And there is almost always a story behind each ride.
New version of the map:
Old version of the map:
Again, not a fan of the new maps, but it does have a few of the new rides in the upper right quadrant of Fantasyland.
I'll start off in Tomorrowland, and head counterclockwise, since that seems to be the way we hit the park. The Unofficial Guide book to WDW will give you 'touring' suggestions that will take you back and forth across the park, so if you plan to use one of their tours as a guide, please wear your running shoes!
. . . well, wear your running shoes anyway, because by the end of the day you will have walked MILES.
Again, becoming familiar with the rides and their location will keep you from wasting time as you get your bearings.
Virtually all the rides are wheelchair accessible PROVIDED you can get out of the chair to get on a ride. Wheelchairs are allowed in all the shows and a few of the rides. IF you have a stroller, there is stroller parking near each show/ride.
**Mark your generic stroller/wheelchair with something easily identifiable, such as a red bandana or a pinwheel, or whatever. 'Dirty' diapers have been used to secure one's stroller.**
**if you have a young child who is unable or doesn't want to ride a particular ride, ask an attendant if you can "Switch Off". This basically allows one parent to ride, but then when the ride is over that parent can watch the child while the other parent rides.**
**pick up a times guide to verify meet-n-greet times**
**any ride with a * in front of the ride name is a ride that is on my 'do not miss' list**
MAIN STREET USA
Truthfully, we tend to buzz right through this area to head to Space Mountain, especially in the morning. There are a couple of things you need to know about Main Street. The big central park area is a gathering place for character to take pictures and sign autograph books. To your right, they have been revamping Town Square Theater -- fast pass -- to have an indoor meet-n-greet with Mickey and the Princesses.
Diagonally across the square, they have a new adventure called, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, in which a child searches for clues throughout the Kingdom to defeat the Disney Villains. This would be a fun adventure if you've been to the Magic Kingdom numerous times, right up there with finding Hidden Mickeys, but I'd save it until after you experienced all that the Kingdom offers you.
Walt Disney World Railroad -- This is a regular train that goes around the outside edges of the Magic Kingdom. The main station is above the tunnel entrance into the park. The two other stations are in Fantasyland, where ToonTown used to reside (the upper right corner of the map), and Frontierland, between Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.
*Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor -- fast pass -- Interactive SHOW -- The fast pass simply gets you to the front of the line. A limited number of people are allowed in the theater at one time. It's an okay show, not my favorite. Save it for the heat of the day.
*Stitch's Great Escape! --SHOW -- 40" height requirement -- DARK -- fun scary-- A little wet -- though there seems to be a ton of people crowding the queuing area, this theater seats quite a few people. Once you pass the outside doors, there are two more queuing areas before the theater. EVERY seat in the round theater is excellent. Once the show starts, the shoulder harnesses come down over your shoulders on each chair. Sit up straight. DO NOT ALLOW IT TO SMUSH YOU DOWN. It presses down, but then it pops up about 1/2 inch.
This theater used to be where the Alien show was held . . . and that, my friends, was a really scary show!
*Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin -- SLIGHTLY DARK -- continual two seat cars move through various scenes as you try to take out Zurg. The front of the car closes on you to keep you in place, but you don't care since you have your gun to shoot things! A third small person can sit in the middle, but there are only two guns. Laser guns shoot targets on various objects to earn points.
Carousel of Progress -- SHOW -- it's been YEARS since we saw this show. Very rarely is it crowded. Personally, I think it's dated as technology is progressing so quickly that it simply can't keep up.
*Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover -- 4-6 person car takes you above the crowds and through a few rides. It helps you rest and get the feel of TOMORROWLAND. It takes you through Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain, though you won't see anything except the flash of stars, planets, and the rockets unless the ride happens to be down and the lights are on.
Astro Orbiter -- motion sickness --two-seater rockets fly up and down above TOMORROWLAND. Seatbelts and centrifugal force keep you seated. Similar to Dumbo and Aladdin's Flying Carpets. We did ride this one during Halloween fireworks one year. Now, THAT was really cool! Slow to load and unload. Small groups are taken in elevator to the ride.
*Space Mountain -- fast pass -- 44" height requirement -- DARK -- Two sections of three seats make up the 'rocket'. You sit one in front of the other. Lap bars hold you in. You really can't see a darn thing so there's no way to brace yourself during this ride. I LOVE this rollercoaster, but it's really rough on your body. It can be very jerky, so if you have neck or back issues, you might want to give this ride a miss.
Tomorrowland Speedway -- 32" to ride, 54" to drive height requirement -- If you've never driven go carts then this might be fun for you. A bunch of cars, running on lawnmower engines, travel on a rail--there is no deviation from the rail or passing. You are stuck on the rail. Of course, this ride is more for the kids than the adults . . . unless the adult wants to relive the magic of the Speedway. I hate to burst your adult bubble, but it isn't the same as it was when you were a kid.
First, I'll do the path to the right and then go back to do the left path.
Mad Tea Party -- motion sickness -- 2-4 person--when I say up to 4 people, I mean two adults and two little ones NOT four adults-- teacups spin on a moving floor. A fun ride unless your kid is crazed and wants to make you puke. Jus' sayin'.
Fairytale Garden -- head toward Cinderella's Castle opposite direction from the Dumbo rides, very secluded niche-- character meet and greet
Dumbo the Flying Elephant (2) -- motion sickness -- elephants fly around, a lever controls up and down. 2-3 persons per elephant. It's been awhile since we've ridden it, I think seat belts keep you in place.
