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    Disney World Orlando, how to visit the Florida park

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    Martí Micolau

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    We have already talked to you in the past about the parks of Orlando, the entertainment capital of the world, but today we want to focus your attention on the park perhaps best known and celebrated by fans of the genre (young and old): Disneyworld Orlando.


    • What is DisneyWorld?
    • DisneyWorld Orlando: Magic Kingdom
      • A bit of history
      • What to expect
      • The best attractions
      • How to reach us
    • DisneyWorld Orlando: Epcot
      • A bit of history
      • What to expect
      • The best attractions
      • How to reach us
    • DisneyWorld Orlando: Disney's Hollywood Studios
      • A bit of history
      • What to expect
      • The best attractions
      • How to reach us
    • DisneyWorld Orlando: Animal Kingdom
      • A bit of history
      • What to expect
      • The best attractions
      • How to reach us
    • DisneyWorld water parks
      • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
      • Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
    • DisneyWorld Orlando: how to organize your visit times?
      • DisneyWorld FastPass: A great way to avoid queues
    • DisneyWorld Orlando by car: how does it work for parking?
      • Do you want to reach DisneyWorld from Miami?
    • DisneyWorld Orlando: Tickets. How to save and how to book them
      • 1. Day ticket
      • 2. Multi-day ticket
    • Where to sleep at DisneyWorld Orlando? Hotel and resort

    What is DisneyWorld?

    Photo by Lee

    There is no such large and innovative amusement park in the world that has been ambitious since its origins: Walt Disney, the visionary creator of the Disney universe, came up with the project for the construction of a new, large theme park in Florida, a grandiose monument dedicated to entertainment that could make his name eternal and memorable for centuries to come.

    Over time it became clear that the dream of DisneyWorld Florida was much more than a suggestion: the area of Orlando and, despite the death of Disney (1966), the project began to take shape: this happened 12 years after the inauguration of Disneyland Los Angeles (1955), the first Disney park in the world and the only one that Walt's feet walked on. .

    Walt Disney's new park in Orlando opened in 1971, and since then, what seemed like a pipe dream to all began to come true: The Walt Disney Company bought a large number of land in Lake Buena Vista, about 25 miles away. from Orlando, in Orange and Osceola counties, and the Walt Disney World Resort (this is the official name) began to expand more and more, soon showing the features of a real city dedicated to entertainment.

    In nearly 50 years, the original core of the resort (initially limited to only Magic Kingdom, a park almost mirroring Disneyland in Los Angeles) has expanded exponentially, branching into 5 other amusement parks, each dedicated to a specific theme of the vast Disney universe.

    Yes, you read that right: DisneyWorld Orlando is made up of 6 autonomous amusement parks which, together with all the other service and non-service structures (commercial areas, hotels, golf parks, sports facilities, nature reserves, car circuits and so on), extend over an impressive area of ​​122 km²! If you can't imagine how big DisneyWorld can be, just know that Miami has an area of ​​92,4 km², and San Francisco of 121 km²!

    So let's go to the discovery of the wonders of the 6 amusement parks of Disney World Orlando: we will not just tell you about the best attractions, but we will give you advice and information on how to get to DisneyWorld Orlando and how long to stay there, how to move between the various parks, where to sleep, how to save on the ticket price, and much more.

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    DisneyWorld Orlando: Magic Kingdom

    Photo by Lee

    A bit of history

    Let's start from the beginning, in every sense: Magic Kingdom, as we said, it was DisneyWorld Orlando's first theme park. It was designed in the wake of the enormous success of Disneyland Los Angeles (of which it almost completely re-proposes the structure) and was opened in 1971.

    What to expect

    Just like in Los Angeles, Magic Kingdom is divided into 6 different areas:

    • Main Street, U.S.A: the entrance area of ​​the park;
    • A: dedicated to Disney adventures in foreign and wild lands;
    • Frontierland: dedicated to the adventures in the world of Indians and cowboys;
    • Fantasyland: dedicated to the most classic Disney fairy tales (among others, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Alice ...);
    • Tomorrowland: dedicated to the most adrenaline-fueled space adventures in the Disney world;
    • Liberty Land: area of ​​the park where a colonial-style city is reproduced.

