Parenting, Travel

Lil’ Man’s Top 10 Disney World Experiences for Your Lil’ Ones

Lil’ Man has been begging to practice typing on my computer ever since he first went to the computer lab at school back in September.  After some careful thought, I decided to give him a typing exercise in the form of writing his own post.  Together we came up with a list of his top 10 favorite attractions at Disney World.  For this list, we focused on experiences that are not rides.

It took him a couple of hours to type up numbers 10 – 6, but I’m proud of him for having enough patience and determination to get that far.  While I have included some tips for each item on his list, the rest are his recommendations to your little ones and written in his own words (with a few minor edits).

Let’s face it, there is a lot to do at Disney World and never enough time to do it all.  If this is your first visit, you may be overwhelmed by all there is to see and do at the parks.  If you and your children are trying to decide just what experiences you should prioritize, then take a look at these recommendations from Lil’ Man.  (Who better to give advice on what’s fun at Disney than an actual kid?)Top 10 Disney World Experiences

Lil’ Man’s Top 10 Disney World Experiences for Your Lil’ Ones

By Lil’ Man 

10.  The Pirates League (Ages 3+)

I like that you can choose the style of pirate you want to be.  It is exciting to pick your pirate name.  The Pirate Masters are always funny and they make me laugh!

Mom’s Tips:  Make a morning reservation, so your little one’s can be a pirate, mermaid, or empress all day!  We get the best character interactions when Lil’ Man is masquerading as a pirate.  If attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, consider using The Pirates League to help you get ready for the festivities.

See our Pirates League Review:  Lil’ Man’s Adventure at The Pirates League (A Review)

9.  Disney Springs:  World of Disney and The Lego Store

I like that my favorite stores are there and I think your kids will like them too.  They are the World of Disney and the The Lego Store.  I like to build with Legos at The Lego Store.

Disney Spring Photo Ops
Mom’s Tip:  Take your camera to Disney Springs for some great photo ops!

Mom’s Tips:  Know that the World of Disney gets really crowded, so hold on tight to the hands of your little ones.  The Lego Store (adjacent to the World of Disney) is a little less hectic and there are plenty of opportunities to play with Legos while you are there. Be sure to head over to the Earl of Sandwich.  It is one of our favorite quick services and is one of the more reasonably priced dining options on the Disney property.

8.  Character Meals

This is an easier way to meet characters instead of waiting in line.  The food is yummy.  My favorite one is Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary because it has the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse characters.

Mom’s Tips:  Try to keep your kids’ eating area “clutter free,” so that the focus of your photos are your children and the characters.  You don’t want to look back on your photos and find your focus is drawn to your child’s orange juice or a crumpled up napkin!  My husband and I prefer Donald’s Safari Breakfast at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom to Chef Mickey’s.

character meal photos copy

7.  Festival of the Lion King

It’s not too long of a show, but not too short.  I like all of the characters and the singing.  The fire dancer is amazing because he swallows fire!

Mom’s Tips:  If front row seating is important to you, then you will want to get a FastPass+ for this experience.  Know that the first row is reserved for accessible seating.  It is bleacher style seating, so your child may end up with a tall individual blocking his/her view.  When this happens, we just put Lil’ Man on one of our laps.  Festival of the Lion King features a stellar cast and is always on our must-do list!

6.  Enchanted Tales with Belle

I like that the kids get to be a part of the show and some grown ups too.  My dad was a knight once and I got to be the Beast!  Raising your hand is the most important thing if you want to be picked.

Mom’s Tips:  Head over to Enchanted Tales with Belle in the evening when most park-goers are eating dinner or grabbing a spot for the nighttime shows.  Less people in attendance makes it more likely that all children will have the opportunity to participate.  Be sure to have your cameras ready to record the show.  Seeing your children interact with Belle makes for some wonderful memories.

5.  Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

I like collecting the cards and interacting with Merlin.  It’s fun to do while waiting to use a FastPass+.  The cards have some Disney characters that you know and some that you may not know.

Mom’s Tips:  Pick up your cards at Magic Kingdom’s Firehouse (Main Street U.S.A.) when you first enter the park.  We always wait until the end of our trip and we have yet to be able to finish a quest.  (Each quest is only about 20-30 minutes.) Also, you may pick up a new pack of spell cards each day.  These make a great collectible souvenir.

4.  Meeting Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater

Mickey always does something different when I see him.  I like being able to talk to Mickey and he responds.  I mostly like getting my picture with him.

Mom’s Tips:  Mickey is a popular guy!  If you don’t have a FastPass+ to see him, be sure to head over to the Town Square Theater during the Happily Ever After show.  Our wait was only around 10 minutes to see him while the show was playing.

3.  The Animals at Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge

It is important to keep the animals safe!  Follow Disney’s rules about no balloons and straws at Animal Kingdom.  I like to eat a snack on the balcony of our room at AKL, so I can watch the animals while I eat.  My favorite animal at Animal Kingdom is the ostrich.

AKL balcony
Mom’s Tip: Ask for a room on the third floor at AKL’s Jambo House to be up close to the animals.

Mom’s Tips:  Be sure to go see the new tiger cubs over at Animal Kingdom!  Take advantage of the extra Magic Hours and head over to Animal Kingdom in the early morning when the animals are most active.  Make Kilimanjaro Safaris your first ride of the day.  We always do and we are often able to ride twice before the line gets long!  If you can’t get on in the morning, then ride the safari at sunset.  While some animals are not on display in the evening, it is worth it to see the nocturnal behaviors of those that are present.  In the video below, we learned that giraffes make pretty good road blocks!

2.  Wilderness Explorers Handbook (Animal Kingdom)

I like that there are activities  all over the park.  I learned about different types of animals and I liked earning badges.

Mom’s Tips:  You can pick up a handbook at any of the Wilderness Explorer Stops in Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and Dinoland U.S.A.  We saved our handbook and will be bringing it with us on our next trip, so that Lil’ Man can work on completing all of his badges.  This is a great activity to get the kids engaged in learning while on vacation!

1.  Penny Machines

The penny machines cost 51 cents and only take quarters and pennies.  You will find them all over Disney World.  I like searching for them and they are easy to make.  I like collecting pennies with different Disney characters.

Mom’s Tips:  Use 1/4 cup of white vinegar and about a teaspoon of salt to clean your pennies (ketchup works too).  You can use a soft toothbrush to clean off any stubborn residue.  Consider recycling an old prescription pill bottle to hold your pennies and quarters.  You can have the kids decorate the pill bottle as a Coutndown to Disney activity.disney penny machines

I of course have to add Happily Ever After to the list as well as the childcare centers at various Disney Resorts.  Sadly, it was recently announced that several of the childcare centers are set to close this summer.  I just reserved Lil’ Man a visit to Lilo’s Playhouse.  He is looking forward to having some time away from all of the adults (he will be the only child in the party), but he was heartbroken to hear that this will be his only visit.  His time at Saratoga Springs’s Kids Club during our last visit was the highlight of his trip.

Note:  If you are a DVC member, you curretly get a 15% discount off of the $55 flat rate charged for Lilo’s Playhouse.

Lil’ Man would love to hear any questions or comments you or your children might have for him.  Be sure to comment below and thanks for stopping by!

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