Planning Your Trip
Things to Do
Eating at Disney
Where to Stay
Walt Disney World sits on about 40 square miles and comprises four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney/MGM Studios, and Animal Kingdom; a sports complex, resort hotels, restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and activities.
If you are planning a trip to Disney World, get the inside skinny before you go. Disney World is a great place, but it can also be overwhelming trying to decide where to stay, what to see, or even what can you afford. Here's some information to help you make informed choices.
When to Go
If you are planning to visit Disney World on vacation, one of the first decisions you need to make is when to go. While special events and promotions might have some influence on theme park attendance, you might want to consider when Disney World's highest theme park attendance is. Weekends in May, and June, July, and the first half of August are extremely crowded, as is Thanksgiving week, Christmas week, and New Year's week. If you don't like crowds and have a choice, you might want to avoid these times. Or you might want to plan your vacation around one of these popular Disney World events:
- Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: March through May
- Disney's Star Wars Galactic Nights: mid-spring (check site for exact dates)
- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: late-September to mid-November
- Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: September and October
- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: November and December
- Holidays Around the World: November and December
Disney World is in Orlando in Central Florida, which experiences lots of sunshine and mild to very warm temperatures throughout the year. During the summer expect high temperatures during the day with a good chance of short-lived thunderstorms that might include heavy rain each afternoon. The warmest months are July and August, with the average high around 91 degrees Fahrenheit both months, and they are also the wettest months. The coolest month is January, which is pleasantly mild in the afternoon with a high around 70 degrees.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, with the highest storm probability from August through October. If you are concerned about your trip being interrupted by a hurricane, check into buying travel insurance. Or avoid the issue completely by not going to Orlando at that time of year.
Making Reservations and Buying Tickets
While you can use a travel agent, booking your own Disney vacation is simple either online or by phone. Just go to the website and either find the number to call or click through the reservation process as instructed. Disney's Magical Express is a complimentary airport shuttle and luggage delivery service offered by Disney World that is available to those guests using select airlines and staying at select Disney World Resort hotels.
You can buy Disney World tickets online as part of your vacation package or at the theme parks when you arrive. You'll have several choices of which passes to buy to which theme parks.
A World of Theme and Water Parks
- Animal Kingdom: Disney's Animal Kingdom is not just a zoo or a theme park, but a perfect combination of the two.
- Epcot: There is no other place like it under the sun. It's where you can experience the cutting edge of technology, celebrate human achievement, participate in interactive presentations, and visit a unique kaleidoscope of 11 nations, all in one vacation. It's Epcot, and it is exclusive to Florida's Disney World Resort.
- Hollywood Studios: Experience a world of glitz, glamour, and the excitement of show business. Hollywood Studios is the new home of Toy Story Land!
- Magic Kingdom: The classic theme park experience that puts the "magic" in Disney World.
Sunny Florida makes swimming possible just about year-round at Disney's two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, and no one can give you a splish-splashing good time like Disney.
- Blizzard Beach: This combination of a water park with the atmosphere and excitement of a major ski resort in the midst of a tropical lagoon is zany but fun.
- Typhoon Lagoon: Modern-day Swiss Family Robinsons immerse themselves in a day of adventure in a water playground that looks as if it was left behind by a great storm.
Eating at Walt Disney World
The Disney Dining Plan is a popular option when planning your Disney World vacation. Disney hotel guests who want the convenience of a more-inclusive "cruise-style" vacation can buy the "Magic Your Way" Package Plus Dining. For each night of their resort stay, they can have two meals and a snack at more than 100 select restaurants throughout the Walt Disney World parks and hotels.
And there are many character dining spots across Walt Disney World Resort — this is an experience not to be missed, especially with kids in tow. The atmosphere is fun and relaxed, and every character makes a stop at every table and takes time for autographs and photo opportunities.
NASA Earth Observatory. "World of Change: Development of Orlando, Florida."
National Weather Service. "Hurricane Safety Tips and Resources."