I recently spent some time at Walt Disney World in Orlando and was reminded why it is the happiest place on earth.  Here are 9 great things about Walt Disney World:

1. Be instantly transported to an African safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.  The 43-acre wildlife preserve features more than 30 species of wildlife, including gazelles, kudus, zebras, giraffes and wildebeest.  Request a room with a view at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and get up close and personal to the animals as they often come close enough to the balcony to touch. 

2. No time to go around the world in 80 days? Go to Epcot’s World Showcase instead and experience the cuisine and culture of 11 different countries all in one day. 

You don’t need 80 days to go around the world at Epcot.
3. A trip to Disney doesn’t have to mean a vacation from healthy eating.  Disney has enlisted the help of Culinary Dietary Specialist Gary Jones to offer a healthier take on its theme park food options.  The Disney Magic of Healthy Living program, which offers a series of public service announcements on Disney television and radio networks, is also teaching the magic of healthy living.
4. A trip to Disney doesn’t have to mean a vacation from active living either. Stay fit and have fun by taking part in a runDisney event. runDisney offers four events a year, including the Walt Disney World Marathon which is the nation’s 6th largest marathon and is accepted as a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon.  All race weekends include a Health and Fitness Expo, and events for the whole family, such as kids races and a family 5K fun run.
Racing bib and t-shirt from the Princess Half Marathon, a runDisney event.
5. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is “Where Epcot Spring to Life”. More than 75 Disney characters topiaries can be found throughout Epcot, making the happiest place on earth even more cheerful. Disney horticulturists and garden experts will conduct seminars with tips for making your garden grow and the Healthy Living Garden will demonstrate how to develop a healthy lifestyle by encouraging healthful eating, relaxation and meditation.
Minnie, Mickey and Pluto at Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

6. More than an average fireworks display, Disney’s IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a 14-minute pyrotechnic spectacular set to a rousing musical score.  Prepare to be mesmerized as fireworks and laserlights illuminate the sky, while changing images of the past, present and future of our planet are displayed on the world’s first spherical video display system.

7. Broadway-style musicals like Finding Nemo –The Musical and Festival of the Lion King will dazzle and delight audiences of all ages.  Colorful costumes, memorable music and spectacular sets tell the stories of Simba, the lion cub who can’t wait to be king and Nemo, the little clownfish who’s ready to explore the deep blue sea. 
Finding Nemo -The Musical

8. Dining at Disney has become the stuff foodie dreams are made of.  Some of the Disney restaurants that offer world-class dining include Bistro de Paris’ French Cuisine, the fresh and funky menu at California Grill and the Mediterranean flavors of Citricos.  Jiko, the award-winning restaurant at the Animal Kingdom Resort, specializes in South African cuisine and also boasts the largest South African wine selection in America, including Graham Beck Brut NV Western Cape, South Africa, Sparkling Wine, chosen as the official sparkling wine for Nelson Mandela’s inauguration and by the Obamas to celebrate their election success in 2008.

    9. No trip to Disney is complete without a little love from Mickey and Minnie.  See you real soon…

    The best thing about Disney World? Mickey and Minnie, of course.
    Note: Walt Disney World provided me with free accommodations, meals and theme park tickets. I was not asked to express any particular opinion.