Topic Wiki

Orlando Overview
Orlando is a magical place that's not too far from home and cheap to get to with miles. Obviously, Disney, Universal and SeaWorld are the main attractions, but there are other things to do as well. The theme parks are not just for families with kids; a couple can have an absolute blast as well!

Trip Reports:
@Yehuda's trip to Universal - Quick TR Summary, Detailed TR = 4 parts Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Getting there and getting around:

How long should I go for?
The length of your trip will likely be based on the number of parks you want to go to. Don't rush your day - give yourself a full day per park, walk around slowly, get engrossed in the magical worlds that are Disney and Universal, and wait on long lines all day :P . Some will say that you can do parks in less than a day, which may be true for certain ones, so then do a park and a night activity; don't squeeze in 2 parks in 1 day because you finished 1 park at 3PM.

Air:
MCO is Orlando's airport. You can fly directly from all New York airports. Flying business from NY will have just marginally better seats/service for double the price. The only useful benefit is getting more free checked bags, so if may be worth sending 1 person in your family in J so they can bring an extra bag. As of 1/15, Uber was not allowed at MCO due to an airport fee dispute, so the 2 ways to get an Uber are 1) Take a random hotel shuttle to a hotel and then call an Uber from there (suggested by @Uber on Twitter, but join the ethical discussion of using a shuttle if you're not staying at that hotel) and 2) Move the pin on your Uber map to a road outside the airport so that you can officially request a ride. Once a driver responds, call him and tell him you're actually in MCO and see if he'll agree to pick you up anyway. Below are the direct flight options with one-way Saver prices in Y/J.

HPN:
B6 - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight

EWR:
UA - 12.5K/25K
B6 - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight
WN - New non-stop flights beginning March 2016 - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight but if you're flying with your +1 and you have the Companion Pass, this can be your cheapest way to MCO

LGA:
DL - 12.5K/25K
B6 - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight

JFK:
AA/US - 12.5K/25K with AA miles | 7.5K/15K with BA miles
DL - 12.5K/25K
B6 - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight

ISP:
WN - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight but if you're flying with your +1 and you have the Companion Pass, this can be your cheapest way to MCO

Car:
A car is not absolutely necessary in Orlando, but it will definitely make things easier for you so you can be on your own schedule. Keep in mind, you'll have to pay parking fees at the parks each day. Many hotels have complimentary shuttles to the airport or the parks and some might even have both. If your hotel only has a parks shuttle, you can probably get a cab for the airport trips for cheaper than renting a car. If Minyan and going to the Kosher restaurants are on your radar, then you will likely need a car, although there are hotels that are both near those sites and have shuttles to the parks. See where your hotel is and decide if you need a car.


Where to stay:

Basically, your options are to stay at a hotel in the 10-15 minute range from the parks, at an official Disney or Universal Resort, or renting a private home in the greater Orlando area.

Here are some places that are discussed in this thread:

NameAreaMore InfoComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Comfort Inn & Suites Universal Convention Center10-20 minutes from parksWebsiteNot the fanciest, but being a Choice property means there's a BRG possibility. Free shuttle to Universal and SeaWorld. 5 minute walk to Kosher Gourmet restaurant/grocery and 20 minute walk to Chabad.
HotelDisney ResortWebsiteSPG category X; X/night
HotelUniversal ResortWebsiteSPG category X; X/night
"Get your own place"Greater Orlando AreaAirBNB, VRBO, HomeAway, Florida Sandanavian/ Vacation Pool HomesRenting a private home can be great for a family. You'll get more for your money over a hotel - a couple of bedrooms, living/dining rooms, and a full kitchen. There will usually be a pool, and if you look hard enough, you can find one that's enclosed for privacy. The downside is that they're usually not too close to the parks, which means you'll definitely need a car and have to pay for parking at the parks.


What to do:

Theme Parks:

With some searching you might find a travel/tourist website (like Musement) that may have a sale that you can use towards the tickets. For Universal Studios, the cheapest place to buy would be from Chabad of South Orlando or Orlando Torah Academy . Tickets are only sold for the upcoming "season". So in December, you'll be able to buy tickets for January break, but not for Pesach, and in the summer, you likely won't yet be able to get for the upcoming January.

Disney ParksComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Magic Kingdom
Epcot
Hollywood StudiosFormerly MGM Studios.
Animal Kingdom

All Disney parks have airline style food at specific cafes. Not very good but at least it's a hot meal without leaving the park. You can see the list of cafes on Chabad's site here.

