How to "Do Walt Disney World Resort"
Article by Alex Robinson - Disney Specialist*
Please note: We are not agents, employees or affiliates of Disney. The views expressed on these pages are ours, and are based on our experience. *A Disney Specialist indicates an individual who has attained a special knowledge of Disney properties and products. All pictures and images used on our site have been taken by our agents or our clients.
Every week we are asked variations on the following question ...
- "I want to go to Disney World for a week. How much will it cost?"
- "Ah," I say, pausing significantly, "how long is a piece of string?"
- "I beg your pardon?" the confused response goes.
- "Well how many adults are there? how many children? how old are the children? what time of year do you want to go? do you want to stay on site or off? what type of passes, if any, do you want? if staying on-site, which of the Disney resorts would you prefer? if off-site, do you want a hotel, efficiency suite, condo, or rental home? will you need a rental car?"
They get the point! There are many, many things to consider when you decide that you and your family would like to "Do Disney".
It can certainly seem pretty daunting!
This is precisely why we have written these pages. Read on for our thoughts!
How to use our guide
To get the whole picture you should follow the "On to ... >" links at the bottom of each page. This will enable you to read the whole "How to do Walt Disney World® Resort" section sequentially.
You can also jump straight to particular points that may interest you by following the underlined text links or referring to the chapter list on the Family Disney Vacations page.
For most people Disney sells itself. They know they want to go, they're just not sure how to go about it.
If this is you, you can skip this page or take a small side-trip to some of my Reflections on Disney World, (including some DOs and DONTs for your WDW vacation).
Others may not be convinced yet.
SO, what is there?
If you have kids - even if you don't - Disney has so much to offer. Movies. Enchantment. Escapism. Fun. Adventure. Animals. Education. Mickey!
In one large site in sunny Florida you have enough attractions to exhaust at least a week (double meaning intended!) In case you are not familiar with the scope and scale of the Walt Disney World® Resort, this is a very condensed version.
There are 4 main parks. You can click on the red "Mickey" for a page of descriptions, photos and information about the Magic Kingdom® Park. (These links are to the main Walt Disney website and will open in a new window.)
- The Original Magic Kingdom® Park - fun rides, Cinderella's Castle, lots of chances to meet Disney characters, fun parades.
- Epcot® - home to Spaceship Earth, and the world showcase, highlighting countries all round the world.
- Disney-MGM Studios - movies, stunts, great rides, and you can see the animators actually at work on the next Disney movie! Awesome ...
- Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park - animals large and small, real and animated, living and extinct.
There are also also 2 water parks, the Downtown Disney, shops (lots of shops - from kitsch to luxury), the Disney's Wide World of Sports™ complex and more.
Surrounding the theme parks are a large number of hotels, catering to the different needs and budgets of the visitors.
The Walt Disney World® Resort site covers 47 square miles and has been designed to offer everything that your family could want. Fun, excitement and, of course, Mickey and the other characters that the kids love.
If you are yet to be convinced, allow me to suggest that you take a small detour and read my Reflections on Disney World, based on my experience there. It is my opinion that Disney World is likely to exceed your expectations... you might never want to leave!
So you've decided to go!
Just before we go on, we will add a small caution.
There is no such thing as a "cheap" Disney vacation!
... though the "Magic Your Way" vacation packages do help and there are specials to be had...
I recommend that you visit my Disney Blog for details on specific "specials" as I do not update these "How to do Disney" pages for every new promo.
There are are ways to keep costs down, but you should know that you are still likely to spend as much or more in a week at Disney World as you would staying at an all-inclusive resort elsewhere.
So if you were figuring on a cheap break, you may wish to rethink, get the tent out, rent some Disney videos and stay home!!
On the other hand, if you are willing to pay for a more "high-end" experience, you will not be disappointed. Disney's attention-to-detail, luxury, service and quality accommodation is legendary ... nobody does it better than Disney!
So you still want to go? - Of course you do!
Let's start to break down the various factors for your consideration.
- Accommodation - You will need accommodation at the WDW park or in the Orlando/Kissimmee region.
- Passes - You will also need to consider which of the many types of admission tickets / passes you will need.
- Seasons - The time of year will affect your accommodation and airfare costs. Passes are generally the same price year round.
- Transportation - If you are coming from Canada, most of the USA or further afield you will also need to factor the cost of airfare.
- Packages - Will package vacations meet all your needs?