7 Things to Do in Walt Disney World If You Love Sci-Fi

I’ve never considered myself that much of a science fiction fan, since I’m not that into Star Wars or Star Trek (although I do know the difference), but several of my favorite movies and TV shows happen to be from that genre: Back to the Future, Firefly, Quantum Leap, Lost, and, of course, WALL•E. Although we’re still waiting for a WALL•E attraction, there are other attractions and experiences in the Disney Parks that will appeal to sci-fi fans.

So, here are seven things to do in Walt Disney World if you love sci-fi.

1. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

Naturally we have to start with the experience that has “sci-fi” in the title. I mentioned the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater in my posts on cars and cinema. The restaurant is themed like a drive-in movie, and during your meal you get to watch sci-fi and monster movies from the 1950s and 1960s. Check out the menu on AllEars.Net (there’s also a kids’ menu).

2. Tomorrowland

After the Sci-Fi Dine-In, the most logical place for a science fiction fan to hang out is Tomorrowland. As I discussed in my post on space, Tomorrowland is designed as a retro-futuristic space port, with the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover as the local transportation system, and Space Mountain as the inter-galactic gateway. I’m told (OK, I confess I read it on Wikipedia) that it’s reminiscent of the style of early 20th century science-fiction comic strips like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, so if you like your sci-fi old-school, you’ll love the atmosphere there.

View of Tomorrowland from Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover in Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

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4 Things to Do in Walt Disney World If You Love Practical Jokes

Happy April Fools’ Day! Some of you may be the jokers today, while others are the victims. I promise I won’t be playing any jokes on you today, but if you do enjoy practical jokes, I have some experiences to recommend to you.

Here are four things to do in Walt Disney World if you love practical jokes.

1. Journey into Imagination with Figment

In the current incarnation of this attraction, guests take a tour of the Imagination Institute, narrated by Dr. Nigel Channing (played by Eric Idle). The tour is progressing in a civilized manner when Figment appears and starts causing trouble. Eventually, Dr. Channing realizes that imagination works best when it’s set free, so he ends the tour early and guests get to visit Figment’s upside-down house.

Figment's upside-down bathroom in Journey Into Imagination with Figment in Epcot in Walt Disney World

2. Stitch’s Great Escape!

Stitch in Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney WorldJoining Figment in the pantheon of mischievous Disney characters is Stitch. I know this attraction is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you enjoy practical jokes and juvenile humor, you just might love it. It’s a show, not a roller coaster, so you might be confused by the height restriction (40 inches). The reason for the restriction is the shoulder restraints in the seats, which are used in some of the special effects. Some of the show takes place in total darkness, so kids shorter than 40 inches might find the show too scary anyway.


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10 Things to Do in Walt Disney World If You Love Spinning in Circles

Happy Pi Day! It’s March 14 (3/14), which means it’s time to celebrate everyone’s favorite irrational number: 3.1415926535897…

Being a math nerd, I knew I had to choose a theme today that would honor Pi Day, but I wasn’t sure what to do. Things to do in Walt Disney World if you love math? Numbers? Pie? I decided to focus on circles, because there are a lot of attractions that happen to go around in them.

So, here are ten things to do in Walt Disney World if you love spinning in circles.

1. Mad Tea Party

Mad Tea Party (the "teacups") at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

If simply spinning in a circle isn’t enough for you, and you want to spin in a tea cup on a small spinning platform on a larger spinning platform, this is the attraction for you! This is probably the most dizzy-making attraction on this list, definitely not recommended for those who get motion sick!

2. Dumbo The Flying Elephant

Dumbo the Flying Elephant at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney WorldThis is the classic spinning attraction that all other spinning attractions are compared to. It’s a favorite of many small children, which is why it’s being doubled in capacity as part of the new Fantasyland expansion. As I mentioned in my last post (on slapstick), the photos from the soft opening look awesome, and I love the new water feature!

3. Astro Orbiter

Riding Astro Orbiter in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney WorldThis attraction make look like an outer space version of Dumbo, but it goes much faster! It’s still not fast enough to make most people dizzy, but the circular motion and the height might bother some. The queue for this attraction is rather odd. You wait in line near the entrance to Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, and then you have to take an elevator up to the attraction itself. Because you are high up, you do get some nice views, if you can focus on them while spinning!

4. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin

The camel in front of The Magic Carpets of AladdinThis attraction is comparable in speed and height to Dumbo, but its advantage is that it has two rows of seats. Those in one row control the height, and those in the other control the tilt of the carpet. This attraction is one of my nephews’ favorites. They take particular delight in trying to position us so we get wet from the camel “spitting” on us.

5. TriceraTop Spin

Again, this attraction is comparable to Dumbo, but it has a dinosaur theme to suit its location in DinoLand, U.S.A. in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Like Magic Carpets, it has two rows, each with its own controls.

TriceraTop Spin in Dinoland, U.S.A. in Disney's Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World

6. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

Erica on Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

Here I am, setting an example for you.

Back in Fantasyland, here is another sedate spinning ride. Here’s a tip: the larger horses are on the outside and smaller ones on the inside. So, if you can influence your child’s choice of horse (I know it can be difficult when they have their heart set on one), you can encourage them to pick a smaller horse inside, and you can ride the larger one to its right. What? You were just going to stand next to them? Well, that’s OK if you need to hold onto a baby, but otherwise, you should be riding! You’re on a carousel! You’re in Disney World; it’s OK to look silly.

7. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

OK, this may not be the normal way of riding this attraction, because you’re usually trying to shoot targets, but theoretically you could spend almost the entire attraction using the red knob to spin your ride vehicle in circles. I’m not saying it’s a good idea, but if you love spinning in circles, here you go.

Spin control on Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin in Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

8. Primeval Whirl

View of Primeval Whirl from TriceraTop Spin in Dinoland, U.S.A. in Disney's Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney WorldI have to admit I don’t think I’ve ever actually ridden this attraction! My family doesn’t tend to spend an entire day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, so attractions like this slip through the cracks. I intend to remedy that as soon as possible. The ride is a roller coaster, but your vehicle spins as you go. It’s another one that’s not for those prone to motion sickness.

9. Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress in Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, 2010I love it when I can work this attraction into a list! You may not be spinning quickly, but during this attraction, the theater does rotate around the stage! It is a carousel, after all.

10. Walt Disney World Railroad “Grand Circle Tour”

I don’t think they actually say “Grand Circle Tour” in the train narration anymore, but when you ride around the entire Magic Kingdom on the Walt Disney World Railroad, you are taking the Grand Circle Tour. It’s a relaxing experience, and it gives your aching feet a break. I like to do a Grand Circle Tour at least once on every trip.

Walt Disney World Railroad, train pulling into Frontierland station in Magic Kingdom

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I do have to note that there actually is an attraction with “circle” in its name (Circle of Life), but since you don’t actually go around in a circle while watching the movie, I’m not including it on today’s list. It would be an appropriate Pi Day activity, however.

To do all of the items in today’s list in one very dizzy day, you’ll have to visit two parks: Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Although I’m always a big fan of starting in Magic Kingdom because I love the welcome show, it might make more sense to start in Animal Kingdom because it closes earlier. There, you’ll visit DinoLand U.S.A. and ride Primeval Whirl and TriceraTop Spin. Then, head straight to Magic Kingdom, because you have a lot to do there today! When you arrive, check the queue for Dumbo. If it’s 30 minutes or less, get in line. If it’s more, try waiting until later in the evening. During the fireworks or the parade can be a good time to ride with a shorter wait. Besides Dumbo, you’ll also need to ride Mad Tea Party, Astro Orbiter, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and the Walt Disney World Railroad. And don’t forget to see my favorite attraction,  Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress!

Hope you enjoy some pie today!

4 Things to Do in Walt Disney World If You Love Slapstick Humor

All day I’ve been watching tweets from the soft opening of Storybook Circus, part of the new Fantasyland expansion in Magic Kingdom. It’s looking amazing (our Dumbo finally has a water feature like the one in Disneyland!), and I’m super jealous of those who could be there today. I’ve been planning to do a circus-themed post since the beginning of the blog, but I’m going to hold off until the official opening, or until I have a chance to see the new area for myself.

So, if you love the circus, stay tuned. If what you love most about the circus are the elephants, lions, or balloons, I already have some posts to tide you over. Now, if what you love about the circus is the clowns’ slapstick humor, have I got the list for you. It doesn’t actually include any clowns, but slapstick can be found in several shows and attractions in Walt Disney World.