Universal ParksComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
StudiosThe first of the 2 parks built, so it has some of the more classic rides like E.T. and The Mummy, while also featuring plenty of newer rides like Shrek, Minions, and Transformers. There are 1 or 2 roller coasters, and the rest of the rides are more like shows/3D/4D rides. Home to Harry Potter: Diagon Alley. If you have a park-to-park ticket, you can ride the Hogwarts Express train to connect to the HP World in Islands of Adventure. Only Kosher snacks are available here, no real food. As of 1/15, the mix for ButterBeer had a hechsher, but the topping did not, and they won't serve you without it. For a TR on the park, see here.
Islands of AdventureFeaturing rides like Jurassic Park and The Hulk, this park also has 1-2 roller coasters, while the rest of the rides are more of the show/3D/4D variety. Home to Harry Potter: Hogsmeade. If you have a park-to-park ticket, you can ride the Hogwarts Express train to connect to the HP World in Studios. Only Kosher snacks are available here, no real food. As of 1/15, the mix for ButterBeer had a hechsher, but the topping did not, and they won't serve you without it. For a TR on the park, see here.

Other ParksComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
SeaWorldA very family friendly park, less packed than Disney and Universal. Cheap annual passes as well as combo discounts for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens (which is in Tampa, 1hr away).
LegoLandLocated in Winter Haven, the park is a bit of a distance from the Greater Orlando area - approx. 45- 55 min away from other Orlando parks. LegoLand has an amusement park as well as a water park. If you look online it looks like the 2 are often not open on the same day. Each park costs about as much as the Disney/Universal parks (~$80) and can be greatly enjoyed by children, but can be underwhelming for adults. All rides are "kiddie" rides, some don't even allow adults on. The park is missing the magic of Disney/Universal, but may be much emptier than those parks, so that's a plus. The life-size Lego statues around the park are cool, but their water damage shows that LegoLand just doesn't get the "magic" necessary for an Orlando park. Kids will love the mini coasters and rides, something they might not be able to experience too much in Universal and parts of Disney.
See here for cheaper tickets (~$100 total for 1 adult and 1 child ticket)


Other Attractions & Activities

NameMore InfoComments
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
WonderworksWebsite
Fun SpotWebsite
Titanic The ExperienceWebsiteGeared towards older kids / adults
Ripley's Believe it or notWebsite
Disney QuestWebsite
Cirque De SoleilWebsite
Orlando Science CenterWebsite
Kennedy Space Center - Visitor's ComplexWebsiteTour NASA's KSC. Now features Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Skeleton MuseumWebsite
Event & Family Photography - Chavi Photo Website


Shuls:

NameMore InfoComments
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Chabad of South OrlandoWebsiteDaily Minyanim - Shachris @ 8:00AM and 9:30AM on Shabbos. Mincha/Maariv is 10 minutes before Shkia, which can be difficult to make if you're spending the day in a park. During very peak seasons, they'll have an extra Maariv later at night.
Orlando Torah AcademyWebsiteLocal day school that has Shacharis @ 8:30AM Monday - Friday (Nusach Edot haMizrach) during the school year. Peak season more likely to have Minyan than offpeak.
Orlando Torah CenterWebsiteShachris @ 6:45AM weekdays, (8:00AM additional for Yeshiva week) 8:00AM Sunday, 9:00AM Shabbos (Nusach Ashkenaz). Mincha/Maariv is before/after Shkiah, which can be difficult to make if you're spending the day in a park.

Food:

For Kosher food inside the theme parks, see the comments section of the specific park above.

NameMore InfoComments
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Kosher GourmetWebsiteA classic deli with slightly pricey/reasonable prices, unlimited fountain soda refills, and mostly-friendly service. You may be able to find discounted gift cards at GreatKosherDeals.com. Next to the restaurant is also a Kosher grocery. The restaurant will give you a bag to go shopping with and you'll bring your purchases back to the restaurant to pay. Mostly (only?) non-perishables sold here. (Certified by the RCF)
Kosher GrillWebsiteReview from shiframeir - Got takeout from here (place was packed and crazy for Yeshiva week), and the food was actually very good though understandably not cheap. Shwarma on baguette was great - even though they threw in this cabbage salad that scared me, it actually went great with the shwarma. Burgers were thick with flavor and decent shoe string fries. Caesar salad with chicken was what it is everywhere but with a real flame grilled piece of chicken. Stir fry wasn't fantastic, but is a nice alternative option on the menu that we enjoyed. Chili wings didn't really have much sauce flavor, but maybe they're better when you don't take it to go.
Review from yeki89 (when this store was a food truck called Kosher on Wheels) - Falafel & fries was very good with large portions and fair prices.
(Certified by the RCF)
Kosher EateryWebsite Dairy and Meat Kosher Restaurant (Certified by the RCF)
Erin McKenna's BakeryWebsitePareve and Gluten Free. Oat products are not Pas Yisroel. Ice Cream is NOT certified Kosher. (Certified by Florida K/Rabbi Sholom Dubov)
Catering by Motti / Motti's BistroWebsiteTakeout food available for Shabbos. Bistro restaurant only open during Yeshiva week
Winn DixieStore LocatorLocated on Apopka Vineland (yes, that's a street name), this supermarket carries Cholov Yisroel milk and many other Kosher products.
Jerusalem GrillWebsite1 hr away in Daytona Beach


