Disney World Trip Countdown: 10 Days

With 10 Days left to go, I thought it would be fun to do a Top 10 List.  So, these are the Top 10 New Experiences I have planned for our trip.  Some of these experience are new to the resort.  Others are just new to us. 

10. The Fantasyland Expansion

I am lumping the whole thing together because there is no guarantee we will get to experience it this trip.  If we do, it will be due to soft openings.  At present, I like our chances pretty well.  But there is also a very good chance we won’t be admitted. 

If it was a sure thing, I would break down the various components of the expansion.  Honestly, it would probably dominate the top ten.  But since there is a strong possibility we won’t see any of this stuff during our trip, I don’t want it taking up a lot of space on the list.  For that reason, I am also giving it the lowest spot on the list.

Out of the entire expansion, the element I am looking forward to the most is the Journey of the Little Mermaid ride.  Not so much for my own enjoyment.  I have seen the videos on-line.  But I know my girls will enjoy it if they get to see it.

9. The Art of Animation Resort

The theme park commando in my can only get so excited about a hotel.  In theory, it is a place to sleep in between days spent touring the parks.  That’s where the action is.

But in reality, we will spend a fair amount of time at our resort.  With little kids, afternoon breaks are important.  Weather permitting, I expect to spend a lot of time at the Nemo and Little Mermaid-themed pools.

Also, we are staying in a suite for the first (and probably last) time.  I’m looking forward to having the extra room.  This is especially nice with little kids who can feel constraint in the typically small Disney hotel rooms.

If we are only going to stay at the Art of Animation Resort once, now would be the time.  My kids are young enough to appreciate the over-sized character statues and colorful room decor.  Later, we may opt for something more subtle and less “tacky”.  But the look and feel of this resort is perfect for families with small kids like ours.

8. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

This is the third time I have scheduled a resevation at this princess meal.  And yet, we have never eaten there.  Although I have some concerns about some of the picky eaters in the group, I have heard mostly good things about the food.

The main attraction here is the interactions with the princesses.  We have two princess meals scheduled during our trip.  This will be the first and also the only one that is new to our group.  Later in the trip, the girls may have princess fatigue.  But at this point in the trip, face time with the princesses will still be new and exciting.

7. Star Tours 2.0

There aren’t a lot of new attractions on this list.  Why?  Well, there aren’t a lot of new attractions at Disney World.  And I have seen and done most of the attractions at all of the parks save for the evening fireworks displays.

As a Star Wars fan, I have always enjoyed Star Tours.  But it was beyond dated.  Disney should have updated it a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away).  This will be my first trip back since Star Tours got its make-over.  I can’t get too excited over the new bells and whistles, but I am definitely looking forward to checking it out.

6. Wishes

This is the first fireworks show on the list.  Traditionally, we have skipped out of the parks early to avoid the mad rush home.  The kids were tired and sometimes fireworks scared them.  So, we haven’t seen a lot of the park-closing fireworks displays.

I doubt we’ll catch them all this trip.  But if we can take in one or two, I will consider the trip a success.

5. Mandara Spa at the Dolphin Resort

There are a whole lot of firsts here for me.  My wife and I are taking an afternoon for a couples massage.  Not only is it my first massage, it is the first time I have ever had any kind of a spa treatment.  It will also be our first time stepping inside the Dophin Resort.

I’m looking forward to a relaxing “date night” (even though it’s in the afternoon) in the middle of our trip.

4. Bippity Boppity Boutique

It wouldn’t be a princess trip if the girls didn’t get princess make-overs.  We have scheduled appointments at the BBB before.  But like Akershus, we have always cancelled them in the past.  This year, I think the girls are old enough to enjoy the experience.

We are going to the BBB to kick off the last night of our trip.  The girls will be all blinged out for the final parade and fireworks display.

3. Fantasmic!

I have been trying to see Fantasmic! since 2003.  And yet, somehow, it never pans out.  The show is a mixture of fireworks, live action and animation clips projected on a screen of mist.  The storyline focuses on Mickey as he imagines a battle between himself and several Disney villains.

