The NYC Magic Traveler: Intro to the Walt Disney World Resort, Florida
Updated: Jan 13
So, you have never been to Disney World and now you are planning your trip? First, read this quick intro so that you have an idea of where you are about to go and what you are about to see.
1. Why is it called a resort? Because a loose definition of a resort is a property that contains lodging and other amenities to provide almost everything you may need without having to leave the property. The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is a true resort, in this blog's opinion. The amenities include: option for a dining plan, pool, workout opportunities (some smaller hotels have a running trail, others have a workout room, spa, etc.), golf, mini-golf, movie, water parks (extra cost) and Disney Springs (see #3).
2. Where is it? The Walt Disney World Resort is located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, in basically, its own city. If you fly, the nearest airport would be Orlando International Airport (code MCO).
3. What is there to do? There is more to the resort besides the 4 theme parks and the 2 water parks: you have lodging, golf, sports, dining at the hotels and the shopping and entertainment complex known as Disney Springs. People have been known to stay at the resorts without going to the theme parks at all.
4. Where can I stay? There are literally hundreds of places to stay on and off the Disney property. Finding the right one can be tricky but read this blog and we will help to guide you. Disney owns many of the hotels on its property. They also have what they call Disney Good Neighbor Hotels. For one thing, they cannot house everyone that wants to visit. The resort is often sold out in peak times. For another, it is probably good business to be friends with your competitors. Some of the Good Neighbors are actually on Disney property, a cool thing. Finally, they offer some perks connected with Disney, like a concierge to help plan your time there.
5. How much will it cost? It's pricey. But there are ways to maximize your dollar and have the time of your life. The tickets can run more than $100 per park, per day. However, there are small discounts if you buy a multi-day pass or if you buy a park-hopper pass, a ticket that allows you to go to a different park on the same day. You can also purchase tickets at a small discount through other methods, such as Plum Benefits, AAA or AARP. Then there are the many small booths lining the highways near Disney selling tickets. Make sure you understand all of the limitations and if you have to attend a (sometimes long) presentation and/or tour for a time-share or not.
6. Is Disney World the only Disney resort? The Florida resort is only one of several Disney theme park properties (the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide, Inc): Disneyland Resort in California, Disneyland Paris in France, Shanghai Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in China and Tokyo Disney in Japan.
7. Does Disney Springs cost anything? Disney Springs is currently admission free, even the parking. This is in contrast to Universal Orlando Resort which charges for parking up until a certain time.
8. Is there something for all of the ages of my family? Yes, there is. For teen-agers, prepare them that the thrill rides are scattered throughout the resort and not all in one park. Each theme park has a children's area, usually one water ride (in addition to the two water parks), wheelchair accessibility attractions and many attractions that are considered ride through experiences. In addition, there are Epcot's festivals, Magic Kingdom's and Hollywood Studios' special events and the famous nighttime spectaculars during normal times (events may either be postponed or scaled down during safety and health situations).
9. Why doesn't Disney have extreme rides? Walt Disney wanted to design a park that the whole family could enjoy together, rather than have some family members continually sitting on the side, holding the packages, waiting for the kids to come off the ride.
10. Is it true that there is a lot of merchandising? Yes, there is. While Walt was the dreamer, his brother Roy was the realist. It was Roy's idea to tie in merchandising to the movies, the television shows, the characters, etc. But, Disney is smart to license their merchandising to outside vendors. You can buy authentic, less expensive souvenirs at stores off the property such as Wal-mart, CVS, Walgreens and the many outlets in the area.
Come back here for more articles to help you plan and enjoy your Disney World trips.
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