Walt Disney World 101
Nothing will cure what ails you like a trip to Walt Disney World.
After a few days inside the Disney Bubble, you’ll forget all your worries and feel only joy.
Since Walt Disney World is arguably the most popular tourist destination on the planet, there’s a lot you need to know about the trip.
Fortunately, MickeyBlog is here to help! Here’s our guide to it all, Walt Disney World 101.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
When you hear the term Walt Disney World, it’s oddly vague.
You don’t fully understand the totality of this massive tourism campus until you’ve visited.
Walt Disney World proper consists of four different theme parks.
The terminology matters, because each park comes with its own identity (i.e. theme).
As you might guess, Animal Kingdom hosts dozens of animal species across numerous habitats.
You’re likely envisioning a zoo, but even that’s not quite right.
The park animals here don’t live in cages. Instead zoologists have designed authentic habitats where the animals live safely and comfortably.
It’s legitimately better than what they’d face in the wild.
Disney attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris and Affection Section allow you to watch the animals in these habitats, and sometimes even interact with them.
Remarkably, that’s only a small portion of what you can do at this park.
Several of the rides are E-Ticket attractions like Expedition Everest, Avatar Flight of Passage, and Na’Vi River Journey.
During an average visit, you’ll probably spend more time on rides than looking at the animals.
Animal Kingdom is an attraction-oriented theme park that happens to have animals, too.
Children love the place, but adults will also discover plenty to do.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The park that has changed the most in recent years is Hollywood Studios.
The premise here is that you can ride the movies, and park officials have rededicated themselves to bringing that vision to life.
At this location, you’ll find rides that are less than five years old, including Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Slinky Dog Dash, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and Alien Swirling Saucers.
Previously existing attractions include Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Toy Story Mania!, and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
No other theme park in the world hosts new attractions that rival what you’ll discover at Hollywood Studios.
The flip side of this statement involves crowd sizes. This park is the smallest one at Walt Disney World, but it has some of the longest lines.
Please calibrate your itinerary around that knowledge.
When you just want to kick back and relax, the best Disney theme park is EPCOT.
Walt Disney himself coined this acronym to mean the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
He envisioned a functional, capitalist utopia where people worked and lived at Disney.
His tragic death prevented this from happening, though.
In his wake, EPCOT became half theme park and half daily World’s Fair.
The front of EPCOT is where you’ll find most of the rides and some show-based attractions.
The back of the park, the World Showcase, hosts many international pavilions.
Each of them features architecture appropriate for the country in question, plus authentic cuisine.
At the France pavilion, an Eiffel Tower replica greets you as you approach.
Meanwhile, the restaurants like Chefs de France and Monsieur Paul serve the kind of food that will make you swear you’re in a Parisian cafe.
EPCOT also hosts four annual festivals, covering most days on the calendar. So, more often than not, you can enjoy unique activities exclusive to each festival.
Plus, EPCOT features pop-up food kiosks during these exhibitions. You’ll love the food here that much more, and it’s much cheaper, too.
As for the rides, we’re talking about Frozen Ever After, Test Track, Soarin’ Around the World, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
This park has some terrific rides, and the lines are usually shorter than elsewhere.
When you think of Walt Disney World as a whole, what you probably have in mind is Magic Kingdom.
It’s the Day One theme park that’s home to most of the iconic Disney attractions. I’m talking about the ones with name recognition.
At Magic Kingdom, you’ll find Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan’s Flight, and it’s a small world.
Magic Kingdom is legitimately the alpha in the theme park industry, having gained the most daily visitors for several years running.
When you visit Magic Kingdom, the outside world vanishes in your mind. Fans call this the Disney bubble, and it applies best at this park.
Imagineers designed Magic Kingdom to play tricks with your mind, and I mean that in a good way.
When you enter the park, you’re walking down Main Street, U.S.A., a simpler time when life wasn’t so challenging.
Ahead of you, you’ll notice Cinderella Castle, the place where all roads lead at Magic Kingdom.
Whether you’re visiting Adventureland, Tomorrowland, or Fantasyland, a direct path will return you to the castle.
It’s oddly comforting and prevents you from getting lost.
Imagine the Mall of America if it were outdoors in sunny Florida and served better food.
You now have a pretty good idea of what Disney Springs is.
Disney owns this entertainment complex and operates many of the businesses; however, some restaurants and other options come from third parties.
We’re talking about name brand businesses like Harley-Davidson, Cirque du Soleil, AMC Theatres, and Splitsville Luxury Lanes.
This might be the only place in the world where you’ll find all four of these businesses anywhere near one another.
The dining at Disney Springs is better than anything you’ll find in your town, unless you live in New York City.
It’s an embarrassment of riches. Celebrity chefs like Art Smith, Guy Fieri, Jose Andres, and Masaharu Morimoto own Disney Springs restaurants and frequently appear.
Other places like The BOATHOUSE, T-REX, and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar will dazzle you with their immaculate theming.
While on vacation, you want to shop and eat, and that’s Disney Springs in a nutshell.
About Disney Tickets
You need to know a couple of things about Disney Park tickets.
The standard admission ticket entitles you to access to one theme park for one day.
Let’s say that you buy a standard four-day, four-park ticket. You can spend one day each at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and so forth.
For that matter, you could spend all four days at Hollywood Studios if you wanted.
Each park has more than a full day’s worth of activities.
Still, for various reasons, I strongly suggest that you purchase a Park Hopper ticket. This type of admission entitles you to switch parks during the same day.
In other words, you could leave Magic Kingdom in the afternoon and take a monorail to EPCOT to spend the evening there.
You’ll have more opportunities to maximize your vacation without stressing yourself out.
The other piece of advice I’ll give is that you should stay at Walt Disney World as long as you can.
We’ve legitimately had two-week vacations there where we’ve never run out of things to do.
Also, the price of tickets lowers on a per-day basis as you buy more. Disney incentivizes you to stay longer.
So, an extra day or two of tickets never hurts.
About Disney Resorts
The other thing to keep in mind is that Disney operates more than 20 Orlando resorts.
This fact is important because you can find a Disney resort to fit any vacation budget.
Also, when you stay at an official Disney resort, you gain unique amenities, like early theme park entry.
With this benefit, you can enter any Walt Disney World theme park 30 minutes before it opens to the general public.
So, you’ll get to ride Disney’s most popular attractions before the day even begins for most.
My suggestion would be to speak with a MickeyTravels agent.
They can book you the Walt Disney World vacation package that will maximize your budget and sprinkle a bit of magic on your trip.
Best of all, the service is free to you.