Tips for Disney’s Pandora: The World of Avatar

Tips for Pandora: The World of Avatar

Tips for visiting Pandora : The World of Avatar

Meredith

Be Patient

Pandora is new, as it just opened on May 27th. This one is most important to remember because everyone wants to see and do it all too. There’s no need to be rude to other guests just because you’re having to wait. This should go without saying, but everyone has paid to be there and no one is more special than the other. You’ll all get a turn soon enough! This extends to Cast Members too because they’re working hard to make it an unforgettable experience for you. Sit back and enjoy knowing that it may take a little longer if you’re one of the first humans to visit Pandora.

Meredith

Do Not Miss Flight of Passage

Queue up for this attraction as early as possible so that you can experience the wait queue at least once. The fastpass queue doesn’t have any of the fun theming that the standby queue has and it’s worth the wait at least once. The standby queue is the only time you’ll get to see the Pandoran caves with wildlife and all of the experiments that the Pandoran Conservation Initiative scientists have ongoing. This includes everything from water samples and small creatures to the full-size and very life-like floating avatar in its liquid-filled chamber. This is also the only time you’ll be able to see the giant wall that has the mural of the flying banshee and the life-size silhouettes of a Na’vi male and female. 

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Then gear up for a most fantastical journey into Pandora on the back of your very own banshee after being paired with an avatar and linked in the link chairs. It’s also good to know that some Pooh-sized guests may have a bit of trouble boarding the ride since the back and leg braces flip up to engage. Be sure to scoot as far forward as possible and sit straight up. You’ll also want to push your knees forward and stay on your tip-toes until the ride harnesses engage in case you have long legs or large calves. Then hold on tight for one of the most thrilling and amazing rides Disney has ever imagineered! This ride is breathtaking, well except for when you’re taking in all the smells that Pandora has to offer too. This ride cannot be skipped!

Meredith

Use Extra Magic Hours

Extra magic hours are a perk of staying in a Disney resort and can help you experience the parks without the massive crowds. Check the app the night before your park days to see which parks and hours have this special perk so you can plan accordingly. Some magic hours occur in the morning, so you’ll need to be prepared the night before. Additionally, some magic hours happen at night and nighttime magic hours in Animal Kingdom will allow you to travel back to Pandora so you can experience its glowing beauty. 

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Schedule FastPasses ASAP

Scheduling early is a huge perk for guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort and this one is huge. If you’d like a fastpass for either ride, scheduling your fastpass at 60 days out the second they become available is crucial. And it’s good to know that the Pandora rides are now part of a tiered Animal Kingdom fastpass+ system, so you’ll have to choose one or the other. Both wait queues have outdoor areas and that means waiting in the sun, so a fastpass is like having a VIP status! Just remember that only guests staying in a WDW resort can schedule fastpasses 60 days in advance. If you’re staying off-property or are an annual passholder, the earliest you can schedule a fastpass is 30 days out. It pays to stay on property!

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Stop and Look

The Na’vi have a phrase oel ngati kameie” meaning “I see you” and you won’t want to miss seeing and actually taking in all of its beauty. You’ll especially want to take your time and look if you’re waiting in line for either of Pandora’s feature attractions. The world is beautifully themed throughout and there are many little nooks where you can rest or just relax in a bit of shade. You can even find plants to drum on!

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If you’re lucky, or smart because you checked your times guide for the day, you can watch an authentic Pandoran drum circle in front of the Mountains! You can watch my the live feed I provided on opening day over on our facebook page. Travel back to Pandora (or just stay til the sun sets) to experience all of Pandora’s nighttime wonder. The star of Pandora’s nighttime magic is its “syuratan” or bioluminescence. You’ll be surprised that you may even glow too!! 

Meredith

Make use of Memory Maker

This should go without saying if you’ve ever used Disney’s Memory Maker. If you’re not sure what Memory Maker is, be sure to read this post. Like most lands at Walt Disney World, Pandora also has several photopass locations where you can get an epic photo with the floating mountains or even have your photo taken as an official Visitor to Pandora! There’s several locations and you can find these stops in your app. Simply open up your My Disney Experience app and slide the selection over to PhotoPass to see all the locations.

Meredith

Order Food Via App

This is another big one! With the opening of Pandora and its dining option, Satu’li Canteen, Disney has begun implementing its first use of a mobile food order feature. By ordering food via the app, you’ll save loads of time and give your feet a break from standing in yet another wait line. Not to mention, you’ll feel like a VIP as you stroll past the wait line straight to the counter to pick up your food. You can order from the app under the “My Plans” section. And once it’s ready, it’ll give you a push notification to let you know that your food is waiting for you. 

