There’s no end to what you can experience on a Disney holiday. Dash through galaxies on Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom. Globetrot eleven countries at Epcot and go deep-sea exploring with Nemo. Try a soft serve Dole Whip, make a wish at Cinderella’s well, have tee-time on a golf course, and succumb to spa pampering after a day of park fun.
Inspired by a mouse and larger than some countries, Disney World Florida is “imagineered” to provide a whole new dimension of magic. Every aspect of your Neverland adventure is sprinkled with fairy dust. Horses wear special clip-clop shoes. Smellitzer machines pump vanilla and strawberry scents into the air. All visitors are called guests and ever-friendly Disney characters never point their fingers – even Grumpy the dwarf considers it rude. This is the place where elephants fly, and grown-ups wear Mickey Mouse ears.
If all of this sounds overwhelming, you’re not alone. Disney World Orlando covers over 100 square kilometres and is made up of four major theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom; and two water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Getting there, getting around, and making the most of all the magic on offer requires careful planning, which is why we’ve put together the ultimate beginner’s guide to Disney World.
Deciding when to go depends on what you want to experience, and your sensitivity to massive crowds and heat. Disney World Florida is sunny for most of the year, but it does experience some pockets of rain during the cooler months.
The park is busiest during school holidays, around Thanksgiving and Easter, and during the festive season from late December to early January. Mid-February to mid-April is a good time to set off on your Disney World trip as crowds are moderate and the heat is bearable. However, some rides are likely to be closed for maintenance.
Most flights to Disney World from Johannesburg have at least one stopover with a variable flight time depending on your airline. Don’t forget your “visitor for pleasure” visa when entering the United States.
Staying at a Walt Disney Resort hotel places you at the centre of all the magic, close to the theme parks and water parks. You also enjoy the benefits of complimentary transportation to and from theme parks and water parks, extra magic hours before parks open and after they close, first access to FastPass+ to reserve certain shows and attractions up to 60 days before arrival, and free MagicBands.
Trying to relive all your childhood Disney fantasies (even with the help of some pixie dust) could take a year. So, make a list, relax, do what you can, take your time and enjoy the rides.
Specific Walt Disney Resort hotels offer complimentary transportation and parking. Disney World Orlando is as big as San Francisco, so consider hiring a stroller for your littlies.
Become best friends with your Disney World Florida map and focus on one area at a time to avoid darting back and forth. Also, remember to book experiences and attractions in advance and jump the queues with a FastPass+.
Rediscover your inner child on a Disney holiday. Let’s get planning!
Thank you for being part of our journey... and choosing us to be part of yours.