AK Tips and Secrets

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°o° You can enter the park 15 minutes early, and Mickey and the gang greet you by the Tree of Life.

°o° Grab a map and schedule; there are so many unique character meets in the Animal Kingdom such as Rafiki, Baloo, Russell and Doug etc.

°o° Crowds tend to head for Kilimanjaro Safaris first thing as the animals are usually more active in the morning. That being said though, you’re likely to see animals any time of day, so if you can, hold off til the afternoon when queues will be shorter.

°o° Be sure to wear comfortable shoes; while walking is a given, AK has lots of adventurous trails to explore.

°o° If you’ve stopped off at The Rainforest Cafe before heading into the park, use the secret entrance at the back of the gift shop to skip the queues at the main entrance.

°o° At Adventurer’s Outpost, you can meet Mickey and Minnie in their safari gear. This is the only place you can see the two of them in these outfits, so is a totally unique photo opportunity.

°o° At various stations around the park, kids can receive stamps in a ‘passport’ for completing activities – collect all of them for a special prize!

°o° There are red, yellow and white pipes found on Dinosaur, each with a chemical formula on them. The formulas are actually the real formulas for ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise!

°o° See if you can spot DiVine – she’s a fabulous live act, but hard to find as she’s usually part-tree!

°o° The highway sign Route 498 symbolises the park opening in April 1998.

°o° You can squirt riders on Kali River Rapids from the bridge near the exit. Don’t feel guilty, they’ll already be soaked!

°o° If you’re a coffee addict, the Kusafiri Coffee Shop is the place to get your fix.

°o° Don’t rush from attraction to attraction, there are so many things to see as you walk around the park!

°o° You can hop on the Wildlife Express Train in Africa, which takes you across to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

Epcot Tips and Secrets

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Future World

°o° One of the best ways to meet characters is at the Epcot Character Spot. Its just past Spaceship Earth on the right of the park, and if you head there as soon as the park opens, you’ll get to see Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy all in one go, with a wait time of under 15 minutes.

°o° Innoventions East and West are full of tonnes of interactive activities to entertain all ages.

°o° Complete habit heroes in Innoventions East, and you’ll get a free rubber wristband!

°o° If you’re susceptible to motion sickness, there is a separate queue for Mission: Space which leads to a version of the ride which isn’t so spinny!

°o° Take a trip to Club Cool for free samples of international Coca Cola brands – trick your family into trying Beverly, its gross!

°o° The large fish tank in The Living Seas is the second largest tank in the US, and could fit Spaceship Earth inside it with room to spare!

World Showcase

°o° Only one of the totem poles in Canada is real, see if you can work out which one it is.

°o° The Rose and Crown pub in the UK is so named as ‘rose’ and ‘crown’ are the two most common featured names of English pubs.

°o° Although it may not seem like it, each country’s pavilion is the same width, to give all countries equality.

°o° Between the UK and France is a path that leads out of the park via the International Gateway. From here you can take a quick 15 minute walk across to The Boardwalk, or explore some of the resorts gathered around the lake. There is also a footpath that leads to Hollywood Studios; its about 30 mins walk, which at times is quicker than other transportation.

°o° Sometimes Chef Remy will visit you at Le Chefs de France.

°o° The Morocco Pavilion was actually built by and paid for by the Moroccans.

°o° In the Japanese pavilion, you can purchase a range of souvenirs from authentic tableware to Pokemon toys.

°o° The statue on the right as you enter Japan was a gift from the Japanese government.

°o° While the American Adventure building appears to be only 3 stories high, it is actually 5!

°o° Check out the big clock in Germany. On the hour a wooden boy and girl pop out and twirl around a bit.

°o° If you buy a fan or parasol in China, you can have it personalised for free with your name in traditional Chinese writing.

°o° The acoustics of the temple in China are so perfect, if you stand in the centre of the room, your voice will echo back to you!

°o° Buildings in Norway have grass growing on the roof, to reflect traditional Norwegian buildings, but a lack of Epcot goats to munch on the grass means cast members have to trim it!

°o° La Cava del Tequila in Mexico has over 200 tequilas in its cellar, hello margaritas!

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Coral Reef

Tucked round the corner from The Seas with Nemo and Friends is a real underwater dining experience.

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Coral Reef in Epcot shares a wall with the enormous fish tank from the ride next door, so you can enjoy dinner with fishy company!

While the food was really good, with options from fish dishes to chicken to steak, we didn’t have the best time here; they forgot to book us in when we arrived, so after a half hour wait, we were told we’d have to wait a bit longer for our table due to their mistake. We were also sat on the back row of tables, furthest from the tank, so the whole experience was kinda lost on us, except the occasional swim-by from a turtle or ray.

