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Discover Tassie: Five Day Tasmania Itinerary

Five Day Tasmania Itinerary

Five Day Tasmania Itinerary

Tasmania is an island state of Australia, located approximately 240 km off the coast of the mainland. Home to an abundance of unique wildlife, spectacular scenery and incredible locally-made produce, Tasmania is a tiny island that packs a lot in.

While we recommend spending at least a week or two driving around the island, if you’re short on time and want to see a few highlights, here is the perfect five day Tasmania itinerary for you.

Day 1 – Launceston

Bridestowe Lavender Farm

Start your morning with a drive to Bridestowe Lavender Estate. The fields of lavender run over 260 acres and is the world’s largest privately-owned lavender farm. With an estimated 650,000 plants, the lavender rows stretch for about 200 kilometres in total. The lavender is in peak bloom December to January so plan your visit accordingly if you want to capture photos with endless fields of purple.

Bridestowe Lavender Farm Tasmania

Try lavender scones, tea or ice cream in the cafe and browse the gift shop for lavender products made from harvested farm lavender before you leave.

Bridestowe Lavender Farm Tasmania

bridestowelavender.com.au

Platypus House – Monotreme Magic

Take the 45 minute tour at Platypus House to see live Tasmanian Platypuses and Echidnas up close. The monotremes are rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild where possible at this unique educational facility in the Tamar Valley.

Platypus House Tasmania

The educational tour is suitable for all ages. Guests can watch the platypus and echidna actively feeding and playing. Book your tour well in advance especially in peak seasons.

Platypus House Tasmania

platypushouse.com.au

Seahorse World

Seahorse World is located on the same pier as the Platypus House, and it’s easy to book tours at both attractions back-to-back. Seahorse World is a working seahorse farm that breeds these unique marine animals and ships them to aquariums around the world.

Seahorse World Tasmania

A 30 minute educational tour of the farm takes guests on a journey of seahorse life from the very beginning, with baby seahorses only a few hours old, through their first few months of life until they are sent to their new homes.

Seahorse World Tasmania

The tour ends with the opportunity to hold a seahorse in your hand.

seahorseworld.com.au

Lowe Head Penguin Tour

Self drive or book a tour that includes transfer to Lowe Head, approximately 50 minutes drive from Launceston, to see the world’s smallest penguins, the Fairy or Little Penguins, return after sunset to their burrows within the Low Head Coastal Reserve.

Low Head Penguin Tour Launceston Tasmania

This reserve has the largest penguin rookery in Tasmania, with penguins returning every night throughout the year. The fully guided tour takes guests down to the beach to watch the penguins swim ashore and preen themselves, before waddling up the beach.

Low Head Penguin Tour Launceston Tasmania

The penguin viewing is fully guided and takes approximately 1 hour. Including transfers to/from Launceston, allow around 3.5 hours. Cameras are welcome (turn flashes off). It gets old at night even in summer, so wear warm clothes.

Low Head Penguin Tour Launceston Tasmania

penguintourstasmania.com.au

Stay: Change Hotel

We stayed at the Change Hotel in Launceston, which was centrally located and had a fantastic two bedroom, two bathroom unit with a full kitchen and dining area. Perfect for a family.

Change Hotel Launceston Tasmania Change Hotel Launceston Tasmania

changeovernight.co

Day 2 – Launceston to Cradle Mountain

Stroll Launceston

Wake up earl and take a stroll around Launceston, It’s a beautiful, walkable city on the mouth of the Tamar river, and has beautiful historic buildings and gardens to wander through.

Launceston Tasmania

Queen Victoria Museum

The Queen Victorias Museum (QVMAG) includes two sites in Launceston: the Museum at Inveresk and Art Gallery at Royal Park.

Launceston Tasmania

The Museum at Inveresk contains a great (albeit somewhat depressing) section on the extinct Thylacine (Tasmania Tiger) and a planetarium.

Launceston Tasmania

qvmag.tas.gov.au

Drive to Cradle Mountain

The drive to Cradle Mountain takes about 2 hours.

Cradle Cradle Mountain Tasmania

Devils @ Cradle

Devils @ Cradle is a wildlife conservation facility only a hundred metres or so from the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, right in the heart of Cradle Mountain.

Devils @ Cradle Cradle Mountain Tasmania

Whilst Devils @ Cradle concentrates primarily on the Tasmanian devil, the sanctuary is also home to the closely related Spotted-tail and Eastern quolls – Tasmania’s three largest carnivorous marsupials, which are all now threatened in the wild.

Devils @ Cradle Cradle Mountain Tasmania

Visitors can wander through the sanctuary at leisure, or join a personalised guided tour which ensures a close up encounter with the animals.

devilsatcradle.com

Cradle Mountain National Park

​​Cradle Mountain, in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, is a spectacular place to visit in any season. There is abundant wildlife to spot, including Tasmanian devils, quolls, platypus, echidna, wombats and black currawongs.

Cradle Cradle Mountain Tasmania

Cradle Mountain offers walking tracks to suit all visitors, from the non-hikers to the serious walkers. There are a wide variety of walks on offer, from easy boardwalk strolls to the legendary Overland Track.

Cradle Cradle Mountain Tasmania

Start your journey at the Visitors Centre for information and a shuttle bus ticket (no cars allowed in the park during shuttle bus hours). Take the shuttle bus loop from the Visitors Centre to each of the drop off points to discover the various sites inside the park and set off on the designated walks.

parks.tas.gov.au/explore-our-parks/cradle-mountain

Stay: Cradle Mountain Lodge

We stayed at Cradle Mountain Lodge, the closest hotel to the Cradle Mountain National Park. Accommodation at Cradle Mountain Lodge consists of cosy cabins spread out around the central hotel building, which has cosy living room and dining areas, perfect for relaxing after a hike in the park.

Cradle Cradle Mountain Lodge Tasmania

Cradle Cradle Mountain Lodge Tasmania

cradlemountainlodge.com.au

Day 3 – Launceston to Hobart

Drive to Hobart

After a morning walk around Cradle Mountain, drive on to Hobart, which will take approximately 4.5 hours.

Hobart Waterfront & Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery

After arriving in Hobart, take a walk along the historic waterfront and step inside the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery (TMAG), which is open daily 10am-4pm and has free entry.

Tasmanian Museum Hobart Tasmania

The TMAG is the second oldest museum in Australia and has its origins in the collections of the country’s oldest scientific society, the Royal Society of Tasmania, which was established in 1843.

Hobart Tasmania

tmag.tas.gov.au

Stay: Movenpick Hotel

We stayed at the Movenpick Hotel, which is extremely centrally located and has large, comfortable, modern rooms.

Movenpick Hotel Hobart Tasmania

The hotel also features daily “chocolate hour” with free chocolate pastries available in the lobby for guests to enjoy.

Movenpick Hotel Hobart Tasmania

Movenpick Hotel Hobart

Day 4 – Hobart

Bruny Island

The perfect day trip from Hobart, Bruny Island is a 30 min drive (33km) to the ferry terminal in Kettering. followed by a 20 min ride on the car ferry. You will need your own car to drive around Bruny Island. If you do not have a car, you can take join a tour group departing Hobart.

Bruny Island Tasmania

Bruny Island is known for its natural produce, with local businesses specialising in oysters, cheese, honey, whisky and chocolate.

Bruny Island Tasmania

The businesses are well marked on the map, and we recommend driving to the southernmost point and working your way back and stopping off at each to sample the produce.

