A Hidden Gem: Review of The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen

A Hidden Gem: Review of The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen

The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen is a pretty underrated Walt Disney World table service restaurant, you guys. So few people talk about it! I’ve heard mixed reviews, but we had a great experience this December.

The Details

Located in Adventureland, Skipper Canteen is where your beloved punny Jungle Cruise Skippers head for meals and relaxation. The restaurant is intricately detailed to correspond with the theme, but if you don’t look closely, you might not notice.

Your servers are, of course, Jungle Cruise Skippers who are every bit as silly as the ones on the boats. They’re definitely in-character, which is not usually my favorite (just be a normal human and be nice to me, please… fake accents make me uncomfortable and puh-lease don’t scold me about how much/how little I’ve eaten), but this experience was fun and no-pressure. Our server, Ray, was attentive and hilarious. He kept our drinks filled, made lots of wonderful puns, and warned us that the ice was made with piranha water.

We dined in the jungle room, which featured parrot stained glass light fixtures, a “great wall of china”, and my favorite “rhino and hyena chasing a man up a tree” art.

And I am here for the food…

If you only enjoy standard burgers-and-fries-type fare, Skipper Canteen probably won’t be your favorite. The menu contains a lot of Asian-fusion-type foods, though most have been adapted to appeal to the western palate. According to Disney, dishes are African, Asian, and South American in origin: inspired by the regions you visit on the cruise itself, of course! Take a look at the current menu here.

Baa Baa Berber Lamb Chops and Tastes Like Chicken from Skipper Canteen

Left: Baa Baa Berber Lamb Chops: Berber-spiced Lamb Chops, Roasted Carrot Purée, and Arugula-Cauliflower Salad tossed in a Citrus Vinaigrette
Right: Tastes Like Chicken – Because it is!: Crispy-fried Chicken with Citrus and Ginger-scented Rice, Chili Glaze, and Seasonal Vegetables

I ordered the It Tastes Like Chicken (Because it is!), which was really interesting for what could’ve just been a basic chicken dish. The chicken was juicy while the breading was unique – crisp yet light. Imagine a breading made from savory, blitzed Rice Krispies and you get the idea. The rice was sticky and fluffy, the ribboned vegetables fresh and tasty, and the sweet chili sauce was sweet (obvs 😉), spicy, and vinegary all at once. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it all very much.

Mr. EC had the Baa Baa Berber Lamb Chops, which were plated beautifully. The seasoning was gorgeous, the lamb juicy, and the accompanying Arugula Cauliflower salad was absolutely delicious.

Dessert, Even.

We rarely order dessert at table service restaurants because there are just so many sweet options in the park, but we made an exception this time (and Ray tempted us).

The Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Cream was calling my name, and I was even more intrigued after Ray warned that it looks just like a stick of butter.

And indeed it did – a very fancy stick of butter – but it was delicious. Light, soft, and creamy with little pops of sweet, zesty citrus. If you enjoy coconut cake or pineapple cake, you’ll love this. While dainty and light, it’s still the perfect size to share.

Coconut Bar Dessert from Skipper Canteen

Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Cream: Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Coconut and Lime White Chocolate Ganache

The Kungaloosh!, their most popular dessert, also sounded divine:

An African-inspired Chocolate Cake with Caramelized Bananas and Cashew-Caramel Ice Cream topped with Coffee Dust. Mmm. I’ve had some weird sensitivities (?!?) to cashews in the past, though, so we skipped it. Verrrrrry tempted to have Mr. EC order it next time so I can steal a few bites. 😇

Our Verdict on the Skipper Canteen

Every aspect of our experience surpassed our expectations: service, theming, and food (variety, presentation, and taste).

If you’re looking for a quieter restaurant with a fairly unique menu, a casual environment, and detailed theming, give Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen a chance!

Where: Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen
Find it: Adventureland, Magic Kingdom
Open for: Lunch and dinner
Disney Dining Plan: Yes, Table Service
Pricing: entrees: $18-$35

As with any table service restaurant on Disney property, creating an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) is advisable. Can table service restaurants sometimes accommodate walk-ups? Yes. Should you count on that? No. 

Have you dined here? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thank You, Unforgettable Cast

Thank You, Unforgettable Cast

This post is inspired by the 2015 photo that popped up in my Facebook memories this morning. Originally shared on FB; posted here by request.