Meredith

Be sure your app is updated to the most current version to access this feature. It’s also good to know that if you have a card saved for all your incidentals (dining reservations etc), your app will automatically process the payment from that card. So if you plan to order from the app, be sure to have a card on file to save yourself time while in the park inputting card information. It’s also good to know that mobile order pickup will allow you entry into the canteen even if there’s a cast member outside keeping track of guest numbers inside. Just show them your “Order Ready” screen and they’ll show you where to go!

Meredith

Visit Windtraders Early 

The grand opening day of Pandora brought wait times in excess of three hours just to gain access to the Pandoran store! And be sure to queue up for the adopt a banshee at the rookery while there! Adopting a banshee has been super popular, so again be patient if you’re in a longer than expected line.

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You can also have yourself scanned and your DNA combined with that of a Na’vi to create your very own Avatar! This experience however, takes time and you will need to revisit Windtraders around an hour later to pick up your avatar.

Meredith

It’s good to know that your card (they give you when you sign up) will allow you entrance back into the store even if there’s a wait line. Simply go to the door and let the cast member know you’re back to pick up your avatar. You may get some dirty looks from those waiting in line to go in, but you won’t have to wait to actually go in again. 

Meredith

More than Just Rides and Food

Disney has gone above and beyond to create a world that seamlessly fits within the Animal Kingdom’s nature-based story. And Pandora: The World of Avatar helps to further push us to see our own beautiful Earth in new ways. Personally, our ride aboard the Kilimanjaro Safaris, after experiencing Pandora, had me more closely examining the plant life that surrounds each habitat’s wildlife. How amazing our own world is!

Meredith

The food had me questioning what exactly should alien food look like?! And would our own everyday foods seem alien to the Omiticaya people or other alien beings? Additionally, you don’t have to have seen or liked the Avatar movie to appreciate this new land. My kids loved Pandora and have never seen the movie. They actually came home and used their own money to purchase the movie so they could see the movie based on their unique experience. This new land is more than a couple of rides and some weird food; It’s an experience that leaves you “newomum nì’ul,”  wanting to know more!

Extra Tips for those with Special Accommodations:

Make Use of Rider Swap

If you’ve got a child that isn’t tall enough or just doesn’t want to ride, you can make use of Disney’s rider swap which allows one parent to stay behind with a child(ren) while the other parents waits in the standby line. The cast members will give the first parent a rider swap return fastpass and once that first parent completes their ride, the second is able to go back through the fastpass line. Best yet, that second parent can be accompanied by two other people, so your other kids have the opportunity to ride twice by waiting in the standby line with the first parent and then again in the fastpass line with the second parent!

Meredith

Make Use of Disability Access Service

If you or a member of your travel party has a disability,  be sure to stop by guest services at the beginning of your stay to receive your disability access service card, or DAS for short. This card will allow you to avoid waiting in the actual queue  while still waiting the standby wait time. Simply see a cast member at the fastpass entrance to any attraction and tell them you’d like to get a DAS wait time and they’ll give you a time to come back and ride. This is especially beneficial as some of the wait queues can be difficult to navigate with a wheelchair or ECV. And not waiting in the line for Flight of Passage will allow you more time to explore Pandora while you wait for your ride time. 

If you’d like to find out more about the world of Avatar, be sure to check out the official Disney website here.

Kid Friendly Fun in Epcot

Kid Friendly Fun in Epcot

Far too often, Epcot is the least popular park for parents that are planning with kids in mind. It is often overlooked due to the opinion that it is not a kid friendly park. Guests miss out on so much when they skip this park. There are many fun opportunities and learning experiences at Epcot. Here are some tips about Epcot that could change your mind about this amazing park.Kid friendly fun in Epcot can happen! Find out why everyone's least favorite Disney World park might just be your child's favorite. From character meets to activities to learning experiences, there is something at Epcot for everyone.

Kid Friendly Rides

Rides are, often, important to most kids and Epcot does not disappoint. The park offers many unique ride experiences. I could talk about the rides all day, but here are just a few that are on the top of our list.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends is a bright, colorful ride followed by an aquarium populated with lots of sea life. Even very little ones will get caught up in all there is to see. Older ones can learn about the animals on display, as well.Soarin’ makes a lot of “top 10 Disney rides” lists. We didn’t get to ride it yet, but it’s definitely on the list for our next trip!

