We just returned from the trip of a lifetime to Disney World, and I gotta say…it was MAGICAL! It was our family’s first experience at Disney World, and we loved it so much! Very grateful to have been invited to attend the Disney Content Creators conference. Before we left, I tried to figure out the best things to do at Disney World with young kids, so we went into the experience with at least a little bit of knowledge.
Today, I’ll share our experience with you and break things down by park within Disney World to hopefully help you and your family! At the time of writing this, our four daughters are between the ages of 4 and 9, so this perspective comes from a large family with young kids! We were only at Disney World for about a 2 day time span between my conference requirements and some rest time for the kids. Here is how we spent our time!
WHAT TO DO:
I asked the girls, and here are their favorite rides from Magic Kingdom in order of preference! You might want to consider scheduling Fast Passes for the first three:
- Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid – the girls LOVED this one as you can imagine!
- Peter Pan’s Flight – I think this was my favorite bc all of a sudden, you can FLY!
- Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin – neon lights and crazy characters abound in this fun ride.
- Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – peaceful and sweet
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant – a classic that’s not too much for the little ones!
WISH WE’D: had time to ride Pirates of the Caribbean!
WHAT TO EAT:
We were only able to eat at a few places while visiting Magic Kingdom, but here are some of our favorite eats and treats!
- Mickey ice cream bars sold throughout the park
- ADORABLE treats from Big Top Souvenirs (this is where we found the purple Mickey bars for the purple wall pic!)
- Pinocchio Village Haus – this is fairly centrally located with quick service food you can order on your phone to grab and eat on the go if you want! We LOVED their GF chicken strips, by the way!
WISH WE’D: had time/reservations to eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table!
Here are a few extras to try and catch while taking in all the magic that is Magic Kingdom with your young kids!
- Happily Ever After fireworks show – get there at least 30-45 minutes early to get a good spot in front of the castle. WORTH the wait and the crowding, trust us!
- Let the Magic Begin show at the Castle – your kids will get to see lots and lots of their favorite characters sing and dance! Great way to kick off the day.
WISH WE’D: had time to catch the Festival of Fantasy Parade!
Magic Kingdom Outfit Links:
WHAT TO DO:
We were able to spend about 1/2 a day at Animal Kingdom, so here are our favorite experiences from that adventure in order of preference!
- Avatar Flight of Passage – definitely need a Fast Pass for this one, and it is WORTH the extra planning/wait! WOW! I’ve never experienced anything like it. Note: if you are prone to motion sickness, take some meds and ride it anyway…it’s that good!
- Na’vi River Journey – after you ride FOP, take a breather on this gorgeous ride where you glide through the Na’vi River. You don’t want to miss this one. Need a FastPass here!
- Kilimanjaro Safari – take a trek into the jungle to see lions, zebras, giraffes and more up close! Probably need a FastPass on this one.
- Everest rollercoaster – my oldest was so brave and LOVED this experience w her dad!
- Dinosaur – another cool ride that is just slightly scary for the littler ones maybe.
WISH WE’D: had time to see the Finding Nemo musical and/or Rivers of Light
WHAT TO EAT:
We honestly didn’t eat much in Animal Kingdom other than a catered breakfast before the park opened with our conference, but I can say that the popcorn is delish and gluten free!
I’d say just in general, don’t miss going to Animal Kingdom if you’re trying to decide between parks! It didn’t “feel” as much like an amusement park like Magic Kingdom did, and it’s just got a fun, adventure vibe to it. We’d for sure go back!
Animal Kingdom Outfit Links:
We were able to spend a few hours in Hollywood Studios on our own before the Star Wars after hours party began for the conference attendees, and here’s what we did!
WHAT TO DO:
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Y’ALL. I’m not even like a die hard Star Wars fan, and I was blown away by this experience!! You for sure will need a FastPass scheduled in advance for this one.
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – My husband rode this while I stayed w tired kiddos, and he said it was crazy cool! You get to fly the Millennium Falcon!
- Toy Story Land – this was an adorable area where we spent most of our free time. We rode Toy Story Mania, a fun interactive game where you “shoot” at moving targets as you move through the ride. My oldest loved the Slinky Dog rollercoaster, too!
WISH WE’D: had time to see the Muppet 3D Vision show.
WHAT TO EAT:
We didn’t have time to do much munching at Hollywood studios, but here are a couple things we tried and liked!
- Let the kids try one of the colorful milks! Our girls tried blue milk and now expect it at home, ha!
- Woody’s Lunch Box – we ate here for dinner, and they were awesome about creating allergy-friendly versions of their menu items. Try the “totchos” or the grilled cheese. Yum.
I feel like I can’t even answer this one since we were there for such a short time, but if I could go back, I’d want time to wander the park and take photos by the cool old Hollywood style buildings, go back to Star Wars area and maybe see the Frozen Singalong w the girls!
Hollywood Studios Outfit Links:
We spent the least amount of time at Epcot just because of the way things worked out with the conference, and I so wish we could go back and see it all! I love the idea of all the different countries with different foods and experiences, so if we ever get the chance to return we’ll for sure spend a bit more time at Epot!
WHAT TO DO:
- Frozen Ever After – grab your FastPass and take the kids on the Frozen ride! It was so cool, and the girls loved it!
- Epcot Forever fireworks show – we had a private viewing/dessert party for this fireworks show, and it was wonderful! (*note: if I had to choose between this fireworks show and the one at Magic Kingdom, MK would win, fyi!)
I hope this review of our whirlwind newbie visit to Disney World was helpful! I got so overwhelmed trying to research what the heck to do/see/eat before the trip, so I tried to make it as simple and easy and NOT overwhelming as I could for any other Disney first-timers out there!
Honestly, there’s something cool about each and every park, but if you could only do ONE park with kids in our kids’ age range (4-9), definitely don’t miss the magic of Magic Kingdom! Animal Kingdom would be my second pick with Hollywood and Epcot tied for third if you HAD to narrow it down due to time constraints.
Truly, this was such a MAGICAL experience for our family, and we are so grateful to Disney and the Content Creators conference for the memories we’ll cherish forever!