Bruny Island Tasmania

We tried and loved Bruny Island Raspberry Farm, Bruny Island Honey, Bruny Island Cheese Co. and Bruny Island Chocolate.

Bruny Island also has spectacular landscapes (take the short but steep walk up The Neck for the most famous view) and wildlife such as the white wallaby.

brunyisland.org.au

Day 5 – Hobart

MONA

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is a remarkable art museum carved into a headland at Berriedale, 13km north of Hobart’s CBD. MONA opened in 2011 and has divided critics with its fresh, whimsical and at times confronting approach to art.

MONA Tasmania

The MONA is, at heart, a place to immerse yourself in ideas and challenge your notion of what art can and should be. IMONA is fun, shocking, silly, irreverent and a truly great day out for the whole family.

MONA Tasmania

Bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful view from the grassed rooftop.

MONA Tasmania

The best way to visit MONA is by ferry. Catch the MONA Roma ferry from Brooke Street Pier.

mona.net.au

Salamanca Place

Salamanca Place is the historic docks area of Hobart, lined with a long row of 1830s Georgian sandstone warehouses.

Hobart Tasmania
Salamanca is also home to a majority of the best restaurants, bars and nightclubs in Tasmania, and Salamanca’s Weekly Market (Saturdays).

Hobart Tasmania

salamanca.com.au

Battery Point

From Salamanca Place, climb the colonial era Kelly’s steps and wander up up through the quaint streets of historic Battery Point

Hobart Tasmania

Stroll down Hampden Road, the main strip of Battery Point, which houses cafes, art and gift shops and an artisan bakery.

Additional Hobart Ideas

Maria Island

It’s a bit of a hike to get there, with a 1.5 hour drive from Hobart plus ferry, however Maria Island is home to some of the most visible and plentiful wildlife in Australia. Wombats, Forester kangaroos, Cape Barren geese and one of the healthiest populations of Tasmanian devils all call Maria Island home.

Walking and cycling are the only ways to get about on car-free Maria Island.

discovertasmania.com.au/regions/east-coast/maria-island-national-park/

Cascades Female Factory

The World Heritage-listed Cascades Female Factory Historic Site is the most significant site associated with female convicts in Australia.  The Factory tells the story of the displacement, mistreatment and forced migration of convict women and girls, and their contribution to colonisation throughout the history of colonial Australia to the present day.

femalefactory.org.au

Cascades Brewery

home to the oldest operating brewery in Australia, Cascade Brewing Co. Book a table at the  bar or a tour and tasting at the Mill.

cascadebrewerybar.com.au

Find more things to add to a five day Tasmania itinerary here. discovertasmania.com.au

Five Day Tasmania Itinerary

Visiting the Wildlife Learning Center in Los Angeles, California

Visiting the Wildlife Learning Center in Los Angeles, California

Wildlife Learning and Conservation Center (WLCC) is located in Sylmar, California and is home to over 100 displaced, rescued, and zoo-born wild animals.

Wildlife Learning Center California

WLCC was founded in 2007 to give a home and care to animals in need and to provide public education in the life sciences, conservation, and the environment.

Wildlife Learning Center California

The animals who call WLCC their home are either rescues or part of the SSP breeding program mentioned below. You can read the stories of the animals as you walk around the center on a self-guided tour, or hear about them from their keepers on a guided tour. You can read a bit about their stories here, as well. There are some extremely sad stories from some of the animals regarding their previous lives. They are certainly leading a much happier, enriching life at the WLCC.

Wildlife Learning Center California Wildlife Learning Center California

WLCC participates in species conservation efforts called Species Survival Plans (SSP), which are managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSP programs cooperatively manage threatened and endangered species within AZA-accredited Zoos and Aquariums, Certified Related Facilities, and Sustainability Partners.

SSP’s preserve species from extinction by maintaining sustainable and genetically diverse populations of species. As part of their conservation mission, Wildlife Learning Center is an active participant in the SSP programs for the two-toed sloth (Cholopous didactylus), 3-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes matacus), and North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum).

Wildlife Learning Center California Wildlife Learning Center California Wildlife Learning Center California

WLCC is open to the public for general admission, private tours, and special events. WLCC offers life science outreach programs to schools, libraries, scout groups, and private events.

Wildlife Learning Center California

Wildlife Learning Center California Wildlife Learning Center California Wildlife Learning Center California Wildlife Learning Center California Wildlife Learning Center California

Wildlife Learning Center
16027 Yarnell St, Sylmar, CA 91342, United States
wildlifelearningcenter.org

Find more things to do in Los Angeles with kids here.

Met Art World – Metal Art Gallery In Melbourne Australia

Met Art World – Metal Art Gallery In Melbourne Australia

Met Art World is the biggest metal art gallery in Australia showcasing unique artworks, interactive installations and creative workshops for all ages.

Met Art World Melbourne

Met Art World, located in Port Melbourne, Victoria, is a unique art gallery with stunning metal art statues handmade from scrap metal and recycled materials. The statues are interactive (feel free to touch, hold, sit, drive them and take pictures!) and represent many favourite characters from themes including anime, movies, animals, the military, cars, motorcycles, and princesses.

Met Art World Melbourne Met Art World Melbourne Met Art World Melbourne Met Art World Melbourne

The second floor is home to an incredible starry night exhibition that uses advanced technology throughout the 12 exhibitions which include a 360° immersive experience tunnel, and a bright 5D starry sky.

Met Art World Melbourne Met Art World Melbourne Met Art World Melbourne Met Art World Melbourne

Met Art World also hosts over 30 artmaking courses including various handicrafts from button painting to paper 3D puzzles, plus drawing, painting, installation, collage, and sewing, all included with the price of entry

Met Art World Melbourne

There are also over 60 DIY workshops for all ages for an additional fee including the Turkish mosaic series, whipped cream decoration series, plaster doll painting series, sculpture painting collection, fluid bear pouring DIY, miniature box theatre, jewellery beading, shell painting, embroidery, and etc.

Met Art World – Metal Art Gallery
155 Boundary St,
Port Melbourne VIC 3207
metartworld.com.au

Find more things to do in Melbourne with and without kids here.

What to Expect On A Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

What to Expect On A Disney Wonder Cruise Review

The Disney Wonder is part of the iconic Disney Cruise Line fleet that sail all over the world – including Australia and New Zealand! Signature Disney Cruise Line offerings include rotational dining, Broadway-style shows, themed dining, character encounters and fireworks at sea.

Each of the Disney Cruise Line ships have been designed with spaces catering to families, kids and adults, so guests will feel the wonder of a child (and magic of Disney!), no matter their age.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Disney Wonder Stats

The Disney Wonder is the smallest of the Disney Cruise Line Fleet. It is still jam-packed with incredible features, but is a smaller ship rather than the behemoth cities-on-sea that are currently launching on the cruise market.

Crew                           950
Passenger Decks      11
Capacity                     2,713 passengers
Staterooms                875

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Family Areas
D Lounge – Deck 4
Wide World of Sports deck – Deck 10
Twist ‘n’ Spout water slide – Deck 9
AquaLab interactive play area – Deck 9
Goofy’s Pool family pool – Deck 9
Mickey’s Pool children’s pool – Deck 9
Dory’s Reef splash zone– Deck 9
Edge – Deck 9
Sea Treasures retail shop – Deck 3
White Caps, Mickey’s Mainsail retail shops – Deck 4

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Youth Areas
It’s a Small World Nursery– Deck 5
Disney’s Oceaneer Club – Deck 5
Disney’s Oceaneer Lab – Deck 5
Vibe teen club – Deck 11
Edge tween club – Deck 2
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – Deck 10

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Adult Areas
After Hours – Deck 3
Crown & Fin Pub
Azure
Cadillac Lounge
Senses Spa & Salon – Deck 9
Quiet Cove Pool – Deck 9
Cove Café – Deck 9
Signals – Deck 9
Promenade Lounge – Deck 3

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Dining
Tiana’s Place main dining – Deck 3
Animator’s Palate main dining – Deck 4
Triton’s main dining – Deck 3
Palo adult-exclusive – Deck 10
Cabanas casual dining – Deck 9
Pete’s Boiler Bites, Pinocchio’s Pizzeria, Daisy De-Lites quick service – Deck 9

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Plenty of Family Entertainment

Does anyone do family entertainment better than Disney?