Test Track is a favorite for older children. Design your test car and get feedback on how it performs while you ride. Don’t miss the chance to create a free downloadable commercial featuring your own custom vehicle.

Do you have a Frozen fan? Then Frozen Ever After is definitely a must. I have a little Frozen fan that can not stop talking about this ride.

Kid Friendly Activities

I love that Epcot offers so many hands on opportunities for the kids. They are learning but they are having way too much fun to realize it.

Colortopia, located in Innoventions East, is a multifaceted exhibit that is all about color! There is a short movie, various color-themed activities, and a room sized coloring page!

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure is an interactive activity for kids old enough to read or that have a little help from someone older. The adventure takes your little agent throughout the World Showcase where they will help solve cases (and learn a little about the world, too).

Turtle Talk with Crush is an amazing interactive audience participation show, akin to the laugh floor at Magic Kingdom. He even takes you through the many uses of the word “dude.”

Make sure to pick up a cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear. The kids had a blast decorating their Duffy and visiting each Kidcot Fun Stop for stamps, signatures, and information about each country.

Unique Character Meet and Greets

Remember that scene in Big Hero 6 where everybody hugs Baymax? Here’s your chance. The huggable, non-armored Baymax is ready and waiting for a fist bump.Belle is in her classic blue dress in the World Showcase. She is located next to the water in France. The water provides such a pretty backdrop for photos.

Joy and Sadness are ready to bring a little cheer (or tears) into your life. Unfortunately, Fear was too scared to show, Anger was too mad to meet with anybody, and Disgust heard that there might be broccoli pizza.

There are plenty of opportunities to meet Donald Duck throughout the parks but the only place you can see him in his caballero costume is in the World Showcase.
We enjoy Epcot so much that we are doing two park days there for our next trip. What is your favorite kid friendly fun at Epcot?

Thanks to our contributor Beth for this post and photos!

Make Your Vote Count

We are roughly 200 days away from our next Disney trip, and I’m coming to you today because I need advice! I can’t make up my mind about what we should do on our next trip. Who else should I turn to but our trusted Mouse & Monorail readers for their input and opinions. So here goes…

We are taking our family on another Disney cruise in late May 2017 for our son Roo’s 6th birthday. It will be my husband, our 2 sons (ages 10 and 6) and myself. I know that there is simply no way I can cruise from Port Canaveral and NOT visit Walt Disney World. The question then turns to, “what do I want out of our next Disney trip?” We are wanting to be there for a couple of nights before our cruise, and we don’t want to break the bank. Here are a few options I’m tossing around:

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Option 1: Stay in a value or moderate resort, perhaps Pop Century or Caribbean Beach. We would purchase a 1 day water parks and more tickets and visit Magic Kingdom and Typhoon Lagoon. We haven’t visited the WDW water parks yet, so this would be fun and new for us. The boys love water parks, and I think with their ages there would be plenty to do to keep us all happy.

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Option 2: Once again stay in a value or moderate resort, and purchase 2 day tickets. We would visit Magic Kingdom and either Epcot or Animal Kingdom. I would like to see the new Animal Kingdom light show when it comes out, but a date hasn’t been set for that. The kids would probably enjoy Animal Kingdom (especially Expedition Everest) more than Epcot, but Jeremy and I fell in love with Epcot on our last trip. I’d love to really explore Epcot more, and allow them to see all the fun things around the World Showcase. And hello, Soarin’ and Test Track!

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Option 3: Skip the parks all together and splurge on a savanna room at Animal Kingdom Lodge. This resort is on my bucket list, and I would absolutely be in heaven waking up and seeing the giraffes outside my room. If we picked this option, we would probably explore the resort, eat at restaurants we’ve never tried, play in the pools and visit Disney Springs. We might even get tickets to La Nouba by Cirque de Soleil. It would truly be 2 days of relaxation enjoying the resort amenities to the fullest. I’d also like to do the starlight safari at Animal Kingdom.

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So those are a few of my ideas. What do you think? Which option would YOU pick if it were your trip? Feel free to throw out other ideas in the comments. I’m truly open to all suggestions, and can’t wait to hear which choice you would pick. Have a magical day! ~Amy ºoº

Epcot: A Free Printable Guide

Epcot Guide

Epcot is a gorgeous park to visit.