    The best attractions

    Photos at Joe Penniston

    Every corner of this park must be experienced to the full, and it seems impossible to us to make a compendium of all the emotions that are experienced on the individual attractions. However, among other things, we recommend that you try the breathtaking ride of Big Thunder Mountain of Frontierland, the wonderful and now beloved attraction dedicated to Pirates of the Caribbean (Adventureland), the interactive carousel Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (Tomorrowland) and Seven Dwarf Mine Train (Fantasyland), inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

    How to reach us

    Magic Kingdom (1180 Seven Seas Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830) it is located in the northern area of ​​the Resort and can be reached by car. The nearest parking is near the pond 1 km from the main entrance. Is called Ticket and Transportation Center and it is also the place where you can buy tickets: it is connected to the park by a monorail that leads right in front of Main Street. If, on the other hand, you have already taken accommodation in one of the hotels of the resort, you can use the bus or boat service.

    DisneyWorld Orlando: Epcot

    A bit of history

    Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) is an ideal city model developed by Walt Disney in the 1982s and materialized in 1,21, in the form of a park within the DisneyWorld resort. Epcot spans XNUMX km², doubling the size of Magic Kingdom.

    What to expect

    The vocation of Epcot it is very special: it is an amusement park with a futuristic character that focuses on the "human spirit". The park is divided into two clearly recognizable areas:

    • Future World, dedicated to knowledge and direct experience of science and technology through fun;
    • World Showcase, dedicated to 11 countries of the world, of which some monuments or landscapes around the lake of Epcot are reconstructed.

    The best attractions

    As for Future World, perhaps not everyone feels the thrill and adrenaline rush unleashed by Mission: Space, the space launch simulator. Then we recommend The Seas with Nemo & Friends, the underwater slow-ride dedicated to the well-known little fish. If, on the other hand, you want some advice regarding World Showcase (a sort of fun Expo!), don't miss the areas dedicated to China, Morocco e Mexico.

    While you're at it, go see how they managed to rebuild our Spain! Absolutely not to be missed Illuminations: Reflections of the Earth, the water and light show that closes all Epcot Orlando evenings.

    How to reach us

    Epcot (200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821) is about a 10/15 minute drive south of the Magic Kingdom Ticket and Transportation Center. After parking your car, you can take the shuttle to reach the park entrance. Epcot can also be reached by buses, boats (if you are staying in a resort) and the monorail that leaves from Ticket and Transportation Center.

    DisneyWorld Orlando: Disney's Hollywood Studios

    Foto di Jonathan

    A bit of history

    Originally, Disney's Hollywood Studios had another name a little less effective: Disney-MGM Studios. This was the name with which, in 1989, the DisneyWorld amusement park entirely dedicated to the world of cinema was baptized. In 2008, the organization decided to change the name, after numerous works had already taken place since 1994 aimed at the redevelopment of the park, which at the time was considered incapable of rivaling the other 3, also due to its small size.

    What to expect

    Many of you, looking at the DisneyWorld map, will have wondered what Hollywood has to do with Disney and especially with Florida ... it is easy to say: as mentioned, this theme park is dedicated to the masterpieces of Disney films. Of course, the other parks are too, but here the real protagonist is precisely the cinema as an artistic expression. The park is divided into 8 sections: Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake, Sunset Boulevard, Streets of America, Commissary Lane, Pixar Place, Mickey Avenue e Animation Courtyard.

    The best attractions

    The park, which appears as a sort of gigantic film set, hosts some rides and attractions particularly suitable for those looking for a nice adrenaline rush. But there is not only this: there is no shortage of themed shows, and they are among the most exciting in all of DisneyWorld. We advise you:

    • the disturbing The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a sort of elevator that will make you feel the terrible sensation of falling into the void:
    • Toy Story Midway Mania: here I speak for passion, as a fan of the first hour of Toy Story. This interactive attraction is the delight of young and old alike.
    • if you have a penchant for action movie special effects, don't miss it Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, an instructive and well done show dedicated to the world of stunts.
    • Star Wars fever is raging these days. If you are a fan of the Lucas saga and are planning a visit to Disney Hollywood, make a note of it now Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, a 3D experience that will delight all Star Wars fans.

