Monday, June 21, 2021
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Unnecessary Walks at Disney World

Disney Skyliner Station
Disney Skyliner Station - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

The idea of walking around Florida in the mid-day heat during a vacation is difficult to comprehend until you’re actually in it.

One of the most important lessons to learn, and unfortunately one that’s inevitable, is which walks are a good idea and which ones you should avoid. Usually you’ll find yourself thinking about your decisions in life when you’re drenched in sweat and trying to find the nearest form of air conditioning.

Walking from EPCOT to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Skyliner provides you with an opportunity to skip this walk all-together, as you’ll be able to enjoy a moving gondola from turnstile to turnstile. It’s a great thing to keep in mind because after years of making this 20-minute walk, it’s become difficult to bear when it’s 100% humidity.

IF you intend to make the trip, our advice would be:

  • Get a cup of free water from Starbucks before leaving the park
  • Pick a route before you leave (Boardwalk or Yacht & Beach)
  • Take a 5-minute air conditioning break while walking through the resort gift shop
  • Don’t be afraid to re-hydrate by the Resort lobby, as they usually have free water.

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Walking Around the World Showcase

I love the world showcase! It’s full of amazing treasures, great food and shops to explore. Why is it on the list?

Once you commit to the walk, there’s no real turning back. It’s 1.2 miles, and that doesn’t include any of the walking into the pavilions themselves. It’s all in the open air and the walkways reflect the sun in a way that you can only describe when you’re dealing with it.

IF you intend to go around the World Showcase, our advice would be:

  • Pick at least two pavilions that you’d like to spend some decent time in. This could be a meal/snack and an attraction or an indoor experience.
  • Take your time and don’t rush. There’s no need to walk from Mexico to the UK when you can just start in Canada and go one pavilion over. There are shortcuts, so make wise decisions.
  • Don’t go mid-day. Go early or go late afternoon.

Walking at Resorts with Internal Shuttles

We’ve got a golden rule: If there’s an internal bus shuttle, it’s not worth walking around the resort.

The number of times that I’ve gotten on a bus from a theme park to Saratoga Springs or Coronado Springs just to make a mistake on which stop to get off at would be more than I’d like to admit. In fact, even if it’s off-season and you’re trying to have a resort day, do your research before getting on a bus.

Honourable Mentions

  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (One way in and one way out)
  • Tomorrowland to Frontierland VIA Fantasyland (Just go through the Hub)
  • Backtracking FastPass+ Reservations (like Tower of Terror and Star Tours)
  • Orlando International Airport (Pay attention to your gate, luggage pickup carousel and Rideshare)

Magic Kingdom Trivia

The Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

When you think about going to Walt Disney World, most people would think automatically picture walking up Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom to Cinderella Castle.

The Magic Kingdom has a history that goes back to 1971 when the Florida Project became a reality and more than 50 years later, the park is still going strong.

Let’s look at a few of the facts and trivia that will provide a whole new level of understanding for the most visited theme park in the world.


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How many bricks in Cinderella Castle?

It’s actually made of steel and fibreglass (and sometimes a birthday cake)

How many audio animatronics are in the Magic Kingdom?

There are more than 1100 audio-animatronic figures in the park, which includes rides like:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Under the Sea
  • Splash Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion
  • it’s a Small World

Who was the first guest to visit the Magic Kingdom?

William Windsor, Jr. and his family were officially the first guests to visit the Magic Kingdom

How many “boat” attractions are in the Magic Kingdom?

There are 6 attractions that are water experiences, with a “gotcha” in Peter Pan’s Flight.

  • Jungle Cruise
  • Splash Mountain
  • it’s a Small World
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Liberty Square Riverboat
  • Tom Sawyer Island Rafts

We’ll be adding more trivia to this post constantly, as there’s always more to learn about the Magic Kingdom! If you’ve got a trivia question that we should include, please send me a note on Instagram @SteptoMagic

The Best Disney World Jigsaw Puzzles

Haunted Mansion 1000 piece puzzle
Haunted Mansion 1000 piece puzzle - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

If you’re searching for some Friday night plans that don’t involve scrolling through Instagram or watching DisneyPlus, here are the best Disney World jigsaw puzzles for life in 2020, and beyond.

We hope you love the puzzles we recommend! Just so you know, Steps to Magic may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

The 40320 Piece Ravensburger Disney Puzzle

Theme park fans are always looking for the latest & greatest souvenir to show off on social media. From Pop Vinyl to Pins, Patches and Books…we all have collections that are bought in order to bring happiness to our own space. This just seems like the next level of “wow, I can’t believe you bought that!”

