“ Walt Disney World Resort, often referred to as simply Walt Disney World or Disney World, is a major recreational resort most famous for its theme parks. Owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts segment of The Walt Disney Company, it is located in Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake, Florida, outside the city limits of Orlando. Construction began in 1967, less than a year after Walt Disney's death. It opened on October 1, 1971, as the Magic Kingdom, and since has added Epcot October 1 1982, Disney-MGM Studios May 1, 1989 and Disney's Animal Kingdom April 22, 1998 theme parks. In addition to the four main theme parks, the resort contains two water parks, six golf courses, a sports complex, an auto race track, twenty resort hotels and numerous shopping, dining, and entertainment offerings. It even has its own fire department. The 20,000-plus acre property is the largest theme park resort in the world, although over the past decade significant acreage has been sold off for housing and other developments, including land now occupied by the Disney-built (but not owned) community of Celebration. „
* Prices may differ from that shown
From the start I'd better tell you that I'm a big Disney fan, my favourite characters are Chip and Dale. I have been known to make a bee line for them whenever they appear in the parks, scattering little kids hither and thither over my shoulder in my rush to get my photo taken with them.
Now for the serious bit. There are four main theme parks at Walt Disney World in Florida, The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Two water parks, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Disney's Blizzard Beach. Five golf courses, Disney's Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, Disney's Magnolia Golf Course, Disney's Oak Trails Golf Course, Disney's Osprey Ridge Golf Course and Disney's Palm Golf Course. Two crazy golf courses, Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland, a shopping district, Disney's Downtown and Marketplace with many restaurants and a wide selection of hotels to cater for all budgets. If I were to write about them all you'd get tired of reading about them so for more information on them I'd advise you to visit Walt Disney Worlds Official website.
The Walt Disney Resort is huge, you can easily spend two weeks there without having to leave the property, it's true, we've done it on numerous occasions. There is so much to see and do that you have to go back year after year to fit it all in and as the parks are always changing there's always some new to see.
The Magic Kingdom is where you'll find such rides as Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Dumbo the Flying Elephant. It's also where you'll find Cinderella's Castle. It's divided into six lands, Main Street USA, which is the main shopping area and also the entrance to the park, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Liberty Square. Each has a different theme, from the wild west in Frontierland to space in Tomorrowland. They all have a selection of shops, in fact when you get off most of the rides the exit will be straight into a shop with items themed for that particular ride and places to eat.
Disney's Hollywood Studios is based on the old style film studios and rides themed around movies, such as the Tower of Terror, a thirteen story lift drop, or Star Tours, a simulator ride based on the Star Wars Films. No two rides are the same so you'll have to keep going on it over and over again. Again this park has a great selection of shops selling Disney themed items and lots of places to eat.
Disney's Animal Kingdom is a zoo, but with rollercoasters, but it's unlike any zoo I've ever visited. It's split into two main sections Africa and Asia and to visit the animals in Africa you board a safari bus which is basically a truck with a roof and bench seating which hold about 30 people. You are then taken out onto a savannah where zebra, giraffe, gazelles and ostriches roam free. If they want to stand on the road and block your path or come and look at you looking at them, then they will. You pass under a bridge and if you're lucky you might see an elephant looking down at you. There are lions just feet away from you on top of the rocks and not once do you see a fence or a wire holding them back. It's very cleverly done. In Asia you can walk through and see tigers playing in the fountains of an old palace and gibbons swinging on ropes through an old temple. Again there are plenty of shops and places to eat which cater for all tastes.
EPCOT is split into two sections Future World and World Showcase. The most striking thing you'll see in EPCOT is Spaceship Earth, in fact you can't miss it as it's the first thing you'll see when you walk into the park, it looks like a massive golf ball. This huge ball contains a ride which tells the history of man throughout the ages. Future World is where you'll also find Test Track, ever wondered what it's like to be a crash test dummy, then try this and then go for a short high speed spin round the test track. There's also Mission Space, where you become part of the command team in a space ship which is blasted off into outer space. You do actually become weightless for a couple of seconds. The World showcase is split into different themed countries, which are Canada, UK, France, Morocc, Japan, The American Adventure, Italy, Germany China, Norway and Mexico. Not all the countries has a ride, but each one sells items that are from that country and the people who work in the shops and restaurants are from the country as well.
Now it can get very hot in Florida so it's best to do a bit of research before you go to see what the temperatures are like and plan ypur trip accordingly. It's also adviseable to plan your days in the parks as well before you go, as some rides can get very busy, but with the help of a fastpass, it's a way of queing without really queing, you get a ticket and it gives you a time to go back to the ride and you get on that little bit faster. Most of all be prepared to do a lot of walking and a lot of queing, there's no getting away from it.
I would highly recommend Walt Disney World, it's a place where I can be a big kid again and forget about life's problems for a couple of weeks.
As a mother of 2 children me and my husband found Florida to be an excellent place for us to take our annual holiday , in fact we have been four times and wouldn't consider going anywhere else , we even got married there in Mount Dora in October 2006 , we loved it that much . There is always so much to do you have of course all the Disney parks ( Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom , Hollywood Studios and off course not to mention Epcot). , which we have a 14 day ticket so we can come and go as many times as we want including the 2 water parks and Disney quest which is located at down town Disney. There is always plenty to do and most of the parks have a firework show or a parade of some kind which are excellent , Disney do not scrimp on anything they do and always put on a could show for all the family to enjoy from the young to the old.You just pay for one lot of parking , which i think is a little steep at $15 a day, but then someone as to pay for all the car parks attendance there is they have hundreds of them. We would highly recommend that you do get the 14 day or 21 day ultimate ticket (depending on how long you are going for) to enjoy all that Disney has to offer in Florida.
It is nearly impossible to write a review of Disney World in general as there is too much to mention without going on and on for pages and pages. You really cannot comprehend the scale of it until you actually visit and see it for yourself.
Our first visit was for our Honeymoon in 2006. We had both always wanted to go and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. When we told people where we were going we got the very common reaction of "Why?." People who have never been really don't understand why two adults with no children would ever want to go there. No matter how many times you try to explain to them they just don't understand.
There's just something magical about the whole place and you feel it as soon as you arrive, it's an amazing feeling but very hard to describe. After our first visit we were completely hooked and are going back this year for the fourth time, taking our daughter for her first visit.
The first image that usually springs to mind when you mention Walt Disney World is Cinderella Castle, but it's so much more than that.
It is actually made up of 4 separate theme parks - The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios and The Animal Kingdom, 2 water parks - Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, the Downtown Disney shopping and entertainment area, 22 resort hotels, Disney's World of Sports complex, 4 18-hole golf courses, and 2 mini-golf courses. Every single area has its own theme and all have so much detail you see something different every time you visit.
Obviously the parks have lots of rides and attractions but even if you don't like rides you can find plenty of entertainment just strolling around and taking in all the scenery and watching parades and shows. There really is something for every age from toddlers to pensioners.
If you've visited theme parks in the UK you might think you know what to expect but Disney is like another world completely. You get so absorbed in this magical place while you are there that you can easily forget the rest of the world exists.
To me it definitely is the most magical place on earth.
My fascination with Walt Disney borders on obsession- to the point that I am even doing my undergrad dissertation on him. To me, this man is nothing less than someone who revolutionized the world. Going to Disney World- the really popular one in Florida- has always been a dream of mine; one that took time to fulfill since this place easily ranks among the most expensive of all my travels. It might have been quite a frivolous manner to spend money but I would still do it again. I've been to other Disney resorts and while each of them is nice in its own way, nothing can beat the Florida resort. It provides not only magical and eye-widening fun but is also the one place that Disney fans should visit: I have learned quite a lot of trivia and other interesting stuff from my three day stay at Disney World, Walt Disney and Disney movies in general. I was in fact, overwhelmed the minute I set foot in Disney World.
