Our first trip to Walt Disney World was very well researched and guided by people who had been avid goers before us. That said we knew we were experiencing the best of the best. As a result, everything on this list is here because it survived some extremely high expectations. You can peruse this list knowing that if the attraction, restaurant, or resort is on this list it’s our top recommendation for your Best Disney Vacation ever. So when you’re up against making your dining reservations or choosing which rides deserve your time, you’ll know you have chosen wisely.
If you’re taking your first Disney Vacation or haven’t visited Walt Disney World in a while, then this list of the best things at each Walt Disney World park is for you. With more rides, restaurants, and shows than you can possibly fit into any vacation. We’ll share our favorite rides in each park and potential places to eat. Know that many quick-service restaurants offer Mobile Order, which you can access from your My Disney Experience App. Table Service restaurants typically require reservations. Also know that each Disney park now offers Disney Character Cavalcades, featuring characters on parade, so be on the lookout for those throughout your stay! Consider this your Disney Vacation priority list.
Best Magic Kingdom Attractions and Restaurants
Magic Kingdom is Walt Disney World’s most popular park, and also its smallest. This makes having a plan an important part of your Magic Kingdom Day if you hope to avoid the crowds and enjoy the rides. While there is so much to do in this park, know that some things can be skipped if you’re pressed for time, or trying to prioritize attractions. Here’s a list of things you should include in your day at Magic Kingdom Park.
Best Magic Kingdom Rides
- Splash Mountain
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride
- Peter Pans Flight
- Haunted Mansion
- Jungle Cruise
- It’s a Small World
- Enchantment Fireworks Show
While these are popular and well worth the wait, other favorite rides at Magic Kingdom are the Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Tomorrowland PeopleMover, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Big Thunder Mountain. Check out everything to do in the Magic Kingdom Checklist.
Best Magic Kingdom Restaurants
- Be Our Guest for the atmosphere. But the food is pricey and the menu limited.
- Crystal Palace is a great family buffet restaurant and offers character dining with Winnie the Pooh and Friends.
- Liberty Tree Tavern offers up a family-style Thanksgiving dinner on a budget and is delicious.
- Sleepy Hollow is a quick-service walk-up counter offering quick bites, like chicken-filled waffles.
- Aloha Isle in Adventureland serves Dole Whip and is considered one of the Best Snacks in Walt Disney World
Magic Kingdom is filled with places to grab a bite. From snack kiosks to quick-service restaurants, and signature dining experiences like Cinderella’s Royal Table. But, not all places are necessarily worth your Disney dollar or make sense for your family. Skipper Canteen Restaurant, for instance, is fantastic for more exotic palates. And Columbia Harbour House is a great place to grab lunch if your family likes seafood. Check out the Top 10 Things to do in Magic Kingdom.
Best Animal Kingdom Attractions and Restaurants
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Walt Disney World’s largest park and includes almost 500 acres of land, much of which houses the wildlife. Filled with separate areas, like Africa, and Asia, Animal Kingdom also includes Pandora World of Avatar. This park features trails throughout certain hours that allow animal viewing, so be sure to allow enough time here for browsing. Animal Kingdom typically closes earlier, about 5 or 6 pm in the low seasons, so be sure to check park hours before you make plans. Check out everything you can do on your Animal Kingdom Day.
Best Animal Kingdom Rides
- Expedition Everest
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Kali River Rapids
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Festival of the Lion King Show
There are not a ton of rides in Animal Kingdom, but these are the few things you absolutely must do. If you have the time and want to add more fun to your day, check out Na’vi River Journey, and the Maharaja Jungle Trek. And be sure to check out the Animal Kingdom Checklist, for anything else you don’t want to miss.
Best Animal Kingdom Restaurants
- Tusker House in Animal Kingdom’s character dining experience and offers an African buffet.
- Satu’li Canteen is located in Pandora and has to make your own bowls on the menu.