Guests aboard the Disney Wonder can enjoy three Broadway-style stage shows in the Walt Disney Theatre.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” follows the captivating adventure of royal sisters Anna and Elsa as they embark on a journey to discover the meaning of sisterhood, inner strength and true love.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

“The Golden Mickeys” celebrates the musical heritage of Disney animated films, immersing guests in all the glamour and excitement of a Hollywood awards gala.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review
©Disney

“Disney Dreams…  An Enchanted Classic” is a signature Disney Cruise Line show that tells a bedtime story featuring popular Disney characters who together teach a young girl the power of her dreams.

There are also movies shown in the Walt Disney Theatre, as well as up on deck by the family pool and in the Buena Vista Theatre, a cinema that screens first-run movies and digital 3-D films.

On select itineraries, the “Pirates IN the Caribbean” celebration to enjoy, which includes an interactive show featuring Jack Sparrow and culminates in a fireworks spectacular choreographed to the dramatic musical score from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.

Fun in the Sun on the Upper Decks

The Disney Wonder features separate outdoor spaces for children, families and adults.

AquaLab, an interactive water playground open to kids age 3 and older.
Dory’s Reef, a special splash-and-play area for little ones up to age 3.
Goofy’s Pool, a pool for families of all ages to enjoy including two whirlpool spas.
Twist ‘n’ Spout, a double-looping waterslide. You’ve got to be 38 inches or taller to ride.
Quite Cove Pool for adults only.
Wide World of Sports Deck, the perfect place for a pick-up game or ping-pong match.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Uniquely-Themed Rotational Dining

Guests aboard the Disney Wonder “rotate” through three family restaurants, accompanied each night by the same serving team.

Tiana’s Place, is a celebration of New Orleans-inspired dining and entertainment. The whole evening is just a fun party with a southern-style menu inspired by the flavors and ingredients of Louisiana. Expect live music, dancing, characters and beignets!

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Tritons, named after the Little Mermaid’s father, is an upscale restaurant offering sophisticated family dining “under the sea”. Take in the small details in this stunning restaurant: chandeliers, stained glass, sea-inspired architectural flourishes and a sweeping mural of Ariel and her father. This regal restaurant also serves breakfast and lunch.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review
Triton’s ©Disney

Animator’s Palate is a not-to-be-missed dining experience. The restaurant is decorated in classic black and white, from the animation-adorned walls to the giant paint brushes around the room and seats representing Mickey Mouse. The walls have large high-definition flat-screens hanging on them – you will want to take a seat with a good view of the screens to watch the animation magic that takes place throughout the night. This is an extremely special interactive dining experience that really sets the Disney Wonder apart from other cruise lines.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Palo is the final restaurant. It is an adult-only Italian restaurant open for brunch and dinner at an additional cost.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Spaces for Kids of All Ages

The Disney Wonder began the Disney Cruise Line tradition of specially designated spaces for kids of all ages. Adults can only visit these spaces during the ship “open house” events.

Disney’s Oceaneer Club transports kids ages 3 to 12 to the magical lands of Disney fairies, courageous Super Heroes and adventuresome toys.
Disney’s Oceaneer Lab is a nautical wonderland where children ages 3 to 12 embark on a journey of discovery with arts and crafts, gaming and counselor-led activities.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

It’s a Small World Nursery is a whimsical world for infants and toddlers up to age 3 where they are safely cared for by trained Disney counselors.
Vibe (ages 14 to 17) and Edge (ages 11 to 14) are ultra-cool teen and tween hangouts with comfy couches, music, video games and other chill-out necessities.

At Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, aspiring young princess and knights become Disney royalty with the help of a fairy godmother-in-training. When the pirate deck party is on the evening schedule, the space transforms into The Pirate League, where young sailors can unleash their inner buccaneer with a piratical makeover.

Read about our previous experience at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on Disney Cruise Line here.

Chill Spa for Teens: Guests ages 13 to 17 can enjoy the Chill Spa, located inside Senses Spa & Salon on Deck 9. Chill Spa includes two treatment rooms with showers where teens can stress less and chill out with spa treatments designed just for them.

Adult-only Spaces

Adults needn’t fear that they will be trapped with kids the entire cruise. The Disney Wonder has dedicated spaces for adult guests to enjoy for a relaxing and rejuvenating cruise.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

 After Hours, an extraordinary adult-exclusive nighttime entertainment neighborhood that features trendy and sophisticated bars and lounges.

Disney Wonder Cruise ReviewCrown & Fin Pub resembles a traditional British tavern, with dark woods, plush leather furniture and brass accents. Guests can duck in for a jolly time and a frosty pint while socializing at this inviting and nostalgic bar.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Cadillac Lounge delights guests with the glitz of classic Hollywood, featuring an intimate and upscale atmosphere, crafted mixed drinks and live piano music nightly.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review
Azure is a lounge featuring a bar and dance floor, inspired by the shapes, colors, sounds and movements of the sea.

Senses Spa & Salon is a luxe space for adults ages 18 and older to indulge spa treatments, massages, manicures, pedicures, and a rainforest-themed aromatherapy steam room and sauna. The fitness center is well-appointed with state-of-the-art equipment and offers personal training sessions and instructional classes in yoga, Pilates, aerobics and more.

Quick-and-Casual Family Dining

There are plenty of quick, convenient options for meals and snacks on the Disney Wonder, from casual walk-up dining options to room service (and all included!).

Cabanas
Cabanas is a casual dining experience offering food and beverage stations during daytime hours. This massive buffet is the prime spot for breakfast and lunch and gets super busy, so go early to avoid the crowds.

Daisy’s De-Lites
A healthy fast-food option offering salads, sandwiches, wraps and fruit.

Pinocchio’s Pizzeria
Enjoy a slice of pizza throughout the day at this outdoor eatery located next to Goofy’s Pool. Choices include pepperoni, vegetarian, Hawaiian or plain cheese. Gluten-free is also available.

Pete’s Boiler Bites
Classic American fare like burgers, hot dogs and tacos are on offer at Pete’s Boiler Bites, a great place to enjoy a quick meal for lunch, dinner or anytime in between.

Eye Scream Treats
Unlimited soft serve icecream is available near Goofy’s Pool on Deck 9 at Eye Scream Treats, inspired by the friendly, one-eyed monster Mike Wazowski from the Disney•Pixar animated feature “Monsters, Inc.”.

Free Room Service

Room service deserves its own category because it’s such a luxury to enjoy meals delivered to your door! Guests on the Disney Wonder can enjoy fresh, made-to-order Disney dining 24/7 in the comfort of their stateroom. Be sure to order one of the special off-menu items that aren’t listed: Mickey bars, Uncrustables and cake of the day. Room service is included in your overall cruise fees, however please remember to tip $1 USD per item ordered.