Santa Stitch

Meeting Santa Stitch was one of my favorite Christmas presents of ALL time. We had just moved here a few months prior, I was still looking for a job, and disposable income was not a thing we had. This was a moment I got to experience thanks to the kindness and effort of a few people, and I will remember it always. ❤️

And this year? So much has changed, but the spirit of people willing to be generous with their time and enthusiasm has not. I not only got to experience amazing hugs from Santa Stitch again, but Buzz Lightyear, Haley Comet, and all of the amazingly talented dancers from A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas came along as well. It was probably a normal day for them, but for me, it was overwhelmingly magical.

A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas CastFriends who have been spending 7 days a week making snow, perfecting lighting and music, making the sky sparkle, doing your best to keep guests safe and spirits high during this hectic time, making sure everyone’s holiday attire is gorgeously festive, dancing your heart out, and running around in a hot fur suit: thank you. You are adding magic to people’s lives. You don’t hear it enough, but what you do truly matters.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: My Ultimate Plan

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: My Ultimate Plan

There are only a few Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas parties left this season, so here’s my plan for making the most of your experience!

Cinderella Castle Christmas

If you don’t live locally or visit the Disney parks often, I suggest scheduling a 2nd full day in the Magic Kingdom. There is so much to see and do during the parties, and there is no way to fit every single party activity – let alone actually experiencing rides and exploring the Magic Kingdom – into such a short window. This plan contains only party-related activities and it differs just a little from my Not-so-Scary Halloween Party plan.

The goal: experience as many party activities as possible.

Step 1: Getting There

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party officially starts at 7:00, but the Kingdom usually starts letting party guests in around 4:00. Be sure to use the special event entrances – they’ll be marked at the tapstiles, and a cast member is usually around to direct traffic. You’ll get your wristband upon entering. The park closes to day guests at 6:00 PM, so anyone without a wristband is kindly escorted out.

On your way in, be sure to grab a times guide.

Step 2: Dinner

A few weeks out, make an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) for 4:30 PM. We usually go to Tony’s, but we picked the Skipper Canteen this year and it exceeded expectations. You could do a quickservice meal, too, if you want, but I like to enjoy a few minutes of relaxation at a table service restaurant before we hit the ground running. Not all of the restaurants in Magic Kingdom are open during the parties, so it’s a good opportunity for everyone to have a substantial meal before consuming ALL the Christmas cookies.

Step 3: In-demand Character Meet & Greets: Sandy Claws

Have a particular character you’d like to meet? Lines for Sandy Claws, Moana, and the 7 Dwarfs are typically the longest. Sandy Claws arrives at 6:00 PM in order to accommodate the demand. Since you’ll be finishing dinner between 5:30 and 5:45, hop in line to meet Sandy. We got in line at approximately 5:45 and met Sandy at about 6:50.

Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Step 4: Party-exclusive Merch

Your times guide will indicate which party-exclusive items are available in which shop. Not all shops carry the same things, believe it or not! Sometimes exclusive merch sells out immediately; however, I’ve had great luck getting my hands on whatever I wanted this year, so hopefully Disney has increased supply a bit.

We always pick up a party-exclusive pin or two, and I’m a sucker for magic bands with pretty art and special lights and sounds (not to mention seasonal scents!). I find the Emporium to be too hectic, so after we said hi to Sandy Claws, we made our way back to Big Top Souvenirs in Storybook Circus. Special apparel is usually out on the shop floor, but you’ll need to ask for pins and magic bands at the counter.

This year, we made it in and out of Big Top Souvenirs just before 7:00 PM. Party merch is generally not available until 7:00 PM; however, if you have a party wristband, the store is ready, and you’re there at 6:55, I doubt you’ll have any issues.

Step 4.5: Treats!

During Christmas parties, multiple quick service locations convert to complimentary treat stations! When you pass one, be sure to pop in for cookies, hot chocolate, and various other treats.

  • Tortuga Tavern: Snowman Soft Pretzel & Sno-cone
  • Liberty Square Ticket Office: Ginger Molasses Cookie & Eggnog
  • The Friar’s Nook: Dove Chocolate & Sparkling Cider
  • Pete’s Silly Sideshow: Peppermint Crunch Cookie & Nestle Nesquik
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe: Snickerdoodle Cookie & Hot Chocolate
  • Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies: Santa Claus Cookie and Sno-cone

Important note: my favorite cookies are the Peppermint Crunch. Ginger Molasses comes in a very close second!

