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Overlooked Disney Experiences

Feb 10, 2017
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Overlooked Disney Experiences

If you’ve spent time on our site, you’re aware of the importance of Fastpass+ reservations to plan your day and spend as little time in line as possible. Well when you go through your plans before 11am…what do you do before lunch? What do you do in the evening before dinner? What about that awkward time between 8pm and fireworks?

These attractions are not just amazing experiences, but they are also great to put into a relaxing day plan!

Oh! And before we get started don’t forget to order your FREE Disney Vacation Planning Video!


When you think about an ‘Overlooked’ Disney experience, it actually has a definition and criteria:

  1. You can’t get a FastPass+ for it
  2. 9 out of 10 dentists would recommend it! (#HowToMCO Humour)

Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World Railroad

Angled view of a red steam engine with the name 'Roger E. Broggie' painted on it

Angled view of a red steam engine with the name ‘Roger E. Broggie’ painted on it – Copyright Disney

When you think about classic Disney within the context of the parks, it usually revolves around a train. At Walt Disney World, the Magic Kingdom is surrounded by the Walt Disney World Railroad which creates a symbolic and physical berm that keeps the magic in and the outside world out.

The railroad itself is a step back in time with a 20-minute scenic tour on authentic steam-powered trains. You won’t have to wait long as the trains are scheduled to depart every 4 to 10 minutes.

There are 4 restored, working narrow-gauge trains you can ride, originally built between 1916 and 1928.

  • Walter E. Disney, named after Walt Disney
  • Lilly Belle, named after Walt’s wife, Lillian
  • Roy O. Disney, named after Walt’s brother
  • Roger E. Broggie, named after an original Imagineer who led the railroad project at Walt Disney World Resort

Get a Dole Whip

3 frozen treats from Aloha Isle snack shop, including a Pineapple float and 2 Dole Whips, with 2 pineapples.

3 frozen treats from Aloha Isle snack shop, including a Pineapple float and 2 Dole Whips, with 2 pineapples. – Copyright Disney

I wasn’t going to put this on the list, as by now everyone who reads my articles know that I have a special relationship with Dole Whips! Then it hit me – most of the readers of our website have either never been or would like to learn about the in’s and out’s of a vacation, so here it is.

The Dole Whip is a non-dairy, soft serve, frozen piece of heaven on earth. You can get it as a Pineapple Float or just in a cup, but it’s definitely better in the float version.

It is by far the most popular snack on property and is so much more than a simple desert. Trust me:)

Want to buy your own Dole Whip tee shirt? Check out the How To MCO Teepublic store!  

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover

An ascending conveyor belt walkway below a sign to Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

An ascending conveyor belt walkway below a sign to Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – Copyright Disney

“Paging Mr Morrow, Mr Tom Morrow. Please contact Mr Johnson in the control tower to confirm your flight to the moon.”

The TTA is a peoplemover system in Tomorrowland, themed as an urban mass transit system in the future, riders are taken on a ride around the second floor of some of the most popular attractions in the land. When I think about Walt Disney World, the TTA is one of the first things that pop into my mind, and it’s hard to explain until you’ve taken the trip on the Other highway in the Sky! (Monorail being the main one)

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress lit up at night in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom park

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress lit up at night in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom park – Copyright Disney

Nostalgia and Futurism come together in the longest-running stage show in the history of American theatre! Is it overlooked? Absolutely! Take a trip back in time to one of the only attractions in WDW that Walt Disney himself actually touched before it’s gone forever, as the land that it sits on has been consistently discussed to be a part of a future redevelopment.

Liberty Belle Riverboat

A nighttime view of the 3-tiered riverboat Liberty Belle docked at Liberty Square Riverboat Landing

A nighttime view of the 3-tiered riverboat Liberty Belle docked at Liberty Square Riverboat Landing – Copyright Disney

Filled with nods to the past, the riverboat that takes guests on a trip around the Rivers of America is an overlooked and underrated attraction within the Magic Kingdom on a number of fronts.

First, the Liberty Belle isn’t an all-day attraction and closes around dusk every day. If you can score a seat on the final trip of the day…it’s pure magic! You get a sunset behind Splash Mountain and a nighttime photo of the Haunted Mansion on the same loop.

Secondly, the feeling like this piece of Americana has been left unaltered and de-franchised (although there was a successful Princess and the Frog tie-in at one point) it’s not as popular with trip planners. We, on the other hand, absolutely love the Riverboat and use it as an opportunity to recharge and get off your feet for 20 minutes and figure out the next adventure.

