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Walt disney world® resort vacations & packages.

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Visit Walt Disney World® Resort

Walt disney world® resort vacations and packages.

Disney World packages are your ticket to a magical kingdom of entertainment, where you'll be enchanted at every turn. With 4 theme parks and 2 water parks to explore, there's a lot to pack in. Make memories on Disney World trips with your favorite characters, stay at themed hotels or resorts, and watch the fireworks sparkle above Cinderella Castle. Walt Disney World® Resort is just 15 miles from Orlando International Airport and makes the perfect base for exploring the wider area. Visit the beach or check out the Kennedy Space Center for a change of pace. Discover the magic of Walt Disney vacations with Expedia.    

Walt Disney World® Resort is the perfect place to stay in Orlando as a large number of the area’s star attractions are within easy driving distance. Two sights that should be at the top of every visitor’s itinerary is the wonderful Disney's Boardwalk and the ever-popular Disney's Osprey Ridge Golf Course. Two other great attractions you’ll find within a short distance of Walt Disney World® Resort are the Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and the Disney's Lake Buena Vista Golf Course.

Walt Disney World® Resort has a number of cultural attractions nearby that allow visitors to really get a feel for the area. To experience Orlando’s vibrant arts scene, book a show at one of the popular live performance venues such as the La Nouba Theater in Lake Buena Vista.

After exploring the delights of Walt Disney World® Resort, stay the night at one of the area’s bed-and-breakfasts, hotels or short-stay apartments. Take your pick from the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, Lake Buena Vista, the Walt Disney World Swan Resort, Lake Buena Vista, or the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek.

Buy tickets to Walt Disney World® with Expedia.

Plan a trip to see Walt Disney World® Resort

Palazzo Lakeside Hotel

Palazzo Lakeside Hotel

Reviewed on May 26, 2024

Westgate Palace Hotel / Universal / I-Drive

Westgate Palace Hotel / Universal / I-Drive

Reviewed on May 12, 2024

Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa Universal Studios Area

Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa Universal Studios Area

Reviewed on May 24, 2024

Browse tours and tickets to explore Walt Disney World® Resort

Attractions.

Walt Disney World® Resort Water Park Tickets

Walt Disney World® Resort Water Park Tickets

Walt Disney World® Resort Theme Park Tickets

Walt Disney World® Resort Theme Park Tickets

Walt Disney World® Resort Disney After Hours

Walt Disney World® Resort Disney After Hours

Universal Orlando Resort Theme Park Tickets

Universal Orlando Resort Theme Park Tickets

Kennedy Space Center Admission

Kennedy Space Center Admission

Universal Orlando Resort Express Passes

Universal Orlando Resort Express Passes

Aquatica Orlando

Aquatica Orlando

WonderWorks Orlando Admission Tickets

WonderWorks Orlando Admission Tickets

Go City: Orlando Explorer Pass - Choose 2 to 5 Attractions

Go City: Orlando Explorer Pass - Choose 2 to 5 Attractions

Crayola Experience Admission Tickets

Crayola Experience Admission Tickets

Wildlife & nature.

Orlando: Island H2O Water Park Admission

Orlando: Island H2O Water Park Admission

Manatees Swim, Snorkel and Boat Day Tour from Orlando

Manatees Swim, Snorkel and Boat Day Tour from Orlando

Deep-Sea Fishing Tour in the Gulf of Mexico with Lunch

Deep-Sea Fishing Tour in the Gulf of Mexico with Lunch

Clearwater Deep Sea Fishing

Clearwater Deep Sea Fishing

4 Hours Morning Bass Fishing in Orlando

4 Hours Morning Bass Fishing in Orlando

2 Hour Eco Tour

2 Hour Eco Tour

Florida: 90 Minute Everglades Cruise

Florida: 90 Minute Everglades Cruise

Shows & concerts.

Go City: Orlando All-Inclusive Pass with Kennedy Space Center

Go City: Orlando All-Inclusive Pass with Kennedy Space Center

Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil and Disney

Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil and Disney

Pirate's Dinner Adventure Orlando

Pirate's Dinner Adventure Orlando

The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show

The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show

Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows

Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows

Orlando: Polynesian Fire Luau with Dinner and Live Show

Orlando: Polynesian Fire Luau with Dinner and Live Show

Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Show, Orlando

Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Show, Orlando

Orlando: Andretti Indoor Karting Attraction Ticket

Orlando: Andretti Indoor Karting Attraction Ticket

Kissimmee: Old Town Ferris Wheel, Attractions, and Dinner

Kissimmee: Old Town Ferris Wheel, Attractions, and Dinner

Tours & day trips.

Clearwater Beach Day Trip

Clearwater Beach Day Trip

Orlando: Museum of Illusions Admission Ticket

Orlando: Museum of Illusions Admission Ticket

Kennedy Space Center Tour with Transportation from Orlando Region

Kennedy Space Center Tour with Transportation from Orlando Region

St. Augustine Day Trip with Transportation

St. Augustine Day Trip with Transportation

16 miles Private Helicopter Day Tour over Fun Spot

16 miles Private Helicopter Day Tour over Fun Spot

Private Helicopter After-hours Tour: Orlando Parks (31or48 miles)

Private Helicopter After-hours Tour: Orlando Parks (31or48 miles)

Day Trip to Clearwater Beach with Sea Screamer Ride

Day Trip to Clearwater Beach with Sea Screamer Ride

Park Whispers: Love and Legacy in Orlando

Park Whispers: Love and Legacy in Orlando

Shopping & fashion.

Kids Eat Free iCard PLUS City Hopper (Orlando, Virginia and more)

Kids Eat Free iCard PLUS City Hopper (Orlando, Virginia and more)

Dollar Off Drinks Card: Orlando

Dollar Off Drinks Card: Orlando

The ICONic City Tour of Orlando

The ICONic City Tour of Orlando

The Mall at Millenia's Personal Styling Experience

The Mall at Millenia's Personal Styling Experience

Reviews of walt disney world® resort, 5/5 - excellent.

Definitely stop at Walmart and pick up all your Disney apparel

Too much walking, most of waiting areas have no shade

Kennedy Space Center Seaworld Magic Kingdom

We had dinner at Boma and it was an excellent buffet. We really enjoyed it.

Pricing was the same on line as it was getting them at the resort we stayed at

Check all the extra $$ needed for resort fees, parking and bell hops before booking a room!

Popular places to visit

  • Magic Kingdom® Park

One of the most famous theme parks in the world offers a land of fun and fantasy at the foot of a fairytale castle.

Beachcomber Beach

Why not spend a lazy afternoon at Beachcomber Beach during your trip to Lake Buena Vista? Discover the top-notch restaurants and entertainment choices in this family-friendly area.

Tibet Butler Preserve

Explore the lovely green spaces of Tibet Butler Preserve and enjoy the golf courses in Windermere. Check out the shops and top-notch restaurants in this family-friendly area.

Grand Cypress Golf Club

Play a few rounds of golf at these Nicklaus-designed, award-winning courses which are located in the very heart of sunny Orlando.

Design your own race car and take an international food safari at the theme park that celebrates human achievement.

Norway Pavilion

Bring your family to Norway Pavilion and have a fun-filled day at this theme park in Lake Buena Vista. Discover the top-notch restaurants and entertainment choices in this family-friendly area.

Best Lodging Options Near Walt Disney World® Resort

Check availability on hotels close to walt disney world® resort.

Map of hotels in Walt Disney World® Resort

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orlando disney world trip

  • Disney World Packages
  • Orlando Vacation Package Deals

GREAT DEALS Build your own Walt Disney World Package Deal!

Orlando Hotels experience

Walt Disney World Packages

Get the best deal on  Disney vacations and purchase a Walt Disney World ® vacation package complete with lodging and Walt Disney World tickets together. Customers who purchase a  Disney Package  save an average of 12% more than customers who buy each item each.

To find the absolute best Walt Disney World ® vacation package please use our custom package builder above or below. It will assist you in building your amazing  Orlando vacation package in just a few short minutes. Enter your travel dates and the number of adults and children in your party then click submit. The tool will show you the Orlando   hotels and vacation home rentals we have available during your travel dates, after you select your lodging the tool will walk you to the best options for choosing the   Walt Disney World tickets  for your party. If you have questions, please feel free to call us toll-free at (800) 641-4008 and one of our friendly Reservation Specialists will be more than happy to assist you in planning your best Orlando vacation .

Benefits of booking Disney Packages with OrlandoVacation.com:

  • We have the lowest prices on our vacation homes, hotels, and theme park tickets ( Walt Disney World tickets , Universal Studios Discounted Tickets , and Discounted SeaWorld Orlando Tickets )
  • We have won the Best of The Best Award for online travel agency customer service for the past 10 years (2013 through 2023).
  • We are proud to offer the easiest and best cancellation policy in Orlando. Click here to see our reservation policy.
  • We offer payment plans- You may call in and pay $5 or $500 on your vacation and the best part about this plan is that we do not charge you any services fees. The only thing we ask for is that your vacation is paid for in full 15 days prior to your arrival. Click here to learn more
  • We only ask for a small $50 deposit to secure your reservation.
  • We charge theme park tickets at the time you are making the booking, and we will send them out within 24 hours of you ordering your tickets so you can make reservations at the specific theme parks you want to visit. The lodging only requires a small $50 deposit and the remaining balance is due 15 days to arrival on hotels and 30 days of arrival on vacation homes.

Here are some great examples for creating Disney Packages…

DW-02-MagicalGetawayPkg

Tips for getting the best deal on a Walt Disney World package:

  • Make Your Theme Park Reservations: Once you know everything is set with your vacation we suggest you go ahead pay off your Walt Disney World ® vacation package deal as soon as possible so that we can mail you your tickets. Why would you want the tickets early? Simple, you can go online and register your tickets and go ahead and make your reservations. Every day you wait, there are more people who are registering before you.
  • Get the Walt Disney World Base Tickets : This one tip will save you $50 per person on your Disney package price. A recent study showed that nearly 75% of the people who go to Walt Disney World buy the Park Hopper Option, but 60% of the people never actually use it. Our suggestion is to order your theme park tickets without the Park Hopper Option. When you are here in town if you find yourself really wanting to hop from park to park you can always go to the customer service desk at each Disney theme park and ask them to add the Park Hopper Option to your tickets which they will gladly do.

What to do in Disney if it rains?

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orlando disney world trip

Ultimate Walt Disney World Planning Guide (2024)

Planning a Disney World vacation can feel like a daunting task, especially for first-time guests. The entire Walt Disney World resort area covers around 43 square miles, which is almost twice the size of Manhattan!  Learning how to plan a Disney Vacation can help ensure you have a great time on your trip.

There are so many engaging activities, exciting attractions, magical details, and wonderful restaurants and resorts.  It’s nearly impossible to experience everything at Disney World over the course of several trips, let alone in a single visit to the park. That’s why it’s important to start your planning early and decide what you should prioritize on your trip.

This guide will take you through how to plan a Disney World vacation step-by-step. Disney vacations have become harder to plan each and every year, with Disney Genie+,  Advanced Dining Reservations, My Disney Experience, transportation, etc.  There’s so much to know, and this Disney vacation planning guide will be your go-to resource.

Do You Need To Plan a Disney World Vacation in Advance?

It’s no longer feasible to go to Disney World without doing at least some planning ahead of time.  Even entering a theme park requires an advance reservation in many cases.

In our view, these are the four bare-minimum planning actions needed to have even a functioning  Disney vacation.

  • Decide when you will visit.   Crowd levels can impact your experience and time of year will affect your overall cost.
  • Decide which park you will attend on each day.   Theme park reservations are mandatory for some ticket types — no reservation, no entry.
  • Decide which hotel you’ll stay in.   While you can technically find a room without a reservation during some parts of the year, it’s not worth the risk.
  • Decide if you want to dine at any table-service restaurants.   Dining reservations are strongly suggested; during the busiest days, many restaurants may completely refuse walk-ups.

These are the minimum plans needed to have a tolerable Disney World vacation.  To make your vacation good — or, dare we say, magical — you’ll probably want to do a good bit more Disney planning.  Below, we walk you through the eleven things you need to do to plan the best possible Disney World vacation .

Our planning guide is a great way to get started with researching your upcoming Disney World vacation.  As you’ll see, planning a Disney trip is no small task.  Imagine if you could have someone else do most of the work for you, for free!

That’s why we strongly recommend you contact the Disney travel agents at The Vacationeer .  There are plenty of good reasons why you should use a Disney travel agent , including taking advantage of their years of Disney experience and letting them handle making all of your reservations.

But one of the best reasons is that their planning services don’t cost you anything!

The Eleven Steps to Disney World Planning

There are plenty of ways to plan your Disney vacation, and everybody has their own way of doing it.  Below we’ve outlined what we believe to be eleven critical steps, in roughly the order that you should do them.  We’ve tried not to overwhelm you with too much information at once, but there’s no doubt that planning a Disney trip can be very complicated.  Take your time, read through it all, and follow the links throughout to find out more about some of the items we discuss here.

1. Learn the basics by doing some research

Magic Kingdom

As you start to plan for a Disney World vacation, you should begin researching well in advance of booking the trip.  The information you gather during this important first step will help you through the rest of the process; starting early gives you plenty of time to learn before key dates in the trip planning process.  It will also be key to creating a detailed itinerary for each day so that your vacation will include every event, attraction, and restaurant you wish to experience.

Without a daily itinerary and at least some knowledge of the parks, Disney World can be a confusing and overwhelming place. Informed and organized vacationers are less stressed, save more money, and have more fun!

Being in-the-know will also help you secure your spot at popular resorts, attractions, and dining establishments.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to research travel destinations online , and Disney World is no exception. There are lots of Disney World resources online these days (such as our entire website!), so getting up to speed with the ins and outs of the parks is well within your reach.  To get you started, we’ll go over some basic information about Disney World.

Disney World at a Glance

Walt Disney World has four major theme parks:

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom - Cinderella Castle

It’s the flagship theme park of Disney World and a rite of passage for kids of all ages.  Leave the real world at the gate — age melts away as you walk down Main Street, USA to reach Cinderella Castle.  Then, head in any direction to experience Liberty Square, Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland.  Your kingdom awaits with adventures on flying elephants, doombuggies, space rockets, and steam trains.

Rides   |   Dining   |   Secrets

Magic Kingdom - Cinderella Castle

Originally envisioned as a functioning city of the future, EPCOT offers four neighborhoods: World Showcase , a tribute to the global diversity that enriches us as a species; World Nature , showcasing our interaction with the planetary forces that drive us; World Discovery , celebrating humankind’s ingenuity and innovation; and World Celebration , dedicated to the joy and camaraderie that are essential parts of the human experience.

Rides   |   Dining   |  Secrets

Hollywood Studios

Magic Kingdom - Cinderella Castle

Hooray for “the Hollywood that never was and always will be!”  Here, the golden age of motion pictures gets equal billing with modern blockbusters in a park dedicated to an entire universe of entertainment.  Drop into the Hollywood Tower Hotel, find yourself off-world on Batuu, or slink your way into a Pixar adventure.  You’re the star of this silver screen epic — are you ready for your closeup?

Animal Kingdom

Magic Kingdom - Cinderella Castle

Experience the glory and wonder of nature as you immerse yourself into a world that more than 1,000 animals call home.  Set off on safari, where giraffes are free to walk right alongside your open-air vehicle (from which you can also glimpse elephants, lions, and hippopotami).  Then, escape reality by staging a daring mountaintop run from the mythical Yeti, or traveling back in time to rescue a doomed dinosaur.

Other Resort Complex Amenities

In addition to four theme parks, you’ll find a full resort complex covering upwards of 27,000 acres:

  • More than 20 large resort hotels are owned and operated by Walt Disney World, with additional third-party hotels nearby
  • There are nearly 400 places to eat and drink at Disney World, from ice cream carts to high-end luxury dining, and everything in between
  • Disney Springs is the largest shopping, dining, and entertainment district at Disney World ( no tickets required ); Disney’s BoardWalk offers an additional entertainment and dining district
  • Disney World has 2 water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon
  • WDW has 5 golf courses and 2 mini-golf courses , an entire sports complex , and several lakes (offering boating, kayaking, parasailing, fishing, and other water sports)

There’s much, much more to learn about Disney World, but the above information should give you the basics that you’ll need to know as you start to plan.  At the end of each of our 11 steps in this guide, you’ll find links to special planning tools and additional articles/websites that further discuss items mentioned in each section of our planning guide.  The tools and links for this step are immediately below:

Planning Tools for This Step:

✔️  Use our  Disney World Map to get the lay of the land

✔️  Use our Disney World Transportation Map to chart your route

✔️  Subscribe to Disney-focused  YouTube channels

✔️  Review some fascinating Disney World Statistics

✔️  Learn the History of Disney World

✔️  Enjoy some interesting WDW Trivia

2. Download the My Disney Experience App

My Disney Experience Screens

My Disney Experience is Disney’s mobile app & website that serves as a centralized hub for everything related to your Disney vacation.  In the app, you can:

  • Create a profile
  • Add friends and family members so you can plan together
  • View your tickets and reservations
  • Access the Disney Genie itinerary planning service
  • Purchase priority access to certain attractions through the Genie+ and Lightning Lane service
  • Enter a virtual queue for highly-demanded attractions, when available
  • Access entitlements under the Disability Access Service, if applicable
  • Place mobile orders for some meals, helping you avoid lines at some quick-service restaurants
  • Use the MagicMobile service, which lets you use your mobile device as a contactless payment/entry device around Disney World.

Note:  If you’d rather not use the MagicMobile service to access your tickets and services, you can either purchase a MagicBand (a colorful RFID-enabled wristband), or request a plastic RFID card at no charge. 

The app is available for both iOS and Android devices — you might see it listed in the app store as “My Disney Experience” or even just as “Disney World.”  There’s no charge to download and use the app; you might see a notice about in-app purchases, but that refers to the ability to do things such as buying park tickets or placing mobile dining orders.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll want to sign in — you can use an existing Disney account or create a new one.  You’ll also need to grant it permission to use location services because some features such as virtual queuing are geofenced (only available when you are in a certain location based on your phone’s GPS).

Downloading the app early in the planning process is important for a few reasons.  First, it’s a great research tool.  Second, getting to know it now will make it all the easier to use during your trip.  And most importantly, as you begin to purchase tickets or make reservations you’ll want to link them to your Disney account.  For example, linking your hotel reservation in the app allows you to access an extended restaurant reservation booking window — as well as to access early booking for Lightning Lane attraction entrances.

Many (but not all) of the same services are also available through a dedicated section of the Disney World website.

Ready to talk to someone about planning next steps?

✔️  Download the My Disney Experience app

✔️  Access My Disney Experience via the Disney World website

✔️  Learn more about My Disney Experience

✔️  Learn more about using the MagicMobile service

3. Start Considering How Much to Budget for Your Disney World Trip

animal kingdom lodge

On average, a typical Walt Disney World vacation for a family of 4 in 2024 will cost about $6,559. This includes a 7-night hotel stay at a Disney Value Resort, 6 days of standard theme park tickets, Genie+ or Lightning Lane service, and quick-service meals for 4 people over the course of the trip.

Just like any vacation, you might want to plan for additional expenses such as transportation costs, upgrades, a longer stay, and souvenirs; or you might opt to save some money by staying off-site, shortening your trip, spending a day or two away from the parks, or visiting during the off-season.

Not surprisingly, some families end up putting themselves into debt to make a Disney World trip happen.

Of course, you won’t know exactly how much to budget until you make some choices about hotels, dining, tickets, etc. — but now’s a good time to at least begin thinking about how much you’re comfortable spending on your trip so you’re not left with sky-high credit card bills long after.

The resources below are a great way to start that process.  If you don’t want to devote a ton of time to it at this point, we suggest you start with just the first two resources… our How Much Does it Cost to Go to Disney World article and our Disney World Cost Calculator .

✔️  Explore how much it costs to go to Disney World

✔️  Estimate prices with our Disney World Cost Calculator

✔️  Learn about Disney Payment Plan options

✔️  Find the Cheapest Time to go to Disney

✔️  Check out Disney World discounts & deals

✔️  Save on your trip by buying discounted Disney gift cards

✔️  Learn how to do Disney on a Dime

✔️  Explore some free things to do at Disney World

✔️  Read Is Disney World Worth It?

✔️  Leverage your credit card points on your Disney vacation

Consider Working with a Disney World Trip Planner (For Free!)

This is a great time in your Disney vacation planning timeline to connect with a Disney Travel Agent if you’re planning on using one.  Your agent can provide a more accurate estimate of what you can expect to spend by walking you through all of the big choices you’ll be making in the remaining steps of the process.

Not sure which Disney World Travel Agency to use?  We strongly recommend The Vacationeer .  It’s not hard to see why we’ve ranked them as the best Disney travel agency .  First and foremost, they don’t charge anything to use their planning services and there’s never any obligation to book.  And, as an EarMarked Diamond level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner , they’ve arranged Disney trips for thousands of families.  They boast a team of 90+ travel agents, but you’ll have one dedicated agent to serve as your personal Disney trip planner from start to finish.

Contact them to see which money-saving promotions might be available for your trip.  They can book your reservations, set up a payment plan for your trip, and even automatically apply newly-announced discounts to your trip after you book!

4. Decide When to Go to Disney World

MK Christmas Soldier

Holidays at Disney can be crowded but festive

Deciding which time of year to go to Disney World is a very important part of the planning process, and not just for the obvious reasons of school/work schedules.  Crowd sizes, special promotions, festivals, and weather should also factor in your decision; these can not only affect your overall experience at Disney, but also your overall cost as well.

Crowd sizes are a major consideration when planning a trip to Walt Disney World.  Because park attendance fluctuates throughout the year, there are certainly better (less crowded) times of the year go.

For those of you who are not as tied down with schedule obligations (such as parents who homeschool or people who can work from anywhere), you are in a much better position to be flexible with your travel dates. For the rest of us, work schedules, school schedules, and other factors often influence the timing of our vacations, so we just have to plan a trip around a timeframe that works.

With millions of annual visitors, each Walt Disney World theme park can become crowded. The week you choose to visit the park can have a major impact on wait times for attractions and crowd density on the sidewalks and in the restaurants. Each park also has day-to-day crowd dynamics to consider.

The best way to gauge crowd sizes any particular day – at any one of Walt Disney World’s 4 theme parks – is to consult our  Disney World Crowd Calendar .  By using data compiled from recent years, our crowd calendar determines which theme parks will have the shortest lines and which parks will have the longest lines.

While not everyone has the flexibility to plan their trip around the least-crowded dates, crowd calendars can still be a valuable tool to help you to maximize your Disney experience during your visit.

It’s also worth noting that crowd levels tend to be a good indicator of how expensive your hotel and tickets will be.  Hotels and tickets are both subject to seasonal prices; the less popular times of year are the least expensive, while high-demand times like holidays and summer vacation cost more.