For those who are interested in the historical side of this resort, it opened around 1971. Walt Disney died before the end of the construction process and the park was inaugurated by his brother. Today, Disney World boasts of numerous attractions such as The Magic Kingdom (a classic!), The Animal Kingdom, The Hollywood Studio, the Water parks...among various other impressive attractions. The park is really gigantic; especially in comparison to other Disney resorts such as the one in Paris. The hugeness of it all ended up being completely mind blowing to me! I strongly believe that one day is not enough to really capture the magic of it all, which I why I would recommend staying in one of the resort hotels or in any other nearby accommodation. The Disney hotels are quite fantastic however- but really pricey. However, as I mentioned above, I certainly have no regrets over the tremendous amount of money I spent during these three days.
My Favorite Attractions:
Florida's Disney World boasts of approximately four theme parks. My favorite ones are the Magic Kingdom and the Hollywood Studios.
1) Hollywood Studios
The Hollywood Studios are a set of attractions that mainly boast of wonderful mini-staged shows. It may or may not be exciting to kids; depending on whether the child is interested in shows or would rather go on more fast rides. But personally, the Hollywood Studios overwhelmed me and it was also there that I learned a great deal of things about what goes on beyond the cinematographic aspect of Disney.
* Beauty and the Beast show
This show was nothing short of being spectacular! It was only a mini-production but I was amazed at the smooth acting and performances. The "theatre" was outside and in typical Disney fashion, everything was elegantly done up. I was also stunned by the way in which the actors and rest of the cast remained true to the spirit of the story, despite the show being around only half an hour. The costumes and décor were so well done that you could have been watching the Beauty and the Beast movie with 3D glasses on! In terms of drawing the audience into this magical fairytale, I can say that they passed with success.
* Stunt show
This was a seriously thrilling experience! Stunt cars expositions showed the technical aspect of stunt scenes. Cars zooming over pools of fires, crashing through doors and splitting in half were only a couple of shows we were treated to! The part that I loved the most was the entrance: We had to pass through a glass-like corridor and we could therefore watch the technicians tweak and fiddle around to customize the stunts. Most enriching! My niece was sadly bored though- she was getting more and more impatient to see Cinderella's ever famous castle!
2) Magic Kingdom:
* Cinderella's Castle
Do you remember that dream you used to have as a little girl? The one where you would live in a fairytale castle that's situated right in middle of picturesque surroundings. Well, Disney literally infused life into this dream- minus the prince of course. The central figure of this attraction is without doubt, the Cinderella's Castle. I took this vacation with my best friend, my aunt and her eight year old daughter and you should have seen the look on my niece's face when she first saw the castle. Best of all, you should have seen the look on my own face! Yet another proof that the attractions in Disney World are guaranteed to please adults and children alike. The castle is an exact replica of the one found in Cinderella Believe it or not, we had to take a ferry and a tram to reach the Magic Kingdom. Of course, this only enhanced the fun of it all- even if my niece was impatient to finally reach the Kingdom. I believe that the most impressive physical aspect of the castle are the towers that really capture the essence of fairytale like magic. In traditional Disney fashion, the towers are all pointy- and there are a lot of them!
The interior of the castle was, if possible, even more breathtaking than the outside. I literally felt like I was in a dream. The first thing that struck me was the absolute cleanliness of it all- the place was literally spotless; especially considering the number of visitors they receive per day. We were with a tour group and one of the guides explained one of the tiles was made up of solid gold. I have no idea if that's true but to imagine that we were so casually strolling by so much gold, in Cinderella's castle, no less! Everything was made up in old fashioned décor that bordered on the Victorian but I really appreciated the occasional touch of the modern that blended so smoothly with the classical décor. I was quite interested in the architectural aspect of it all, but my niece kept looking around for Cinderella's talking mice friends. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the fairy godmother and I personally think that it would have been a real thrill for the smaller ones to actually meet the talking mice.
The best thing I did in the castle was have lunch and dinner over there (over two consecutive days). What again impressed me was the manner in which the décor was specifically done up in such a way that it will impress both adults and children. I believe that it was the tasteful décor that really set off the tone and mood of your whole magical experience. While this experience is certainly aimed at girls, I did see a couple of wide-eyed little boys looking excitedly around. Officially known as "The Royal Table", the castle's restaurant- or dining area if you will- is done up in rich reds and blues, with occasional splashes of other subdued colors. Again, this set off an elegant atmosphere which I believe was aimed to make you feel like royalty. Despite the fact that we were guests at the resort (we stayed in the resort hotel for three days), we still had to make reservations for lunch. We got through fairly easily but afterwards I learned that it's quite the nightmare to manage to get reservations. Which is a shame since I believe everyone should experience this at least once.
Lo and Behold- Princess Cinderella herself descended among her loyal guests to grace us with her illustrious presence! The kids were impressed, and squeals echoed from everywhere. I particularly liked the Disney characters that wander all over the resort but I was sadly not at all impressed with this Cinderella. She was all smiley and kind to the kids, but her physical appearance rather lacked the sweetness of the real Cinderella. In Paris, I once saw a Cinderella whose costume really mirrored the true character and it added to the realistic factor of it all. Sadly, to me, the Florida Cinderella was just a woman in disguise. But the children were charmed, though and she was nice enough to exchange a couple of words with them before going away -a bit too rapidly if you ask me.
We had pasta for lunch and my niece enjoyed a special kid's meal. I don't remember the exact sum we paid for lunch but I can vouch for the fact that it was expensive. I think it was more than $60. The food was rather delicious- but truth be told, I was a little too dazzled by my surroundings and hosts (I'm convinced I saw Prince Charming pass by!) to really appreciate the meal. The best part of it all was that we managed to take a couple of pictures that were offered as a package to us. Everything was certainly pricey but like I've repeated so many times above- to us, it was completely worth the experience.
To anyone who is planning to visit the Castle without staying overnight, I would highly recommend going at night. We were treated to a breathtaking display of fireworks. And they did more than just send sparkly stuff up in a black sky: The fireworks were accompanied and synchronized to wonderful music. We all stood there, mouth agape as huge and colorful fireworks were thrown against a background of soaring crescendo. Nighttime also seemed like socialization time for the characters. This time I really saw Prince Charming who unfortunately looked all cosy-cosy with Cinderella. We also saw Mary Poppins enjoying a nightly stroll and I have no idea how, but Snow White's dwarves somehow ended up outside Cinderella's castle. I truly have no words to describe how magical this particular moment was. The delightful mélange of music, Disney characters, and picturesque surroundings truly amazed me. My best friend even had tears in her eyes- it was such a strong moment for someone who's obsessed with everything Disney.
* Space Mountain:
Too soon we started to realize how short we were on time- 72 hours ended up being less than enough- and we therefore started picking rides out at random, or by the length of the line. There was train trip around Magic Kingdom that I was really eager to get on; you board the train at a proper miniature station and all but the others were more interested in the rides. Now, I've read about the Disney Rides before and I have to admit that I was sort of nervous.
And rightly so. The first ride I went on (thanks to my wonderful, disloyal best friend) turned out to be Space Mountain, a monstrous roller coaster and it was nightmarish. I am usually someone who loves thrilling sensations and who thrives upon fast rides- but the one I was on was so fast and furious that I genuinely thought my eyeballs would pop out. While standing in line, I could hear the screams of other passengers and that did nothing to calm my nervousness. We finally managed to board and I was unlucky enough to be seated alone. The coasted started quite slowly and that part was amazing: We were in a tunnel filled with lights. But then it started to take up speed and that was when the whole eyeball-popping-out experience started. But the one thing I regretted was squeezing my eyes shut during half the ride for when I managed to open them again- wow! I was literally coursing through a galaxy at what seemed to be at the speed of light. In fact, the brightly lit planets and stars were so, so, so impressive that I even managed to temporarily forget the fact that each muscle of my body was shaking crazily.
When the ride ended, my knees were all queasy. While I'm not eager to get on it again, I have to say that the little time during which I admired the space décor was amazing thrilling. Disney again proved its mastery of sheer artistry and special effects. I personally have no idea how long the ride was but according to my friend, it lasted approximately three minutes. A note of warning: Apparently you should have normal blood pressure and be in general good health to embark upon this ride. And of course, it is a big no-no for pregnant women.