Character meet and greets

Mickey, Minnie and a wide range of their friends are available for character meet and greets throughout the cruise. Check your daily schedule in the app to find out where the characters are going to be and be early if you want to meet them.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Tip: Not every character appears every day. When you see someone you want to meet, be sure to go line up and don’t put it off.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Royal Gathering: This is a meet-and-greet with Disney princesses that you book in advance online or through your app. It’s the only bookable character experience on the cruise.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Royal Court Royal Tea

The Royal Court Royal Tea also deserves its own section as it’s a popular event that books out and is quite a special event for kids who love princesses. It’s a pricey event but it does include entertainment, meet-and-greets, gifts and a lovely high tea for kids up to age 12 and their accompanying adults.

Tip: The Royal Court Royal tea books out extremely fast so book it as soon as your activity window opens.

Read about our previous experience at the Royal Court Royal Tea here.

Get more information on the Royal Court Royal Tea experience.

Beautiful Staterooms

We love the rooms onboard the Disney Wonder. The understated elegance of the rooms with a touch of Disney is just the perfect decor for our tastes. We find the rooms to be a great size for our family of three (they actually fit four or five).

Disney Wonder Cruise Review
©Disney

Tips on Cruising with Disney

Tipping the staff

This is an American company and tipping is an integral part of the business. Whether you agree with tipping or not, it makes up a substantial part of the cruise staffs’ wages so my opinion is that if you can afford to cruise, you can afford to tip and build that into the expected costs.

You can read about the recommended tipping for staff here. I choose to pay gratuities in advance when I pay for my cruises so I don’t think about any additional costs on board.

Merchandise

If you are a lover of the merch like I am, then you will want to get to the shops when they open on departure day – which is after the ship has entered international waters. The merchandise is extremely popular and items sell out on the first day.

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Seasickness

If you suffer from seasickness like I do, choose a cabin that is mid ship and low level.  You can bring as many meds on board as you like – you can also visit the Health Center and get medication there.

Preparing for crowds

On the Australian and New Zealand voyages in particular, prepare to have to queue for character meet and greets. I would suggest seeing characters as early as possible on your cruise if this is a priority for you, and arriving at the spots where characters are meeting well ahead of their scheduled time.

Shows are also packing out so arrive half an hour before show time to ensure you get a seat (front middle is the best place!)

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Read more about our previous Disney Wonder cruise to Alaska here.

Get more information about booking a Disney Cruise here.

Read about our Caribbean Cruise on the Disney Fantasy here.

 

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Top Tips for visiting Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Top Tips for visiting Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort is a theme park located in Orlando, Florida, that features rides, attractions and live shows that are themed to movies and tv shows. The park, which opened in 1990, is owned and operated by NBCUniversal.

Know your parks

Universal Orlando Resort comprises of three parks: Universal Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios Florida, plus Universal’s Volcano Bay, which is a water park. Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida are walking distance apart from the entrances, or a short train ride inside the parks.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort

While it is possible to do both Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida in one day, you’ll only see the highlights and miss the bulk of the attractions. Each park has different themed areas, with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ crossing over between them.

Read about the attractions at Universal Islands of Adventure here, and Universal Studios Florida here.

Plan your visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™

The biggest drawcard for Universal Orlando Resort is the incredible Wizarding World
of Harry Potter. While there is some overlap with the rides and attractions to other Universal Studios around the world, Universal Orlando Resort has two unique lands to explore: Universal Orlando Resort – Hogsmeade, located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort

It also has Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross Station that links the two parks by train. This was a highlight of visiting the resort for us.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort

To ride the Hogwarts Express, enter King’s Cross Station and walk straight through a solid brick wall onto Platform 9 ¾ to board the train to Hogsmeade. Ride the train in both directions for the full experience (you’ll need a park-to-park ticket to board the train in either direction).

This is a great, thorough guide to the complete Wizarding World of Harry Potter™.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Skip the queues with Universal Express

Add Universal Express access to your theme park admission, you get to skip the regular lines at most of your favorite rides and attractions. Universal Express lets you skip the regular lines one time per participating ride. Or, upgrade to Universal Express Unlimited and skip the regular lines an unlimited number of times at participating rides.

Read more about Universal Express passes here.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Get ahead of the crowds with Early Park Admission

One of the biggest benefits of staying onsite at Universal Orlando Resort is Early Park Admission. Universal Orlando Hotel guests and other select groups can access to Universal’s Volcano Bay, Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure up to one hour prior to park opening.

This is a huge advantage especially for rides that aren’t covered by Universal Express, or if you don’t want to pay extra for it. Tip: Not all parks are open early each day, so check online or with your hotel to find out which park offers early admission on the day of your visit.

Get more info on Early Park Admission here.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Stay in an onsite hotel

We loved our stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. The early park admission and easy (free!) transport to the park was worth it alone, and we found the hotel extremely well-priced as well as highly enjoyable with all of it’s amenities.

Hotel Review: Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Universal Studios Cabana Bay Resort Florida

Explore Universal CityWalk

Universal CityWalk is a 30-acre entertainment complex at Universal Orlando Resort filled with restaurants and shops. It lies between the entrances to Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, making it easy to visit after your trip to the parks.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Watch the live shows

While there are countless amazing rides at the parks, we love the live shows, too. For us, it’s where the magic of movies really come alive. On this trip, we loved the Animal Actors on Location live show.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort

There are also roaming live performers. We caught a fabulous performance by the “Blues Brothers” that was a lovely surprise.

Get a really thorough rundown of all the live shows here.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Try all the food

We love trying all the food when we visit theme parks. There are always unique snacks and food to try. On this visit we enjoyed trying Mel’s Drive In in the Hollywood area of Universal Studios Orlando, which is inspired by Mel’s Drive In, a retro restaurant in Hollywood, California. The fast-service restaurant has a fun 1950s vibe to it and serves burgers, fries and shakes.

Read more about Mel’s Drive In here.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Meet all the characters

We are huge character fans and love seeing the characters around the parks. Keep your eyes peeled for lots of favourites such as Beetlejuice and King Julien.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Take in all the details

What really makes Universal Orlando Resort special to us is the amazing theming around the parks. There is such an incredible level of detail in every area, and so many unique photo opportunities to be had. For a movie and TV show fan, Universal Orlando Resort is such a magical place, where you really can jump into the picture.

Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, United States
universalorlando.com

Walt Disney World Tips For First Timers

Walt Disney World Tips For First Timers

Walt Disney World Tips For First Timers

Walt Disney World Resort is located in Orlando, Florida. It consists of four theme parks (Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park), two water parks, Disney Springs (a shopping, dining and entertainment district), and over 25 hotels.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

The whole experience of planning, booking and visiting Walt Disney World Resort can be extremely overwhelming due to its sheer size, so if you’re looking for Walt Disney World tips for first timers, then you’ve come to the right place!

Preparing for Your Trip

When planning your WDW holiday, the first thing you will want to consider is what time of year you go. My advice is to firstly check the weather in Orlando for that time of year, as the heat can be intense for a large portion of the year in Florida, then check public holidays and school breaks in not just Florida but other parts of the US as well. The parks are busiest during public and school holidays.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Lastly, consult the crowd calendars to pick what days you will go (these are based on historical data so are not accurate, however they do give a decent idea of business at certain times).

