Now is a good time to start planning that summer trip to Walt Disney World next year. What–already? Yes. Take it from Juanita Maberry, whose article “Let’s Go to Walt Disney World,” appeared in the October Eagle Peak Quarterly. This post is excerpted from her article.
If you’ve never been to Disney World I really recommend it, no matter what age you are. [Note: While you will see people there with toddlers, bringing your own will complicate your life–requiring naps, getting tired and cranky, etc. You and they will enjoy the experience more after they’re six or seven.] I mentally feel 50+ years younger when I am there and I always have a great time. From your resort (if you’re staying on site, which I recommend), to the parks, restaurants, shopping areas, and lounges you’re surrounded by all things Disney. There is a wonderful themed pool at each resort. Some resorts have beaches, many have table service restaurants, others have lounges and some have entertainment.”
Disney World has four theme parks: Magic Kingdom (the first park to open on October 1, 1971), Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. There are also 2 water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), 29 resorts and a campground, 5 golf courses, 2 mini-golf courses, many lakes (offering water sports, boating, and fishing), 2 dinner shows, an entertainment district (BoardWalk), and a shopping/restaurant district called Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney).
Each park is located in a different area of Disney World, which is massive?the size of San Francisco or 25,000 acres. Animal Kingdom Park is 500 acres, Epcot is 300 acres, Hollywood Studios is 154 acres, and Magic Kingdom is 107 acres. Just for comparison, Disneyland in Anaheim, California is 85 acres (they have now opened a second park there, California Adventures, 72 acres). So a vacation in Disney World means walking, walking, and more walking but you’ll love the free buses to get you from your resort hotel to the parks. There are also two monorail lines and boats along waterways. Each Disney World park is different with different attractions and shows.
Stuff no one tells you about Disney World
It is huge! Each park is huge and you will do a lot of walking. It is important start walking months before you go to Disney World. You can easily walk miles a day at any of the parks. If you’re not used to walking, it can be a grueling experience. Don’t wear new shoes to Disney World, bring those that are well worn in, this is extremely important. You can also shop for stuff like ear hats and backpacks before you leave home; the Disney Store sometimes will even have sales. Stuff you buy at Disney World is expensive.
If you don’t want to do all this work yourself, many travel agents can help you with this. However, you still need to provide them with your budget, when you want to go, and other information as I have mentioned. I have heard that some of them will do everything for you at no cost to you and will apply any discounts and deals that pop up automatically.
One critical thing to know: you cannot do it all in one visit. You need to select what you can do or want to do and set your priorities. You can always go back. Be aware that things are always changing at Disney World. They will discontinue a ride or event and replace it with something else periodically.