When is Walt Disney World Least Crowded?

Walt Disney World parks are typically less crowded from January 2nd until just prior to Presidents’ Day week (third Monday in February ), the week after Labor Day until just prior to Thanksgiving week, and the week after Thanksgiving weekend until the week prior to Christmas. As a general guide, when schools are in session, WDW is usually less crowded.

When is Walt Disney World Most Crowded?

Walt Disney World parks generally experience their highest attendance around school breaks. These include around Presidents’ Day week (third week in February), the Spring Break timeframe from mid- March through late April , Memorial Day weekend , Summer (mid- June through Labor Day), Thanksgiving week, and Christmas week through January 1st.

Special Promotions

During their slower seasons, Disney World will sometimes offer special promotions to lure guests to the park.

Some previous examples have included a Free Dining promotion which offered meals as part of a package that included non-discounted resort hotels and park tickets.  Other promotions have also been offered from time to time, allowing for discounted hotel rates, special ticket packages, or other benefits.

While promotions have been a bit scarce lately, things do tend to change quickly.  It’s a safe bet, though, that any promotions that come along will be limited to specific hotels or specific travel dates, and will likely be in the off-season.  If your plans are flexible, you’re more likely to be able to take advantage of these.

Walt Disney World is a great destination any day of the year. However, there is something about the seasonal festivals which make the park extra magical.

Besides the spectacular Festival of the Arts (typically in January) and the Flower & Garden Festival during the spring and early summer, most of our favorite seasonal events take place during the Fall and Winter months.

Epcot hosts The  Food & Wine Festival in the fall, and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a real treat for Magic Kingdom guests around – you guessed it – Halloween.

During November and December , the wildly popular Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place at Magic Kingdom, as do a host of other holiday events, such as A Frozen Holiday Wish Show (Magic Kingdom), Christmas Day Parade on ABC (Magic Kingdom), Joyful! (Epcot), Holidays Around the World (Epcot), and much more .

If we had an absolute favorite week to be at Walt Disney World, we may have to choose some time in early December. The park is festive, the weather is comfortable, and the crowds are lighter than normal.

Any How to Plan a Disney Vacation guide must discuss the nuances of Disney’s weather.

First of all, Orlando, Florida is known for its warm and sunny weather. Ice and snow are virtually non-existent here and the temperatures rarely dip below the freezing level.

That said, there are some seasonal differences that you may want to take into consideration when booking your Disney World vacation. January is typically the coolest month, July is the warmest and wettest (though August is a close second for heat), and June has the most sunshine hours.

Daytime thunderstorms are a given during the summer; they often pop up with little warning and disappear just as quickly, usually leaving a rather unpleasant sauna effect in their aftermath.  On the bright side, a storm lasting 30-45 minutes is usually enough to send people scurrying for the exits, leading to lighter crowds afterwards.

Hurricane season technically lasts from June-November, though September has historically been the most active.  Even then, it’s rare for the Orlando area to take a direct hit from a hurricane.  That said, the parks have had to close a few times for hurricanes, though typically only for a day or so at a time.  Thanks to Disney’s generous hurricane cancellation policies , it’s still generally safe plan a trip to Disney World during hurricane season (though travel insurance is still also a good idea).

Our favorite seasons at Walt Disney World are probably the pleasant spring and fall seasons, with October being particularly nice. Our least favorite season is during the summer months — not only are the crowds heavy, but the weather can be quite hot and humid. If you do plan a summer vacation at Disney World, remember to come prepared with the proper amenities to keep you cool and hydrated.

Overwhelmed and ready for some expert help?

✔️  Use our Disney Crowd Calendar to pick the best time to visit

✔️  Research typical Disney World Weather

✔️  Learn about the best time to go to Disney World

✔️  Review our tips to avoid lines at Disney World

✔️  Beat the rain with the best attractions for rainy days

✔️  Learn about Hurricane Season at Disney World

5. Decide on Your Length of Stay (How Many Days)

orlando disney world trip

Because there is just so much to see and do at  Walt Disney World , there is really no right answer for how long your Walt Disney World vacation should last. However, there are several wrong answers. One wrong answer would be staying for only 1 or 2 days!

We recommend that any trip should last at least four days, with an ideal range of a full week or so. Some people buy an Annual Pass and spend 30+ days at the park, so the sky is the limit! It just depends on your budget, time limitations, who you are traveling with, and what the goals of your trip are. But with so much to see and experience, a day or two won’t even scratch the surface of what Walt Disney World has to offer.

How Long Do Most People Stay at Disney World?

Most Disney World vacations last 3 – 7 days. Many guests devote one full day to each of the four Disney World theme parks. Given their size and number of attractions, it’s certainly possible to spend two days each at Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Additional days can be spent re-visiting one of the parks, going to a Disney water park, or doing other various activities, inside or outside of the park.

If your objective is to experience most attractions, shows, parades, etc., you really need to provide yourself with adequate time/days to explore all facets of each park.  If saving money is an important consideration, a shorter trip can help accomplish that.

Many guests like to spend a day or two at other (non-Disney) Orlando-area attractions – such as  Universal Studios , SeaWorld, Legoland Florida, or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Other guests set aside a day or two for golfing, boating, or just to simply relax at the pool.

If your trip to Disney World is a “rite of passage” event for the kids – and your goal is to just experience the popular rides and get a feel for the park – 3-4 days is doable. However, just be aware that you may feel as though you are rushing to get as much in with your time constraints.  You probably won’t be able to experience everything that you set out to achieve.

Besides simply having enough time at Disney World, another reason for booking a longer WDW vacation is the financial incentive. The more days you spend at the park, the less the cost of your daily ticket. That’s not to say you will spend less money on an 8-day pass vs a 3-day pass — you certainly won’t. But, the cost per day  goes down substantially the more days you spend at Disney World.

Thoroughly review all current promotions and ticket pricing scenarios before deciding on the duration of your Disney World vacation.

✔️  Compare prices for different trip lengths with our Cost Calculator

✔️  We explore how long to stay at Disney

✔️  See how many days you need for each park

✔️  See our favorite day trips from Disney World

✔️  Extend your trip by visiting one of the beaches near Disney World

6. Decide How to Travel to Disney World

Traveling to Orlando

Planning a Disney World trip must, of course, include consideration of how you will actually get there.

The two most common modes of transportation to Walt Disney World are by car and by air.

Buses and trains also come in and out of Orlando, but these options tend to be more problematic with luggage considerations. Consult your bus service or Amtrak for their guidelines on luggage if you decide to go this route.

Driving to Disney World

For guests within a reasonable driving distance (or those who just love a good road trip), there’s some convenience in having your own car at Disney.  Of course, you’ll need to consider all of the costs associated with driving to Disney… fuel prices, auto maintenance / wear & tear, tolls, and parking fees.

An oft-forgotten expense is that those staying in an off-site hotel must pay a daily parking fee at the theme parks (Disney hotel guests don’t pay this fee).

Those who live far away will likely find the cost of driving to Disney World to be prohibitively expensive.  But for those who live in the southeastern US — or who are faced with the prospect of buying airline tickets for a large family — driving might be the right choice.

Flying to Disney World

Since most people fly to Disney World, let’s review some of your best options for booking a flight.

Most people use airline travel search engines – such as Priceline, Kayak, Expedia, or Travelocity – to book their air travel. We also recommend checking Google Flights or ITA Matrix  — both are robust search engines for finding airline deals. If you have flexibility with your booking dates, sign up for Airfarewatchdog alerts. You can get real-time or daily alerts for special offers and flight deals between your departure city and Orlando.

Which airports are closest to Disney World?

Orlando is served by three major airports, all of which have confusingly similar names.

  • Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the airport of choice for trips to Disney World.  It’s the nearest airport (about 20 miles away)  and offers by far the most ground transportation options to Disney World.
  • Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) is located about 45 miles away from Disney World.  Though it’s further away and offers fewer ground transit services, it may be your only choice for a nonstop flight if you’re flying with a smaller/discount carrier or if your home airport is a smaller regional facility.
  • Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB) is located about 65 miles away from Disney World.  It’s the farthest “Orlando” airport from Orlando (they actually got sued for using the word Orlando” in their name) , and is likely better suited for a Disney Cruise from Port Canaveral than it is for a stay at Walt Disney World.

If you’ll have a rental car and don’t mind a bit of a drive, you can also investigate flights into Tampa International (TPA, about 75 miles away) or Daytona Beach International (DAB, about 70 miles away)… but the flight discounts would have to be amazing to make up for the difference in time and cost.

Tips To Save on Flights to Disney World

Here are a few more cost-savings tips for booking your flight to Walt Disney World:

  • For the best deals, book six weeks in advance.
  • Scan for deals in the morning, as most airlines offer their best deals at this time. Act fast because good deals get scooped up quickly.
  • The most inexpensive flights are often the earliest departures in the morning.
  • Wednesdays are typically the cheapest days to fly.
  • Credit cards with frequent flyer mile points can save you money on future flights.
  • Not all airlines offer their cheapest flights through travel search engines. Check low-cost airlines individually to see if booking directly through their website is less expensive.

Traveling Within Disney World

Regardless of how you get there, once you’ve made it to Disney World, transportation is a breeze.  Disney offers a completely free network of monorails, boats, buses, Skyliners (suspended aerial gondolas), trams, and walking paths to move people from place to place.  You’ll really only need a rental car if your plans take you off-site to a non-Disney destination (and even then, an Uber might be better).

Check out our Disney transportation map in the planning tools below to map out your journey through Disney World.

✔️  Search for airfare on Google Flights

✔️  For advanced flight search options, try ITA Matrix

✔️  Explore our Transportation Map to find out how to get around Disney World

✔️  Review options to get from the Orlando Airport to Disney

✔️  Estimate the cost of taking an Uber

✔️  Learn about parking at Disney World

✔️  Explore the Disney Monorail

7. Choose Your Disney World Resort Hotel

Disney's Contemporary Resort

Disney owns and operates more than 20 on-site hotels, which it calls “Resorts.”  This name can be a bit confusing, because you’ll also hear the entire Walt Disney World area referred to as a “resort.”  As an alternative to the on-site hotels, you can choose to stay at a hotel not owned by Disney; that could save you some money, but you’ll miss out on a number of perks offered exclusively to on-site Guests.

Official Disney On-Site Resorts

There is something special about staying at an official Disney World resort.

For one, each resort has its own distinctive character, charm, and identity. You can leave the real world behind and surround yourself with Disney magic, 24/7.

Since all of these resorts are on Disney World property, you will be in close proximity to all the parks and have direct access to monorails, boats, skykliners, and buses.  A few resorts are close enough that you can easily walk to Magic Kingdom or EPCOT.

On-site guests also receive special perks that off-site guests do not. These include Early Theme Park Entry and the ability to book Dining Reservations and Lightning Lane entries ahead of non-Disney resort guests. For 2025, Resort Guests also receive free water park admission on their check-in day.  Make sure you link your Disney World hotel reservation to your My Disney Experience account to take advantage of these perks!

Disney’s on-site Resorts are categorized within the following tiers:

Disney Value Resorts

The rooms at  Disney Value Resorts are smaller and are situated among larger campuses, so you might find there’s a bit of a walk between your room and the bus stops, dining, and front desk.  Transportation to the Disney World theme parks is mostly via bus or Skyliner.  Dining is typically quick-service that’s more akin to a food court, but still usually features a surprising variety that goes well beyond burgers and pizza.  Value resorts are a fantastic option for families who want to keep an eye on their budget but still have all the benefits of staying on Disney World property.

Disney's All-Star Sports Resort

Disney Moderate Resorts

The  Disney Moderate Resorts offer a nice middle ground between the Value and Deluxe resorts.  You’ll have a somewhat upgraded room, good transportation, and usually a few different dining options that may offer a broader menu.  A Moderate Resort is a great way to upgrade your stay at a Disney World resort hotel without a major impact on your budget.

Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney Deluxe Resorts

Deluxe Resorts tend to be closest hotels to the Disney World theme parks, usually just a monorail, boat ride, or short walk away.  Not only is it easier to get to the parks in the morning and back from the parks at night; it’s also easy to avoid the hottest and most crowded parts of the day by returning to your hotel and letting the kids cool down in the pool or take a midday nap.  Then, while everyone else who stayed in the park all day is hot, tired, and cranky, you’ll be refreshed and ready for the nighttime fireworks.  Disney World’s Deluxe resorts also often feature larger rooms, the best pools and restaurants, and a generally upgraded experience.

grand floridian resort

Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts

Deluxe Villa Resorts offer vacation home style amenities such as kitchens and separate bedrooms, which can be a great option for larger groups.  These range from studios (basically a hotel room that also includes a kitchenette and pull-down bed) to 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units featuring full kitchens and living rooms.  There are even some unique offerings, such as treehouse villas and over-the-water bungalows.  Even beyond these deluxe villa resorts, many other Disney World hotels offer family suites .

Polynesian Bungalow

The only major disadvantage of staying at an on-site Disney resort is the cost. With the extra perks and close proximity to the park, these resorts are more expensive than off-site resorts, so your decision will really just depend on your budget and the priorities of your vacation.

Traveling with a fuzzy friend?  You might be surprised to learn that pets are welcome at a select few resorts, and there’s even a facility made exclusively for them.  Check out Pets at Disney World for more information.

Our favorite Disney World YouTube Channel has a great overview of Disney’s official on-site Resorts.

Off-Site Hotels (non-Disney)

Most off-site properties are further away from the park and do not have direct access to the monorail (though some might offer a limited shuttle service). Despite this, many off-site resorts are still quite close to the parks – some, in fact, are situated directly on Disney-owned land.  For example, you’ll find third-party hotels not far from EPCOT, as well as an extensive “Hotel Boulevard” just an intersection or so away from Disney Springs.

While you won’t enjoy the same perks as on-site guests, these off-site properties are generally very nice.  And some  non-Disney hotels do have agreements with Disney to allow their Guests to experience some special perks.

Many have all the amenities of the more expensive Disney Resorts (some even have more), and the rooms are often larger. If your party has 5 or more guests, off-site resorts offer more value, as most of the on-site 5-person+ options are quite pricey.

The bottom line is, if you are sticking to a tight budget and don’t mind being a little further away from the action, a non-Disney resort may be your best bet. You can have a fantastic vacation staying at either on- or off-property resorts.

We recommended that you explore both options and weigh the pros and cons as they apply to your situation. You can certainly split your nights between on-property and off-property. But if you are only at Disney World for a few nights, we recommend just paying a little more to be on the property.

Find the perfect hotel for your budget

✔️  Explore our Disney Resort Comparison page

✔️  See the best Disney Value Resorts

✔️  View the best Disney Moderate Resorts

✔️  Review the best Disney Deluxe Resorts

✔️  Find the best Family Suites at Disney

✔️  See the best Disney Resorts for kids

✔️  Explore the best Disney Resorts for adults

✔️  Learn where to book Disney World hotels

✔️  Find off-site hotels with shuttle service

✔️  Find our picks for the best on-site hotels overall

✔️  See which resorts have the best hotel pools

✔️  Splurge on Club Level at Disney World or a Five-Star Hotel at Disney

✔️  What’s the cheapest on-site hotel?

8. Buy Theme Park Tickets and Make Park Reservations (if needed)

Park Entry Point

Image © Disney

While it’s certainly possible to go to Disney World without ever setting foot inside a theme park, very few people actually do that.

And given that it’s possible that you may end up spending more on park tickets than on your hotel room, the decision about which tickets to buy is an important one.

We recommend you review all your options well in advance so you have time to think about which package makes sense for your budget and duration of stay.

And remember, you might need to make a theme park reservation (Disney Park Pass), depending on your ticket type.

Disney Theme Park Tickets

Let’s first look at the theme park tickets.

When and Where to Buy your Disney World Theme Park Tickets

As a general rule, you should always purchase tickets either directly from Disney, your travel agent, or an through an authorized seller/reseller — and you should do so well in advance of your departure. This will shield you from any price hikes that might occur and gives you the best chance of securing a reservation to your desired park on your desired day  (if your ticket type requires reservations).

Given that tickets can sell out and that some even require a theme park reservation, it’s not wise to just wait to buy your tickets when you get to the front of the park .

Most importantly, NEVER buy your tickets via eBay, Craigslist, or another unauthorized reseller.   There’s a very good chance that those tickets will be expired, completely used (no days left), or simply counterfeit.  Don’t risk it!

Ticket Pricing

Disney World theme park ticket pricing varies throughout the year.  They’re generally the most expensive during popular times (such school breaks, holidays, and weekends) and the least expensive during slower times. Prices also vary by park; Animal Kingdom is usually the least expensive and Magic Kingdom is usually the most expensive, with Hollywood Studios and EPCOT falling somewhere in between.

You can purchase single-day tickets or multi-day tickets (up to 10 days).  Ticket prices are structured in a unique way that rewards Guests for committing more time to the parks; the per-day price of a multi-day ticket gets cheaper the more days you add.

We have a full rundown of the ticket pricing structure in our How Much Does it Cost to Go to Disney World article.

Graph showing the price of Disney World theme park tickets in 2024

2024 One-Day One-Park Ticket Starting Price (actual price varies by park)

Types of Theme Park Tickets

The basic Disney World theme park ticket allows entry to only one theme park per day.  But there are optional upgrades which allow you to visit multiple parks on the same day or add other special experiences.

Park Hopper option

The Park Hopper ticket option allows Guests to visit multiple Disney World theme parks on the same day.  After starting the day at one park, Guests may then go to a different theme park later in the day.

We especially love the Park Hopper for spending the first part of the day at one theme park, then spending the evenings at Epcot to take advantage of the wonderful dining options at World Showcase.  It’s an especially great option for those who have a limited amount of time at Disney World, and for those who have short attention spans!

Water Park and Sports option

The Water Park and Sports option allows Guests to visit one theme park per day, while also providing visits to other Disney properties.  Guests who purchase this upgrade will be able to visit water parks, mini golf and nine-hole golf courses, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, when available.

The number of these visits provided is equal to the number of days of theme park admission purchased.  As an example, a 4-day park ticket allows four visits to these facilities.

Park Hopper Plus option

The Park Hopper Plus option combines the Park Hopper option and the Water Park and Sports option into a single upgrade.  Guests who purchase this upgrade will be able to visit multiple theme parks in the same day, and also enjoy a number of visits to water parks, select mini golf and nine-hole golf courses, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, when available.

Disney Park Pass (Theme Park Reservations)

A theme park ticket isn’t necessarily the only thing you need to get into a Disney theme park.  Guests who buy theme park tickets may also need a theme park reservation through a system called Disney Park Pass .

Because of this, planning ahead can be crucial to ensuring you can get into your desired theme park on the day you want to visit.  If you’re traveling during a more popular time of year such as spring break, summer, or Christmas, it is quite possible that tickets or reservations may not be available if you wait until the last minute.

Disney Park Pass Sample Calendar

Example of a theme park reservation availability calendar

Park Pass theme park reservations can be made as soon as you’ve purchased your theme park admission tickets.  We recommend you buy your tickets as far in advance as possible to have the best chance of getting the theme park reservations you want.

Park reservations may be needed for Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom — but it depends on the type of ticket you purchased.   They’re not needed for Disney Springs or the water parks.

As of December 2022, all One-Day One-Park tickets automatically include a park reservation — no need to make one separately. And as of January 9, 2024, all date-based tickets will be reservation-free. Other ticket types may still require one, so be sure to check out all the details when you purchase.

If your park hopper ticket requires reservations, you’ll only need a reservation for the park you’ll be  starting  your day at.  You do  not  need a reservation for the  second  park you’re visiting (“park hopping” to) on the same day, but the park still needs to have capacity to admit new Guests.

✔️  View Disney’s official theme park ticket price calendar

✔️  Check Disney’s theme park reservation availability calendar

✔️  Explore ticket prices in our How Much Does it Cost to Go to Disney World article

✔️  Read our complete guide to  Disney Park Pass theme park reservations

Need help navigating all of the ticket options?  Contact the Disney Experts at The Vacationeer .  They can help you decide which tickets are right for you and give you tips on snagging theme park reservations.  And best of all, their planning services are completely free!

9. Select Your Disney World Dining Options

Sci-Fi Dine in Cafe

There are literally hundreds of places to eat and drink around the Walt Disney World Resort, from the humblest popcorn cart to the fanciest high-end fine dining restaurant.  If this is your first trip, you may be surprised by all the world-class dining experiences the parks and resorts offer.

Gone are the days when Disney was known simply as a “burgers and kid’s meals” type of destination.  Sure, there are plenty of quick-service restaurants and snack stands around the park, but there is also an eclectic mix of fabulous table-service restaurants to satisfy the toughest of culinary critics.

Some restaurants are themed around Disney attractions, while others are geared towards families or offer formal dining experiences.

All-you-can-eat buffets are popular, as are regional cuisine restaurants. Epcot’s World Showcase offers culinary experiences aligning with the specific country represented, while Disney Springs has an abundance of fabulous dining experiences to choose from.

There’s even a popular dinner show called the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue that features two hours of comedy and music (accompanied by endless fried chicken, BBQ ribs, and strawberry shortcake).

There is really something for everyone’s taste buds at Walt Disney World!

Types of Restaurants

There are two primary types of restaurants at Disney World.

Quick-Service Restaurants

A quick-service restaurant, sometimes also called counter-service, is a place to grab a casual, quick bite.  The ordering, payment, and service experience is somewhat similar to what you might expect at either a fast food restaurant or a “fast casual” place such as a Panera Bread or Chipotle.  You’ll stand in line, order, and pay (or use the mobile ordering service described later in this planning step); then, you’ll either receive your food right away on a tray or be given a pager-type device to alert you when it’s time to come and pick up your meal.  You won’t have a server at your table, and when your meal is over you’re expected to bus your own table and discard your trash.  Despite the ordering experience being akin to a fast food place, your food isn’t necessarily just burgers and fries.  Many locations have innovative menus and substantial meal offerings that rival those of a traditional restaurant.

Table-Service Restaurants

A table-service restaurant, sometimes also referred to as a “sit-down” location, is a more refined dining experience.  You’ll check in with a host/hostess, be taken to a table, and be introduced to a server who will take your order and tend to your needs during your meal.  These restaurants vary from relatively casual a la carte locations, to all-you-care-to-eat buffets, to elegant signature dining locations.  Menus vary from homestyle cooking to authentic international cuisine.  Advance reservations (described below) are strongly suggested, as some restaurants may completely refuse walk-ups during busy times.

Advance Dining Reservations

If you plan on dining at table-service restaurants during your vacation (recommended!), reservations are essential.

