Throughout the years, movies have transported us to places we can only imagine, be it Endor in Star Wars: Episode IV – Return of the Jedi or Monstropolis in Monsters, Inc. Just over a year ago, Disney opened Pandora: The World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s truly a place to experience firsthand – even for the select few of us who haven’t seen the movie, like Serena and I. James Cameron and Disney created Pandora – right there for you to walk around in. This past week, Time Magazine included Pandora: The World of Avatar in their top 100 world’s greatest places. You can check out the article here.
This article got me thinking…what are some of the great places beyond Pandora: The World of Avatar within Walt Disney World to immerse oneself in? Places that could only be experienced at Disney World? These are my thoughts:
Main Street – Magic Kingdom
I know, this is obvious, but it’s quintessential Disney. The first place everyone, from kids to adults, wants to go when they arrive to Walt Disney World is the Magic Kingdom. My words will never do this justice, but there is a feeling you get when you walk into the Magic Kingdom, go around the corner, and see the “big reveal”. The castle! Instantaneously, you are a kid again and you just live in the moment. The image you have seen in Disney motion pictures for years is real and right in front of you. You walk down Main Street U.S.A. taking it all in. Stop for your picture by the Walt and Mickey statue. Then just stare up at the castle. It’s way bigger than you expect.
Epcot – The World Showcase
I’ve come to appreciate The World Showcase at Epcot. It’s like a fine wine, only getting better with age. As you wander from country to country, getting a glimpse into the different cultures, it’s easy to overlook the magical thing that is happening. Within a matter of a few steps, Disney eases you out of one immersive experience and into another. You are transcending cultures and countries in just a few geographical feet, seamlessly blending a perfectly poured pint of your favorite British beer (I recommend a black and tan), and chowing down on a magnificently tender crepe. The true beauty of The World Showcase comes when you look towards the lagoon and head over to the railing to peer out. In a transformative moment, the crowd noise lessens and you see the “world” in front of you. Nowhere else can you see a Mayan Temple to one side and the Eiffel Tower to another. It really does feel like a “Small World” after all.
Hollywood Tower of Terror – Hollywood Studios
Out of right field comes this choice. As you stand in line, interacting with the always enjoyable cast members (ride operators), the anxiety within you builds. You think you know what awaits but it’s always different – 13 stories of unpredictable screams! It may take a ride or two for this one, but once you’re able to push aside the anxiety, the overall experience is immersive and delightful. The story Disney tells from moment you step into the queue until the very end is one of the best within all of Walt Disney World (WDW). The best WDW view is by far when the ride pauses 13 stories up, the elevator doors open, you look out, and see all of Hollywood Studios. It’s view like no other. You’re in awe of how far you can see, but know what awaits….there is only one way down 🙂
See you out there and be sure to say hi if you see us at one of our favorite WDW places!