Epcot is the park at Walt Disney World that you may be tempted to skip – but please don’t! There is so much to see, do and EAT at Epcot! Epcot covers 300 acres, and is broken down into 2 sections: Future World and The World Showcase. Future World also includes Imagination! Pavilion, Innoventions East, The Land Pavilion, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends. The World Showcase includes pavilions from 11 countries around the world.

Dining in Epcot

There are almost 75 dining options at Epcot, and that doesn’t include special events such as the Food & Wine Festival or the Flower & Garden Festival when food carts are added! Epcot is definitely THE park to visit if you are foodie! I’ll be honest that, in the past, I didn’t have much love for Epcot, but that all changed on our recent anniversary trip to Walt Disney World, sans kids. It gave us the chance to actually take our time and really take in all that Epcot has to offer.

I’m going to take a moment of silence for the Del Mar seafood grill at La Hacienda de San Angel. Hands down, the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Learning While on Vacation

Beyond the food, Epcot is amazing at allowing you to explore new technology in Future World, and visit countries around the World Showcase. Attractions such as Test Track and Sum of All Thrills combine the latest technology with science and turn it into rides. You (and your kids!) are doing science while you are having fun. Total win/win!

Epcot has great learning rides like Spaceship Earth.

I fell in love with Epcot on a trip without kids, but do not fear if you are visiting Epcot with kids! Epcot offers Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure in the countries of the World Showcase, and it is so much fun! You receive a phone type device, and are given clues as though you are a secret agent from Phineas and Ferb. It is so much fun and really makes you slow down and explore the countries to try to solve your clues. We loved it! Kids also can get a Passport to get stamped in the countries, as well as do free crafts and activities with the cast members in each country. I think this was a genius idea from Disney to help parents to entertain their kids around the World Showcase.

Unique Activities in Epcot

In addition to touring the amazing pavilions, each country features food, drinks, souvenirs, experiences and shows. For example, you may hear a mariachi band in Mexico, and see Chinese acrobats in China. You might want to check out the Pick-A-Pearl in Japan, or shop for authentic Moroccan jewelry. Perhaps you would like a drink? Get a beer in Germany, a shot of tequila in Mexico, or a glass of wine in Italy. Not a drinker? How about trying some authentic snacks! Try school bread in Norway, a pastry in France and sushi in Japan.

Epcot Snacks in France.

Click on these links to get your free guides to all the Future World Attractions  and World Showcase Attractions for Epcot. Please note that especially for the countries in Epcot, even if an attraction isn’t listed, the pavilion itself is an attraction! Take your time to explore the nooks and crannies of each country. Don’t forget that Illuminations – Reflections on Earth can be seen from all pavilions. The Mouse and the Monorail Guide to Epcot

If you are planning a trip to Epcot, take the time to explore the menus and attractions before your trip. Print out our guide so you don’t miss anything fun or yummy! Don’t forget to print out our Magic Kingdom guide to go with this one!

Magic Kingdom: A Printable Guide

Magic Kingdom Guide

When someone says they are going to Walt Disney World, 9 times out of 10, they have the Magic Kingdom in their mind. For anyone who has never visited Magic Kingdom, or maybe you haven’t visited in many years, there is a ton of stuff to see and do! But, it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. Magic Kingdom is broken down into lands that are like spokes on a wheel, with the center of the wheel being the main attraction, Cinderella Castle. The other lands include the following: Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.Entrance Walt Disney World Resort

Free Printable Guide

Each section of Magic Kingdom has unique theming, architecture, attractions, food and music. If you pay attention as you are going to one land from another, you can see a slow transition of design, even with things as simple as flowers and plants, to which kind of music you hear playing in the background. Disney does fantastic at transitioning their guests into new experiences. They do such a good job, for example, that you won’t even get a glimpse of the castle from the heart of Adventureland. You know why? Because you can’t find castles in the jungle!

The Mouse and the Monorail Free Printable Guide to the Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom Attractions and Dining

To make it easier to plan a trip to Magic Kingdom, I’ve broken down the attractions and dining options by section throughout Magic Kingdom. Attractions with height requirements are indicated with the measurements necessary to ride. I’ve also listed whether the dining option is quick service, table service, or snack service. You can view the guide below and print it here:  Magic Kingdom AttractionsMagic Kingdom Attractions_Page_1

Magic Kingdom Attractions_Page_2

Magic Kingdom covers 142 acres, and it’s the smallest of the Walt Disney World parks! Preparation is key to having an enjoyable Disney vacation. Study YouTube and My Disney Experience for rides, attractions and menus to see what you know your family would love – or what you can mark off your list!