Step 5: More Characters! And Shows! And Treats!

Santa Goofy meets in Storybook Circus, as do Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck (in winter gear, no less!), Minnie and Daisy, and The Seven Dwarfs. The line for Goofy is usually average (in my experience), but the line for Scrooge and Donald can get a little long.

Santa Goofy at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Uncle Scrooge and Festive Donald at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

After our stop in Big Top Souvenirs, we went over to meet Goofy, then scurried up to the Town Square Theatre to meet Mickey. Note: when on Main Street or Town Square, be sure to take a moment to enjoy the faux snow. By then, it was time to pop to the castle hub for the 8:15 showing of A Frozen Holiday Wish.

A Frozen Holiday Wish

I highly encourage taking the time to watch A Frozen Holiday Wish. It’s just under 8 minutes, and it’s pretty dang magical. Opt for the 8:15 PM showing, though. There’s also one at 6:15, but it tends to be very crowded since non-party guests are still in the park at that time.

Just after A Frozen Holiday Wish ended, we headed over to the Rocket Tower stage to catch A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas. This is also a show worth watching; it’s upbeat and very cute. Expect to see Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski, Stitch, and lots of super-talented dancers.

Mike Wazowski in A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas

After ATTC, we dashed back to Storybook Circus to say hi to Uncle Scrooge and Donald. Then it was time to head back to the castle hub for Holiday Wishes fireworks at 10:00 PM. I like to stand one walkway up from Casey’s corner for the best view. While there are some castle projections, they aren’t as essential as the ones during Happily Ever After, so you can really watch from anywhere if you’d like.

Holiday Wishes - Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Step 6: Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration

I absolutely adore this show, and if you watch Holiday Wishes from the castle hub, you’ll be in a perfect position to watch Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration.

Definitely make MMMC a priority. It’s the highlight of the party: fun, upbeat, ridiculously cute, and heartwarming.

Step 7: Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Hang on to your spot in the castle hub and you’ll be in the perfect position for The Once Upon a Christmastime parade. It steps off in Frontierland at 11:00 PM and should reach the castle hub at about 11:10 and Main Street at about 11:15. The castle hub is great for viewing, but due to lighting, it isn’t the best for photos.

Santa in Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Note: there’s also an 8:30 PM parade, but I far prefer the 11:00 parade for the tamer crowds.

Main Street is obviously a great place to catch the parade, buuuut people start staking out spots around 6:30 PM, and I just cannot justify paying $100 for an event only to sit in one spot and do nothing for 3 hours.

Goofy in Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Step 8: The end

The party is officially over at midnight, but heaps of people leave after the parade finishes (around 11:45). But you’ve still got 15 minutes of party left, so make the most of it! Plus, if you leave now, you’re going to get stuck in the throngs of people waiting for the ferry and monorail.

So what now? If there was something you meant to buy, go grab it. Was there a ride you wanted to try? Go hop in line! Want to snap some more photos of the spectacular Cinderella Castle? Go right ahead! Was there a cookie you liked? Treat locations are open ’til 12, so go back for more! Sometimes, just before midnight, the cookie givers are rather generous. 😉

Frozen Cinderella CastleThen, on your way out, have a browse through the Emporium on Main Street. This should have you exiting the park at 12:10 or just after, and lines for the monorail and ferry will still exist but will have calmed quite a bit.

And there you have it. I hope these tips will help you in getting the maximum enjoyment out of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Any questions? Please leave ’em below!

Related: check out my MVMCP post from 2016 that discusses what I’d do differently!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party PhotoPass

Surviving Summer in Florida

Surviving Summer in Florida

Summertime, like many parts of the year in Florida, can be hot. Like, miserably, sweating-from-places-you-didn’t-even-know-could-sweat hot. And humid. Oh man, it’s humid. If you’re not used to it, you might feel like you’re walking around in a sauna. In hell. A really pretty, fun version of hell.
But guess what? Even though it’s hot, you can still have a totally amazing vacation by being prepared and taking care of yourself.

1. Get used to walking before you go.

I know this is not an option for some, but it’ll help. Promise. You’re gonna be dang tired if you go from 2,000 steps a day at home to 20,000 steps a day at Disney World. Going from 10,000 or more steps a day to 20,000 steps is less of a punch in the face. You’ll be less tired, less cranky, and able to get more done.