Disney calls its restaurant reservations “Advance Dining Reservations.”  Sometimes you’ll hear people call these “ADRs.”  An ADR lets you secure your table at some of Disney’s most popular table-service restaurants (restaurants in which you have a server at your table who takes your order and brings your food to you).

Slots during prime hours go quickly, especially at popular dining locations like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Chef Mickey’s.  Booking your reservations as soon as the reservation window opens is key to getting what you want.

Guests staying in a Disney Resort hotel  may make dining reservations for the entire length of their stay (up to 10 days’ worth of reservations) as early as 60 days in advance of their hotel check-in date.

All other Guests can make their advance reservations for dining as early as 60 days in advance of the meal.

Note: you might have previously heard that dining reservations could be made 180 days in advance.  While that was previously true, the booking window changed in 2020.

We recommend that you spend some time reviewing on Tripadvisor  and  Yelp  before making your Advance Dining Reservations (or speak w/ a Disney Travel Agent first).

Mobile Ordering

Reservations are not offered for quick-service dining at Disney World, though some locations do provide a mobile ordering service through the My Disney Experience app.  For these locations, you can view menus in the app, then order and pay ahead of time.  When it’s time to eat, you can bypass the regular ordering/payment line and go straight to the mobile pickup window to get your food.

orlando disney world trip

Skip the Line with Mobile Ordering

Character Dining

One of Disney’s unique dining offerings is its character dining.  If getting some face time with Disney characters is a must-do for your trip, this is a great way to accomplish it without having to wait in line (and you get to enjoy a great meal, too!).

While you enjoy your meal, several Disney characters will come to your table for a brief visit.  It’s a great chance to snap a photo, ask for an autograph, or just enjoy a personal interaction.  Because the characters are coming to you, there’s no need to wait in any long lines.  And there’s just something special about having the main mouse himself pop up over your shoulder while you’re chowing down on a Mickey waffle!

Each character dining experience focuses on a specific set of characters… for example, the “Fab 5,” Disney princesses, Disney Junior Stars, or Winnie the Pooh and friends.

Disney Dining Plans

For some travelers, one of the best options for dining at Disney is to add a Disney Dining Plan to your on-site hotel stay.  These plans offer a set number of meal and snack credits per person at a fixed daily cost.  Historically, during certain low-demand seasons, Disney has even  occasionally offered the dining plan at no additional charge as part of a vacation package including a hotel stay and theme park tickets.

Disney Dining plans were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re returning for 2024 Disney World vacations .

Until the dining plan fully returns, you’ll be paying out of pocket for your food on-site, unless you opt to bring your own food into the parks (and yes, you can get groceries delivered to your hotel).

✔️  Calculate the date you can book dining reservations

✔️  Explore menus for every restaurant at Disney World

✔️  Use our Disney Dining Plan Calculator

✔️  Estimate your food costs by viewing examples in our  How Much Does it Cost article

✔️  See how different meal choices affect your budget in our Disney World Cost Calculator

✔️  See our picks for the best Magic Kingdom restaurants

✔️  Explore our ranked list of the best EPCOT restaurants

✔️  Review our choices for best Hollywood Studios restaurants

✔️  Go wild when dining at the Best Animal Kingdom Restaurants

✔️  Explore the best options for Character Dining

✔️  Experience culinary excellence at one of the Michelin Guide restaurants at Disney

✔️  On a plant-based diet? Check out the best Vegetarian dining

✔️  Just love food? Review our guide to Disney World for Foodies

✔️  Learn more about Disney Dining Plans

✔️  Read about Disney World Free Dining promotions

10. Create a Daily Itinerary for Your Disney World Vacation

WDW Toy Story Lightning Lane

Now that we have covered the basic elements of your Walt Disney World vacation, it’s time to start thinking about the nitty-gritty details of your trip. Improvising on-the-go can cost you money and lost time while you are at the park, so creating an itinerary will keep your vacation on track.

If your trip to WDW is 4 days or fewer, you will most likely spend each day exploring at least one of Disney’s 4 theme parks. Consider a Park Hopper pass so that you have the ability to jump between parks during the day.

Time is of the essence, so we recommend that you map your route and create an itinerary of high-priority attractions so nothing is overlooked.

If your Disney World vacation is a week or so, consider spending one day at a Disney water park (Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon), at a non-Disney property (such as SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens), golfing, boating, shopping, or just taking a day off to relax.

Reservations for theme parks and dining should be made well in advance of your trip, so the process of selecting which restaurants and attractions are top priorities should begin as soon as you book your trip (if not before).

As you research your options, make notes to help you formulate your Walt Disney World itinerary.

Here are a few things to consider when making your daily plans:

One of the primary factors for your daily itinerary should be how late the park is open each day you’re there.  Park opening and closing times can vary from day-to-day.  So you might want to base your daily park choices on which park has the longest hours — or at least make sure you don’t shoehorn yourself into only being able to visit a certain park on the one day during your trip that it closes early. Some parks take longer to fully experience than others, and you don’t want to run out of time.

A great perk of staying at an on-site Disney hotel is having extra time in the parks when the general public is not allowed in.  While not all attractions operate during these extended hours, it’s still a great way to get a few extra rides in with typically lower wait times.  The previous Extra Magic Hours  program has now been replaced by two offerings:

Early Theme Park Entry

Disney Resort hotel Guests (and Guests of other select hotels) may  enter the Disney parks 30 minutes earlier  than the general public, every day of the week. Each of the four parks offers this perk every day of the week; which park you choose is solely up to you!

Extended Evening Theme Park Hours

Guests at Disney Deluxe Resorts, Deluxe Villa Resorts, and a few other select hotels may also enjoy additional time at specific parks on specific nights.  You’ll want to check the  latest schedule  to verify which dates and parks are available during your trip.

Waiting for Rides/Attractions

It’s an unfortunate fact that a sizable portion of your Disney World trip will be spent waiting in line to get on rides or see shows.  Fortunately, there are ways to minimize this as much as possible.

Standby Lines

When most people think of waiting in line for a ride, they’re thinking of what Disney World calls a Standby queue.  It’s line waiting in its simplest form; you walk up to an attraction entrance, wait in line for as long as it takes, and then get into the ride vehicle.

Standby wait times can fluctuate wildly throughout the day, often peaking in the mid-afternoon.  While you can’t do anything about the length of the line itself, you can game the system a bit by deciding when to enter that line.

For your most important attraction of the day, I suggest doing what frequent visitors call “rope dropping” the park.  This means that you are at the park before it opens for the day, enter the park as soon as Guests are allowed in (as soon as they “drop the rope” that is keeping people out), and go directly to the desired attraction so you can ride it with as little wait as possible.

Other tactics to try to avoid the worst of the standby wait times is to go during the afternoon parade, or to go when most people are having lunch/dinner.  The Disney Genie section of the My Disney Experience app will also show you a forecast of wait times for each hour of the day so you can better plan your arrival time to minimize waits.

One further tip that won’t necessarily help you avoid an extended wait time but will certainly increase your comfort level. As a long-time Floridian, I highly recommend doing all of the rides that have completely-outdoor waiting lines either early or late in the day; when it’s miserably hot/steamy outside during the afternoon hours, I prefer to hide away from the midday sun by experiencing the rides with indoor air-conditioned queues. These rides are also less likely to close during afternoon thunderstorms.

Virtual Queues

If your trip happens to occur in the months immediately following the opening of a highly-anticipated attraction (such as a new roller coaster), you’ll likely find that you can’t simply go stand in line for that ride.  Instead, you might have to use something called a virtual queue .

It’s exactly what it sounds like — rather than physically standing in line, your spot in line is held virtually via the My Disney Experience app.

Virtual Queue

Virtual Queue

A virtual queue is both good news and bad news for your itinerary planning.

The good news: Historically, people have spent as much as five or six hours (!) waiting in line for a new ride — I did that when Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened and don’t recommend it.  Those long lines are not the case with virtual queuing.  Your wait might technically still be that long, but you don’t have to spend that time actually waiting in a line.  You’re instead free to go have plenty of other fun elsewhere in the park during that time, and then come back when it’s time to ride.

The bad news: Competition to grab a spot in the virtual queue can be fierce.  Spaces open up daily at 7AM and again at 1PM.  On dates when Extended Evening Theme Park Hours are offered for select Resort Guests, another round of queuing begins at 6PM.  On the busiest days, all available slots can be claimed within seconds of being released. To give yourself the best possible chance of snagging a spot, read Disney’s extensive instructions  ahead of time so you know exactly what to do at 7AM on the day you wish to visit.

Priority Attraction Entrance (Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane)

Many rides and experiences in the parks have a special Lightning Lane entrance which allows you to bypass the regular line and board more quickly.  If you’ve been to Disney World in the past, you might remember these entrances having been previously called FastPass or FastPass+.  The Lightning Lane concept is still mostly the same, but there’s one big difference: you now must pay to enter the Lightning Lane.

Lightning Lane and Genie Plus Screenshot

Genie+ Service

Most rides which have a Lightning Lane entrance are packaged together into a bundled service called Genie+.  For a combined fee of approximately $15-$30 (varies based on date/demand/park) per person per day, Genie Plus lets guests make reservations to use the Lightning Lane entrance at more than 40 attractions throughout the parks.  Guests make their first Lightning Lane reservation on the morning of their visit and then make additional ride reservations, one at a time, for the remainder of the day (subject to availability).  Disney says this service will usually help you experience a quicker load time on 2-3 attractions on a busy day (maybe more on less-crowded days), which can help save you hours of waiting in line.

Note: The paid Genie+ service should not be confused with the basic Disney Genie service, which is an itinerary suggestion service inside the My Disney Experience app.  Disney Genie provides suggestions of what to do based on wait times and your interests.  Genie+ saves you time waiting in line by letting you instead select a time to return to ride.

Individual Lightning Lane entry

The Lightning Lane entrances at the most popular attractions in each park are not included in Genie+ and are instead sold separately.  You’ll be able to purchase one entrance per day for each ride offering this individual entry service.  The cost usually ranges from $10-$20 per ride and varies based on the attraction, date, and availability.

If a ride’s Lightning Lane is sold under this individual pricing structure, it will not be included in the Genie+ package offering.

You can’t actually book your Lightning Lane entrances in advance — they’re available for purchase only on the day of your visit — but you’ll still want to research them in advance to include in your daily itinerary.

Disability Access Service

A special service is provided to assist Guests who have a condition that interferes with their ability to wait in line.  This offering, called the Disability Access Service (DAS), assigns return times so Guests don’t need to be physically present in the attraction line (but still experience a similar length of wait as those who are waiting in line).

There’s an important distinction when understanding DAS: qualifying is based on a guest’s ability to wait  in line, not their ability to  stand in line. Most attraction lines are wheelchair accessible , so a wheelchair alone is unlikely to qualify someone to use DAS.  There’s no official list of disabilities which automatically qualify, but some which may qualify include ADHD, autism , or anxiety.  Each decision is made on an individual basis, and Disney alone has sole authority to grant or deny DAS to a Guest.

This is a highly-nuanced topic that we can’t completely cover in just a few sentences.  We suggest you read our extensive guide to the Disability Access Service for further details.

Timing Your Meals

Your itinerary should include a solid plan on when you’re going to eat your meals.

Unless you have breakfast reservations for an in-park restaurant, we do NOT recommend that you have breakfast in the park.  You’ll likely be missing out on some of the lowest ride wait times of the day if you’re off getting food right after the park opens.  One option is to have breakfast at your hotel’s restaurant before heading to the park (the restaurants open early enough to allow this without missing park opening). I personally prefer to just have bagels and cream cheese in my room and opt for an early lunch — that lets me sleep in just a bit and still get to the parks early.

Speaking of an early lunch, having your meals during an off-peak time is a great way to avoid wasting time waiting in long lines at counter-service restaurants.  If you have lunch at noon and dinner at 6PM, you’ll quickly notice that pretty much everyone else in the park had the same idea.  Not only will there be longer waits in line (and for your food to be prepared), but you might even have to “hover” a bit to find an empty table.  If you do have to dine during the busiest hours, take full advantage of mobile ordering within the My Disney Experience app whenever you can.

Of course, should you have dining reservations at a table service restaurant for lunch or dinner, your time for that meal is set and you just need to plug it into your daily itinerary.

Planning When to Stop and When to Go, Go, Go

With the prospect of a full vacation in front of you, it’s easy to either over or under do it.

Yes, you’re on vacation, so it’s tempting to sleep in.  But doing so will put you a step behind everyone else in the park, meaning you’re at the mercy of higher crowds and longer lines.  Waking up early and getting to the parks right away goes a long way toward starting the day right.

On the other hand, if you plan to go nonstop from morning to night seven days in a row, you’re going to crash midweek and have a miserable time.  You’ll probably end up losing more time due to the inevitable meltdown than if you had just planned to take some downtime along the way.

Take it from someone who spend more than a decade battling the central Florida heat: the afternoon sun will suck the life right out of you. A midday break is just the thing to rejuvenate your spirits.

If you’re staying on-site, you can easily go back to your hotel for a midday nap or dip in the pool.  I also like to give myself at least one “day off” during my trip. I usually just spend it relaxing at the hotel or maybe checking out the animals on the Savanna at Animal Kingdom Lodge — but you might want go play a round of golf, sit on the lakeside “beach” at some resorts, or have a laidback day at Disney Springs (go shopping, have a meal, take a balloon ride , or see a movie ).

Giving some thought  now to periods of activity and periods of rest will help make sure your vacation doesn’t veer off track.

Our Top Tips for Disney World Itinerary Planning

With all of the above in mind, it’s really going to come down to a matter of personal preference.  Once you have a good handle on all of the things to do, see, eat, and experience at Disney World — what do you want to do each day?

Only you can answer that question.  But here are a few of our favorites to consider when planning your daily itinerary:

Some of the most popular rides for Lightning Lane passes and Disney Genie+ are:

  • Magic Kingdom – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train; Space Mountain
  • Epcot – Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind; Frozen Ever After; Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Hollywood Studios – Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run; Rise of the Resistance; Slinky Dog Dash; Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Animal Kingdom – Pandora’s Na’vi River Journey; Avatar Flight of Passage; Expedition Everest

Some of the other most popular attractions at each of the four Walt Disney World theme parks include:

  • Magic Kingdom – Haunted Mansion; Magic Carpets of Aladdin; Pirates of the Caribbean; Splash Mountain (currently closed)
  • Epcot – the pavilions of Epcot World Showcase; Mission: Space; Test Track; Spaceship Earth; Soarin’; Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
  • Animal Kingdom – Expedition Everest; Jungle Cruise; Kali River Rapids; Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Hollywood Studio – Fantasmic; Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster; Toy Story Midway Mania; Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Some of our favorite WDW restaurants include:

  • Be Our Guest Restaurant , Magic Kingdom – This ornate French eatery with a Beauty & the Beast theme offers fixed-price dining.
  • California Grill, Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Contemporary Resort’s premier restaurant is a great spot to watch the fireworks and offers breathtaking views of the park.
  • Chef Mickey’s, Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Popular breakfast & dinner buffet restaurant with special visits from Mickey and friends.
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table, Magic Kingdom – This Cinderella-themed eatery is set in a room that resembles a medieval castle’s banquet hall.
  • Flame Tree Barbeque, Animal Kingdom – Tasty BBQ featuring a relaxing outdoor pavilion with amazing views of Animal Kingdom. And it’s quick-service, so no need for a reservation!
  • Hollywood Brown Derby, Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Retro dining establishment with fantastic caricatures of old-time celebrities on the wall.
  • Le Cellier, Canada Pavilion at World Showcase, Epcot – Steaks are a specialty at this top-notch table service dining establishment.
  • ‘Ohana, Polynesian Village Resort – All-you-can-eat, American-style (with a Polynesian twist) buffet for breakfast and dinner.
  • Teppan Edo, Japan Pavilion at World Showcase, Epcot – Guests are seated around the teppanyaki grills as skilled chefs prepare your meal in front of you.
  • The Boathouse Restaurant, The Landing, Disney Springs – Upscale waterfront dining experience featuring steaks and seafood, Amphicar tours, Italian water taxi tours, and live music.
  • Via Napoli, Italy Pavilion at World Showcase, Epcot – Amazing pizza! Need we say more?

✔️  Find out which rides and experiences have a Lightning Lane

✔️  See the scheduled Disney Park Hours

✔️  Learn about the Virtual Queue

✔️  Learn a few of our favorite Disney Tips and Tricks

✔️  Find the Best Days To Visit Magic Kingdom

✔️  See  What’s New at Disney World

✔️  Check the  Ride Closure and Refurbishment Calendar

✔️  Investigate whether Genie+ is worth it

✔️  Learn if we believe Lightning Lane passes are worth the cost

✔️  See our complete guide to the Disability Access Service

✔️  See our list of fun things to do at Disney

✔️  Traveling with little ones? Find the best attractions for kids

✔️  Want some time off your feet? Plan on attending a stage show

✔️  Find the best places to relax at Disney

11. Create Your Disney World Packing List

Disney Packing List Luggage

Depending on the duration of your Walt Disney World vacation, you will most likely pack lots of items to take with you. Let’s look at some of the things you should include in your WDW packing list.

Luggage / Backpacks for Disney World 

First and foremost, make sure your luggage/backpacks are in tip-top shape for the journey, and of adequate size to hold your travel essentials.

Many families prefer to bring a backpack with them into a Disney World park so they have everything with them. It’s handy to have the essentials (or even a snack) — just remember not to overdo it!  Everything you bring in with you has to be hauled around all day, stowed away for rides, or left in a rented locker at the front of the park.

Some people prefer to skip the backpacks all together and use a smaller pack that goes around the waist.  While not necessarily the height of fashion, they certainly do the job and are much easier to work with when it comes to boarding ride vehicles.

Disney Souvenirs

This tip might sound odd, but hear us out.

Consider purchasing some of your Disney World souvenirs before your departure.

Purchasing items beforehand – like t-shirts, trading pins and lanyards, Disney autograph books, games and toys, and Mickey Mouse Ears hats – can save you money and time spent shopping for these items at the park. Plus, you will have these Disney souvenir items ready to use as soon as your flight touches down in Orlando.

Packing List

And finally, it’s time to think about which clothing items, documents, toiletries, medications, electronics, swimwear, baby items, food and snacks, and other accessories you will need to pack.

From our experience, you will arrive at Disney World – thinking you have packed everything you will need for your trip – only to discover that you left an important item or two at home.

For your convenience, we have created a suggested Disney World Packing List  to ensure that nothing is overlooked during the packing process.

Print this list and check items off as you pack. We have also included a few recommended items on our Packing List.

These include links to inexpensive ponchos, comfortable shoes, external batteries, USB wall chargers, and Disney beach towels, as well as water bottles and Frogg Toggs Chilly Pads for those warm days at Disney World.

✔️  Download our suggested Packing List

✔️  See our suggestions for the Best Backpacks for Disney World

✔️  Review the Best Disney World Fanny Packs

✔️  Scope out the Best Souvenirs in advance of your trip

Final Thoughts on How To Plan a Disney World Vacation

We hope our Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World Vacation Planning will get you on the right path to planning, prioritizing, and booking your magical vacation to Disney World.  It’s a lot of information, but with enough research and planning, you’ll have a magical trip!

We should point out that this guide is mostly geared towards Walt Disney World in Florida, but many of the basic ideas still apply to other Disney vacations .  If you’re headed to Disneyland in California, you’ll also want to check out our Disneyland vs Disney World ,   Disneyland Resort Map , and  Disneyland Crowd Calendar pages.  We also offer extensive resources for those planning trips with Disney Cruise Line (including a complete guide to planning your first Disney Cruise ), as well as resources on Adventures by Disney .

Contact a Disney Travel Planner to Book Your Disney World Trip

As you’ve seen in this article, there is a LOT that goes into planning a Disney vacation.  Why not call in a professional to help?

The Authorized Disney Vacation Planners at The Vacationeer can plan your trip for you and take care of all of your reservations, all at no additional charge.  You won’t pay a penny more than if you’d have booked it yourself — and you might even pay less !

Their team of 90+ Disney fanatics know all the tips and tricks for hotels, dining, park tickets, and more… and can even apply new discounts to your trip as they’re announced, after your trip is booked!

There’s never any obligation to book and their services are free, so there’s nothing to lose by contacting them for a quote.

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A magical guide for how to plan a trip to Disney World this year

Tarah Chieffi

Editor's Note

If you want to know how to plan a trip to Disney World, you've come to the right place. This guide includes tips for choosing the right Disney World hotel for your budget, deciding which ticket type is right for you, determining which extras are worth splurging on and how to plan a trip that's fun and memorable without too much stress along the way.

With four theme parks, two water parks, more than 25 on-site hotels, over 200 dining locations and more attractions, experiences, shows and shops than we can list here, the best way to build a magical Disney World vacation is with planning, preparation and realistic expectations.

Planning a trip to Disney World should be fun and build excitement for your upcoming trip, and this guide can help.

How to start planning your trip to Disney World

orlando disney world trip

There are a few questions you will want to answer early in the process of planning your Disney World vacation.

  • What is your budget? Your budget will determine most other factors of your vacation, including where you stay and how many days you visit. How much it will cost you to go to Disney World really can vary widely based on the choices you make.
  • When will you go? You may be at the mercy of work or school schedules, but if you have the flexibility, you can plan your trip when crowds are smaller or the weather is better. The summer can be very hot and rainy, the week between Christmas and New Year's is one of the busiest and weekdays when most kids are in school are often the least busy days.
  • Where will you stay? You will typically pay more to stay in one of Disney's on-site hotels, especially at the moderate and deluxe tiers, but you'll also get perks like early theme park entry. Before you choose, you'll want to consider your budget, whether you want a themed room like the Royal Guest Rooms at Disney's Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and if you want to be located near a certain Disney park. Pro tip: Renting Disney Vacation Club points can help you stay at a deluxe hotel for a moderate price.
  • Which parks will you visit on which days? Depending on the length of your vacation, you may need to prioritize which parks you plan to visit. This will also influence whether you purchase one-park-per-day or Park Hopper tickets that allow you to visit multiple parks daily. If you have little kids, be sure your family will have the stamina for multiple parks per day before shelling out the extra cash to hop.
  • Where will you dine? Popular Disney dining reservations are snatched up almost as soon as they become available. You'll want to plan ahead for any character dining or other table service restaurants, so you don't miss out.

It is important to book your hotel, dining and theme park tickets as early as possible for the best rates and availability. Disney also periodically releases special offers on hotels and vacation packages that you can often apply even if you have already made your reservations.

Related: Are the Disney Visa credit cards worth it?

We will dig deeper into each of these topics in this guide. Once you have a rough outline of your vacation based on the questions above, here are important dates to keep in mind so you can make your Disney dream a reality.

How soon can you book a Disney World hotel?

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Disney releases hotel availability periodically, so there is no exact date that Disney hotel reservations become available. You can currently book Disney World hotel stays through Dec. 31, 2024.