* Aladdin's Magic Carpet:
This was not the most thrilling ride in Disney World but it was quite nice. But it was thankfully less crowded than the other attractions. The Magic Carpet is basically consists of a ride around the genie's lamp. I was impressed at how everything was encrusted in bright and colorful gems. Our carpet could fit around ten people and was controlled by a lever. I was shocked when a camel spit on me (cold water masquerading as spit)! In fact, the whole point of the ride is to avoid the spitting camels. I have to say that this was not the most exciting attraction for me. Rather, this is something that the smaller kids might enjoy a lot. It didn't last long and was certainly less exciting than Space Mountain but still entertaining.
* Ariel's Grotto:
That was my favorite part of it all! I used to love Ariel as a kid and you can just imagine my enchantment when I got to visit her dwelling-place. By then, I was already swept up by the charm of Disney World and had given free rein to the inner child. Ariel's Grotto is literally a large, exquisite cave which is stunningly decorated with a thick-streamed waterfall. There were typical marine decorations such as shells and starfishes but the best moment of all was when we got to see Ariel herself. Our lovely red-haired princess wore her green mermaid tail (fake tail, optical illusion) and I thought my niece would faint. No one can deny the extreme fascination that little girls have with mermaids- and you can imagine their wonderment when they got the chance to take a plunge in the water so close to Ariel! I didn't swim but the others did and they loved it. Ariel also graciously gives her autograph and poses for pictures to anyone who asks but I considered myself a little too old to queue with the kids who were waiting for a signature. Being at Ariel's Grotto was not unlike being at a pool party but I have to say that the squealing and splashing kids were starting to get a little noisy. Luckily, there was a shaded area for all the non-kids and it was a perfect place for some relaxation near the water.
Like I said above, we spent three nights at Disney World and opted to stay at one of the Disney World Hotels. We booked rooms in the Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort which is basically a string of wooden cabins and set in the middle of forest scenery. Now, I would have preferred something a little more elegant but majority ruled. However, despite the summer camp exterior of the cabin, the interior was quite luxurious and quite worth the $300 paid for it! Services offered were housekeeping and laundry and I was pleased to see that the cabin came with internet connection. Something that I never got to use since we barley stayed indoors! I have to say that a wide array of transportation is available all through Disney world- from buses to trams to ferries...and we could easily navigate from our cabin to other parts of the resort. The cabins also come with parking but no swimming pool unfortunately.
Disney World also has other accommodations and hotels that I cannot review since we didn't stay there but before opting for the cabins, we drew a list of four best sounding Disney hotels:
* Caribbean Resort (my personal choice and the place I would have stayed at had I not been overruled by the others):
* Riverside Resort
* Treehouse Villa
We unfortunately spent too much, and visited too many attractions for me to keep an exact track of the expenses but I can vouch for the fact that you certainly need quite a hefty amount of money. Spending money will also depend on what you buy, the attractions you visit and the rides you get but I still believe that you can spend a great day in the resort even on a limited budget. Our trip was outrageously expensive since we opted to stay in the resort and since we barely thought twice before spending money, but with some control and carefully-selected attractions, any budget could be suited to visit this exquisitely magical place.
Regardless of whether you like Disney or not, please do yourself a humongous favor and visit the Disney World resort at least once before you die. This is a place which will definitely impress both adults and kids alike. I've been to Disney resorts in various parts of the world but nothing, absolutely no other resort could ever compare to the one in Florida. I'm already saving up to go back again!
Thanks for reading!
I remember my Mum saying that she wanted to take me, my brother James (who was15) and my sister Emma (who was 12) on a trip to Disneyland. She said that it had been her dream to take us there and that she would be paying for the whole trip (even though I was 18 and technically an adult, she wanted to treat me too). I was really grateful that she had offered to pay for me me, but being 18, I thought that I was probably passed the Disnay stage and that I wouldn't find the holiday that magical. However, on the first day on the first day of our trip, when we entered the Magic Kingdom, I got butterflies. I remember seeing Cinderella's castle and being in complete awe.
Magic Kingdom is one of the four main theme parks within the Disney complex. I'd say it is aimed at younger children, but there is something here for everybody to enjoy. The famous Space Mountain ride is situated in this park and the afternoon parades are out of this world. I would describe it as being the best fairground in the whole world and I loved having my photograph taken with all the Disney characters! When you visit here you should also make sure that you stay for the firework display, which is out of this world.
MGM Studios was probably my family's favourite park. We loved the character-based theme park rides and looking at the all the film memorabilia. The live shows here were also ace - the Indiana Jones show was fantastic, with great special effects. We also really enjoyed riding the Tower of Terror (which scared my little sister half to death!) and the Aerosmith rollercoaster.
In the evening we saw the amazing firework and light show - Fantasia at MGM. I'd recommend that you get there early for this, because this show is very popular.
The Animal Kingdom is another great addition to the Disney complex. Here you will find all of the Disney characters in Safari uniform. The Animal Kingdom safari adventure was a definite highlight and again this park transcends every age group.
The final big theme park with the complex is Epcot, personally I only spent a day here as the science theme wasn't really my family's bag. However we did really enjoy it, they have some good simulator rides this park and my Mum paid for our pictures to be taken and added to the giant golf ball (which is an Epcot landmark) - members of my family have visited since and they have looked us up.
If you can fit it in, then I'd also recommend visiting the two Disney water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Here you will find slides and rides. The whole family went on the water rapids together in Typhoon Lagoon and my only memory is us ending the ride giggling our heads off.
Disney can be expensive, but you pay for quality. If you are looking for a place to take Gran, Granddad, Mum, Dad, teenagers and toddlers, then look no further...
Every person you meet will provide you with the Disney level of customer care and it is a truly magical place. I had the holiday of a lifetime here and I can't wait to go back. I only wish I could award it with more stars!
Walt Disney World Florida,
I have been here twice before now, once at the young age of 8 which i can barely remember and again when I was 16, i have also just booked to go again this year in August and really cant wait.
I have also visited Disney Land Paris before now, and it is great here, i do mean really good, but compared to Florida it is absolutely nothing. Thats how good this place really is.
The Walt Disney World Resort Florida has several different parks under its "roof". Theres the Magic Kingdom (Family and Childrens rides), The Animal Kingdom (Theme park based on Africa), Epcot (Theme Park based on the future), Hollywood Studios (based on the film industry), Plus theres the two water parks Typhoon Lagoon, and Blizzard beach.
Each of these parks are amazing both for kids and adults and if you can afford it even only once in your life time it is something you've got to do,
Its pricey but so is more or less everything worth doing these days and you wont regret it, if can defiantly be the holiday of a life time
I cant comment on the rides because i haven't been for a few years now but when i get back at the end of the year i will update.
Of all the holiday destinations that we as a family have visited over the years i can honestly say that Walt Disney World in Florida has to be the holiday of all holidays. It really is the most magical place on earth!
The resort consists mostly of 4 main theme parks, namely:
Magic Kingdom where there are daily parades where all the Disney characters travel through the resort on floats or on foot, singing and dancing and generally encouraging the children to dance along with them. MY youngest daughter who was 7 years old at the time was totally besotted with Alice in wonderland who took her off for the afternoon around the park. Where too you have Splash Mountain one of Magic Kingdoms main attractions..... a great excuse to get soaked!
Then there is the Epcot centre, one of my favourites, where you can visit different countries of the world, seeing their national dress and seeing how they live their lives. you can also here take a futuristic ride in a spaceship.
Another park is Universal studios, where at MGM you can become involved in and watch a movie being made and go on the many movie related rides and attractions. Finally the last of the main parks is the wonderful and truly magical Animal Kingdom.
My favourite place of all though and that of my daughters was Sea World, although this is not strictly a part of the WDW parks, it really is the most fantastic place. You can feed the dolphins and swim with them, if booked in advance, and watch performing Seals and Manatees. Or you can sit and watch the most wonderful performance by the killer Whales or Orca. Rows of children line the front of the glass where the whales dive in and out of the water allowing the children to be totally soaked by the splash......the kids really love it. Then at night they have the most fantastic laser display over the water and the best fireworks you are ever likely to see in your lifetime.
