Everything You Need To Know About Disney World

Think big, because Disney World is not just magic, it’s also huge, which can be intimidating. It has four theme parks, two water parks, multiple golf courses, countless restaurants, a sports complex, and 25 hotels. In fact, it takes half an hour to drive from one end to the other.

Don’t let that overwhelm you, though, because we’ve designed this guide to help you navigate Mickey’s home.

The Best Time To Get There

disney world
Photo: Benjamin Suter / Unsplash
Photo: Benjamin Suter / Unsplash

Nobody loves to wait three hours per ride, so if you want to avoid some crowds, Disney offers a calendar with “the best and worst times of year for planning a Disney World vacation.”

Expect it to be busier around the holidays, but the best time to go to Disney really is anytime that works for you!

Plan To Stay At Least Five Days

ferris wheel
Photo: Tyler Nix / Unsplash
Photo: Tyler Nix / Unsplash

You will feel overwhelmed if you try to fit everything into a shorter visit. A minimum of five days will allow you to experience the majority of the attractions, parades, and shows—without racing against the clock.

How To Get Around The Magic

walking through crowd
Photo: Benjamin Suter / Usplash
Photo: Benjamin Suter / Usplash

Depending on if you’re flying, consider parking your car directly at the park. Disney offers complimentary bus, ferry boat, and monorail transportation, but if you’re a big family with a lot of stuff, you can opt to park for $20 a day at the theme parks.

Where To Get Beauty Sleep

hotel
Photo: @nelly_m1 / Instagram
Photo: @nelly_m1 / Instagram

You can choose to stay off-property and leave the magic behind at the end of the day, or you can stay at one of the many Disney-operated hotels. Those have perks like “Extra Magic Hours,” which grant additional time at the parks each morning or evening, as well as early FastPass+ booking, complimentary MagicBands, and free airport bus transportation.

Don’t Forget To Pack For All Weather

disney packing
Photo: @disney.gay / Instagram
Photo: @disney.gay / Instagram

Depending on when you’re you’re going, don’t forget to bring sunscreen for the hot Florida weather or a raincoat if you’re going in the winter. While you’re at it, bring a small backpack where you can also store sunglasses, a water bottle, and a camera.

There Is More Than One Kind Of Admission

photo-of-woman-dancing-in-front-of-crowd-3411141
Photo: Craig Adderley / Pexels
Photo: Craig Adderley / Pexels

There are two formats of theme park ticket that you can get, which can last two to 14 days. They both allow you to “hop” between parks for a fee, so you can try as many of them as you like, and some offer additional admissions to water parks and golf courses.

You Will Definitely Not Go Hungry With Disney Eats

disney food
Photo: @bestofdisneyfood / Instagram
Photo: @bestofdisneyfood / Instagram

You can get quick meals at all four theme parks, as well as table service restaurants, and character dining options where you get a meet-and-greet with your favorite characters or even get a visit from the man himself, Mickey Mouse.

Hey, Adults, You Can Drink To Feel Magical On The Inside

disney drinks
Photo: @karmenkismet / Instagram
Photo: @karmenkismet / Instagram

You’ll find your fix of unique cocktails, beer lists, and wine menus all across the park. You can even find a tiki bar and a tequila cave, but if you want a little more, sign up for Epcot’s World Showcase, which is essentially a worldwide bar crawl.

There Are Rides For Thrill-Seekers, Too

rides
Photo: Taylor Rogers / Unsplash
Photo: Taylor Rogers / Unsplash

Between massive drops, high G-forces, inversions, and little teacup spins, Disney World truly has a ride for everyone, so don’t hesitate to divide and conquer so everyone is happy. Plus, there is the option of FastPass+, which allows guests to skip the line.

It’s Not All About The Rides

stormtroopers
Photo: Brian Mcgowan / Unsplash
Photo: Brian Mcgowan / Unsplash

If rides aren’t your thing and you’re more of a watcher, you can still find stage shows, evening entertainment, and “streetmosphere” like stormtrooper marches during the day and fireworks and projection shows after dark.

