All posts by Barbara Ryan

Travel agent specializing in Disney vacation planning for Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, Aulani and Adventures by Disney. Also specializing in Universal Studios, Cruises, and Sandals resorts. The benefits of using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for promotions, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part? It’s totally FREE! I’ll take away the stress and confusion (it's a big place!) of planning a Disney vacation!

Monday Morning Magic

Every Monday morning, enjoy a little dose of Disney Magic!

The floating lanterns of Fantasyland!


Top 5 Hidden Gem Attractions at Magic Kingdom

While you’re waiting for that coveted Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Fastpass time to roll around why not beat the crowds vying for their spot on the 3 mountains or other headliners and try some of the hidden gems of the Magic Kingdom.

Okay, maybe they aren’t actually hidden. They are actually in plain view, but they tend to be less popular and have short to no wait times most of the time.

5. Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel

It’s a Royal carousel which makes it that much better than your average carousel. The special treat is finding Cinderella’s stallion, it’s white with a golden bow on its tail.

4. Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

Just at the entrance to Adventureland, the treehouse is a climb, but well worth it. Take your time exploring the treehouse and enjoy the view from the top. It’s also all shaded.

3. Monsters Inc Laugh Floor

It’s a really funny show and it’s air-conditioned. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the silliness and watch out…the show is all about audience participation! You will find it at the entrance to Tomorrowland.

2. Tom Sawyer Island

A short raft ride in the blazing sun takes you to a little piece of wilderness right in the middle of the Magic Kingdom. The chaos fades away and the shade provides a comfortable place to cool off, especially if you venture far enough to discover the caves and fort.

1. Tomorrowland Transit Authority’s Peoplemover

“It’s just a tram ride.” “It doesn’t do anything.” Naysayers! The Peoplemover is a classic! Yes, it’s true, it doesn’t do much other than speed up and slow down, but it’s an absolute must do! You’ll get an overview of all of Tomorrowland, get a peek inside Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and the music is great!

So in between the more thrilling rides, be sure to take some time for a few of the quieter attractions that are sure to become fast favorites.

Flight of Passage

The latest greatest attraction in Orlando since the opening of Pandora, the World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is in my opinion, Flight of Passage.


The lines are long with this one!


Flight of Passage is a thrilling ride (with a 44″ height requirement) on the back of an animatronic banshee wearing 3D glasses. It’s far from just another simulator ride though. The experience starts in the queue itself. It meanders through rock formations, past waterfalls, interesting landscapes and into what appears from the outside to be a gigantic rock. Inside it’s nice a cool and continues its meandering ways. There is plenty to look at and makes the long wait, not quite so bad really.


The two pre-ride videos explain that the conflict between the humans and the Na’Vi aliens has ended and now humans can experience this amazing thrill that is a rite of passage for the Na’Vi. The ride is a flight simulator perched in front of a 65-foot wide, 90-foot tall 3D screen. As you enter the flight room, after you’ve been matched with your banshee, you get your first glimpse of the motorcycle like contraction you’ll be riding. But this isn’t a motorcycle, it’s a living breathing banshee! Put on your 3D glasses and FLY!

The thrills are strong with this one!

You’ll fly through forests, past waterfalls avoiding animals and a tsunami! The wind blowing, the sights, and sounds. It truly is an incredible attraction.

It’s Soarin on Steroids!

I managed to ride this 3 times in one day on a busy September day. Arriving at park opening with the crowds all heading there, the line started right about where the sign is telling you what the wait time is. It said 2 hours. But the crowds were still filing in, filling in the queue and we pretty much walked steadily, slowly without stopping. It took about 45 minutes to get to the first pre-ride movie. The second time was with a Fastpass, took about 30 minutes even with the Fastpass. The 3rd time we just waited. The sign said it was a 90-minute wait and we had some time to kill. It took 60 minutes. But this time we got to see the entire queue which we skipped the first 2 times through.

Flight of Passage is definitely the best use of a Fastpass at Animal Kingdom, but even without one, with a little planning and some patience, it’s well worth the wait.

Twenty Years of Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom turns 20 this year. This truly unique park opened on Earth Day 1998, April 22, 1998. A month later, I got married and spent part of my honeymoon at Disney World and we both enjoyed our day at this brand new park immensely. It was great then, but 20 years later…it’s so much better!Animal Kingdom

The newly added Pandora, World of Avatar land is a must see even for non-Avatar fans. Just the visuals, pictures don’t do it justice, you have to see it in person for the full effect. Mountains suspended in the air, waterfalls descending into pools seemingly on the rainforest floor, the colorful plant life and at night it all takes on an incredible luminescent glow.



This area brings with it two new attractions, one of which is hands down the best attraction in all of the Orlando theme parks according to me at least. Flight of Passage takes you on a Banshee ride! You fly…on a banshee! It is the best simulator I’ve ever experienced. It’s even worth the long lines. There is a height requirement of 44″ on this one, but the Na’Vi River Journey is family friendly. It’s a leisurely boat ride through the bioluminescent forest of Pandora.


Animal Kingdom has extended their hours and are open into the dark hours now adding a nighttime show, Rivers of Light which is also worth a look and don’t miss the projections on the Tree of Life after dark.


Of course, one of my favorite rollercoasters of all time is Expedition Everest, it wasn’t there in 1998, but I have since made up for that. Single rider line means no waits and the ability to ride it over and over and over again in quick


Some of my favorite things at Animal Kingdom aren’t even the attractions though. There is just so much to see. The trails that take you into the animal habitats are wonderful. Pangani Trail brings you up close to gorillas and so much more. The Maharajah Jungle Trek bring you up close with Bengal Tigers. A walk around the Tree of Life just marveling at its carvings could take hours and there are hidden spots with animals dispersed around the tree. And of course, Kilimanjaro Safari is a classic and now available at night as well for a completely different experience.

This park has truly become a full day park.

Mobile Ordering at Walt Disney World

One of my favorite new convenience features available on the My Disney Experience app is mobile ordering. I was able to use this several times on my recent trip and loved it!


When in the parks, you can access your My Disney Experience account as you would to view or change your fast passes and you can pull up any quick service that offers mobile ordering, most do now. You can order your food as you are heading to a restaurant and when you arrive at the location, simply tap the “I’m here, prepare my order” button. Within minutes, you will receive a response on the app telling you your order is ready for pickup. Then you go to the well-marked mobile order pickup counter to retrieve your food. No waiting in lines to order! No waiting at the counter for food!

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Image result for mobile ordering disney images

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Just this past week, Disney opened up mobile ordering to Disney Dining Plans, it was not available before. So now you can order online and choose the dining plan as payment and your credits will be adjusted accordingly.