Outside of the main parks there is still so much to do and see. you have International Drive with its countless restaurants, cafe's places of attraction including the Hard Rock Cafe and many many hotels and motels giving you much choice of places to stay within a short distance to Magic Kingdom.
Here is a very small list of some of the hundreds of places to stay on or very near International Drive:
Quality Inn - Very close to Seaworld, Ripley's Believe it or not and Wet n' Wild.
Orlando Days Inn - Again very close to the above attractions and can be found at 5858 International Drive.
Best Western Plaza International - 8738 International Drive.
Comfort Inn International - 8134 International Drive.
Sleep Inn Motel - Near to Seaworld and International Drive and can be found at 6301 Westwood Boulevard.
There are also 2 fantastic water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, my daughters had a whole day of splashing and jumping the tidal wave which was let loose every half hour or so, enjoying every second. Another water park but not part of the WDW complexes is the Wet n' Wild park which is again absolutely fantastic, and a definite must to visit.
The theme parks can be expensive to get into but you can usually get very good deals at lots of venues around the local area and so are better off getting your day passes there.
All in all it is 'the holiday' of a lifetime, somewhere every Granny, Grandad or child everywhere should visit at least once in their lives for an adventure they will never ever forget......... i promise you !
The advert says "The place where magic lives...." and i dont think that could be more accurate. I have been to the Wlat Disney World resort 15 times now and have had a fabulous time each and everytime i have been. I even got married there! For me there is no more perfect holiday destinatation - it has something for everyone and fabulous weather to top it all off.
The Walt Disney World resort is pretty much the size of Manchester. Its huge! 47 square miles of magic! It has 4 theme parks (The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and The Animal Kingdom) 2 Water Parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach) a huge shopping and entertainment area (Downtown Disney), 5 championship PGA Golf courses (Palm, Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, Osprey Ridge and Eagle Pines) 2 crazy golf courses (Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens/ Fairways) aswell as a Sports complex (Disneys Wide World of Sports). There are also an amazing 23 onsite hotels that you can choose to stay in which give you many perks such as free transport to all of the above and extra magic hours (where the park opens an hour early or stays open upto 3 hours later in the evening for hotel guests). The hotels are split into 3 price ranges - value (big, bright, colourful and perfect for young children - cheapest of the hotels) Moderate - slightly smaller resorts but equally well themed - better for slightly older children - mid range hotels. Or if your really wanting to push the boat out there are the deluxe hotels - luxurious and spacious with great locations - these are the 5* disney hotels.
Across the Walt Disney World resort there are daily parades and shows and some type of firework extravaganza every night! There really is something for everyone! Yes it can be expensive but there are deals to be found - the only problem i found was once id been - ive always gone back every year since!
Walt Disney World is a vacation destination in Orlando Florida. It is the biggest Vacation destination in the world and boasts 4 of the busiest theme parks on the plant.
Walt Disney World opened October 1st 1971. It was the second theme park by the Disney Company and was the vision of Walt Disney himself. Sadly he died before the park was completed and never go to see his dream relaxed. But his brother Roy O Disney took in on himself to complete the parks and hotels himself in memory of his brother.
The destination was going to be called Disney World but was renamed Walt Disney World so no on forget who's vision it was to build.
The destination opened with 1 theme park and 2 hotels. Now 37 years later Walt Disney World consists of 4 theme parks, Magic kingdom (the original theme park where Mickey mouse lives and you can dream to be a pirate or a princess) EPCOT (where you can ride s spaceship and see all the countries of the world in the world showcase), Disney Hollywood Studios (where you will feel you are in the movies) and Animal Kingdom (see all the animals of the Sahara or take a ride back in time to the dinosaurs). 2 Water parks Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon and many hotels from budget to luxury.
Walt Disney World has a magical place. You feel that you are totally separated from the outside world where you don't have to think about work or life's worries. You can just lay back and relax. Take in the ride or if that is not your thing there is shopping, swimming, beaches, golf or activities for everyone.
I have been to the holiday destination 10 times and I won't stop there. It is a place Adult, or child will enjoy and I recommend going whenever you can.
Hand on heart, I love Disney. I love Disney films. I love Disney characters. I also love Florida. So this is pretty much match made in heaven time for me.
There's several different Disney parks in Orlando - Magic Kingdom, Aninal Kingdom, Epcot, Downtown Disney, MGM studios and the water parks being the main ones.
Magic Kingdom is the famous one, with the castle, plenty of rides and shows, real good mix of adult rides and stuff for the kids.You can have character breakfasts, there's the daily parades (the night one is awesome and the fireworks are fantastic) and various other things going on.
Animal Kingdom is split into Africa and Asia, has safaris, rides and characters. Epcot has different 'lands' set round a lake - the UK has a pub, red phone boxes and plays host to Beatles tribute bands. There's a few rides and fireworks every night.
The water parks are pretty good, lot's of slides. MGM is OK, fair few shows and some rides - perhaps some of the shows are more for kids.
Downtown Disney is more for adults, with bars, shops and restaurants. Most hotels have shuttles to the Disney parks so they are easy to get to, or you could rent a car.
Disney certainly isn't cheap and it's one of the most tiring holidays around. Disney is very corporate and yes, agressively marketed. The parks can also get very busy, but a lot of effort has gone into Disney, the fireworks are great, the rides are good, everywhere has different costumes and it really is a great experience - old or young!
Florida itself has great weather (avoid hurricane season!), loads of places to go and very cheap 'all you can eat' restaurants. I would really recommend it - OK it's not as cheap as a week in Majorca but there's plenty of deals and you only live once!
**This review is about the rollercoaster "Expedition Everest" at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort specifically. **
The Expedition Everest coaster is in Disney's Animal Kingdom (in the Asia section), Orlando Florida. To give it its full title, it's called "Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain".
Another heavily themed ride, as you'd expect in Disney, with the queue management area kitted out like a base-camp in the Himalayas with plenty of lore about the Yeti on the walls.
When you get to the front of the queue, you can catch a glimpse of the trains and can see that it's only a lap-bar holding you in. It makes you wonder if this is all going to be a bit tame, but not to worry...
Expedition Everest Coaster Vital Statistics
* Type of ride: Steel 'standard' coaster
* Height: 112 feet
* First drop: 80 feet
* Top speed: 60 mph (forward) 40 mph (backward)
* Track length: 4424 feet
* Riders: 34 (5 cars with 6 seats, last car with 4)
* Ride time: 2:30 minutes
* Inversions: 0
* Max G:Force: 2.2 (forward), 3 (backward)
* Height requirement: 44 inches
* Opened: 07/04/2006
* Manufacturer: Vekoma International
The ride has a single rider queue as well as a fast-pass queue, where you can take a ticket and come back at a pre-determined time to ride and avoid the wait. The coaster cars are styled like a little mountain train and this is probably one of the few coasters where being at the front is a plus.
If you want the front seat, there are three ways to achieve this:
1. Wait in the queue for something like 40 minutes in our case and when you get to the front, declare that you want a front seat. The operative will put you in the fastpass queue where you can wait some more for your front row seat.
2. Use your fastpass ticket to go in the fastpass lane, skipping the normal wait, then wait a little for your front row.
3. If you don't have a fastpass, go in the single rider lane, skipping the normal wait, declare that you want a front seat. The operative will put you in the fastpass queue where you can wait for your front row seat.
The ride starts off with a gentle swoop from the platform off to the right, followed by little chain-pull to get an initial bit of height. Then we go down a little gravity incline and follow a gentle left hand curve into the main chain-pull incline to get up to where it all starts.
From the top of the incline, the train swoops down and to the right, but it's not a huge drop, so you're left wondering, "What's going on?". Until you go through a little tunnel and head upwards to the sight of a mangled track, where the train stops momentarily on the slope. If you're in the front seat, you get a lovely view of the Animal Kingdom park for a few seconds. Meanwhile, behind the train, a little bit of fancy points work automatically reroutes the track, then it's brakes off and we're off, backwards, into a dark tunnel.
