As a family of four, we all have our own (very strong) opinions about our favorite place, so it seems only fitting that I share the spotlight a bit with the Rad Girls who make up three quarters of the Rad Fam. What follows is Rad Hallie’s comprehensive guide to Walt Disney World, with some of my own clarifications sprinkled in for continuity and irreverence.
Rad Hallie was only two years old the first time she visited Walt Disney World. We stayed in Port Orleans Riverside in the newly renovated Princess Tiana room, and we spent three days visiting the Magic Kingdom twice with Animal Kingdom in between. Subsequent trips to Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, and Art of Animation provided opportunities for Rad Hallie, despite her young age, to form some strong opinions about what she likes and doesn’t like. Actually, scratch that; this entire list is pretty much just stuff she likes. Rad Hallie is relentlessly optimistic (as I’ve mentioned here before), and she represents just about the most perfect combination of Rad Mom and me that you can imagine. Silly and outgoing (Rad Dad) with an innate drive for perfection (Rad Mom), she is the ideal Disney kid: she’s always up for anything and pretty much loves everything.
5. Space Mountain: because it feels fast and there are lights all around you like stars.
4. Splash Mountain: because just before you drop, you see Cinderella’s Castle.
3. Expedition Everest: because the best part is when you go backwards and then the Yeti rips up the track.
2. Flight of Passage: because it’s scary when the banshee moves, and it breathes and looks real.
1. Tower of Terror: because it tricks you when you drop and bounce and then drop again.
(Tower of Terror was also the first real thrill ride she ever went on when she was six, so it holds a special place in her heart. Rad Ella has yet to ride it.)
Least Favorite Ride
Living with the Land: because it’s too slow.
Favorite Places to Eat
3. Tusker House: because the characters are all in their safari outfits and the desserts are the best!
2. Crystal Palace: because it’s so big (I think she meant airy, with all the windows), the food is great, and the Winnie the Pooh characters are there.
1. Hollywood and Vine: because the food was so good! The breakfast was amazing. Best food anywhere.
(I will admit, Hollywood and Vine exceeded expectations. The Rad Girls were too old for the Disney Junior characters, but the food was so amazing they didn’t care.)
Favorite Character to Meet
Princess Merida: because she has her own little area and there are things to do and she speaks with a Scottish accent.
Animal Kingdom: because of the animals! (Rad Hallie is really into animals.) Pandora is the best part because of the floating rocks — which look real — the rides, the night blossom drink, and all of Pandora glows at night.
Happily Ever After: because the songs are amazing, the characters are all in it, and the fireworks are huge. Also, the red and gold castle design looks cool.
Favorite Parks Swag
Disney pins! Especially the ones that move!
(This was a bit of a surprise because she’s a big fan of plush toys.)
Favorite Thing to do to Relax
The PeopleMover: because it’s smooth, kind of fast, cool, and in the shade.
Mickey Head! (Apparently it’s just unexplainably good because all she had to say about it was chocolate outside of vanilla, which I pointed out is quite common, but she insisted that there’s something different about a Mickey ahead. I’m not sure she’s wrong…)
Night Blossom: because it tastes great and has little flavor balls in it.
Art of Animation: because the Ariel room was very mermaid-ish, and the lobby was cool with all of the animation drawings.
(As far as value resorts go, Art of Animation is the best in my opinion; however, I still think the Moderates feel far more special than any and all of the Value resorts.)
Favorite Instagram Wall
The Purple Wall: because there are two designs that you can pose in front of.
(I actually can’t fault her logic here; it’s cool that you can take two different photos at the famous purple wall.)
Don’t Miss Attraction
Flight of Passage: because it’s so awesome.
Best Piece of Advice for Someone Going to Disney
Get a FastPass for Flight of Passage! (I’m not sure if this is because we didn’t and were up at 5am to beat the crowds at rope drop.)
Get a Mickey Head! (That magic ice cream really makes an impression.)
Make sure to bring Mickey ears! (Something she just started to care about, so it’s cool to see that it matters to her now.)
So, that’s Rad Hallie’s comprehensive list of Walt Disney World favorites. While many of these picks were heavily influenced by our most recent Spring Break trip, you can see that some of the others have been cultivated over time. Some more that I’ll add in observation:
One of our favorite traditions (although we didn’t do it last time) is to eat in the Pinocchio Village Haus and sit at a table that overlooks It’s a Small World so the Rad Girls can wave at the passengers — who typically wave back, oftentimes with looks of consternation.
Rad Hallie is obsessed with Kilimanjaro Safari and probably didn’t name it because she doesn’t so much consider it a ride as an educational preview of her future profession.
Rad Hallie also loves Big Thunder Mountain and Haunted Mansion, but they just can’t compete with some of her aforementioned favorites. She also really likes Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, but more for the thrill. I don’t think she gets the theming, which is also true of all guests under the age of thirty.
For more of the Rad Girls’ antics, visit our YouTube channel at The Rad Family. Next time, we’ll take a look at what an almost-teenager thinks is cool about Walt Disney World and how her tastes have changed over time. Then we’ll wrap up this series with a conversation with Rad Mom and what she loves about Walt Disney World. Not including me, of course. Maybe.
Rad Dad, out.