It’s been 19 years since I visited Walt Disney World for a family vacation. I had to do the math twice because I couldn’t believe that much time has passed. So, when Boyfriend and I visited his family near Orlando, FL it seemed like the perfect opportunity to see what Disney World is like as an adult.
It was a crazy, park-hopping day for us, but Walt Disney World is a pretty magical place. Kids are so happy here! Here are a few tips to plan your trip.
Quick Facts about Walt Disney World
- There are four main parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios.
- Parking is available at each park. It costs about $20 per day.
- There are free shuttles and monorails that will take you to each park.
- If you stay in one of the Disney Resorts nearby, you get perks like free shuttles from your resort to the park, advanced opportunities to buy tickets, and more.
- Best times to visit: January, February, and September are usually the least crowded. School holidays are the busiest times.
- Parks vary in closing time but all open at 9 am.
- Special events to enjoy at the park: Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Half-Marathons, and Marathons.
- Tickets range from $99-119 per park. Check their website for value, regular, and peak ticket prices.
- 1-Day Park Hopper Ticket, which lets you go to multiple parks in one day: $170-174
- Visiting multiple times a year? Get an Annual Pass for $779-869
- FastPass: This ticket you buy in addition to your ticket will allow you to reserve access to attractions. You’ll have a period of time to visit the reserved attraction and you’ll get to skip the line.
- If you have an Annual Pass or stay at a Disney Resort, you’ll have advanced access to FastPass.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – Aug. 31 – Nov. 13, 2017
This annual food and wine festival was not what I imagined it was fun to see. They have food kiosks by country around the park featuring three or four different offerings, similar to how the park is usually set up. Small bites are available to buy for around $5 per dish. They have special exhibits, like the craft beer exhibit we went to. Here we tried a flight of local beers and some snacks.
Food and Drinks to Try at Disney World
You can easily find something Mickey-shaped, from ice cream pops to pretzels. For me, I only had ONE thing I wanted to try at Disney: Dole Whip. This popular pineapple soft serve at Disney was created by Dole Food Company. It’s found at each of the parks, though it might be slightly hidden within the park.
Things to See at Each Park
- Go around the world at Epcot! A few countries have decorated areas with building replicas and characters that make you feel like you’re traveling.
- Future World has the futuristic rides.
- Frozen is featured here with meet-and-greets, rides, and a dedicated area.
- Finding Nemo also has a dedicated area here.
- I think the character meet-and-greets have shorter lines here than Magic Kingdom.
- Most Popular Rides: Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Frozen, Soarin’, Mission: Space
- Here’s where you’ll find the classic view – Cinderella’s Castle. You’ll also see Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Frontierland.
- Most Popular Rides: Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, It’s a Small World, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Pandora – The World of Avatar is the newest addition to the park, and it opened this year. Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey are the two rides.
- The scariest ride we went on was Expedition Everest.
- Lions, tigers, gorillas, elephants, giraffes, and more can be seen in this park.
- See the whole park lit up with different colored lights at night.
- Most Popular Rides: Safari, Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, two Pandora rides
- You’ll find all the Star Wars-related rides, meet-and-greets, and experiences here.
- Watch musical shows for Beauty and the Beast and Frozen here.
- Toy Story Land is opening in summer 2018!
- Most Popular Rides: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Star Wars
We went to three parks in one day, spanning about 12 hours of walking and standing. It was exhausting and my legs were still sore the next day. Was I glad we went? Sure. Would I do it again? Unless I have the whole park to myself, ask me in another 19 years. 😉 I’m currently editing this blog post while watching the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie and I can certainly remember the magic of Disney movies as a kid. Disney World brings that magic to life!