Tom Sawyer Island

A pontoon foot bridge on Tom Sawyers Island in Frontierland

A pontoon foot bridge on Tom Sawyers Island in Frontierland – Copyright Disney

Upside – Great photos, fun adventures through caves and Fort Langhorn.

Downside – You have to wait for the raft to go from the mainland to the Island…and then wait on the other side for the raft to take you back across the Rivers of America.

Is it worth it? Absolutely! Should you prioritize it over anything else in the Magic Kingdom? Probably not. This is on the list because of the exclusiveness of the activities on the island and that the rafts have a capacity of 20-30 guests and the lines can get incredibly long during the busy season.

Oh, and the paint brushes are no longer being hidden on Tom Sawyer’s Island in the morning, so don’t rush to the rafts. Some travel books still promote that Cast Members hide paint brushes around the island and if you find them…you get a free soda.

If you want free soda…head to Club Cool in EPCOT and get some Beverley;)

Hall of Presidents

All 44 U.S. Presidents on stage at The Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom park

All 44 U.S. Presidents on stage at The Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom park – Copyright Disney

After each election, the Hall of Presidents undergoes a transformation to include the incumbent president. This means that every 4 (or 8) years, there’s a 6 month downtime in which the entire show gets reimagined.

Often overlooked because of the history-element and the lack of Fastpass+, the technology and attention to detail behind the attraction itself is absolutely mind-blowing!

Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom

Partners statue of Walt Disney holding hands with Mickey Mouse in front of Cinderella Castle

Partners statue of Walt Disney holding hands with Mickey Mouse in front of Cinderella Castle – Copyright Disney

I love SOTMK (yes, that’s the acronym. If you’re lost with other Disney-isms…here’s our article about Speaking Disney)

Learn more about the mystical game that’ll have you casting spells like a pro wizard!

Important Details

  • Sign up for the game at the Firehouse at Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Players will receive one map and pack of spell cards per day*
    • *You must open one portal per day to receive the spell cards
  • Missions last from 20 to 30 minutes, sometimes longer depending on the degree of difficulty.
  • Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is included in your theme park admission.

Definitely one of the most OVERLOOKED attractions in the Magic Kingdom!


EPCOT

Fountain of Nations Water Ballet

Fountain of Nations – Copyright HowToMCO

Future World has always had a special place in my heart due to the classic futuristic feel that is often replicated by never duplicated. Part of the charm is the Dancing Fountain that is located in the plaza behind Spaceship Earth. Best spot to get the full ambiance? In the middle of the EPCOT logo that’s emblazoned in the tiles to the south of the fountain.

The World Showcase Passports

Let’s talk about something as hands-on as you can get, with the passport that really changed my understanding of the World Showcase. These passports are available across the entire park, and it’s a fun way to interact with individuals from around the world. They stamp the page of their pavilion and then write a personal message in the language of their country. It’s educational and incredibly insightful!

O Canada!

Entrance to the 'O Canada!' attraction tucked under boulders in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot

Entrance to the ‘O Canada!’ attraction tucked under boulders in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot – Copyright Disney

#FunFact Every pavilion around the World Showcase is staffed with Cultural Representatives from that country. In 2007/08 I had the opportunity to be one of the lucky participants from Canada to be in the Canadian Pavilion for a contract that changed my life forever.

On my first night in the park after getting fitted with my lumberjack costume, I went with my fellow Canadians to check out the O Canada film…and wow! Let’s just say that you have to go into it with a comedic sense of style and understand that those up north still have things like Starbucks and roads;) It’s definitely worth checking out!

Visit the Dolphins @ Seas with Nemo and Friends

A circular room for 360° viewing of the sea life inside a huge aquarium in SeaBase at Epcot

A circular room for 360° viewing of the sea life inside a huge aquarium in SeaBase at Epcot – Copyright Disney

Did you know that there are Dolphins, Sharks, Turtles and Manatees in the Living Seas (Seas with Nemo and Friends)? Well if you didn’t…now you do! When you disembark the Seas with Nemo attraction, you’re left in Sea Base Alpha where you’re given the chance to explore and learn about creatures that live under the sea.

One of my favourite sections to spend time in is the manatee area, especially during feeding time. They are some of the most majestic and peaceful animals in the world, so having access to this endangered species is important.


Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Discovery Island Trails

A small waterfall dropping from the roots of the Tree of Life

A small waterfall dropping from the roots of the Tree of Life – Copyright Disney

Recently re-opened, this escape to a garden paradise takes you into a world that most guests don’t even know about! It’s a self-guided tour that brings you to some of the coolest wildlife encounters at the park, including the Flamingos, Ring-Tailed Lemurs, and Red Kangaroos!