Author Topic: Orlando Master Thread  (Read 338984 times)

Offline ushdadude

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1620 on: January 10, 2022, 03:38:59 PM »
is uber generally cheap in orlando?
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Offline mendelk

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1621 on: January 10, 2022, 09:21:26 PM »

Offline Divora M

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1622 on: January 11, 2022, 10:35:24 PM »
Can someone renting a house at encore bring guests to use the waterpark there?

Offline mendelk

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1623 on: January 11, 2022, 10:37:56 PM »
I think they’re pretty strict, but I could be wrong.

I know in Champions Gate they’re very strict.

But could be it’s about which “house” is allowed into the water park and not how many guests.

Offline Abebee

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1624 on: January 13, 2022, 05:09:09 PM »
Figured I'd share - in CG new available from Erev Pesach - Looks like a pretty private pool and nicely priced.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/54142553?check_in=2022-04-15&check_out=2022-04-24&guests=1&adults=1&s=67&unique_share_id=2454fce7-3ebe-4a3a-b6a1-71b56016518b

Offline Essen est zich

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1625 on: January 13, 2022, 05:37:17 PM »
Local Photographer based near Orlando. Located near champions gate as well.

In town for Winter Break?

Book a photo session, taken by a local photographer.
You won’t be disappointed ☺️

Event & Family Photography                  📸Www.Chaviphoto.com 📸 Facebook.com/Capturedbychavi  🔹Instagram.com/Chaviphoto                         📞321-323-9770

« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 05:47:02 PM by Essen est zich »

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1626 on: January 13, 2022, 07:41:20 PM »
Anyone here an agent/broker for sales/vacation rentals?

Please PM.

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1627 on: January 13, 2022, 07:43:44 PM »
A friend of mine made a NEW WEBSITE:
https://dira2stay.com
You can now list your kosher short term/vacation rental any location worldwide. SIMPLE & FREE! [For a limited time]
or call/text 732-994-3501
Small people talk about other people.
Average people talk about things
BIG PEOPLE TALK ABOUT IDEAS.

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1628 on: January 13, 2022, 07:45:52 PM »

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1629 on: January 16, 2022, 01:33:17 PM »
Any good car service for mco pickup? Woman driver preferred 
give some love (likes) to a brother!

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1630 on: January 18, 2022, 12:07:59 PM »
Has anyone stayed at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, looking to go to Disney for 3 days next week and I am trying to find a nice new(ish) hotel that is close to all the action.
If anyone has any other useful info regarding the parks or kosher food I would really appreciate the info...

Offline ushdadude

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1631 on: January 18, 2022, 12:24:30 PM »
Has anyone stayed at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, looking to go to Disney for 3 days next week and I am trying to find a nice new(ish) hotel that is close to all the action.
If anyone has any other useful info regarding the parks or kosher food I would really appreciate the info...


https://www.kosherorlando.org/
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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1632 on: January 18, 2022, 05:15:57 PM »
will I be able to get an uber at 4am to mco airport?

Offline michaelbog

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1633 on: January 18, 2022, 05:48:47 PM »
Has anyone stayed at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, looking to go to Disney for 3 days next week and I am trying to find a nice new(ish) hotel that is close to all the action.
If anyone has any other useful info regarding the parks or kosher food I would really appreciate the info...

We stay here all the time for our Disney trips. It's my favorite property. Walking distance to Epcot & Hollywood Studios, and depending on the room you can catch either Epcot or Hollywood Studios fireworks shows. Staying at Swan/Dolphin/Swan Reserve means you get free standard parking at the parks also (which isn't really free since you pay for parking at the hotel anyway). Swan gets a sink inside the bathroom, and a sink outside the bathroom. Dolphin gets just the one sink. Swan also has queen size beds if you ask for a 2-bed room, while dolphin uses double-sized beds.

