Another important place at Disney World are the four parks. Magic Kingdom is what your parents think of when they think of Disney World, as it has been open since 1971. With its wide variety of rides, from roller coasters to riding on Dumbo, it’s a perennial favorite among families.
Epcot opened in 1982, exactly eleven years later. Epcot, short for Experiment Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, has two rides that immediately come to mind: Test Track and Soarin’. Test Track is a high speed ride that takes you through how cars are tested. You design your own car, then watch as it competes with the designs the other people in your car created. The last section spits you outside as you accelerate to nearly 65 miles an hour. Soarin’ is a slow paced ride that takes you around the world, from the Great Wall of China to the Great Pyramids, and polar bears in the Arctic to hot air balloons over Grand Teton National Park.
Hollywood Studios opened in 1989 as a park taking you behind the scenes of how movies are made. It has changed a bit over the years, now focusing on taking you into the movies rather than behind them, but a new area, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, is due to open in the fall of next year. Animal Kingdom, which opened in 1998, has one of the latest additions: Pandora, the world from Avatar.
No vacation would be complete without shows and special events. In Magic Kingdom, there is a spectacular fireworks and projection show, called Happily Ever After. The projections include scenes from all of your favorite Disney films, and the fireworks are coordinated with songs from the films. If you travel at the right time of year, you might be able to catch either the Halloween party or the Christmas party, both of which have special parades and firework shows. The Halloween party also features trick-or-treating all over the park. In Epcot, there is a fireworks show called Illuminations, which projects onto a dome in the center of a lagoon inside the park. Eventually the dome opens up and fireworks shoot off from inside of it. Hollywood Studios features several Star Wars shows throughout the day, and a Star Wars-themed fireworks and light show at night. Animal Kingdom features a water show called Rivers of Life, representing the wide variety of cultures throughout the world that rely on rivers.
Overall, the resorts, parks, and shows make Disney what it is today. The large, spacious resorts provide accommodations for everyone, and there are even some resorts that take your four-legged friends! The parks are a great way to spend you day with a wide array of rides, from coasters to carousels. The shows make it special, as many of the favorite characters either have their own show or appear in one, and the parties make the holidays unique, and they’re something you won’t see anywhere else. In general, a Disney World vacation has something for everyone, and the unique atmosphere will whisk you away into a magical fairy tale land free from earthly concerns. Yet, one quote from Walt Disney rings true to this day: “I hope we never lose sight of one thing—that it was all started by a mouse.”
About Our Guest Blogger:
Ethan Burks is 14 and lives in the sunny state of Hawaii. A seasoned Disney visitor with nearly 15 visits under his belt, Ethan has stayed at most of the resorts at Disney World as well as one at Disneyland and Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii. He has also experienced all four of the Disney Cruise Line ships over a total of seven cruises and nearly two months on the high seas. He is homeschooled and reads incessantly!
Ethan is a military “brat” and has lived in in five states—Washington, Kansas, Delaware, Virginia, and twice in Hawaii. In his free time, he participates in Civil Air Patrol, a Science Olympiad team, and is active in his chapel youth group. He loves astronomy and hopes to one day work for NASA. His mom, Susan Burks, is a Wishdrawals Disney Travel Planner!