2. Hydrate.

You probably already don’t drink enough water, and you’re going to be sweating like mad in the Florida heat. There’s no need to bring in heavy bottled water or spend $4 per bottle of Dasani, either. Any quick service restaurant or counter that has fountain drinks will give you a cup of water at no charge. (Note: if the outlet/cart only has bottled beverages, they won’t be able to give you water.) My favorite method? Packing an empty water bottle to keep the weight of your park bag reasonable. I use a Bobble bottle with a filter and fill it at water fountains throughout the park.

3. Protect yourself from the sun.

The last thing you want on your vacation is a fierce sunburn, and I’m guessing you’d like to avoid damage to your skin and premature signs of aging, too. You need SPF on any exposed skin: face, lips, ears, arms, legs, even the tops of your feet. I use a tinted moisturizer with SPF 50 for my face, an SPF 15 lip balm, then a Coola spray sunscreen for the rest of my body. Also essential? A breathable hat! I have a wide-brimmed, packable, squishable safari-type hat. It helps shade from the sun and keep me a little cooler, plus I can just smoosh it up and throw it in my backpack when it gets dark. Sunglasses are another big one – I literally never make a daytime park trip without mine. And I know you know this, but… you still need to protect yourself from rays even when it’s cloudy.

4. Seek shade.

There are a bunch of good ways to do this! Meals are an awesome opportunity to get into the air conditioning. You can make Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) for a number of table service meals, or you can visit some of the larger quickservice outlets that offer ample indoor seating. Dark rides are another good one: the dim lighting and chilled air on Haunted Mansion feels pret-ty dang good on a sweltering day! Or pop into pretty much any shop for some shade. Cool off and browse the cute stuff at the same time!

5. Rest when you need to.

Seriously. Listen to your body. You don’t even have to miss out on the fun. Attractions like Philharmagic and the People Mover are perfect for getting off your feet while still enjoying the magic.

6. It’s probably gonna rain.

Acceptance helps. Daily afternoon thunderstorms are simply a part of Florida summers! Get a rain poncho. You can either bring one of these with you or purchase in-park for around $10 (they’re not on display, so you’ll have to ask at the counter). Five years on, our Disney ponchos are still going strong! It’s money well-spent if you’re able to continue throughout the park instead of hover under an overhang, too. Most park operations continue as normal during the rain, but outdoor attractions will temporarily close if there’s lightning in the area. Keep in mind: parades and outdoor shows may also be adjusted, delayed, or canceled.

7. Get plenty of sleep.

When you’re tired, it’s easier to get cranky and forget to hydrate and rest.
There you have it: hydrate, rest, and take time to cool off. It’s gonna be hot, but taking good care of yourself will go a long way in helping you have a great time.
*obviously I’m not a medical professional, so seek guidance from yours should you have any concerns 

D23 Roundup: Changes and Updates Coming to Walt Disney World

If you’re a person on the internet, chances are you’ve seen lots of chatter regarding D23’s Parks and Resorts panel. Rumors run rampant all year round (vom), but this panel is where the official announcements come from.

Disney Parks Blog has a page of updates and information here, so you’re welcome to hop on over to read the full story. Buuuut I always want to know one thing first: what’s closing. Disney Parks Blog – understandably – tends to bury that information in favor of highlighting the new and exciting. Some of the updates are related to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, too, and may not necessarily be of interest to our WDW visitors. So below, I’ll outline the changes coming to our parks at Walt Disney World.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Great Movie Ride is closing for good on August 13, 2017. I’ve heard rumors that GMR would be replaced by a Mickey-themed ride for a while, but this one was still the biggest surprise to me. While GMR was definitely dated and in need of an overhaul, it’s a Hollywood Studios icon! It’s also one more attraction that’ll be closed at Hollywood Studios while Star Wars Land (Galaxy’s Edge) and Toy Story Land are completed.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will replace the Great Movie Ride. This will be a “2.5-D” ride based on the new Mickey animated shorts. The description leaves me feeling a little underwhelmed, but I’ll try to reserve judgement until I actually experience it.

Toy Story Land, currently under construction, is set to open in the summer of 2018. Attractions will include the Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. The concept art gives me Dinorama vibes… I can’t say I’m anxiously awaiting the opening, but I’m sure it’ll be fun.