The only real Disney theming you are going to see is maybe a vinyl wrap on an elevator door for Disney's 50th anniversary. That's it - which is a nice escape if you are doing 12hr park days.

Staying at Swan/Dolphin gets you all the perks of staying at a Deluxe disney resort - which means you get early entrance to the parks, and you get extended evening hours - which are awesome! If at all possible, time your stay around those days - as they aren't everyday, here's the schedule: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/extended-evening/

If you rent a Tesla, because it's currently the same price at Enterprise as Luxury class, you can charge it at the valet. It's a slow trickle charge, but it's free. Also take note that all disney parks have a Chargepoint station at the very front of the parking lot, which is technically better parking than preferred parking - but you can use it to charge without paying extra. Otherwise Enterprise Tesla's have free supercharger access and there's plenty within a few mile radius.

Todd English's Bluezoo and Shula's Steakhouse, used to, offer a kosher meal option as long as you give them 48-hour notice. That said, most of the full-service dining inside the parks will require 24-hour advance notice for kosher meals. To be safe, after getting a reservation, call Disney's dining reservations number and make sure!

If you have any specific questions - feel free to ask! We do WDW 2-4x per year, and 75% of those stays are at Swan.

Offline ushdadude

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1634 on: Yesterday at 10:30:58 AM »
Any tips or tricks to navigating magic Kingdom? Is genie+ worth it?
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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1635 on: Yesterday at 03:43:28 PM »
where are the minyanim around orlando?

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1636 on: Yesterday at 04:01:29 PM »
where are the minyanim around orlando?
Depends were you are staying. OTA has arranged minyanim

Offline michaelbog

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1637 on: Yesterday at 10:11:00 PM »
Any tips or tricks to navigating magic Kingdom? Is genie+ worth it?


Genie+ is worth it. The trick is to use it from 7am (assuming you are staying on-property, if not it's when the park opens). The trick is to book your next Lightning Lane reservation as soon as a qualifying event occurs. The qualifiers that let you book another Lightning Lane are as follows:

1. When tap into a Lightning Lane to redeem a reservation - this will require 2 taps. One at the entrance to LL, and one right before boarding the ride vehicle. You can make your next reservation after the 2nd scan.
2. If you cancel a Lightning Lane reservation you’re holding.
3. If your Lightning Lane one hour reservation window expires (you miss your Lightning Lane time)
4. If the ride you’re holding a Lightning Lane reservation for breaks down
5. If two hours have passed since you last made a Lightning Lane reservation and you haven’t had any other qualifying events during those two hours. So let's say you are staying off property, and you make a reservation at 9am, for a ride at noon. At 11am you will be able to make a second reservation even though you still have your noon one.

And most importantly, prioritize booking the most popular rides first. Those get booked up quickly, so focus on those. Also, make use of the fact that Genie+ let's you stack reservations. You can have one for 9:30am - 10:30am and another for 9:40am - 10:40am. The more of these you can accomplish to get, the more rides you are going to breeze through during your day. During our Halloween trip we were able to ride all of MK within less than a full day.

As for general MK navigating - you are going to end up basing that off where you have things booked. The basic tip is when you hit the castle, go left into Adventure Land since statistically most people tend to go right towards Tomorrowland. I don't find this a very good tip because it's the first tip of every Magic Kingdom guide - and at this point I've noticed a hefty crowd going both ways.

Plan your bathroom breaks, because there are no restrooms in Liberty Square, since toilets didn't exist back then. This is why if you look down, you will see a brown river - aka the poop trail.

Also, little fact. The shutters in Liberty Square are purposely hung crooked, because during that time metal was primarily used for the war, as such shutters were hung using leather straps which would stretch over time, causing the shutters to hang crooked. This attention to detail is everywhere.

The best spots to get a photo of you and the castle without a massive crowd behind you is at the arches on each side of the castle. From main street, head up to the castle and go to the arches on either side. Stand inside the arches, and behind you will be the castle, with no people in sight.

If you are staying on-property, including the sister hotels, USE THE EARLY ENTRANCE & EXTENDED EVENING HOURS. Early entrance is the best way to pick the most important ride you want to do from the popular ones, and go straight for it once you can enter the park. Extended Evening hours are a phenomenal way to ride most of MK, within 2 hours, since the crowd is a fraction of what it is during the day.

Carousel of Progress is a great way to escape the heat, sit down for 20 minutes, and give your body a rest. Plus it's a phenomenal show!

Schedule dining slightly earlier than you would normally eat. You are going to be walking for many miles, in the Florida heat. You will get hungry earlier.