Helpful Tips

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Print this guide and put it in your park bag with your notes before you begin your day. Take your highlighter or pen to the pages! Don’t by shy when it comes to marking it up and checking off the things you want to do. I hope you find this guide to Magic Kingdom helpful. Check out our Epcot guide too!

Hollywood Studios With Little Ones

Today I’m talking about hits for kiddos at Hollywood Studios park. We love Hollywood Studios for our older son Tigger, because there is so much he can do there, but Roo (2 ½ years old) had a great time too. Let’s get started!

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure

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This is a playground for kids 10 and under and is based on the 1989 movie, “Honey I Shrunk the Kids.”  Kids can play on a playground designed as though they have been shrunk. They get to go through 20 foot tall blades of grass, climb over ants and lawn sprinklers, and play until their heart is content pretending that they are shrunken in their own backyard. We haven’t been able to do this attraction on the last 2 trips to Disney because it was closed both times. Bummer, because I know both of my boys would love it.

Hi there! Sarah chiming in…my girls absolutely LOVED this attraction! We literally spent an hour here (it was a misty, wet day, so it was fine to sit for a bit), and they probably would have stayed longer if we didn’t have a FastPass+ reservation for Toy Story Mania! Like Amy, in trips past, this attraction had been closed for  various reasons, so I’m glad my kiddos finally got to experience it on our last trip. It’s a great place for kids to play and for parents or grandparents to sit and take a little breather. ~S

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Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Sarah again! This ride is a bit nostalgic for me. I have a special affinity for The Little Mermaid (I did rename myself Ariel when I was 3 after all), so this attraction is always going to be special to me. I’ll admit that on our last two trips, I didn’t have the time to squeeze it in, but if you are a fan of the movie, it’s really worth your time. It’s a live action/animatronic version of the movie, shortened to about 15 minutes. It definitely hits all the high points, including all of the most recognizable songs from the film, so you’ll definitely be singing along (even if it’s secretly!). If nothing else, you get to sit down in the cool air conditioning for 15 minutes, which, on peak summer days, is absolutely worth it. ~S

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Toy Story Mania

Hey howdy hey, this is my favorite thing in all of Hollywood Studios! An 3D arcade style ride that takes you through a midway featuring all the Toy Story friends. You enter a vehicle and compete in various challenges with your ride partner. It is so much fun! The rides spins around and you pull a little string on the end of a cannon that you can aim at various targets to earn points. It is so much fun!!! And the queue for the ride is a kids paradise! It has giant replicas of toys, games, and even a larger han life Mr. Potato Head. Definitely makes standing in line go by quickly!

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Muppet Vision 3D

Sarah again! I’m taking over Amy’s post! Haha! Sorry. But not really. I definitely wanted to help her out with some of these attractions that she has been unable to experience because I know some of you out there are big fans (or will be, if you take our advice!). Muppet Vision 3D is a show done mostly in 3D (with some live puppets sprinkled in) that features all your favorite Muppet characters. The premise of the show is that they are trying to create the best 3D show in the park, but, as always with Muppets, hilarious hijinks ensue. My girls begged to do this show over and over again after the first visit. I think we must have seen it at least 5 or 6 times one day. It’s got some loud bangs and pops, but most of the 3D tricks are silly and funny, so it shouldn’t scare anyone too much (trust me, I’ve got one skittish twin, and even she got used to all the noises after a few visits). If your kids love the Muppets, this is a show you cannot miss! ~S

Disney Junior – Live on Stage

This was probably Roo’s favorite part of HS! This show highlights some of your child’s favorite Disney Junior characters, including Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First. The show uses puppets and live actors, and has tons of audience participation because everyone is sitting in the middle of the room on the ground, so it is uber kid friendly. Your kids will be singing, dancing and loving every second of this show!

Hollywood Studios seems to be geared more toward older kids, but you can definitely find ways to entertain your little one there and the whole family can have fun. What is your favorite Hollywood Studios attraction? ~A ºoº

Animal Kingdom For Your Little One

We visited Animal Kingdom for the first time on our trip to WDW last September. Because there were so many things on our to-do list, we only opted to spend ½ day at AK. We arrived at the park, in true Wade fashion, an hour before the park opened and we were the first people in line to get in. Because we were only there for ½ day, I was very selective with our choices, and we honestly, didn’t see half of what the park has to offer. Here are our favorites for Animal Kingdom with a little one:

Kilimanjaro Safaris: This is what Animal Kingdom is all about, and perfect for kids of any age. You board a safari vehicle, and then travel on an African safari. The habitats are very open, with hidden (camoflauged or natural) barricades, so you are protected from the dangerous animals like lions and hippos, but animals like zebras, impalas, giraffes and rhinos roam free. Watering holes and salt licks are strategically placed to ensure that you have a good view of the animals, and some amazing pictures. Our entire group loved this so much that the only thing that stopped us from doing it twice was the long wait. I highly recommend getting to this attraction early in the day, or very late in the afternoon. Otherwise the lines can get very long. This is definitely a do-not-miss attraction!