Buying Theme Park Tickets

You will want to buy your tickets in advance. I book mine direct from the parks or through my travel agent. Travel agents often have good deals on tickets for Australians visiting the American parks, such as a 10-day pass, that works out a bit cheaper.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

When buying your tickets, you have the option of one park per day or a “park hopper”, which lets you visit multiple parks on the one day. The parks are quite far apart so for us, particularly as first timers, it made the most sense to only visit one park per day.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

At the time of writing, Disney World requires a park pass reservation to enter the theme parks. You must select which park you will enter for each day you have tickets. Parks do fill up, so book your park passes as soon as possible. You can cancel or change the bookings right up until the night before if you change your mind.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

With Park Hopper tickets, you must enter your first park (matching your park reservation), and then after 2 pm, you may enter another park if you wish. You only need a park reservation for the first park you are visiting.

What to pack

Comfortable walking shoes are the biggest must. I also pack waterproof sneakers so I’m not caught out in the frequent Florida rain. I also bought reusable ponchos on Amazon and used them frequently. A poncho is great as it covers your head, body and backpack completely. I also advise bringing a portable charger, bandaids and a reusable water bottle.

You can take food into the park, so I suggest taking in healthy snacks or sandwiches if possible.

Walt Disney World Epcot

Apps to download to your phone

Download the My Disney Experience app to your phone immediately and link your tickets and party you are travelling with. The app allows you to manage tickets, view ride wait times, use Disney Genie+, book dining and more. We loved using the app to order takeaway food in advance so we didn’t have to wait in lines.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Another app we used frequently was Google Maps, to find the fast way to get from one side of the park to another. One last app you may need is Uber. We had the odd occasion when buses didn’t turn up at the resort for significant amounts of time and we ended up calling an Uber to get to a park.

Disney Genie+ and ride strategy

Disney Genie+ is the paid skip-the-line option currently offered at Disney World. For an additional cost per ticket per day, guests can upgrade to the Disney Genie+ service, which will allow them to choose the next available time to arrive at a variety of attractions and experiences using the Lightning Lane entrance.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Additionally, guests can make Individual Lightning Lane selections for select high-demand attractions (that aren’t included with Genie+ and come with an additional cost) in order to use the Lightning Lane entrance.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

You can save significant time by bypassing the standby queue and there is no longer a free option available anymore, which makes this your best bet if you don’t want to spend your day waiting in lines. Note however that you can only skip the line for one ride on each included attraction. If you want to ride the attraction again, you will have to line up in the general queue.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Lightning Lane and Individual Lightening Lane bookings on the Disney Genie+ are limited. There are only a certain number released per day and then they run out. Onsite hotel guests can make their first ride selection at 7am. Other park goers must wait until they enter the parks to make their first Lightening Lane Booking.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

I suggest researching the rides at each park ahead of your visit and writing a list of which ones you most want to experience. A quick Google search will give you the current most popular rides to give an indication of which rides you should book earliest in the day before the Lightening Lanes run out.

Entering the Theme Parks

You can use the My Disney Experience app to enter the theme parks. In order to do so, before you arrive at the parks, create a MagicMobile pass, allowing you to add your tickets to your digital wallet (iPhone users and those with select Android devices). With the MagicMobile pass you simply tap your phone to the turnstiles and enter.

To create the MagicMobile pass:

Open the My Disney Experience app and click the three lines icon in the bottom right-hand corner.
In the menu, select the “Disney MagicMobile” button.
Click the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner and select the tickets you’d like to enable; click “Add to Wallet” and customize the design. You can hold tickets in your wallet for anyone in your party.

MagicBand

You can also use a MagicBand or MagicBand+ wristband to “tap” in to the park as well as enter Lightening Lanes and link photos. If this all sounds too complicated, head to Guest Relations and a cast member can help you get a physical card.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Choosing A Resort at Disney World

There are hotels scattered all over the Walt Disney World Resort precinct. Before choosing a hotel, consider what you are planning on doing throughout your stay: Most importantly, which parks you will be visiting and how you will get there. On the official Walt Disney World Resort site you will find on-site hotels and other Disney Good Neighbor hotels. You can also find other hotels in the area through traditional booking means, however they won’t come with any Disney World benefits.

Grand Floridian

The benefits to staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels can be found here, and to sum up include free transport between the hotels, parks and Disney Springs, plus benefits such as early entry into the parks.

If you choose to stay on-site, consult the Walt Disney World website or a map such as this one to determine which hotel location suits you best. I recommend taking into consideration transport options for the theme parks you are visiting.

There are a variety of value, moderate and deluxe resorts to choose from, so something in most budgets to choose from.

We did a split resort stay and booked one hotel (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort) for half and Disney’s Beach Club Resor for the other half, due to their proximities to different parks.

You can read my review of the Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort here and Disney’s Beach Club Resort here.

Transportation

You can get around Walt Disney World Resort by bus, boat, monorail and Skyliner.

We found the monorail to be the most efficient of all transport options due to its frequency. If you missed one, another one was quickly along. Buses frequently didn’t arrive per schedule and with the boats, if you miss one it’s a long wait till the next. The Skyliner is also a good form of transport as it runs continuously.

Find out more about resort transportation here.

Things to Do at Disney World

There are an overwhelming number of things to do at the four parks. The rides are of course a main focus – research what you might like to ride in advance including height requirements and if they offer child swap so you are prepared. I highly recommend looking at all of the offerings from shows to parades and character meet and greets to fully experience all the parks have to offer.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

Of note are the immersive Pandora — The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge inside the Magic Kingdom. Some newer attractions may not offer a standby queue, so you’ll need to join a virtual queue to ride. These also open to booking at 7am for on-site hotel guests.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

The parks also close out at night with evening spectaculars at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios.

WDW Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Pre Party

You can read about our Pre-Fireworks Dessert Party experience at Magic Kingdom here.

Top attractions at Walt Disney World

To help with your trip planning, I’ve included highlights of our top rides, food/drink and experiences you won’t want to miss at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.

Dining at Disney World

There are lots of great dining options at Disney World! Many of the dining options are very popular so make your reservations for table-service restaurants 60 days in advance. If you aren’t able to secure a table, keep checking as they often do open up, or join a walk-up list via the My Disney Experience app.

Cape May Beach Club Resort WDW

Character dining is a fun option where guests enjoy a sit-down meal and characters visit the tables throughout the dining session.

There are also lots of great quick-service restaurant options where reservation aren’t required (and they aren’t so time consuming).

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

To really save time, you use Mobile Ordering through the My Disney Experience app.  You can place your order and pay in the app, and then receive a notification to pick up your food once ready.

Our favourite dining experiences at Walt Disney World Resort:

Cinderella’s Royal Table – Magic Kingdom Resort

Be Our Guest – Magic Kingdom Resort

‘Ohana (character dining) – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop – Beach Club Resort

Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast – Beach Club Resort

Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White – Fort Wilderness Resort

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre Restaurant – Hollywood Studios

Rainforest Cafe – Animal Kingdom

Garden Grill (character dining) – Epcot

PhotoPass 

There are photographers throughout the resort that can take your photo, including when meeting characters and with a lantern at Rapunzel’s tower at Magic Kingdom. The photos will link to your account automatically but you will need to purchase a photo package to download them. If you plan on taking a lot of photos, I recommend purchasing Memory Maker for unlimited photo downloads. Read more about PhotoPass here and Memory Maker here.

We had mixed experiences with the PhotoPass images. Some were fantastic, some were blurry, so I recommend asking the photographer to also take photos on your own phone or camera.

