Recently, I was contacted by a mom that was bringing her kids to Walt Disney World for the first time. She had rented a vacation home and wanted to know what she had to bring from home for her kids’ enjoyment. She seemed a bit frantic, so while I looked up her reservation information, I asked her what she had planned for her trip. She said just “Disney World” was all they had planned. When I asked her if she was going to be visiting all the parks, said she didn’t know but had 5-day tickets just for Walt Disney World in Florida.
I hear this all the time, so I let her know that she had lots of options with her 5 day ticket. Disney has 4 themed parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. The ticket was good for 1 park per day for so she could not visit any other parks in a day. So, for her situation, the best option was to go to one park per day and then return to the favourite park for another visit. Since she was on her own with her two children, she was happy to spend a full day in each park since this was their first visit to Orlando and Disney World.
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Quick Overview of the Walt Disney World parks:
Magic Kingdom has everyone’s favourite characters like Mickey and Minnie and of course, the princesses at the famous castle. There are roller-coasters, live shows and lots of character meet and greet sessions to be found here. Most people choose this park when they only have time or budget for one of the Disney parks. It offers the most Disney experience for everyone.
EPCOT is the next most popular Disney World park. This futuristic park explores energy and technology innovation and conservation of the earth’s resources. It wouldn’t be Disney if there wasn’t an element of fun involved while learning, so you won’t be disappointed by the rides and attractions located within. A big draw for EPCOT is the Word Showcase which features a selection of 11 countries that you can walk through and sample foods and goods from the represented countries. This park is where most Disney festivals are held, like Food and Wine (fall) and Flower and Garden Show (spring). A good guide to Florida and theme parks can be found here Villa Giant Guide to Florida
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the third of the Disney World theme parks to open in Orlando. This family favourite features live musicals and thrilling reenactments from Disney film. Star Wars ® has a big presence in Hollywood Studios, making it a must for every Star Wars fan. Star Wars Weekend is a HUGE event for this park and guests come from all over the globe to meet with actors from all these blockbuster hits. The nighttime laser show is always a crowd favourite so plan on staying late; it shouldn’t be missed.
Finally, Animal Kingdom is latest park to open under the Walt Disney World brand. Its featured around animals of the world and the importance of preserving every form of life. This theme park is designed to make you feel like you are in the heart of Africa on safari and then just a few steps away, you’re walking through a jungle in Asia. There are many species of animals in large open natural habitats and even some hands-on animal exhibits. It is a beautifully laid out park with many scenic places to relax and get some great photos. Animal Kingdom has just added a nighttime laser show that is stunning, The Rivers of Life, is a laser show that lights up the night with dazzling light show over a dark lagoon. There is a fabulous firework finally that will leave you and yours oooohing and ahhhhing for the rest of the evening.
Each has its own form of Disney magic and family filled fun. No matter how many days you are going there are ways to see it all! Disney offers a park hopping option that allows you to “hop” between the parks doing a few of your favourite things all in one go… This is only a suggested option if there is truly only 1 day to “do Disney”.
** Bring a change of clothes for the little ones (and even big ones). There are water rides and places to get wet in all the parks. Kids can’t resist them! **