Disney typically opens reservations for the following year around May or June, so you can expect to see 2025 availability around that time. If your plans change, you can cancel your room-only reservation up to five days in advance of arrival for a full refund. Ticket and hotel vacation packages must be canceled 30 days in advance to receive a full refund.

When can you purchase Disney World tickets?

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Disney World tickets follow the same availability calendar as Disney hotel reservations. You can purchase tickets (or vacation packages including a hotel and tickets) through Dec. 31, 2024. Disney typically releases tickets for the following year around May or June, so you can expect to see 2025 availability around that time.

All tickets are date-based, and the price of one-day tickets also varies by park. You can purchase your tickets any time before you visit; the price won't change regardless of how long you wait. Theme park tickets are nonrefundable, but you may be able to change your ticket date if your plans change.

Until Jan. 9, 2024, you must have a Disney ticket and make a theme park reservation to enter a Disney park.

When do Disney World dining reservations become available?

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You can begin making dining reservations 60 days prior to your visit. If you are staying in a Disney World hotel, you can make dining reservations 60 days before your check-in day for your entire stay (up to 10 days).

Reservations open on Disney's website or the My Disney Experience app between 5:45 a.m. and 6 a.m. EST or you can call 407-939-DINE beginning at 7 a.m. EST, but coveted reservations may already be snatched up by that time. You can cancel most Disney World dining reservations up to two hours before your reservation. Exceptions will be noted in the confirmation email you receive at the time of booking.

If you're not yet sure where to eat, here are our favorite restaurants at Disney World .

FOR NO-COST ASSISTANCE WITH PLANNING AND BOOKING YOUR NEXT DISNEY VACATION, CHECK OUT TPG'S DISNEY BOOKING PARTNER, MOUSE COUNSELORS .

What are the 4 parks at Disney World?

Each of Disney World's four theme parks is uniquely themed and packed with fun. You can learn more about each park, including attractions, shows, parade times and interactive maps to help you find your way around in the My Disney Experience app.

Here's a bit more information about each and some tips for choosing the right ticket type to visit them all.

Magic Kingdom

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Open since 1971, Magic Kingdom is Disney World's original theme park. This park is a world of fairy tales and fantasy, where you'll find five themed lands — Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland and Liberty Square.

Magic Kingdom is home to some of Disney's most iconic attractions, including Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Peter Pan's Flight and the Haunted Mansion, but also exciting new rides like Tron: Lightcycle Run and the soon-to-open Tiana's Bayou Adventure .

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Epcot opened in 1982 and has changed drastically in the four decades since. Epcot's core message, however, hasn't changed: sparking visitors' imaginations through science, technology, nature and the human experience. The park is sectioned into "neighborhoods" — World Celebration, World Nature, World Discovery and World Showcase, where you can visit pavilions that celebrate the arts, culture and customs of 11 countries around the world.

There are a lot of new things to see at Epcot, including Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind , Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana and the all-new fireworks spectacular Luminous – The Symphony of Us .

Disney's Hollywood Studios

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Disney's Hollywood Studios is a movie-themed park that has lands and attractions inspired by blockbuster films and beloved Disney characters. In Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge , you can pilot the Millennium Falcon and meet familiar (and furry) faces like Kylo Ren, Chewbacca and Rey.

In Toy Story Land, visitors shrink to the size of Woody, Buzz, Jessie (who you can meet here, by the way) and Andy's other toys. The land's Slinky Dog Dash coaster is a family-friendly ride that's perfect for a kid's first roller coaster.

Outside of the lands themed to specific films, much of the park evokes an old-Hollywood glamour that makes you feel like a bona fide movie star. In these areas, you'll find some of the park's most iconic shows and attractions are also some of its longest-running, like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror drop ride, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular .

Disney's Animal Kingdom

orlando disney world trip

More than 2,000 animals — from about 300 species — call Disney's Animal Kingdom "home," but this is not a zoo. However, you can visit many of these animals via walking trails, the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride and even a petting zoo.

In addition to the creatures and landscapes found on Earth, you can visit another planet at Pandora — The World of Avatar or go back in time at DinoLand U.S.A. The animals aren't the only things that are "wild" at Animal Kingdom — Expedition Everest is a thrilling coaster; Avatar Flight of Passage puts you on the back of a banshee as you fly over Pandora; and Dinosaur sends you careening through the Cretaceous Period in an off-road vehicle.

What type of Disney tickets should I buy?

Disney world base tickets.

You can purchase one-day or multi-day Disney World tickets. All tickets are date-based, and the price varies depending on the date of your visit. If you purchase a one-day ticket, the price will also vary based on which park you plan to visit, with Magic Kingdom being the most expensive.

Disney World Park Hopper tickets

A base ticket only gets you into one park per day. If you want to visit multiple parks on the same day, you will need to purchase the Park Hopper option with your ticket (you can also add it on in person after you arrive). You can save money by only visiting one park per day, but it does limit how much you can see and do during your vacation.

A Park Hopper Plus ticket includes two visits to either Disney's golf courses, miniature golf courses or water parks, but this is only worth it if you know you will use it all.

Disney World special event tickets

Some of Disney's after-hours events , like Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party , require a separate ticket. The park is only open to guests with special event tickets during these events. If you plan on visiting for one of these parties, you may be able to forgo a general admission ticket that day and utilize your special event ticket, as you can usually get into the park a few hours before the party starts.

Disney World ticket add-ons

There are two major ticket add-ons that you should consider. Both can be worth it but will add to the cost of your vacation.

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The first add-on you might want to strongly consider is Disney Genie+ . This skip-the-line service allows you to skip the standby line and enjoy shorter wait times for rides by utilizing Disney's Lightning Lanes.

Currently, you can only purchase it on the day of your visit beginning at 7 a.m. and the price ranges between $15 and $35 per person, per day. A handful of attractions at each park require a separate individual Lightning Lane purchase to skip the line, often for the newest rides, but many rides are available with Genie+. You don't need to purchase Genie+ to buy individual Lightning Lane selections and vice versa. The individual Lightning Lane attraction pricing varies by attraction but typically ranges between $7 and $25 per person per attraction for rides like Tron: Lightcycle Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

orlando disney world trip

Another popular add-on is Disney's Memory Maker . Memory Maker gives you unlimited downloads of pictures taken by PhotoPass photographers during your vacation and on-ride photos. You can purchase a one-day Memory Maker for short visits or a multi-day Memory Maker which covers your entire vacation. You can save $25 on a multi-day Memory Maker when you purchase at least three days prior to your visit, so it's best to purchase it when you buy your tickets.

How to get discounted Disney World tickets

Aside from Disney's own discounts, you can sometimes save money on Disney tickets by purchasing them from an authorized third-party reseller. There are a few reputable sources out there for Disney World tickets, but our go-to is Undercover Tourist . Depending on your ticket type, you can usually save between $5 and $100. One of the best ways to save money with Undercover Tourist is when Disney World raises ticket prices , which usually happens at least once per year. Undercover Tourist typically has a limited number of existing ticket stock available at the old prices while supplies last.

Related: We saved every receipt — here's how much it actually costs to go to Disney World

If you are a Florida resident or are an active or retired U.S. military member , there are generous discounted Disney World tickets available directly through Disney's website.

You can also use points to pay for your Disney tickets , and that's a strategy we strongly recommend to keep costs down. For example, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card , you can earn a welcome bonus of 75,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of having the card. You can use those 75k points as the same as $750 towards travel . And while ticket-only packages from Disney World typically don't code as a travel charge, buying them from Undercover Tourist — or as part of a larger hotel and ticket package directly from Disney — typically does code as a travel charge, so you could save $750 just like that.

Is booking a Disney vacation package a good idea?

If you are staying in one of Disney World's on-site hotels or a certified " Disney World Good Neighbor " hotel, you have the option to bundle your hotel stay and theme park tickets into a Disney vacation package. Normally, these packages are not discounted, but they can be a great value if Disney runs any special vacation package promotions .

Aside from discounts (and the fact that it all likely codes as a travel charge for point-redemption purposes), there's one major reason to book a vacation package: When you purchase your tickets and hotel together, you only have to pay a $200 deposit at the time of booking. Payment in full is due 30 days prior to arrival. If you purchase your tickets separately from your hotel stay, you will have to pay the full amount at the time of purchase.

This is another great example of why you should book through an authorized Disney travel planner who can compare prices for you and keep an eye out for discounts.

When is the best time to visit Disney World?

Do you want the lowest crowds or the best weather? Do you want to attend a Halloween party or see Magic Kingdom's 65-foot-tall Christmas tree ?

The best time to visit Disney World depends on your reason for visiting.

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If you want moderate temperatures and less chance of rain, you may want to plan your visit between October and December. If you want shorter waits, your best bets are late January, early May or just after Thanksgiving before the crowds descend upon the parks for winter break. Of course, weekdays typically see lower crowds than weekends and school breaks.

Or, if you are planning a Disney World vacation on a budget, opt for midweek dates in August and September 2024, when prices start at $109 for a one-day ticket.

Read our full guide on the best times to visit Walt Disney World .

What's the best way to get to Disney World?

Getting to Orlando and getting to Disney World after arriving are two different topics, so let's look at each.

What is the closest airport?

The closest airport to Walt Disney World is Orlando International Airport (MCO). Most major airlines fly into MCO, and you can reach Disney World in about 25 to 30 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic. If you are flying Allegiant or Sun Country Airlines, you'll fly into Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB). SFB is smaller than MCO and farther from Disney World. From SFB, it is about a 45-minute drive to Disney World.

What is the best way to get to Disney World from the airport?

Because of its size and proximity to Disney World, MCO has more and better options to help you get between the airport and Disney World.

From Orlando International Airport or Orlando Sanford International Airport, you can rent a car or use a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft. If you do rent a car from MCO, you can forgo paying tolls through the car rental company (which often comes with an additional fee) and pick up a Visitor Toll Pass to save on tolls during your trip.

orlando disney world trip

Disney no longer charges a parking fee for overnight hotel guests, so if you rent a car, you can park at your hotel and drive to Disney's theme parks without additional fees. Keep in mind that you may not need a car if you don't plan on leaving Disney property after you arrive. Disney has a robust internal transportation system that operates between its on-site hotels and theme parks, water parks and Disney Springs.

You can also use Disney's official airport shuttle, Mears Connect , from MCO.

Mears Connect is a shuttle service that picks you up from MCO and will drop you off at official Disney World hotels and a handful of nearby hotels. Pricing starts at $16 one-way for adults and $13 one-way for children. Mears Connect offers shared shuttles, where you will stop at multiple Disney hotels on the way to your own. You can pay an additional fee for an "express shuttle" that takes you direct to your resort. The easiest way to reserve your ride is online through the Mears Connect website.

What is the best way to get around Disney World?

If you are staying on Walt Disney World property, you can utilize Disney's complimentary transportation for travel between your resort and Disney's theme parks, water parks and Disney Springs. Disney offers transportation by bus, boat, Monorail and Disney Skyliner gondola system. Which transportation options you have access to will depend on which hotel you are staying in.

All Disney hotels offer regularly scheduled bus transportation around the resort. Transportation begins 45 minutes prior to the theme park opening and up to one hour after the theme park closing.

orlando disney world trip

Guests of Disney's Magic Kingdom area resorts — Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa — can use boat or Monorail transportation to travel to the Magic Kingdom. There is also a monorail line that will take you to the Transportation and Ticket Center, where you can transfer to a separate Monorail line that goes to Epcot. These hotels also offer a walking path to Magic Kingdom.

Guests of Disney's Riviera Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort and Disney's Pop Century Resort can use the Disney Skyliner gondolas to travel to Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot. All Disney World visitors can also use Disney Skyliner to travel between these two parks, regardless of where you are staying. It's a fun and scenic way to get around the resort.

orlando disney world trip

Many Disney World hotels also offer ferry boat transportation to nearby parks. The BoardWalk area hotels, for example, offer boat transportation to Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Fort Wilderness, Disney's Wilderness Lodge and others offer boat service to the Magic Kingdom. You can view a full list on Disney's website . You can also walk to Epcot or Hollywood Studios from any BoardWalk area hotel.

Whichever transportation option you choose, you can view the schedule, routes and stop locations in the My Disney Experience app or on video monitors at each stop location.

You can also utilize Disney's Minnie Van service for door-to-door (or door-to-front gate, as it were) service between your hotel and Disney's theme parks. You can book these private rides in red-and-white polka-dot vans directly through the Lyft app. Accessible rides and child safety seats are available.

orlando disney world trip

Though not "official" Disney World hotels, Walt Disney World Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve hotel guests have access to Disney's complimentary ferry boat service to Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. A walking path is also available. These resorts also operate their own shuttles to Disney's theme parks, which pick up approximately every 20 to 25 minutes throughout the day.

Disney Springs hotels operate their own shuttle services, independent of Disney's transportation. If you are staying at one of these hotels, you can inquire about scheduling and pick-up times at the front desk.

What's the best place to stay on a Disney vacation?

orlando disney world trip

There are more than two dozen Disney World hotels to choose from, so your main considerations will be your budget and what type of hotel experience you are after. Whether you want over-the-top Disney theming, an upscale cabin in the woods or a luxury villa with access to a club lounge, you can find it at Disney World.

Disney offers three hotel tiers: Value, Moderate and Deluxe.

Value Disney resorts are the most affordable, with prices ranging between $125 and $300 per night. Value resorts offer quick-service, cafeteria-style dining outlets and large pools but don't have full-service restaurants or pool amenities like waterslides and hot tubs.

On average, Moderate Disney resorts run between $250 and $400 and offer amenities you won't find at Value Disney resorts. Some have full-service restaurants, and the pools are better-themed and equipped with waterslides. Many of them are more centrally located near Disney's theme parks, as well.

Deluxe Disney resorts are the most expensive, ranging between $400 to $700 per night and up for a standard room, but they also have the best locations, amenities and dining. You can expect large, well-furnished guest rooms, pool complexes with hot tubs, waterslides and beach areas, multiple full-service restaurants, spas and more.

orlando disney world trip

Regardless of which hotel you choose, Disney's on-site hotels offer perks to enhance your stay:

  • A 30-minute jumpstart on your day with Disney's Early Theme Park Entry benefit
  • The ability to purchase individual Lightning Lanes for eligible rides begins at 7 a.m. on the day of your visit (non-resort guests can't do this until the park opens)
  • Complimentary hotel and theme park parking
  • Extended Evening Theme Park Hours for guests staying at Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels on select nights (this benefit is also available to guests of Walt Disney World Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve hotels, as well as Shades of Green)

Best hotels at Disney World

The best Disney World hotel for you depends on what you are looking for in a hotel stay. If you don't plan on spending much time in your room, you can save a lot of money by staying in a Value resort. If you plan on spending part of your vacation enjoying hotel amenities like the pool and restaurants, you may want to choose a Moderate or Deluxe resort. Or, if you have a large family that won't be comfortable in a standard room, one of Disney's family suites might be your best bet.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Best Disney World resort if you are on a budget: Disney's Pop Century Resort may not be the most glamorous hotel at Disney, but the kitschy 1950s through 1990s theming and the starting price of around $200 per night will surely put a smile on your face. This resort has three pools, a playground and an arcade. Guest rooms are furnished with either one king bed or a queen bed and a space-saving table that folds out into a bed. It is also one of two Value resorts with Skyliner gondola access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

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Best Disney World resort for large families : Disney's Art of Animation Resort is in Disney's more affordable Value category and has family suites themed to popular Disney films like "Cars," "The Lion King" and "Finding Nemo" that sleep up to six guests. The pool here is the largest at any Disney World resort, and you can take the Disney Skyliner gondolas to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Standard rooms are also available.

Best Disney World resort for swimming : Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts are sister properties near Epcot. The two resorts have rooms that average around $600 per night and share access to Stormalong Bay, the best pool at Disney World . Stormalong Bay is really more than a pool, it is a water park with sand-bottomed pools, a lazy river, an activities pool with a volleyball net and daily pool games and a shipwreck-themed waterslide.

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Best Disney World resort for a luxury stay : If the sky is the limit for your Walt Disney World vacation budget, the Copper Creek Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge are some of the finest accommodations you can choose. With two bedrooms, a fireplace, a screened-in porch, a hot tub and lakeside views, these cabins are anything but rustic. The privacy offers you a chance to wind down after a long Disney day, but you are still close enough to take a boat ride to Magic Kingdom and enjoy the amenities and dining in the resort's main lobby.

If you are leaning toward a luxury Disney stay, you may be able to save money by renting Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points. DVC is Disney's version of a timeshare program. DVC members can rent out their points to non-members through sites like David's Vacation Club Rentals , helping you to save hundreds of dollars versus booking directly through Disney. The trade-off is that availability is limited and that the cancellation policies are much less flexible than if you make the reservation direct through Disney.

Read our full guide on the best hotels at Walt Disney World .

Best hotels near Disney World

Disney World also partners with a handful of off-site hotels where you can still take advantage of certain benefits like Early Theme Park Entry and complimentary transportation while also paying less than you would for an official Disney World hotel. These hotels also participate in major hotel points programs, so you can earn or redeem points for your stay.

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The Walt Disney World Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve hotels all participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program. While not technically Disney hotels, they are located on Disney property between Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. If you are a Marriott Bonvoy elite member , these hotels offer benefits like complimentary upgrades, a welcome amenity and more.

Related: This affordable new Disney Springs hotel includes free hot food and 6 nightly drinks

Disney Springs has seven hotels from brands like Wyndham, Hilton, Holiday Inn and others. All of these are adjacent to the Disney Springs shopping and dining district, and some have room rates that start at close to $100 per night. These can be a great option if you want to save money and don't mind leaving the "Disney bubble" at the end of the day.

Read our full guide to Disney Springs hotels here .

What are the best restaurants at Disney World?

With more than 200 restaurants to choose from, you are going to have to decide which Disney World restaurants you most want to visit. Dining options run the gamut from the predictable burger and fries to an out-of-this-world restaurant in space.

Read our full guide to the best restaurants at Disney World .

Hardest Disney reservations to get (and how to get them)

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Many of these restaurants are quick-service or snack stands that don't require advance reservations, but there are a few popular restaurants that book up almost as quickly as reservations become available. If you want to dine with Disney royalty at Cinderella's Royal Table, for example, you'll want to make your reservation as soon as you can. Remember, that is 60 days prior to your visit — if you are staying at a Disney World hotel, you can make reservations for your entire vacation 60 days prior to your check-in day.

Related: 'Be our guest' at these 5 best character dining meals at Walt Disney World

Other reservations that book up quickly include Storybook Dining at Artist Point , Space 220 at Epcot, California Grill, 'Ohana, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at Hollywood Studios and Topolino's Terrace, especially for the character breakfast. All of these have great food and atmosphere, making them popular for new and returning guests.

Best quick-service restaurants at Disney that don't require a reservation

Luckily, there are plenty of Disney restaurants with delicious food you can get your hands on without a reservation. Satuli Canteen in Pandora — The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom is consistently ranked as one of the best quick-service restaurants anywhere at Disney. The food is fresh, flavorful and surprisingly inexpensive. You can get a build-your-own bowl with beef, chicken or fish for less than $20.

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Other must-try quick-service restaurants include Ronto Roasters at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (the Ronto Breakfast Wrap is the best handheld meal at Disney!), Columbia Harbour House at Magic Kingdom for New England-inspired fare and Regal Eagle Smokehouse at Epcot for all things barbecue.

Using the Disney app to improve your dining experience

The My Disney Experience app is a must for your Disney World vacation for checking wait times, finding your way around and more. When it comes to dining, you can use it to find walk-up dining availability, score last-minute reservations, see what restaurants are nearby, and place mobile orders at select quick-service restaurants.

When you place a mobile order via the app, you choose what time you would like to pick up your order (with the option to modify if plans change). When you arrive at the restaurant, you can click "I'm here. Prepare my order," and you'll receive a notification on your phone when your food is ready.

Should you buy a Disney Dining Plan?

The cost of dining at Disney can add up quickly, and Disney offers two dining plan options that may help you save money. The Disney Dining Plan lets you prepay for a specified number of meals and snacks for your Disney World vacation. You receive a certain number of meal and snack credits for each night of your stay.

The Disney Dining Plan is both convenient and flexible. By prepaying for your meals and snacks, you won't have to pull out your wallet for every meal and snack, and you aren't required to use a set number of credits each day. You can redeem them anytime during your stay in the way that best works for you.

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There are two options — the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan. The first is a bit less expensive and allows for more flexibility. The second is best if you plan on more sit-down dining and character meals during your vacation.

Whether or not you can save money with a Disney Dining Plan depends on how you utilize the credits. It is possible to break even or come out ahead if you maximize the value of your credits and actually eat all of the food available on the plan. If you don't use all of your credits, you are essentially leaving money on the table, but our guide can help you out with the math.

Read our full guide to the Disney Dining Plan .

How to save time in line at Disney World

Most Walt Disney World attractions offer a standby line. The only exceptions are new attractions, which will often offer a virtual queue for a limited time after opening. When Disney World is busy, though, standby lines for popular attractions can climb as high as two hours. Luckily, Disney has a service called Disney Genie+ that helps you skip the standby line and get on more attractions with shorter waits.

With Disney Genie+, you can skip the standby line and utilize a much shorter "Lightning Lane" for most attractions. You can only purchase this add-on service on the day of your visit, beginning at midnight (though you will likely be safe waiting until you wake up in the morning except on Disney's busiest days).

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The cost of Disney Genie+ varies per park and per day. The service starts at $15 per person per day and occasionally reaches a per-person price of $35 per day during the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season or in April during spring break. You can purchase Genie+ for one of Disney World's four theme parks or a "multiple park" option valid at all four parks when you purchase through the My Disney Experience app.

Most attractions are included in the Disney Genie+ service, but one or two attractions at each park require a separate Lightning Lane purchase to skip the line. It's not necessary to purchase Genie+ to buy individual Lightning Lane selections and vice versa. The individual Lightning Lane attraction pricing varies by attraction but typically ranges between $7 and $25 per person, per attraction.

Read our full guide to Disney Genie+ .

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If you are staying in one of Disney's on-site hotels or in select "Good Neighbor" hotels, as mentioned in the section above, you can also save time in line by utilizing Early Theme Park Entry and/or Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. You can get into the parks 30 minutes early with the Early Entry benefit, but you actually want to arrive at the front gates 30-45 minutes before that time. This will give you time to get through security and to the roped-off area where they hold guests, making you one of the first in line to rush to your favorite ride when early entry starts.

Related: Your guide to visiting Disney World with a child on the autism spectrum

If you or someone in your party has a disability that makes it difficult for you to wait in a traditional standby queue, you can also save time by registering for Disney's Disability Access Service (DAS). You need to start the registration process before your visit, and full instructions are available on Disney's website .

