[Updated June 2016]
Clearly, Disney World offers a travel experience that you can’t exactly replicate anywhere else. From its signature rides to its extravagant parades and fireworks, no other amusement park does it quite like Disney. Its unique offerings go well beyond that, however. Here are some unique things that you never thought you’d find at a theme park.
1. Central Florida’s only AAA Five-Diamond restaurant
Believe it or not, you can dine at a AAA Five-Diamond restaurant in the middle of a theme park resort. A huge departure from the usual theme park restaurant, the super upscale Victoria & Albert’s offers a rotating menu and a posh chef’s table, from which you can observe the inner workings of the kitchen. Of course, all the fanciness comes at a price. A prix fixe dinner starts at $135 per guest.
2. A ride with motion sickness bags
Can your stomach handle going to infinity and beyond? The sensation of being weightless during Epcot’s Mission: SPACE has caused some unlucky passengers to experience a bit of queasiness during their trek to “Mars.” This resulted in the addition of motion-sickness bags to the ride, making it the first ever attraction to do so. There are also two versions of the ride: the orange is the more intense experience, and the green is a bit tamer.
3. A revolving restaurant
Unique restaurants are the norm in Disney World, but one of the more interesting restaurants is the Garden Grill, which slowly revolves as you enjoy your meal, passing scenes from the Living with the Land attraction. It’s also one of the few restaurants where you’ll find Mickey Mouse, along with Chip and Dale.
4. Recycled park benches
Disney’s Animal Kingdom focuses on conservation and protecting wildlife. For example, the drinking straws in the parks are made of recycled paper, not plastic. You can’t even find a cup lid for your fountain drinks in the park. Another thing that’s made of recycled materials are the park benches. Many of the seats are made of recycled milk jugs. Just one bench requires more than 1,300 jugs. That’s a lot of milk.
5. A mind-bending water slide
Blizzard Beach is home to Summit Plummet, one of the world’s tallest water slides. (It was the tallest when the ride opened, but it’s now 5th on the world list, with a slide in Brazil taking top honors.) Thrill seekers travel at 60 mph down a 120-foot-tall slide. That’s a 12-story plunge.
6. An audio-animatronic figure that removes and replaces its own body parts
Toy Story Mania! made history with its Mr. Potato Head audio-animatronic. The figure is the first to remove and replace one of his own body parts. He also has better speech capabilities than any other audio-animatronic created for a Disney park.
7. A stellar collection of South African wine and art
Who would have thought you had to go to Disney World to find one of the most extensive collections of South African wines? Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge houses more than 1,800 bottles of South African wines, making it one of the biggest collections outside of South Africa. The resort is where you can also find one of the largest collections of South African art outside of that country.
8. A hotel with a monorail track running through it
Disney’s Contemporary Resort has been astonishing guests for decades as it is the only hotel on property through which a monorail passes. While Disney’s Grand Floridian and Disney’s Polynesian resorts are on the monorail loop, their stations are outside of their main buildings.
9. The largest store in the world selling Disney merchandise
If you don’t want to spend time in the parks doing some souvenir shopping, you’ll find thousands of items at the World of Disney store in Disney Springs. The 50,000-square-foot property holds the distinction of being the largest store in the world to sell Disney-branded merchandise, spread out over 12 rooms.
10. One of Florida’s largest bus fleets
Disney World offers guests three complimentary modes of transportation: buses, boats, and monorails. With more than 270 buses in service, the Disney fleet is the third largest in Florida, just behind the cities of Miami and Jacksonville.