- Harambe Market offers a variety of Kid-Friendly drinks like the Frozen Flamingo.
- Kusafiri Bakery for the Colossal Cinnamon Roll
Other dining options in Animal Kingdom include both quick and table service at Yak and Yeti, which typically includes grilled meats, rice, kabobs, and couscous. And Mr. Kamal’s cart typically offers a variety of to-go foods that make a quick lunch. Check out the Top 10 Things to do in Animal Kingdom.
Best Hollywood Studios Attractions and Restaurants
Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios is home to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, and old school attractions from the early days of the park. As a smaller park, Hollywood Studios feels like it fills up fast. Thankfully, there are several areas throughout the park to escape to when Disney gets crowded. Depending on your aim for your day at Hollywood Studios, you can get the best rides done before dinner. However, if you’re a Star Wars or Toy Story fan plan at least one full day at Hollywood Studios. Here are all the fun things to add to your Hollywood Studios Day.
Best Hollywood Studios Rides
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Rise of the Resistance
- Toy Story Mania
- Star Tours
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Fantasmic Nighttime Show
We also love Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular if you’re in the mood for a show. And the Mickey Shorts Theater and MuppetVision in 3D are great options if you’re looking to get out of the heat or rain. Another favorite attraction in this park, for thrill-seekers, is the free-falling elevator drop on the Hollywood Tower of Terror ride.
Best Hollywood Studios Restaurants
- 50’s Prime Time Cafe for immersive dining and home cooking.
- ABC Commissary for a decent budget-friendly meal.
- Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater for the milkshakes.
- Baseline Tap House for the Pretzel and Cheese dip.
Although one of our favorite places to eat is the Starbucks at Hollywood Studios, because we always need coffee, there are plenty of restaurants here. PizzeRizzo’s, Mama Melrose, and a variety of quick-service restaurants are all options. One thing to remember about Hollywood Studios is that it’s just a short walk to the Disney Boardwalk, which offers a variety of restaurants to try. Check out the Top 10 Things to do in Hollywood Studios.
Best EPCOT Attractions and Restaurants
Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Park opened in 1982 and was designed to be the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow ( EPCOT). It has seen loads of changes, and is undergoing even more today! Home to four neighborhoods, EPCOT park is divided by themes; World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature, and World Showcase. Here’s everything you can do at EPCOT Park.
Best EPCOT Rides
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Frozen Ever After
- Spaceship Earth
- Gran Fiesta Tour featuring the Three Caballeros
- Living with the Land
- Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Rollercoaster
- Harmonious Nighttime Spectacular
EPCOT is filled with attractions for everyone. Mission Space, Test Track, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends are attractions to fill your day, along with a variety of 360 film experiences. One of the best things about EPCOT is the impromptu performances that take place in each park. From the acrobats in China to the street performance in France, and the live music in Canada.
Best EPCOT Restaurants
- Via Napoli Ristorante & Pizzeria for a fancy dinner or pizza.
- La Cantina de San Angel for quick-serve Mexican lunch.
- Les Halles Boulangerie de Patisserie for breakfast.
- Fife and Drum Kiosk for The American Dream
- Regal Eagle Smokehouse BBQ for lunch, or a quick dinner.
This park is filled with culinary options, and even more during the Annual Festivals at EPCOT. Restaurants like Nine Dragons in China, Chefs de France in France, and Rose and Crown Pub are favorites of many. These restaurants all require a reservation, which can be done from the My Disney Experience App. EPCOT also has a variety of quick-service dining, for easy snacks and meals throughout the day. Check out the Top 10 Things to Do in EPCOT.
The Best Things to Do at Walt Disney World
All of Walt Disney World’s parks have a variety of amazing things to do, see and eat. This list is a good start if this is your first Disney Vacation, or you haven’t visited in a couple of years. So much has changed! We’ll be sure to add new favorites to this post as they arrive at Walt Disney World.