Star Wars Land, or Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as it will officially be called (does that sound super Michael Bay-ish, or is it just me?), opens in 2019. Galaxy’s Edge is evidently set in a “remote trading port” which totally screams Hondo to me. The land will offer “two major attractions” – one that involves piloting the Millennium Falcon, and the other “will make you feel like you’re on a destroyer inside a hangar bay” and “is built on a scale we’ve never done before.” The word “immersive” is used a lot, and there’s going to be a cantina.   I love Star Wars, so while I’m excited for this one, I’m going in with few expectations.


Mission: SPACE is getting a themed restaurant! This should be fun, as eateries are less abundant in Future World than they are in the World Showcase.

Ellen’s Energy Adventure will close on August 13 and will be replaced by a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. This has been rumored for years, so I’m surprised it’s actually happening! I was hugely pleasantly surprised by how much I loved both Guardians movies, so I’m excited for this. I’ll miss the dinosaurs and the opportunity to sit in the dark and air conditioning for 40 minutes, but it was time for a change.

The France Pavilion is also getting a Ratatouille-themed attraction that’s similar to the 4D -ride in Paris. Evidently there are food smells, so please pass my Thanksgiving pants.

Both rides are scheduled to open in 2021, in time for WDW’s 50th anniversary. No word on the Mission: SPACE restaurant yet.

Magic Kingdom

Main Street USA is getting a theatre inspired by Kansas City’s Willis Wood theatre. It’s hard to tell by the concept art exactly where this will be, but I’m thinking behind Tony’s-ish.

And the big one: Magic Kingdom is getting a TRON ride similar to (or the same as?) the TRON Lightcycle Power Run from Shanghai Disneyland. Contrary to what many clickbaity headlines shouted last week, this is not replacing the Tomorrowland Speedway. Based on the concept art, it’ll be located behind Space Mountain. Like the new Epcot attractions, this is scheduled to open in 2021 for the 50th anniversary.


WDW is getting a Star Wars-themed resort. Yay, fun! Disney Parks Blog uses that word over and over again: immersive. Apparently it involves a view of space from every room, special attire, and an experience that will “touch every minute of your day.” Well… okay. I’m totally onboard with a Star Wars resort, but I want to be able to see daylight from my room, wear my own damn clothes, and maybe not have an experience “touch 100% of my day.”

There was also talk about the two towers going in at Caribbean Beach Resort. Evidently they’re DVC oriented.


The Skyliner has been confirmed. Gondolas will connect Art of Animation, Pop Century, and Caribbean Beach Resorts, plus Hollywood Studios and Epcot’s International Gateway. I have a hard time imagining how efficient this might be, but I’ll prepare to be pleasantly surprised. I’m still holding my breath for a different route into/out of Magic Kingdom that allows one to skip the ferry or monorail.

WDW is also adding Minnie-themed vehicles to take you anywhere on resort property. I’m envisioning something like a Disney uber.

So there you have it. What do you think? Did any of the news surprise you? What are you most looking forward to?

Keys to the Kingdom Tour: Worth the Money?

Keys to the Kingdom is one the tours I’ve heard of many times but never figured I would participate in, because it’s $99 per person. Plus your park admission. Yeah. 💸💸💸

Plus, I like to experience the, well, magic of the Magic Kingdom as it is. I don’t want to see the warehouses or trash chutes or tractors and all of the ordinary, non-magical backstage area stuff.

But I went on the five-hour walking tour and I liked it. It’s going to be ideal for some people, but for others, that money might be better spent elsewhere.

Cinderella Castle

Warning: there’s no photography permitted on this tour, so this post will be light on the images.

Getting Into the Park

Current Magic Kingdom opening time is 9:00 AM. Our tour started at 8:30 and we were due to check in at Town Square Theatre no later than 8:15 AM.

How does that work? Well, those with tour or dining reservations are allowed into the park earlier than general guests. Look for the “Event Entrance” sign and line up there – usually, it’s to the far right in the turnstile area. You will be required to provide verification via Magic Band or printed confirmation, so be ready.

We parked in Hook at 7:20 AM, walked to the resort monorail, and arrived at the park by 7:42.

When you check in at Town Square Theatre, you’ll get your nametag, earpiece pack, and order your lunch. You’ll also have the opportunity to grab a chilled bottle of water. DO IT.

Keys to the Kingdom Nametag

I was a little worried about how I would hear our guide and how we’d all stay together in the busy park, but Disney already thought of that: the guide has a mic and each tour participant gets an earpiece with adjustable volume. Awesome. Being able to adjust my own volume based on changing noise levels was a huge gift!

