John and Elyssa’s Favorites – Attractions by Theme Park

For this edition of John & Elyssa’s Favorites, we pick our single favorite attractions from each park at Disney World. We listed the parks based on order from Elyssa’s “least favorite” to “most favorite”.

The Studios

Ack! Where's my beard ?!!?
Ack! Where’s my beard ?!!?

Elyssa – Toy Story Midway Mania : Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin was near the top of my attraction list for a pretty long time. Then, Toy Story Midway Mania came and blew it out of the water. The theming is so intricate and the game is fun for everyone. The only negative is that I NEVER beat John, which tarnishes the ride a little. But it’s still my favorite at the Studios.

John – Tower of Terror: I think it would be tough for me to find a single block of 4 minutes that is better at Disney World than riding Tower of Terror. The whole attraction—from pre-show, to the “dark ride” elements, through the drop, is immaculately detailed and a ton of fun. I really hope I can convince Elyssa to ride it with me just once.

Animal Kingdom

Just Chillin'
Just Chillin’

Elyssa – Kilimanjaro Safaris: ANIMALS! Awesome wild animals. At this point in our lives, a photo safari in Africa is probably not imminent, so this is about as close as I can get. The bottom line is that it’s a relaxing and entertaining drive. Nothing else at Animal Kingdom even comes close.

John – Kilimanjaro Safaris: This 20 minute jaunt through an amazing recreation of the African savanna was just a revelation for me the first time I rode it. I really did feel like it’s was Walt’s idea of a “live animal” Jungle Cruise come to life. The only negative I have about the ride is that I wish you could spent more time on the savanna (which is why I love the Wild Africa Trek so much.)



Elyssa – Gran Fiesta Tour: John thought I was joking when I said this. I’m not. I like Donald being a goofball. I really like the ambiance of the inside of the Mexico pyramid. It’s a dark ride and it’s a BOATRIDE. ’Nuff said.

John – Illuminations: Reflections of Earth: It’s kind of tough to not pick Soarin’ here, but I finally ended up settling on Illuminations. This really is a night time spectacular (3 acts, great music, awesome fights, etc…) I especially like how everyone is circled around World Showcase Lagoon, instead of traditional fireworks where people are all facing the same direction.

Magic Kingdom

Elyssa – Jungle Cruise: I think my favorite attraction at Magic Kingdom probably changes daily through a rotation of a select few. More often than not though, the first one that pops into my head is the Jungle Cruise. I enjoy dad jokes and puns. The louder everyone else groans, the more I giggle. I think Jungle Cruise epitomizes the tradition of Disney parks and I will love it forever.

John – Meet Tinker Bell at Town HallSplash Mountain: The emotional pick for me would be Celebrate the Magic, for how much it means to Elyssa and me. Splash Mountain, however, does so many of the “classic Disney World” things well, that I have to make it Number 1. It’s a complete story, told in the tradition of a Disney dark ride, but as a BOATRIDE, that also includes 3 different, super enjoyable drops (including the last one, that’s 50 feet and can reach speeds of 40 mph.) And it does have some emotional significance, since it’s the only Disney World attraction that is actually part of our wedding vows.

Those are our favorite attractions in each Disney World theme park. Let us know on Twitter or in the comments!

BOATRIDE Club, Baby!
BOATRIDE Club, Baby!

John and Elyssa’s Favorites – Breakfast at Walt Disney World

This is the first post in the Rope Drop [dot] Net John & Elyssa’s Favorites series. As you can probably guess, this series is our take on the always popular “rankings” game.

Elyssa and Tigger Selfie
Elyssa and Tigger Selfie

For the first entry in this series, we have put together our favorite places to have breakfast at Disney World. We based the rankings mainly on “in restaurant” factors (such as quality of food, and restaurant theming and ambiance), but external factors (such as location of the restaurant) did play some role in our rankings. Our rankings include all Disney World table service restaurants where we have ever enjoyed breakfast (and one “quick service” place that you can probably guess).

Favorite Breakfast Restaurants at Disney World

 11. Captain’s Grille: Every so often, you might hear about the “improvements” at the Captain’s Grille. I guess I understand that, but the restaurant still comes in the bottom of our favorites list. The major reason for its position is the generic theming and forgettable meals. If you’re staying at the Yacht or Beach Clubs, it’s not the worst option, but it’s nothing particularly special.

