The wonderful world of Walt Disney has captivated the hearts of kids both big and little for generations. If you ever sang along to Under the Sea when you were young, or perhaps more recently spent a road trip with the kids requesting How Far I’ll Go the entire way, you’ll know what I mean. The magic of Disney seems to know no bounds. And that’s just the movies. If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World, you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. What I am really talking about? Here are 5 things that take this all-ages holiday to the next level:
1. It’s a world, not a park.
Let’s clear something up. You won’t be flying all the way to Florida for just one day. Walt Disney World is comprised of six different venues – four theme parks and two water parks. Think of it like the entire fun-seeking Gold Coast. Each theme park is a world of its own, with separate sections. Take Magic Kingdom. You’ve got Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Mainstreet, Frontierland and Liberty Square. And of course, Cinderella’s Castle. Each land has its own rides, restaurants, displays, characters and of course, shops. The brave will take on more than one park in a day. The sensible will dip in and out, ideally spending at least one day at each park. From now until the end of the year, Expedia has a great buy 4 get 6 day passes – to be used right up until 31st December 2018. That will give you a few extra days up your sleeve for free, letting you have all the time you need to check out Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
2. You can ride on the back of a banshee
Gone are the days when Walt Disney World was just about Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. High tech machinery and millions of dollars goes into creating state of the art experiences. Inside Animal Kingdom, you’ll find the otherworldly Pandora, the world of Avatar’s floating mountains and luminous rivers painstakingly recreated by Disney’s Imagineers. The Flight of Passage is a true sensory experience, where you’ll literally ride on the back of a banshee, soaring over Pandora, swooping under trees and over oceans.
3. Skip the queues
Savvy travellers will book their tickets, but won’t wait until they arrive to work out which rides they want to go on. Fast passes are your best friend when it comes to making the most of the experience. Each ticket is preloaded with three FastPass+ selections, which can be booked in three months before your entry date. Make sure you book your three passes close together, because once all three have been used, the allocation resets and you can use them on three more rides, and so on, throughout the day. Download the app in advance so you can allocate your passes in the park while you’re on the move. If you want to check out the newest rides, make a beeline for Hollywood Studios, where Toy Story Land has just opened – the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster is a big hit for kids of all ages! Don’t forget to book in your FastPass+ though!
4. Wine and dine
That’s right, Walt Disney World has alcoholic beverages. Pick up a Himalayan Ghost frozen cocktail after riding the Everest rollercoaster inside Animal Kingdom (you might need it if you spot the Yeti!) or head into Animal Lodge where the fine dining Jiko – The Cooking Place has a world renowned collection of South African wines to choose from. In fact, it’s the largest collection of South African wines in the country. Now, the Mickey Mouse waffles and Dole Whip ice creams might be the most famous food items on the menu, but Walt Disney World has plenty of fantastic restaurants, even inside the parks. Beauty and the Beast fans will want to prebook their table at Be Our Guest Restaurant well in advance of their visit – make sure you save room for the famous “Grey Stuff” dessert. For something a little more nostalgic, grab a table at the Hollywood Studios Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre. Table is a loose definition – you’ll sit in car-shaped booths eating burgers and drinking shakes while watching old school movies on the big screen.
5. Sleepover safari
After a big day in the parks, and a big meal at the Jiko Place, the last thing you’ll want to do is leave the majestic Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Like staying inside a supersized safari lodge, this is the hotel when you really can have an overnight safari, without leaving your room. The wings of the hotel look out upon wide range animal enclosures so you might wake up to see zebra eating their breakfast right outside your balcony.
Whether you want to see all the shows, hop on every ride or just dip your toes in Walt Disney World, there’s never been a better time to go. Take advantage of Expedia’s buy four and get six day passes so there’s never a reason for the ‘my parents never took me to Disney World’ scenario! Check it out here.