Now you realise why we needed all that height, as the train plummets backwards and into a vicious 3.0g horizontal loop - no inversions on this ride - but, given you're going backwards in the dark, it's hard to tell the difference. That g-force is impressive. A couple more bends and the train heads up a little incline, coming to a halt with a little bit of light in sight. We are then treated to a projected shadow-outline of the Yeti ripping up the train tracks, while another automatic points-shift, in front of us this time, sets us up to complete the rest of our journey in a forwards direction.
Brakes off again and we are treated to a mini-drop, coming out of the tunnel, followed by a couple of horizontal loops which are not quite the strength of the backwards one, but good nonetheless. Finally we head into another tunnel for a brief glimpse at the animatronic Yeti before returning to the platform.
Recommended; my 8-year old's favourite ride in all of Florida, with the 'backwards in the dark' part giving something out of the ordinary for the more coaster-aware of you.
** Review also appears on my blog
Walt Disney resort in Florida in my opinion is the best holiday resort in the entire world. The reason that I say this is beecause there is just so much to do and it really is a place like none other. Not only are the theme parks just exceptionally well done in terms of theme, the resteraunts, hotels etc are equally good and as an entrie package it is just a holiday that all of us dream on. The resort as a whole is perfectly formed with a huge array of rides that is suitable for the the entire family not just for the kids. There really is something for everyone there and so for that reason alone I would thoughrally recommend the resort.
The resort includes two water parks which really are like none other also, Tyfoon Lagoon and Blizard Beach which although expensive have an absolutely huge range of water rides to choose from. The foreworks at the end of the day (everyday) make a great finish to a place that is truly a fairytale. It is ideal for the kids and would make an incredible holiday, despite the expense. I hope this was useful and thank you very much for reading this!
We have visited Orlando, five times now and on all five occasions we have ended up going to Walt Disney World Resort and each of its parks, Magic KIngdom, Epcot, Disney MGM Studios, now renamed Holywood Studios and my favourite Animal Kindgom. Not forgetting to mention all the water parks, and the fantastic Downtown Disney areas, it really is magical, for any age!
Magic Kingdom has some of the most picturesque and incredible buildings and sceniery imaginable. The rides in Disney (oppose to Universals Islands of adventure, tend to be more entertaining than scary. We have even been with OAP parents and they have enjoyed every ride including Everest at Animal Kindgom. Make sure you save some energy to go back to watch the evening parades and fireworks in the parks. We have found it well worth paying for a fourteen day ticket, as it gives you the flexibiltiy to go into the parks for a few hours at a time, as and when you want. The first time went wet crammed everything into 4 days and it nearly killed us!
Try to get the parks as they open so you can make use of the fast passes for the most popular rides, avoiding the huge queues that can build up later in the day, as the passes do run out.
(This review will focus mainly on the entertainment and things to do in Flordia, (ORLANDO). )
It was the 26th of Novemeber, and my grandma had invited my mum, my two brotheres, my two aunties, my two uncles and I up for a special dinner at her home. We thought it a bit weird as christmas was the next month and she would be entertaining us and providing a four course meal. None the less, we didn't hesitate upon the proposal and so we sat there eating our specially prepared meal. After everybody had polished off their pudding my grandma rose up from the table, disappeared into the lounge, and returned a couple of minutes later with an envalope. She made a speach about how she had a surprise for us all and it was contianed inside the envalope. She handed me the evelope to open, so I ripped it open, excited but totally unuaware to what the surprise would be. Opening up the card, 11 plane tickets dropped out. Glancing at them further I let out a shreak! We were going to Florida. We would be flying on the 16th July and we would be staying for 19 days in a large villa.
===PREPARING FOR OUR TRIP.===
The preperation for our trip began in around May, two months before we were due to fly. The weather in Florida was expected to be incredibly sunny while we were there so we packed lots of shorts, t.shirts, sandles, and plenty of suncream.
I searched online, scowering through every Florida site, deciding what I wanted to do there, and what kind of thing look good. There certainly seemed to be plenty of fun for everyone, and it definitly looked like a family holiday.
As our passports would be out of date in June, we were required to get new passports for going to Florida. We were recommended to do this at least 2 months before we went, just to make sure we got them in time. We got our new photo's taken and handed in our applications to the post office, we were then told the passports would be delivered to our house in the next 10-14 working days. As there is a huge hype of passport security now-a-days we were told we would have to be given them personally. We recieved a phonecall on the Wednesday and were told to stay in all day from 8am-6pm on the Friday to recieve our passports. Needless to say, 6pm passed and no passports were in sight. We phoned up immediatly on Monday morning complaining and they told us there had been a hold up but they would definitly be with us before 6pm that evening. We weren't impressed by this but luckily we had taken people's advice and started the whole process in the March before our holiday.
We, personally didn't book tickets/arrange accomidation/car hire etc but my grandma did. She informed me that the whole holiday was booked through the travel agents (I think it was First Choice but I could be wrong......), as she doesn't feel "safe" or "confident" enough booking it online or over teletext. The whole process apparantly took around 90 minutes in the travel agents, but apparantly the travel agent was very helpful and made sure we got what was best for our money. Our flights were booked for July 16th, our villa was ready to move into when we arrived, and we booked 2 people carriers for the length of our stay. I cannot personally tell you the exact prices and costs as it wasn't me who booked, and my grandma didn't want to tell me, but if you search online, look on teletext and consult with your travel agents you will get a wide range of different prices.
No way were we expecting this trip to be a cheap one- as well as the hotel/flights/cars etc, there was still everything to do when we got there. Since we would be staying in a Villa we would be self-catering meaning food would have to be bought when we were there. There was also the matter of the daily entertainment. We planned to go to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, MGM Studios, and The Animal Kingdom theme parks, aswell as maybe one or two water parks. My grandma purchased the tickets for the theme parks before we went however I think the water park tickets and entry was bought when we arrived.
There was an awful lot of preperation before going abroad, but luckily this wasn't down to me. One of the downsides of the holiday is that we would have to fly at 5am. This meant leaving the house at 1am, arriving at the airport at 2.30(ish) and checking in at around 3am.
We departed from Edinburgh airport at 5am, however this flight only took us too London Gatwick airport. This was a fairly short flight, no time for sitting back and relaxing. We had a two and a half hour wait at London airport before our plane to Florida was due to set off. At the airport everybodys excitement was growing, however everybody was exhausted as the adults had, had no sleep and the three children had only had about 3 hours.
The flight was a long one. I'm sure it was around 9 hours. We were provided with an inflight meal which made me feel quite positively sick .The food was luke warm and didn't taste very nice either. Luckily there were snacks available on board such as crisps, chocolate and sandwiches. I fell asleep for around 5 hours of the flight which passed some of the time.
We arrived at the airport in Florida on time, without delay which was a great start to the holiday. Getting off the plane, we collected our suitcases etc and then went off to find our two people carrier cars we had booked. They were parked in two special parking spaces at the airport, i'm sure it was in a special carpark but I can't be sure. One of them was a turquoise blue colour, and the other one a bright red. They were very clean and looked quite "posh". My grandad was also happy with the two veichles and spent about ten minutes before leaving admiring them and gloating slightly about what a great choice he had made.
We were all stunned when we arrived in the airport, it was huge, and very busy. I'd definitly recommend keeping your children close to you. Your required to do the usual searches and things incase you are carrying or have brought anything into the country you shouldn't have.
Like I said, the airport is huge, and sports various of different shops and eating places. We stopped for a bite to eat in a sandwich bar and were provided with a very substancial snack- this was the first time we used our dollars and we were really getting into the holiday mood.
Aswell as the sandwich bar we stopped up there are other smaller cafes, snack bars, ice cream parlours and some fast food outlets- there was plenty of choice thats for sure. Aswell as the eateries there was also various shops, however we bipassed these on our arrival in Florida. There were small shops such as newsagents and places to buy papers etc, but there was also more interesting shops selling soveniours etc. The airport was definitly a wonderful experience and really began getting us into the holiday spirit.
