Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What To Do While You Wait

It’s happened to all of us.  You’re two Fastpass+ selections into your day at a Disney park and you have a while until you can use your next one.  Maybe it’s not meal time, or parade time, or you don’t feel like getting in the back of that 200 minute wait standby line for Soarin’ (I’m not making this up, guys!), so what do you do?  What attractions are accessible during those heavy crowd times, or what else can you do during that lull?

Magic Kingdom
There is so much to do at the Magic Kingdom, I don’t know that you can ever consider any of these things “killing time”!  My go-to’s when I’m looking for something with a short line are:

  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic - SUCH a fun show, and something that’s always on my list of to do’s anyway!

  • Swiss Family Treehouse - This is pure Disney nostalgia to me.  It dates back to not only the opening of Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, but had roots before that at Disneyland.  Since the Disneyland original has been re-themed to Tarzan, this is the one and only!  I love taking my time wandering through the treehouse and seeing all the amazing details. 
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room - Another classic.  Whether you’re a tiki bird fan or not, this is a sweet, entertaining show that recently reverted back to the original show after being under “new management.” 
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress - Hands down my favorite attraction at the Magic Kingdom and if it ever closes, I will stage a sit in where I chain myself to Uncle Orville in protest.  It’s quirky, it’s educational and it has a catchy song to sing along to.  What more do you need in an attraction?!
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority (TTA) - A great way to take a spin around Tomorrowland.  It’s slow, your whole family can ride, and there are awesome views of the Magic Kingdom.  I may or may not have taken some consecutive rides on the TTA during non-crowded times.  I can’t confirm or deny. 
I also like to SHOP during my downtime at Magic Kingdom!  I head to Main Street USA and wander up and down both sides of the street.  I find I spend the most time in the middle part of the Emporium (women’s clothes!) and the Confectionary.  I don’t think I’ve ever left the Confectionary empty handed, but I also like to watch the incredibly talented cast members create candy apples, cookies, marshmallow treats, etc…It’s fascinating.  And the whole place smells divine.

One other way to pass some time at Magic Kingdom is to hop on the resort monorail and take a tour!  All three monorail resorts offer unique themes, beaches to walk on, cocktails to sip, and more unique shops to browse.  I always plan a stop at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, because I spent 8 months working there during my College Program so it’s my “home”!  The 4th Floor Concourse is something to see—truly spectacular with a soaring 14 story tall Mary Blair mural in the middle.  Try to find the 5 legged goat!  I also enjoy meandering around Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, because, I mean…it’s beautiful!  And the Grand Floridian lobby is simply not to be missed. 

Epcot
I think Epcot is the most fabulous park to have downtime in.  There is literally so much to see, do, taste, feel, smell. 
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends - A short ride with a relatively short line, but more than that, there are HUGE tanks to watch sea life!  See Turtle Talk with Crush and hang out with some stingrays.  Did you know that the tank at Living Seas holds 5.7 MILLION gallons of water?
  • Universe of Energy - A funny tribute to all things energy starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye.  Note:  this is a 40 minute attraction, and it often closes early—check show times.  
  • The American Adventure - I happen to love this show.  It’s full of history, and boggles my mind how big the theater must be to accommodate all the crazy big sets that appear as if from no where. 
  • World Showcase - All of it.  Every last corner.  Wander slowly, try food and drinks in every country, shop for authentic souvenirs, let your kids do the KidCot craft stops, enjoy the unique entertainment.  World Showcase is a must do on its own, but it’s a fantastic place to spend a couple of hours.

  • Epcot Resorts - If you find yourself needing a break from Epcot altogether, head out the International Gateway (between France and the UK) and check out The Yacht & Beach Club Resorts (Stormalong Bay, their shared pool complex, is something to see!), the Swan & Dolphin Resorts, and Disney’s BoardWalk. 
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
There is quite a bit to see and do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  While you’re waiting on that coveted Fastpass+ for Toy Story Mania to come up, I like to head to the Streets of America.  There are so many fun photo opportunities—New York Street, the city backdrops, the Singing in the Rain umbrella. 

A couple of other great, usually minimal wait attractions are:

  • Muppet Vision 3-D - The Muppets are simply a classic, and this movie is no exception.  The jokes are corny but it’s funny enough that kids will laugh and adults will get the jokes that go above the kids' heads. 
  • Great Movie Ride - If there is a line, don’t be scared.  It moves quickly and loads a lot of people at a time.  This is a fun trip through Hollywoodland.  Look for updates to come to the Great Movie Ride soon due to a new partnership with Turner Classic Movies. 
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
If you can’t find something fascinating to look at or do while you’re waiting for Expedition Everest, then you’re not looking hard enough!  The entertainment at Animal Kingdom is unique in and of itself—go to Africa about any time of the day and take in the amazing rhythms of Burudika or the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe, playing there. 
  • Affection Section at Rafiki’s Planet Watch - Did you know there is a petting zoo at Animal Kingdom?!  This is it.  Take the Wildlife Express to Rafiki’s Planet Watch and while you’re there, don’t miss the Conservation Station.
This barely scratches the surface of all there is to see and do at the parks while you’re waiting on that next Fastpass+.  Let us know what you like to do while you wait!


Jill


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