When you are planning for a Disney World Vacation there is a lot of stuff to consider.
But the most important things to consider are the deal breakers. These are those items that are SO important, the cherry on top, the must do adventures at Disney World.
In this post you’ll find the most common “can’t miss” moments that visitors all around the world rave about, so that way you can plan to do them too!
These are numbered, but the numbers don’t signify importance, they are all equally important in their own ways!
With all the fun changes coming in 2020 (and the AMAZING things coming in 2021 that we are SO HERE FOR!) it can be overwhelming to plan a Disney Vaca.
Just going on instagram gives me a serious case of FOMO and I can go to Disney all the time! So for the average person that can only go once a year (or once a lifetime) this means that you need to plan some stuff so you don’t miss the most important stuff!
Without further ado, let’s see what these 16 wonderful things are!
⬇️⬇️🛑Don’t have time? Grab the Bucket List PDF for later 🛑⬇️⬇️
This post may contain affiliate links, read my full disclosure here.
16 can’t miss moments at Disney world
#16- THE MOST ICONIC PICTURE
This is one of those classic and iconic pictures. The Cinderella Castle! You can get a close up picture with your own camera (and its the perfect time and place to bust out the ole DSLR), or wait in line at one of a dozen photos pass spots down Main Street and around the castle.
Getting a picture without a crazy crowd can be hard, because midday, when the crowds are generally lower, is also horrible for lighting. Do yourself a favor and plan an early morning picture. The light will be better and you wont look icky from melting in the florida sun.
There’s no better time to grab those Mickey Ears and snap a selfie (though no selfie sticks are allowed)
Pro tip: you can still get a nice picture from the side or the back of the castle. You can also check out the wishing well on the east side of the castle for a cute and unique picture spot. Cast members (and strangers) will take pictures for you on your phone, or you can use the Photopass photographers stationed around the area. Just look for a white vest.
Bonus tip: Grab a picture with the Mickey ballons! Just ask the cast member if you can grab a pic and tell them how you want it
#15- Eating with your favorite pals
Food and Fun Disney Characters? It’s a yes for everyone from toddlers to grandmas! Character Dining is a great way to get a break and fill up on yummy offerings and then get some memorable pictures with some of your favorite characters.
Without the line.
Without the hassle.
And you get some delicious food (and a chance to take a rest!) while you are at it.
Character dining is a must do for anyone visiting the parks. Though I’m not a fan of the price increases (because the qaulity of the food isn’t going up) It’s still a great way to sneak in some extra special interactions at Disney.
My two favorite character meals are Garden Grill in Epcot and Ohana at the Polynesian. Both are easy to get to, and you can get to both from Magic Kingdom! I don’t really recommend park hoping for a meal, but taking the monorail over to the poly is so easy, so Breakfast at Ohana then a full day at MK is so much fun!
#14- Checking out the shops in Epcot’s world showcase
Not only are the shops in Epcot full of unique items specific to the country you are in (seriously, some really cool items and they make great gifts!) But you can also stop by the kidcot stations for lots of fun.
Plus, this is one of the perfect activities to do when the weather is freaking out. I always have one of these in my Disney bag, but even with that, Disney isn’t always the funniest thing to do in the rain.
These shops are typically all indoors, temperature-controlled, and you can easily spend the whole afternoon and evening going around the world showcase. Perfect for those rainy days, or days where it’s way too hot or cold!
#13- Saying Hi to the ones that were there for you when you were a kid
Besides the rides, the characters are one of the reasons that most people go to Disney World. But not all characters are out at the same times throughout the year. You can check before you go and then get a Fastpass to see your favorite characters.
This is one of those iconic things to do, because Disney keeps such a tight leash on all their characters, so many times this is the only place you can actually meet them.
Some fun things you can do are to get a selfie with each character, a signature, and maybe even a kiss to take home with you. We normally have a traditional autograph book, but we’ve also taken in things like postcards and this kind of keepsake to have for later.
#12- Catching a Ride on the Blue, Red, Green and Yellow
The monorail has different colors (and now wraps) for each of it’s trains and you don’t see the all out all the time.
In fact, there’s been rumors swirling for years that the monorail is getting a much needed rehab, and with all the changes to Epcot in 2021, we’ll likely see some changes to the monorail line!
There is something so fun about boarding the monorail. It’s up high and provides a great view, plus you can use it to resort hop.
Kids and adults alike are obsessed with the monorail, maybe because it’s like a modern day train.
While it might not seem so appealing now, once you see it zoom past you will definitely want to get a birds eye view. Worried about how all the transportation works? don’t be. There’s an easy guide for getting where you need to go.
#11- Mickey Head coming in clutch
Mickey Waffles. Mickey Ice Cream. Mickey Rice Krispies.
They are all fun and especially delicious! I mean, Disney Food Blog built her blog around the fun food at Disney!
If you don’t eat something shaped like mickey, well then you are missing out! Good news is that you can get them everywhere! From Rice Krispie Treats to Waffles and SO MANY OTHER treats in between, it’s a no brainer!