How to plan a Disney World trip on a budget

While sensational stories about $2,500 meals at Disney make for good headlines, it is totally possible to visit Disney World on a budget .

Related: Yes, you can visit Disney World on a budget: Here's how I did it

Here are some of the most important things you can do to make your Disney vacation budget manageable:

  • Stay at a Disney Value resort like Disney's All-Star Movies Resort or use Marriott points to stay at the Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve. Here are the best cards to get those points.
  • Utilize Disney's complimentary parking and transportation for on-site guests instead of renting a car.
  • Purchase groceries for some meals and snacks, and only buy one or two meals in the parks each day.
  • Don't visit the parks every day you are at Disney and stick to one park per day, avoiding park hopping. You can save on tickets by spending a day swimming or visiting Disney Springs.
  • Don't forget to periodically check Disney's website for discounts. Even after you book, you may be able to apply a hotel or vacation package discount that can save you even more money.
  • Be on the lookout for discounted Disney gift cards to help cover the cost of your trip and/or use points for the tickets.
  • Visit during less busy times of the year. Ticket prices are cheapest in August and September, with one-day tickets starting at $109.

Disney World pretrip checklist

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Now that you've determined your budget, purchased your tickets, booked your hotel and made a few dining reservations, your trip is nearly planned. There are some other details you'll need to consider to make your trip as magical as it should be. Here's our ultimate Disney World pre-trip checklist:

  • Pack accordingly : Depending on when you visit, you could be dealing with heat, humidity, afternoon showers, chilly temperatures or a mix of all of the above. It's important to pack comfortable shoes and clothing no matter when you visit, but you may also want rain gear, sun protection or a warm jacket, depending on the weather. You can read our full Disney World packing guide here .
  • Download the My Disney Experience app : This app is an invaluable tool that you will use daily during your visit. You can use it to check everything from wait times to walk-up dining availability. You can also use it to navigate the parks with turn-by-turn walking directions, purchase Disney Genie+ and individual Lightning Lanes and even open your hotel room door.
  • Check the park hours before your visit : You can view the park hours on the Walt Disney World website or the My Disney Experience app. Each park has separate opening and closing times, and parks occasionally close early for special events like Halloween and Christmas parties. When you view the park hours, you'll also be able to see times for any parades or fireworks shows happening each day of your visit and plan for early entry or extended theme park hours for eligible on-site hotel guests.
  • Check the height requirements for attractions: If you are traveling to Disney World with young children, you can check the height requirements for attractions on Disney World's website or in the My Disney Experience app. There are also measuring stations at all attractions that have a minimum height requirement, but it's better to know ahead of time to avoid tears if your child isn't quite tall enough.
  • Know where to find your favorite characters : Most Disney characters have designated meeting times and locations, which you can find in the My Disney Experience app. Booking a character meal can be a great way to meet multiple characters at once, but you can also meet many characters in the parks. Popular meet-and-greets also offer Genie+ Lightning Lane access, which can cut down on the time you spend waiting to meet Mickey, Moana or Cinderella.
  • Decide if you want to purchase PhotoPass photos : You can save money on Disney Memory Maker by purchasing in advance before you visit. It's the easiest way to capture your vacation memories and an add-on we highly recommend. You can view and download your photos in the My Disney Experience app.
  • Study up on Genie+: As helpful as Genie+ can be, there is a bit of a learning curve. Study up using our Genie+ guide and Disney's own overview before your visit. It's good to know which attractions participate in Genie+, how to reserve Lightning Lane access and how to make the most of the service.
  • Plan for downtime: One of the biggest mistakes people make at Disney World is overscheduling their trip and leaving no time for rest and relaxation. If you are visiting for more than a few days, try and schedule a day away from the parks where you swim, explore the other resorts or just lounge around the hotel. It'll help rejuvenate you for the rest of your trip. For shorter trips, you may want to schedule a slow morning or return to your hotel early one day instead of being at the parks from opening to closing every day of your trip.

Read all of our best Disney World tips here .

Bottom line

There you have it — the ultimate guide to visiting Walt Disney World.

In addition to the planning and preparation you've now mastered, there are two very important things you must do during your Disney World vacation — don't overplan and have fun. It's much better to have a short list of "must-do" rides, restaurants and activities than to have a minute-by-minute itinerary that most certainly will not play out exactly how you planned.

Keeping a loose itinerary leaves room for magic moments like stumbling upon a favorite character, noticing a super-short line for a ride or deciding last-minute to watch a parade you happened upon. You can't do everything in one trip anyway, so do the things you can and save the rest for next time when you are a certified Disney pro.

FOR NO-COST-TO-YOU ASSISTANCE IN PLANNING AND BOOKING YOUR DISNEY VACATION, CHECK OUT TPG'S DISNEY BOOKING PARTNER, MOUSE COUNSELORS .

Related reading:

  • The best Disney World hotels for your stay
  • The 21 most underrated things at Disney World: What to see, do and eat that many guests miss
  • Forgetting to do this 1 thing could ruin your Disney trip
  • Disney's take on timeshares: Guide to Disney Vacation Club
  • 8 Walt Disney World experiences that don't require a park ticket
  • Manage My Booking
  • English (Europe)

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0 x Ages 3-9 € 403 /Ticket

€ 806.00

Park hopper plus.

  • Water Parks and More!

2 x Ages 10+ € 424 /Ticket

0 x Ages 3-9 € 424 /Ticket

€ 848.00

2 -day ticket with 1 park per day.

2 x Ages 10+ € 636.00 (€ 318 /Ticket)

0 x Ages 3-9 € 0.00 (€ 318 /Ticket)

€ 636.00 EUR

All elements of your booking are subject to capacity and availability. Enhanced health and safety measures are in place to promote cleanliness, physical distancing and reduced contact. Some experiences, shows or events may be modified depending on relevant health and safety requirements. We will not be liable for related consequences on your holiday or visit. Important details to know before you visit .

Bookings are subject to availability and our booking conditions . Holiday price is not confirmed until purchased. Prices do not include insurance. Additional terms and conditions apply; click here for details.

€56/day price is based on the purchase of an adult 10-Day Ticket with Admission to 1 Park Per Day arriving on 17th August 2024.

Disney Theme Park Tickets and any options purchased are valid for admission beginning on your selected start date and must be used within a limited number of days, depending on ticket length and type. Tickets will not be valid for admission after 31st October 2025.

All tickets and options are nontransferable and nonrefundable and exclude activities/events separately priced.

Multi-day tickets are valid for one theme park per day for each day of the ticket. Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus Options include same-day admission to all 4 theme parks on each day of your ticket.

In addition, the Park Hopper Plus Option includes a certain number of visits to other Walt Disney World fun based on the length of your ticket. For example, a 4-day ticket allows 4 visits and a 5-day ticket allows 5 visits.

For each Park Hopper Plus visit, you can choose one of the following:

  • Disney's Blizzard Beach Water
  • Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course (Greens fees only)
  • Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course (1 round of miniature golf prior to 4:00 PM)
  • Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course (1 round of miniature golf prior to 4:00 PM)

Admission to Disney's Blizzard Beach or Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is dependent upon whichever is open. Please check our Know Before You Go for the most current information on Disney Water Parks. At this time a park reservation is not required to visit a water park, however, reservation requirements are subject to change. Water parks are subject to rehabilitation, seasonal, capacity and weather closures, or may close for other reasons.

Tee times are required for Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course and are subject to availability. ESPN Wide World of Sports admission valid only on event days; some events require an additional admission charge; there are no events on certain days; days and hours of operation of concessions, venues and attractions vary. Visit www.espnwwos.com for more information.

Child prices are valid for children aged 3-9 years on day of first use; children aged 10 years and above pay the adult ticket price; children under 3 years do not require a Theme Park Ticket and are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. All tickets purchased online are e-tickets.

Tickets for Special Events must be purchased separately.

Book an Adult (aged 10 and above) Disney Theme Park Ticket before 27th June 2024 to arrive between 14th May and 31st December 2024 (inclusive) and pay the price of a Child (aged 3-9) equivalent ticket (Adults at Kids Prices Offer). The Adults at Kids Prices Offer is only available for Ticket only sales and not as part of a Hotel and Ticket Package. Minimum €10 and maximum €22 saving is available per adult based on a type of ticket and arrival season on selected arrival dates.

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Our Lowest Price Guaranteed

For a limited time only, benefit from our Lowest Price Guaranteed on tickets for arrivals from 5th June to 31st December 2023.

Book by 10th July and rest assured that we won't drop our ticket prices any lower for 2023 arrivals.

  • Explore 4 magical Theme Parks, filled with beloved classics, family favourites, and new thrills
  • Discover Water Park fun, as you slip, slide, and splash, with a day of family-filled activities
  • Travel this summer and soak up some Florida sunshine - there's no better time to visit Walt Disney World

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Disney Magic Tickets

Enjoy Disney Magic Ticket from only per day when you buy now - it's better value than at the gate!

  • Explore Walt Disney World: Discover our amazing theme parks and fun-filled water parks
  • Park Hopper: Enjoy visiting more than one Theme Park on the same day during its opening hours. Check the Park Hours calendar and My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date opening hours.
  • Memory Maker: Capture your magical holiday moments with Disney PhotoPass Service and get unlimited digital downloads! ($210 on the gate)
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports: Entry included (excludes ticketed events)
  • Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course: Entry included (tee times required)
  • Mini Golf: One round per day included (access prior to 4pm)

More About Disney Tickets

Adults at Kids Prices in 2024

Enjoy great savings on adult tickets for all 2024 - book now for this summer!

  • Limited time offer: Don't miss out, this magical offer is only available until 27th June 2024!
  • Flexible ticket options: Experience the magic your way, with a ticket for every type of visit. Our Park Hopper Plus option gives you unlimited daily admission to all 4 Theme Parks, plus Water Park fun and more!
  • Buy before you fly: Buy your tickets before your Florida adventure to make the most of your visit and enjoy great savings.
  • Available on all ticket bookings: This great offer is available on all ticket-only bookings with arrivals up to and including 31st December 2024, so you can travel at a time that suits you.

Learn more about our ticket options

Discover The Magic

Walt Disney World offers magical experiences for adults and children alike. There really is something for everyone.

  • Countless memories are waiting to be made at Magic Kingdom Park. Watch in wonder as fairy tales come to life and dreams become reality.
  • Explore an all-new land at Disney's Hollywood Studios - Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Live your Star Wars adventure in a galaxy far, far away.
  • Become immersed in the magic of nature like never before as you explore Pandora - The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park .
  • Looking for something delicious? Epcot is now more flavourful than ever with festivals offering the best in food, art, music and more.

Discover Walt Disney World

Flexible Ticket Options

  • Base Ticket: This ticket offers you admission to one of our 4 magical theme parks per day
  • Park Hopper Option: Enjoy visiting more than one Theme Park on the same day during its opening hours. Check the Park Hours calendar and My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date opening hours
  • Park Hopper Plus: Make the most of unlimited daily admission to all 4 Theme Parks and access to one of the following per day of your ticket: Water Park fun, ESPN Wide World of Sports (excludes ticketed events), Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course (tee times required), one round of mini golf at Disney's Winter Summerland or Disney's Fantasia Gardens (access prior to 4pm)

Tickets will include admission to Disney's Blizzard Beach or Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, whichever is open.

Upgrade Your Ticket

We offer a range of ticket options so you can experience the magic your way, whether you prefer to experience one theme park per day with our base ticket or opt for the ultimate in flexibility with our Park Hopper Plus option!

If you have chosen a base ticket that offers you admission to one of our 4 theme parks per day, you can upgrade to:

  • Ticket with Park Hopper Option: Enjoy visiting more than one Theme Park on the same day during its opening hours. Check the Park Hours calendar and My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date opening hours
  • Ticket with Park Hopper Plus Option: Make the most of unlimited daily admission to all 4 Theme Parks and access to one of the following per day of your ticket: Water Park fun, ESPN Wide World of Sports (excludes ticketed events), Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course (tee times required), one round of mini golf at Disney's Winter Summerland or Disney's Fantasia Gardens (access prior to 4pm)

Learn More About Upgrading Your Ticket

Incredible Parks at an Incredible Price

  • Magic Kingdom Park: Explore six lands, walk down Main Street U.S.A. to Cinderella Castle and watch in wonder as fairy tales come to life before your eyes
  • Epcot: Take a glimpse into the wonders of tomorrow at Future World, or spend a day travelling through 11 different countries at World Showcase
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios: Step into the world of showbiz and experience exhilarating attractions, live-action extravaganzas and VIP backstage adventures
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park: Discover rare animals, authentic adventures and world-class entertainment transporting you to the heart of nature
  • Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park: Disney built a ski resort in Florida and it melted! What remains is packed with downhill thrills and plenty of ways to chill
  • Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park: Wash up on tropical shores or get your adrenaline rushing with rapids, lazy rivers, shark reefs and Florida's largest inland surfing lagoon

More About Disney Parks

Memory Maker

Download your Disney PhotoPass photos with Memory Maker to relive the magic over and over again.

Enjoy unlimited digital photos taken at these locations:

  • Disney PhotoPass Photographers: Available at some of the most iconic locations at Walt Disney World
  • Attraction Photos and Videos: Relive some of your most thrilling memories (Disney band or card required)
  • Magic Shots: Make your photos extra magical by adding Disney Characters and other fun surprises
  • Dining Photos: Available at select restaurants and dining experiences across the Parks and Resorts

Learn More About Memory Maker

Disney Genie Service

Introducing Disney Genie service and Disney Genie+ service, two magical new digital services available on the My Disney Experience app that make your Theme Park visit easier and more fun.

  • Our complimentary Disney Genie service is your best way to get more fun and flexibility out of your day, your time, and your choices.
  • Just connect to your magical blue friend and optimize your day in the Park with a recommended itinerary – your best Disney day based entirely on your interests.
  • Enjoy all-new features like a virtual tip board with forecasted wait times, and manage your day with easy access to existing planning features like restaurant check-in, mobile food ordering and more.
  • Want to take your day to the next level? Just purchase Disney Genie+ service in Resort to add even more fun and time-saving benefits to your Theme Park ticket or package. On average, guests can enter 2 to 3 attractions or experiences per day using the Lightning Lane entrance if the first selection is made early in the day.
  • Disney Genie+ service also lets you explore the Parks like never before with new audio experiences and access to exclusive Disney PhotoPass camera lenses for your mobile device.

More About Disney Genie Service

Welcoming You Back

Get ready to rediscover Walt Disney World Resort. Here's what to know before you go:

  • Park Reservations: Park attendance will be managed via the Disney Park Pass reservation system
  • Reduced Contact: Experiences may be modified in order to reduce contact
  • Health & Safety: The safety and wellbeing of our guests is our number one priority. We have taken enhanced health and safety measures for you to follow
  • My Disney Experience App: Make the most of the magic with the My Disney Experience app

More About Welcoming You Back

Up to 35% Off Hotels

Stay in the heart of the magic and enjoy fantastic benefits when staying at a Disney Resort hotel. Book by 14th February to enjoy up to 35% off stays between 25th March 2024 to 3rd October 2024.

  • Relax in themed rooms that bring your favourite Disney tales to life.
  • Get more time to play with extended time in the Theme Parks.
  • Experience enchantment around every corner – you may even spot some familiar Disney friends!
  • Enjoy complimentary transportation across the Resort, including monorail and the Disney Skyliner.
  • Find something that suits you, with room options for 5+ Guests.

Discover our Disney Resort Hotels

Up to 25% Off Hotels

Stay in the heart of the magic and enjoy fantastic benefits when staying at a Disney Resort hotel. Book by 23rd May to enjoy up to 25% off stays between 25th March to 7th July 2024.

Stay in the heart of the magic and enjoy fantastic benefits when staying at a Disney Resort hotel. Book by 26th September to enjoy up to 25% off stays between 8th July to 3rd October 2024.

Experience Seasonal Events

There's always something going on at Walt Disney World Resort. Check out our fantastic seasonal events on offer at different times throughout the year.

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Celebrate Spring's arrival and see Epcot blooming with vibrant floral displays and gardens.
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: Taste your way around the world at this spectacular celebration of global cuisine, music and more.
  • Halloween: Celebrate Halloween with a Disney twist at Magic Kingdom Park with devilish decor and bewitching surprises.
  • Christmas: Discover magic mixed with tradition at our Disney Theme Parks including special celebrations and festive decorations.

More About Seasonal Events

Disney Magic Ticket with Park Hopper

Disney Magic Tickets include Park Hopper access which allows you to enjoy multiple Theme Parks and a Water Park on the same day.

  • Make the most of Park Hopping at any time of day during opening hours
  • Check the Park Hours calendar and My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date opening hours
  • Enjoy a game of miniature golf at Disney's Winter Summerland or Disney's Fantasia Gardens (includes one round per day, access prior to 4pm)
  • Delight in a family-friendly retreat at Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course (tee times required)
  • Enjoy the ultimate sports experience at ESPN Wide World of Sports (excludes ticketed events)

Discover our Disney Magic Ticket

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orlando disney world trip

How Does My Ticket Work?

Your tickets are valid for admission from your selected start date within the usage window highlighted in green on the calendar.

For example, a 2-Day Ticket includes two days of admission to be used across a four day window.

Great features of your ticket include:

  • Explore Our Parks: Our base Theme Park Ticket offers admission to one of our 4 magical theme parks each day, or upgrade for Park Hopping or Water Parks
  • Great Flexibility: Tickets can be used on non-consecutive days throughout your usage window, giving you and your family flexibility

More About Theme Park Tickets

Sorry, your party includes more than 10 guests.

Unfortunately to purchase tickets for your whole party you'll need to make multiple bookings, or call our Disney Experts freephone on 00 800 2006 0809 * for help with your enquiry.

Important Water Parks Information

Tickets will include admission to Disney's Blizzard Beach or Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, whichever is open. At this time a park reservation is not required to visit a water park, however, reservation requirements are subject to change.

Mouse Ear Memories

First Time Beginner’s Guide to Disney World (15 minute crash course)

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With so many Rides, Shows, and Attractions, it can be hard to know where to start at Disney World in Orlando Florida (Disneyland is in California, and offers different things!).

This is a comprehensive guide that covers all the basics about Disney World. If you’re familiar with Walt Disney World, this information is probably unnecessary. If your new to Disney, then this is the place to be.

Disney is a vacation packed full of so many options, from great rides at the four Theme Parks, to water fun at the Water Parks and Resorts, to Character Memories, fun Entertainment and Nighttime Fireworks Celebrations.

Refer to the Table of Contents below to jump around to areas you’d like to learn more about.

Does Disney World do anything Special for First Time Visitors?

Yes! Disney World offers a ‘1st Visit’ button that you can wear to celebrate that occasion and let Cast Members (the Disney Employees) know that it’s your first time.

orlando disney world trip

So let’s jump into some quick tips for first time Disney World visitors and then you can pick where you want to get started with all this information! If this is too much, simply save or share this page for later.

This post may contain affiliate links, read my full disclosure here.

Table of Contents for Disney World Guide

  • Your Frequently Asked Questions Answered

The Best Times to go to Disney World

  • How many days do you need at Disney
  • What do you need to bring to your Disney World Vacation?
  • Overview of the Parks
  • Overview of Entertainment in the Parks
  • All about Disney Resorts

Quick FAQs for Disney World

What should you do on your first visit to disney world.

You should make a Bucket List/ Cant Miss list!

Disney World is intense… there’s so much more to do and see (maybe that’s why we have so many websites and vlogs and content creators sharing the Disney fun!)

Creating a list of things you want to do will make planning much easier and make the vacation more fun . Here’s a list of Can’t Miss fun for most families , and a Can’t Miss list for little kids !

orlando disney world trip

How Much does it cost to go to Disney World?

The average vacation in 2024 is going to cost around $5000 dollars for a Family of Four to go for 5 days (this includes tickets, lodging, a food budget and souvenirs but not travel costs to get to the parks) See the full breakdown for the costs (with examples!) on how to do Disney World on a tight (yet realistic!) budget.

Having a dollar sign in mind is a good way to make sure that you stay on track with your Disney World Vacation. This is such an exciting time and you want to make sure that you make the most of it. There are many money saving tips that can help with your magical vacation.

The Best Time to go to Disney World is the time that fits with your schedule!

Disney World is ‘always’ busy now on the weekends and many times throughout the week. There is no ‘slow’ season, though the months of January and September are typically slower months than others.

Walt Disney World is such a popular resort that it can get a little crowded.  

I’ve been on some of the busiest days of the year, and while it is still magical, it’s not very fun waiting in a two hour line ! What you can do is check the best weeks to go and pick the week that works best for your family! 

Some of the Best Months to go for lower crowds are:

  • The beginning of May
  • The second week in December

Some of the best times to enjoy the Parks for lower crowds are:

  • In the Evenings- especially if they park is closing in a few hours or staying open very late
  • In the Early Morning- especially if you have early morning hours available to you when you stay on Disney World property
  • During the Week Days- it helps to look at the MyDisneyExperience App and check the wait times. While these are often inflated, they are a good predictor of crowd levels during your vacation.
  • Magic Kingdom on days that a party is planned, and the regular park closes at 6. Many people skip this day because it doesn’t include fireworks, but it’s a great option if you have a park hopper or want to get up early and spend a good 10 hours at Magic Kingdom.

⭐ What is a Touring Plan, and why is it recommended to know the crowd level when planning a touring plan?

Touring Plans are detailed lists that tell you where to go for rides and attractions at what time. These rely heavily on park hours, expected crowd levels, and what rides/attractions your party wants to do. A common Touring Plan example is to rope drop Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom as the wait time is high during the day (or to make it your last ride of the night).

What do you need to pack for your Disney vacation?

Whether it’s your first time to Disney World or your hundredth, it pays to be prepared.

But what you need for your Disney vacation really depends on each person and family (and reason for the trip!) I do recommend getting a packing list together- at least a month ahead of time, so that way you can get everything you need.

This should include the following items:

  • Number of Outfits x your vacation days + one opposite weather outfit (so a sweater if you come in the summer, or shorts if you come in the winter)
  • Two pairs of Comfortable Walking Shoes
  • Sun Protection including Hat, Sunglasses and Sunscreen
  • A Park Bag or Park FannyPack, for you to bring into the parks with you
  • Comfort Care items like lotion, lip balm, and first aid kits
  • Toiletries and Cosmetics
  • Disney Items like Mouse Ears, Signature Books, Pin Collections, Penny Collections

⭐ Does Disney World offer personal care items, clothing, or other commonly forgot items? Yes. Lots of these items are found inside the Parks. But for a full selection, head to the resorts. If you are at a Value resort and can’t find what you are looking for (And have talked to a Cast Member to confirm it’s not hiding somewhere), head to one of the Deluxe Resorts to check out there selections.

