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Guide To Disney World

Disneyland 610 Staycation header km
(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

The Walt Disney World Resorts and Theme Parks are visited by millions of vacationers who make their way to the Central Florida area for some fun in the sun. The theme parks are some of the most visited places in Florida, mostly because it is one of the most family-friendly destinations in the world. There are many reasons to visit Disney, including a chance to see Mickey Mouse at the Magic Kingdom. However, there is so much more to see and do at Walt Disney World than just one park and one mouse. Nestled in a world all of its own, Disney is home to four parks, more than 25 themed resorts, plenty of shopping, loads of entertainment, unique dining experiences and plenty of recreation opportunities for families to enjoy.

Photo Credit: Disneyworld
Photo Credit: Disneyworld

Theme Parks

Magic Kingdom
Disney is best known for its four theme parks. The first park, Magic Kingdom, offers a chance for families to experience a whole new world and is divided into four different lands - Adventureland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. Each themed land offers unique rides, attractions, shows, shopping and dining experiences based on the theme of the land.

Epcot's Shining Icon
(credit: Gene Duncan/Disney)

Families will be transported into the future the moment they step into Epcot. The park is home to many futuristic attractions, including Innoventions, and is a place to get a hands-on opportunity to try technology of the future. After seeing the future, families can slow things down and travel around the world, sampling native cuisine and learning about the cultures of 11 different countries.

George Lucas Poses With A Group Of "Star Wars" Inspired Disney Characters At Disney's Hollywood Studios
(credit: Todd Anderson/Getty Images)

Disney's Hollywood Studios
Step onto the set of a movie at Disney's Hollywood Studios. This Disney park has everything you would imagine right out of Hollywood's Golden Age. This park features eight different sections filled with movies, shows, shops and restaurants, all themed around popular movies and the Hollywood lifestyle.

animal kingdom lodge disney world
(credit: Disney)

Disney's Animal Kingdom
Explore one of the world's largest theme parks and get a close look at more than 1,700 animals from around the world at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This park celebrates Mother Nature with six different lands focused on education, animal care, conservation and research.

Monorail Pool
(credit: Disney Parks)

Water Parks

Take a day, or two, away from the Disney theme parks by cooling off at one of the two water parks - Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Disney's Blizzard Beach. Though each water park features its own unique theme, both water parks offer thrilling rides, relaxing lounge areas, pools and much more.

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Disney offers a variety of types of theme park tickets, including one-day, multi-day, park hoppers, annual passes, water parks and more. The different ticket options make it possible for families to customize their Disney vacation, based upon their budget and vacation needs. Keep in mind, the more days you add to a multi-day ticket, the cheaper it costs per day to visit the parks. Disney also offers enhancements to park tickets, including the Memory Maker which allows guests to have unlimited photos taken by Disney PhotoPass photographers. With this enhancement, guests will have access to digital copies of their vacation ready to download and share with friends and family.

Downtown Disney

The Downtown Disney area of Walt Disney World offers a world of entertainment, shopping and dining all in a single location. With everything all in one place, you won't feel the need to purchase a theme park ticket. Downtown Disney is divided up into three different sections - Downtown Disney West Side, Downtown Disney Marketplace and Pleasure Island. Attractions at Downtown Disney include T-Rex Café and other themed dining venues, a 30-lane bowling alley and more than 40 stores to shop from.

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Spend some time by the pool (Credit, Heather Leigh Carroll)
Spend some time by the pool (credit: Heather Leigh Carroll)


Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resorts and Theme Parks are able to enjoy the many different recreation options available at their hotel including themed pool areas, arcades, basketball courts, playgrounds, fitness centers and children's playgrounds. Some resorts, such as Disney's Yacht Club, Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Resort (just to name a few), have marinas where guests can rent boats to spend some time out on the lake. Bass fishing excursions, private cruises and firework cruises are also available from most of the Disney marinas. Guests can enjoy some more extreme water sports, including jet skiing and parasailing, which is available through Sammy Duvall's at Disney's Contemporary Resort.Bike rentals are available at select Disney resort locations, including Disney's Yacht Club, Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Disney's Port Orleans Resort. Some locations offer surrey bike rentals for families to take a ride all together.Disney Deluxe resorts offer more recreational options for guests, including community centers, daily activities and children's activity centers. Activities offered vary by resort and may include campfires, movies under the stars, sports, games and crafts. For an exciting campfire experience, head on over to Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and take part in Chip 'n Dale's Campfire Sing-A-Long.If you are looking for a resort you never have to leave because there is so much to do there, Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort is where you need to stay. Tri Circle D Ranch offers horseback riding excursions, pony rides and carriage rides. Archery is also available at the resort, in addition to all of the planned activities, recreation areas, dining and shopping. There are many different opportunities for guests to go golfing during their Disney vacation. Golf courses at Disney include Disney's Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, Disney's Magnolia Golf Course, Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course and Disney's Palm Golf Course. There are two miniature golf courses on the property too - Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Mini Golf Course and Winter-Summerland Mini Golf Course.


In addition to shopping at Downtown Disney, guests will have access to a variety of shops located throughout all of the resorts and theme parks. Each store will feature items based on its location, including some exclusive items.


There are many restaurants located throughout all of the Disney resorts and parks. Each restaurant offers it own menu and dining options for guests with different tastes, dietary needs and budget. Restaurants available at Disney include table service, buffets, family-style, quick service and character dining.


The theme parks are filled with plenty of entertainment opportunities, including shows, character interaction locations, tours and attractions. Other theme park and resort entertainment includes live bands, DJ dance parties, dinner shows and fireworks. The Electrical Water Pageant sets sail along the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon and can be seen from the shores of Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Disney's Contemporary Resort. Downtown Disney offers a variety of entertainment options, including movies at AMC and five floors of interactive gaming excitement at DisneyQuest. The House of Blues location at Downtown Disney Westside hosts live concerts throughout the year.

Sassagoula River Boat (Credit, Heather Leigh Carroll)
Sassagoula River Boat (credit: Heather Leigh Carroll)


Transportation is available complimentary for all guests staying at a Disney resort to all of the theme parks, water parks and Downtown Disney from each resort. Types of Disney transportation include bus, watercraft and monorail as well, making it easy to get to and from any of your destinations.

Heather Landon is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions - writing and travel - to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at

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