Get it from Amazon: Yes, you want this!! 😉

Main Street USA Walt Disney World Resort Puzzle by Thomas Kinkade

The ”Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade illuminates Walt Disney World Resort’s Main Street USA with his familiar glow. Revisit the Magic Kingdom when you recreate the nighttime scene with this 1000-piece puzzle.

Get it from ShopDisney!

Pandora Landscape Puzzle

Piece together the fantastical Pandora landscape with this dramatic puzzle. Inspired by the new Pandora – The World of Avatar attraction at Walt Disney World, this 1000 piece jigsaw will bring the mystical scene to life.

Get it from ShopDisney


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Disney Villainous Ursula

Piece together this 1000-piece puzzle featuring Ursula, the vengeful villain from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Assemble the puzzle to reveal the sea witch surrounded by her mischievous henchmen, Flotsam and Jetsam, as well as Ariel, King Triton, Prince Eric and many more. All Villainous puzzles are based on the award winning strategy game “Villainous” by Ravensburger. Enjoy puzzling the magnificent realms of your favorite Disney Villains. 

Get it from Amazon.com: Available in a bunch of characters!

Walt Disney World Cinderella Castle Puzzle by Thomas Kinkade

Discover the dawn of ”A New Day at the Cinderella Castle” when you assemble this 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle by ”Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade. Tinker Bell adds a rainbow to the fanciful landscape of golden-hued dreams.

Get it from ShopDisney


Hope this was fun for you! We’ll do our best to update this article with new puzzles when we find them:)

How to Avoid Burgers and Fries at the Magic Kingdom

Lighthouse Sandwich at Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom
Lighthouse Sandwich at Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

The best restaurants in the Magic Kingdom are a mix between fine dining affairs and casual sit-downs, offering some of the best sandwiches, light meals, and theme park fuel in all of Walt Disney World. It doesn’t stop there: Dole Whip, and awesome snacks are also available.

Let’s look at how to Avoid Burgers and Fries at the Magic Kingdom

Lighthouse Sandwich at Columbia Harbour House

Easy, simple and incredibly delightful are all words to describe this sandwich at Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square. Hummus, tomato, broccoli slaw on a multigrain bread with a side of chips…perfect! This is why it’s one of the best quick service restaurants at Walt Disney World!

Home-style Meatloaf at The Plaza

If you know me, you know that I love a good classic meatloaf! The Plaza gives you this awesome dish with a side of mashed potatoes, seasonal veggies…and add a hand-dipped milk shake on the side. That sounds like the perfect meal to keep your energy up for a day of Magic.

Lobster Roll at the Columbia Harbour House

Double-dipping is perfectly fine, because the “no burger” feel of this Liberty Square quick service location will make you want to come back over and over. The Lobster Roll is almost worth the ticket price of the Magic Kingdom by itself, but when you add in the lava cakes…just sign me up!


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Curried Vegetable Crew Stew at Skipper Canteen

The curried vegetable crew stew, which is a favorite of the Crew Stew Crew (especially Stu). Seasonal Vegetables and Pineapple Tofu in a House-made Curry Sauce served with Coconut Rice. Sure, you can get a grilled steak or a char siu-marinated pork dish, but if you really want to explore the culinary adventure at Skipper Canteen…go all in!

Fajita Platter at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn

Oh, you wanted something different than typical “burgers and fries” theme park food? From personal experience, you’ll want to skip this one;) The air conditioning is great, but the food can make your tummy feel like you’ve eaten…traditional heavy theme park stuff.

Be Our Guest

Anything that’s on the lunch menu at Be Our Guest! Seriously – it’s all good!


Hope this was helpful in planning your next day at the Magic Kingdom!

Window Shopping in Disney and Universal

Harry Potter Wands at Universal Orlando - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

Window shopping in Disney and Universal is such a fun topic. From food to experiences, you can spend a lot of money on things that you could avoid through time and thoughtful planning. This isn’t your typical “walking past a store” window shopping…we’re talking about something that should be experienced that you can enjoy on the sidelines before putting your credit card on the table.

Here are the best window shopping in Disney and Universal

Savi’s Workshop

Looking to finally build your dream lightsaber? If you actually have a “dream” lightsaber…build it at Savi’s Workshop!

If not, this is the best experience to be the “plus one” at Disney World. The show elements along with the amazing storytelling by the cast members will take you into a world that you’ve never seen in a theme park. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is all about the details, but there are things that are “pay to play” and Savi’s Workshop and the Droid Factory are the key ones.

Best $199 that you should convince your friend to spend!

Kitchen Sink

Beaches and Cream is an awesome dining experience at Disney’s Beach Club resort. From burgers to classic diner foods, there’s one thing on the menu that you may be tempted to jump into…the Kitchen Sink!

