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 Ella’s comprehensive guide to Walt Disney World, with some of my own clarifications sprinkled in for continuity and irreverence.
Rad Ella was four years old the first time we visited Walt Disney World, which was also the first time Rad Mom and I had been back since we were kids. It was the beginning of what would become a family obsession, and we soon realized that we had much to learn about the parks and the best ways to explore them. This was a time before smartphones and apps, or as some like to call it: the Dark Ages. We used paper maps of Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom to find our way and, thanks to a friendly cast member, pinpoint when and where to be for character meet and greets. It seems laughable, but our entire trip lasted only two days. We stayed in Port Orleans French Quarter and had an absolutely wonderful experience. (You can see our list of subsequent trips in Rad Hallie’s post here.) Unlike Rad Hallie, Rad Ella tends to be far more opinionated and critical when it comes to what she likes and doesn’t like. Also, her opinion is that of an almost-teenager, so it could be useful to those of you who have similarly aged tweens at home because they’re probably viewing the park through a how-best-to-Snapchat-this-moment filter. Or an actual Snapchat filter.
5. Test Track: because it’s one of the most unique attractions in Walt Disney World. It’s cool how you design the car and then test it out to see how you did when you designed it. The fast parts are a lot of fun and faster than almost anything else you can ride.
4. Big Thunder Mountain: because you can see so much of Frontierland from the ride, and it’s fast and thrilling. It’s a very exciting ride.
3. Flight of Passage: because it’s so amazingly realistic and fun, and sitting on a motorcycle seat that moves and breathes adds to the illusion of the ride.
2. Soarin’: because it really feels as though you are flying. It’s relaxing and refreshing and has all of the good smells of the places you visit on your journey.
1. Living with the Land: because it’s the most neglected ride ever! You get to see plants and animals, so you get a little bit of Animal Kingdom in Epcot. It’s relaxing, informative, and fun.
Least Favorite Ride
Small World: because it’s too long and very boring. There’s nothing fun about it, and because it’s too long and sometimes has a wait, it’s a complete waste of time, but we feel compelled to ride it because it’s a classic.
Favorite Places to Eat
4. Pinocchio Village Haus: because you don’t have to wait! You can just walk right in, it’s not usually crowded, and you can grab a table and relax. Plus, you can see all of the people riding Small World, and they usually look up at you and wave.
3. Hollywood and Vine: because the food is literally amazing! It was also fun to meet the Disney Junior characters just to change things up a bit.
2. Tusker House: because it’s an amazing buffet and the characters look so cool dressed in their safari outfits. Plus, it’s kind of a tradition for us now.
1. Crystal Palace: because even waiting for a table is nice, with a large porch to sit on in the shade and watch the Magic Kingdom go by. There are many different types of food, so there’s something for everyone, and everyone loves Winnie the Pooh and his friends, of course.
Least Favorite Place to Eat
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: because the food is disgusting and not worth meeting the princesses. It’s not as kid friendly as the other restaurants. Avoid!
Favorite Character to Meet
Princess Tiana: because she used to be in the gazebo near the Hall of Presidents, and it was so much fun to meet her and Prince Naveen together. Her dress is always beautiful, and she is so kind and sweet and always talks about life in New Orleans.
Epcot: because you can see all of the different countries and you can use snack credits to purchase amazing treats from some of them. It’s the best place to relax and have fun at the same time.
Happily Ever After: because the projections on the castle are awesome and the fireworks are the best.
Favorite Park Swag
Mickey Ears! (But always get the comfiest ears you can find!)
Favorite Thing to do to Relax
Living with the Land! It’s a cool and refreshing boat ride, and it always smells so good traveling through the different
greenhouses. It has the most soothing sights, sounds, and smells in Disney World.
The Ice Cream Sandwich Cookie from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street: because you can get your choice of ice cream in between two giant chocolate chip cookies.
Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach: Coronado is so colorful and happy. It makes you feel happy just staying there; plus, it has an awesome pool. Caribbean Beach has the best overall theme to the whole resort, and the pool is the absolute best.
Favorite Instagram Wall
The Purple Wall and the You are Most Beautiful Wall: because the Purple Wall is like two walls in one. You can take a pic on either side or just take a cool combo pic in the middle. The You are Most Beautiful Wall makes you feel good about yourself! It’s empowering. It’s like, “You go, girl!”
Don’t Miss Attraction
Splash Mountain: because it’s one of the most fun rides, it’s kind of a classic, it keeps you cool, and the view before the drop is the best in the parks.
Best Pieces of Disney Advice
Make sure to get FastPasses as early as possible! Do lots of things all the time; don’t be boring. Make sure to wear Disney stuff and have fun! Don’t worry about anything because you’re in the Happiest Place on Earth!
So that’s Rad Ella’s comprehensive list of Walt Disney World favorites. While it doesn’t differ too much from Rad Hallie’s list in some respects, you can still see their respective personalities reflected in the choices (and even what they chose to focus on). Rad Ella is always up for a good sweet treat, and she isn’t a fan of being too hot, so her list reflects those tendencies. I’ll add a few more noteworthy additions to her list:
Rad Ella does not like fast coasters with big drops — particularly Expedition Everest and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The first time we rode the latter, she had to bail out just before the loading area. She bolted through the final exit door — the one likely reserved for pregnant women and people who thought they were just there to see an Aerosmith concert. She’s never ridden it to this day.
Because of this, Rad Ella has a soft spot for Goofy’s Barnstormer. She absolutely loves that ride. She also really loves the Tomorrowland Speedway, much to my dismay.
Rad Ella has always interacted with the characters more than Rad Hallie. While they both love to meet characters when we visit the parks, Rad Ella is more apt to play along and hold conversations with them. She’s also the one who started the tradition of mimicking their poses during photos, a practice that was inspired by the very first time she met Woody and Jessie in Frontierland. This habit has culminated with her annual photobombing of the Storm Troopers in Launch Bay.
For more of the Rad Girls’ antics, visit our YouTube channel at The Rad Family. Next time, we’ll take a look at what Rad Mom loves about Walt Disney World. Not including me, of course. Maybe.
Rad Dad, out.
Special thanks to @mickeys_photographer for the assist with one of the pics!