The Tour

There were 20 people in our group. We started out in Town Square and moved down Main Street, and honestly, this was my least favorite part of the tour. And I love these areas! It felt a little like a new employee orientation, and I’m too crabby for that pre-10:00 AM on a Saturday. This part of the tour also covered a lot of topics Disney enthusiasts or frequent park visitors will likely already know, like the four keys, scale and design, window Easter eggs, and so forth.

From there, we moved to the castle hub, and then to Adventureland. This is were I started to enjoy the tour a lot more, as we learned about why the park is laid out as it is as well as the history behind and some “how it works” information on the land’s classic attractions. I loved learning about Jungle Cruise Skippers and the long process of creating the Enchanted Tiki Room birds.

Then, it was on to backstage! I’ve obviously never been backstage, so this was an interesting experience! First stop was the float facility, where parade floats are housed. This segment is often touted to “kill the magic,” but I found it enhanced the magic to see just how much technology and hard work from talented cast members go into the events we see “on stage.”

Next, we walked through Frontierland, learned about The Country Bears, and even had two of them follow us to the border of Liberty Square. They inconspicuously joined the group, and it took a few minutes for our guide to notice. I’m not even a Country Bears fan, but this was hilarious and adorable: the perfect example of the magical little things that can happen during a day in Disney World.

And finally: lunch on the Tomorrowland Terrace! I ordered the spicy chicken sandwich, which reminded me of an old favorite from the long-gone Studio Catering Company at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Lunch options included the spicy chicken sandwich, a burger, bahn mi, and a salad. The sandwiches were served with chips, and drinks were bottled as opposed to fountain. Cast Members had everything prepared for us, so all we had to do was find our place cards, sit down, and eat!

Magic Kingdom Cokes!

From there, we visited Liberty Square again, where we learned about the Haunted Mansion’s design, creators, and fun facts. Then it was a quick trip through Fantasyland and down to the tunnels… or, as the Disney Enthusiasts of the Internet like to call them, “the utilidoors.” (side note: I’ve never actually heard a cast member use that term)

The tunnels are an underground network of offices, walkways, mini roads, and so forth. It was definitely interesting to see how efficiently you can move supplies and staff this way, but I admit I fail to see the fascination. If you’ve ever worked in a hotel, this was a lot like being in the back hallways or banquet kitchens. They’re concrete and utilitarian, and I suspect those who expect otherwise might be disappointed. I did love seeing the character costumes and experiencing just how rapidly you could move from Fantasyland to Town Square, though.

We ended our tour back in Town Square, outside of Tony’s, where our guide gave us one more opportunity for Q&A.

List of attractions we experienced:

  • – Jungle Cruise
  • – Enchanted Tiki Room
  • – Haunted Mansion

List of Lands we visited:

  • – Town Square
  • – Main Street
  • – Adventureland
  • – Frontierland
  • – Liberty Square
  • – Fantasyland

We did not tour Tomorrowland, which surprised me a little. Our only time there was lunch at Tomorrowland Terrace.

We stopped at each major restroom, but there were no opportunities to purchase drinks or snacks. So, one more time: definitely grab the bottle of water they offer at check in.
Disney’s website mentions that featured areas and attractions may vary. I also think tours may start in different areas so as not to overlap, because I saw another tour group that left before ours arrive at the parade shed as we were leaving.

You need:

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Water
  • Rain gear
  • Plenty of SPF, including lip balm
  • Sunglasses and possibly a hat
  • To eat a good breakfast

My favorites:

  • Seeing the Jungle Cruise rhino backstage for repair
  • Watching cast members test out Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather’s parade gear
  • Seeing just how much water Splash Mountain contains
  • Our tour guide’s wonderful, terrible puns (Hi, Annie!)
  • Princess costumes in the tunnels

You’ll love this tour if: you’re a Disney enthusiast who likes to know the stories behind little details, you want to learn more about Walt and Roy and the journey involving The Florida Project, and you want to see a few backstage areas.

Skip this if: you already know most of those details or don’t care about them or if you’d rather make your way around the park on your own time.

Keys to the Kingdom Tour

  • Photography is not permitted on this tour
  • Guests must be 16 or older
  • $99 per person
  • Tours start every 30 minutes from 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM
  • They accept walk-ups based on availability, but I definitely recommend reserving this ahead of time!

View dates here.

Call to book: 407-WDW-TOUR

Have you been on a Keys to the Kingdom tour? What did you think?