Scoops of Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Cookies and Cream, and Mint Chocolate Chips smothered in every topping they have. Also available Chocolate Lovers or Neapolitan.

The experience is great IF it’s on your bucket list and you’ve got enough friends to split the $35 cost! If not, just do what we do and grab a reservation for a late night snack and watch everyone around you walk out with a tummy ache.


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Ollivanders in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley

Heading over to Universal Orlando, the Makers Of Fine Wands Since 382 BC have one of the coolest Harry Potter experiences on property. Anyone can buy a wand (seriously, they have them at the Orlando International Airport!), but when’s the last time that you had the chance to see the ceremony performed where the wand chooses the wizard?

Ollivanders really shows off the storytelling of the wands, and will allow for a young guest to have a wand chosen specifically for them (ps it’s not free…they still have to buy it). Why is it a great window shopping experience? Well unless you’re a kid, you won’t have to buy a wand to participate in the show.

ACE Avatar Maker in Windtraders at Pandora: The World of Avatar

Have you ever wanted to be an Avatar? Well if you check out the ACE Avatar Maker experience in Windtraders, you’re in luck. If you never really wanted that souvenir, then this is just another great window shopping experience in Windtraders.

I also think that the Banshee Rookery area is a great opportunity to enjoy the storytelling theme within the area without dropping a lot of money.


Stores with a Show

We have an article about the best stores with a show element, so definitely check that out. It talks about the retail locations that have something fun inside, like the pick-a-pearl in Mitsukoshi Store in Japan and the Glass Blowing in Arribas Brothers at Disney Springs.


I hope this was helpful in giving you ideas about your next day at Disney & Universal! If there are things that you’d like me to add to the list, please reach out @stepstomagic on Instagram and let me know why it belongs in the category!

The Best 24-hour restaurants in Disney World

Capt Cooks at Disney Polynesian Resort - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

The best 24-hour restaurants in Disney World will satisfy the cravings you have at any time of day or night. Whether you’ve got a hankering for pizza at 3 a.m. or Mickey Waffles at 6 a.m., these places are here for you.

Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

This quick service location at the Grand Floridian is open 24-hours a day, with a selection of snacks that span the full day. The main entree are pizzas, but they have fruit, baked goods and other pre-packaged items to get you through til breakfast starts serving.

Captain Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village

Flatbreads, baked goods and more fresh fruit…you’ve got options at Captain Cook’s that won’t break the bank. Just know ahead of time that Dole Whip isn’t available (sorry!) late night!


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Late Night Snacks

We’ve got a full article about the late night snacks available on Disney Property here, because knowing where you can eat after a certain time period could help.

Tips to Avoid Having to Eat Super Late

  • Grab something at the Airport if your flight is outside of regular business hours.
  • If you’re in the parks, pick up an extra pre-packaged snack (like chips or pretzels).
  • Stop by Starbucks for a pre-packaged wrap combo. These are great because they come with fruit and a full wrap that you can eat half now and half later.

Hope this was helpful! I know for a fact that searching for quarters to drop into a hotel vending machine for a drink or snack is not ideal.

The Best Rooftop Patios in Disney World

Coca Cola Store Disney Springs Night
Coca Cola Store at Disney Springs - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

The best rooftop patios in Disney World provide something to sip on while gazing out over the magic of Disney, and maybe a great bite to eat too. When you’re planning a day, why not think about enhancing your vibe with one of these hidden gems?

Here are the best rooftop patios in Disney World.

Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar

Disney Springs has a place where you can get great drinks, awesome ambiance and an even better view. The Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar brings their adult beverage menu to the crowds who want to see how to spin the classic drink into something memorable!

California Grill

Up on the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the views of the surrounding area will blow your mind! This is typically a signature dining location, however the California Grill Lounge is available as a first-come first-served seating area, which offers the same menu as the restaurant. Talk about the perfect rooftop “patio”!

Capa Bar at Four Seasons Resort Orlando

Enjoy unparalleled views from the swanky roof deck―and live music in the lounge area on select evenings.

As the evening begins, ready a toast at the bar with a host of craft cocktails, each created by Capa mixologists. Then, imbibe on the ambiance of the experience—whether indoors or al fresco—as you mingle with fellow Guests during a sunset happy hour or before exploring a diverse menu of small plates, succulent entrées and so much more.


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Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort

New is always better! When the Riviera Resort opened, the idea of being on the Skyliner route made this location perk our attention. The rooftop patio on the tenth floor will give you amazing views with great food…all with the accessibility of being within a stones throw of EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

STK Orlando

Often overlooked due to the abundance of Disney Springs restaurants, but that could be your perfect chance! If you’re looking for a high-end rooftop patio with great views of the Aerophile Characters in Flight and the hustle & bustle of the nightlife…STK could work for your party.


