Our Disney Favorites

On our sixth and last day at Disney World, a sudden rain storm was the final factor and we left the park early (as in, around 6pm instead of 8 or even later). The lines were long and we were exhausted. Once we added wet to that list, it was time to go. We wanted to leave while the mood was still good and this had the potential to go downhill fast. So we headed to IHOP and debriefed our week over pancakes – which may just be the best way to debrief a vacation! Here are our highlights by category:

Top 3 Favorite Rides (in no particular order)

Emelie: Everest (Animal Kingdom), Rock N Roller Coaster (Hollywood Studios),
Peter: Toy Story Mania (Hollywood Studios), Buzz Lightyear (Magic Kingdom), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom), Dinosaur (Animal Kingdom),
Mamma: Toy Story Mania, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad,
Pappa: Kilimanjaro Safari (Animal Kingdom), Soarin’ (Epcot), Everest

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin


Big Thunder Mountain Railroad


Kilimanjaro Safari Animal Kingdom
Elephants on Kilimanjaro Safari

Favorite Character Meetings

Emelie: Elsa, Anna (both in Epcot), Ariel (Magic Kingdom)
Peter: Buzz Lightyear (Magic Kingdom), Olaf (Hollywood Studios), Jake (Hollywood Studios)
Mamma: Olaf, Elsa, Prince Charming (all based on kids’ reactions!)

Elsa Frozen
Meeting Elsa – definitely a favorite among favorites for Emelie


Frozen Anna
Anna was warm and bubbly, just like in the movie


Frozen Olaf
Micah just really responded to Olaf. He even tried to bite his nose!


Disney Ariel's grotto
With Ariel in her grotto

Favorite Shows

Emelie: Frozen sing-along, Indiana Jones Stunt Show, and Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Peter: Indiana Jones Stunt Show, Disney Jr, Philhar-Magic 3D movie, Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Training
All of us: Turtle Talk with Crush and Monsters Inc Laugh Floor

Frozen Sing-along
At the end of the Frozen Sing-along, it snowed in the theater!


Pirates Jack Sparrow
Joining Captain Jack’s crew after pirate training

Favorite Character Dining

We attended 4 character dining experiences: Cinderella dinner buffet at 1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian); Princess Breakfast Buffet at Akerhus Restaurant (Norway, Epcot Center); Safari Character Dinner at Tusker House (Animal Kingdom); and Disney Jr Dine and Play at Hollywood and Vine (Hollywood Studios).

The Cinderella dinner featured all the important characters from Cinderella – Cinderella and Prince Charming, of course, plus the stepmother and stepsisters. They interacted so well in character! The stepmother tried to get Peter to marry one of her daughters, and the stepsisters had a somewhat reasonable defense for their behavior! The food was excellent and the buffet offered great choices for kids and adults alike.

Cinderella Grand Floridian
A very imposing figure, the stepmother

The Princess breakfast gave them a chance to meet Belle, Aurora, Cinderella (again), Ariel (with feet – they met her in mermaid form in her grotto in Magic Kingdom), and Mary Poppins. The food was good, but simple and with a more European style breakfast. It was more than adequate but nothing special.

Akerhus princess breakfast

The Safari dinner was “hosted” by Safari Donald, Daisy, Mickey and Goofy. This was a good way to meet the classic characters without waiting in long lines. They were dressed in safari khakis but that makes no difference. The food here was good but with an African style that the kids didn’t enjoy as much. There were some kid-friendly choices but I don’t know if I’d recommend it for picky eaters.

Mickey Mouse Tusker House
You just can’t leave Disney World without meeting Mickey!

The Disney Jr breakfast at Hollywood and Vine was quite the luxurious breakfast buffet. Lots and lots of baked goods, fruit, plus hot items. The highlight of course was the Mickey waffles with chocolate syrup and strawberry sauce. It was enough food for the whole day. We met Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Handy Manny, and Jake from the Neverland Pirates. A+ for food and fun characters too.

Disney Jr play and dine
Sofia the First

Emelie: Princess breakfast (Akerhus, Norway, Epcot) for characters. Disney Jr (Hollywood and Vine, Hollywood Studios) for food
Peter: Disney Junior for both characters and food.
Mamma and Pappa: Cinderella for characters, atmosphere, and food. Disney Junior was also really good food!

My Disney Experience

This website is a user-friendly Central Command for your Disney planning. We made all of our reservations there, from lodging to dining to Fast Passes. It combined all of these things into an easily read overview of each day.

The corresponding smart phone app is an absolute essential once you’ve arrived in the park. I can’t say enough good things about it, and we recommended it to other guests while we were in the park too. We used the app to check wait times on different rides and attractions from wherever we were and planned our route accordingly. There were no paper maps to keep track of, and the one in the phone always had a “you are here” dot thanks to GPS. Best of all was using time waiting in line to manage our Fast Passes and never needing to find a kiosk. It even notified us when a ride on our Fast Pass list was temporarily closed, which unfortunately happened to us several times. But at least we found out about it ahead of time and could adjust our plans.

The My Disney Experience app simplified some of the details, helping us to relax and enjoy our days at Disney. And for that, it deserves to be counted among our Disney favorites!


Nothing is perfect, even a week at Disney. Sometimes the experience doesn’t live up to the anticipation. Even within our own family, one person’s favorite is another’s disappointment.

Emelie: 3D movies where things come out at you – especially Philhar-Magic (Magic Kingdom) – are too scary
Peter: Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom) – “It was scary and I got really wet and I didn’t want to.”
Mamma: Jungle Boat Cruise (Magic Kingdom) – I remember loving it when I was there as a kid. As an adult, it was just annoying.

Kali River Rapids
A well-timed picture! But an unhappy Peter

These responses were written down immediately after our pancake debrief and then we asked them again several weeks later to see what stood out as most memorable after some time had passed.

In the eyes of a 5 year old boy, a 7½ year old girl (can’t forget that half!), and their Mamma and Pappa, this is the must-see, must-do Disney World list!

What are your Disney favorites to add to our lists?


To read our previous post which gives an overview of our Disney vacation, click here.



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