation's cultural food. This is a fun way to get a taste of different kinds of food that you might not be able to find in your hometown. The pavilion will also have some kind of cultural representation so you can learn about that country. For example, China and France both have short and fun videos where you can see the country and learn a little bit about its background. Other pavilions, like Mexico and Norway have boat rides that you can take through their countries. These attractions are fun and exciting ways to learn a little bit more about the country you are briefly visiting here at the World Showcase at Disney World. Each pavilion will also have a variety of shops where you can not only get more Disney souvenirs, but also souvenirs directly from that country. You can get French wine, Norwegian sweaters, Kimonos, and beer steins. There are tons of stores located all throughout the World Showcase.
At the close of each night at Epcot, Illuminations is presented over the World Showcase lagoon. This fireworks show features lasers, water and fireworks to make a stunning display. Even the various countries are incorporated into the show as they light up at various parts in the display. This is a highly popular show at Disney World and many people see it again and again.
The fun and excitement of Disney World does not stop with these two theme parks, however. Disney's MGM Studios is a fun way to see the glamour of Hollywood without leaving Central Florida. When you first walk onto the MGM property, you are visually transported back to the golden days of Hollywood. The main street is designed to resemble Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s. While you walk down the street, you may see street performers. These performers will regularly put on shows here on the main street of MGM. These performers are also representing this same time period so you really get a feel for the old Hollywood glamour. The Hollywood imagery is continued throughout the front part of the park. One ride that really carries out this imagery is the Tower of Terror. This ride is set in an abandoned and neglected hotel from the 1920s and 1930s. As you explore the hotel, you learn the back-story of what happened to a couple unlucky guests who got trapped inside the hotel. The ride culminates in a startling drop from the top of the hotel, all the way to the bottom.
As you journey more throughout the park, you will get to see the variety of things that MGM has to offer. There are two excellent stunt shows located at MGM. The first show you will encounter as you walk through the park is the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. This show features live stunt men and women recreating the stunts you see in the Indiana Jones movies. The show is very interactive with the audience as several audience members get to be an active part in the show. You can see stunts like the giant boulder rolling over Indiana Jones and the famous fight scene where Indy tries to shoot his enemy only to find that the gun doesn't work. There are several explosions and pyrotechnics in this show as well. The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular allows visitors to get a glimpse into how professional stunt work is performed. The other main stunt show at Disney's MGM Studios at Disney World is a vehicular stunt show. As you walk toward the back of the park, chances are you will be able to hear the motors of these cars roaring in the background. This is a fun show for fans of action films. The cars perform a complicated series of stunts that demonstrate to the audience how vehicular action sequences are filmed for the movies. You see the different types of vehicles available for filming as well as how movies can customize the cars to fit their need. Ultimately, you will get a general feel how the action sequence gets transferred from real life to the screen. This is an exciting live show that is very popular with guests at Disney World.
MGM has one of the most popular fireworks displays at Disney World. Fantasmic is a highly unusual show as well, because it is shown in a seated area. Because the seats are limited, you often have to get to the show very early to insure you can view it. There are generally two showings of Fantasmic each night. This show features both live characters and fireworks to create a truly unique display.
The final and newest park at Disney World is the Animal Kingdom. This theme park is a highly unusual one as it features a variety of attractions and shows you will not find in other parks. The first thing you notice when entering the Animal Kingdom is the large Tree of Life. This is not an actual, live tree but, rather, large sculpture featuring the carvings of over a thousand different animals. Inside the Tree of Life is a 3D movie presentation called A Bug's Life. This 3D movie caters to all the senses as you see the insects from the movie present a show for you. There are other shows at the Animal Kingdom. These shows include the Circle of Life, Flights of Wonder, Finding Nemo and more. Each of these shows features a variety of excellent crew and cast members who strive to give a wonderful show each time they perform. In the case of Flight of Wonder, the cast is made up of birds and other animals. These animals interact with the audience while displaying their natural beauty. Shows like Flights of Wonder are excellent ways to not only learn about new kinds of animals, but also see them up close.
If you enjoy looking at animals, the Animal Kingdom at Disney World has several things for you to do. When you first walk through the front of the park, you actually pass through a small series of walkways that house several species of birds and animals. At the rear of the park, you can walk through much more elaborate nature paths. There are two nature paths for you to choose from. Each path is heavily themed to represent the landscape and countries these animals are natively found in. You can see gorillas, tigers, bats and many more animals on these nature trails. There is even a bird conservatory where you can borrow a bird guide and try to identify all the different kinds of species that are in enclosed within the aviary. If you would rather not walk, there is a ride called Kilimanjaro Safari. This ride is, perhaps, the focal point of the entire park. Visitors can take a safari through recreated African lands. Disney World has tried very hard to create the environment these animals call home. From the shrubs and grasses to the kinds of dirt and landscaping you would find, the atmosphere is definitely reminiscent of Africa. While driving through this land, you will see several species of animals roaming around. Giraffes, zebras, rhinos, antelope, cheetahs, lions, elephants and many other kinds of animals populate this safari attraction. Many of the animals come very close to the safari vehicle as well. This is a wonderful way to get an up close view of these animals and take a safari while still staying on Disney World property.
There are other things to do at the Animal Kingdom. The newest thrill ride, Expedition Everest, is located at the Animal Kingdom. This attraction is an exciting ride up and down Mt. Everest as you search for the elusive yeti. You can also take a white water rafting ride at Kali River Rapids. Be prepared to get wet on this attraction, however. Not only does the ride itself have various waterfalls, fountains and splashes, but visitors standing on the observation bridge can squirt you with water as well. If you don't mind a little bit of water, however, the Kali River Rapids can be a fun and exciting ride. There are many other rides and attractions at the Animal Kingdom including a carnival park complex, a dinosaur ride and many more. At the Animal Kingdom in Disney World, you will not run out of activities to do.
One interesting thing that the Animal Kingdom offers is a conservation station. Here, you can learn various conservation methods and techniques that are being offered to save and preserve the animal populations of the world. You can take a short, themed train ride from the main part of the Animal Kingdom to the conservation station. If you are interested in conservation methods, you might want to check out this unique part of Disney World.
The Animal Kingdom is the only theme park out of the four that does not have a fireworks display at the close of the park. The fireworks would upset and disturb the animals, so Disney World has decided not to have fireworks at this park. The Animal Kingdom also closes the earliest out of all the theme parks. This is to allow the animal handlers to get the animals in the safari ride and elsewhere back to their shelter for the night. Disney World does not leave them alone in the park all night but, rather, created a covered shelter for them to go to at night. This protects them from the occasional severe weather Disney World gets at certain times of the year as well.
Disney World is home to four amazing theme parks. Each of these parks is uniquely different. One of the good things about the Disney World theme parks is that you won't get the feeling you are seeing the same kinds of things over and over. You have several options when it comes to the theme parks. You can visit the Magic Kingdom to get a taste of Disney World's classic magic. Epcot, on the other hand, offers a glimpse into the technological future as well as a glimpse into other countries. Disney's MGM Studios lets you step back in time to old Hollywood as you learn about movie making tricks. The Animal Kingdom helps you learn about different kinds of animals and how to save them while still being able to ride the thrill rides and see the live shows that Disney World is famous for. The theme parks at Disney World are a fun way to spend your vacation.
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