First Impressions: Disney World, Orlando, Florida

We just returned from a six-day stay at the “most magical place on Earth.” Nope, not THAT place (Oshkosh/AirVenture).

Disney World. And I have some thoughts to share.

Travel

We need a faster airplane. Airlines are okay, but the airport experience is not. From TSA to the general public, airport life is not nice, and Orlando seems to be the worst I’ve experienced on all accounts.

Once in Orlando, the Disney Magical Express bus service (and all other forms of Disney transportation) were on time, clean, and easy to ride.

They introduced the “Skyliner” this year, which is a gondala system that runs to two of the parks with stations at some of the resorts. That works really well and is a nice ride.

Resort Life

We stayed at Disney’s Pop Century resort, one of their “value resorts.” There are perks to staying at any Disney resort, including access to “extra magic hours” at the parks. Of course, you’ll be so dead-tired by the time you get done, I don’t know who actually stays at the Magic Kingdom until midnight. (But you do you, right?)

The rooms themselves are basic, but renovated. It worked fine, but it was noisy and small. The food court is nice, with several options for a variety of tastes. It was the Christmas season, so everything was decorated and lit up nicely.

The Magic Kingdom

Hands down, this was my favorite park. Parades, fireworks, street performers, and fun rides made our day there full of things to see and do. There were multiple ride options for our son, who wasn’t quite tall enough for the bigger rides.

But he still got to meet a ton of characters and ride some well-known rides like Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Seven Dwarves Mine Train, and others.

And the fireworks? Amazing.

Animal Kingdom

I have to admit this park didn’t impress me. I guess this trip I was looking at everything through the lens of our son, so it felt like there wasn’t much to do for kids. We rode on the safari, attend the Lion King live show (which was great), and strolled through “Dino Land” which is supposed to be more kid-friendly, I think. As it turns out, Flynn could only ride one or two things.

Epcot

Epcot is an interesting park. There are rides, for sure, and we did them. Test Track, the Frozen ride, and others. But it’s probably best known for the way it features different countries of the world, and we enjoyed walking through those areas and experiencing the different cultures on display.

Again, not a real huge focus area for kids. Flynn did fine, but it’s just a different kind of park/experience.

Hollywood Studios

I really liked this park. There were plenty of shows and rides to keep us busy, and the ambiance/experience was also better here for whatever reason. Flynn was able to meet several characters right away, and the “Frozen Sing-Along” show was a hit as well.

We didn’t do much with the Star Wars attractions as they had just opened and everyone flocked to those areas. That left a lot of the park easier to manage, so we just stayed away (and Star Wars isn’t really our thing, anyway).

Final Thoughts

Disney is quite a place. It’s clean, it’s well-managed, and you can tell they value the guest experience. But it’s also very busy, very expensive, and lots of work to see/do everything while the rest of the world is also trying to do the exact same thing(s).

I had fun, but I don’t think I’ll be down every year like some families. I’m sure we’ll go back when Flynn is a bit taller and has more access to other rides/attractions.

Overall, I don’t wildly endorse going, but I don’t not suggest you go, either. It was fun to see and experience with the family, no doubt.

Your mileage may vary.

CaseyNet @caseyhansen