The top 3 items I recommend to everyone:

1. Portable Phone Charger – you phone WILL go dead using the MyDisney App, and some of the rides will drain your battery as your phone looks for signal. The alternative is good ole pencil and paper- just make sure you can access your plans and reservations for the day! You can also use the swappable batteries, see more about where to find those swappable battery locations at Disney here .

2. Insulated Water Bottle – It gets HOT at Disney. Even in the winter you are dealing with the sun, the wind and way too much walking. Animal Kingdom also doesn’t do straws or lids- so you need a water bottle to prevent spillage. 

3. Body Glide- This stuff is phenomenal. I use it for anywhere my skin might get irritation (like shoes in sneakers or thighs in shorts). Its only a few bucks, so better to have it and not need it- then need it and not have it!

And if your headed to Disney World for a Birthday Celebration , consider what you want to pack, versus what you want to buy when you get there.

How many days should you plan for your Disney World Trip?

Most people will find that a First Time Disney Vacation is exciting and exhausting! There’s so much to see and do, and you cannot possibly get it all done in one trip (or even two!)

Most families will benefit from 3-5 days inside the Parks.

But there’s a lot of ways to do Disney! You could do two days inside Magic Kingdom, and one day at EPCOT. You could just do two days at Magic Kingdom and make it a long weekend. You could hit up all four parks, or two days at Disney and two days at Universal.

Tips for Disney World Tickets

If you are visiting for the first time, a standard ticket would be the most appropriate versus an annual pass- you can pick how many base days you’d like to have.

Recommended time at the resort is 6 days 5 nights . This gives you 4 days in the parks, and then your arrival and departure day. Some families will benefit from a ‘no park’ day in the middle of their week to relax, and take in the amenities at the hotel (and possibly recover from sunburn or dehydration that is so prone to Disney trips!)

There are some pros and cons to only doing Magic Kingdom in one day , but most people will find that with a bucket list, their one day trip is enough!

➡️ You will need a Park Reservation for some tickets and passes. To schedule a park ticket, head over to Disney World here and secure your dates (its better to have a date/park secured and change later than not have one at all!)

What’s not recommended:

-Having a Ticket for Arrival or Departure day (there is plenty to do that doesn’t require a ticket!) Unless you are going for something specific. Most people will benefit from resting on Arrival and Departure day.

-Park Hopper Tickets if you are staying for more than 4 days. If you plan to go to all the parks anyways, there’s no need to add the Park Hopper. I would recommend this if you are doing less than 3 days. Keep in mind that hopping parks can take some time (between 45-90 minutes) that may be better spent in the parks.

-Not getting the Park Hopper if you can only come for 1-3 days. The Park Hopper here will help you take advantage of all the staggered opening and closing times to get the most out of your ticket.

-Purchasing from somewhere like eBay- I would hate for your ticket not to work when you arrived

Overview of the Disney Parks

There’s no Harry Potter, Charizard or Daffy Ducks at Disney World my friends. But we do have 6 Theme Parks (4 Main Ones and 2 Water Parks). Disney World is the size of San Francisco, or double the size of Manhattan. And its also located in Florida, in Orlando. There’s a lot going on here!

Disney also has an amazing amount of themed resorts and restaurants that I also recommend you check out! You can peek around the resorts as a guest and eat at any of the locations on property – most require a reservation but they aren’t hard to get. 

Quick Note about Transportation at Disney World

Or said better, How to get where you need to go on Vacation!

⭐ Is Disney Transportation available to all guests, including those not staying on property? Yes! Respectfully of course, but you can hop on the Skyliner, or take the Monorail, or catch a boat without needing to stay on property. This is a fun option on your ‘no-park-ticket’ day, and here’s everything you can do at Disney World without a Park Ticket.

⭐How long does Disney Transportation take? Maybe the most important question of this entire post! Transportation can be quick, kinda slow, or completely closed. You might miss reservations or get stuck for an hour waiting for a bus. While most of it is free to use, it’s a gamble on the time requirements, so plan to give yourself extra time.

Complimentary Transportation Options:

  • The Buses (available at most Disney Resorts, and will pop up if there is severe weather and you can’t take the Skyliner, Boats or Monorail)
  • The Monorail. Three lines operate at Disney World. One takes you to and from EPCOT to the Ticket and Transportation Center. One takes you straight from the Transportation and Ticket Center to Magic Kingdom and back again. The Last Line makes 5 stops. The Transportation and Ticket Center, The Contemporary Resort, Magic Kingdom, The Grand Floridian Resort, The Polynesian Resort.
  • The Ferry Boat takes you from Magic Kingdom to the Transportation and Ticket Center and back.
  • The Friendship Boats operate for the Hollywood Studios/EPCOT water front resorts, Between Disney Springs and Port Orleans Resort, and for the Magic Kingdom Seven Seas Lagoon Resorts.
  • The Skyliner has three lines. One line goes from the Depot to Hollywood Studios and back (Caribbean Beach is where the depot is located). One line goes from the EPCOT Boardwalk (it’s the second EPCOT entrance called the International Gateway), to Riveria Resort to the Depot. The third line runs from Art of Animation/POP Century Resort to the Skyliner Depot.
  • Parking at Disney Springs or the Water Parks and Mini Golf locations.

Paid Transportation Options:

  • Parking at Disney World Parks. This is included if you have paid to park at a Disney World resort. There is a tram at several of the parking lots that takes you to the front.
  • Minnie Vans, which are a partnership between Lyft Rideshare and Disney World. These are Disney employees who pick you up in a red and black polka dot ‘van’.

The Parks at Disney World

Disney World has four Major Parks, two Water Parks, and then Disney Springs.

Magic Kingdom

The Iconic Cinderella Castle and Main Street U.S.A. are just two of the notable landmarks at Magic Kingdom. This is the Number One Park at Disney World and at full capacity (so really busy with lots of long lines!) it can take a Visitor almost 20 hours to complete the rides and attractions.

Magic Kingdom hosts lots of other amazing attractions like Space Mountain, Fantasy Land and Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Not to mention, Magic Kingdom is also home to lots of character meet and greets and the amazing fireworks display at the end of the night. Seeing the Castle lit up is a magical experience that the whole family can enjoy, and one of the highlights of any Disney trip. 

orlando disney world trip

Hollywood Studios 

Hollywood studios used to be considered among us Disney Goers as the ‘one day park’ because it was something that we could just hit up our favorite attractions and then catch dinner somewhere else on the resort. This is certainly not the case anymore though! 

If you follow Disney news at all, you’ll see that Hollywood Studios has been revamped lately to include Star Wars, Toy Story Land, Beauty and the Beast and the Disney Junior Characters.

orlando disney world trip

This is exciting news because it takes this park and gives it a much needed update. If you’ve never been (or it’s been a reallyyyyy long time) don’t bypass Hollywood Studios because of old reviews. This is definitely a park you want to visit for all your movie and TV needs!

Epcot is the infamous park that houses all the other countries. The park actually has two sections, Worlds Celebration, Nature and Discovery at the Front of the Park and World Showcase around the lake (it’s a giant circle). 

The World Showcase is where you’ll find many scenic views, easy going rides and of course, the eleven countries with authentic gifts and cuisine. I love to go on Date nights to “Britain” or “Japan”-  it’s so amazing that we can step into another country without leaving Disney! 

With few exceptions, the World Showcase doesn’t open up till 11 for shops and drinks, but you can catch the Shops, Attractions and Food at the front of the park when the park opens. Options like the Soarin’ ride, Finding Nemo, Mission: Space and Test Track are great ways to start the day (and Frozen in Norway plus Ratatouille in France open when the park does!)

orlando disney world trip

Epcot is also home to Festivals throughout the year. We have the Festival of the Arts to start the year, followed by the Flower and Garden Festival in the Spring and Early Summer. Then Food and Wine Festival in the Fall and The Festival of the Holidays to round out the year.

Animal Kingdom 

Animal Kingdom is where the animals are, seriously. With more than 500 acres and 1700 animals, it’s considered to be the largest theme park in the world! This makes for quite the adventure when it comes to planning your day as you won’t be able to see everything in one go. 

orlando disney world trip

There’s several sections to Animal Kingdom, the newest of which is the Pandora land based off the movie Avatar. Some of the other sections, which are called ‘lands’ include Asia, Africa, Dinoland, Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Discovery Island.

Since Animal Kingdom is so large, it’s good to plan for exactly one day here and still pick your ‘must see’ items! The Thrill rides here tend to fill up quickly, just like at the other parks (namely Avatar Flight of Passage and Everest, plus sometimes slower Family Fun rides like Navi River Journey and the Animal Safari)

Animal Kingdom generally opens earlier than most of the parks, and it’s a great park to ‘Rope Drop’ (or show up before it opens!). Then you can leave around Dinner time to another park, Disney Springs or eat at the Resort.

The Water Parks

Disney has two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Both of these have lots of fun water activities with their own unique themes. 

Typhoon Lagoon is a tropical getaway filled with water rides the whole family can enjoy! It also features a kiddy play area and thrill rides for the older kids! 

Blizzard Beach takes a different spin on theming, think ski resort that has melted into summer water fun! Blizzard beach also has several options for everyone in the family, from kid sized water slides to one of the world’s tallest and fastest water rides!

Disney Springs 

Disney Springs was previously called Downtown Disney and if you look at old reviews or message boards it’s easy to get confused about where Downtown Disney went! 

It did get a major facelift and a new name. Most notably, it received lots of new parking, a slew of new stores (many of which are designer names) and several new restaurants.

Disney Springs is:

  • Free to Park at
  • Free to Enter
  • Normally low crowd, but crowded on Weekends, Holidays and High Crowd Park Days

Notable Entertainment Offerings at Disney World

I get this question from Disney Vacationers all the time- “What is there to do at Disney?”

There is SO MUCH to do at Disney World that you simply can’t do it all! What I wanted to do was break down the basics for you!

There’s lots of Characters at Disney

You can meet the characters a few different ways. 

  • 1.By going to the Character Meet and Greets inside the Parks, these are marked on the Map
  • 2.By Scheduling a Character Dining Experience.
  • 3. By purchasing a Special Event Ticket
  • 4. By stumbling upon an unmarked Character Meet and Greet
  • 5. By meeting Characters at the Resorts as they tour around to different locations daily

Some of the Characters you can meet in the parks are:

  • Mickey Mouse
  • Joy (Inside Out)
  • Donald Duck
  • Winnie the Pooh and Tiger
  • Tinker Bell
  • And SOOOO many more!

Character Dining is a great way to meet your favorite Pals! If you’re interested in how to meet characters without a ticket check out this helpful guide! 

orlando disney world trip

Disney LOVES parades. They have a parade for everything it seems like! They even have one when it RAINS!

Don’t forget that Disney World also has seasonal parades for Halloween and Christmas. They go all out with these, as typically they are only shown for a separate ticketed event (like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas)

Here’s some of the memorable ones you can expect at Magic Kingdom:

Main Street Trolley Show

This happens in the mornings at Magic Kingdom, kind of like their welcoming act to bring you into the park! It’s a very “Mary Poppins” themed show, and oh so cute! 

Disney Festival Of Fantasy Parade

Featured so many Favorites, catch this show on Main Street USA during the day. Typically you’ll find this show at 12 pm and 3 pm, but check the app for updated times during your trip.

FireWork and Nighttime Shows

You can find FireWorks Displays at three Disney Parks, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and EPCOT!

At Magic Kingdom, you’ll get to see Happily Ever After, typically at 9pm. You can best see this is you can see the Castle, but I also enjoy the Fireworks without the Castle Display by hanging out in FantasyLand.

At Hollywood Studios, line up for Fantasmic, with shows typically starting at 9pm nightly. This is in a Theater, so you’ll need to head down Sunset Blvd and join the crowd to see this performance. There’s minor Fireworks during the Visual Display broadcasted on the Chinese Theater.

At EPCOT, gather around World Showcase for a fun Visual and Auditory Show that you can see all around the lake. It’s an easy watch, and generally low crowd.

Nightlife and Nighttime Activities at Disney

Some would say that I saved the best for last- and that is probably the case! If we were going to cover ALL of the options for entertainment after dark at Disney we would be here awhile. Let’s look at some of the favorites! 

Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs)

Disney is not just for kids! Especially Downtown Disney, which was built more with the adult in mind. You can shop and enjoy Dinner, then grab drinks on the water. 

You’ve got several options to choose from. One of the newest additions is The Edison, which has flapper style dancers, a DJ and music floor. The Hangar Bar has lots of games to play over drinks, and Paradiso 37 will have you dancing to Latin Music all night long! Bar hopping is another favorite, with almost 10 places to choose from it can be a fun weekend night! 

The BoardWalk

If you want to stay near the resorts, definitely check out the Disney BoardWalk. Not only is it absolutely picturesque in the evenings with live musicians and plenty of restaurants, but it also hosts some 21 and up venues. 

Jellyrolls is famous for their dueling piano competitions- truly a must see experience. Then you have a Dance Venue featuring hits from the 80s and 90s. 

Disney World Resorts

Now, let’s talk about the resorts. Disney World has 36 resort hotels on the grounds, 26 of which are owned and operated by Disney.

The Resorts are set up in a tier system. What this means is that each resort falls under one of three categories. The categories for the Walt Disney World Resorts are Value Resorts, Moderate Resorts, and Deluxe. These tiers are based on the resorts sizes, amenities, transportation options and price. 

Value Resorts 

We’ll start with the Value Resorts. These are the least expensive of the Walt Disney Resorts but they don’t lack in magical experience!

They all have a dining area, stocked with various goodies (and yes, they accommodate allergies!) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the gift area sections they have the standard souvenirs like coffee cups and towels while they also have snacks and drinks. 

All of the Disney Value resorts have the usual conveniences you would expect at a Disney hotel. Mail, laundry, dry-cleaning, complimentary wi-fi, airline check-in, designated smoking areas, and ATMs. 

The Value Resorts also have some other amenities like the pools and a jogging trail. While the pools don’t have slides, they do have poolside activities that happen throughout the day. Other cool options for the value resorts are the indoor arcades and the playgrounds.

The two best perks of the Walt Disney World Resorts are the free transportation and the Extra Magic Hours. 

The transportation and extra magic hours are the main reason we stay at Disney so often even though we live right up the road! Because you really can’t go wrong with the list of amenities, the adorable themes and the perks of transportation and extra magic hours that you get by staying on-site at  the Disney World Value Resort hotels.

Moderate Resorts 

The next tier up is the Moderate Resorts and these are some of my favorites! The moderate resorts at Walt Disney World Resort provide some of the best options for the price. Plus the blend of affordability and amenities make Moderate Resorts a great options for most families.

While the Value Resorts focus more on cartoonish theming- The Moderate Resorts focus more on cultural themes. They offer all the amenities of the Value resorts with some nice additions! 

Disney’s Port Orleans offers horse-drawn carriage rides, bike rentals and catch-and-release fishing. Disney’s Caribbean Beach offers a pirates adventure cruise, bike rentals, sand volleyball and catch-and-release fishing. Disney’s Coronado Springs offers bike rentals and sand volleyball. They also have nicer themed room with queen sized beds (value resorts have the full sized beds). 

Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas

Staying at a Deluxe Resort is similar to the name, its where Disney goes above and beyond! These rooms tend to be a little bigger than most other rooms on the grounds, and they have more amenities. 

So you get all of the perks of the other tiers, with some nice additions like valet parking, higher quality dining on site and more recreation choices at the resort. This takes your Disney vacation from regular to extraordinary! 

My favorite part about staying at the Deluxe resorts is how much closer they are to the parks, and transportation also seems to move a lot faster from these resorts (maybe its in my head… but I do feel that way!). We tend to save the Deluxe Resorts for special occasions, like honeymoons, but we’ve taken the kids before and their were lots of other kids there too! 

The Deluxe Villas are similar to the resorts, but they sleep way more people! Most of these are also at a different location than the other Deluxe properties, but still full of the same amenities. 

Disney Resort Features 

So now that you have a general understanding of the what and where, let’s compare some of the basic features of all the resorts. 

The value resorts have double beds that sleep four, whereas the Moderate and Deluxe resorts have queen beds. King Sized beds can be found sprinkled throughout the resorts, you just have to hunt to find them! 

Food Options

The value and moderate resorts have food court style options- which is great for a large family of picky eaters, but the Deluxe resorts only have one quick service option that can be limiting on food choices. Both the Moderate and Deluxe have Table Dining options that help to add to the ambience of finer vacationing. Deluxe resorts also offer Signature and Character dining as part of their 5 star service.

Transportation 

For the most part, the value and moderate resorts only options are the buses. There are three moderate resorts that have the Water Taxi boat service and those are Ports Orleans Riverside, French Quarter and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness. The Deluxe Resorts have several more transportation options, like the monorail, boat taxis and walking. You can also call a ‘Minnie Van’ from any of the resorts (and they come with two car seats!) You’ve got options! 

Every resort on Disney property has a pool (thank goodness, because Florida is hot!) but the types of pools differ across the tiers. 

The value pools are, well, value based (but your kids won’t mind, I promise!). They don’t have anything fancy besides some theming and poolside activities that Disney Cast members run. 

The moderate pools are absolutely a step up. Here the theming is top quality and you’ve got water slides!! 

So how can the Deluxe pools beat water slides? With even bigger water slides, of course! They also have more pool options to choose from, which limits the amount of loud rowdy teenagers you might run into on your afternoon swim. 

How far in advance should you book a Disney World trip?

As soon as possible! Disney Rooms can normally be book over a year in advance, and park reservations can be book 365 days in advance!

Is it cheaper to stay on Disney Property?

Honestly, most of the time, not really–though you can get some good deals with the value resorts, what you’re really paying for is convenience and the experience. There are definite perks, the biggest of which is being so close to the parks. You’ll have to decide what’s right for you and your family!

How much money should I bring to Disney World?

It kinda depends on your budget and how much you plan on eating at the Parks. A single person can easily spend 100 dollars on food and drink for one day at Disney World. Budgeting 150+ per person, per day for food, drinks plus a souvenir budget (like 100 per person for the trip) is reasonable.

So there you have it, folks, just about everything a beginner needs to know (and then some!) about planning their first trip to Disney World!

If you’re a first time Disney World visitor, I know it can be a little overwhelming, but remember that priority number one is to have fun! You’re not going to be able to do and see everything, so make a plan and let the good times roll!

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The Only Walt Disney World Guide You Need

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Walt Disney World can be a dream vacation destination for families, couples and friends alike—but visiting this Orlando-based theme park without knowing the lay of the land is challenging. As restaurants fill up six months in advance and rides can be booked sixty days before arrival, “just winging it” is not the move at Disney World. Thankfully, you won’t have to stick your nose in guide books for the next year to survive, as we’ve made everything as simple as possible with this definitive Disney guide.

There’s no need to spend time on message boards or frantically Google which attractions to FastPass. Consider your questions answered, your trip planned, and your Disney vacation officially set, thanks to all this free expertise:

Walt Disney World, in a Nutshell

Whatever you’re envisioning, think bigger. With four theme parks, two water parks, multiple golf courses, a sports complex as well as 25 hotels and countless restaurants, it’s less a vacation destination and more of a city sprawl with Mickey Mouse as mayor, as ends of the property span as far as a half-hour drive. Unlike Disneyland, this theme park behemoth is impossible to conquer in one day, so prepare to pace yourself.

Each of the four main parks have a distinctive theme. Magic Kingdom is the “most magical place on earth," home to the soaring castle, princess power, and all the nostalgic classics. Epcot is two parks in one, with technology and future-focused attractions as well as an around-the-world dining and drinking bonanza. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is fully movie-centric, as well as the place for all things "Star Wars," while Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a combination animal reserve, international experience, and otherworldly wonderland, thanks to the new Pandora: The World of Avatar expansion. If you don’t have tickets to the parks or water parks, explore the Pixar-themed worlds of resort hotels and well as Disney Springs, the revitalized area formerly known as Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island that has shops, entertainment and activities open to the public.

When to Visit

Busy season tends to overlap with when children are out of school, but certain weekends and holidays, like Labor Day, are reliably slower. Though the crowds tend to surge at the end of the year, the park is pure magic around Halloween as well as the holiday season (early November to early January), when no expense is spared on decor.

Booking a Walt Disney World vacation is a lot like planning a wedding: there are tons of moving parts, endless options for all kind of budgets, and you’ll want to be weary of cancelation deadlines. We rounded up plenty of advice for first-timers as well as an extra list of pointers , but whether you’re a Magic Kingdom-bound newbie or veteran, we recommend following our Disney Planning Checklist to ensure every portion of your vacation goes smoothly. Hotels and admission can be purchased separately or together, so consider taking time to explore Disney’s discount page and weigh pricing options to see which works best for you. Most importantly, sign up for My Disney Experience , the virtual planning guide that organizes your dining, hotel, and ticket hotel reservations and book FastPass+ choices in one convenient place.

Picking a property doesn’t have to be stressful. This convenient comparison of every Disney-owned resort and shortlist of the very best non-Disney hotels worth staying at will make your selection a breeze. The main difference to note is that Disney-operated hotels offer exclusive benefits like Extra Magic Hours , which grant additional time at the parks each morning or evening, as well as early FastPass+ booking, complimentary MagicBands, and Disney’s Magical Express airport bus transportation, while external properties can often be either more cost-effective—or, in the case of the impeccable Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort , much more luxurious. Many hotels are near Disney parks, but only a few are walkable: Disney’s Contemporary Resort offers a pathway to the Magic Kingdom, while Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Yacht Club Resort, Beach Club Resort, and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin have a pedestrian entrance at Epcot’s World Showcase.

Walt Disney World sells two formats of theme park tickets: single-day and multi-day, which lasts two to 14 days. Both can become “park hopper” tickets for a fee, allowing guests to visit multiple theme parks each day, or “park hopper plus," which offer additional admission to water parks and golf courses. (These add-ons can also be purchased separately.) Don’t forget to check for current special offers or feel the need to have a ticket on days you arrive late or depart early; there's plenty to do without paying for admission.

The Disney Difference

Prepare for smiling faces, waving hands, and a greeting of “Welcome home!”, even if you’ve never been before. The staff is extra-friendly, helpful, and willing to answer questions at any time. If problems do arise, Guest Services centers throughout the parks can fix nearly any issue. Walt Disney World is truly its own little world, complete with lots of lingo that first-timers may be overwhelmed by, so consult our Disney Glossary for translations and definitions of all Disney terminology.