Disability Access Service

Disability Access Service (DAS) is a program offered at Walt Disney World theme parks to assist Guests who have difficulty tolerating extended waits in a conventional queue environment due to a disability.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Eligible Guests can now pre-register for DAS Advance virtually with a Cast Member, using live video chat. You may pre-register from 30 days in advance of a park visit up until 2 days before your arrival.
During the registration chat, you will be able to work with a Cast Member to book up to 2 one-hour return windows for select experiences using our new DAS Advance planning option (you may also make additional DAS selections on the day of your visit). Please note that all park visits must be within 30 to 2 days of the live chat.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Top Things to Know About DAS

  • DAS is intended for Guests who have difficulty tolerating extended waits in a conventional queue environment due to a disability.
  • DAS doesn’t provide immediate access to experiences, but rather allows Guests to request a return time for a specific experience that is comparable to the current standby wait. This allows the Guest using DAS to enjoy other experiences in the park instead of physically waiting in the standby line.
  • The Guest who is requesting to use DAS must be present during registration (in person or live video call) and when redeeming a DAS return time at Walt Disney World theme parks. The Guest using DAS doesn’t need to be present when a return time is requested at an attraction or any Guest Relations location.
  • Once registered, DAS is valid for up to 60 days.

How to use DAS

Once registered, you will see a Disability Access Service button appear in the My Disney Experience app. If you have pre-registered and selected rides in advance, you will see your ride selections already populated once you click on the DAS button.

Walt Disney World Epcot

Book your rides and experiences using this interface inside the app in much the same way as using the Genie+ service. Click on the ride and you will see a time slot appear that you will be able to book in for a future ride.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

Head to the Lightening Lane entrance during your booked time slot to gain entrance to the ride. You will then queue for the ride with the guests who have booked a Lightening Lane entrance. Unlike the Genie+ service, DAS may be used to rebook the same rides over and over again.

Get more info and register for DAS here.

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Garden Grill Restaurant Character Dining at EPCOT

Cinderellas Royal Table Dining Experience at Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World

Rainforest Cafe® at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Be Our Guest Restaurant Magic Kingdom

Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White

Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Parties: Pre-Party

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant Hollywood Studios WDW

Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop

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‘Ohana Best Friends Character Breakfast featuring Lilo & Stitch

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Best Attractions at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Best Magic Kingdom Attractions

Best Attractions at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Magic Kingdom opened as Walt Disney World Resort’s first theme park in 1971. It is the single-most visited theme park in the world (over 20 million annual visitors).

Disney World’s Magic Kingdom covers 107 acres and is divided into six themed areas: Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Main Street, U.S.A., and Tomorrowland.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Best 6 Attractions at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

1. TRON Lightcycle Run

TRON Lightcycle / Run is Magic Kingdom’s newest attraction. This thrilling rollercoaster is based on Disney’s TRON movies. Board your “lightcycle” and launch into the “grid”, through high-resolution animations that make the ride an immersive as well as exciting experience.

Category: Thrill Ride
Height Requirement: 48in (122cm) or taller
Good for: Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Individual Lightning Lane attraction

2. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Until the opening of Tron Lightcycle Run, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ranked number one for the best attractions at Magic Kingdom. It’s a thrilling and highly entertaining family-friendly rollercoaster where guests board a diamond mine train inside a mountain, themed to the Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. There’s a wild ride down the mine shaft and a lovely encounter at the end of the ride with the merry band of Seven Dwarfs and Snow White. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is still a high-priority Magic Kingdom attraction.

Category: Thrill Ride, Small Drops
Height Requirement: 38in (97cm) or taller
Good for: Younger Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Individual Lightning Lane Pass attraction

3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

A classic Frontierland attraction, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is one of our favourite rides in every Disney park we have visited. The ride is set in the 1850s-era Gold Rush ghost town of Tumbleweed. Guests board a train in an abandoned mine shaft that speeds through tunnels and canyons through the Wild West. The ride has fantastic theming that is so enjoyable tow atch, as well as being a really fun, family-friendly rollercoaster.

Category: Thrill Ride, Small Drops
Height Requirement: 40in (102cm) or taller
Good for: Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

4. Peter Pan’s Flight

Peter Pan’s Flight is inspired by Walt Disney’s animated film Peter Pan (1953). The attraction was one of the first rides in California’s Disneyland Resort when it opened in 1955. Walt Disney World included its own version of the classic attraction when Magic Kingdom opened in 1971. Peter Pan’s Flight is located in Fantasyland, and it remains one of the the best attractions in Magic Kingdom to this day.

The ride itself is a gentle, slow “flight” above scenes from Disney’s animated film, seatied inside a pirate galleon. The line for the ride is half the fun. Keep an eye out for the amazing interactive special effects that were added to make the experience even more magical.

Category: Slow Ride, Small Drops
Height Requirement: Any
Good for: All
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

5. Haunted Mansion

Another classic Magic Kingdom attraction, the Haunted Mansion is a gentle “spookfest” located in Liberty Square. Guests climb aboard a Doom Buggy and take an adventure through a maze of haunted chambers.

Ghosts and ghouls abound, however these are the friendliest kinds of spooks and there is nothing truly scary about this experience.

Category: Slow, Dark Ride
Height Requirement: Any
Good for: All
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

6. Pirates of the Caribbean

Another classic ride that is family-friendly and highly enjoyable, Pirates of the Caribbean is a swashbuckling voyage back to a time when pirates ruled the high seas. There are singing pirates, booming cannons and more than a few drunken buccaneers.

Category: Slow Boat Ride, Small Drops, Dark
Height Requirement: Any
Good for: All
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

More Magic Kingdom Tips

Fireworks

The end of night fireworks are magnificent! We loved the Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Parties: Pre-Party as we were able to watch the fireworks from a special reserved location and enjoyed a massive dessert buffet as well.

WDW Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Pre Party

Dining

We loved and highly recommend the following two dining experiences:

Cinderellas Royal Table Dining Experience at Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World

Be Our Guest Restaurant Magic Kingdom

Parades

The parades are always magical! Stake out a spot in advance for a good view.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Snacks

We are all about the snacks! You must try: Micky Ice-cream Sandwich, Dole Whip, churros, strawberry waffle sandwich, popcorn, Mickey pretzel and a candy apple.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Silhouettes

One of our favourite Disney souvenirs is a custom cut silhouette from Main Street. It only takes a few minutes to do and is a beautiful gift or souvenir.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

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Walt Disney World Best Magic Kingdom Attractions

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Best Attractions at Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Best Hollywood Studios Attractions

Best Attractions at Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Hollywood Studios is one of four theme parks in Walt Disney World, Florida. It opened in 1989 as the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park, created as both a working production studio and a show-business-inspired theme park.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

The park was renamed Hollywood Studios in 2008 and focused its attractions and theme around the imagined worlds of theatre, music, television, and film.

1. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

With the 2019 opening of the land Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Hollywood Studios became a hotspot for Star Wars fans.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is an incredible immersive experience that feels like a completely separate park to the rest of Walt Disney World thanks to clever theming that carries across to every element of the “land”. There are two incredible rides within the land that are both must-dos attractions at Hollywood Studios.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is a trackless dark ride with multiple ride systems. It’s a completely immersive ride that takes guests on a thrilling adventure through the Star Wars Universe aiding a team of Resistance fighters rise up against the First Order.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

As there are multiple tracks this ride can take, it’s also possible to do the ride several times and each experience be different.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood StudiosCategory: Thrill Ride, Small Drops, Dark, Loud
Height Requirement: 40″ or taller
Good for: Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Individual Lightning Lane Pass attraction

Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run

Ever dreamed of piloting the Millennium Falcon? Now is your chance! Millennium Falcon is an exhilarating interactive ride where guests take part in a smuggling mission through hyperspace.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Category: Thrill Ride, Small Drops, Dark, Loud
Height Requirement: 38” (97cm) or taller
Good for: Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

2. Toy Story Land

The incredible Toy Story Land opened in 2018. The land has the most amazing theming, where guests feel like they have shrunk in size to fit in Andy’s toy box.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

There are three rides: Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania, or Alien Swirling Saucers, plus a great quick service restaurant that we loved “Woody’s Lunch Box” and a new sit-down restaurant “Roundup Rodeo BBQ”.