Hope this was helpful in planning your next day at Walt Disney World!

Hilarious Disney Inspired Face Masks

Samantha? Face Mask
Samantha? Face Mask - Image: TeePublic

Welcome to the new normal of 2020/2021! On top of staying safe, these Disney-inspired Fan-designed face masks will keep you close to the magic!

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Steps to Magic may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.


SAMANTHA?

One of the best known quotes from Olaf in Frozen will allow you to show your Disney-side while also being safe!

Get it from TeePublic: Available in all sorts of colors, sizes and designs!

No Touchy! Mask

Seeing something with Kuzco from Emperor’s New Groove is rare…but this quote just needed to be on a mask!

Get it from TeePublic: Available in all sorts of colors, sizes and designs!

Haunted Mansion Stay Back Foolish Mortal Mask

Social Distancing with a Disney-spin is always welcome!

Get it from TeePublic: Available in all sorts of colors, sizes and designs!


Talk Less, Smile More Mask

With Hamilton being on Disney+…why not bring the master of lyrical goodness to your mask!

Get it from TeePublic: Available in all sorts of colors, sizes and designs!

I Need Space Mask

Space Mountain is one of my fav coasters at the Magic Kingdom! In the world where we all need a little more “space”…this is perfect!

Get it from TeePublic: Available in all sorts of colors, sizes and designs!


Want more? Check out our fav Universal Shirts list!

If you really want to add some serious shirt options, check out our shirt content for even more!

EPIC Universal Inspired Face Masks

Welcome to the new normal of 2020! On top of staying safe, these Universal-inspired Fan-designed face masks will keep you close to the magic!

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Steps to Magic may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

I’m essential Mask

Being classified as “essential” in various industries (like retail, etc) has been a huge part of society. Why not have fun with it?

Get it from TeePublic: Available in all sorts of colors, sizes and designs!

Don’t Blame Me I Voted for Kodos Mask

…timely and relevant.

Get it from TeePublic: Available in all sorts of colors, sizes and designs!

I WILL ALWAYS WEAR MY MASK MASK

I will always wear my mask. Say it, wear it, know it!

Get it from TeePublic: Available in all sorts of colors, sizes and designs!

First Butterbeer Mask

Ok, but first butterbeer, because it’s the best way to start your day.

Get it from TeePublic: Available in all sorts of colors, sizes and designs!

Nickelodeon Studios Crew – Universal Florida Mask

Nickelodeon Studios Crew – Universal Florida

Get it from TeePublic: Available in all sorts of colors, sizes and designs!

Be Excellent to Each Other Mask

The Wyld Stallyns can save the world

Get it from TeePublic: Available in all sorts of colors, sizes and designs!


Want more? Check out our fav Universal Shirts list! If you really want to add some serious shirt options, check out our shirt content for even more!

EPCOT Acronym

Spaceship Earth at EPCOT - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

The name of a theme park is important. It brings the guest into the world in which they are going to experience, from a land of Magic to a kingdom of animals and beyond. This is why it’s fun to ask folks who are walking around Walt Disney World’s 1982 addition exactly what the name stands for.

What does EPCOT stand for?

Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow

Alternate Acronyms for EPCOT

  • Every Person Comes Out Tired
  • Employee Paycheck Comes On Tuesday
  • Every Parent Carries Out Toddlers
  • Employee Polyester Costumes of Torture
  • Every Person Comes On Tuesday
  • Every Pocket Comes out Thinner

These are funny because there is truth to each of them. Let’s do a quick run through!


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Every Person Comes Out Tired

When you’re walking around the Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you may not feel the burn because you’re going from one land to another without going in a full circle. With EPCOT’s World Showcase however, you pick a starting location (Mexico or Canada) and just walk. It’s a 1.2 mile adventure with no shade and pavilions that focus on food & shopping vs attractions.

You will be tired when you end your day at EPCOT!

Employee Paycheck Comes On Tuesday

Inside baseball, but cast members at Disney World get paycheques and direct deposits on Tuesdays. It’s a great way to teach new CMs when to expect that sweet grocery funds.

Every Parent Carries Out Toddlers

Remember how I mentioned that the walk around World Showcase was 1.2 miles? Well if you’re in a stroller…it’s the perfect time for a nap. The other part of this acronym that amuses me is the law that states that you have to pack up your stroller before getting on a Disney Bus – which means that you literally have to carry your children after fireworks because they’re way past their bedtime!

Employee Polyester Costumes of Torture

This is a tough one because my costume was always pretty good. I had shorts and a shirt, with a jacket and pants in the winter – but I know for a fact that friends from other work locations had horrible luck with their costumes.

