We’re back with another top three list! This time we’re talking underrated Epcot attractions. After successfully navigating the waters to whittle down a list of top three underrated Magic Kingdom attractions, we’re ready to try our hand with Epcot. We think we’re ready for another challenge! Let’s hope aboard monorail silver and take a ride over to Epcot. Fingers crossed that we can once again pinpoint a list of underrated Epcot attractions!
Oh, the rules are back! How did we know the rules would be coming back. Well, probably because we’re writing the article. Anyways, we’ll be following the same rules we had in place for our underrated Magic Kingdom attractions article. As a refresher, here they are; First and foremost, the attraction should not have a Fastpass. We’re looking for attractions that are flying under the radar. Second, the attraction should be available on a regular park day, not just with special events or parties. Sorry, Living with the Land Christmas overlay. You are definitely beautiful, but you’re not qualifying for this list. Lastly, no live entertainment. Whether it’s Epoct Forever, the World Showcase performers, or our favorite, the Jaminators, we’re only looking for attractions. Alright, with the rules in place we’re ready to name our top three underrated Epcot attractions!
Passholder Insights: When the World Showcase first opens up is the best time to check out any of the festivals around the World Showcase.
Around We Go
No, we’re not talking about an attraction that spins around. We’re talking about a 360 degree film. As far back as 1967, Disney parks have been associated with circle-vision. Thanks to the success of America the Beautiful at Disneyland the circle-vision experience has continued to grow and is included in first underrated Epcot attraction, Reflections of China.
Located in the center of the pavilion is a pagoda. Within the pagoda you’ll find Reflections of China. The 14 minutes video takes you on an adventure around the most beautiful parts of the country. This standing only experience, that’s right there are no seats, it a great way to take a break from and enjoy on of the early revolutions Walt Disney had with how to present film.
Catch while you can, as we should be seeing updated version of Reflections of China within the next 6 to 9 months.
Passholder Insights: To see a look into the future of circle-vision head off to the Epcot Experience where Disney is showing off a seamless 360-degree screen.
Land Of The Free
It’s hard to say land of the free and not follow it with home of the brave. Aren’t we right? Next on our list of underrated Epcot attractions takes us to the American Pavilion in the World Showcase. Within the reproduction Colonial brick building is the American Adventure and all of it’s patriotic glory. As Sam Eagle would say, it’s a glorious 3-hour production. In reality it’s 29 minutes, but who’s counting.
The American Adventure is a great example of what Disney Imagineering is capable of with an animatronic driven show. With Mark Twain and Ben Franklin taking you through a historical (utopic view) remembrance of America history. What makes the show stand apart from the rest is how it combines animatronics and video projection. The projection screen along of the back of the stage is one of the largest around and serves as the backdrop for the different animatronic set pieces that are brought in and out of view.
Passholder Insights: The stage for the American Adventure is so unique that Disney World includes a behind scenes look at it as part of the Backstage Magic Tour.
Is there room for five? If you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re talking about the Three Caballeros. Topping our most underrated Epcot attractions is the Grand Fiesta Tour in the Mexico Pavilion. You join Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles on the search for Donald as you travel through different parts of Mexico. The big question is will you find Donald in time for the show.
Located within the Mayan Temple, this about 11 minute boat ride is one our favorite ways to beat the heat or escape from a thunderstorm. By far the aspect that has us coming back every time are the animatronics at the end. Originally part of the Mickey Mouse Revue, the Three Caballeros animatronics were brought to Epcot’s Mexico pavilion in December of 2015 and have been a staple of the ride ever since. If you’re looking for Walt Disney World opening day animatronics, this is the place for you.
Passholder Insights: If you’re looking for the best margarita at Walt Disney World, then look no further than La Cava del Tequila within the Mayan Temple.
Epcot is known for great food, drinks, festival, and unique attractions like Soarin’ and Test Track. Trust-us, these are must see attractions. When you have an extra few minutes it’s definitely worth checking out the underrated Epcot attractions as well. Each of our top three have a unique charm and give you a glimpse into the past. There is only one thing left to do, find Donald! Someone has to do it, right?
Three, we only get three? Why do we do this to ourselves! It’s definitely going to be a challenge to whittle the list of underrated Magic Kingdom attractions down to just three. But, we’re always up for a challenge, like running a Disney half marathon in the Florida humidity. Oh, the memories of our Star Wars Rival Run. Alright, we’ve delayed our decisions long enough, it’s time to pick our top 3 underrated Magic Kingdom attractions. Let’s make our way down Main Street USA!
