A good itinerary and planning ahead are the best ways to see your must-dos at Walt Disney World and avoid long lines at popular rides. Your itinerary, however, does not need to focus just on Toy Story Midway Mania and Peter Pan’s Flight. There are plenty of fun entertainment extras that may seem small, but just add to the magic – and you won’t even need a FastPass!
At the Animal Kingdom: Usually spotted on the path between Africa and Asia, you might do a double-take the first time you see Divine. Moving gracefully through the foliage, Divine can become nearly invisible when still – stay awhile and do some people-watching to see others’ reactions as they finally notice her. Divine appears several times throughout the day – if you can’t seem to find her, ask a Cast Member.
At Hollywood Studios: If you’ve ever strolled down Hollywood Boulevard in the afternoon, you’ve probably seen the Citizens of Hollywood. This improv acting troupe is set on making old-fashioned movie magic, and you might become part of the show. These folks are a ton of fun, and their show is a great reminder of the park’s studio backlot theme.
At Epcot: It’s difficult to choose just one of the many performance acts at Epcot’s World Showcase, so I’m going to throw them all together. It’s not realistic to try and see all the street performers in World Showcase in one afternoon, but take a look at a Times Guide and see what appeals to you – try to catch at least one or two, because they’re part of the wonderful atmosphere of the pavilions. Our favorites are Serveur Amusant in France and the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats in China. In some seasons, shows may not occur on a daily basis. Also note that World Showcase will be phasing in some new entertainment this fall in Morocco, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy.
At the Magic Kingdom: Unlike the others, this extra only occurs once per day – the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show greets guests every morning about 10-15 minutes before park opening. Featuring the Citizens of Main Street, greetings from the Mayor or Fire Station Chief, and appearances by Mickey and a dozen other Disney characters, this show is always one of my must-dos. It’s the perfect start to a day at the Magic Kingdom. Arrive about 30 minutes before park opening, and don’t stand too close to the tunnels underneath the train station or you won’t be able to see the show. Keep in mind that, on Morning Extra Magic Hour days, the welcome show will be performed when the park opens to on-site guests – if you’re staying off-site, plan to catch the Welcome Show on a non-EMH day.
Elizabeth lives in Kansas City with her wonderful family. She enjoys long walks, happy thoughts, and Disney magic! Elizabeth first visited Disney as a child, and when she prepared to visit Walt Disney World as an adult, she foolishly thought she may have ‘outgrown’ Disney. Happily, Elizabeth was proven wrong – but she also realized how good planning can make such a difference for a successful vacation! Elizabeth became her family’s go-to resource for Disney planning. Now she dedicates her planning skills to helping others with their own magical vacations as a Disney travel specialist. She will plan your trip as if it were her own. Her blog, planningformagic.com, has tons of advice on how to plan your next Disney trip, including trip planning instructions, sample itineraries, dining tips, and more. Visit her on Facebook or Twitter for more planning tips and theme park news.