The excitement from wearing a Disney World costume goes away when it’s 100% humidity!

Every Person Comes On Tuesday

If your vacation starts on Monday, the first park that you want to be at is the Magic Kingdom. This means that traditionally…your second day was at EPCOT.

This has changed over the years due to the opening of new lands and offerings, like Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Every Pocket Comes out Thinner

Even if you have a budget and take our tips on things like dining, resorts and souvenirs – you’ll be spending a lot of money while on a Disney World vacation. This means that, in fact, your pocket will be thinner when you leave (but that’s not a bad thing!)


What are some of the other acronyms that you’ve heard for “EPCOT”? Let me know over on Instagram @StepstoMagic and I’ll add them to the list!

The Best Magic Kingdom Indoor Attractions

From rain to air conditioning, the idea of spending time indoors in the Magic Kingdom is a huge part of trip planning. You should know exactly where you can escape the elements and recharge.

The Best Magic Kingdom Indoor Attractions To Escape the Elements

Main Street USA

Most folks would jump over Main Street USA when thinking about indoor attractions, but you’re actually able to spend a decent amount of time indoors in this area.

Adventureland

When you’re walking from Cinderella Castle to the left, you’re going to hit Adventureland first. Most of the major attractions are indoor or “covered”, but it’ll be up to you to decide where to hide!

  • Pirates of the Caribbean – Fully indoor
  • Jungle Cruise – Covered queue line and covered boats
  • Enchanted Tiki Room – Covered queue line and indoor show

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Frontierland

Out of all the lands, you’ll probably want to avoid this area of the park if you’re looking for indoor experiences.

  • Country Bear Jamboree – Fully indoor
  • Frontierland Shooting Gallery – Covered area

Liberty Square

100% of the experiences are indoor or covered, but you’re not going to be alone if you’re thinking about hitting up this land.

  • Haunted Mansion – Covered queue line and indoor attraction
  • Hall of Presidents – Fully indoor experience
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – The boat has covered areas on the decks
  • Momento Mori – Best shop in Walt Disney World!
  • Columbia Harbour House – Awesome quick service restaurant with plenty of seating

Fantasyland

Although most of the experiences are indoor, it’s also one of the busiest lands in the parks at all times. Be prepared to be stuck with families and a lot of crying guests!

  • Peter Pan’s Flight – Fully indoor experience
  • it’s a Small World – Fully indoor experience
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic – Fully indoor show
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Princess Fairytale Hall – Character meet & greet indoors
  • Prince Charming Regal Carousel – Covered experience

New Fantasyland

Although on paper, New Fantasyland is perfect to ride out the weather…it’s actually one of the hardest to maneuver due to the sheer size and how far away everything is.

  • Enchanted Tales with Belle – Outdoor queue with indoor show
  • Be Our Guest – Outdoor queue with a large indoor restaurant (if you have an Advanced Dining Reservation)
  • Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid – Indoor/Outdoor queue with an indoor attraction.
  • Meeting Ariel – Indoor meet & greet
  • Pete’s Silly Sideshow – Indoor meet & greet

Tomorrowland

There’s only one experience that is fully outdoors with no covering, with the Astro Orbiter being up on the 3rd floor of the same building that houses the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and The Lunching Pad.

  • Space Mountain – Fully indoor experience
  • Buzz Lightyear Spin – Fully indoor experience
  • Monsters INC Laugh floor – Fully indoor show
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority – covered experience

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Magic Kingdom Indoor Attraction Recommendations

Shows

  • Mickey’s Philharmagic
  • Monsters Inc Laugh Floor

Attractions

  • Haunted Mansion
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Journey of the Little Mermaid

Restaurants

  • Columbia Harbour House
  • Be Our Guest
  • Pecos Bills (Frontierland)

Hope this was helpful! If you have any ideas, please feel free to share them with me over on instagram @SteptoMagic!

5 places for a Fantastic Breakfast in the Magic Kingdom

Main Street Bakery Sign
Main Street Bakery - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

Sleepy Hallow

Sleepy Hallow is the home of waffles, and they’re really good at making them. The first thing that most people think about when it comes to Disney is the food, so why not start out the day with a highlight? From Mickey Waffles with fruit to the Funnel Cake with Strawberries & whipped cream…you’re in good company when you’re in Liberty Square with something sweet.

Sleepy Hallow
Liberty Square
Official Disney Menu

Gaston’s Tavern

Go for a walk when you first hit up the Magic Kingdom, because you really want to get on a couple rides before sitting down for a substantial meal. One of the best spots to grab a quick breakfast is at Gaston’s Tavern, as the opportunity to split a Giant cinnamon roll and Le Fou’s Brew with your family will give you all the energy needed. Besides, this spot in New Fantasyland has awesome air conditioning and lots of room to plot out your next adventure.