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Slinky Dog Dash

Possibly our favourite rollercoaster at Wald Disney World, Slinky Dog Dash is an extremely family-friendly, smooth ride where the premise is that Andy has assembled the “Mega Coaster Play Kit at this attraction,” and you join Slinky Dog for a wild ride through Andy’s backyard.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Fly past giant toys while coasting up and down hills and curving around hairpin turns. We would describe this rollercoaster as pure joy.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Category: Thrill Ride, Small Drops
Height Requirement: 38″ or taller
Good for: Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

Midway Mania

Very similar to its counterparts in other parks around the world, Toy Story Midway Mania! is a 4-D shootin’ game starring your favorite characters from Toy Story. The ride is extremely fun as it’s an interactive game where the goal is to hit moving targets using a spring-action shooter, competing against other players to get the highest score.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

We also loved the entrance and the exit to this ride – both have the most amazing photo ops with massive Toy Story-themed props.

Category: Spinning
Height Requirement: Any
Good for: All
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

3. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

The first Mickey Mouse-themed ride at any Disney theme park, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a fun, gentle ride through a fantastical cartoon universe. Based on award-winning Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts (2013), the ride opened in March 2020.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a wild adventure through a colorful cartoon universe.

This is a fun, magical experience for Disney fans to enjoy their inner child. The technology and animation are truly amazing.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Category: Trackless Dark Ride
Height Requirement: Any
Good for: Preschoolers, Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+

4. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

A classic Disney attraction, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is located inside the massive  Hollywood Tower Hotel structure. Guests are welcomed by Rod Serling, the host of the classic television series The Twilight Zone, and informed you that some hotel patrons mysteriously vanished in the elevator during a violent storm in 1939, never to be seen again.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Enter the elevator-style lift and stow your belongings away very carefully – this is a wild ride that hurtles up and down a rickety old elevator shaft. The ride is one of Disney’s best – entertaining, terrifying and thrilling at the same time. A must-do attraction at Hollywood Studios.

Category: Thrill Ride, Big Drops, Scary, Dark
Height Requirement: 40″ or taller
Good for: Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

5. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (starring Aerosmith!) is a fast-paced roller coaster that is not for the feint of heart. Start the attraction with a glimpse of legendary rock band Aerosmith as they complete a recording session, then join them for a ride in their “limo” as they rush off to a concert on the other side of town.
Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Riders climb aboard the limousine (roller coaster) and race through the dark past and buckle up before racing off into the night past legendary Hollywood landmarks, set to a playlist of Aerosmith’s signature songs.

The rollercoaster features three inversions (2 rollovers and one corkscrew loop) and is the only Disney World roller coaster that turns guests upside down during their ride.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is one of the fastest rides at Walt Disney World, reaching speeds of up to 57 mph. It is short, sweet and truly terrifying!

Category: Thrill Ride, Big Drops, Loud
Height Requirement: 48″ or taller
Good for: Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

More Disney’s Hollywood Studios Information

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is divided into 7 distinct lands. Initially each themed area was inspired by real-life areas within Los Angeles and Hollywood California (Disney Animation Courtyard, Echo Lake, Grand Avenue, Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard), with the addition of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

There are currently 17 rides and attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.

We absolutely loved dining at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant Hollywood Studios WDW, a themed sit-down restaurant where guests dine inside of “cars” at a “drive-in”. Truly unique!

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Read more tips about visiting Walt Disney World Resort Orlando here and here.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

Walt Disney World Best Hollywood Studios Attractions Walt Disney World Best Hollywood Studios Attractions

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Walt Disney World Best Animal Kingdom Attractions

Best Attractions at Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of four theme parks that comprise Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, USA. Dedicated and themed around natural environment and animal conservation, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest theme park in the world, covering 580 acres.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is incredibly unique in how it combines traditional theme park attractions with hundreds of species of live animals. Special designs and provisions were incorporated throughout the park to protect the animals’ welfare.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

The park is located on the western edge of the resort and is isolated from the other theme parks and properties to minimize external disruptions to the animals.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, indicating they have met or exceeded the standards in education, conservation, and research

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

The park is divided into seven themed areas; Africa, Asia, DinoLand U.S.A., Discovery Island, Oasis, Pandora – The World of Avatar, and Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

Discovery River acts to separate Discovery Island from the other Animal Kingdom lands. You’ll frequently see Disney characters sailing down the river on rafts, so keep yours eyes peeled.

The Best Animal Kingdom Attractions

1. Pandora – The World of Avatar

The incredible Pandora – The World of Avatar is a completely immersive land inside Animal Kingdom. It opened in 2017 and the detail in the world is just breathtaking. The land and rides are set a generation after the events of the Avatar films, based upon the fictional habitable exomoon, Pandora, and features Pandora’s floating mountains, alien wildlife, and bioluminescent plants.

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Spanning 12 acres (4.9 ha), Pandora – The World of Avatar includes two major attractions, Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, as well as retail and dining outlets.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

 

Avatar: Flight of Passage

Avatar Flight of Passage is a 3D flying simulator attraction and one of Disney’s newest attractions. One of the most popular choices for Lightning Lane reservations, you can “rope drop” the attraction at park opening to avoid paying extra for the ride.

The attraction allows guests to take flight on a native mountain Banshee and soar across the landscape of Pandora. Avatar Flight of Passage is a bit of a cross between Soarin’ and Star Tours and is one of Disney’s most technologically advanced attractions.

Guests hop aboard the back of a mountain Banshee (the contraption looks kind of like a motorcycle) in preparation to soar across Pandora’s landscape, where humans and Na’vi seek to restore the banshee population back to natural levels. Each guest is part of the avatar program, and is linked with an avatar to fly on an Ikran (or “Banshee”) in this Na’vi tribal rite-of-passage. The ride is also an immersive experience in the world of Avatar, including an “induction” program where guests are “linked” to their avatar. It’s a must for any fans of the Avatar films.

The ride has attracted a lot of attention for its incredible flying effects. While “flying” guests can turn their heads in almost all directions to look around the Pandora landscape. It can cause motion sickness if you are prone, however it’s so exceptionally well done that a bit of queasiness is well worth it. One of the absolute best attractions at Animal Kingdom.

Category: Thrill Ride
Height Requirement: 44″ or taller
Good for: Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Individual Lightning Lane purchase

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

Na’vi River Journey

Na’vi River Journey is a dark ride on a slow moving boat that takes guests through the Kasvapan River of Pandora from the 2009 film Avatar. It’s a stunning experience watching native animals and bioluminescent flora, with inclusion of complex Audio-Animatronics that are so life-like that we actually weren’t sure if the character was real or not.

Category: Slow boat ride
Height Requirement: any
Good for: any
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

2. Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is one of Disney’s best roller coasters. Located in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, at the base of “Mount Everest” in a “Tibetan village”, the ride is themed around the Yeti protecting the Forbidden Mountain next to Mount Everest.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

The ride involves steep climbs descents, including a truly terrifying section where the train hurtles backwards. The scenery at the top of the 200ft mountain is spectacular.