Here are four things to do in Walt Disney World if you love slapstick humor.

1. Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor

The jokes in the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor vary, but one thing you can count on is that Mike Wazowski will fall down. Also, things will probably fall on him. There may be a trapdoor, anvil, or giant safe involved as well.

Buddy Boil greeting the audience ("Hello, humans!") at Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor in Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

2. Soarin’

In my post on snow, I talked about how the Lake Tahoe skiing scene in Soarin’ is my favorite. I laugh every time when—you guessed it—that one skier falls. I know it’s just a brief moment of slapstick in a show that’s not really humorous, but it’s my favorite moment of slapstick in Walt Disney World.

3. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

If you’ve never seen this show in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you may be surprised by its appearance on this list. I don’t want to spoil the show for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but in addition to a bunch of cool stunts, you also see a fight routine that may or may not go horribly wrong.

Fight scene in Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World

4. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

As I mentioned in my post on corny humor, I haven’t actually gotten a chance to see this show, but just about every review of it that I’ve read mentions its slapstick humor. It’s a dinner show at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, so no theme park admission is required, just an advanced dining reservation.

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This list has only four items, but if you do them all in one day, you’ll have to visit three different parks plus a resort. Make sure you make your Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue reservations at the Disney Dining website before your trip. On your slapstick-themed day, I’d start in Epcot at Soarin’, because that attraction is one of the most popular in all the parks, with the wait time to match, and its FASTPASSes tend to run out as the day goes on. From Epcot, take the bus or boat over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and catch a performance of Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. Next, head to Magic Kingdom and take in a show at Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. When it’s time to leave for your dinner show, you can take a boat directly from Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness Lodge.

In the comments today, please tell me I’m not the only one who laughs at that poor skier in Soarin’.

4 Things to Do in Walt Disney World If You Love Romance

It’s Valentine’s Day, so naturally that’s the theme of today’s post. I could have made today’s list be of romantic things to do in Walt Disney World with your valentine, but I think that, similar to how there’s no one best restaurant in Walt Disney World, there’s no official standard of romantic things to do there. You and your significant other might find a candlelight dinner romantic, while others would prefer watching IllumiNations or strolling the beach at the Polynesian. If you’re in Walt Disney World on Valentine’s Day, do whatever makes you as a unique couple happy. If, on the other hand, you’re there any time of year and simply like Valentine’s Day for what it is—a celebration of romance—then I can certainly recommend some romantic tales as old as time for you to experience. So, here are four things to do in Walt Disney World if you love romance.

1. Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage

Belle and the Beast reading in Beauty and the Beast -- Live on Stage in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney WorldAs I mentioned in my post on musical theater, this musical in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is fantastic, and of course, a great love story. The musical plays five or six times a day, so check the Times Guide for the performance schedule.

2. Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Based on another classic Disney love story, Voyage of the Little Mermaid is also performed daily in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This production is shorter and involves more film clips and special effects than the more theatrical Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage, but it still tells the story of a princess meeting her prince.

3. The Great Movie Ride

In my post on Lady and the Tramp, I mentioned the romance montage at the end of The Great Movie Ride, which shows such famous screen couples as Rhett and Scarlett (from Gone with the Wind), Cathy and Heathcliff (from Wuthering Heights), and, of course, Lady and Tramp. Earlier in the attraction you also see a famous scene of ill-fated romance from the classic film Casablanca.

4. Disney’s Wedding Pavilion

Walt Disney World is a popular destination not only for honeymoons but also for weddings. While there are a number of places around property where weddings can be conducted, there is one custom-built location: Disney’s Wedding Pavilion, located near the Grand Floridian. It’s not always open, but I’ve been able to peek in there a few times. With the castle view and Victorian theming, it feels romantic even when no weddings are happening there.

Exterior of Disney's Wedding Pavilion in Walt Disney World

Interior of Disney's Wedding Pavilion in Walt Disney World

View of Cinderella Castle from Disney's Wedding Pavilion in Walt Disney World

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Your romance-themed day in Walt Disney World involves only one theme park: Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Start your morning there with The Great Movie Ride. Then catch performances of Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage and Voyage of the Little Mermaid. When you’re finished there, you can take a bus to the Grand Floridian resort. Then use this map to find your way to the Wedding Pavilion.

Happy Valentine’s Day!