Structure. Every great list needs structure, or we would have chaos. For our underrated Magic Kingdom attractions list the rules are as follows. First and foremost, the attraction should not have a Fastpass. We’re looking for attractions that flying under the radar. Second, the attraction should be available on a regular park day, not just with special events or parties. Sorry, Tomorrowland Speedway Christmas Tree scroll. You are definitely, cool, but you’re not qualifying for this list. Lastly, no live entertainment. Whether it’s the castle show, parade or our favorite, the Dapper Dans, we’re only looking for attractions. Ah, with the rules in place whittling down our list just got a little easier. At least we hope!
Passholder Insights: Early in the morning is one of the best times to experience Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom. From the vehicles to the live performances, it definitely transports you to a different time.
Float where? We’re floating around the Rivers of America. Unless you’re from Branson, Missouri more than likely this may be one of the few times for you to experience a riverboat. In Liberty Square, you’ll find the first of our underrated Magic Kingdom attractions in the Liberty Square Riverboat, ie the Liberty Belle. For us this is perfect way to beat the midday crowds and take in some fantastic Disney views. With its giant paddlewheel propelling you through your 20 minute journey around Tom Sayer Island, it’s a great way to get unique perspective of Frontierland and Liberty Square. You pass by a couple of our favorite attractions in Big Thunder Mountain and the Haunted Mansion.
The Liberty Belle is more than just great views. While aboard the boat we definitely recommend taking a moment to explore. With tons of details, it always amazes us what we discover on the boat.
Passholder Insights: During special events, whether it be Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Christmas Party and even DVC Moonlight Magicevents, usually you’ll a special character or two with the Liberty Belle dock area.
No, we’re not talking about Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean. Those are definitely classics, but far from underrated Magic Kingdom attractions. We’re talking about the classic animatronic shows. Ok, we’re going to bend the rules a little bit on this one. Aren’t rules meant to be broken? Within the Magic Kingdom, there are three classic shows that are quintessential Disney. We’re looking at you Carousel of Progress, Enchanted Tiki Room, and Country Bear Jamboree.
Each of the attractions is what made Disney different from any other theme park. For us, we enjoy these shows for a multitude of reasons. One of the big reasons is the animatronic themselves. If you’re a fan of Walt Disney or just looking for a glimpse into early animatronic technology these are definitely must-see shows. On top of the animatronics are the stories themselves, whether it’s the humor in Country Bears or message from Carousel of Progress, the stories are what continue to carry these shows forward. They are also a great way to avoid those afternoon thunderstorms.
Passholder Insights: Fun fact about the Enchanted Tiki Room, it’s one of the only attractions at Walt Disney World where you bring your Dole Whip in with you. Trust us the show is even better with a Dole Whip in hand.
Yes, there is an island in the Magic Kingdom. By far one of our most underrated Magic Kingdom attractions has to be Tom Sawyer Island. It’s a place where everyone instantly becomes a kid. Just outside the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain is a boat dock where you can board a raft that brings you this one of a kind theme park location. This one of kind spot is filled with caves to explore, floating bridges to cross, and even rocking chairs to rest our sore feet. You walk a lot of miles at Walt Disney World, trust us on that one.
What makes Tom Sawyer Island a special place is how you forget you’re in a theme park. While explore the different paths and discovering the animatronics within the caves, you’re brought to place that feels outside of the parks. Our words cannot do it justice, it’s something worthing checking out on second or later visit. A visit where you have time to take it all in and experience it for what it is.
Passholder Insights: When on Tom Sawyer Island keep an eye out for Aunt Polly’s on the island. The quick-service location is known for sandwiches, but it’s only open on rare occasions.
The Magic Kingdom is known for tons of great attractions. Trust us, the well-known ones, are infamous for a reason and definitely worth checking out. When you extra time or heading back for another trip is definitely worth taking in the underrated Magic Kingdom attractions. Alright, we’re off to day dream about the Disney views from the Liberty Belle!
More options! That’s right we got Disney Dining Plan options. On February 27, 2020, Disney Parks announced the Disney Dining Plan Plus. It’s the newest plan option in the Disney Dining Plan catalog. Raising the total to four different options. With its addition, it raises the question, who is the plan best for? It’s why we’re all here. Let’s breakdown the Disney Dining Plan Plus.
Or should we say building blocks? Your choice. No matter what both involve building, and that’s what we are doing. We’re building on our Disney Dining Plan article, where we breakdown the plans based on how you theme park. For the basics around Disney Dining Plans, we recommend giving it a read. It’s some of our better work, but we’re definitely partial. Do you agree? Yeah, we thought you would. Anyways, let’s get to it.
The Disney Dining Plan Plus includes the following per night; two meal credits that can be used on either table service or quick-service, two snack credits, and one refillable mug. For the meal credits, it’s a choose your own adventure on how you would like to use them. The new plan costs $94.61 per person per night for adults and $35 per child per night. For anyone 21 years or older, your meal is eligible for an adult beverage with your meal credit (where offered).
