By Stella Prince, AK Adventures and Global Village Editor
Ah, Disney World…every child’s dream. For me, you could say it really was a dream. At 12 years old, I had never been there, and my parents were reluctant to take me, for all of the crowds and Disney itself weren’t exactly their thing. But I eventually persuaded them, and we went in December, over Christmas. This is my take on it:
We arrived late on the night of December 21 and checked in at the Hilton Bonnet Creek. It was plain gorgeous! The staff was excellent, and the rooms were clean and pretty. We ate dinner at “La Luce,” and even living in Italy, I have to say that this was one of the best Italian meals I have ever tasted. So far the trip was starting out great! I couldn’t wait for morning to come.
We took Hilton’s free shuttle bus to Hollywood Studios the next day after having a pleasant meal at the Harvest Bistro, where they have a nice buffet set up. Now, my first impression of Hollywood Studios was that there was not much to see. Okay, so you could walk around a little and see the Brown Derby and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, but I have to say, I was not impressed. It’s so…fake. I know it’s supposed to be, but I was not really interested. Overall, it was my least favorite park. But we had an awesome time on The Great Movie Ride, which we had Fast Passes for. It was really cool! The whole ride was puppetry and singing—the sets were amazing, and it was so fun. I recommend that, as well as eating at the 1950’s Prime Time Café. We had a reservation for lunch, and although it was crowded, I thought the food was good, and it was very festive. The waiters and waitresses all were very nice, and it wasn’t too expensive. We also went to The Voyage of the Little Mermaid show, which, I have to say, was not very interesting. Arielle was singing, and there was a lot of puppetry—I suppose it was good for little kids, but it did not impress me. If you are a fan of Star Wars, I would definitely come here, though! They have many things to do in that field, and I’m sure you’ll like them.
Epcot was really amazing, I have to say—the place itself was exciting and fun, the atmosphere was great, and overall, the activities were awesome! I started my day at the “Finding Nemo” ride, which was short yet entertaining. The decorations and idea behind it were fascinating, and I really enjoyed it. The next ride was Spaceship Earth, and it was beyond magical. It’s hard to describe, in a way. Puppets—lots of puppets—beautiful sets, and a wonderful experience overall. I don’t think you could ride on anything like it anywhere else. After that was the ride “Soarin,’” and that was crazy! I loved every minute of it, though. Warning: Do not ride it if you’re afraid of heights. It may scare you. Anyway, the whole experience was crazy amazing. You are lifted high into the air and are soaring up above, facing a big screen with photos of different landscapes facing you. It really feels like you’re flying! The screen took you all around the world, from a safari in Africa to the pyramids in Egypt. I have never done anything like this before in my life—and I’ll never forget it! Afterwards, we entered Epcot’s World Showcase and visited a couple different countries. We had lunch in England, at the Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room. We ate outside and ordered smoked salmon and fish and chips. It was really delicious! I have never tasted such amazing smoked salmon—not even in New York City. Let me just say something, though: Epcot’s World Showcases is not very impressive. I was not impressed anyway. I would save your time and go for the rides.
Magic Kingdom fits its name perfectly. It’s a magical kingdom—in other words, you’d be crazy to miss it! I enjoyed visiting Main Street, U.S.A., for they had an old-fashioned parade with music and dancing, and it really felt like you were back in the early 1900’s! The first activity I did was watch the president’s show in Liberty Square, and it was actually pretty interesting. The whole show was entirely puppets and a small movie presentation. Even though it could get a little dull at some times, I learned a couple things and enjoyed it thoroughly. The next activity was the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland. Honestly, I was not impressed at all with the Jungle Cruise or Adventureland itself. Boring, boring, boring! Don’t waste your time. The ride was dull, and there weren’t any real animals, just plastic figurines. Adventureland is like any little amusement park you would see anywhere else in America. There’s hardly anything to do, and it was really crowded! Afterwards, we walked through Frontierland, which I thought to not be very interesting, and entered Fantasyland, where I enjoyed myself thoroughly. We ate lunch at the Pinocchio Village Haus and shared a cheese flatbread (really gross). I loved the next ride, which was Peter Pan’s Flight. It was not too scary and really magical! I felt as if I were actually flying above London at night, for the puppetry and sets were fantastic. The last ride I experienced at Magic Kingdom was “it’s a small world.” I thought that was absolutely brilliant! You’re never too old or too young to experience this ride that was both beautiful and exciting. I can’t believe how crazy awesome all of the puppetry is. This is a must! Never go to Magic Kingdom and not visit “it’s a small world.” It’s classic!
For my last day at Disney World, we visited Animal Kingdom. Not impressed at all! Everyone thinks it’s supposed to be so amazing, but quite frankly, I would have rather gone somewhere else. The first thing we did was go on the Kilimanjaro Safari. I was disappointed because the driver didn’t stop once to let us gaze at the animals. We raced by, barely getting any glimpse of them at all. I thought the little Wilderness Explorer booths everywhere were actually pretty neat, and it was fun to earn badges, but everything else…it just didn’t appeal to me. Next I did the Maharaja Jungle Trek and was bored. Very, very bored. Birds? Eh, okay. I really was not impressed. We had lunch at the Yak and Yeti Restaurant in Asia and had amazing tuna nachos! Even though it made me a little queasy in the end because of all the raw fish and the spicy soy sauce, I still recommend them.
And that was my trip to Disney World! My two favorite parks were Magic Kingdom and Epcot.