From popcorn stands to AAA Five Diamond Award recipients, Walt Disney World truly offers every kind of culinary experience . All four theme parks have quick service options, table service restaurants, and character dining options where royals, movie characters, and Mickey Mouse himself roam the restaurant to greet guests individually. Disney Springs, too, has become a theme park for food with more new restaurants and food stalls than anywhere else in Orlando. Don’t miss the incredible range of dining experiences outside the parks at Disney-owned hotels just because you’re not staying there—it’s practically a must. Restaurants begin taking reservations 180 days in advance and require a credit card guarantee; no-shows and same-day cancelations will incur a $10 charge per person. If any of it seems overwhelming, Disney World vacation packages offer a Disney Dining Plan option, allowing guests to pre-pay for their meals in exchange for dining credits to use each day. Disney parks are also extremely accommodating of food restrictions and allergies, so if needed, be sure to inquire upon arrival.

Michela Sieman/Travel + Leisure

Though Walt Disney World is intrinsically tied to childhood, the options to imbibe on property are unparalleled. The resort not only prides itself on having one of the most impressive sommelier programs in the country, but creates interesting cocktails, unique beer lists, and wide-ranging wine menus for its properties. From a tiki bar to a tequila cave, there are a multitude of wonderful watering holes, and if you haven’t been in forever, Epcot’s World Showcase is essentially a worldwide bar crawl. Many Disney World drinks are cult favorites , and as of recently, alcohol is (technically) served at all four theme parks. The Magic Kingdom was famously dry, but a selection of wine, champagne, or beer is now offered to customers dining at certain table service restaurants .

Attractions

Disney World offers low-key attractions for young children and the action-averse, but there is plenty for thrillseekers, too , with rides featuring massive drops, hairpin turns, serious G-forces, and even inversions. Unlike traditional amusement parks, there’s something here for everybody, and it’s easy to get the very best seats or skip the wait. Many attractions offer FastPass+—Disney’s program allowing all guests to “skip the line” on multiple rides each day. Plotting out which rides to FastPass in advance is more of an art than a science, but our definitive FastPass+ guide makes it easy.

Entertainment

It’s not just boat rides and roller coasters—between the stage shows, evening entertainment, and “streetsmosphere," there’s plenty to see, most without even having to wait in line.

Daily performances of Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom and Mickey’s Friendship Faire at Magic Kingdom are wondrous sights, as are taking to the streets to see Star Wars’ stormtroopers at Hollywood Studio’s March of the First Order or a fire-breathing dragon crawl down Main Street, USA in Magic Kingdom’s Festival of Fantasy parade. When the sun sets, Disney World comes alive, with three nightly fireworks shows and entertainment at nearly every park. Shows like Epcot’s IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth and Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are classic crowd favorites, and that same park’s bombastic Star Wars-themed fireworks display can’t be missed. By Spring 2017, Magic Kingdom will unveil a new fireworks and projection show and Animal Kingdom will host new nighttime entertainment, bringing with it extra excitement, even if you’ve been before.

If you’re flying to Florida and traveling without a rental car, be sure to bring all your necessities, as there is no drugstore or grocery market accessible by Disney transportation.

Hotel gift shops carry a limited amount of toiletries, dry goods, and medicine, but Disney experts often ship necessities like water bottles and diapers directly to their Disney resort in advance of their arrival. (Expect a $5 handling charge per package.) Comfortable shoes are a must—you’ll walk more than you ever have in your life—and the weather shifts often, so toss in extra layers for nighttime and ponchos in case of rain. No spare room in your luggage for souvenirs? Disney gift shops can ship your purchases home, no problem.

Getting There

Orlando International Airport is the main airport servicing Walt Disney World and its surrounding areas. Guests at Disney-operated hotels are given free round-trip coach bus transportation to and from the airport, also known as MCO, on Disney’s Magical Express ; the approximately 40-minute drive can be up to $75 via taxi or $65 in an Uber. UberX pick-ups at the Orlando airport are not currently available, but drop-offs for departing flights are.

How to Get Around

Walt Disney World Transportation shuttles guests between Disney hotels and theme parks every 20 or so minutes, with drop-offs just a short distance from the front gate of each park. Because of this, Disney World is entirely doable without a car, yet some families prefer one for convenience. Standard parking costs $20 each day at theme parks, which can be used at all interchangeably. (Note that Magic Kingdom’s parking lot is at the nearby Ticket & Transportation Center, which requires an additional ferry ride to reach the park; taxis and Ubers conduct Magic Kingdom pick-ups and drop-offs from here as well.) There are options more scenic than cars, like the Disney Monorail which shuttles guests between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot or boats which operate between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. (Transportation to the parks via both methods is also available from select hotels.) As for Uber, Disney parks have become lenient to the ride-share service, but integration across the property is not yet seamless. If you’re trying to find your way through the parks themselves, the My Disney Experience app offers reliable walking directions and arrival times.

Make Your Trip Your Own

We’ve created travel guides to help everyone from skeptical parents and VIPs with money to burn to budget-conscious visitors and those who haven’t been to Disney World in decades . Whether you’re hoping to plan your dream Disney wedding , take a perfect honeymoon or simply go on aromantic couple’s trip, there are plenty of ways to tone down the family aspects and make Disney nothing short of sentimental. And, no matter if you visited last year or last century, you can make your Disney trip a little more special with our expert’s advice and in-the-know tips that will make any trip extraordinary.

What's Coming in the Future

There is plenty heading to Walt Disney World in 2017, but once Pandora — The World of Avataropens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in May, the next major Walt Disney World expansion will be Toy Story Land , a movie-themed area with rides and larger-than-life props slated to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios sometime in 2018. There are plenty more hotel expansions, dining locations and nightlife debuts to come, but the most noteworthy opening will be Star Wars Land, which will open in 2019.

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The Ultimate 6-Day Orlando Itinerary For Families

This post may contain affiliate links, view our disclosure policy .

Look no further for the best all-encompassing, family-friendly Orlando itinerary!

Not only is Orlando, Florida home to the world’s most iconic theme park, Walt Disney World, but it also draws visitors to Universal Studios, Legoland, Sea World, and so much more!

In this article, you’ll learn all about what to see, how to get around, and how to plan the absolute best 6-Day Disney World itinerary when visiting Orlando with kids.

Having a thought-out plan before your arrival in Orlando will assure that your vacation expectations are met and that you’re able to see and do all of the things on your Orlando bucket list.

With this ultimate Orlando itinerary, you’ll be able to maneuver the crowds and have plenty of time to experience the best that an Orlando family vacation has to offer.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.   For more info, see disclosure.

Orlando Itinerary; Walt Disney standing outside of Cinderella's Castle

Table of Contents

Orlando Itinerary: Best Time to Visit

Orlando is located in the central part of the U.S. state of Florida.

The best time to visit Orlando is from March to May when temperatures average in the low 80s.

Another popular time to visit is between September and November when crowds and prices are more manageable, and when temperatures are in the mid-80s.

For those looking to visit Orlando during the summer months, Orlando offers the same great attractions, but with higher temperatures (90+ during the day) and humidity to deal with.

It is very important to learn how to stay cool in the Florida heat when visiting during these months.

Additional planning tip: The Orlando theme parks are most busy during the summer months and over holiday breaks when kids are off from school.

This ultimate guide to visiting Orlando provides a complete 6-day itinerary that includes theme parks and the best Orlando attractions!  Find out where to eat, sleep, and play on the best Orlando family vacation!

Orlando Itinerary Ideas

Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, many of the Florida attractions you’ll read about have special health and safety measures in place. Likewise, some events may be temporarily suspended. Please check each attraction’s website for details before your travel.

Below you can find suggested Orlando vacation itinerary ideas from one to six days.

(Many people refer to this when planning an Orlando itinerary for 5 days, as that is a popular length of time to stay.)

The itinerary suggestions are based on our personal experiences and are filled with insider tips for visiting Orlando for the first time.

(Read here if you’re specifically looking for things to do in Orlando for adults !)

No two Orlando vacations will be exactly the same, however, so use these itinerary suggestions as a guide.

You’ll need to adjust your itinerary as needed to account for weather, where you stay, how much time you spend at each attraction, and the varying interests of your travel party.

Our recent Orlando itinerary was primarily a Walt Disney World vacation as well as includes some of the other most fun things to do in Orlando .

*All of our top recommended restaurants, landmarks, and attractions are bolded. Their physical locations fit into the flow of this itinerary. If you choose to substitute a restaurant or attraction in their place, be sure to adjust the timing of your itinerary accordingly.

Orlando Itinerary: Day 1

  • Arrival day!
  • Check-in to your Orlando accommodations and get settled in.
  • Afterward, head to Disney Springs for an evening of shopping and entertainment. Have dinner at the #1 rated restaurant by USA Today, The Boathouse .

Where We Stayed in Orlando

We did not hit up a theme park or do anything crazy upon our first day arriving in Orlando (I recommend this!).

Instead, we simply checked into our hotel, spent the afternoon by the pool, relaxed, and got a good night’s rest.

We felt that this was vital in order to be energized for the days ahead.

Our choice of accommodations was Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Lake Buena Vista , which far exceeded our expectations.

Orlando Itinerary:  Off Site Disney hotel pool

Located a short distance from both Disney World (8 miles) and Universal Studios (9 miles), this resort is prime real estate for being central to all of the Orlando action.

Priced at less than $100/night, booking here was also one of the ways we traveled on a budget during this family vacation.

Find our detailed review and a recap of its family-friendly amenities on our dedicated post about Holiday Inn Resort Lake Buena Vista; our favorite off-site hotel near Disney !

Additional planning tip: A feature of IHG properties, kids eat free at Holiday Inn Resort Lake Buena Vista.

The presence of an on-site Applebees here means that with each paid adult meal, the kids get their own Applebees meal at no cost! This is incredibly convenient and cost-effective.

Find out the absolute best things to do in Orlando by reading our 6-day Orlando Itinerary and Top 13 Things to do in Orlando!  Your Orlando bucket list will be complete when using our helpful guide to Orlando, FL!  #Orlandoitinerary #bestthingstodoinOrlando#thingstodoinOrlando#Orlandofamilyvacation

Disney Springs

No family vacation in Orlando would be complete without a stroll around the reinvented Disney Springs!

Disney Springs  is a themed retail, dining, and entertainment center inspired by Florida’s charming waterfront towns. Four distinct neighborhoods―The Landing, Marketplace, West Side, and Town Center—are built around bubbling ponds and springs.

Highlights here include Amphicar tours (a cross between a car and a boat), helium balloon rides, world-class shopping, and the biggest Star Wars memorabilia retailer known to man.

Additional planning tip: If you’re looking for some fun date night ideas (without the kids!) while you’re in Orlando, here are some fun things to do in Orlando for adults .

Top US Travel Blog Travel With A Plan's Orlando Itinerary

Orlando Itinerary: Day 2

  • Start off your Orlando itinerary at none other than, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom !
  • Grab coffee and donuts at Main Street Bakery as you head into the park.
  • Once inside, you’ll realize there is so much to do and it is hard to pull yourself away. For this reason, plan to enjoy both lunch and dinner at one of the many Magic Kingdom restaurants on-site.

Magic Kingdom

Our trip to Orlando was primarily a Disney-themed visit with the intention of visiting 3 of the 4 Disney parks.

Ultimately, with this being our first time taking the kids to Orlando or any of the Disney parks, we undoubtedly had to start off with a visit to Magic Kingdom .

Knowing that we wanted to jam-pack as much as possible into our time there, we arrived first thing in the morning and executed our 1-day Magic Kingdom itinerary .

After an absolutely amazing day , we returned to our hotel for a night swim and a Disney movie by the pool before falling fast asleep.

Additional planning tip: Maximize your time at Magic Kingdom during your Orlando itinerary by utilizing our exclusive Disney Fastpass secrets to best structure your day!

Top US Travel Blog Travel With A Plan's Orlando Itinerary

Orlando Itinerary: Day 3

  • Spend the entire day touring Epcot .
  • Enjoy dining at one of the many delicious restaurants at Epcot (there are literally so many to choose from!).

Next up on our 6-day Orlando itinerary was to spend an entire day at Epcot .

We knew we were in for a real treat when visiting here, for Epcot is home to both rides and attractions, as well as the World Showcase.

Needless to say, we loved it here!

And once again, after making the most of our 1-day itinerary at Epcot , we left feeling happy and blessed – with a tummy full of pizza from world-famous Via Napoli !

Don’t forget to stay for the new  Epcot Forever  fireworks display that replaced 20-year park staple IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

The best thing about Epcot Forever is that it can be viewed anywhere within Epcot that offers a clear view of the World Showcase Lagoon

Top US Travel Blog Travel With A Plan's Orlando Itinerary

Orlando Itinerary: Day 4

  • Take a break from the theme parks and head to the beach. Daytona Beach that is! You’re in Florida, after all!
  • Afterward, head back to Orlando and take a stroll around the Disney Boardwalk .
  • Eat at the ESPN Sports Club or another nostalgic restaurant on the Boardwalk.

Daytona Beach

On the first of our Disney non-park days when visiting Orlando, we chose to spend the day at the beach.

Daytona Beach is located a convenient 73 miles from Orlando and provides so many amazing opportunities for family fun!

Though there is so much to see and do directly in Orlando, I could not go without dipping my toes into the ocean while visiting the beautiful state of Florida.

We have so many memories from the Daytona Beach family fun that we experienced during our 6-day Orlando itinerary!

Additional planning tip: Day 4 could be spent venturing 65 miles to Cocoa Beach instead. Pair it with a visit to the nearby Kennedy Space Center.

ESPN Sports Club

We spent the evening of day 4 walking around the Disney Boardwalk.

The Disney Boardwalk is home to several gorgeous Disney-themed resorts, shops, and restaurants.

And yes, you are walking on a real wooden boardwalk, complete with street performers and views of a gorgeous lake.

To appease the sports fanatics in my family we enjoyed dinner at ESPN Sports Club .

Additional planning tip: A visit to Disney’s Boardwalk allows you to scope out several of the higher-end Disney Resorts. The awesome scenery and nautical vibe made this evening one of the highlights of our Orlando itinerary.

I would totally recommend a visit here!

Orlando Itinerary: Animal Kingdom

Orlando Itinerary: Day 5

  • Enjoy an awesome day at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom !
  • Grab coffee and pastries at Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery as you make your way in.
  • Pack a picnic lunch in your Disney day bag !
  • In keeping with the animal-theme, enjoy dinner at the gigantic Rainforest Cafe located on-site.

Animal Kingdom

Little did we know that day 5 would end up being our favorite day at our now favorite theme park, Animal Kingdom .

The combination of animals, rides, shows, and attractions brings this place to life while making you feel right at home!

The overall vibe at Animal Kingdom is laid back, yet bustling with plenty of activity.

The safari-themed landscape is welcoming, yet rustic. Simply put, we wouldn’t change our 1-day Animal Kingdom itinerary for the world!

Rainforest Cafe

To stick with the animal theme, we stayed on-site and had dinner at Rainforest Cafe .

If you haven’t been to a Rainforest Cafe before, prepare yourself to be wow-ed!

Dancing gorillas, simulated rain showers, and the famous Volcano dessert make this the perfect experience to add yet another couple hours of joy into your day.

Universal Studios, Orlando

Orlando Itinerary: Day 6

  • Enjoy loads of other family-friendly activities located in Orlando.
  • If you’re up for more theme park fun, visit Universal Orlando Resort! Hit up either Universal Studios or Universal’s Islands of Adventure (the #1 theme park in the world!).
  • Don’t forget to end your trip by attending a world-famous Disney dining show, the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue .

Orlando Activities

There are literally so many attractions in Orlando that it is impossible to see and do them all in one visit.

This is very important to understand when planning your Orlando itinerary for 5 days if there are a lot of attractions that you’re looking to do.

In other words, spend day 6 doing various other activities to make your Orlando, Florida family vacation a memorable one.

For us, we visited off-site souvenir shops, went miniature golfing, and visited Gatorland (to see the ‘Florida gators’ of course!).

Other popular non-theme park ideas include Boggy Creek Airboat Rides, Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park, Revolution Off-Road, and Discovery Cove.

Looking for a cool down? Consider some water park fun at either Disney’s Blizzard Beach or Universal’s Volcano Bay.

Last, you can opt for additional theme park options such as Legoland, Seaworld, and our favorites (with links to a full itinerary!) Universal Studios , or Islands of Adventure .

Orlando CityPass

Hands-down, if you plan on doing a lot of various activities while in Orlando, check out the  Orlando CityPASS .

You’ll save up to 50% at the top Orlando attractions listed above by purchasing the Orlando CityPASS here ! 

Orlando Itinerary:  Stage performance and dancers

Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue

*Temporarily unavailable. Check the Disney website for updates.

We ended our 6-day Disney World itinerary by attending a highly rated, incredibly popular Disney dining show.

The Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue is Disney’s longest-running dinner theater show and continues to impress sold-out crowds on a daily basis.

Attending a dining event on a non-park day was fabulous as we did not have to rush through a park and/or worry about making our reservation time. We just got to si mply show up , and enjoy!

We loved our time at the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue so much that we wrote an entire blog post about it!

* Pack like a pro for your upcoming Orlando family vacation! Click the following image to get your FREE family vacation packing list that is both customizable and printable!

Orlando packing list

Orlando Vacation: Getting There

Here are my recommended travel resources to plan your Orlando itinerary whether it be arriving by airplane, personal vehicle, or RV.

Use the  Skyscanner  app to search hundreds of airlines, car rentals, and travel agencies to find unbeatable prices. Don’t forget to do a whole month’s search and to set flight alerts to keep you on top of securing a great deal:

Though most people arrive in Orlando by air (via the local Orlando International Airport), road-tripping to Orlando is also an extremely popular means of transportation to this vacation hub.

We decided to take on the road and travel 24 hours by mini-van from our home state of Minnesota to the city of Orlando.

Having gone into our adventure with a really good attitude, we loved experiencing this epic family road trip with one another.

Additional planning tip:  We have compiled our essential  tips for planning a family road trip  and how to create  road trip goodie bags  to help inspire you to consider a long-haul family road trip!

How to Get Around

Orlando is definitely not a walkable city, instead, it was planned as a car-friendly city.

The easiest way to get around Orlando is by car, which is why I highly recommend renting one when visiting there.

If not, check to see if your hotel/resort has complimentary transportation to Orlando attractions.

Likewise, look into rideshare services like Uber and Lyft as they are fabulous options for travelers who don’t want the expense or liability of a rental car.

Using Uber Orlando or Lyft Orlando can make getting around the theme parks easy, especially when you don’t want to rely on sporadic shuttle buses.

Where to Stay in Orlando

Where to stay when visiting Orlando may be one of the most complicated choices of your family vacation.

There are literally SO MANY places to stay in and around Orlando whether it be at high-end Disney-themed resorts, local hotels, or vacation rental condos, homes, and townhomes.

Your final selection will be based on price, availability, and on how far you’re willing to travel to the theme parks.

The most popular places to stay in Orlando include Hyatt Regency Orlando , JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes , Caribe Royale Orlando , and finally, Walt Disney World Dolphin .

For  current deals  and further inspiration on where to stay in Orlando, browse and book here:

Have you been to Orlando before? What was your favorite place or attraction that you visited? I’d love for you to comment below! Jen

If you enjoyed our 6-Day Orlando Itinerary , check out our Related Posts:

Disney World Touring Plans:

  • 1-Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary: A Perfect Day At Disney
  • 1-Day At Animal Kingdom Itinerary: The Perfect Family Touring Plan
  • One Day Itinerary for Epcot: Family Touring Plan

Disney World Ride & FastPass+ Tips:

  • ‘How-to’ Secrets and Tips for Booking Disney FastPasses+
  • Top 5 Rides to FastPass+ at Magic Kingdom
  • Disney World Magic Kingdom Wait Times (Longest and Shortest Lines)
  • Top 5 Rides for Toddlers at Magic Kingdom

Disney World Planning Tips:

  • The 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Our First Disney Vacation
  • Disney Packing List: 9 Things You Can’t Forget
  • 7 Things to do on a Disney World Non-Park Day
  • Best Off-Site Hotel Near Disney World, Orlando
  • Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue: Our Complete Guide

Disney World Cost:

  • Disney World Cost Calculator: How Much Will it Cost?
  • How to Save Money At Disney World: 15 Ways We Saved Big

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

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Jen Brommer is a family travel expert. She has been featured as an authority on several notable travel websites and is a member of the Family Travel Association (FTA), Midwest Travel Network, and TravMedia global media network.

A prominent content creator and influencer on Instagram, Jen has over 150K unique monthly blog readers from countries all over the world. She has spent the last 16 years planning fun, and hassle-free family vacations for her family of 5.

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10 Comments

Love this suggested itinerary. It’s perfect.

Thanks to Nicole! There is so much to do in Orlando that it is impossible to do everything in 1 trip 🙂

I would really love to take my boys to Disney World someday. We took them to Disneyland Paris a few years ago, but I have fond memories of the one in Florida. It would be nice to go with my boys! 🙂

Thanks for sharing!

You’re welcome! Disneyland Paris would be a fabulous experience! Let me know if you ever make it to Disney World in Orlando 🙂

This is a great itinerary for 6 days in Orlando! I’ve been wanting to do the Hoop Dee Doo Review. Definitely saving for our next visit!!

Yes, the Hoop Dee Doo was a highlight! I enjoyed getting to tour around the Wilderness Resort just as much as the show itself. So much to explore on the Disney property!

What a fun-filled itinerary! I haven’t been to Orlando in well over 15 years. I remember that Universal Studios theme park was my favorite back then. I love the beach day suggestions on this itinerary – I didn’t realize that they were so close.

Orlando is definitely a family-fun packed destination! You definitely have to be ready for the crowds, however 🙂

Great itinerary! We would love to visit Orlando soon! Magic Kingdom would be at the top of our list. 🙂

I’m glad that you like it! Magic Kingdom was a hit…this year we are going to Universal Studios for more of the ‘thrill’ rides.

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10 replies to this topic

Scan, your time to shine! 😉

I should add that I’ve been on the lynx site but it appears to be having issues as it won’t load portions for me. So, I thought someone may know the information offhand for now, until I can fully access the website. Also, I thought maybe someone is in the know of a tourist area option.

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Disney will not provide transportation from their resorts to competitors parks. You can look at the bus schedule but it’s a lot of time wasted. Best option is Uber.

Double post

orlando disney world trip

Thanks for this information! I appreciate it!

The problem here is that SeaWorld opens at 9 in Summer and Disney Springs doesn’t open until 10. To utilize Lynx you’d need the bus to Disney Springs and then walk to west side. You could also get it from the Transportation and Ticket Center which means a bus to Magic Kingdom, monorail to TTC, and then the Lynx buses.

I think jsmla is starting later and staying late, not getting there for opening if that’s what you were trying to do so they can maximize their day

Great tips and information!! Thank you so much!!

Yes, I go mostly for the festivals which don’t usually start until lunchtime at the earliest. I have Unlimited Quick Queue so no need to rope drop. The first DS bus from the campground is usually 9:00 am(ish). Again, it’s not a quick trip. I allow two hours.