Passholder Insights: Recently Disney Resorts began offering upgrades to the refill mugs that include metal mugs themed around the Skyliner or Star Wards.
We like to call it the double-dip. Enjoying a great meal, while meeting a variety of your favorite Disney characters. With the new Disney Dining Plan Plus, you would be able to enjoy a character meal a day or double up with two a day. With the majority of the character meals qualifying as one dining credit and costing around $40 or more per adult and $24 or more per child, it’s definitely a great value. The only character meal currently two meals credits is Cinderella’s Royal Table.
If you plan on experiencing a character meal a day, along with another sit-down restaurant, then the Disney Dining Plan Plus may be for you. We find the character meals as a great way for kids and adults to get little more time with their favorite characters.
We’re here for the food! Walt Disney World is filled with fantastic restaurants and if you’re like us, you want to enjoy them all. Well, at least as many as possible. There are 90, with more on the way. We’re looking at you Space 220, The Creperie, and Woody’s RoundUp. The majority of the dining locations are one credit and available when on the Disney Dining Plan. For a full list of the restaurants included please see the following list.
With the new Disney Dining Plan Plus, it makes knocking off a couple of restaurants a day pretty easy. Similar to character dining, we highly recommend making ADR’s, especially during the busier times of the year.
Passholder Insights: In our experience, it’s a better value to pay out of pocket for the Signature Restaurants over using two table service credits on one meal.
You can never have too many options! When it comes to the Disney Dining Plan we always think of it as a no muss or fuss way to travel. Essentially, you’re prepaying for your snacks/meals (outside of tip) and in our experience, it takes a lot of pressure when looking at menus. Order what you like!
For the new Disney Dining Plan Plus, if you’re someone looking to enjoy a couple of sit down meals a day for the majority of your trip, then this plan is for you. The greatest value comes when using both meal credits at one credit sit down restaurant. Alright, it’s time to eat. Where should we go? Only 90+ options to choose from. This may take a minute!
There’s a strategy for that! You know us, we love our FastPass strategies. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass is now part of the Hollywood Studios FastPass tiers. For the second time in the last few weeks, the Hollywood Studios FastPass tiers have been revamped. What does this mean to our Hollywood Studios Strategy options? We’re glad you asked. Let’s bust out our My Disney Experience app and put together our strategy around Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass.
Woohoo! We’re a little excited for this attraction, to say the least. On March 4, 2020, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens its doors for the first time. When the attraction opens, Disney World is following the traditional opening where it will offer both FastPass and standby. It will not have boarding groups like Rise of the Resistance. Instead, the Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass will be a tier one attraction. Below is a breakdown of the new tiers.
With the Fastpass tiers you’re able to select one attraction from tier one, then two attractions from tier two. Once you have completed your first three FastPass selections you can select a fourth FastPass and more!
Passholder Insights: We prefer to use our FastPass selections on the attractions. We’ve found we usually do not need a FastPass to experience the shows.
FastPass Window Opens
It’s FastPass day! For this Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass strategy we’re looking at making our selection prior to arrival. As we discuss in our FastPass Essentials Guide, depending on where you stay either at a Disney related resort or a non-Disney related resort will determine when and how you can make your selections. The window is open, what would the DVC Duo do?
There are two things we like to do. First and foremost is prioritize certain FastPass selections. In this situation, we’re prioritizing our Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass. What this means for us, is that we’re going to look to make this selection first. We usually stay at a Disney resort so we’re going to use our 60+ day window to our advantage. With the harder to get FastPass selections we like to put these towards the end of our trip, as we’re more likely to find options.
When staying at a non-Disney related resort, we recommend checking for a FastPass first thing on your 30-day mark when the system opens at 6 am. Then doing so on each of the following mornings for the length of your stay (as guests staying at non-Disney related resort are only able to book a day at a time, on the 30-day mark).
Passholder Insights: Disney related resorts is a combination of the Disney owned resorts and what’s referred to as Good Neighbor Resorts. Here’s a list of Good Neighbor Resorts.
The Back-Up Plan
Demand for the Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass will more than likely be very high. It is Mickey’s first-ever ride. If you’re not able to obtain a FastPass selection, have no fear, we have a back-up plan. The first thing we would do is select another Tier 1 attraction. For us, it’s Slinky Dog, as we’ve found the wait times for Slinky Dog tend to be higher than Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. However, there are no bad selections here, it all depends on what you prefer, Toy Story or Star Wars.
On our Hollywood Studios day, if we were not able to secure a FastPass we would look to do one of two things. The first option would be to rope drop, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Our second option would be to step into line just as the park is closing. For example, Hollywood Studios is closing at 8 pm, we would join the line around 7:55 pm. As long as you’re in line before the park closing time you’ll be able to ride. Additionally, we’ve found the ride moves quicker as they’re no more guests in the FastPass line.
