Disney World USA is the most famous theme park in the world. It is located in Florida, United States outside of Orlando and Kissimmee districts. This giant Park is controlled by the Disney Corporation and covers two cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, both in Florida. The whole Disney World park is about 25,000 acres, which is somehow equal to the size of San Francisco or twice the size of Manhattan. Driving across the resort along a highway takes 16 minutes.
What Is It All About?
Speaking of Disney World is a complicated issue. There are numerous areas and items, and taking all of them into consideration is not possible. You should know that it is impossible to cover every detail of this fabulous resort in one single guide.
But here, we try to give an organized and functional summary of things you need to know before getting into the resort. First of all, let’s start with the park areas and structure. It will help you have a general image of what you are going to face:
Walt Disney World has five different areas; four theme parks and Disney Springs. But it’s not just that. There you will find numerous hotels, attractions, and restaurants. Here is a list to make you understand more straightforwardly:
Its Four main theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
The Magic Kingdom
With more than 17 million guests each year, Magic Kingdom is not only the most famous theme park in the world but also this is the oldest and the most popular area of the whole resort. Walt Disney World is most commonly associated with this Park. There are more kid-friendly attractions in the Magic Kingdom. It is also a popular place among those who are still kids at heart.
Epcot is a place that features international culture and technological revolution. The Park contains two distinct ideas. Visiting the World Showcase will allow you to see eleven pavilions which are filled with art, culture, people, and handicrafts from eleven diverse countries. Second, visiting Future World will provide you with the chance to see human progress in the future.
Several pavilions, including communications, imagination, conservation, and others, are displayed during the show. Just near the Epcot area is Disney’s Boardwalk, which features lots of restaurants, souvenir shops, and places dedicated to nightlife. This part is decorated like a 1920s Eastern seaside boardwalk.
Epcot was the greatest and the ideal plan of Walt Disney. It was an actual city with a population of 20,000 people living and working there. Through the development of technologies, they make food, transport people, and improve their living standards.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
“The World you have entered was created by The Walt Disney Company and is dedicated to Hollywood—not a place on a map, but a state of mind that exists wherever people dream and wonder and imagine, a place where illusion and reality are fused by technological magic. We welcome you to a Hollywood that never was—and always will be.”
— Michael Eisner, May 1, 1989
This is what this Park tries to represent; There, you will find lots of movies and television attractions, a variety of live shows, and animations found on Disney, Pixar, and Lucasfilm studios. The ESPN Wide World of Leisure center is not far from this spot.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Unlike other zoos that you are familiar with, Animal Kingdom consists of real animals, non-native cultures, and conventional Disney magic. The focus of Animal Kingdom is conservation and understanding. It is the greatest in scale and the most diverse theme park, among others. Blizzard Beach, a water park embellished like a melting ski resort, is close to the Animal Kingdom.
Those looking for a more “adult” activity will find “Disney Springs” is a place to shop, dine, and enjoy unique entertainment. Most of the activities here take place in the evening and at night. Disney Springs consists of four spots: Marketplace, The Landing, Town Center, and West Side. All of these are unique in their mix of retail, food, nightlife, and entertainment. The giant water park, Typhoon Lagoon, is close by.
Walt Disney realized soon after Disneyland’s 1955 opening that Anaheim’s available space was too small. He and His team had ideas for developing the Park that wouldn’t fit in that small area. In the 1960s, Mr.Walt, after a few times, came to the conclusion that the East Coast might be the ideal place for them.
His dream came true when he found a place southwest of Orlando, in Central Florida. Mr.Walt announced his ambitious Disney World plans publicly after buying up over 27,000 acres of land on the side of the sly. But, unfortunately, Walt Disney died in December 1966, just when the project was flourishing.
Walt Disney’s brother Roy O. Disney insisted the entire project move forward, starting with the Magic Kingdom, despite his company board’s initial reluctance to take on the massive undertaking. Roy named Walt Disney World after Walt; the new resort would pay tribute to Walt’s vision. To support the increased attendance at the multi-park resort, numerous resort hotels were added, and recreational activities were introduced over the years.
How Many Days to Spend
It is generally accepted that you should stay at the resort for four days to get the bare minimum experience it has to offer, but people have waited for as long as two weeks and still take in most things they have to offer.
A stay of between four and seven days is usual for a visitor from the US. However, for those coming abroad or from Hawaii / Alaska, a plan for ten to fourteen days is expectable, which can be followed by a few days at Universal Studios (or other closeby attractions).
