World Disney, Florida — Having visited Walt Disney World more than two dozen times, I've learned how to make my own magic.
Here's my idea of a perfect day.
9 a.m. Breakfast
You're going to be doing a lot of walking, and the food in the parks can be bland, so fuel up. I love a breakfast buffet. For omelets made to order, oatmeal and juice extracts like wheatgrass, go to Fresh Mediterranean Market at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel.
10 a.m. Disney's Hollywood Studios
When time is of the essence, I add to my ticket the Park Hopper Option, which allows me to bounce back and forth among Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. From the Dolphin, take a short, relaxing boat ride to Hollywood Studios (free for guests of Walt Disney World Resort hotels). Must sees: Star Tours -- The Adventures Continue, in which a flight-motion simulator takes you into space with Star Wars characters, now in digital 3-D. For a real spin, try the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, set to the band's music. The ride is in the dark; feel free to sing along. Skip the Great Movie Ride (unless you need a nap).
1 p.m. Lunch on the BoardWalk
Take a boat or walk to Disney's waterfront BoardWalk, an eating and shopping area linking Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Grab a slice of pizza or sit outdoors at Big River Grille & Brewing Works.
2:30 p.m. Stroll to Epcot
The BoardWalk to Epcot is lovely and uncrowded because everyone else is on the bus or monorail. Don't miss the new ride, Soarin'. (Try to sit in the front row.) If you are traveling with others and haven't yet been on Spaceship Earth, do it. You'll emerge with a funny digital souvenir of your vacation.
4:30 p.m. Cocktail Hour(s)
Go to La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico Pavilion. Order chips and guacamole, and the San Angel Inn margarita. This isn't a good margarita for Walt Disney World; it's a good margarita -- period.
5 p.m. ...
Have another round.
6 p.m. Tour the World
Stroll Epcot's World Showcase. Forget Mexico's Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. Linger at Japan's Mitsukoshi Department Store.
8:30 p.m. Dinner in Morocco
At Epcot, avoid the mall-like atmosphere of Sunshine Seasons and the fast food at Electric Umbrella. Go to the Morocco Pavilion instead for live music, belly dancing and couscous with vegetables at Restaurant Marrakesh. Attention shoppers: Morocco has great costume jewelry and straw bags.
9:30 p.m. Light Show
Time for the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth light show! If you've already seen it, the Magic Kingdom has a new projection show, Celebrate the Magic, that's spectacular. While there, hit the classic rides: the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. If it's a regular fireworks night, consider viewing them from inside the nearby Contemporary Resort or -- better yet -- on board a monorail, which you will find delightfully empty during the show. Lean back. Swish by.
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