The works of Walt Disney and their incredibly talented animators have become etched in our culture and their characters in our minds. October 2023 is the centenary of the founding of the Disney company by Walt Disney, which from its origins has led the way in developing animated film as a medium for telling stories. Building on the incredible success of the studios was the development of live entertainment to engage visitors.
This year is particularly special for the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, which is concluding its 50th anniversary celebrations. Comprising four theme parks – the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the combined parks cover some 30,000 acres, roughly the size of San Francisco. These parks welcome some 48 million visitors annually.
Many of us remember school or family trips to see the amazing sights and are now as parents or grandparents returning, wondering what to make of the experience. The great news is that many aspects are the same and, while daunting, Disney has done an amazing job of creating fun for children and adults of all ages. Ranging from elevated dining experiences to high-end resort accommodations, there are many options. Additionally, the attractions that have been installed in the past few years and those planned for the years to come are truly state-of-the-art experiences that will stay with you long after you have returned home. In terms of planning a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort, here is some general advice followed by a few specific pointers for each of the parks in turn.
One of the key decisions to make early is regarding accommodation. Staying at one of the resort properties inside Walt Disney World offers you access to the parks 30 minutes before opening. If you are on a short trip, whilst staying off-resort might offer cost savings, you could find the key attractions to have a two- to four-hour wait. A second decision is how much time to spend at each of the four parks – trying a day per park is a good starting point. While you may not see everything in a day, you will understand the park far better. Alternatively, you can get a day pass, which enables you to move to another park after 2 p,m., which is useful if your group is unsure of a particular park or has a single thing it wants to do.
The resorts offer other benefits, too: The incredible Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, for example, is known for its Disney desk – staffed by highly skilled Disney cast members who can advise you on the ins-and-outs of achieving the goals of your visit, which is absolutely critical for a successful trip.
Next, get the app for your phone. This will allow you to purchase daily access and to selectively get into a fast-track queue for an attraction – a key time-saver to keep everyone happy and moving along. Magic Band+ is a high-tech wearable band that can enable payments, access to attractions, and in some Disney hotels act as a room key.
The Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is the most iconic of the four theme parks, containing the Cinderella Castle and attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and River Cruise. Just opened is the new TRON Lightcycle / Run based on the movie in the Tomorrowland section of the Magic Kingdom. Hang on!
Disney Animal Kingdom
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Animal Kingdom, home to a safari experience, Asian animals, and food, dinosaurs and now Pandora – The World of Avatar. The Avatar Flight of Passage is amongst the top rides across Walt Disney World and a must-experience attraction.
A very intriguing trip around the world: Visit countries and see some of their architectural styles, try their food, and get insights into their cultures. Countries range from Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Morocco, Japan, China, and even the United States of America. Around the World in under a day!
Disney Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios is currently headlined by the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area, which contains the Rise of the Resistance ride and the Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run – two incredibly popular attractions. Other highlights include an Indiana Jones stunt experience, Toy Story and Muppet Vision 3-D.
One of the more interesting attractions you’ll discover is Walt Disney Presents — a short documentary on the life of Walt Disney that helps you understand the vision he developed and championed. It remains an amazing feat of faith, when – despite all the cinematic success he had – he chose to purchase thousands of acres of swampland with the aim of creating a whole new physical world in which his and every other child could play.
Perhaps the true magic of Disney World is that it continues to captivate visitors of all ages.
For more information, please visit: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com.