Gaston’s Tavern
New Fantasyland
Official Disney Menu for Gaston’s Tavern

Main Street Bakery

Right off Main Street USA is the Magic Kingdom’s Starbucks location. It’s #3 because it’s always packed, due to it’s location at the front of the park, but it’s still reliable. We tend to grab caffeine and a croissant or banana loaf, because having something in your tummy will always help when you’re overwhelmed with the feeling of being in the Magic Kingdom!

Main Street Bakery
Main Street USA
Official Disney Menu for Main Street Bakery


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Aloha Isle

Dole whip is breakfast! Stop by Aloha Isle and start your day out with a “fruit cup that happens to be blended”. All your friends and family will be jealous and give you mad respect for not thinking that pineapple is part of a healthy breakfast. 😉

Aloha Isle
Adventureland
Official Disney Menu for Aloha Isle

Crystal Palace

Table service meals are difficult to justify for breakfast, due to the cost and the sheer size of the offerings. That being said, the Magic Kingdom has a number reservation options for early mornings.

Character dining with Pooh and Friends at the Crystal Palace is a hit for kids, but please please please keep an eye out on the budget as this meal can jump really quickly when you take into account that you could be spending $30-60 for Mickey waffles. We’ve had success when using the Disney Dining Plan, as this location is a one table service credit!


Honorable Mentions

  • Be Our Guest (Quick Service Breakfast)
  • Liberty Square Market (Grab n Go)
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table (Table Service)

Steps to Magic Hidden Tip

If you’re taking an UBER to the Magic Kingdom, then you’re going to want to have your destination be “Disney’s Contemporary Resort”. The nice thing about this, is that you can hop inside to The Contempo Cafe, which is one of our favorite food spots on property. Sure, it’s not exactly the Magic Kingdom, but you’re a hop skip and a jump to the turnstiles!

5 ways to Sightsee via complimentary transportation in Disney World

Skyliner

Think about trying Disney’s Skyliner when thinking about your adventures away from the theme parks. All you have to do is board at EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios before checking out a bunch of resorts. The Skyliner operates daily and will give you access to 4 resorts within 15-minutes of your departure!

Disney’s Skyliner
Official Disney

Friendship Boats

The idea of sightseeing on Disney World property is to explore things from unique views to get some awesome photos! The ability to explore the resort area between EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios by water is definitely worth checking out. The best part about this system is that you can disembark at the Swan & Dolphin, Boardwalk or Yacht & Beach resorts to explore and just catch the next boat (or walk) to your destination.

Friendship Boats
Official Disney

Monorail

The trip from EPCOT to the Ticket and Transportation Centre is less about sightseeing than to the Magic Kingdom. Just make sure that you don’t take the Express Monorail route and voila…full access to the Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village and the Contemporary Resort.

Monorail
Official Disney


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Motor launches and Cruisers

The exploration of the Magic Kingdom area by water is awesome! Spending an afternoon “resort hopping” while going from the docks at the various Deluxe Hotels will allow you the opportunity to really get the full view. Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness are definitely better when you arrive via boat vs a bus.

Disney Watercraft

Buses

There are bus routes that provide access to unique locations, on top of the regular transportation of guests to and from the theme parks. Take note of the opportunity to check out locations like the ESPN Wide World of Sports and Disney Vacation Club Resorts (like Old Key West). You’re also able to gain access to resorts like Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, which are 100% worth the trip any day any time!

Disney Bus Transportation
Official Link


Honorable Mentions

  • Ferry Boat (Magic Kingdom to TTC)
  • Water Taxi (Disney Springs to Resorts)
  • Minnie Van (LYFT Paid Service)

The Best Places to Buy Unique Gifts in Universal Orlando Resort

They Didn't Have My Name Mug at Universal Orlando - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

The best places to buy unique gifts in Universal Orlando may bring you more than a basic shirt selection or things that you can find online through Shop.UniversalOrlando.com.

If you’re someone like me and can see individualism and creativity as a bonus…then these shops should definitely be on your radar. With over 85 stores, there are plenty to choose from!

Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods

Peruse items taken from students who got on the wrong side of the school’s resident caretaker, Argus Filch. You’ll find Hogwarts™ t-shirts, shoulder bags, caps, and scarves; plus house crest banners, stationery, and more. You’ll also find authentic movie prop replicas such as Death Eater™ masks, Quidditch™ clothing, magical creature toys, and more.

What makes it special? Each and every team member who works in this location are actually part of the story…in that they have a backstory as to how they found their way into “detention”. Ask and you’ll find a new level of appreciation for this store!