Many guests who stay for the first time try to do too much activity during their stay. Although you should have a rough idea of what you want to do, you should stay adaptable in case of closed rides, fully booked restaurants, private events, and simply reconsidering your plans.
Walt Disney World’s climate is humid and semitropic – just like the whole of Central Florida. The summer months (May–October) are hot and humid, while the winter months (November–April) are mild and mostly dry. Summer thunderstorms are common from June to September. Outdoor rides and live performances can often close temporarily due to severe weather.
Best Time to Go
Some parks used to be relatively deserted at certain times of the year, but they’re not like before at the moment. Thus, Deciding when to visit is a complicated choice up to your preference. Choose whether a smaller crowd or longer park hours make more sense with you, or decide whether warmer days or chilly nights.
The highest attendance periods are between the middle of December and mid-June and between the middle of February and mid-April. During the summer break, American kids typically do not attend school. It is best to avoid these peak periods if your schedule allows flexibility.
October, November (before Thanksgiving), December ( prior to Christmas), and January are the months with the fewest visitors. It will be tranquil at the parks, and tickets should be inexpensive. However, you must be aware that several rides will be shut down for maintenance, and the parks will only be open for a shorter time frame.
Language of the People
All Walt Disney World Resort locations use English as their default language. Almost all the cast members in Epcot’s World Showcase are citizens of their own countries, and, therefore, they speak their mother tongues in addition to English. Members of the cast may be able to speak more than one language, and you can identify them by language signs on their name tags. Spanish is used widely in Florida and the US in general.
There are three figures: $4104, $5239, and $7914 for a budget-friendly Disney World trip, a standard one, and an expensive one. The prices include the hotels, meals, and park tickets. Having a hotel room at one of Disney’s All-Star hotels, eating little-to-no table service, and securing discounted tickets is what makes up the $4,104 budget above.
To cut down those costs, you’ll need to book around only the best Disney deals. The following recommendations are worth considering: booking a non-Disney hotel or Airbnb; waiting for outstanding deals on Priceline; shortening your ticket’s length; bringing your own food and groceries.
You are capable of visiting each of four theme parks for each day of your ticket (up to 10 days) with the most basic access. For the Magic Kingdom, single-day tickets are costly, but the cost per day drops significantly when you buy multiple-day tickets.
You can update your ticket to the Park Hopper offer, enabling you to visit different theme parks on the same day (unlimited times). The price for this option is $75 per ticket (or $60 if you have a ticket that expires in less than four days).
Park Hopper Plus is available for an added $15 per ticket. In addition to entering into the two Disney water parks, Park Hopper Plus offers access to a number of other Disney attractions. These attractions consist of Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, DisneyQuest, ESPN Wide World of Sports, and the nine-hole Oak Trail golf course. Also, the Golf areas at Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland will be open to you, but only before 4 pm.
Additionally, you can attach a memory Maker ($149/ticket) to your purchase, which gives unlimited access to download PhotoPass photos and videos and also a reduction on printing them. For one-day tickets, this option is not available.
Multi-day tickets expire after 14 days, so use them all before then. If tickets are not used, they expire at the end of the calendar year following purchase; a purchase made in 2020, for example, will last until the end of 2021. (Regardless of when your ticket expires, you can still use it to buy another ticket). Kids aged under three are free of charge.
There are different entrance fees for the two Disney water parks. The cost is $62 ($56 for those aged 3–9), and you can go from one to the other, paying no extra cost!
If you do not have any plan to use these tickets during summer days, you can purchase “blackout” tickets for $5 less. During Memorial Day through August 31, blackout tickets are of no use.
Packages that include both resort and entrance are usually best for Disney visitors who reside on-site at Disney accommodations. You can save a lot with Magic Your Way Packages, including dining, shopping, and coupons for golf areas.
Magic Your Way Platinum and Magic Your Way Premium packages are available too, which feature a few posh attractive options for you. Aside from the dining plan, both include the fireworks viewing advantages, being allowed to select recreational activities, a tour, and portrait photography. The Platinum package also offers beauty spa and firework plans. Reserving and residing in a Disney hotel is a requirement in order to buy these packages.
Discounts of varying degrees are available for Florida residents who provide proof of address, but the tickets cannot exceed seven days. In other words, those who live in Florida who ask for the reduction are not able to buy 8, 9, or 10-day tickets). You can also purchase yearly passes if you visit frequently.
How to Get There
There are several ways to get to Walt Disney World. Here is a detailed description of each:
A significant number of guests fly to Orlando International Airport. When you reach there, you can get a car, take a taxi, order a limousine or town car, or take Disney’s Magical Express. This is a free transportation service from the airport for guests residing in Disney-owned hotels.
