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Not Just Princesses and Pixie Dust

SPECIAL for Friday the 13th!

Everyone knows that Walt Disney World is a land of pixie dust and princesses. A family friendly vacation destination. A place to let your hair down, put on your Mickey Ears, enjoy spending time with Mickey and Friends, and most of all, enjoy this seemingly magical land of enchantment. Right?

As I spend more and more time, park hopping ‘til I drop, I have seen another side to the most magical place on Earth. There is another side to Disney. A side of Disney that isn’t sprinkled in pixie dust. And, no, I’m not talking about 'It’s A Small World.'

Rumors of ghosts tormenting park goers. Evil tucked away in the deepest corners of Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Not every place in the parks are filled with ear to ear smiles. There are some, not so happily ever after things going on as well.

Let’s start in Magic Kingdom. Tucked away in Liberty Square, sits an old, run down Victorian mansion. Some say it's haunted. The thrills start as you first enter. Rooms seemingly transform before your eyes. Shadows play tricks on you. Ghosts jump out. Don’t worry though, these are friendly ghosts. Some are just hitching a ride, others just enjoying meeting new friends. The Haunted Mansion is one attraction that is not only worth the Fast Pass, but will have you walking right back to the end of the line for another tour.

Also as you walk around Magic Kingdom, you will begin to see evil magic at play. Your favorite Disney Villains are starting to take control and Merlin needs your help. Play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom to help fight evil in the park.

When you make your way over to Animal Kingdom, and you’ve passed the thousands of people in line for Pandora, be sure to book your Fast Pass for Expedition Everest. (Single Rider line is a great alternative, if you don't have a Fast PasS). Boasting one of the best queues in Walt Disney World, with maps and artifacts, this wait will make you feel like you are about to conquer Everest with Sir Edmond Hillary. The steel roller coaster that awaits you is simply amazing. But the real thrill comes when you encounter the Yeti - a classic figure of folklore.

One other Fast Pass that is a must is Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios. The malfunctioning elevator takes you all over the decrepit tower. The view from the top is breathtaking - and the drops that follow pack a thrill all their own.

It took me well into my second trip to Walt Disney World, before I came to the realization that there is so much more to the parks than princesses and pixie dust. Don’t get me wrong, seeing my princess being pampered at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is a memory I will cherish forever. Every time I wait for Fantasmic, I feel like I’m 10 again. But as I walk from Peter Pan’s Flight to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, I remember that Disney is a perfect vacation destination for princesses and thrill seekers alike. Spend some time enjoying the relaxing journey in Spaceship Earth, but also explore the dark side of Disney and hang out with some ghosts.

Sean Merritt is a vacation specialist with Coasters and Castles Travel and works with his wife, Maria. He grew up going to Disneyland every summer but went to Disney World for the first time in 2015 and since then can’t get enough of it. His favorite thing to do, at either location, is go to Fantasmic. He would love to help you with all your vacations needs…contact him at mmarquez-merritt@coastersandcastlestravel.com

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