    How to reach us

    Map in hand, we can locate Disney's Hollywood Studios (351 S Studio Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830) approximately 4 miles south of Epcot. The park can be reached by car, by Disney bus and by canal boat, for those who have booked a room in the resorts within DisneyWorld. As soon as you have parked, you can take advantage of the courtesy vehicles to reach the entrance and main street Hollywood Boulevard.

    DisneyWorld Orlando: Animal Kingdom

    Foto di Jonathan

    A bit of history

    According to many, Animal Kingdom (the youngest of the various theme parks - opened in 1998), appears as one of the most unfairly underrated parks in the entire DisneyWorld Orlando resort. Still, the numbers say more: this huge amusement park-zoo is the seventh for annual visits worldwide, as well as the largest Disney park in the world.

    What to expect

    Animal Kingdom is Orlando's Disney park entirely dedicated to the animal world and to nature: the "safari areas" of Animal Kingdom are home to thousands of animals of at least 300 species, and some are rare and protected. Having achieved the standards in conservation and research, Animal Kingdom, in addition to being an amusement park, is to be considered in all respects a zoo. The thematic areas in which it is divided are:

    • Oasis: a main street that serves as a welcome area with services. Here it is already possible to meet some small animals;
    • Discovery Island: located in the middle of the navigable river, it is the central hub for reaching all areas. The Tree of  life, the tree of life, is the symbol of the park and dominates the middle of the island;
    • Africa: this area has as its reference point the village of Harambe, and is dedicated to the discovery of the animals of the African savannah;
    • Rafiki's Planet Watch: reachable only by a small train, the area dedicated to the wise monkey of the Disney Lion King is entirely designed for children;
    • Asia: this area, while hosting various Asian animal species, collects more adrenaline-pumping attractions and is distinguished by the splendid reconstruction of a landscape of Nepal framed ... by Everest!
    • DinoLand U.S.A.: last but not least, the section dedicated to dinosaurs could not be missing. In a prehistoric context, thrilling attractions and shows for the family.

    The best attractions

    Probably, if you go to Animal Kingdom, you will have to expect great things from Kilimanjaro Safari (Africa): the reconstruction of the Savannah is remarkable, as is the prodigious variety of visible (and photographable) animal species. In the Asia region it is worth venturing (and getting wet!) On the Kali River Rapids or descend headlong from Everest on a high-speed train (Expedition Everest). Don't miss the attractions It's tough to be a bug, an insect-friendly adventure on Discovery Island, and the musical Finding Nemo (DinoLand), a show dedicated to the well-known Disney fish with an atrophic fin.

    How to reach us

    Animal Kingdom Orlando (2901 Osceola Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32830) is located in the area southwest of the resort. You can reach it with the buses provided by the park or with your own car, independently. The car park is close enough to the entrance and to the Oasis area, but shuttles are available to take you directly to the entrance.

    DisneyWorld water parks

    Photo by Chad Sparkes

    Let's take a good look at the map of the four DisneyWorld parks: there are plenty of water-themed attractions, but the Walt Disney Company is really insatiable, as is the demanding public of theme park enthusiasts.

    Which is why, in 1989 and 1995 respectively, they were opened Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon e Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, two beautiful water parks that are smaller than the others in the Resort, but no less fun. Both are located inside the Resort, can be reached by car or by bus and the means provided by the park, and are equipped with autonomous parking lots.

    Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

    This park has a very specific concept: it is a lush tropical island that has resisted a terrible typhoon. Here you will find impressive routes along the rapids (Keelhaul Falls), steep water slides (Mayday Falls e Homunga Kowabunga) e zone relax (Castaway Creek).

    Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

    Even this park will appeal to lovers of water parks, not only for the good level of the attractions it offers, but also and above all for the originality of the concept: the creators of the park have imagined a Florida put in check… from INFO! We advise you:

    • Summit Plummet, the classic vertical slide is an understatement!
    • Teamboat Springs, for an family raft engaging on a fun and longer than average path;
    • Toboggan Racers, a not too steep slide suitable for speed races with friends;
    • Cross Country Creek: a slow and relaxing ride on the donut along a path that surrounds the whole park.

    DisneyWorld Orlando: how to organize your visit times?

    Let's say right away that, on balance, it would be necessary to take into account at least 1 days for the complete visit of each park, even if there are those who manage to visit two (albeit superficially). This means that you will have to make an upstream decision: is it better to visit only one park within the resort or to stay for several days and have a good overdose of fun?