Dress For Comfort, Not For Style

disney ears
Photo: Joel Sutherland / Unsplash
Photo: Joel Sutherland / Unsplash

As tempted as you will be to use your outfit to put on a show yourself, opt for comfort since you’ll be walking around all day, in the heat, in a big crowd, and getting into uncomfortable seats on rides. You don’t want to miss out because your cute sandals gave you blisters. Feel free to accessorize, however, with little things like mickey mouse ears.

Disney Secret: There Are Hidden Mickey Mouses All Around The Park

mickey mouse
Photo: Brian Mcgowan / Unsplash
Photo: Brian Mcgowan / Unsplash

While you’re bored in line, keep looking for hidden Mickey ear shapes. This is a park secret that a cast member shares, explaining that “it’s a partial or complete impression of Mickey Mouse placed by the Imagineers and artists to blend into the designs of Disney attractions, hotels, restaurants, and other areas.”

Did Someone Say “Free”? Yes, You Can Pick A Few Things For Free

mickey world
Photo: Travis Gergen / Unsplash
Photo: Travis Gergen / Unsplash

If you’re a lover of free stuff, here are some things you’ll love. You can stop at the Boudin Bakery Tour and Ghiradelli, as both give out free samples. Or you can get a free souvenir button at guest services. Or you can get refreshed at Club Cool Epcot with samples of different kinds of Coke from around the world.

You Can Participate In A Disney World Scavenger Hunt

disney magic
Photo: Amy Humphries / Unsplash
Photo: Amy Humphries / Unsplash

There is a secret scavenger hunt with 75 challenges and 250 points, designed to let you experience Disney in a whole new way. It will surely get you out of your comfort zone, get you doing something unique, and let you experience the park in a whole new magical way.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

hollywood studios
Photo: @vacationinsunshine / Instagram
Photo: @vacationinsunshine / Instagram

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is where your favorite movie stars live and take you into their world. From haunted hotels to Broadway-style shows, you will feel like you’re in a movie. You can even get in the spotlight yourself with attractions like the American Idol Experience.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach And Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Parks

blizzard beach
Photo: @elleandcharming / Instagram
Photo: @elleandcharming / Instagram

Guests can plunge into a world of themed water fun. Challenge yourself with Summit Plummet. Snorkel with sharks in Shark Reef. Zoom down side-by-side racing slides, or float leisurely down a meandering river. For thrills or just to chill out, a day in a Walt Disney World water park is guaranteed watery fun.

Animal Kingdom Park

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Photo: Frans Van Heerden / Pexels
Photo: Frans Van Heerden / Pexels

This park is a dream for animal-lovers, as it takes them on a journey through animals both real and magical. The park is most popular for the Kilimanjaro Safaris, which takes you through an African savannah ride, but visitors also love the Kali River Rapids, a whitewater thrill ride.

Epcot Park

epoct
Photo: @disneyprincesslessons / Instagram
Photo: @disneyprincesslessons / Instagram

This is a place of imagination and the wonders of the world. It holds two worlds. One is all about high-tech innovations, while the other lets you explore 11 nations through performances and cuisine. The real highlight is at night, with “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” which illuminates the night sky with spectacular lasers and fireworks.

Magic Kingdom Park

beautiful-celebration-close-up-costume-
Photo: Ben Cheung / Pexels
Photo: Ben Cheung / Pexels

This where beloved storybook fantasies come to life in every corner. Even animated objects like teacups can be found dancing. This is also home to popular attractions like Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, as well as classic Disney attractions like the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Disney Springs

disney springs
Photo: @disneysprings / Instagram
Photo: @disneysprings / Instagram

This is the hot spot for shopping, dining, and entertainment. It hosts performances by Cirque du Soleil and stunt performances like aerial acrobatics. It’s also great for nighttime entertainment, with places like the House of Blues offering great cuisine and live music.