Welcome back to the final edition of my trip report to Walt Disney World! A lot has already happened on the trip so far, but this day was actually the busiest day by a long shot, so buckle up for a crazy ride.
Vito’s parents were kind enough to purchase a tour for us, giving us the chance to experience Marceline to the Magic Kingdom. I’ve done my fair share of reading about Walt Disney, so I knew a lot of what our tour guide told us, but it was still cool to hear about it from the point of view of the Magic Kingdom as opposed to Disneyland. We learned lots of fun facts about different attractions throughout the park, plus we had some cool experiences when our tour guide gave us history lessons of the Haunted Mansion and the Carousel of Progress as we rode through them.
But the highlight of the tour was when we went backstage to see how the Pepper’s Ghost effect worked in the flesh. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of anything backstage, so the best I can leave you with is the picture of where we entered above. I have to say though, seeing Pepper’s Ghost and the ballroom scene with my own eyes was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had in a Disney park. The tour is also pretty reasonably priced, so i would definitely recommend going on it if you have the chance because going inside of the Haunted Mansion was worth the price alone.
Following our tour, we took a quick trip around Fantasyland to use the Fastpass reservations we had made. We rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which is always a fun time because of the amazing animatronics involved. Then, we both took our first trip on the Dueling Dumbos, which were … well, it’s Dumbo and we are young adults, so I bet you can assume.
Speaking of flying, we made our way over to Peter Pan’s Flight after. I was particularly excited to experience this attraction in Walt Disney World again because I hadn’t been on it in six years there. I have to say that I was not disappointed because it is just such a cool experience to go flying over London and Neverland (but I do prefer the Disneyland version just slightly).
After our flight, we ended the early part of our day in the Magic Kingdom with Mickey’s PhilharMagic. I honestly think that PhilharMagic is one of the best 3D films ever made, and I can never get enough. It’s just such a perfect combination of everything Disney.
We finally made it to Animal Kingdom around 2 PM on that final day, and I could not have been more excited. Animal Kingdom may not be the most loved, but it has really grown on me over the years, so I was excited for whatever little time I had in the park. We started our time there with Expedition Everest, which was a blast as always. Plus, the Yeti was actually working this time!
Then, we headed over to one of my other favorite shows in the parks, The Festival of the Lion King.
I’m not a huge fan of The Lion King, but that show is phenomenal. There is just so much going on throughout the entire attraction, and I cannot see it often enough. So if you have never seen it, you need to watch it next time you are there!
After the fake animals in the show, it was time to go see some real animals in the Kilimanjaro Safaris. I love going to zoos and watching animals, so I always relish the chance to experience this attraction. One of the coolest moments of this particular trip occurred when we saw two young elephants playing with each other. They were running around each other and just being young kids, truly a delight to watch.
After the safaris, we decided to head out because there were other parks we wanted to visit again. But on our way out, we took a few pictures of the Avatar land construction. You can’t see much, but I still thought I’d share one with you.
At this point, Vito and I departed from each other for a good part of the night because Vito wanted to take nap, but this was our last day in the parks, so I wasn’t going to be missing out on any time I could be in the parks! When we had been at Hollywood Studios before we didn’t get the chance to see the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, so I knew that that was where I had to head.
Once I got to Hollywood Studios, I decided to try doing Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster one more time, single rider style. I ended up hopping out of line because I realized I wasn’t going to be able to make it to Indy on time, and that was my priority. But while I was in the line I noticed something rather odd.
Along the walls, they have posters that change as you stand there. These posters broadcast “bands” that will be performing soon, and each of these bands has a singer named after one of the people in line and their hometown. Now what was weird was that one of the names on the poster was mine, and it had my hometown, but I didn’t use my Magic Band to enter the attraction. That means that they are most likely using some type facial recognition to display this information, and it’s powerful enough to recognize you and match you to your reservation.
I don’t know about you, but that power is pretty scary to me! And nobody else is talking about this! I looked around online, and there aren’t many articles about it, so here I am letting everybody know. I mean, it is pretty cool how they are able to do it, and it certainly made me feel special, but I’m truly surprised no one is talking about this issue.
Anyway, I left the line early and headed on over to Indy to secure a prime spot. I managed to get one in the fourth row, and I made the decision to try to be a volunteer in the show. Sure enough, when the cast member came around looking for volunteers, I literally jumped out of my seat for the chance, and she chose me!
I have to say, this was a lifelong dream of mine, and I am so happy I got the chance to experience it. Unfortunately, I was there by myself, so no one was able to take pictures of me during the show, but I did take the one below with some of my fellow volunteers.