10, Cape May Cafe: This ranking may surprise someone people , who view it as a cheaper breakfast buffet that features characters like Minnie, Goofy, and Donald in their swim gear. For Elyssa and I, however, we cannot handle how loud the restaurant is. The buffet is fine, but we would rather enjoy our breakfast at one of the other breakfast buffets higher on the list.

Star Wars Breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In
Star Wars Breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In

9. Sci-Fi Dine-In: Though the Sci-Fi Dine-In recently announced it would offer breakfast starting in November, Elyssa and I had breakfast there during a previous Star Wars weekend. Much like the newly announced breakfast, the meal we had consisted of pastries, an appetizer, an entrée, and a beverage. Though we enjoyed the presence of Star Wars characters, we found the food underwhelming, the restaurant too dark, and the “cars” that you dine in rather small and uncomfortable. Since it is actually in The Studios, it jumps ahead of the out of park options mentioned above, but not by a large margin.

8. Trattoria al Forno: With Trattoria al Forno, we enter the section of the list that features restaurants that we consider going to on just about each trip. Though the theming is a bit bland, Trattoria al Forno’s food is top notch (I have enjoyed both the waffle and the apple-cinnamon pancakes). Its location near Epcot’s International Gateway also makes this a great way to start a late morning visit to World Showcase.

7. ‘Ohana: ‘Ohana delivers some of the best character interactions we have had at a character meal. Unfortunately, some of the food delivered was not quite as good as that at other locations (for example, we found the bacon to be soggy instead of crisp and the biscuits kind of disappointing). That said, the baskets of welcome bread were delicious (and they’ll give you more if you ask.)

Elyssa is a Princess at Cinderella's Royal Table
Elyssa is a Princess at Cinderella’s Royal Table

6. Cinderella’s Royal Table: You might expect that a restaurant with pretty good food, inside of Cinderella’s castle, would rank higher on the list, but extremely high cost and the clear pressure that they put on you to finish quickly knock it down our rankings. The interactions with the Disney Princesses, however, are top notch.

5. Be Our Guest: The one “quick service” location in our rankings (I add the quotation marks since the meal is actually delivered to your table after you order at an interactive kiosk), Be Our Guest, combines the excellent theming of Beast’s Castle with the ability to be done with breakfast and roaming the Magic Kingdom thirty-plus minutes before park opening. The mildly-high cost considering the quality and amount of the food you receive is all that keeps Be Our Guest from being ranked even higher.

4. 1900 Park Fare: Located in the Grand Floridian, 1900 Park Fare offers a good quality breakfast buffet and unique character meet-and-greet opportunities, for a lower price than a similar experience actually inside a one of the theme parks. Enjoy a quality breakfast here and then ride the monorail one stop to the Magic Kingdom.

3. Whispering Canyon Cafe: It probably won’t surprise anyone to see one of Elyssa’s and my overall favorite restaurants on this list. Whether you’re having an all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast skillet, or a full-sized Mickey-waffle (though listed as “Jeffro Bodeen’s Belgian Waffle”, it’s a giant, Mickey-shaped waffle), you’re going to end up with a high-quality meal featuring all the Cast Member interaction that makes Whispering Canyon Cafe such a special place to eat. As an added bonus, you’re just a boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom when you’re done.

2. Crystal Palace: “Poof’s Puffed (Not Stuffed) French Toast.” Need I say more? Seriously, though, Crystal Palace features the gang from Winnie the Pooh and a top-notch breakfast buffet (including an omelet station) inside the Magic Kingdom. It would take some place really, really special to top that….

So onto our favorite spot for “brekkies” as Elyssa likes to say:

1. Tusker House: Tusker House is Disney at its best. Impeccable theming, magical character interactions, and a buffet that serves a bunch of tasty breakfast food. Some of Elyssa’s and my best days have started off with breakfast at Tusker House, and I would imagine that we’ll try to visit it during our Disney trips for years to come. Last but not least, its location near the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris provides a great benefit now (see the animals first), and might provide even more of a benefit when an entrance to Avatarland opens nearby as well.

Meeting Mickey at Tusker HouseMeeting Mickey at Tusker House

There you have it: our favorite breakfast joints at the World. What did we miss? Has anyone tried the new character breakfast at the Four Seasons?