Passholder Insights: Keep checking My Disney Experience for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass options, as we’ve found they pop-up from time to time leading up to and while on a trip.
It’s all about prioritization for us. Whether we’re looking at making a Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass or any other FastPass at Walt Disney World. The big thing we always tell ourselves is if we are not able to secure a FastPass, we’ll use the back-up plan if it’s a must-experience attraction for us. Before heading to Hollywood Studios, we would recommend picking out one or two must experience attractions that are outside your FastPass selections. Then you could rope drop one and use the last ride of the night method for the other one. Toot, toot! Looks like our training is pulling out of the station, we’ve got go!
Disney ADR, what’s that? Walt Disney World is filled with acronyms, from FP’s (FastPass) to DAK (Disney’s Animal Kingdom) and what we’re all here for today, Disney ADR (Advance Dining Reservation). Let’s just say at Disney, there’s an acronym for that. In this DVC Duo guide, we’re breaking down everything you need to about Disney ADR’s. Let’s find those restaurants!
What Is It?
At the route of it, a Disney ADR is a dining reservation at Walt Disney World. Then why is it not just called a dining reservation, instead of an advance dining reservation? Great question! At Walt Disney World dining reservations are a little different than everyday life. From when you can make reservations to how you can make reservations and even what happens if you’re late or don’t make your Disney ADR.
Passholder Insights: When working with a Disney certified travel agent, they are able to make all your Disney ADR’s at no additional charge.
How Can I Make A Disney ADR?
There’s more than one way to reserve! Your options include the new school way or flip it with the old school way. Our favorite way to make our Disney ADR’s is the new school way via My Disney Experience. Similar to our monorail crawl, the new school way is a choose your own adventure between the mobile app (phone) or website (desktop). For us, we always go to the website.
The old school way is calling 407.WDW.DINE (407.939.3463). If you’re looking to make a reservation for a group of 9 people or more, you’ll have to call Disney Dining, as the My Disney Experience limits reservations for up to 8 people.
Passholder Insights: Recently Walt Disney World has been recommending booking your Disney ADR’s online. Based on this recommendation we’ve seen wait times for calling for reservations increase.
When Can I Book?
Here is where a Disney ADR differs the most from a standard reservation. The booking window for all guests opens 180 days from the date you will dine. This is the same for everyone and it does not have any requirements outside of a credit card to book. On the 180-day mark reservations open at 6 am est for reservations made online and 7 am est for reservations made over the phone. You can make reservations at any point from the 180-day mark forward.
Where it becomes a little more tricky is when we factor in what type of resort you’re staying at. There are two options. First is staying at Disney World Resort or a Good Neighbor Resort (on Disney property). The second is staying off Disney property. When staying on Disney property you have the opportunity to book advance dining reservations for your whole trip (up to 10 days) on the first day. How it works is guests with an on property reservations would load the confirmation number to My Disney Experience. When booking opens the system enables you to book up to 10 beyond your 180-day mark.
For guests staying at an off Disney property resort, you would be able to make advance dining reservations at the 180-day mark one day at a time. How it works is each morning a 180-days from the corresponding day of your trip you have the opportunity to log into My Disney Experience and make your Disney ADR.
PassholdersInsights: When using My Disney Experience on your mobile device to book your ADRs we highly recommend checking for app updates the night before.
At Walt Disney World you can make an advance dining reservation at all the sitdown restaurants. Beyond the restaurants, there are a select few quick-serve or other locations that qualify for an ADR as well. The following locations are included:
At Be Our Guest for breakfast and lunch you are also able to select your meals in advance. Make your meal choice prior to arrival is a great way to save time and enjoy more park time.
Passholder Insights: For certain restaurants, you can also find reservations via OpenTable. The majority of these restaurants will be located at Disney Springs.
Modifications And Changes
Picking meals 180 days in advance is no easy task. Nate struggles to figure out what he would like to eat 24 hours in advance. No worries, you’re able to change your advanced dining reservations up to 24 hours prior to sitting down for your meal. After the 24-hour mark, you are subject to a cancellation fee of $25 or no show fee. If it’s under 24-hours we would recommend either calling 407-WDW-DINE or head to the restaurant to find out your options.
Passholder Insights: If there is a certain restaurant we were not able to reserve at the 180-day, we like to check back often. We’ve found reservations are always opening.
Works well! Overall the Disney ADR system is easy to use. Similar to making a FastPass, one of our booking strategies is to focus on the hard to get ADRs first. We like to put these hard to get ADRs towards the end of our trip when staying on Disney property. Our biggest tip when making the booking window opens is to be flexible. We like to mark a couple of must eat at places then go with the flow from there. Walt Disney World has a ton of great restaurants and the majority of the time you’ll find a Disney ADR for it. Alright, we’ve got to go time for our ADR at ‘Ohana!