Disney World Things I Never Expected to Like

With so much to do, see, eat, and experience at Walt Disney World, it’s surprisingly easy to dismiss things you don’t think you’ll like.  Surrounded by the spectacular, it’s easy to pass up what might appear run-of-the-mill.  I was guilty of this for many years, but those days are over! I’ve finally learned that even the seemingly ordinary becomes extraordinary with a bit of Disney magic all around.

Disney World Things I Never Expected to Like

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel – It may be “just a carrousel” to many, but it has a great history, short queue (usually), fantastic location, and is just the ticket for using up a few available minutes between FastPasses.  (I wrote an entire article once about my love for the carrousel as my alter ego, Darlin’ Diva here.)

Citrus Swirl – After the Dole Whip debacle, I was still open to trying a Disney frozen treat.  While I found Dole Whips too sweet and one-dimensional (all pineapple, all the time), I found the combination of sweet soft-serve vanilla ice cream and tart orange slush to be absolute perfection.Disney World Citrus Swirl

Primeval Whirl – I wouldn’t ride it for the longest time.  It looked stupid and I thought the whirl would make me hurl, but once I braved this Dinoland coaster, I was hooked.  Surprisingly, I feel this weird attraction is a must-do at least once on every Animal Kingdom visit.Dinoland's Primeval Whirl - The attraction I never expected to love.

It’s Tough to be a Bug – Megan still doesn’t like it, but the rest of The Fam and I are fans.  It’s cute, clever, and offers 3D edutainment at its best.  Yes, it makes small children cry but I think the location under the Tree of Life, the movie posters, the combination of 3D movie and animatronic figures, Flik hosting the show…well, all of that works well to entertain me.  Plus, on a hot day, it’s a great place to sit down and cool off.

Churro – They don’t look all that exciting and I’d never noticed them before seeing the cart in Frontierland.  For years (and years) I happily passed them by, but curiosity eventually won out after hearing praises for the humble churro from fellow Disney fans.  What the heck, I caved.  One wave of a Magic Band later and I was pleasantly surprised by the cinnamon-sugary deliciousness of this conveniently portable comfort food.

Country Bear Jamboree – Like many of the items on this list, I avoided the bears for years.  I listened to the haters and thought the show would be lame and the bears would be old and mangy and the songs would be horrible.  Au contraire!  I am proud and unashamed to proclaim my adoration for every second of this unique and wonderful show!!!  Love it so much, I can hardly bear it! (Hahahaha…I crack me up!)

Extremely Crowded Christmas Week – We’ve been twice recently and once a long time ago.  Yes, it’s ridiculously crowded.  Yes, once those FastPasses are gone, there won’t be any more available.  Careful planning is required, but we don’t care.  We’re thrilled by all the extra seasonal stuff!  The decorations, the lights, the special events, the food booths in World Showcase…Christmas magic is in the air and we love it!

Mickey-shaped pretzel – After being a huge fan of the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar forever, I should know not to underestimate the appeal of any mouse-shaped snack foods.  Those dang pretzels are no exception.  Sure, as I’d always suspected, they taste just like any other generic soft pretzel, but the fact that they’re shaped like Mickey and that we’ve made getting them in Tomorrowland a family tradition, the love grows with every bite.

Kona Café – Resistance was futile.  We passed Kona on our way to ‘Ohana for many years without temptation.  Yes, Kona’s famous Tonga Toast was very well known to me, but I’m a savory breakfast fan, so no draw there.  When Curt Stone, host of the Geekin’ on WDW Podcast, waxed poetic about Kona dinners, I thought we should give it a shot.  That first visit did not impress. At. All. BUT, the two strike rule meant we’d have to give Kona a second chance before writing it off.  Luckily, subsequent visits were all fantastic and now Kona rates at least one meal on nearly every Disney World visit.

So much love in unexpected places!  The moral of the story is “don’t knock it ’til you try it” – I’ve been converted to an advocate of finding the sweet spot between revisiting old favorites and trying new things on every visit to Walt Disney World.

What’s on your list of Disney things you never expected to like?





Disney World – The Christmas Touch

IMG_0988Disney World – The Christmas Touch

As I’ve mentioned many times, Disney’s all about details.  That’s what makes a Disney vacation so amazing and keeps bringing people (like US!) back time after time.  No matter how often you visit a Disney park or resort, you will always notice new details, big and small.

The Christmas season brings on a whole new level of Disney detail magic.  It gives those Disney magicians the opportunity to go all out and delight you with their imagination, style, humor, and flair for presenting guests with unexpected surprises.   If you’ve neverIMG_0971 been to the World during the holidays, you’ve been missing out on some wonderful experiences guaranteed to fill you with holiday spirit.

We’ve had the privilege of visiting Disney World twice during the holiday season – and yes, because we went during the school break, the crowds were huge!  Except for trying to get out of Epcot once after dinner on New Year’s Eve, the throngs of visitors did not detract from our enjoyment of all the special Disney touches we found.  I’m sorry we aren’t able to visit this year – I hate to miss out on the Jingle Cruise – a new Disney magical surprise this year at Disney World that gives the Jungle Cruise a holiday IMG_0968overlay and seasonal Skipper dialogue!

I’ve put together a list of five of the special Disney holiday surprises we experienced once upon a time:

Chocolate sculpture at the Contemporary – this was an amazingly extravagant scene from Pinocchio entirely made of chocolate.  I’m sure this was a one-time-only bit of magic and I felt very lucky to have been there to see it! IMG_0970

Main Street USA and the streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios all decked out in their holiday best.

Christmas Trees!  Everywhere and each one had its own design and special ornaments; themed for each tree’s particular location.  I was especially taken by the ornaments on the large tree outside the entrance to Animal Kingdom – fantastic!

IMG_1135Santa hats – on everyone!  Even the Spitting Stitch at Downtown Disney and the gigantic Dinosaur at Dinoland in Animal Kingdom.

Best of all – Cinderella Castle.  Pictures (mine, at least) cannot do justice to the beauty that is the castle covered in 200,000 lights.  Some people say it looks dipped in sugar – I think it looks like Elsa from Frozen covered it in ICE!  Stunningly gorgeous and completely breathtaking – for me, this is the very best holiday touch at Disney World.

IMG_1244If you’re been to Disney World at Christmastime, what was your favorite bit of Disney holiday magic?