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The Boneyard: This is a huge dinosaur themed playground for kids. We all know that when you go to Disney, you wait in lines. This play area is perfect for letting your little ones explore, run and play, and not have to worry about lines for just a little while. Best part, there is only one entrance in and out of the boneyard, so even though it is a sprawling playground, you know your little ones are corralled. The playground equipment is designed like dinosaur skeletons, and they can run, slide and go crazy for a little while. If you are so included, you can also take your child into the covered sandpit (it’s not really sand, but rubber), and let them dig and explore for bones and fossils, while you prop your feet up for a few minutes and enjoy the shade. Once again, our entire family enjoyed the boneyard immensely.dig

TriceraTop Spin: This is a Dumbo style ride, shaped like a dinosaur. Roo thought it was fun, and considering there aren’t a lot of rides that he could do at AK, we had to give it go.

It’s Tough To Be A Bug: This is a 3-D presentation about life as a bug. Found inside the Tree of Life, this movie does have some special effects. We didn’t have a chance to see this, but I’ve been told we need to give it a try next time.
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Wilderness Explorers: Hi! This is Meredith filling-in for this portion because Amy wasn’t able to experience this and I feel that it’s a MUST for anyone with kids. This is a free attraction and can be played at any time during your day in the AK. Simply see a Cast Member for your book and pencil on the bridge as you exit the Oasis. (It’s the bridge where you first see the Tree of Life). This fun and interactive attraction sets your little adventurer out on a quest to earn as many Wilderness Explorer badges (think Russell from Pixar’s Up) throughout the AK. Use the map to locate the WE stops along your way and discover all sorts of unique and captivating bits of info and hands-on, one-on-one experiences with some pretty cool creatures. At most of the stops you’ll seek out a WE cast member and complete the task or answer the question in the book. If you get it right, you earn your badge!

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And can I just say that the CM’s that work the WE stops are some of the BEST CM’s because they get so excited when you show up genuinely wanting to learn and interact. Boo learned how to write her name in Hindi, played “twinkle, twinkle, little star” on an actual Indonesian musical instrument, determined what was hurting a turtle by examining its x-ray, converted currencies based on the day’s values, and discussed why in the world flamingos are pink. And that’s just a few of the things you’ll get to do and explore. She actually ended up earning 25 of the ~30 badges!! We just paid attention to the WE map as we made our way through the park and hit most all of them. She’s even wanting to complete the remaining ones on her next trip so she can say she did them all!! This “attraction” is hands-down one of the BEST ways to experience the AK because it makes slowing down and appreciating the animals and all that nature has to offer incredibly enjoyable. Whoever said that spending a day in the Disney parks ISN’T educational has never experienced the Wilderness Explorers! “The Wilderness must be explored!! Ca-caw ca-caw! Roar!!!!” °o° ~M

I definitely know that there is tons that Animal Kingdom has to offer that we haven’t gotten the chance to see/do yet, but once again, that’s why we want to go back! Did I mention your favorite attraction for your kiddo at Animal Kingdom? Leave us some love in the comment section and let us know your thoughts! Toodles! °o° ~A

Epcot For Your Little One

So today I’m talking about Epcot attractions for your little ones. I feel like today’s post needs to come with an * noting that in two trips to Epcot in two years, we have YET to make it around the lake to see all the counties. It’s not that we don’t like Epcot, cause we do (we really, really do!). We just get so wrapped up in all Epcot has to offer before you even make it to the countries, that we always seem to run out of time. Next trip to Disney, Epcot is going to get at least a full day, and not just a few park hopped hours here and there. So with that little caveat, here is what my little Roo (2 ½ years old) loved about Epcot.

Caribbean Coral Reef Aquarium: Instead of lions and tigers and bears, you can find sea turtles, dolphins and sharks! This 5.7 million gallon aquarium is home 4,000 sea critters in one of the largest man made ocean environments in the world. They feed the fish at 10:00 and 3:30, and a cast member will narrate everything you are seeing underwater. If you go to the second floor observation deck you are in a room completely surrounded by the aquarium. So awesome! There is also an interactive area, and a “fins-on” play area at Bruce’s Shark World. Definitely a fun experience and cute photo ops!

