It’s official: Walt Disney World is ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’. This uber-park is dedicated to bringing you memorable family getaways and many happy times together. The world-famous Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida is the crème de la crème of amusement resorts, with a huge selection of theme parks featuring thrilling roller coasters, adrenaline-pumping water parks, and a shopping scene that would put most shopping centres and hyper-malls to shame. Here, you can come face-to-face with the most iconic characters from the Disney franchise, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and your favourite Disney princesses, like Princess Jasmine and Sleeping Beauty. A mega-complex of theme parks, golf courses, a camping resort and plenty of other entertainment options, Walt Disney World has everything you need for a once-in-a-lifetime family holiday. Here you’ll be greeted by Mickey Mouse in the Magic Kingdom, splash in the waves at Typhoon Lagoon and meet your favourite creatures at the Animal Kingdom.
Most popular hotels in Walt Disney World
Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek
Walt Disney World, Florida
Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort
Walt Disney World, Florida
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Walt Disney World, Florida
At a glance
- Currency: United States Dollar
- Language: English
- Time Zone: GMT +-5
- Average flight time: 9h 10m
When to go
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With so many fantastic theme parks and attractions to choose from, it’s hard to say what the top attractions are at Walt Disney World. The main draw of a Walt Disney World holiday is that there’s so much versatility – there truly is something to keep everyone happy. The theme parks at Disney World include Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Magic Kingdom has a range of rides including a runaway mine train, plenty of scream-if-you-want-to-go-faster rollercoasters and a number of story-themed rides suitable for younger children. The water parks include the Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, the ideal venues for cooling off on hot days. There’s also a shopping village, wedding and sports-themed attractions to enjoy.
Wine and Dine
Walt Disney World has a huge selection of restaurants, refreshment stalls and snack stands to keep you refreshed and topped up throughout the day. You can find food from a wide range of international cuisines at Disney World, whether you’re craving Italian or Chinese. Restaurants here include the 50’s Prime Time Café, which serves classic American diner food like milkshakes and burgers, the 1900 Park Fare, which serves buffet food and classic dining, the ABC Commissary which is great for grabbing quick bites to eat as you explore the park, and the self-explanatory Garden View Tea Room. Delicious dishes here include fresh fruit tartes with cream, bread pudding, cupcakes, Nutella waffle sandwiches, sandwich and ice cream macaroons, ice cream sundaes and the ridiculously delicious Mexican churros, or doughnuts.
As the entire resort is not only family-friendly but designed with your children’s happiness and your convenience as parents in mind, there are few holiday destinations that are as much fun for the family as Walt Disney World. The facilities here have been carefully designed to ensure that you have everything that you need close at hand, keeping your mind on having fun. There are plenty of child-friendly facilities including baby-changing areas and child-friendly toilets, and an incredible amount of restaurants and refreshment stands to ensure that none of you go hungry. You can enjoy a thrilling time on the rollercoasters here, including the iconic rocket ride Space Mountain, ‘escaping’ a fearsome Yeti on Expedition and experiencing the thrilling ride of the Rock n’Roller Coaster. If you’d prefer to refresh and take a break from the warm weather, try one of the water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
Action and Adventure
There are a number of exhilarating rides and attractions at Walt Disney World that will keep your adrenaline pumping throughout your holiday. At Space Mountain, guests blast through a tunnel before being blasted ‘into space’ on this thrilling ride at the Magic Kingdom. The ride involves scaling a 180-feet tall mountain prior to hurtling down a twisting and turning tunnel in the dark, all whilst you see shooting stars and listen to the futuristic sounds being pumped out by the sound system. One of the most popular rides at Walt Disney World is the Toy Story Midway Mania, a 4D shooting gallery that lets guests try their hand at rootin’ tootin’ Western-style shooting games, with increasing difficulty levels and a surprise ‘Easter egg’ that alters the game and exposes secret extra targets that only the best shooters will be able to hit. The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad features a runaway mine train built into the 200-foot mountain of Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland. If you’re looking for a different kind of thrilling, try the Rock n’Roller Coaster, which stars Aerosmith – or their songs at least – and sends guests hurtling from zero to 60mph in around a minute before three loops.
Life's a Beach
When it comes to enjoying a ‘sun, sea and sand’ experience, Walt Disney World has a couple of water parks and constantly basks in warm sunshine all year round. Of course, with a name like the Sunshine State, Florida has plenty of lovely beaches to enjoy if you crave a day at a real beach rather than a water park. The closest beach to Disney World takes a little over an hour by car to reach and is situated to the south east of Orlando in Cocoa Beach. You can combine history with a traditional beach experience by heading to the Cocoa Beach Pier, a famous historical pier that reaches for 800 feet into the Atlantic and has a number of gift shops, a fishing area and five restaurants. Other nearby beaches include the self-titled ‘world’s most famous beach’, at Daytona, which extends for 23 miles along the coastline and even has drivable areas. To experience Florida in its natural state, head to the Canaveral National Seashore to explore the 24 miles of unspoilt beach, with sand dunes and a lagoon. Here you can enjoy plenty of fun activities including fishing, canoeing, surfing, boating and embark on a guided boat tour.
Being a family-friendly amusement resort, Walt Disney World doesn’t have any buzzing nightclubs to speak of. When it comes to evening entertainment, it’s important to note that each of the individual theme parks within the resort have their own independent opening hours. Some theme parks such as the Magic Kingdom Park have extra ‘magic’ hours, extended opening times and are available to guests of certain Walt Disney World Resort hotels to help them enjoy additional time at the park outside of normal operating hours. The water parks here both close at 5pm, while many of the theme parks including Epcot Future World and Epcot World Showcase shut at 9pm, Disney’s Hollywood Studios at 9.30pm and Magic Kingdom Park ordinarily shuts at 10pm daily. The long opening hours make it easier for you to enjoy all the rides you want during your visit, stop for lunch and dinner, and give your food time to digest before set off on rides again. It also gives you a chance to fit in some leisure activities like golf and shopping.
Walt Disney World isn’t the first place that many people think of when they think about destinations for a couple’s retreat. However, with the beautiful Floridian weather, romantic fairy-tale palaces and exciting rides, Walt Disney World continues to attract couples from around the globe year after year. Whether you’re a couple in your twenties or sixties, the huge range of attractions at Walt Disney World guarantees there’s something to suit you. Some of the most romantic hotel resorts at Walt Disney World include The Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, which also has a spa and pristine grounds. The Four Seasons Resort Orlando has beautifully decorated rooms with luxurious modern furnishings and an exclusive feel, giving you the chance to feel like a superstar during your romantic getaway. Even without going to Florida’s natural beaches, you can experience all the fun of a beach holiday at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, with a number of gorgeous pools and palm trees swaying in the breeze.
Disney holds a unique place in popular culture. We’ve all seen classic Disney movies including Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, animated masterpiece Toy Story, and modern hits Maleficent, and Beauty and the Beast. Disney used to produce solely animated movies and short films, and has now diversified into the fields of computer-generated animation and live action movies. There are said to be several live action Disney remakes currently in-the-works, including Aladdin and Mulan. With the company’s takeover of the Star Wars franchise and the critical acclaim of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Disney look set to continue and even expand their domination of the family-friendly media market. Parents are often happy to treat their children to a holiday at Walt Disney World as Disney films are grounded in wholesome values and provide children with good role models, such as the strong female characters Mulan and Pocahontas who break gender and cultural barriers, to modern icons like Moana and Princess Elsa of Frozen.