*The Barnstormer -- fast pass -- 35" height requirement -- This is a fun rollercoaster. A great one to start your kids on. It's not too scary, not too steep, not too long, but it can be fast. Each car seats two people. Recommend one adult to one child per seat. A lap bar with a netting over your legs keeps you in place.
Walt Disney World Railroad -- Fantasyland station. You can get on or get off at any station, BUT you have to leave your scooters and large strollers. Umbrella strollers can be folded up and taken on the train.
Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station -- A Lot WET-- bring extra clothes
Pete's Silly Slide Show -- character meet and greet
*The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh -- fast pass -- slight dark -- Each honey pot holds four, two in front, two behind. This is a nice quiet ride through Pooh's mind. The scariest part is his nightmare about heffalumps and woozles. A bar comes down over your legs.
Ariel's Grotto -- character meet and greet
Under the Sea -- Journey of the Little Mermaid -- fast pass -- When we went on this little ride, there was no waiting. It seemed similar to The Seas in EPCOT. Little girls would love this ride. Me, not so much, it was kind of boring.
Enchanted Tales with Belle -- character meet and greet
Prince Charming Regal Carousel -- merry-go-round. On the side of the carousel toward Cinderella's Castle is the Sword in the Stone. They do a show here. Check your Times Guides.
*Mickey's PhilharMagic -- SHOW -- Must See -- Make an effort to see this 3-D, well 4-D since you'll get slightly damp, show. It's in a huge auditorium so don't let the crowds waiting at the door scare you. It's a nice way to cool off and relax.
*Peter Pan's Flight -- fast pass -- DARK-- 2-3 persons per ship. I never really liked the Peter Pan movie. It just didn't do anything for me, so I was hesitant to ride this ride. Do NOT miss this ride. It's one of my favorites! How many times do you fly in a pirate ship over London? The front of the boat slides closed to keep you in place.
*"it's a small world" -- raft ride-- I know, I know, you will have to ride this ride and suffer the brainworm of music for the next few hours. But it's a very happy ride. It makes people smile.
This is a very small walk-thru area on the way to Frontierland, mainly shops and food places.
*Haunted Mansion -- DARK-- scary -- 2-3 people in each doommobile, continuous conveyor with doombuggies. The front of the doommobile closes on you. This can be very scary for little ones. If you have a kid who's afraid of the dark or things jumping out at them, then you might consider missing this ride. The ghosts dancing in the ballroom are fascinating to watch. Be sure to look at the pictures on the walls, ghosts on the chandeliers, etc.
Liberty Square Riverboat -- They were referbing it in Aug. 2013. It takes forever to load and unload and all it does is go around Tom Sawyer's Island. If you're at WDW for the rides, this one ain't what your looking for.
The Hall of Presidents -- SHOW -- True Confessions here. I never saw it. Auditorium setting with animatronic presidents.
Keep to the right around the small lake.
*Big Thunder Mountain Railroad -- fast pass -- 40" height requirement -- mine train rollercoaster. 2-3 people per row, two rows per car. Three only if you are accompanied by a child. A bouncy, jerky, runaway mine train. A couple of times we rode this while the fireworks were going off--totally magical! It's a fun rollercoaster, much of it outside. Look for hidden Mickey's.
Walt Disney World Railroad Station -- Up the stairs between Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain.
Tom Sawyer Island -- rafts are poled over to the island. I don't know if there are limits to how many people are on the island, but it tends to take a long time to get over there. It's a great place for kids to run and play and search of treasure. Parents you might want to find a spot to sit and enjoy the break. The only way on and off the island is the raft.
*Splash Mountain -- fast pass -- 40" height requirement --A Lot WET-- three rows of two people fill a log. A lap bar keeps you in place. There are three or four drops. The last drop is the one everyone can see. If they have their water cannons on, then expect to be blasted! 9:15 in the morning is NOT the time to get soaked, just saying. If everyone coming off the ride is drenched, don't expect anything different. . . the right side of the log seems to be the wetter side.
Country Bear Jamboree -- SHOW -- Yeah, never saw it. Can't help you here.
A Pirate's Adventure - Treasures of the Seven Seas -- search for treasures throughout Adventureland!
*Pirate's of the Caribbean --DARK -- raft ride-- four people per row and about six rows to each boat. A couple of drops, but nothing crazy since you aren't held in by anything except gravity. Remember the movie. Yeah, the Johnny Depp one, they took the story from this ride, then the ride was revamped with Johnny D hiding in the scenery.
Jungle Cruise -- fast pass -- Boat ride. No real seating except around the edges. They take you around the four largest rivers in the world, feeding you cheesy jokes the whole time. It's goofy, but fun, with animatronic animals. Extra fun in the dark. It makes it a little more realistic.
Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room -- SHOW -- A good way of getting out of the Florida heat. The show was revamped when Aladdin came out, 10+ years ago. It needs a little updating, but it's nice to sit down out of the heat.
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin -- think Dumbo ride, but with flying carpets. If I remember correctly there are two rows per carpet, holding 2-3 people per row. Watch out for spitting camels!
Swiss Family Treehouse -- Walk-through . . . or should I say walk up and down? It's kind of cool to see the home of the Swiss Family Robertson. LOTS of narrow stairs if you have a heart issue or blood pressure issue, or even claustrophobia, don't attempt to climb this. We were there when they shut it down and emergency personnel had to rescue someone.
Tinker Bell's Magical Nook -- character meet and greet
And this wraps up my Walt Disney World tips and tricks. If you have any questions, shoot them my way as I'm always happy to talk about WDW!