    To answer this question, the first point to address is the question of timetables. Each park has its own opening and closing times and, in essence, does not exist a seasonal timetable to consult in order to better organize your stay, especially if, to fully enjoy the visit, you have to calculate the movements per minute. The only solution is to go to this page of the official site and from there carry out the search - a bit inconvenient - filtering it with the dates of our vacation at Orlando DisneyWorld.

    Usually, those who go to Orlando (and stay there for 7 or more days) know well that, in order to be able to say that they have visited DisneyWorld, they will need on average at least 3 days of stay in the resort, so you can definitely visit 3 parks, if not more. In this sense, the purchase of tickets called "hopper" (available from 1 to 10 days) which, unlike day tickets, allow you to move freely in each of the 4 parks (or 6, if you add the water parks option), as many times as you like during the days of your stay at DisneyWorld.

    DisneyWorld FastPass: A great way to avoid queues

    One way to save time in individual parks - avoiding the long, unbearable queues that arise at the entrance to the best attractions - is to use the Fast pass, a free service designed by the Walt Disney Company and dedicated to the busiest games (not at all, therefore!).

    How does it work? By carefully consulting the map given to you at the entrance, you will notice that some games have the initials next to them FP. Near the entrance of the corresponding attraction, there are machines that dispense small tickets, showing a time slot: by showing up at that time at the entrance of the attraction, you can skip the line! But be careful: you can only take advantage of one FastPass per time slot.

    DisneyWorld Orlando by car: how does it work for parking?

    Photo on trvlto

    The best way to visit DisneyWorld Orlando on your own is to rent a car (read our article on car rental in Florida) and wander freely through the streets of the resort, reaching the various parks in a few minutes - traffic permitting - and parking the car. in the various equipped areas. But how much does it cost to park the car at DisneyWorld? Since each park has its own parking, do you have to pay the fare every time?

    The answer is… do not! Anyone wishing to visit the resort's parks, paying a daily fee, will be entitled to a parking pass valid for all parks, including aquatic ones. Here are the prices:

    • Car and motorcycle - $ 20 per day
    • Shuttle, Limousine, Camper, Caravan and RV - $ 22 per day

    If you have decided to use the means of transport provided by DisneyWorld instead, know that the bus service it is free and covers the entire park, including resorts and shopping areas, from 45 minutes before opening to one hour after closing. As already mentioned, if you have taken up accommodation in one of the lakeside resorts, you can take advantage of the boats to move between the parks connected by the waterways.

    Do you want to reach DisneyWorld from Miami?

    If you are stationed at Miami and you intend to visit DisneyWorld, the undertaking could be prohibitive, as the Miami-DisneyWorld journey takes more than 3 hours to go and the same amount to return. In this case, an organized tour like this might come in handy:

    DisneyWorld 1-day tour with transport from Miami

    DisneyWorld Orlando: Tickets. How to save and how to book them

    Photos at HarshLight

    I recommend that you buy them online before your visit, thus avoiding the long queues at the ticket office and taking advantage of the various offers and discounts. There are different types of tickets to visit Disney World, but in essence, in most cases you find yourself choosing between 2 possibilities, the daily visit and the one for several days:

    1. Day ticket

    Those who visit the park for a day will need the basic ticket and the advice is to opt for the most representative and Disney: Disney World Magic Kingdom Park.

    Single entry ticket:

    Below you will find the link for the purchase of the daily admission ticket to the Magic Kingdom, the ticket runs out rather quickly so I advise you to move in time. Immediately below I point out other day tickets with some interesting extras.

    Buy your ticket on Expedia

    Buy your ticket on Best of Orlando

    Ticket from Miami:

    If you are in Miami, do not have a car, or you simply prefer not to travel on your own, there are tickets including the Miami Disney World bus route, complete with pickup and return to the hotel. Another interesting aspect is that the ticket will allow you to choose the park to visit (therefore also suitable for those who for some reason did not want to go to the Magic Kingdom).

