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Ultimate guide to Walt Disney World Resort Florida

There is plenty of fun to be had under the Florida sun at Walt Disney World Resort

Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disneys Animal Kingdom. C Disney
Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Image: Disney

With four theme parks, two water parks and a range of enchanting themed hotels, Walt Disney World Resort Florida is the perfect place for a family holiday. Spread across 100sq km, the resort’s entrance is just 32km from Orlando International Airport.

MAGIC KINGDOM

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park. Image Matt Stroshane
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park. Image: Matt Stroshane

This quintessential Disney theme park was the first to open at Walt Disney World Resort in 1971. Like Disneyland California it has six themed lands, with Cinderella Castle at its centre. They include Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Walt Disney World Resort is home to popular attractions such as the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, it’s a small world, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, the Mad Tea Party, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Princess Fairytale Hall.

EPCOT

Guests will be able to enter the world of Mary Poppins at Epcot
Guests will be able to enter the world of Mary Poppins at Epcot

This theme park celebrating human achievement through technology and international culture is about to undergo a major transformation. World Showcase will welcome a new neighbourhood inspired by Mary Poppins, with the much-anticipated attraction Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure set to open in 2020. In World Nature, Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will be a lush exploration trail where guests can meet and play with magical, living water. In World Discovery, guests will ride on a thrilling new space-themed rollercoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Other highlights include sailing into Arendelle with Anna, Elsa and friends on the Frozen Ever After attraction and flying over spectacular scenic wonders on Soarin’ Around the World.

DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

Mickey Mouse stars in Fantasmic at Disneys Hollywood Studios. Image David Roark
Mickey Mouse stars in Fantasmic at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Image: David Roark

Inspired by the world of film, television and music, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to the new land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Other highlights include Toy Story Midway Mania! and Slinky Dog Dash in the new Toy Story Land, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror, Fantasmic!, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, and Walt Disney Presents, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.

DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM

Stay in the Finding Nemo wings of Disneys Art of Animation Resort. Image Matt Stroshane
Stay in the Finding Nemo wings of Disney's Art of Animation Resort. Image: Matt Stroshane

See real exotic animals, journey into the fantastical world of Avatar and watch mesmerising shows at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Jungles, forests and a vast savannah are divided into five themed lands: Africa, DinoLand USA, Discovery Island, Asia and Pandora – The World of Avatar. Some of the hottest attractions include Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids, Finding Nemo – The Musical, and It’s Tough to be a Bug!

WATER PARKS

Cool off at one of two fabulous water parks. Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park is built around the mythical tale of a one-time ski resort that melted into soothing, warm water. Adults can zip down the slushy slopes of Mount Gushmore on one of the world’s tallest and fastest free fall waterslides, while kids can splash about in their own water play area with a snow-castle fountain and kid-sized slides. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is a tropical paradise created by a fierce storm that left a shrimp boat perched atop Mount Mayday. It boasts the largest wave pool in North America, raft rides and lazy rivers.

DISNEY SPRINGS

This waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment complex is divided into four outdoor neighbourhoods: The Landing, Town Center, Marketplace and West Side. Check out shops such as the World of Disney store, Coca-Cola store and ZARA, and dine at Morimoto Asia, Planet Hollywood Observatory™, Splitsville Luxury Lanes™ or House of Blues.

WHERE TO STAY

With more than 25 Disney Resort Hotels in the area, there is an accommodation option for every budget. The most affordable include Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Moderately priced offerings include Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Or splash out at one of the deluxe resorts, such as Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

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