Can’t wait for the Mickey Heads? Me either. Grab yourself one of these handy Mickey Makers and invite me over for breakfast.
#10- Watching the nighttime shows
This is a no brainer, especially because Disney does such a good job with advertising their nighttime shows.
Though the nighttime prices for the glow up stuff gives me heart palpitations! I prefer to bring my own that I grab on amazon.
Disney Parks have gone out of their way to make it magical the times you are at the parks, with a grand finale at night! Each of the parks have their own fun nighttime shows that are a great way to end the day.
The best part is that they are constantly updating the nighttime shows and adding new options like dessert dinner parties, and holiday offerings. You certainly won’t be bored when the sun goes down!
But Seriously though, by the time Nightime rolls around, I’m exhausted! Have a good game plan in place for making it through the day. You can do halfday tickets, grab some really good shoes, and prepare for chub rub from walking around all day (and this is my secret weapon I use everytime Im in the parks- and just florida in general to protect my thighs from… well from themselves!)
You won’t enjoy the nightime shows if you’ve had a super long day, and neither will the kids.
#9- Riding the train
It starts at a young age and never goes away- the love for trains that is! Maybe it’s all the toys they brain wash us with, but also… people just love trains.
Disney has done a great job with the trains at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom in that they provide a fun, safe, and immersive experience in what riding a train is really like.
So hop aboard! This train is headed around the park and is a great way to see things (and save you some steps!)
The train at MK is closed though- and will be for another 12-18 months as of July 2019. This is due to the new tron ride.
But the one at Animal Kingdom is back up and in action!
#8- Eating around the world at the Epcot
I know, I know, I already talked about the shops at Epcot.
But what I didn’t mention was the food!
I separated this because it does require some preplanning. While most of the countries in the world showcase have a quick service restaurant, in order to get the most out of the experience, you will want to sit down!
The table service restaurants can fill up fast, so get an advanced reservation so you can experience the new tastes of a country in Epcot.
#7- How Bout them Mickey Ears?
This really isn’t hard to do, in fact, mickey ears and fun hats are everywhere at Disney World!
Mickey Mouse Ear pictures are timeless. If you’ve even been to Disney just once, you’ve likely taken a picture with them. If you’ve never been, you can’t miss this time to take a picture.
From cute Mouse Ears on Etsy, to the latest collection at Disney World, mouse ears are not only classic pictures to get but they are also instagram worthy.
#6- It’s all about relationships
There are so many fun people to meet at Disney World! From the awesome face and costume characters to the street performers.
So Many Street Performers!! Some of our favorites are the ones at Animal Kingdom. They really go alllllll in.
We’ve seen so many new ones this year, and some old favorites, as they get ready to celebrate the anniversary of the Lion King.
You can find street performers all around the clock at every Disney World Park, the water parks and some of the resorts!
#5- Looking for hidden mickeys
There are entire books dedicated to Hidden Mickeys (don’t look! it’s cheating! just kidding they are super helpful) because it is such a fun thing to do!
Why is looking for odd shapes fun?
I have no idea, but once you’ve started, you can’t stop! From looking while you are having a bite to eat, to walking around and waiting in line, hidden mickeys are everywhere!
#4- Walking around the tree of life
This often overlooked treasure is a must do for a Disney guest.
Disney can be so overwhelming sometimes and you can really get caught up in checking your watch for the optimal times between fast passes, reservations and trying to get the perfect instagram picture.
Take a load off, grab a drink, and mosey around the tree while you look at all the sights and hidden animals in the tree of life.
It won’t be something you regret (unlike that footlong hotdog!).
#3- Checking out the resorts-especially at Christmas
Resort hopping is a blast! I talk about it some in the things you can do at Disney World without a ticket.
Disney World is truly magical at Christmas time. It’s one of my most favorite times to visit! thankfully, the magic isn’t restricted to the parks. The resorts all have some nice directions that can be enjoyed throughout the season.
#2- It’s florida… so it’s always time for Ice Cream.
You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!
Yep, Ice cream at Disney World just tastes better! And have no fear, if you have allergies, the Ice cream parlor on Main Street in magic kingdom is the place to be! They have lots of allergy free options, and yes, the dairy free ice cream is still yummy!
There is also allergy friendly Ice cream at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom (and frozen Ice and My Mochi at Epcot) so you’ll be able to find some good treats.
Wanna know a secret? You can book at Beaches and Cream on the Boardwalk and take the secret back entrance (where the gondolas are) at Epcot to walk over there. Reservations are hard to get so make sure you have that on your list!
#1- It’s the Mouse House
You knew I was going to keep this for number 1.
I mean, who goes to Disney World and doesn’t get a picture with Mickey Mouse? That’s just unheard of! Go see the old guy, give him a big high five, and get a picture that you will cherish.
Even if it’s not perfect for instagram, I promise you will want to see mickey regardless of how messy your hair is after riding rides and dealing with the Florida humidity.
Save these can’t miss moments for your next Disney World vacation so you can plan to make the most of your trip!
Is there a moment you’ve always dreamed about? Share it below in the comments!