After around an hours journey from the airport we arrived at our villa. Most villas are alike, mainly white-ish yellow, and modern looking from the outside. Most villas also have a pool. Ours was no exception. The villa was in an area with several others, but it wasnt overcrowded, infact it was quite quiet and we were in our own little area. There was a large driveway at the front of the property with plenty of room for our two cars. Our villa was a bungalow, but didn't lack in any rooms. There was a large, grand white hall, with tiled flooring and bright white walls. The kitchen was quite big aswell, with a small white table, a breakfast bars, various counters and worktops and a large fridge/freezer. The fridge was very clever with lots of gadgets on, including an ice machine (This provided alot of entertainment for the little brothers throughout the holiday)! The lounge was large and modern with two pale yellow leather sofas, a glass coffee table and various other peices of furnature. There was also a TV, but this took us 3 days to figure out how to work. There were 4 bedrooms in the villa. Two rooms had large double beds, the third room had two single beds, and the third room had double bunk beds. They were all fairly spacious, one of the double rooms had an en-suite with toilet, sink and shower. There was another two bathrooms in the villa, a main bathroom, with a jacuzzi-style bath tub, a large double shower, a sink and a toilet, and the other bathroom was smaller with a toilet and a sink. The lounge sported two large french glass doors leading out to the pool .The pool was large with a shallow end leading up to a 2metre deep end. We also had a jacuzzi and the switches and heating/bubble levels for this was on the wall. Around the pool we were provided with 5 sunloungers, a wooden table and 8 wooden chairs. There was also 2 lilo's in the pool, and a rubber boat type inflatable. Wheather these were left by the previous occupants we don't know, however we did make full use of them.
The water in the pool was very clean. In the kitchen was a switch for the heating of the pool, the pool took around 90 minutes to heat up, and at its warmest it was very pleasent. Sometimes we didn't need to heat the pool up though as the weather was so hot and the heat from the sun heated it up on its own. The jacuzzi was big enough for around ten people with seating round the edge. The dial on the wall provided choices, wheather you wanted it to be cold/warm/hot, and low/medium/high bubbles. Occasionally when we were sitting in the jacuzzi, my grandad turned the bubbles up high without us knowing and scared us half to death.
Our villa was very clean and very polished. The various glass tables were sparkling clean with absolutley no finger prints on them (before we arrived anyway), the leather couches were spotless with no stains, the tiled and wooden flooring was also spotless and the counters didn't a have a scratch or score in sight. We were all very impressed with the villa and didn't really have one fault with it. Many of our friends have also been to Florida, and the reviews and comments on their villa's has also been very postive, most of them being almost identical to ours. Our villa was a large one, probably to big for a family of 2-6 however it was perfect for ten people.
===WHAT TO DO?===
Our first day was a "lazy" day. We spent it lazing by the pool and getting a head start on our tans. We figured out how to use all the gadgets in the villa including central heating, hot water, cooker etc. We also took a trip to a mini-supermarket about twenty minutes from the villa and stocked up on plenty of foods. The first day was very relaxing however we were all itching to get out and explore. The next day we had a trip to the MAGIC KINGDOM planned and through out the week we'd also be visiting Epcot, MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon (a water park) and Busch Gardens, among various other activities.
The Magic Kingdom is perhaps the most famous of the parks and most people relate it to the Florida experience. The park was a 90 minute journey from our villa, and the excitement on our way was absolutley electric.
The park opened at 9am, however we weren't up too early, so we had a farily large breakfast and left the house around 9.30am, arriving about 11am. To get into the Magic Kingdom you have to take the ferry, so after we had left our car we hopped aboard. It was extremely busy and heaving with people, however there was enough room on the ferry and we were able to get up the front and look overboard. By the time we arrived at the theme park it was just after 12am and the sun was incredibly hot. The theme park was extremely busy, and so we decided on a meeting spot incase any of us got lost- although we didn't need it I would recommend it as it just gives you a bit of reassurance.
The front of the park has a huge enterance which makes you feel really special and quite "royal". When you first enter the park you are plagued with various shops however we bipassed these on the way in, my family not wanting to spend to much money the second we got in.
The park is home to some fabulous attractions, rides, eateries etc. Crammed full of stuff to do, it is a long day out. We spent the whole day absolutley having a ball. We went on different rides and rollercoasters, met the disney characters, collected autographs etc. The whole family was having a ball as there was something for everybody.
_RIDES_- The rides suited everybody of all ages. There were the smaller ones for little children and there were more exciting ones such as splash mountain and space mountain for the older ones. I think my favourite ride was the Splash Mountain and I went on it five times. If I can complain about one thing here it was that the queues were very long and you could be queuing up to 45 minutes. Infact when we were waiting to meet Mickey and Minnie mouse for there autographs we had to stand for a total of one hour and 15 minutes. There were "holiday rep" type people making sure everybody was ok and giving us an update of how long we'd have to wait. They were also very helpful with the little children and made conversation asking how much of a good time we were all having.
_ENTERTAINMENT_- Aswell as the rides there were also various different attractions and entertainment. At night time there was a huge fireworks display which was amazing and very beautiful, everything was just wonderful and felt extremely magical. Aswell as the fireworks display wthere was always a huge parade. The parade was espescially fantastic as it was dark, and the lights off the parade lit the place up splendidly.One of the main events of the day for us, espescially my youngest brother was meeting all the characters and getting their autographs. One of our favourite places in the park was "Ariels Grotto". This was a small waterpark outside with fountains and waterfalls which we could play in. There was a queue, going through a rock in order to meet Ariel. When we got in Ariel was sitting in a mermaid outfit, ready for photo's and autographs. She was really friendly and made everyone feel like she was real. Characters such as Timone and Pumba, Goofy and Donald Duck could be found scattered around the park, but characters like Minnie and Mickie were in there own little tent. The queue for all of the characters was huge.
_OTHER ENTERTAINMENT_- Not only was there fireworks, parades, rides etc, there was also some theatre-based entertainment. There were a couple of outdoor stages all providing entertainment for the whole family. One of the shows we saw was with Mickie and Minnie and mouse, not exactly sure what they were doing but everybody seemed to enjoy it. Aswell as this there were also various things such as dancing and acrobats, but they only seemed to be on for a short while of the day.
_EATING/DRINKING_ - As we arrived about 12oclock, by two oclock we were beginning to get a bit peckish. This was not a problem as there were plenty of different places to grab a bite to eat. These included; italian restaurants, posher restaurants, burger joints, hotdog stands, cafes, bars and lots more. Some of the eating places were home to disney characters who floated about and came and "talked" to the diners. The prices at the eating places were pretty expensive. A drink costing around $3 if I remember correctly. We were all really impressed with the eating places and we all found something to cater for our needs. I can't remember where we went for lunch, but I do remember we found a lovely restaurant in the park, which was home to Chip and Dale. All the eating places were very busy, however although there were sometimes queues they normally went down quite quickly.
Epcot was the second disney park we went too. This one seemed to be more adult-orientated however the kids enjoyed it too! Epcot focuses on all the countries around the world, and there is a different section for each.
_RIDES_- Again as with most parks there are various rides and rollercoasters for all ages. This doesn't seem to be the main point of this park though. Among the rides were FAST TRACK - where each family is putting into a car and you have to drive it round bends etc. I do remember being quite thrilled by this ride. There are also some smaller rides for children and toddlers, including a finding nemo one, which when my little cousin went earlier this month, thoroughly enjoyed and apparantly kept on "AGAIN, AGAIN, MUMMY, AGAIN". Aswell as rides, there are also various other attractions such as "HONEY I SHRUNK THE AUDIENCE". This was an inside "theatre" where you were given a pair of 3D glasses and when the "film" was on everything looked as though it was coming toward you. This was an amazing experience but very scary at the same time. There are also some other shows on which included a Lion King one. Everybody in the family really really enjyoed this one and was definitly a highlight of the day.
_ENTERTAINMENT_- Aswell as the rides, there were also various other attractions. These included live entertainers including music performances, specialist dancing and artistic performances. These really provided a cultural feel to the day, and perhaps made us want to venture further than Orlando, Florida. As with Magic Kingdom, Epcot also holds a fantastic fireworks display every night, almost as wonderful as the Magic Kingdoms show.
_OTHER ENTERTAINMENT_- As with Magic Kingdom and other parks, you can meet characters and get autographs and photographs. Many of the same characters are at Epcot however most people get a second photograph taken with them.