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The restaurant setup wasn’t overly family friendly either, so unless you’re sat right by the fish, entertaining small children is a little tricky, and the restroom isn’t actually situated inside the restaurant; its outside in the waiting area.

I would recommend Coral Reef for families with older children, or as a place to eat if you want to use up table service credits on a dining plan, but if visiting with small children, I’d opt for somewhere a little more kid-friendly

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Be Our Guest

It is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you tonight..

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Be Our Guest is the restaurant inside the elusive Beast’s castle, in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland. It is open for lunch, which is quick service, and dinner which is table service, and absolutely must be booked in advance (180 days for the best chance of getting a table).

After a failed attempt at trying to get in for dinner, on our last day in the Magic Kingdom we were lucky enough to get there just in time to queue for the lunch opening..

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Wow. One step inside and you can understand why it is such a sought after place to eat; its just stunning. For a quick service lunch, you stop off at a counter to order on your way in, and then take a seat in either the ballroom, the gallery, or the out of bounds West Wing, which contains the enchanted rose. We sat in the ballroom, near the large glass window so we could watch the ‘snow’ fall outside the window. The settings in all the rooms are so accurate to the films, its like you’re actually in the film.

As if by magic, your food is delivered to your table, wherever you choose to sit, without you having to tell a cast member where you are (they track your Magic Band, or give you a tracker if you don’t have one). The lunch menu ranges from soups to sandwiches to salads, all with a French theme, and desserts are mainly cupcakes, including The Master’s Cupcake that is topped with ‘the grey stuff’ – delicious!

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I can’t fault the food, it was perfect. The whole place totally did it for me, and the family loved it too! On my next trip I’d love to try dinner here.

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If you get a chance, do not miss this fabulous opportunity, you’ll never forget it!

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Pinocchio Village Haus

Tucked behind the castle in Fantasyland is a little cottage serving fabulous Italian food..

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Ok so its not little at all, but the food is so good we ate there twice! With inside and outside seating on both ground floor and a tiny first floor, you’ll bound to find a table to sit at once you’ve ordered your flatbreads or subs, and if you can, sit by the large windows on the left of the restaurant: you can watch riders on Its a Small World – wave!

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One of our quick service eateries of the Magic Kingdom; plenty of space for our large group, good food and a nice setting.

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Columbia Harbour House

This fishy eatery is located in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, and serves up a selection of sandwiches, platters and salads.

Its a standard quick service place, order at a counter, collect your food and grab a table in the spacious seating area – don’t forget there’s more seating upstairs!

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This was our first quick service experience, and honestly was one of the worst. Although the food was decent, there was a lot of mix up when our order was placed, resulting in a few of us getting the wrong sides or desserts, and the servers didn’t seem that motivated to help us resolve it.

A spacious place for a good bite to eat, but nothing to write home about.

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Crystal Palace

Tucked into a corner of Main Street USA, Crystal Palace is the fave place to eat of Winnie the Pooh and some of his very best friends. As the name suggests, the building is a stunning structure of glass and framework, and is decorated with displays of hanging baskets and impressive topiary centerpieces.

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We booked for breakfast on the first day of our trip. While the park isn’t open to the public until 9am, breakfast bookings start from 8am, giving a unique opportunity to see the Magic Kingdom first thing; an empty Main Street leading up to the castle: totally beautiful.

The food is all you can eat buffet-style, with a range of options from classic Mickey waffles to an omelette station, cereals and fruit to full cooked breakfast options. Mixed in with classic choices like bacon and eggs are unique specialties such as ‘breakfast pizza’, pizza base with an omelette style topping with vegetables, meat etc, and ‘breakfast lasagne’, layers of fruit, custard, and sponge, topped with granola.

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Once you’ve got a plateful of food, you can head back to your table and wait for your favourite childhood classics to come and say hi, and make sure you have your autograph books at the ready as Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore will all make an appearance!

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The characters make the rounds of the restaurant, one at a time, but they only visit once so you need to keep an eye out for them, not that you can easily miss them! They space out their visits nicely, so you’ve got time to go up and get food between each character. Make sure to have your autograph books ready, and to make it easier for the characters, stack them up ready for signing as they’ll do that first before posing for any photos.

We absolutely loved Crystal Palace; it was the perfect start to our Disney trip. The food was incredible, the setting was classic Disney beautiful, and who doesn’t love Pooh and friends?! An absolute must place to eat for all.

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