Recently Disney added a second showing of Fantasmic! on the night we plan to see it.  This greatly increases our chances of seeing the show since the second showing is always less busy than the first.  Now, my biggest concern is that the villains may scare the kids.

2. Main Street Electrical Parade

One of my favorite Disney memories was taking Josie to see the Spectromagic parade on her first trip.  Since then, she hasn’t really had the patience for many parades.  But Kara loves watching them at home on YouTube.  I’m hoping she enjoys the Main Street Electrical Parade as much as her sister enjoyed Spectromagic when I took her to see it.

1. Illuminations

Of all the fireworks displays, Illuminations is generally considered the best.  I can’t really weigh in since I have never seen any of the regularly shown displays.  Having heard so many rave reviews of Illuminations, it is the show I am looking forward to the most.  Although as I mentioned, I’ll be happy if we stay for any one fireworks show during our trip.  If we see them all, I will condier it a major victory.

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Posted on October 22, 2012, in theme parks, Trip Countdown, Walt Disney World and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I am not a huge fireworks fan. They’re fun, but I’m usually busy planning our escape route to a ride.

    That said, Illuminations really is worth hanging out for. But I wouldn’t fret if you miss it. I can’t imagine they will scrap it for many years to come.

    I’m also finding a lot of first time experiences left on my plate for December. In no particular order:

    10) yes, I’ll list the FLE as all one thing, too. It’s the main reason the trip was planned to begin with.

    9) Test Track- I never went on the first version, so I won’t be able to compare it to the new one.

    8) Staying on Property- it’s a value resort, so I’m not exactly super jazzed about it, but the transportation will be nice.

    7) The Candlelight Processional- scheduled celebrity host: TBA

    6) The People Mover- maybe I rode the version at Disneyland when I was a little kid, but I have no memory of it.

    5) The Liberty Square Riverboat- This may not end up fitting into our schedule, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It’s such an iconic Frontierland/Liberty Square image. Why haven’t I been on this thing before?

    4) Animal Kingdom- The whole park will be new to us. Never been here before. I like zoos. I like theme parks. Why wouldn’t I like this?

    3) Gran Fiesta Tour- totally had no idea this thing existed the last time we were there.

    2) The American Adventure- What we’ve been doing in our previous trips to EPCOT, I just can’t account for. I do know we spent a lot of time waiting in lines in Future World last time. That won’t happen this time.

    1) Splash Mountain- I don’t care how cold it gets in December, I’m not coming home without riding Splash Mountain again. Fears about getting soaked have held us back in the past.
    No more.


    • Honestly, I’m about the same with regards to fireworks. I like them. But I have never prioritized them obviously.

      Test Track – I have long considered it the most over-rated ride on property. The final lap around the track is thrilling. But the rest of the ride is merely okay. It always has a long line which is rarely worth the wait.

      Staying On-site – I will be interested to hear your thoughts. We have never stayed at a Value, but I have considered it many times. I love staying at the Mods. From a dollars and cents perspective, I’m not sure they are worth the money. But there are intangibles that have always made it worth it to me.

      Candlelight Processional – I have never been but I hear it’s a great show. I hope you guys enjoy it. Fingers crossed for a good narrator.

      Animal Kingdom – I have no doubt you’ll enjoy it. We loved it the first time we visited and a little less every time since. I wish it had more for little kids to see and do. It is arguably the most beautiful of the parks.

      Gran Fiesta Tour – I’m sure I have said this before, but you aren’t missing much. Still, worth doing for the completist inside. Gotta check it off the list. It’s not bad. It’s just a less fantastic small world.

      American Adventure – I haven’t seen it either. The timing just hasn’t worked out. The kids would be bored out of their minds. Someday.

      Splash Mountain – The first time I went as an adult, it was down. I wasn’t worried about it because I thought it was just a log flume. I didn’t realize there were animatroincs and story elements. Then I saw the inside on the Travel Channel and realized I had missed a great ride. The next trip, I made it my number one priority and I was glad I did. In my experience, I have never gotten soaked. If you’re worried, sit towards the back. Or, to be more accurate, sit your heaviest person in the back and your lightest up front. Even if you do get wet, I bet byou’ll think it’s worth it.


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