It also gives you a close-up view of the Tree of Life, which boasts more than 300 animal carvings into the base.

Definitely overlooked and worth the investment of time! It’s better with a Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar btw;)

Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Inside Harambe station with a sign announcing the Wildlife Express to Conservation Station

Inside Harambe station with a sign announcing the Wildlife Express to Conservation Station – Copyright Disney

This 7-minute train ride brings you from the heart of Africa into Rafiki’s Planet Watch, which is an area of the park dedicated to the conservation and preservation of animals. You get a chance to see some of the animal housing and veterinary facilities along the way, which provides you with a great understanding of the complexity that goes into providing a seamless experience for the guests and the animals alike.

Fun Fact – Frequent character sightings at Planet Watch include Pocahontas, Meeko, Rafiki, Chip & Dale, and Jiminy Cricket. Check your time’s guide for the updated schedule

Flights of Wonder

A macaw prepares to land at Flights of Wonder at Disney's Animal

The Caravan Stage is the home to one of the coolest shows on Disney property, allowing guests to see the wonder and glory of over 20 species of exotic birds. There’s a number of photo ops, including the chance to see the symbol of the United States…the Bald Eagle!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Streetsmopshere

Members of the Citizens of Hollywood troupe - a talent agent, flanked by 2 starlets

Members of the Citizens of Hollywood troupe – a talent agent, flanked by 2 starlets – Copyright Disney

The Citizens of Hollywood are classic Disney storytelling brought to life right in front of you. These talented actors bring the silver screen to the streets with their hilarious antics that really showcase the original theme of Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Keep your eyes peeled, as the show could happen at any moment without any notice…and it’s definitely worth watching!

Walt Disney – One Man’s Dream

A model of the Florida Conference Room at Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

A model of the Florida Conference Room at Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream – Copyright Disney

Last on our list is actually my favourite! My words couldn’t give you enough incentive to go, so I’ll just share what the Walt Disney World description has:

Follow in the Footsteps of Walt Disney

Behold rare, never-before-seen props, models, sketches and more during a self-guided gallery tour.

Specially created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Walt’s birth, Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream invites you to discover the man behind the mouse, his many achievements and his ongoing legacy.

A Treasure Trove from the Disney Vault
Discover a vivid and intimate portrait of Walt through the presentation of over 400 artifacts featuring one-of-a-kind animation art, paintings, storyboards, photos, models, props, costumes and set pieces, including:

  • Walt Disney’s 2nd-grade school desk
  • Audio and film clips that contain previously unseen footage and interviews with Walt Disney
  • Vintage Disney toys and merchandise
  • “Granny Kincaid’s Cabin,” Walt’s first attempt at a 3D miniature environment
  • “The Dancing Man,” Walt’s first animated figure and precursor to the Audio-Animatronics technology he would soon pioneer
  • The original Audio-Animatronics Abraham Lincoln figure from the 1964 New York World’s Fair
  • Mickey Mouse Club props and costumes
  • The model of Main Street, U.S.A. from Disneyland Resort
  • Jungle Cruise and Spaceship Earth models
  • Mary Poppins costumes
  • Peter Pan’s Flight ride vehicle models
  • The planning model for Disney’s California Adventure theme park
  • Scaled replicas of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris Resort
  • The Tree of Life model from Disney’s Animal Kingdom park

If that doesn’t provide you with enough to check it out, then there’s also a 15-minute film tribute in Walt’s Own Words, hosted by Julie Andrews. I’ve watched this film like a hundred times and each time a tear comes to my eye because of how amazing of an icon Walt Disney was. So go watch it and let us know if he also inspires you to follow your dreams!

Still wanting more ideas for experience on your next Disney World vacation? Again we recommend ordering Hurry! Order your FREE Disney Vacation Planning Video. Once that is done be sure to read 110 Disney World Trip Planning Tips & Tricks. If your a first time Disney goer we also recommend reading 20 Things First Time Disney Visitors Don’t Know.

WOW! I need to circle back and do some of these attractions we normally skip over at Disney World!

WOW! I need to circle back and do some of these attractions we normally skip over at Disney World!

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5 Responses

  1. Having previously worked for an airline, we were taught to remember MCO for Orlando by calling it Mikey’s Corporate Office.

  2. MCO was retained from the old McCoy Air Force Base when the Orlando International Airport was built on its site.

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