_EATING/DRINKING_- The variety of food at Epcot is absolutley amazing with hundreds of different foods and drinks from around the world. There was a fabulous restaurant under water where you could admire the wonderful sealife creatures while dining and having a glass of wine. There are various other nationalities of food and diners including; italian, french, american, japenese, chinese, thai, grills and various other all-type restuarants. Again in some of the resturants and cafe's the characters dotted around making the experience all the more special and seeing everybody was having as good a time as possible. Again, there were ice cream parlours and drinks stands all round the park.
I had always thought these were called MGM studios but I now realise they are called Hollywood Studios. I am told they are almost the same thing and have just been updated in the recent years.
_ENTERTAINMENT_- MGM/Hollywood studio's provides lots of entertainment for all ages from young 'uns to the older generation. The park sports various rides as with most other parks. Two of the most famous rides are The Rockin' Rollercoaster, and the Tower Of Terror. I went on both and found them really scary, not sure if that's because i'm a wimp! There are various other rides too and definitly something for everyone!
_ATTRACTIONS_- Aswell as rides, there are also many attractions and events which provide lots of entertainment and fun for the whole family. For example, there was a Beauty and the Beast- Live on stage performance. If I remember correctly this was outside though the seating area was covered in a huge plastic canvas in the unfortionate case of rain. Aswell as Beauty and the Beast, there were other live shows and performances including the usual dancing, music and acting acts.
_OTHER EVENTS_- The Hollywood Studio's were jam packed full of fun! There were the usual disney characters floating about, making contact with familys and entertaining the young children (and adults too!). There were other attractions such as 3D shows, theatre/television orientated things and tours around studios and television sets.
_EATING/DRINKING_- As with all other Orlando parks, eating and drinking are not a problem and we found it easy to find a place suitable for everyone. The restaurants/cafes/snackbars etc were all fairly busy and there were queues for most things, however we didn't have too wait all that long. Among the various eating places were, a Toy Story Pizza Place, various burger joints and hot dog carts. All the food here was of a high quality and the pizza we enjoyed for lunch was amazing.
The last of the disney parks we visited was the Animal Kingdom. I'm sure this was the furthest away from our villa, but the car journey was well worth the journey. Again the park opened around 9am, and i'm sure this particular day we actually arrived earlier around 9.30am. This was a bad time to arrive as it was absolutely heaving with people. I'd either recommend getting there around 8.30am before it opened and before the queue starts to grow, or after the opening mad rush, perhaps around 11.30am.
_TOURS_- One of the first things we did when we arrived was to take a tour around the park. The tour took us through "the dessert/jungle" etc and we saw some extremely interesting animals. We were all told what to do in case of an emergancy and before we arrived at the cheeta's we were told what to do if they decided to charge at us. (Luckily they never). One the tour we saw, girraffe, zebra, elephant and cheeta among various other beautiful animals.
_ENTERTAINMENT_- The Animal Kingdom was home to lots of fun and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. One form in which this came in was stage shows. We went to see two, one with Pochahontas and the other, another Lion King show. They were all very entertaining and most of the time seemed really proffesional. When we went to see the Pochahontas and friends show, there was a slight technical hitch before the show began, but I was assured this was a one off, so don't let it put you off! Again as with all other parks, there were disney characters walking about greeting everyone and getting photographs and signing autographs.
_RIDES_- Althought there were rides at the Animal Kingdom, they weren't the main part of the park. These were all animal related, taking us back in time, gazing at dinosaurs and roaming the jungles with exotic animals. The rides were all very thrilling, but had a different feel to them, not as scary more interesting and fun.
_EATING/DRINKING_- Animal Kingdom is home to some delicious restaurants and cafes. They are spread out all through the park so you are never caught short or made to trail for miles to find something suitable. Most of the restaurants serve lunch and dinners aswell as snacks however we did find a few of them shut at 6pm. We're not sure if this was a regular day to day thing or only happened one day a week. Among the various restaurants, were, a barbequeue grill restaurant serving burgers, spicey sausages etc, a pizza parlour, sandwich cafes/bars, and an indian restaurant. There were also hot dog carts and ice cream parlours dotted throughout the park serving a wide variety of drinks and ices.
Florida is home to various water parks, including Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. We decided to go to Typhoon Lagoon as it was closer and we had heard better reviews about it than the others. We set off early one sunny morning in head of the water park. We arrived at around 10am, and it was absolutley full to the brim. We were warned it may be extremely busy inside and that it may be difficult to find sun loungers. Luckily we did, and even more luckily they were in the hottest part of the park where the sun was shining its hottest. We were given a leaflet including a map before we entered the park so it was easy to decide what to do and where to meet up.
_SWIMMING POOL_- The swimming pool is set around the "beachy/sunlougy" area. The water starts off shallow, but progresses into deeper water. The water was fairly warm, and a nice and pleasent temperature. We began at the shallow end of the pool, but even here the waves were quite strong. Progressing in further the waves began to knock us off our feet and we were soon fighting to stay above the water. The wave pool was extremely fun and we spent quite a while jumping the waves and floating about! It is recommended that children are accompinied by an adult at all times.
_SLIDES_- As with all water parks, there are various water slides. Nothing to scary or thrilling but they provide alot of entertainment and pass some of the time. At the particular times we went up to go on them, the queues weren't too long, about a 5 minute wait however throughout the day the queues grow and occaisonally people were told to come back later when the queues had gone down.
_SHARK REEF_- Typhoon Lagoon provides facilities to go swimming with sharks. I, personally turned this down as I wasn't too keen on the idea however my aunties, uncles and mum enjoyed it and would thoroughly recommend it!
_RAFT RIDE_- All of our family took advantage of the raft ride. Everyone was sat in a rubber ring type thing and were told to hold on tightly. The "rubber ring" was then burled around the water, quite a thrilling but relaxing experience.
_CHILDREN_- There was also a childrens area at Typhoon Lagoon. This included sandpits, slides, and fountains. It was particuarly popular with little toddlers and looked like they were all having great fun. I can't comment personally on this as we never used these facilities however everyone doing so seemed to be enjoying themselves!
_FLOWING RIVER_- One of the most popular attractions at Typhoon Lagoon is the flowing river. Everyone is given there own rubber ring and you can either lie on it or TRY and sit on it. You then float through the river, through tunnels and caves. The water was surprisngly very clean, though there were a few leaves and twigs floating around.
Aswell as all these, there were other things water-related including white water rafting.
_EATING/DRINKING_- Eating at Typhoon Lagoon is not as easy as at the other parks. There a couple of cafe's and snack bars however these are usually extremely busy. Thankfully we did manage to get something substancial to eat and the food was very tastey. There were plenty of stands selling ice creams and juices so this was not a problem. If you don't like waiting, or queues, i'd recommend taking a picnic, or at least some snacks to keep you going!
After hearing so much about Busch Gardens, we decided it was only fair to check it out. Busch Gardens are another wonderful park which can be enjoyed by the whole family.
_RIDES_- Again, Busch Gardens is home to some fantastic rides. These include Roller Coasters, dive coasters and rides for younger children. There were queues to get on the rides, but they only lasted for around ten minutes and went down quite quickly. For some of the rides there were age limits and height restrictions but luckily I fitted into all catogries.
_ANIMALS_- Busch Gardens is home to some wonderful creatures and beautiful animals. Tropical birds are kept in the bird gardens, visitors can go into the bird garden and watch them in their everyday life. There are also rhino pens, parrots, and horses, among various other amazing creatures.
_OTHER ATTRACTIONS_- Kids are well catered for at Busch Gardens. Play parks and adventure grounds are all dotted around the park allowing the kids to have a great time too! There were also cable car type things which soar above the park allowing you to view everything from a whole new level!
_ENTERTAINMENT_- Most parks in Florida sport some fantastic entertainment and this one is no exception. Shows include dancing and singing shows, talent shows, and animal performances. Everybody in our family really enjoyed these and the applause at the end of all shows are out of this world. Definitly recommended!!