Bear in mind that in order to use this service, you need to book beforehand. The airport is connected directly to Interstate 4 via Florida State Roads 528 (to the north) and 417 (to the south), which lead to Disney World.
There is a relatively long distance between Orlando-Sanford International Airport and Walt Disney World than Orlando International Airport. The airport tends to handle flights from the UK and Iceland in addition to national flights via Allegiant Air. There is no Magical Express here. Interstate 4 is connected to the airport via Florida State Road 417.
In case you want to come by car, Interstate 4 is the quickest way to get to Walt Disney World. There are some advantages to using Florida’s Turnpike, based on where you’re coming from, especially if you are coming from Miami or another southern city.
The Florida State Road 528, with Orlando International Airport and the Turnpike on the route, will take you to I-4 if you are coming via a boat and dock at Bay Canaveral. If you are going to take buses, there are some companies that offer services to the customers. Also, we have brought the main roads used to get to the Park.
There are buses offered by the Disney Cruise Line that carry visitors between the Walt Disney World hotels and the exclusive terminal at Bay Canaveral. When you book a land-and-sea vacation package, one-way ticket costs are included in the fee. Guests who are not residing in Walt Disney hotel or not coming via Orlando International or Disney Cruise Line have some other options:
Mears Transportation thrives in the region. Magical Express and Disney Cruise Line buses are operated by them. Moreover, they own buses, cars, and other means of transportations to help you reach any of the closeby attractions or resorts.
The Greyhound long-distance bus line is composed of two routes: Orlando and Kissimmee. The second road is far nearer to Walt Disney World.
The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority operates the LYNX public bus service. The LYNX bus network provides service between Walt Disney World and the nearby spots via ten roads.
- Regular Routes
Route 50, which runs from the Transportation and Ticket Center, close to the Magic Kingdom parking space, to SeaWorld and downtown Orlando. Orlando’s International Drive, the leading tourism corridor in the city, is served by this road since it operates as WDW’s primary public transfer. Also, Lynx Central Station is connected to SunRail via this intersection.
Route 56 runs from the Transportation and Ticket Center to Downtown Kissimmee. This road is the prominent link to SunRail from Kissimmee.
Route 111 runs from SeaWorld Orlando to the Florida Mall and Orlando International Airport.
Routes 300 to 306 are roads for passengers which feature narrow services.
Orlando and Kissimmee are served by Amtrak’s Silver Service routes from Miami to New York City. Two trains are run in each direction four times a day. Florida southern trains get to the Orlando station at 10:17 am and 12:55 pm and Minneapolis northern trains arrive at 1:43 pm and 7:08 pm. Located near Washington, D.C., Lorton, Virginia, is the nearest city where travelers and cars can take the Auto Train, which is capable of carrying both.
Despite the smaller scale, the Kissimmee station is closer to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and other notable attractions on the southern part of the Park. Those who don’t plan to hire a car may find lower taxi costs as a result of the shorter distance. Also, you can take the Lynx Link 56 from here to the Transportation & Ticket Center.
It is best to arrive in the Orlando area via SunRail, which runs between Debary and Poinciana, whether you are coming from Volusia or Seminole counties or from northern Osceola county. Unfortunately, on most local holidays and weekends, you’ll find no service. During traffic jams, trains travel every 30 minutes, while during off-peak times, they travel every two hours.
Transit Inside the Park
There are several to wander around in the Park, like walking, driving, or using public transport (in this case, buses, monorails, and ferryboats). All public vehicles in Walt Disney World transit can be accessed by those who have a wheelchair. Also, you won’t be charged using any of them.
Some places are best reached by walking instead of using any vehicle. All five Disney resorts (Swan & Dolphin, Yacht & Beach Clubs, Boardwalk, and Disney Springs), in addition to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, are linked via walkways. If you are residing at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, it will be easier for you to walk to the Magic Kingdom rather than getting a car or bus.
From Shades of Green, it’s only five minutes by walking to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Then, from the Polynesian, you will have another five minutes to walk to the Transport and Ticket Center, in order to take the monorail to Epcot.
Keep in mind, though, that you’ll be doing a lot of walking within the parks, especially at Epcot and Animal Kingdom, so don’t tire yourself out early! Each Park provides electric convenience vehicles (ECVs) and strollers for rent. Hiring a wheelchair or electric mobility car (EVV) can help if you have trouble standing too long or if hot ground makes your toes hurt.
Almost all auditoriums and stage attractions have wheelchair space and ECV space. Most attraction parking sites have been named stroller spots where strollers can be parked. It might be a little challenging to hire one of these as there are so few ESVs.