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orlando disney world trip

Time-Sensitive Warning Now in Effect: All Disney World Guests Alerted as 1 Million To Descend Upon Florida Airport

in Walt Disney World

A large, crowded indoor atrium at Orlando International Airport is filled with people. In the foreground, an oversized figure of Mickey Mouse, wearing a jacket, waves to the crowd. The atrium features palm trees and seating areas, with multiple levels visible in the background.

Walt Disney World Resort guests are warned about the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend as Orlando International Airport prepares for a never-before-seen influx of crowds. Here’s how you can heed this warning and be well-prepped for another primary Holiday season.

A yellow caution sign is superimposed on a split image; one side shows a crowded Orlando International Airport terminal and the other displays a busy scene at Disney World.

Orlando International Airport Braces for “Record-Breaking” Crowds: All Disney World Guests Alerted

As the summer travel season begins, Orlando International Airport (MCO) is preparing for a significant increase in passenger traffic over Memorial Day weekend. According to AAA, Orlando and Central Florida are among the top travel destinations, with MCO anticipating a 6 percent rise in passenger numbers compared to last year. From Thursday, May 23, 2024, to Tuesday, May 30, 2024, MCO expects to handle nearly one million travelers.

The peak day is projected to be Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, with approximately 177,000 passengers passing through the airport. On Thursday, May 23, 2024, MCO expects 76,581 passengers to depart and 75,647 to arrive, totaling 152,228 travelers. Friday, May 24, 2024, will see 84,538 departures and 85,878 arrivals, resulting in 170,416 travelers.

Each Disney World park, including Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom park, will see its influx of Disney park guests over the next 72 hours. Even Disney Springs is expected to garner thousands of guests through the Holiday weekend, resulting in locations like Cinderella Castle, Main Street, U.S.A., Toy Story Land, and other spots being in gridlock.

Over 986,000 passengers are expected to pass through our airport over the #MemorialDay travel period! ✈️ Busiest days: 1. May 27 – 176,728 (arrivals & departures) 2. May 24 – 170,416 3. May 25 – 166,947 4. May 26 – 163,889 5. May 28 – 156,567 Details: https://t.co/EOaOBkphhz https://t.co/7lElYdMHwC — Orlando International Airport (@MCO) May 24, 2024
Over 986,000 passengers are expected to pass through our airport over the #MemorialDay travel period! Busiest days: 1. May 27 – 176,728 (arrivals & departures) 2. May 24 – 170,416 3. May 25 – 166,947 4. May 26 – 163,889 5. May 28 – 156,567 – @MCO on X

Saturday, May 25, 2024, is projected to have 83,476 departures and 83,471 arrivals, totaling 166,947 travelers. Sunday, May 26, 2024, will witness 81,666 departures and 82,223 arrivals, making up 163,889 travelers. The busiest day, Monday, May 27, 2024, will have around 88,446 passengers departing and 88,282 arriving, totaling 176,728 travelers.

Finally, Tuesday, May 28, 2024, will see 78,386 departures and 78,181 arrivals, totaling 156,567 travelers. Overall, MCO is set to manage 493,093 departures and 493,682 arrivals over the six days, amounting to 986,775 travelers.

To ensure a smooth travel experience, passengers are advised to follow the 3-2-1 rule: arrive at the airline ticket counter at least three hours before departure, proceed to security processing at least two hours before departure, and be at the gate at least one hour before boarding.

orlando disney world trip

Additional tips for travelers include utilizing MCO Reserve to book a time slot for security screening for eligible flights. The service operates from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is available in several locations, including Garages A, B, and C, as well as North, South, and West Park Places. More information on rates and locations can be found on the MCO Parking website.

Surface lots across from the train station are also accessible by E-Pass and SunPass Plus. Reserved Parking at MCO allows passengers to pre-book their parking spot and follow Easy Pay instructions to enter and exit the lots. For those picking up passengers, the North or South Cell Phone Lot or the Travel Plaza can be used until guests are ready for pickup.

To prepare for the bustling Memorial Day travel weekend , guests visiting Disney World should take several proactive steps. First and foremost, plan all aspects of the trip well in advance, including flights, accommodations, and park reservations. Keep a close eye on any schedule updates or changes , including park hours and transportation options.

Arriving early at Orlando International Airport (MCO) is crucial, adhering to the 3-2-1 rule: arrive at the airline ticket counter at least three hours before departure, proceed to security processing two hours before departure, and be at the gate an hour before boarding.

Orlando International Airport crowds

For eligible flights, consider utilizing MCO Reserve to book a time slot for security screening, helping to mitigate potential wait times during peak travel periods. When packing, ensure all necessary documents are readily accessible, and pack essential items in carry-on luggage, such as medications and snacks.

Traffic around the airport and Disney World is likely heavy, so plan for additional travel time and explore parking options like Garages A, B, and C or North, South, and West Park Places at MCO.

Pre-booking parking spots can streamline the process, and guests should follow Easy Pay instructions for smooth entry and exit. Staying informed about flight statuses and potential delays is essential; regularly check airline notifications and follow MCO and Disney World social media channels for real-time updates. Once at Disney World, use Disney’s transportation options to avoid driving and parking hassles, utilizing services like buses, monorails, and boats.

Pack patience and stay hydrated, especially in Florida’s hot and humid climate. Download the MCO and My Disney Experience apps to manage travel and park plans easily. By taking these proactive measures, guests can easily navigate the busy Memorial Day weekend and fully enjoy their Disney World experience.

orlando disney world trip

Summer 2024: Tourists head to Orlando with eye on Epic Universe next year

A familiar summertime pattern is already upon us: High humidity with a high probability of a surge of tourists traveling to Orlando for theme-park vacations.

Central Florida’s attractions are opening several new lures at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando , SeaWorld Orlando and beyond. But experts are split on how travel plans may be affected by Epic Universe , a new theme park scheduled to open in summer 2025. It will be Universal Orlando’s third theme park.

“I don’t think people are waiting to come to Florida,” said Tarah Chieffi, senior writer with The Points Guy , a travel-media platform. “Orlando is always one of the most popular summertime destinations, obviously, especially for families and that is really no different this year.”

She pointed to Bank of America’s summer travel report, which expected the number of visitors to Florida to be about the same as in 2023, and up 15% from 2019, the summer before pandemic hit the U.S. Orlando is the No.2 searched destination on Expedia, she said.

The state had 40.6 million visitors in the first quarter of 2024, the highest mark ever for a single quarter, Visit Orlando , the state’s tourism marketing agency, reported this month.

Len Testa, who runs the Touring Plans vacation-planning site, said Epic could be a factor in travel decisions for 2024.

“It’s not the primary reason why people are putting off trips,” he said.

“For people who like theme parks and who know what’s going on in Central Florida, a lot of them are like ‘You know, I can spend X dollars this year and not see Epic Universe or I can spend X dollars and 10% or 20% more and see Epic Universe, and that’s, like, a once every decade occurrence.

“A new theme park opens up in the United States, like, once every 10 years,” he said.

The last two theme parks to join the Orlando lineup were Universal’s Islands of Adventure in 1999 and Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998.

“One of the more interesting comments on the last earnings call that [Walt Disney Co. CEO] Bob Iger made was that he was telling Wall Street that your comparisons for the next two quarters are going to be difficult, and he said it was because we’re coming off of the very end of the 50th [anniversary of Disney World],” Testa said.

“Bob can say whatever he wants, but you know it also happens to coincide with basically everyone deciding ‘Do I want to spend my money now or do I want to wait until that Epic Universe is open and see an entirely new theme park?’ I think a lot of people are doing that.”

Theme parks: Your guide to new parades, shows, rides, summer 2024

Among the new and notable offerings at Central Florida’s theme parks for summer 2024 are Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, a log-flume ride at Magic Kingdom; DreamWorks Land, a kids section driven by animated-movie characters at Universal Studios; and Penguin Trek, a snowmobile-inspired roller coaster at SeaWorld, which the park touts as “Florida’s first family coaster.”

“Any coaster that’s built in our backyard is a very good thing,” said Chris Kraftchick, who is on the operating committee of American Coaster Enthusiasts, a fan club for the thrill rides.

“Any coaster that brings people to their park brings revenue to the park which then means they will continue, land permitting, to put in coasters,” he said.

Kraftchick says the summer looks busy if you go by the eye test at Orlando International Airport, where he spends hours doing volunteer work for a nonprofit.

“It is nonstop at the airport. Imagine the airport on Thanksgiving weekend or Christmas week where it’s just wall-to-wall people. Insanity. TSA lines are an hour wait,” he said. “So are people holding up this year? If you went simply by with what the airport looks like, I would say no.”

There is a “rabidness” for upcoming attractions among locals and annual passholders, too, he said. There was recent system-crashing demand for previews for Universal’s DreamWorks Land, which opens to the public June 14, and Disney’s Tiana ride, which debuts June 28 .

“I don’t think you’re going to see Orlando down. … Those people who have made their plans to come are coming,” said Dennis Speigel, founder and CEO of International Theme Park Services .

Nationwide, he doesn’t see many game-changing attractions this summer.

“There are a few good pieces coming on line, and then there are some that are just mediocre,” he said.

That means attendance likely won’t rise much, Speigel said.

“I don’t see anything that would say it’s going to ratchet up to a point of being up 5% to 8%. … I see us being up 1% to 2% across the board in the industry this year and with spending being kind of holding to what it was last year,” Speigel said.

There are other factors at play this summer, such as hot weather, hurricanes, the economy and politics, he said, and even the November election.

Gatorland at 75: It’s a family business that’s long in the tooth

“It’s not the issue of the win or lose. It’s what happens to the societal and the cultural issues, people are wondering about, ” he said. “Some of them have even said, you know, we’re concerned about security and things that could go on in the parks.”

Current deals on multiday theme park tickets and hotel stays could be reactions to economic uncertainty, said Chieffi, the Points Guy writer . Comparison with previous years are difficult, she said.

“It is hard to say because coming off the pandemic we obviously saw some great discounts for a while just to try to get people back,” she said. “I do think that that is a little bit of an extra push that we haven’t seen as much before.”

Summer isn’t the be-all end-all season it used to be in Orlando, now considered a year-round destination.

“Even though the tourism numbers are looking really good, August and September are still the cheapest months for most of us out-of-state visitors,” Chieffi said.

“People have more flexible schedules anyway now after the pandemic. But school schedules, I feel like it used to be a lot more September to June,” she said. “Now everybody does it a little bit differently.”

Email me at [email protected] . Threads account: @dbevil . X account: @themeparks . Subscribe to the Theme Park Rangers newsletter at orlandosentinel.com/newsletters .

2 people, 1 RV, 1 year: Florida travel writers complete American journey

©2024 Orlando Sentinel. Visit orlandosentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Disney Springs

orlando disney world trip

FIRST LOOK: New Drone Show Coming to Disney Springs

Joey McElroy

by Joey McElroy , Communications Manager, Disney Live Entertainment

As you may know, the skies above Disney Springs will come alive with our new “Disney Dreams That Soar presented by AT&T” drone show beginning May 24.  And today, we’re excited to share an exclusive first look at the experience fans of Disney characters will absolutely love! 

The Disney Live Entertainment team behind this limited-time nighttime experience recently got the chance to see all their hard work take to the skies during the first set of creative rehearsals for the show. Today we’re sharing those first glimpses from an off-site property, as well as some exciting new details, about the larger-than-life experience soon to be the perfect complement to an evening at Disney Springs.

orlando disney world trip

“We are presenting Disney characters who have had a dream of flying. Not just the idea that they can fly, but the idea of taking their lives to the next level.” said Show Director, Tony Giordano. “We put a lot of thought in making sure that no matter how old you are, or how much of a fan you are, you’re going to see a character that you love.”

orlando disney world trip

And a lot of characters means a lot of drones. 800 drones to be exact – all working together to create a massive canvas in the night sky. Trust me, nothing can prepare you for the awe of seeing a Baymax nearly twice the height of Spaceship Earth inflate, transform, and disappear right in front of your eyes.

“We were given the assignment to create an experience where you want to just hold the hand of the person next to you,” said Tony. “That’s always echoing in my mind as we work on this show.”

orlando disney world trip

Music plays a big role in that connection. “Disney Dreams That Soar” features well-known and beloved soundtracks in addition to an original song that will inspire you to follow your heart, take a leap of faith, and reach for the stars.

Insider tip: The best place to experience the drones “dancing” to this new soundtrack will be along the waterway in the Disney Springs West Side. Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, the show is a perfect kiss-goodnight to your day of shopping, playing, and dining at Disney Springs, with 2 shows each evening this summer. Also, while you’re out there, keep an eye out for Tony!   

orlando disney world trip

“I can’t wait to stand next to the guests and hear their reactions. That’s my favorite part of building any show because those reactions are why we do what we do. We want them to actually experience magic, and when you see all these drones, to me, you get to see real magic!”

Check out the video below, and catch “Disney Dreams That Soar presented by AT&T” nightly May 24-Sept. 2 at Disney Springs.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Disney Parks (@disneyparks)

“Disney Dreams That Soar presented by AT&T” is an outdoor show and subject to cancellation or rescheduling due factors like inclement weather. Showtimes may vary throughout the summer. Check DisneySprings.com for the latest schedule .

Destinations: Disney Springs , Walt Disney World Resort

I checked on another site and the times listed are 9pm and 10.45pm each night.

So impressive to see these preview pictures. Let’s get the family together in FL to see it in person!!

Show times? Or do they vary? Thanks!

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New updates to Disney’s Disability Accessibility Services now in effect. Here’s what has changed

Part of changes include limiting party size to immediate family members.

Haley Coomes , Digital Content Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. – Changes to Disney’s Disability Accessibility Services went into effect Monday.

Here is what Disney’s website describes the services as:

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  • DAS is intended to accommodate only those Guests who, due to a developmental disability like autism or similar disorder, are unable to wait in a conventional queue for an extended period of time.
  • DAS doesn’t provide immediate access to experiences, but rather allows Guests to request a return time for a specific experience that is comparable to the current standby wait.
  • The Guest for which DAS is being requested must be present during registration and must experience the attraction when redeeming a DAS return time at Walt Disney World theme parks.

The new DAS limits the DAS party size to immediate family members or no more than four guests.

Another notable change, DAS in-person registration will no longer be available at Walt Disney World guest relations locations starting May 20. Instead, guests can register via live video chat with a Cast Member to determine eligibility up to 30 days in advance of a park visit. If DAS is provided, the guest with a disability (or a parent/guardian) will participate in the registration process.

After you register and enter the theme park, you can request your first return time.

DAS is valid for “the length of the ticket or up to 120 days, whichever is shorter. Once the service has elapsed, Guests need to re-register for the program,” the website reads.

“If it is determined that any of the statements a Guest made in the process of obtaining DAS are not true, the Guest will be permanently barred from entering Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort, and any previously purchased Annual Passes, Magic Key passes, tickets and other park products and services will be forfeited and not refunded.”

News 6′s Ezzy Castro last month spoke to theme park expert and president of TouringPlans.com , Len Testa who explained the amount of people who use the system has tripled over the last five years.

For more on DAS, click here.

Copyright 2024 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.

About the Author

Haley coomes.

Haley is a digital content producer for ClickOrlando.com and first started as a News 6 producer in October 2014. She's a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in journalism. She specializes in theme parks and lifestyle writing.

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Tourism | tourism district considers $100m in disney world road upgrades.

The Gov. Ron DeSantis-appointed tourism oversight district is considering a $100 million plan to upgrade some of the roads and bridges near Disney World. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s board voted Wednesday to explore issuing bonds for six transportation projects by autumn.

The project list includes the third phase of the World Drive North improvement plan, which involves the construction of 1.6 miles of four-lane road. Funds would also go to replace aging bridges, widen Western Way, resurface roads and improve interchanges.

“It’s great we are able to take a positive step,” said Charbel Barakat, acting chairman of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s Board of Supervisors.

The transportation upgrades come as Disney plans what one executive said would “ probably be the largest expansion ever ” of the Magic Kingdom. Details are thin on the project dubbed “beyond Big Thunder,” but it’s expected to involve about 11 or 12 acres of land.

Meanwhile, Disney’s competitor, Universal Orlando, is expected to open a new theme park , Epic Universe, next year.

Disney: Big Magic Kingdom expansion is in the works

In the past, the Gov. Ron DeSantis-appointed tourism oversight board directed fiery rhetoric at Disney as the two sides tussled in court. But as of late, the meetings have focused on the nuts and bolts of running the special district, which oversees fire protection, transportation and other key government services for Disney World.

Disney and the district settled a lawsuit over development agreements in March. The settlement said development agreements and covenants approved by a Disney-friendly board shortly before the state takeover are null and void.

A federal lawsuit filed by Disney is still pending. At its meeting Wednesday, the oversight board approved new regulations for adopting development agreements, setting the stage for a new plan to be brokered with Disney. Disney officials did not respond to an email seeking comment about the new regulations.

Disney is working with new leadership at the district, which DeSantis seized control of in February 2023 after the Legislature gave him the power to appoint its five board members. For decades before that, Disney essentially self-governed the district because it elected the board.

Stephanie Kopelousos, a top DeSantis adviser who worked as his legislative affairs director, replaced another DeSantis ally, Glen Gilzean, as the district’s administrator. Her background includes stints as Clay County manager and secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation.

Board Chairman Martin Garcia also resigned from his leadership post. DeSantis appointed Orlando businessman Craig Mateer to the board, but a new chairman has not yet been selected.

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  1. Discover Disney World Vacation Packages

    For assistance with your Walt Disney World vacation, including resort/package bookings and tickets, please call (407) 939-5277. For Walt Disney World dining, please book your reservation . Create a Walt Disney World vacation package that includes theme park tickets, accommodations and a dining plan, with options to fit your style and budget.

  2. Tickets, Annual Passes & Vacation Packages

    For assistance with your Walt Disney World vacation, including resort/package bookings and tickets, please call (407) 939-5277. For Walt Disney World dining, please book your reservation online. 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM Eastern Time. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call. Learn about Disney theme park tickets ...

  3. Walt Disney World Resort

    Walt Disney World Swan Reserve. Resort Overview. EPCOT Resort Area. Transportation Options: Bus. Vacation packages may be available. Select this hotel to view package prices. For room-only prices, call (407) 939-1936.†. † Guests under age 18 must have parent or guardian permission to call.

  4. Walt Disney World® Resort Vacation Packages

    Walt Disney World® Resort is the perfect place to stay in Orlando as a large number of the area's star attractions are within easy driving distance. Two sights that should be at the top of every visitor's itinerary is the wonderful Disney's Boardwalk and the ever-popular Disney's Osprey Ridge Golf Course. Two other great attractions you ...

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    Part 1 - Right Now. We're starting with three things you can do right this second. 1. Set up a My Disney Experience Account. "My Disney Experience" is Disney's fancy way to refer to your Disney World account. If you set up an account on the Disney World website (or Disneyland, or even ESPN and Hulu), you've done this.

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    Explore 4 unique Theme Parks and 2 Water Parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. There is one place on Earth where the power of magic ignites the wonder that lets everyone be a kid, no matter who they are. Walt Disney World Resort welcomes all to four larger-than-life Theme Parks filled with stunning worlds, far-off galaxies and exciting ...

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    We have the lowest prices on our vacation homes, hotels, and theme park tickets (Walt Disney World tickets, Universal Studios Discounted Tickets, and Discounted SeaWorld Orlando Tickets)We have won the Best of The Best Award for online travel agency customer service for the past 10 years (2013 through 2023).

  8. How to Plan a Disney Vacation: 2024 Disney World Planning Guide

    On average, a typical Walt Disney World vacation for a family of 4 in 2024 will cost about $6,559. This includes a 7-night hotel stay at a Disney Value Resort, 6 days of standard theme park tickets, Genie+ or Lightning Lane service, and quick-service meals for 4 people over the course of the trip.

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    Special 3-Day, 3-Park Ticket to Disney's Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park Only. Tickets from $89 per day, plus tax (total price from $267, plus tax). Date-based ticket with start dates from April 2 through September 24, 2024. Ticket must be used within 5 days of selected start date.

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    34,335 reviews. #186 of 434 things to do in Orlando. Amusement & Theme ParksDisney Parks & Activities. Write a review. About. This world-famous Resort consists of four Theme Parks (Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park), two Water Parks (Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Disney's ...

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    Walt Disney World is a vacation destination just outside of Orlando, Florida with four theme parks, two waterparks, numerous hotels, world class dining, and several other offerings (golf course, mini golf, conference centers, etc.).

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    Theme Park Ticket. 1 to 10-day standard date-based ticket. Date-based ticket that requires you to choose a start date. View Details. 1-day ticket (Ages 10+) from: $ 109.00 / Day. ( $ 109.00 per ticket) Continue. For assistance with your Walt Disney World vacation, including resort/package bookings and tickets, please call (407) 939-5277.

  15. How to plan a trip to Disney World in 2024

    Of course, weekdays typically see lower crowds than weekends and school breaks. Or, if you are planning a Disney World vacation on a budget, opt for midweek dates in August and September 2024, when prices start at $109 for a one-day ticket. Read our full guide on the best times to visit Walt Disney World.

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    2 x Ages 10+ €445.00/Ticket. € 890.00. 2 -Day Ticket with 1 Park Per Day. 2 x Ages 10+ €670.00 (€335.00/Ticket) € 670.00 EUR. All elements of your booking are subject to capacity and availability. Enhanced health and safety measures are in place to promote cleanliness, physical distancing and reduced contact.

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    First Time Beginner's Guide to Disney World (15 minute crash course) December 21, 2023 by Seely Lee. Save this post for later. With so many Rides, Shows, and Attractions, it can be hard to know where to start at Disney World in Orlando Florida (Disneyland is in California, and offers different things!). This is a comprehensive guide that ...

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  21. Disney area to SeaWorld

    Re: Disney area to SeaWorld. May 26, 2024, 2:52 PM. I use public transportation between Disney and SeaWorld fairly often. I catch my resort bus to Disney Springs and then the Lynx 350 to SeaWorld. It's not a quick trip and you'll have to walk through Disney Springs to get to the Lynx stop located near Cirque de Soleil.

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  25. Walt Disney World Resort

    Orlando Area. † Guests under age 18 must have parent or guardian permission to call. For assistance with your Walt Disney World vacation, including resort/package bookings and tickets, please call (407) 939-5277. For Walt Disney World dining, please book your reservation online. 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM Eastern Time.

  26. New updates to Disney's Disability Accessibility Services now in effect

    Tags: Florida, Theme Parks, Disney, Disney World Walt Disney World (Landon McReynolds, WKMG) ORLANDO, Fla. - Changes to Disney's Disability Accessibility Services went into effect Monday.

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