    • Ticket with transfer from Miami - available on Viator

    Accompanied visit:

    There is the possibility of being accompanied to the park by an expert assistant who, in addition to revealing the most hidden secrets of the park, will provide logistical support for any eventuality and to make your visit as agile and pleasant as possible. You can choose between a daily assistance of 3, 6 and 9 hours. Especially designed for families. Attention: the price does not include the entrance to the park, which must be purchased separately.

    Disney World with Personal Assistant

    2. Multi-day ticket

    For those who intend to dedicate more days to visiting the park (from 2 to 10) the most interesting and convenient solution is the ticket Magic Your Way, which includes admission to all 4 parks (including transport between parks) and 2 other notable extras:

    1. FastPass: the ability to skip the lines at rides, shows, parades and greetings from Disney characters. In moments of crowds it can make a difference!
    2. Park hopper: possibility to move between one park and another within the same day.

    Multi-day tickets on Expedia

    Best of Orlando multi-day tickets

    Here are some of them sites where you can buy the various types of tickets, sometimes benefiting from special discounts and promotions. You will also find some special tours and activities. One example among many? Breakfast with Disney characters!

    • Find tickets on GetYoutGuide
    • Find tickets and activities on Viator
    • Find tickets and activities on Expedia
    • Find tickets and activities at Best of Orlando

    Where to sleep at DisneyWorld Orlando? Hotel and resort

    As a citadel of entertainment, Disney Orlando offers its visitors a number of hotels and resorts, some of which are truly dreamlike. You will find beautiful exclusive Disney-style accommodations near Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom (there are cheaper ones here), but especially east of the parks, at Disney springs, Disney's Downtown entirely dedicated to shopping and dining. From many of these splendid structures it is possible to reach the parks by boat or with dedicated shuttles and buses.

    Here are some resorts and hotels worth mentioning:

    • Disney’s Old Key West Resort: if during your Florida tour you can't go to the real Key West, you can settle for this remarkable reconstruction present in Disney springs. The Disney’s Old Key West Resort in fact, it wants to re-propose the unique atmosphere of the jewel town of the Florida Keys: a quiet tropical village with conch-style buildings, pools shaded by palm trees and the friendly Olivia's, a restaurant where you can taste the typical specialties of the Keys. The so-called villas of the resort are real houses equipped with all comforts.
    • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village: after a day of adventure on the safari of Disney's Animal Kingdom, alas the magic dissolves and you return to the normalcy of classic Orlando hotels. If you want to avoid this sad side effect you can find accommodation in one of the rooms (studio) or in a villa of the Kidani Village, freely inspired by an African village (with swimming pool) hidden in the dense vegetation of the savannah. In the open spaces of the Kidani Village, you can see 30 species of animals, including zebras, giraffes and gazelles, grazing peacefully around the resort. In the restaurant Sanaa, decorated with African art objects, typical cuisine is eaten.
    • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter: in the category Moderate Resort there are equally charming but slightly less expensive resorts. One of my favorites is the Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, which offers accommodations in a village that looks like the faithful reconstruction of the French Quarter of New Orleans, facing the Sassagoula River. Jazz melodies spread in the air, and during a walk or a carriage ride on the cobbled paths lit by gas lamps, you can look up on the wrought iron terraces embellished with pots of magnolias ... or let yourself be struck by the typical involving atmosphere of Mardi Gras. Could not miss the swimming pool with the slide and a jazz themed restaurant (Scat’s cat Club).
    • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort: yes, even Disney's resorts have a "low end" (Value Resort). For this category I recommend the Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, located in the Animal Kingdom area: the rooms and common areas are less prestigious and spectacular than the higher level resorts, but children will be happy to sleep in a Disney themed hotel, with Mickey Mouse, the 101 Dalmatians dogs, the characters of Toy Story and other protagonists of the most famous films and cartoons. The pool is magically powered by the Wizard Mickey of Fantasia.

    Here are some useful links to find accommodations around the various Disney theme parks:

    • Search for hotels near Magic Kingdom
    • Search for hotels near Epcot
    • Look for a hotel near Animal Kingdom
    • Cerca un hotel a Disney Springs

    If you want to save some money without straying too far from the park, look for your long accommodation International Drive, the famous Orlando street full of hotels of all categories: in our article on where to sleep in Orlando we have also indicated some recommended hotels in the area.

    Look for a hotel on International Drive

    General advice on where to sleep in Orlando

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