Related Article – Harry Potter Experiences You Can’t Miss

Ollivanders

This is where young wizards and witches come in search of the most essential wizarding item: their wand. Inside, towering walls reveal thousands of wand boxes stacked to the ceiling. You can witness a unique interactive experience and see a wand choose a wizard.

In the shop visitors (including the wizard chosen* in the interactive experience) can purchase their own unique wand, wand sets, character wand replicas, or buy an Interactive Wand and cast spells to create amazing magical experiences throughout Diagon Alley™ and Hogsmeade™.

There’s another location of the famous shop in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Hogsmeade™ at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

*Person chosen has the option whether or not to purchase their wand.



MIB Gear

If you manage to blast your way past the 30-foot bug at the end of MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™, you’ll find yourself here, in the nerve center of MIB business. 

This is where agents gather to pick up their gadgets and devices, official MIB apparel, futuristic toys from across the galaxy, holographic jewelry, and “highly classified” alien artifacts and souvenirs.

Comic Book Shop

POW! Prepare to enter the inner circle of classic comic lore. BLAM! Books and graphic novels line the shelves, packed with the legends that have defined Marvel for over 75 years. KRUNCH! Super fans get a one-two punch with both collectible figurines and busts for sale immortalizing their icons.

You’ll also find posters, apparel and, of course, official Marvel comics as you snake your way through stacks of stupefying souvenirs. It’s a fantastic world. Step inside and live it for a little while.

Kwik-E-Mart

Somewhere atop a mountain in the Himalayas stands the very first Kwik-E-Mart. But here at Universal Studios Florida™, the Kwik-E-Mart is smack-dab in the heart of Springfield, and has convenience store staples every Simpsons™ fan will love.

Feeling parched? Quench your thirst with a Duff energy drink. Tummy rumbling? Load up on a Lard Lad donut. Please enjoy your many purchases of Simpsons-themed toys, apparel, books, souvenirs, and more. But don’t dawdle; Kwik-E-Mart is not a library.

Related Article – Fun Facts about Springfield USA

Williams of Hollywood

Snag a piece of theme park history at this fascinating Hollywood Boulevard store. A must-see stop for film buffs, the Williams of Hollywood Prop Shop is packed with vintage curiosities, set pieces used in the parks, and more. You’ll find decor like old movie stills and posters alongside antique furniture, hats, and jewelry. Exclusive props from seasonal events and retired attractions make for incredible gifts or one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

Be sure to stop by during your day at Universal Studios™: This shop is constantly restocked with new treasures to discover.



Borgin and Burkes

Should you find yourself in need of any sinister items, this is the place to go. This dark and dusty Knockturn Alley shop is infamous for shady patrons including Draco Malfoy™, who used a Vanishing Cabinet you can actually view inside the store, to sneak Death Eaters™ into Hogwarts™ castle. 

As you walk among the dimly lit shelves and displays teeming with malevolent relics, you’ll find Death Eater™ masks, skulls, Harry Potter™ film costume replicas, apparel, accessories, jewelry, and collectibles.

Cats, Hats & Things

Upon exiting The Cat in the Hat™ ride, come in and pick up a thing or two bearing the likeness of Thing One™ and Thing Two™. In this pleasing emporium you’ll find colorful characters cavorting on the ceiling, and a fanciful statue of Dr. Seuss’s iconic cat playfully juggling all manner of items—just like he does in the book. This is the best boutique for The Cat in the Hat-themed toys, gifts, and t-shirts; plus a wide selection of themed child and baby apparel.


Hope this was helpful in planning your trip to Universal Orlando!

Overlooked Experiences at Universal Orlando

Evergreen Terrace Sign in Springfield USA - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

If you’ve spent time on our site, you’re aware of the importance of tips and secrets to plan your day and spend as little time wandering as possible. Well when you go through your plans before 11am…what do you do before lunch? What do you do in the evening before dinner? What about that awkward time between 8pm and fireworks?

These attractions are not just amazing experiences, but they are also great to put into a relaxing day plan!


When you think about an ‘Overlooked’ Universal experience, it actually has a definition and criteria:

  1. You can’t get an Express Pass for it
  2. 9 out of 10 dentists would recommend it! (a little #StepsToMagic Humour)

Overlooked Experiences at Islands of Adventure

The Mystic Fountain

Carved of ancient stone atop the mysterious underground geysers of The Lost Continent, this feisty fountain in Sindbad’s Bazaar is home to a mischievous water spirit who speaks to (and splashes) those brave enough to match wits.

When awakened, the fountain plays music and jokes around, interacting with all who approach. Toss in a coin and you might get your wish—or a surprise squirt of H2O.