If you have never seen the show, the volunteers basically help with the scene taking place in the marketplace. So we got the opportunity to be extras and run around the stage while all the action went on around us. It was such a surreal experience, and I am so happy that I finally got the chance to see the show in this unique way.
Following Indy, I headed right on over to Fantasmic because I really miss being able to see it at Disneyland. At Disneyland, it is my favorite show of all time, and I cannot wait for it to be back in May (hopefully). However, it feels like a completely different show in Walt Disney World and not really in a good way (to me at least). It’s a bit longer and uses more water screens, something that Disneyland tries to be more conservative about. Also, I feel like the characters aren’t as strong and well suited for the show as they are in California, so I did leave feeling a bit disappointed.
But then it was time to head back over to the Magic Kingdom to close out my time at Walt Disney World.
Vito was going to be meeting back up with me after the first attraction I rode, so I made the decision to ride the Carousel of Progress. Having heard more about it earlier that day, I was anxious to ride it again without the tour guide’s commentary. There was almost no one in the room with me when I went to see it, and I have to say that it was one of my favorite Disney moments.
It sounds kind of odd, but there have been a few occasions over the years where when I rode a classic attraction, I was completely in awe and felt the magic of the attraction completely through my body. Before that night, it had only ever happened on Pirates of the Caribbean in California. But on that night, I felt that same feeling on the Carousel of Progress. I’m getting chills just thinking about it. It truly was a magical moment, and one that I will remember forever.
After that transcendent experience, Vito met up with me again, and we decided to try the PeopleMover-Space Mountain combo that I had heard Disney podcaster Aaron Wallace talk about. I have to say, I am not a huge fan of Space Mountain at Walt Disney World because I know how amazing it is at Disneyland, and the one in Florida pales in comparison, in my opinion. But going on the attraction after taking in the PeopleMover really did feel different to me, and I enjoyed it a lot more than the first time I rode Space Mountain on that trip.
We continued in Tomorrowland for a little bit longer to take in the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. Monsters, Inc. is my favorite Pixar film, so this attraction is always a can’t miss for me. We had some time in the hall beforehand, so we started reading the signage on the walls, and a lot of it is just as funny as the show, so definitely take some time to check it out next time you are there.
After the Laugh Floor, we made the quick trek over to Enchanted Tales with Belle, where there was almost no wait because we showed up about five minutes before it closed. Now I don’t want to say too much about the attraction because there are certain surprises that I don’t want to ruin, but I can say that it was one of the most incredible attractions I’ve ever experienced. It is simple, yet complex at the same time. There are some spectacular special effects throughout and the animatronics look amazing, so it is a must-do, especially for Beauty and the Beast fans. (Pro tip: if you want a picture with Belle, you need to volunteer.)
After that amazing experience, Vito and I split ways again because I needed one more chance to ride the Carousel of Progress, and Vito needed his Haunted Mansion fix. Sure this was my third time riding the Carousel of Progress that day, but it was just as amazing as before. This time I sat in the very front, and at some points it almost did feel like the presence of Walt was there with me. That day, the Carousel of Progress easily became my favorite attraction in the Walt Disney World Resort.
Following that last show, I made my way over to the PeopleMover, my other favorite attraction in the park. I waited until everyone had boarded, and then I got a whole vehicle to myself, making me the very last guest of the night on the PeopleMover. I have to say that that was another dream come true for me, so I left the park that night a very happy camper. I had had so many incredible experiences that day (primarily when I was by myself, ironically enough), and it truly was one of the best days I have ever had in a Disney resort.
That amazing day made it even harder to leave the next day. I don’t know if I have ever been as sad to leave Walt Disney World as I was on that day (probably because I knew I had a lot of homework to do).
Overall, I may have sounded a little critical of Walt Disney World throughout this trip report, but that’s just because I’ve become a little too biased to Disneyland recently. Walt Disney World still is an amazing place, and I would go back any day if I could. It was such an awesome time experiencing two different Halloween events because I had never done them in Florida before. Plus, it was special to finally go on a true vacation without my parents around. Not that I don’t love them (P.S. I love you guys, when you read this), but it is such a crucial experience in one’s life to go out and have that first major trip without them.
Well, that’s enough of my Disney ramblings. I hope you guys enjoyed this final part of the trip report, and that it could help you feel the Disney magic.
Have a magical day and thanks for reading!
Cole Geryak is a college Disney fan making his way through the world. He has ridden every single ride in Disneyland in one day, all while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name, and his heart truly lies in the parks.