Renting one stroller costs $15, or $13/day if you are renting multiple strollers. The cost of a dual stroller is $31, or $27 per day. Wheelchairs cost $12 or $10 per day. The price of the ECV and ESV is $50, plus a $20 deposit. The parking cost is only paid once per day even if you park hop. Just show the same-day certificate to avoid paying twice.
These bus trails connect resorts to parks, but not one resort to another or one Park to another. Many resorts provide direct service to all four theme parks and Disney Springs via five bus routes. Buses departing from Disney Springs and Animal Kingdom are the only ways to reach Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
Considering that Disney’s Boardwalk is technically part of a resort, tourists from other alternatives would have to see through one of the parks to access it. There are two ways to get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios from the Boardwalk: walking or by ferry.
The closeness between Epcot and the Boardwalk does not make Epcot an ideal option for a transfer point, as it charges entry to enter through the main entry and exit through the back entrance. Visitors residing in Magic Kingdom-area locations can not take a bus to Epcot or Magic Kingdom; the monorail network is applied instead.
Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are additionally accessible by boat or on foot from Epcot-area areas. Disney Springs cannot be accessed directly from the theme parks through consistent bus service. It is not possible to get a bus from Disney Springs to Disney Park after 4 pm. This problem hinders visitors from parking for free at Disney Springs and hiring the bus to the parks.
You should give yourself enough time to get to where you’re going, but the buses are reliable, fairly efficient, and relatively comfortable. Awaiting the bus can take up to twenty minutes, and getting there can take ten to thirty minutes.
During the high season, this delay might be even more. When park openings and closures approach, buses tend to be very congested; expect to stand for quite a while. In addition, remember that passengers in wheelchairs will be allowed first priority.
One of Walt Disney World’s signature attractions is its monorail system. Besides getting a considerable number of people from one point to another, they are pretty convenient and enjoyable to ride.
Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) houses the monorail lines that mainly serve specific areas. The monorail system consists of three lines:
On this path, the patron starts at the Transportation and Ticket Center, near Magic Kingdom parking lots, and moves on to the Magic Kingdom gateways and back, without stopping at the resorts. Guests who park in this a lot or who are coming from Epcot usually use it. Taking the external beam, this path circumnavigates Seven Seas Lagoon counterclockwise.
Located clockwise along the internal rail, this way passes the Express route parallel and pauses at each location it passes. The order of the stop spots is Transportation and Ticket Center, Polynesian Village, Grand Floridian, Magic Kingdom, and Contemporary. Resort guests can reach Epcot or Magic Kingdom using this path, as well as visitors to a resort.
This line travels between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Epcot gates. As you enter Epcot this way, the monorail creates an amazing circle in the Park before landing at the station at Future World, giving you a spectacular aerial viewpoint.
There is usually a monorail operating an hour before the Park opens and an hour after it closes. While that should be satisfactory for most people, if you’re touring between resorts (for, say, a late meal reservation), you should double-check with your resort’s front desk about the precise working hours. If you have difficulty getting to early-morning breakfasts or tours, the front desk can assist you with finding alternate transfer options.
Boats are also used to carry tourists by waterways at Walt Disney World. Some of these services replace transportation by bus between two destinations. At the Transportation and Ticket Center, close to the Magic Kingdom, gigantic ferry boats transport visitors to the Magic Kingdom.
Throughout the Grand Floridian resort area, smaller motors operate to transport guests to Polynesian Village, Fort Wilderness Campground, Wilderness Lodge, and Contemporary. Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot offer Friendship ferries to the Swan/Dolphin, Yacht/Beach Club, and Boardwalk. Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and Port Orleans resorts are all accessible by ferry from Disney Springs.
Driving in Walt Disney World is not that much of a problem. Getting to your destination is as simple as following the purple directional signs with black Mickey Mouse ears. They will give a map of the whole Park at your WDW residence. The Walt Disney World Car Care Center is close to the Magic Kingdom toll plaza on World Drive, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost or having any problems.
Most automobiles and campers, trailers, buses, and tractors can park in the four parking lots for $22. For pass holders, parking is free, but tourists of resorts will need to pay. Each of the four theme park lots is enormous and is separated into subsections to assist you in memorizing the spot of your car.
Where to Stay
Regarding the prices of Walt Disney World hotels, you might find it too expensive and shocking. Recent years have seen prices increase considerably, and refunds are far less common than they were before. The choice of staying at a Walt Disney World hotel or an off-site hotel is a significant issue for Walt Disney World vacationers.
