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Walt Disney World park guide

Disney World in Florida is the most popular entertainment resort in the world and for a very good reason. It is the ultimate destination for a magical family holiday bringing all generations together for an unforgettable trip.

Whether you’re looking for magic and sparkle, fun and adventure, learning and discovery or adrenaline-fuelled rides, you will find it at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. There are four incredible Disney theme parks and two thrilling water parks to choose from, so there really is something for the whole family.

Magic for miles: where to start

When should you visit Walt Disney World Resort, Florida?

Disney’s parks are incredible at any time of year but Christmas and Halloween are particularly special. Extra shows and displays give each park an extra touch of magic as they pull out all the stops for the celebrations.

July and August are very busy months due to the school holidays. It’s unavoidable for many families to visit at this time of year so you need to plan ahead and be prepared for crowds. Hurricane season runs from June to November and while storms are very rare, afternoon rain showers are common.

If you’re not restricted by school holidays, October, most of November, early December and late January are some of the quietest months to visit. Temperatures average 22C even in January so there’s no ‘bad time’ to visit Florida. The waterparks may be too cold in the evening but the shorter queues make it well worth it. Remember that the parks are very busy around Thanksgiving in late November.

Getting around the parks in Walt Disney World, Florida

The four Disney theme parks are split into different areas and it’s best to visit one area at a time. This will help conserve your energy as you minimise walking but you will also ensure you don’t miss anything out.

The parks open between 8am and 9am and close between 5pm and 10pm. They are busiest around midday so use this time to relax, have a leisurely lunch and prepare yourself for round two.

Magic Kingdom Resort

Magic Kingdom Resort is the Disney Park where fairytale dreams come true. No matter what your age, the magical park will capture your imagination for a lifetime.

The Magic Kingdom Resort opened in 1971 and has steadily grown and evolved to become the most popular Disney Park with over 18.5 million yearly visitors. There are 32 rides within six enchanted lands.

Guests enter Magic Kingdom via Main Street so prepare yourself for a singing, dancing welcome. Travel down the street in a horse-drawn cart as you take in the extravaganza of Main Street.

You will be transported to a pirate’s paradise among the tropical islands and jungles in Adventureland. Frontierland will take you back in time to the Wild West as you explore Tom Sawyer Island and get carried away by the runaway train. Visit the colonial era of America with a trip to Liberty Square and take a trip to Fantasyland where our favourite Disney classics come to life. From here you can explore Cinderella’s Castle and enjoy the incredible nightly fireworks show.

Tomorrowland was Walt Disney’s vision of the future and it is filled with futuristic rides, games and shows that will take you into outer space and back again. A must-see is Tomorrowland is Space Mountain.

As well as all the rides, you have the magical chance to meet some of your favourite Disney characters at Magic Kingdom. Many of them will be around all day but others for a limited amount of time, so make sure you schedule them into your plan.

If you would like to experience even more Disney magic then consider booking a tour. Learn more about Walt Disney and the history of the park or join the pirates for a swashbuckling adventure.

Epcot 

Epcot is a 300 acre park focusing on futuristic and technological innovations. The name stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. It was originally designed by Walt Disney to be a community for the future and an inspirational place for developments in urban living.

Epcot opened in 1982 and now attracts 10.8 million visitors each year. It encompasses two realms, Future World and World Showcase. The park is aimed at older children, teenagers and adults and aims to be as educational as it is entertaining.

Guests will enter via Future World, a realm that teaches visitors about technology through hands-on and interactive activities. Head to the theatre for a 3D intergalactic adventure where you’ll crash land on an alien planet. Find out more about wildlife conservation with the charismatic characters from The Lion King or visit the sensory lab and find out how our senses impact our imagination.

World Showcase realm is an incredible opportunity to travel the world in just one day. Journey through 11 pavilions each uniquely themed to a different country. Learn about the cultures and traditions of Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, Canada and the UK.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Experience the glamour of Hollywood’s golden age with a trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Visitors will feel like they’ve stepped into a movie set as they experience rides that take them directly into their favourite films. There are 10.1 million annual visitors and many of the rides are aimed at an older audience.

There are 8 sections within Disney's Hollywood Studios: Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake, Sunset Boulevard, Streets of America, Commissary Lane, Pixar Place, Mickey Avenue and Animation Courtyard areas.

Guests can be shrunk down to the size of a bug in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure, or watch a short film that brings Disney characters to life as it explains how they are created.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort

Visit one of the largest animal theme parks in the world at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort. Over 1,700 animals across 250 different species can be discovered at the park within the six different lands. Walt Disney was dedicated to conservation and his work has been continued at this magical park.

Explore Oasis, Discovery Island, Africa, Rafiki's Planet Watch, Asia and DinoLand, U.S.A. areas. Ride the River Rapids, take a Kilimanjaro Safari or Maharaja Jungle Trek. You can’t miss the Abominable Snowman, a high-speed train that will take you hurtling through the Himalayas. Hold on to your hats, you’re in for a bumpy ride.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

If you’re looking for a wet and wild adventure then Disney's Typhoon Lagoon is the Disney park for you. The park is home to one of the world’s largest outdoor wave pools. Six foot waves hit Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool every 90 seconds and there are 10 other thrilling rides, which will leave you screaming for more.

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon is the most visited water park in the world with over 2.1 million visitors per year. It caters to children of all ages with smaller pools and splash areas for toddlers and enormous waterslides for the big kids. Visitors can even snorkel around the manmade Shark Reef to get up close to the colourful fish.

Arrive early to get a sun lounger in a shady spot so you can relax during the hot and crowded afternoon.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

The ski resort at Disney's Blizzard Beach has melted and become a huge and exciting water park. The park opened in 1995 and is the second most visited waterpark in the world with 1.9 million annual guests.

Just like a ski resort, the ‘slopes’ are marked with green, red and purple flags to help you get around and see which slides are suitable. Scream your way down Mount Gushmore and enjoy 12 very different slides, rides and attractions.

The Downhill Double Dipper is a firm favourite for competitive types who want to race their friends to the bottom. Try the Summit Plummet for a near-vertical drop on the world’s tallest and fastest free-fall body slides. For a more relaxing ride, grab an inflatable ring and float lazily down the river which flows around the entire park.

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