No holiday to Florida would be complete without visiting at least one of the Sunshine State’s Disney parks. Located in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Walt Disney World is the ultimate family holiday destination that will provide you with wonderful memories to last a lifetime.
The fun starts the moment you step off the plane and board the Disney Magical Express to your resort and continues across the four main theme parks which are packed with exciting rides and all your favourite characters. Check out our guide to each park and watch your little ones’ faces light up as all their childhood fantasies are brought to life.
The Magic Kingdom
If your little princess, or your own inner princess, wants to visit Cinderella’s famous castle, rub shoulders with Mickey Mouse and tear around on Thunder Mountain, The Magic Kingdom is the place to be. The original Disney theme park is an all-singing, all-dancing affair with plenty of parades, street parties and live entertainment. Character experiences offer younger guests the chance to make their dreams a reality by interacting with their favourite stars. Meet Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, defeat Emperor Zurg before celebrating with Buzz Lightyear himself or make friends with Ariel in her grotto filled with gadgets and gizmos.
Most of the rides in this park are family friendly and suitable for all ages from the classic and whimsical It’s a Small World boat ride to The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Adrenalin junkies will find some refuge in Space Mountain, ascending a 180-foot-high mountain before launching into the darkness of outer space. Finish off your incredible day along Main Street, U.S.A and join Mrs. Potts and Chip as they guide you through a spectacular fireworks display above Cinderella’s castle with the ultimate bedtime story full of special effects and music.
Twice the size of The Magic Kingdom, The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow is a park that merges education and entertainment. Kids think they’re having fun, grown-ups know they’re busy learning. Guiding you around the world you’ll discover the culture of distant lands and are invited to build, create, and play with a multitude of high-tech exhibits.
Epcot’s World Showcase is centred around a large lagoon and home to 11 world nations. Norway features some incredible hangouts such as the split-log shop in the countryside and a scenic boat ride through fictional Arendelle which should be your number one FastPass+ priority as it’s extremely popular. Over in the United Kingdom, join Mary Poppins and wander along cobble-stoned streets as the scent of fish and chips floats through the air past pillar red phone boxes and quintessential gardens.
Discover The Seas and with Nemo and Friends exhibit in Future World, home to one of the largest saltwater aquariums in the world featuring over two hundred species including dolphins, sharks and sea turtles. Older kids more interested in tech can head over to the Test Track and design their own custom concept vehicle and take it for a test drive on a six-passenger SimCar.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Packed with Hollywood-inspired attractions, Hollywood Studios offers some of the best imagineering from Disney. At the end of Hollywood Boulevard you’ll find an exact replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where you can enjoy The Great Movie Ride and look for your favourite Disney star’s hand prints embedded in the pavement. Scream your way around Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster or go for something a bit more child-friendly and enjoy a selection of 4D Toy Story themed shooting games in Pixar Place.
Gather your favourite Jedis and Ewoks and step into the world of Star Wars where you’ll find movie props, merchandise and out of this world experiences. Young rebels will come face to face with Kylo Ren on the bridge of his ship, create their own droids in Tattooine and undertake training in secret Jedi temples where the loveable Chewbacca awaits.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has no shortage of shows. Guests are invited to watch Beauty and the Beast live on stage in a Broadway-style musical, join Mickey Mouse in his immersive show Fantasmic! and close their day with a spectacular special effects show in a galaxy far, far away.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
As the world’s largest theme park, Animal Kingdom presents the wonders of the natural environment in a truly Disney fashion. Board an open-air safari vehicle and explore the African Savannas, learning about the dangers of poaching as you look out for over 34 different species including hippopotamus and lions. Marvel at powerful primates along the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail or the grace of Asian tigers on the Maharajah Jungle Trek as you cross towering footbridges or hang on tight on an exhilarating river raft ride through the jungle.
The attractions are grand and the animals on show are even grander, but as both a theme park and accredited zoo, Disney are using their unique position to promote conservation and encourage change. With that in mind you won’t find any plastic lids or straws in the park and even the benches are made from recycled materials. Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Musical acts as reminders that you’re still in the world of Disney as do appearances across the park from the likes of Baloo, King Louie and Pocahontas.
The park comes to life as the sun goes down and guests can enjoy classic day tours in a whole new light, embarking on night safaris and enjoying carnivalesque parties along the streets of Discovery Land.
Have you been to Walt Disney World Resort? What was your favourite park and attraction? Let us know in the comments below!