It’s all about escapism at The Most Magical Place on Earth.
Walt Disney’s second installment of his dreams-really-do-come-true fairytale world has been in a constant state of expansion since it opened on October 1, 1971. Back then, Walt Disney World Resort consisted of Magic Kingdom, a few golf courses and three resort hotels. Epcot came along in 1982, followed by MGM Studios (now Hollywood Studios) and Animal Kingdom. In all, the Most Magical Place on Earth currently covers 40 square miles—an area larger than Manhattan. The park reinvents itself annually, adding brand-new attractions like Animal Kingdom’s “Pandora—The World of Avatar” or updating others to fit the times (see: the “Hall of Presidents” at Magic Kingdom). To do everything, you’d need to spend about a year there. Since that’s probably not an option, your best bet is to prioritize your must-sees and map out a route accordingly. Just remember to pack a pair of good walking shoes—it’s a big world to explore.
- Pandora—The World of Avatar. This “Avatar”-inspired land is the newest addition to Animal Kingdom. The main attraction is Flight of Passage, a virtual-reality ride that makes it feel like you are flying down cliffs, through trees and around mountains.
- Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Disney World’s two water parks are located on opposite sides of Hollywood Studios. Both offer similar features—waterslides, kid-friendly areas, wave pools—with Typhoon Lagoon being the more laid-back of the two and Blizzard Beach better for the thrill seeker.
- Disney Springs. Fine dining, boutiques and entertainment venues are tucked into four “neighborhoods” built around a spring, just east of Disney World. It’s an outdoor mall-meets-quaint downtown kind of vibe, with more than 50 restaurants to choose from.
If You Go
Walt Disney World Resort
Orlando, FL 32830
Hours: Parks open at 9 a.m.; closing hours vary.
Public transportation: There are complimentary monorails, buses and boats connecting the parks. Those driving to the park can leave their car parked in one of the lots and use the public transportation from there.
Recommended time to spend: One day per park
Where to stay
You can’t beat the convenience of a free shuttle to Universal Studios Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World Resort when you stay at the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Orlando. The hotel offers a variety of amenities including free hot breakfast, gift shop, on-site destination expert, and an outdoor pool.
The complimentary shuttle offered to and from the MCO airport makes it easy for guests at Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Orlando Airport to get to their rooms. The free hot breakfast, in-house restaurant, outdoor pool, and fitness center make this an exciting place for the entire family.
Only a two-minute drive from Walt Disney World Resort, Radisson Hotel Orlando – Lake Buena Vista makes it easy for families to get to the park with the complimentary shuttle service. The hotel boasts an outdoor pool, hot tub, and guest services desk where Walt Disney World Resort tickets are available for purchase.