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Innovations East and West: Lots and lots of fun, interactive stuff for kids (and grown-ups) of all ages. Features exhibits about fire and storm safety, engaging exhibits (like a videogame playground) and hands on stuff about green living, environmentalism, technology, etc. We have had a blast at Innovations.

Living With The Land: Take a boat ride through various world environments, and into a greenhouse where tons of different fruits, vegetables and crops are grown with some amazing, state-of-the-art techniques. Disney uses the food grown in this ride in some of their Epcot restaurants, so it’s really cool to see that Disney is actually “farming” right on site. You also see the tanks where the sustainable fish are kept, until, ummmm, dinner time. We rode 2 times, it was that intriguing!

Spaceship Earth: You simply cannot go to Epcot without visiting “the ball.” Yes, the ball has a name! And it’s a ride! Whodathunkit? Spaceship Earth is an interactive ride through history and technology. Good for the whole family, and it generally has a very short wait time. This ride travels around the inside of the 18 story iconic landmark, and it begins with historical scenes of early communication and brings you all the way through the beginning of modern technology. After your ride is complete, you can play the games that are found after the unloading dock.

epcotThe Seas with Nemo & Friends: This is a fun ride through the Finding Nemo movie. The queue is very beachy and the line generally moves fairly quickly. You will ride in a clam-mobile and meet Mr. Ray and his class from the movie, where you learn that Nemo is missing. You will journey through the ocean to try to find Nemo. Very cute!

Turtle Talk With Crush: This is a super cute, interactive show where the kids sit in a designated area on the floor and get to interact with a “live” version of Crush (the sea turtle from Finding Nemo) on a huge tv screen. The kids are asked questions and get to talk to Crush and ask him questions. It’s definitely a hit for the kids and the adults, and the voice of Crush is dead on to the movie version. I rate it as “not to be missed.”

So there you have our favorite rides and attractions at Epcot for little ones. I know that there are jewels missing in my Princess crown for not having seen more of Epcot, but I keep telling myself, “that’s just another reason to go back!” Did I mention your favorite Epcot attraction? Miss it? Tell me all about what you and your little ones love about Epcot in the comment section. Toodles! ~A ºoº

Magic Kingdom Rides for Your Little Ones

Traveling to Magic Kingdom with a child is what dreams are made of! The kids are still young enough to appreciate the magic and joy, and let’s face it; it’s super easy to act like a kid when you are with your kiddos!

I’ve broken down the rides at Magic Kingdom that I thought would be perfect for the little kids today, based on the lands for easy referencing if you are planning a trip. Mind you, all the rides/attractions on this list will be fine for anyone under 38 inches tall. Anything with a *** on it I consider a “Do Not Miss” ride or attraction. Let’s get started!

 

Main Street, U.S.A.

Other than the Main Street Vehicles (old timey cars) and the Walt Disney World Railroad, there aren’t any “rides” on Main Street. However, don’t pass up the railroad as an easy way to move around the park without all the walking, or as a perfect place to hop on and ride as a little one takes a nap or needs a little quiet time. You get the chance to see the park from the train and rest your legs at the same time.

If you can, try to catch a ride on one of the Main Street vehicles. Also fun, and a great way to capture some cute pictures!

 

Adventureland

Adventureland is about as fun as you can get for the adventurous kiddos in your bunch. My boys love it! Nothing too scary, but lots of fun to be found!
Jungle Cruise***: A slow moving boat ride through the Amazon, narrated by a very humorous guide with some very hokey, but funny jokes. Nothing scary about this ride, but you will encounter elephants, hippos and crocodiles! A definite favorite with my boys!

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin: Picture Dumbo, but add magic carpets instead of flying elelphants and you have The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. A spitting camel sprays water on riders, but you can maneuver your carpet around to avoid the water (or aim for it if it is a super hot day!). Nothing scary, but not particularly worth a long wait, IMHO.

Pirates of the Caribbean***: An indoor boat road through various pirate scenes. It didn’t faze my kids, but it might be a bit intense if you have a skiddish child.

Swiss Family Treehouse: While not a ride, I consider it a fun place to explore the replica of the treehouse from Swiss Family Robinson if you have a few minutes to spare. There’s never a line, but there is a lot of climbing stairs (it is a treehouse!), so consider that if you are going to be toting a little one that doesn’t feel like walking anymore!