Category: Thrill Ride, Big Drops, Dark
Height Requirement: 44″ or taller
Good for: Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Included in Genie+

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

3. Kilimanjaro Safaris

What is a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom without visiting any animals? The Kilimanjaro Safaris is an 18-minute ride in an open-air vehicle though the 110-acre Harambe Wildlife Reserve. The driver / guide points out any of the 34 species of animals that reside here (if they can be spotted!), while also sharing interesting wildlife info.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

The animals roam fairly freely throughout the reserve, so there is no guarantee of which animal/s you might spot and which might have decided to hide on that day.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

You may encounter giraffes, hippopotamuses, lions elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, okapi, zebras, gazelles, and crocodiles. We had an unseasonably cold day when we visited and didn’t see many of the animals at all, but that’s the nature of wildlife!

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

Category: Slow Ride, Small Drops
Height Requirement: Any
Good for: All
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Included in Genie+

4. Festival of the Lion King

The Festival of the Lion King is a 30-minute live stage show, featuring an explosion of music, acrobatics, animatronic characters, singers, dancers and stilt-walkers, set to live music from Disney’s The Lion King.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

Category: Live Stage Show
Height Requirement: Any
Good for: All
Times: 10 AM – 6 PM; shows on the hour
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Included in Genie+

5. Tree of Life

Technically a landmark not an attraction, the Tree of Life is a 145-foot artificial baobab tree and is Animal Kingdom’s most iconic feature. The shapes of over 300 animals are carved into the tree. We highly enjoyed walking around the base of the tree and seeing the carvings up close.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

Extra information about Animal Kingdom

Kids will love the self-guided Wilderness Explorers program, where where kids can complete activities and collect more than 25 badges in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Collect your book at one of these locations.

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

We loved dining at Rainforest Cafe® at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are two entrances to this restaurant – one inside and one outside the park, so you don’t need to be a guest to dine here. There are loads of quick-service and sit-down eateries inside the park as well.

Rainforest Cafe Animal Kingdom

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Walt Disney World Best Animal Kingdom Attractions

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Best Attractions at Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Epcot

Best Attractions at Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Epcot is one of four theme parks that make up Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Based on the themes of world exploration and discovery, Epcot is divided into four sections: World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature and World Showcase.

The park itself is very spread out (twice the size of Magic Kingdom!), with a lake in the middle. There is a lot of walking to cover the entire park, which makes the park feel less crowded, as a bonus, however there are fewer rides, so the rides inside Epcot do attract long queues.

Our top attractions at Epcot:

1. Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind

The best attraction and EPCOT’s newest ride is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. This is a mind-blowing enclosed roller coaster that hurtles forwards and backwards (!) through time and space. The ride opened on May 27, 2022 as EPCOT’s first roller coaster and marks the first ever Disney “Omnicoaster,” in which the individual coaster cars rotate in a pre-programmed manner.

Walt Disney World Epcot

Location: World Discovery
Category: Enclosed Roller Coaster / Thrill Ride
Height Requirement: 42″ or taller
Duration: A little less than 4 minutes
Good for: Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Individual Lightning Lane Pass attraction

2. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

The 4D-ride is opened on October 1, 2021. It’s a replica of the original Disneyland Paris attraction based on the Pixar animated film Ratatouille.

Walt Disney World Epcot

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure has a fun storyline where guests are rat-sized and join Chef Remy scurrying through the bustling kitchen, fancy dining room, and into the walls of Gusteau’s restaurant. Featuring state-of-the-art animation, the experience is exciting and immersive.

Location: World Showcase; France Pavilion
Category: Trackless Dark Ride
Height Requirement: None
Duration: 4:40
Good for: Any
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Individual Lightning Lane Pass attraction

3. Test Track

Test Track as the distinction of being the fastest Disney theme park attraction ever built. The ride is a simulated experience that takes you through the many rigorous testing procedures of Chevrolet’s concept cars. The highlight is a speed trial on a track around the exterior of the building at a top speed of 64.9 miles per hour (104.4 km/h).

Walt Disney World Epcot

Step into the Chevrolet Design Center to design your own car with the virtual concept. Then, enter your 6-passenger “SIM Car” for a high-speed go-around on the test track. After completing your test, the scoreboard will let you know how well you performed.
Walt Disney World Epcot

Location: World Discovery
Category: Thrill Rides, Small Drops
Height Requirement: 40″ or taller
Duration: 5:00
Good for: Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

4. Frozen Ever After

Epcot’s Frozen Ever After attraction is a gentle, slow-moving boat ride through a frozen willow forest, where you will encounter Kristoff’s family from Troll Valley, the icy blue lands of the North Mountain and onwards into Queen Elsa’s ice palace. Anna, Olaf, and more Frozen characters are featured, with the Frozen songs playing in the background.

Walt Disney World Epcot

We were extremely impressed by the smooth, life-like animatronics on this ride. Please note that as this is a boat ride, you may get a little wet.

Walt Disney World Epcot

Walt Disney World Epcot

Location: World Showcase; Norway
Category: Slow Ride, Small Drops, Dark
Height Requirement: Any
Good for: All
Duration: 5:00
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

4. Soarin’

Soarin’ is a flight motion simulator attraction that uses a mechanical lift system to raise you high into the air, creating a hang-gliding flight. The ride employs a 180-degree, 80-foot IMAX digital projection dome and artificial wind and aromas to give you an authentic experience of soaring over some of the greatest natural and man-made wonders in the world.

The original Soarin’ opened at Disney California Adventure in 2001, and EPCOT’s version arrived in 2005.

Location: World Nature; The Land Pavilion
Category: Slow Ride, Small Drops
Height Requirement: 40″ or taller
Duration: 4:45
Good for: Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

5. Mission: Space

You will either love this ride, or it will make you want to throw up. Mission: SPACE is a centrifugal motion simulator thrill ride that aims to simulate the experiences aboard a NASA-style spacecraft on a mission to Mars. After completing “training” for your mission, you will board your extremely tiny vessel and be slingshot around the moon. Throughout the ride, you will experience the g-force of liftoff and then the more relaxing hyper-sleep stage.

Walt Disney World Epcot

There are two missions to choose from. The Orange Mission is the more intense version, while the Green Mission is the tamer, family-friendly version that orbits the Earth. We chose the green mission and still felt quite queasy, so I would highly agree with the many warnings that attraction is not recommended for people with weak stomachs or who are prone to motion sickness.

Walt Disney World Epcot

Location: World Discovery
Category: Thrill Ride, Spinning, Dark
Height Requirement: 40″ or Taller
Duration: 5:38
Good for: Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults
Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Pass: Disney Genie+ attraction

More information about Epcot

Epcot opened in 1982 as Walt Disney World’s second theme park. It was designed to celebrate human achievements by showcasing international cultures and technological innovation.

We loved the Garden Grill Restaurant character dining experience.

Walt Disney World Epcot

World Showcase comprises 11 pavilions of different countries, including the U.S.A., the U.K., Japan, Morocco, France, Canada, Mexico, China, Norway, Germany, and Italy. They are extremely popular with local visitors, and have many educational aspects as well as good food options.

Walt Disney World Epcot

World Celebration, World Discovery, and World Nature are the new neighborhoods that cover the area previously known as Future World. These areas feature innovative technological and scientific themes and attractions that we highly enjoyed.

Walt Disney World Epcot

I highly recommend staying till after dark to watch the light show on the Epcot ball. It is truly magical! Show themes and times change throughout the year.

Walt Disney World Epcot

Walt Disney World Epcot

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Walt Disney World Epcot