_DINING OUT_- Eating and drinking at Busch Gardens is extremely easy. Ranging from light lunches to three course slap up meals, its nothing short of five stars! Among the various eating places are ice cream parlours, sweet stalls, pizza restaurants and cafes, sandwich bars, burger joints and many more. Most of the places were full but not overly busy, due to the fact there was plenty of choice which meant everyone was spread out through the park.
Busch Gardens has lots more to do but would take too long to write about. If you want to find out more, i'm pretty sure there's a site on the web which can provide you with all the information you'll need!
No holiday is complete with out a trip to a beach. So one morning of our trip we set off early, for a 2 and a hour journey so Cocoa Beach. My family had heard good reviews about it so we decided to check it out!
The beach was glorious and luckily we managed to go on a day when the weather was around 30 degrees. The sand was beautiful lightly golden and the ocean water was warm and refreshing. We spent all day here, sunbathing, swimming and having some family fun. The beach was very clean with no litter in sight, and the sand was totally free of broken glass and other dangerous items.
There were shops around a ten minute walk away, if I remember correctly, which sold buckets, spades and various foods and drinks. On the beach there were many places to buy some snacks and ice creams and the queues were never to long. The beach on the day we went wasn't overly busy though it certainly wasn't desserted, it was easy enough to find a spot to lay your deckchairs down.
It was easy to pass a day at the beach though I wouldn't recommend taking young children for the whole day as there is only so much to do!
Tickets for the parks don't come cheap! Tickets can be bought for different periods of time depending on when you'd like to go to them.
Tickets can cost up to £200 depending on which park/which time of year etc. I can't comment on exact prices as they change all the time , however if you take a good browse around the web, phone up the parks and check with travel agents, your definitly sure to find the best deal for you.
===ALL PARKS- FACILITIES ETC.===
All parks are very well facilitated and very family friendly. Toilets, baby changing facilities/rooms etc are dotted all around the park and never more than a ten minute walk away. Some of the toilets are cleaner than others but they are in no way unpleasent. Most of the time the queues only last for around five minutes but depending on the time you can be waiting up to fifteen.
At the beginning of each parks, there is an option of wheather you'd like to rent a stroller/pram for small children. These come at a small cost, usually for around $10-$20, but are probably worth it if it means you will get a rest from your toddler or if they are likely to doze off at somepoint through out the day. It also prevents them getting lost.
At the beginning of the park there is also a lost and found point. If you lose something it will likely have been brought to here. The staff here are always really friendly and are more than happy to help you find the thing you have lost. Aswell as losing items there is also a liklihood of losing a member of your party. If this happens there are meeting points all over the park and if i'm right in thinking there set into different colours. There are also staff around who are happy to help.
Wheelchairs can also be purchased before entering the parks. These can usually be rented for between $10-$40 for the whole day. If you require your wheelchair for more than one day, you will usually be asked to pay upfront at the time for each day you require it for.
Smoking is not something which can be done freely throughout the parks. Most of the restaurants and cafes are none smoking, and smoking around the park is not permitted. There are smoking areas allocated and these are the only places it is allowed. If you are caught smoking throughout the park, action will be taken.
Passes for the parks should be bought before arriving. They can be bought singly however family passes/packs can also be purchased, usually at a better price. If you leave the park throughout the day, but wish to return, you must hold onto your ticket as this is the only way you will be admitted again. If you lose/throw away your ticket, you will not be permitted to return back into the park.
International drive is the area in Orlando, Florida which provides everything you need! Including parks, centres, shopping stores, eating places, complexes and much, much more. We visited here a couple of days of our stay, and enjoyed ourselves and the experience down to every last detail.
_PARKS & CENTRES_- International drive is home to many attractions, including SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Wet n' Wild, Discovery Cove and Aquatica SeaWorld's Waterpark. SEAWORLD is an amazing day out, families are taken beyond there expectations, witnessing first hand amazing and beautiful sealife creatures which can't be seen anywhere else. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS is another park much like Hollywood Studios. The park is filled full of fun events and activites all to do with theatre/film and television. WET N' WILD is another waterpark however we didn't personally go to it. This is much similar to Typhoon Lagoon I am told, in that is provides lots of entertainment including water slides, and various pools and water fun! THE DISCOVERY COVE was absolutely amazing. We were lucky enough to go swimming with dolphins here. There are also various other interesting tours etc which are suitable for most of the family. THE AQUATICA WATERPARK was, as you can probably guess, another waterpark. We never went to this one either but we have heard some great reviews about it from friends. Apparantly it is an amazing, huge and entertaining park with lots of waterslides, pools, rivers and fun activities. I do wish we'd gone here while we were there and if we ever return I hope to visit it.
_SHOPPING_- International Drive is home to some serious shopping. Thousands of people float about the shops each day, purchasing designer items and memorabilia. In the resort there are a total of 585 shops. Shops range from pound stores to designer shops selling things costing thousands of dollars. There are hundreds of clothes shops including Adidas and Gap, book shops including Books-a-million, souveneir shops aswell as many more. There are small cafes and restuarants in the complexes too.
_COMPLEX_- International Drive also provides some wonderful complexes and fun things to do. These include ice skating, cinemas, bowling and golf. The prices are normally quite fair, not overly cheap but then again not too expensive either. You could spend a whole day here having fun with the family combining various things such as a cinema trip, followed by lunch and then a visit to the ice rinks or skate parks. There is always something suitable for everyone in the family here so it wont go wrong!
_EATING/DRINKING_- Internation Drive is one of the best places to come for something to eat, whether its a quick light lunch, or a posh and fancy dinner. There are hundreds of eating places ranging from McDonalds to the restaurants which will blow most of your holidays budget in just one meal. Internation drive is home to the worlds largest McDonalds, which has a gigantic play area. We went here during our holiday and the boys spent over an hour running around with other children. Within i-drive, every type of cuisine possible can be found, including chinese, thai, japenese, carabbean, italian and very many more. There is something for everyone which proved to be fantastic! We enjoyed many a lunch here, and one that particuarly thrilled us all was when we dined at Denny's diner, we were all served humungous sandwiches served with scrumptious french fries and salad. Most of the chineses were buffets and we dined at two different ones, we also dined at an italian restaurant which was spectacular!
_AFTER DARK_- International Drive not only provides entertainment all through the day, it goes on till the early hours, all through the night. There are plenty of clubs and bars for all ages, for the young singles, the groups of youths, but there are all plenty of places for families too! We went too two "clubs" when we were there, and they were both very family friendly, even inviting young children up onto the stage to sing karaoke and take part in break dancing competitions.
===WEATHER IN FLORIDA.===
We went to Florida mid-july and the weather at the time was roasting. The temperature switched from between around 24 degrees to 32 degrees the whole time we were there. Sometimes the parks became unbearable from the heat aswell as the amount of people there and we ended up going into a cafe for an ice cold drink just to cool down. I think the parks would probably be more enjoyable if it was a little cooler.
There were occasionally downpours, however this was not a problem as it provided a nice little relief from the heat of the basking sun!
If you have young children i'd recommend visiting Florida and the parks around March time as although the weather still warm, still has a breeze in the air and will be alot more suitable for trekking them around the various disney parks.
Overall our trip to Florida was fantastic. An extremely expensive trip, don't get me wrong, but an extremely enjoyable trip too. It was the perfect trip for the whole family to enjoy and is perfect for all ages. I would DEFINITLY recommend it, and i'd give yourself at least 2 weeks away as there is so much to do!
There is not a place more magical that Disney World Orlando! There is somethings very special about it that is unlike any place I have ever been.
I went to Disney World when I was about 14 and it was and still is the best holiday I have ever been on. The flight was long and when we got to florida we were tired, we didnt stay in a Disney hotel, we stayed in a cheap hotel, and went to an all you can eat buffet breakfast most mornings.
The first day we went to Disney was amazing. I went with my whole family; about 20 of us in total, even my granny and grandad! Everyone loved it.
The rides are amazing; seeing my granny get drenched in water on a log flume type ride was amazing. Seeing my little sisters shock when she saw how fast rocking rollercoaster went was also a great moment!
The parks were all clean and had great decorations which made them feel extra special. The Disney characters walking around were great, althought they did slightly scare me!
There is no way to describe Disney World. It is a must do!