Offline ushdadude

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1638 on: Yesterday at 10:16:44 PM »


Genie+ is worth it. The trick is to use it from 7am (assuming you are staying on-property, if not it's when the park opens). The trick is to book your next Lightning Lane reservation as soon as a qualifying event occurs. The qualifiers that let you book another Lightning Lane are as follows:

1. When tap into a Lightning Lane to redeem a reservation - this will require 2 taps. One at the entrance to LL, and one right before boarding the ride vehicle. You can make your next reservation after the 2nd scan.
2. If you cancel a Lightning Lane reservation you’re holding.
3. If your Lightning Lane one hour reservation window expires (you miss your Lightning Lane time)
4. If the ride you’re holding a Lightning Lane reservation for breaks down
5. If two hours have passed since you last made a Lightning Lane reservation and you haven’t had any other qualifying events during those two hours. So let's say you are staying off property, and you make a reservation at 9am, for a ride at noon. At 11am you will be able to make a second reservation even though you still have your noon one.

And most importantly, prioritize booking the most popular rides first. Those get booked up quickly, so focus on those. Also, make use of the fact that Genie+ let's you stack reservations. You can have one for 9:30am - 10:30am and another for 9:40am - 10:40am. The more of these you can accomplish to get, the more rides you are going to breeze through during your day. During our Halloween trip we were able to ride all of MK within less than a full day.

As for general MK navigating - you are going to end up basing that off where you have things booked. The basic tip is when you hit the castle, go left into Adventure Land since statistically most people tend to go right towards Tomorrowland. I don't find this a very good tip because it's the first tip of every Magic Kingdom guide - and at this point I've noticed a hefty crowd going both ways.

Plan your bathroom breaks, because there are no restrooms in Liberty Square, since toilets didn't exist back then. This is why if you look down, you will see a brown river - aka the poop trail.

Also, little fact. The shutters in Liberty Square are purposely hung crooked, because during that time metal was primarily used for the war, as such shutters were hung using leather straps which would stretch over time, causing the shutters to hang crooked. This attention to detail is everywhere.

The best spots to get a photo of you and the castle without a massive crowd behind you is at the arches on each side of the castle. From main street, head up to the castle and go to the arches on either side. Stand inside the arches, and behind you will be the castle, with no people in sight.

If you are staying on-property, including the sister hotels, USE THE EARLY ENTRANCE & EXTENDED EVENING HOURS. Early entrance is the best way to pick the most important ride you want to do from the popular ones, and go straight for it once you can enter the park. Extended Evening hours are a phenomenal way to ride most of MK, within 2 hours, since the crowd is a fraction of what it is during the day.

Carousel of Progress is a great way to escape the heat, sit down for 20 minutes, and give your body a rest. Plus it's a phenomenal show!

Schedule dining slightly earlier than you would normally eat. You are going to be walking for many miles, in the Florida heat. You will get hungry earlier.
Thanks!
I should clarify, our goal isn't really to get to every ride (we're going with a 4y/o). We really want to hit the main kid friendly attractions. Does that change the equation?
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Offline michaelbog

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #1639 on: Today at 08:06:02 AM »
Thanks!
I should clarify, our goal isn't really to get to every ride (we're going with a 4y/o). We really want to hit the main kid friendly attractions. Does that change the equation?

In a way yes, because the real kid rides tend to have the smallest lines. Plus your child might not qualify to ride the more popular rides - like Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, etc. I don't have kids, and have no realistic concept of how tall a 4yr old child is, so I could be off-base here entirely. However assuming they are under 48-inches. Here are the rides I would prioritize due to their popularity:

- Jungle Cruise
- Pirates of the Carribean
- Buzz Lightyear's Ranger Spin
- Peter Pan's Flight
- Tomorrowland Speedway (as a boy, I remember spending half the day on this one ride when we first went. heads up.)

The remaining rides that are 48" and under friendly, will generally have less of a wait time. So you don't have to prioritize them much, but they are very much worth it. Such as Under The Sea - Journey Of Little Mermaid, Many Adventures of WInnie Pooh, Mad Tea Party, It's A Small World, Astro Orbiter, PeopleMover, Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

What I would strongly suggest however is character dining. Breakfast at Toppolino's or dinner at Storybook Dining will be a big highlight for your child. They never disappoint, and we always see families praise these for the joy they give their kids.

And lastly, if you have the chance, get onto one of the "Adult" rides yourself. Space Mountain would be my vote if you've never done it. It's a very interesting experience as you fly around in the dark, seemingly at very fast speeds.