Here are some tips & tidbits to make your trip to Walt Disney World Florida as much fun as possible!
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I had never visited Walt Disney World Resort in Florida before, and when I was initially making plans for this trip I have to admit I was very overwhelmed because the resort is so huge! But after taking some time to do my research I soon realized that I didn’t need to feel that way. Yes, the resort is enormous, and you might not be able to see everything in one visit, but the layout is easy to navigate after you take a little time to plan. The great thing about the Walt Disney World Florida is that you don’t even have to leave the resort for your entire stay. In fact, you could easily spend 5 – 7 days just on the resort itself because there is so much to see and do!
After spending some time visiting Disney in 2016 (between California and Florida), I have a few tips I’d like to share with you to help make your visits to the happiest place on earth, the best!
Walt Disney World Florida Fun Facts!
Before you visit Walt Disney World Florida, here are some fun facts that you might like to know! The biggest surprise for me was how big the resort was, and how much it had to offer. I would definitely recommend staying right on the resort to get the most out of your stay! Here are some interesting tidbits:
- Walt Disney World Florida is a 25,000 acre resort! And about 1/3 of that is conservation area!
- The resort has:
- 4 theme parks: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- 2 water parks: Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
- 36 resort hotels: visit them here
- camping: 409 Wilderness Cabins/799 Campsites
- 4 golf courses
- 2 full service spas
- 250 restaurants
- Disney Springs: an entertainment, shopping and dining complex (expansion coming May/June 2016)
- Walt Disney World employs around 70,000 people!
Things you need to know to make your visit more enjoyable!
- MagicBands: If you stay on the Walt Disney World Resort, you and all of your family members will be given a Magic Band, and they are the best thing ever! These are waterproof bands that look like a watch or fitness bracelet that you wear during your entire stay. With a simple touch you can enter the parks, check in at FastPass+ entrances, unlock your hotel room door, charge food & merchandise, and more. They eliminate having to carry a lot of unnecessary items while you visit the parks!
- Use the Disney FastPass+ service! This service lets you reserve access to select rides, attractions, character greetings and entertainment at no extra charge! Basically these passes get you into select popular attractions without having to stand in the long general access lines. And with the purchase of a park pass, you can start making selections as early as 30 days before you arrive. Keep in mind that you can only reserve 3 FastPasses per day, so get them early and choose wisely!
- Download the My Disney Experience Mobile App. This app is really worthwhile to have on your phones before you even get to the park. With this app you can plan your stay, manage your stay and Magic bands, have a GPS map at your fingertips, buy theme park tickets, get wait times and show times, find out where your favourite Disney characters are for picture taking and much more.
- Make sure to check resort opening and closing times: the different parks open and close at different times, so to make best use of your day, plan accordingly.
- Pictures with your favourite characters: If you want pictures with your favourite characters find out when and where they will be to make that happen – they don’t just walk around the park – you have to find them at specific times and possibly stand in line. This is where the Disney App comes in handy!
- If you don’t want to carry cash, consider buying a Disney gift card to store your money, or attach your Visa card to your MagicBand.
- Buy a $16.99 refillable cup for your stay. With this cup you can have endless refills during your entire stay (pop, water, coffee…). You can find them at kiosks and restaurants throughout the park.
- Shopping: If you find yourself with arms or carts full of trinkets and souvenirs, there is a Merchandise Package Delivery & Pickup service available. You can even have your items delivered right to your resort hotel room so you don’t have to carry your purchases around all day.
- There is great and free wifi around the parks and resort.
When to go?
Honestly, I’m not sure there is ever a quiet time at any Disney resort! I’ve gone in the summer and in November and both times were equally busy! Plus, at any given time there is always something exciting going on, so just do your research ahead of time to find the best time for you. And go prepared. Preparation is key.
A fun time to consider visiting is during a holiday season, because the parks offer different attractions and experiences. I had never considered visiting a Disney park during a holiday season, but was I ever happy to have had the chance to do so. Disney parks at seasonal times are really special. I went during the Christmas season and it was really neat to see the parks all decked out in Christmas decor! During the Christmas season the Cinderella castle is especially gorgeous, and you have the chance to attend special events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party where you can enjoy live entertainment, fireworks and a holiday themed parade. Another great time to visit is around Halloween!
Where to Stay?
There are 36 hotels to choose from (to suit all budgets) on the Walt Disney World Resort! I have only had experience with 2 of the resorts, but enjoyed both very much! For the complete list of places to stay on the resort, you can view them here.
During my last visit I stayed at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. I really enjoyed my stay here, the resort was beautiful with its cobblestone walkways, huge pool, and delicious restaurants.
I also had the opportunity to tour the Disney’s Art of Animation Resort which would be SUCH a fantastic place to stay with the kids! During your stay on this 87 acre resort you are surrounded in the artistry, enchantment and magic of Walt Disney and Disney•Pixar movies. such as Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. A kids dream come true!
From themed rooms and restaurants, to the largest pool on the Disney property, The Nemo Pool, to you are guaranteed to have a wonderful stay. This is definitely where we will go on our next family trip.
How to get around?
- It is really easy and fairly stress free to get around the resort. There are shuttle services (Monorail trains, ferryboats, launches or motor coach shuttle service) between all parks and hotels at convenient times all throughout the day. I utilized the shuttles during my entire stay and really loved being able to jump between parks any time I wanted.
Where to Eat?
- There are healthy meal options at all of the theme parks, including fresh fruit snacks, vegan & dairy free & gluten free options. I found the food to be very good all throughout the resort, and really appreciated all of the healthy options.
- My must have eats: Dole Whips and the grown up versions which are made with coconut rum! SO good! I also loved the churros and sopapillas!
- If you want to save money you can pack a lunch and snacks as well!
- Pack water bottles! It’s hot in Florida so make sure you stay hydrated!
- These are also must haves: sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, good walking shoes, bandaids, wet wipes.
I hope you got some useful tips and tidbits for your trip to Walt Disney Resort! The key to a great holiday is to plan ahead and have fun!
Thank you so much to Disney for making this trip to Walt Disney World possible for me!