 

Frontierland

There isn’t much in Frontierland for the little kids, but you can always visit Tom Sawyer Island (which we haven’t done, so I can’t speak for it) or the Country Bear Jamboree which is an animatronic show that features singing bears. I didn’t much care for it, but it is air conditioned and dark so if you need a good place to rest your eyes, or let a little one rest, give it a shot.

 

Liberty Square

Haunted Mansion: Ride on a “Doom Buggy” through the haunted mansion, from the parlor to the attic and then the graveyard. This one can be scary and a little intense, but both of my boys have done fine on it.

Liberty Belle Riverboat: We’ve never been on the Liberty Belle, but if you are killing time while the older kids are on Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain, which is just down the way, I recommend giving it a shot.

 

Fantasyland

Fantasyland is what dreams are made of for little kids! Here is a break down ride-by-ride.

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel***: A beautiful carousel right behind Cinderella’s castle. How much more magical can it get to ride a carousel behind the most amazing castle? Love it!

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It’s a Small World***: An indoor boat ride around the world where you will hear the most mind-numbing song ever! J/K. You have to give this ride a chance, even if you have the song stuck in your head all day long. The tour around the world features dancing dolls dressed in the attire of their culture. It’s air-conditioned, and the line moves fairly quickly. At the very least, you can get off your feet for a few minutes.

Mad Tea Party***: This is the spinning teacup ride! Beware for parents with motion sickness, but this ride is so much fun! Both of my boys loved it, and the best part to them was spinning the cup as fast as they could. If spinning until motion sickness occurs isn’t quite your thing, you can always ride the teacups, but not tell your kids that they can spin you faster! 🙂

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The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh***: Pure magic. Disney beauty at its finest! I’ve always been a Winnie the Pooh fan, but this ride and queue was incredible. The queue has tons of stuff to keep the kids entertained, including a wall of “honey” that the kids can manipulate, and the ride does an amazing job of depicting the 100 Acre woods. One of my favorites!

Mickey’s PhilharMagic***: A 3D movie attraction that features lots of Disney characters. We all loved it!

Peter Pan’s Flight***: An amazing ride in a flying pirate ship from London to Never-Never Land. Beautifully done ride, and one that the whole family can enjoy.

Under the Sea***: Journey of the Little Mermaid: Ride in a clam shell through a brief telling of the story of the Little Mermaid. One of the newest attractions in Fantasyland, this one is also not to be missed!

Dumbo the Flying Elephant***: An iconic Disney ride, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, is a midway ride where you, um, ride a flying elephant. The ride itself is lots of fun for little kids, and the queue is a huge indoor playground that gives you a pager so your kids can play while you wait for your time to ride. What’s not to love about that?

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The Barnstormer: This ride appears to be an introductory roller coaster ride for kids. In actuality, it is a ride that will make parents physically sick. I didn’t get whiplash as bad from any other ride at WDW! We rode this on our first trip, and I was very disappointed. The waiting took forever, and the ride itself is only 21 seconds long. Not worth it in my opinion, especially with the residual headache I got.

Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station: A nice playing area for the kids, but it will leave your little one wet. Consider yourself warned!

 

Tomorrowland

Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin***: The Magic Kingdom version of HS Toy Story Mania, this ride is fun. You and Buzz Lightyear are fighting the evil Emperor Zurg to save the universe. You spin your car around and shoot laser cannons at different targets. Very interactive and lots and lots of fun, even if your little one can’t really shoot and aim at the targets, they still feel like they are scoring lots of points.

Astro Orbiter: This is a very tame rocket ship ride with a great view of the kingdom. Not much to it, but worth it for the view.

Tomorrowland Speedway: A small race track with cars that ride along a guide rail, moving up to 7mph. I may be the worst parent in the world for saying this, but I loathe this ride. The wait is always ridiculously long, and almost the entire queue is the full sun. The two times I’ve ridden it recently I got a car that barely moved. I probably won’t ride this anymore!

Tomorrowland Transit Authority: A tram-like ride that takes you on a tour of Tomorrowland. We all have really enjoyed this ride. It moves fairly fast, and gives you a sneak peek into Space Mountain.

 

So there you have it! The rides of Magic Kingdom that I think would work for little ones. Do you have any favorites on the list? Was I the only parent that rode the Barnstormer and almost lost my lunch? Leave us a comment with your thoughts! Toodles! ~A ºoº