Frog Choir

Hear the vocal stylings of this small choir of Hogwarts™ students, accompanied by the smooth bass rumbles of their giant throaty frogs. The silver-tongued students—one each from Gryffindor™, Slytherin™, Hufflepuff™, and Ravenclaw™ houses—perform familiar wizarding songs with their croaking counterparts, and an a cappella flourish.

Related Article – Things to do in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter



Butterbeer Photo Shoot

If you’re a fan of theme parks, one of the things that you have to do is remember the good times. Some of us take pics with characters and cool backdrops…but then you have folks like me who tend to do a full photo shoot with a Butterbeer!

Be a fan. Take a pic!

Raptor Encounter in Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park has always been a fun place to explore. From the hidden gems inside of the Discovery Centre to the Raptor Encounter, you should 100% try to come face to face with a dino!



Overlooked Experiences at Universal Studios Florida

Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees

Sway and groove to the dulcet tones of wizarding world sensation (and Molly Weasley’s favorite singer), Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. The swinging show features never-before-heard songs including ‘A Cauldron Full Of Hot, Strong Love’, ‘You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart’, and ‘You Charmed The Heart Right Out Of Me’.

Knight Bus

Parked on the London Embankment is the purple, three-storied Knight Bus™, which stranded witches and wizards flag down with their wands for emergency transport. Passers-by can look in the windows and see curtains, beds, and an ornate chandelier. They’ll also hear chatter from the talkative shrunken head hanging over the steering wheel, including occasional conversation with the bus conductor.

Related Article – Best Character Experiences at Universal Orlando



The Tonight Show Museum

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™ – Photo by Steps to Magic

When Jimmy moved in, the history of the Tonight Show came with him.

From desks to suits and everything in between, spending time in the queue line for Race Through NYC Starring Jimmy Fallon is worth the virtual pass alone.

Oh, and say hi to #HashtagThePanda for us!


Geek Out in Springfield

With the Simpsons into their 321st season (or so it feels), there are continuous opportunities to spot the details in and around Springfield USA.

From the 7 Duff’s to the statue of Jebediah Springfield, you’ll be able to play with the world that will always give you more to explore when you look harder.

Oh, and get a photo of a ‘Bort’ nametag in the Kwik-e-Mart! Classic


Final Thoughts

Still wanting more ideas for experience on your next Universal Orlando Resort vacation? I love sharing more and more content to keep your trip planning juices flowing to build the excitement!

5 Attractions To Skip at Islands of Adventure

Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls
Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls - Photo by Dustin Fuhs

Spending time at Universal Orlando Resort is full of incredibly immersive experiences, especially at Islands of Adventure. From Marvel to Harry Potter, there are dozens of attractions to consider for your day…but are they all great?

This is why we have decided to share with you the 5 attractions to skip. Does this mean that they are bad? Absolutely not! The list is filled with attractions that we would suggest that you do during very specific times, like rain storms or if there’s no line.

StepsToMagic.com is all about the insider tips, tricks and plans to make your experience within the Orlando area as epic as possible. If we were to say that everything is amazing, then we would have NO credibility.

Flight of the Hippogriff

It’s a long wait for a re-themed kiddy coaster.

The time spent reading the official description of the attraction is actually longer than the ride itself. I’ve seen folks wait for 60+ minutes for this, and it’s shocking because there’s really no story and no thrill…you can see everything from the sidewalk.

Just skip it. There’s more exciting Harry Potter experiences in the Wizarding World…including a Butterbeer or picking out a wand at Olivanders.


Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

I put together a list of the attractions that you will get soaked on, and Ripsaw Falls is a highlight IF you’re wanting to walk around in wet shoes for the rest of the day.

Personally, I spend more time on the bridge with the squirt guns because it’s a blast!


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Storm Force Accelatron

It’s a spinning tea cup attraction, so if you like that – game on!

If you’re like me and have just finished a butterbeer or snack…you probably should skip this one.

I do enjoy the atmosphere around the area, as you’re right beside the Incredible Hulk Coaster!

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

Part of Cartoon Lagoon, this is a solid water attraction that will 100% soak you from head to toe.

Why is it skipable? Simple – theming and characters that no one really cares about anymore.

In fact, feel free to search “Popeye” and “Bluto” on the Popeye Fandom page…I’ll wait for ya!

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

So far, this list has brought you a number of classic theme park attraction styles. From the teacups (Storm Force) to the water raft (Popeye), this is a Dumbo-esc spinner ride with the addition of H2O.

Out of all the highly themed experiences in Seuss Landing, this may be the one that you can skip without missing too much. Instead, go and stand in line for a character meet & greet with the Grinch or head over to Hogsmeade!


Honourable Mentions

  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • Pteranodon Flyers

Did we get it right? What attractions would you add to the list?