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Best Things To Do in Walt Disney World

AOL PICK from our Editors
Where to begin? With so many theme parks and fun things to do, it's hard to know where to start. The first question to consider is whether you're traveling with children and what their ages are. One of the goals of Disney theme parks is to offer something for all ages, but each park has different strengths. Younger children are delighted by the Magic Kingdom, while Epcot is a hit with older kids and adults. The Animal Kingdom has something for all ages, while Disney's Hollywood Studios is best for older kids and adults. Plan to spend at least one day at each park, if you can. Have a loose plan in mind, but don't worry if you can't stick to a schedule. Just go with the flow and enjoy your time together. After all, isn't that the real goal? To help make the best use of your time, use the FASTPASS service when it's available. A machine in front of the participating attractions dispenses a slip of paper giving you a specific time to return and ride. When you come back, you can wait in a much shorter line. You may have one FASTPASS at a time. Once you use your FASTPASS, you can get another one for a different ride. There aren't enough pages in this online guide to cover everything we like to do at Walt Disney World, but here are our tips for the best things to do at Walt Disney World.
World Showcase Disney

World Showcase

Neighborhood: Epcot
This is our top reason to visit Walt Disney World. Where else can you take an around-the-world trip in a day—without a passport! This eye-opening experience allows guests to sample cuisine, culture, movies and shopping from 11 different countries. You can have breakfast in Norway, lunch in Germany and dinner in France. Disney has brought the essence of each country to Orlando. Each national pavilion provides a visual representation of that nation. The shops carry goods from that region, and the restaurants reflect national foods. Even the staff is from that particular country. Best of all, you can experience a little piece of culture from each destination. We especially like the movies at China, Canada and France. World Showcase is a shopper's paradise and has more than 35 stores. Be sure to visit the Mitsukoshi Department Store. This huge Japanese retailer sells clothing, housewares and even candy. With so much to see, it's hard to know how to do it all. Our advice? Sample one food item, browse at least one store and then try one cultural experience at each country. And don't miss the almond kringla at the bakery in Norway. They're delicious!

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World Showcase  
Soarin' Disney

Soarin'

Neighborhood: Epcot
Soarin' is one of the most popular attractions in Walt Disney World, and once you've tried the ride, you'll understand why. This multi-sensory attraction uses high-speed IMAX film to immerse you in a hang gliding flight over California. You soar along the surf, glide over the Golden Gate Bridge, past Yosemite National Park and even so close to an orange grove that you can smell the oranges. A dramatic musical score makes the experience even more powerful. This is a popular exhibit, so pick up a FASTPASS if you can. Otherwise, head over there first thing or during midday, when the lines tend to dwindle a bit.

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Soarin'  
Test Track Disney

Test Track

Neighborhood: Epcot
This ride is a favorite with boys of all ages. It involves cars and speed—so what's not to like? During this vehicle stimulation ride, each 6-seat car goes through some of the rigorous quality checks that General Motors performs on their prototypes. The 5-minute experience has you zipping down hills, blasting along bumpy roads, and roaring around hair pin turns at up to 65 mph (Disney World’s fastest ride) putting your suspension and brakes to the test. There is a 40" height requirement on this one. Guests with little ones can take turns riding.

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Test Track  
Space Mountain Disney

Space Mountain

Neighborhood: Magic Kingdom
This high-speed roller coaster takes you on a journey into outer space and ripping past stars and galaxies. The thrill starts with a steady climb up a 180-foot mountain and then roars down into the blackness of space, turning and twisting at mind-numbing speed. Since the ride takes place in the dark, you never know what's going to happen next. The ride has two separate tracks, but each is nearly identical. Be sure to secure any loose items or they might take a journey of their own. If you are pregnant or have any back problems, it's best to sit this one out.

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Space Mountain  
Mickey's PhilharMagic Disney

Mickey's PhilharMagic

Neighborhood: Magic Kingdom
This 3-D movie stars everyone's favorite mouse and his sidekick, Donald Duck. The 12-minute film stretches across one of the largest seamless screens in the world, and includes scenes from several Disney classics—with a twist. Powerful music, classic Disney animation and even some effects that stimulate your other senses make this an attraction the whole family can enjoy. Since Mickey's PhilharMagic takes place indoors, it's a good ride to enjoy during the heat of the day. FASTPASS tickets are available.

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Mickey's PhilharMagic  
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Disney

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

Neighborhood: Disney's Hollywood Studios
Loud music and fast action. The combination makes for a thrilling ride on Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios. The popular rock group Aerosmith created a driving soundtrack just for this attraction. Each car has a 32,000-watt onboard audio system and the music pulses through you as the coaster accelerates from a dead stop to top speed. With breakneck turns and twists, the coaster swoops into three inversions, and then you're viewing Los Angeles upside down. This one will leave you shaking in your boots and wanting to do it all over again. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is best for adults and older kids. If you have a little one in tow, you can take turns riding the attraction. 

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Rock 'n' Roller Coaster  
Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show Disney

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

Neighborhood: Disney's Hollywood Studios
Did you ever wonder how they did that in the movies? Now you can find out at the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show. This half-hour live stage show at Hollywood Studios is full of action—from flames and squealing tires to jumps and other death-defying feats. Part of the fun is seeing just how they make those stunts happen. The show takes place several times a day in the huge theater beyond the Streets of America. Some of the loud noises may be too intense for little ones.

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Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show  
Kilimanjaro Safaris Disney

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Neighborhood: Disney's Animal Kingdom
Not all of us have been to Africa, but everyone can experience a little piece of it with Kilimanjaro Safaris. These 20-minute jeep tours take guests through the 100-acre savanna that is home to elephants, giraffe, zebras, lions, cheetahs and more. Many of the animals are free-roaming (others only appear to be so), and often wander in front of your jeep. You might even see some of the baby animals that are often born in the Disney World. No two rides are ever the same, and you'll see different animals each time. There’s a story line involving rangers looking for poachers, and the ride can be a bit bumpy (hey, this is Africa), but it’s appropriate for the whole family. FASTPASS service is available on this ride.

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Kilimanjaro Safaris  
Expedition Everest Disney

Expedition Everest

Neighborhood: Disney's Animal Kingdom
This ride is easy to find. Simply look for the enormous mountain rising out of the middle of the park and listen for the screams of happy guests as they roar down the peaks. Expedition Everest is a high-speed roller coaster that twists and drops across the treacherous terrain of Forbidden Mountain. Your trek is in search of the Yeti, the frightening beast that inhabits the peak. This ride is best for big kids and adults, and it's best not to eat right before going on this topsy-turvy track, which, at one point, spirals backward down a darkened tunnel. Expedition Everest is very popular, and often has long lines. FASTPASS tickets are often exhausted soon soon after the park opens, so get there as early as possible.

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Expedition Everest  
Shark Reef Disney

Shark Reef

Neighborhood: Typhoon Lagoon & Blizzard Beach
At Walt Disney World, you can swim with the sharks—literally. At Typhoon Lagoon, one of the Disney water parks, guests borrow snorkel gear (no charge) and swim freely through a coral reef. You'll come face-to-face with tropical fish and sea life as you float above a sunken wreck in this unique experience. And the sharks? Well, this is Disney after all. The leopard and bonnethead sharks are the friendly kind. Guests under 10 must be accompanied by an adult. This is an experience you'll be talking about all day—or week.  

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Shark Reef  
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