Price is a significant consideration for many when choosing where to stay at Walt Disney World, as remaining off-site is often less expensive than staying on-site. But there are some other determining factors in deciding in favor of where to stay. Here, we try to hand in a summary of each option’s benefits for you.
Among the perks of staying on-premises at Walt Disney World is accessibility. It is usually easier to walk or take the monorail or boat from the hotel to the parks from the hotels, as these hotels are nearer to the attractions.
Also, Walt Disney World provides tourists with transportation systems to and from their hotels, theme parks, and other Walt Disney attractions. All these transits are offered free of extra charge (Namely, considered as part of the room rate)
Convenience and efficient transport is an excellent benefit for those who stay on-site. This can reduce their transport, parking, and car hiring costs.
Besides being close to Walt Disney World’s theme parks, your residing place is a part of the whole Walt Disney World experience. Having their peculiar architecture and design and not always displaying Disney icons, the parks’ hotels are similar in representing their existence as a part of the fantasy world of Walt Disney.
It is believed that hotels outside the Walt Disney World area are more budget-friendly, but it’s not the only major factor, and there are lots of other things to consider. Off-site resorts are more reasonable regarding the price than on-site hotels, even if you are looking for luxurious hotels. As competition is high among off-site hotels, prices are less likely to rise.
Each of them has its own offers and accommodates its guests with several attractions. Most of them allow pets for a small fee. The pools at other resorts rival those at Walt Disney World and even exceed them. Off-site hotels sometimes provide airport shuttles and shuttle services to Disney parks as well.
Speaking generally, staying at off-site hotels means you have greater flexibility in selecting residences that are suitable for your needs and budget. Visitors can find vacation cabins, suites, and all kinds of places outside of Walt Disney World. These Hotels are varied in size and costs.
Where to eat
In Walt Disney World, you’ll find that the food is relatively expensive, but the quality is also high. There are four levels of “Dollar Sign” dining price classification at Walt Disney World:
- $: $14.99 and under
- $$: $15 – $29.99
- $$$: $30 – $75.99
- $$$$: $76+
In general, counter service restaurants are rated with a $ rating, and table service restaurants are either $$ or $$$. The typical price for a signature restaurant is $$$. Among other restaurants, Victoria and Albert’s is the only one with a $$$$ rating.
Here is a list of some well-known restaurants in Walt Disney world that you won’t like to miss:
The first opening took place in the summer of 2019. There are four different themed rooms at this restaurant (water, earth, stone, and washi paper). Perfect service, delicious food, and attention to detail are all hallmarks of this casual, calm restaurant. Of course, it would be best if you tried the chef’s sushi assortment, which comes in bite-size pieces ($37). However, be sure not to miss the Telen-garden salad with watermelon and tuna sashimi ($20) and the wagyu beef, which is highly recommended.
Here you find affordable costs in comparison with other restaurants in Walt Disney World. Despite being more expensive, pizza is a reasonable option for sharing since it will feed three to four people. A great choice is the Piccante Pizza with pepperoni added. Due to capped capacity, booking is required at the moment, but there is a walk-up window for a slice if you are in a hurry.
The Hollywood Brown Derby
An air-conditioned dining room makes this Hollywood Studios edition of the California icon an ideal lunchtime retreat from the Florida hot weather. Nevertheless, it is not a cheap place to eat, but you won’t be disturbed while eating by Mickey and other Disney characters hopping around. Nevertheless, the Cobb salad is delicious, and a mixed drink is a great way to finish the day.
Victoria & Albert’s
Here you will find the most expensive and at the same time the best food in Walt Disney World. There are dress requirements for both men and women, with men required to wear dinner coats and women supposed to wear dresses, pantsuits, or skirts with blouses. Unfortunately, the venue does not allow youngsters aged under 10.
Disney World’s best snacks can be found here. A good start would be the cool and creamy pineapple soft serve, and then pineapple juice is poured in. It is an ideal choice for a hot day.
Cinderella’s Royal Table
Cinderella’s Royal Table is a must-see Disney character dining experience, situated inside the symbolic Cinderella Castle at the heart of the Magic Kingdom. By the way, it is an expensive place to dine. The moment you enter, you can take a photo with Cinderella. She offers you a seat in her castle dining room, along with a magic wand or sword for your kids. The friends of Cinderella, including Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Rapunzel, stop by to visit you when you are enjoying your meal.
The combination of good food and kid-oriented activities is excellent here, as long as you are not expecting a tranquil meal. This place typically serves buffet-style breakfast, brunch, and dinner, but right now, it is only open for breakfast. Prices for adults and children are $42 and $27, respectively.