Jordyn MAGGIE. Joyful. Full of Sass. Instagram Model. And Disney Insider.
Have you ever wanted to plan a trip to Disney but didn’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re just curious about the home of the multi-billion dollar corporation. Either way, she is our ticket to the inside world of Walt Disney World Orlando. Here are her tips, tricks, and stories that go behind the magic to get to the real story.
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Why do you love Disney so much?
I’ve always been a Disney girl. I was raised watching all the movies and learning all of the songs. Disney, to me, is where real life doesn’t have to exist. I don’t have to worry about school or work when I’m watching the parade. I can be just as excited at 24 as I was at 4 to take a photo with Princess Tiana and hug Mickey Mouse. It’s literally where all dreams can come true and anyone can have fun at any age.
What is you favorite park and why?
My favorite park would have to be Magic Kingdom. Nothing beats going under that train station, closing the curtain to the real world, and entering Main Street USA, where the magic lives. You can sing with a pirate, go to space, ride a runaway train, and fly in an elephant all within one day. Honestly when I think of Disney parks, I want to see that castle, and Cinderella’s Castle leaves my heart full every time.
What tips would you give to people wanting to travel to Walt Disney World Orlando for the first time?
Planning is your friend. Between Fast Pass Plus and Dining Reservations, when going to Walt Disney World, you can’t really just show up and hope for the best. It’s just not going to work anymore. Disney cast members are there to help you. Don’t hesitate if to ask if you’re lost or looking for something specific! But remember they’re not super heroes, if you can’t ride Slinky Dog Dash in under an hour because you didn’t make a Fast Pass for it, they may not be able to help you in the way you expected them to. And yes, there is only ONE mickey.
What is the biggest mistake that you see people making when they go to the parks?
I have two big mistakes that I see people making all of the time. One is the lack of planning and research that I mentioned before. I’ve seen so many people come during Christmas and New Years completely shocked that it was busy. Those two weeks will always be the busiest time of year, and with new park offerings it’s only going to get worse.
“If your family thinks ‘oh wow look no one has work or school during the holidays, let’s go to Disney world,’ just remember that the other hundreds of thousands of families that are there with you all thought the same thing. If you’re going to make the trip at that time of year be prepared for it.”
The second thing that I see doing all the time is people believing the things they find online that are just WAY too good to be true. Things like “If you cry you’ll get a free Fast Pass” or “If you go to the guest services window and complain you’ll get a free annual pass.” Disney cast members do give magical moments, but these are random. That’s what makes, and keeps, them special. Some of those YouTube videos may have the “Top 10 Tips of Getting Free Stuff at the Parks,” but odds are, it’ll just leave you disappointed in the end. So do your research, be willing to pay the price, and experience the magic.
Do you have a favorite ride and a favorite restaurant?
Of course love! My favorite high-speed ride has to be Space Mountain and it is one of the more classic rides. Slinky Dog is my favorite for the more modern ones. But out of the 1971 opening day attractions, The Haunted Mansion wins hands-down. At face value The Haunted Mansion is a pretty simple ride. You get in a “Doom buggy,” and it takes you around until you get off, but when you look into the history of the ride and how timeless the attraction is after all these years, it’s really cool. It still uses technology from over 45 years ago to bring ghosts to life, and it still leaves some partially believing that the ghosts have come out to socialize! That is really cool to me. It shows that flashy isn’t always better.
As for restaurants, my favorite quick service is Columbia Harbor House which is a quick service restaurant with meals that remind you of the Colonial Era with great sea food and chicken pot pie. My favorite table service is Kona cafe which is inspired by the Polynesian and South Pacific Islands. It has strong Asian influence, and they serve sushi, pot stickers, and rice bowls. My favorite character dining restaurant is either Trattoria al Forno (which is located at the boardwalk where you can meet characters from Tangled and The Little Mermaid) or The Crystal Palace (in Magic Kingdom where you can meet characters from Winnie the Pooh). Trattoria al Forno is normally Italian during dinner, but during their Character Breakfast, they have pancakes, eggs, bacon, and steak. The Crystal Palace is your regular American buffet, with a carving station, shrimp cocktail, and all you can eat desserts.
What is the weirdest thing that you have heard of happening at Disney World?
So, Walt Disney World has been open for 48 years in 2019. In 1973, President Nixon gave his “I am not a crook speech” at the Contemporary Resort, and John Lennon signed the breakup papers of The Beatles at the Grand Polynesian in 1974. Now granted, I wasn’t around for these things, but a quick Google search will help you find some very strange stunts people have attempted to pull at the parks. These events were the most significant.
I thinking the weirdest story is one of the more recent ones. In Epcot there is a good building that is mostly used today for the Food and Wine Festival each year. But back in the day, it was known as the “Wonders of Life Pavilion.” In that pavilion, there was a ride called Cranium Command, which has been completed abandoned since 2007, except for some “urban explorers” who like to sneak in for YouTube videos. Well on a recent trip, they noticed that the beloved audio animatronic from the ride, Buzzy, was gone. This led to a Social Media-Wide search for the people who stole this robot kid. He even had a #SaveBuzzy movement started trending. Turns out, Disney took the robot out because someone had stolen his hat and jacket from the room. Still bad for Disney, but not as major as someone getting away with a 500lb robot from the backstage area of Epcot. Super random, but Buzzy was never truly lost.
What is it like being a Disney Instagram Model?
Haha I like to think of myself as one, but who knows if it’s truly official. I like to think of the parks as my Instagram playground. Disney pays Imagineers and designers the big bucks to add detail in every little thing, and I’d like to think of it as my job to do everything that I can with the backdrops I’ve been gifted. With the right editing and a tilt of your head, a regular archway becomes twinkling stars. From there you know there has to be SOME Disney quote of dreams and inspiration that you can add as the perfect caption. But I don’t do it for the likes, I do it because Disney is the one place that I feel pretty. I put effort into how I’m presenting myself at the parks.
Last, but not least, what makes Disney worth the money?
Disney costs a lot of money. There’s no real way of getting around that fact. But it’s the outcome that makes it worthwhile. If you have kids, the look on their faces when the princesses that they’ve watched time and time again on TV actually hug them, it is the perfect moment. The memories of the time spent in one location that the entire family can find something they can enjoy are priceless. Even as a young, single adult having other Disney-loving friends brings something to each of our lives. We all have different work, school, and family schedules, but we always seems to make time for one another to go to the parks. I celebrate almost everything at Disney World. At the end of the day, you can’t take money, but you can take what lies in your heart to whatever comes next in life. I’d rather my heart be filled with memories and dreams and castles and a mouse.