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How to do a family visit to Disney World Florida on a budget

With a seemingly endless array of attractions and accommodation options, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, presents the ultimate family getaway.

 

Walt Disney World 101

With four theme parks, two water parks and 26 hotels, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, presents almost endless choices, whether you want to get wet and wild, go back in time to the see dinosaurs or blast off into space.

As the folk at Disney like to say, ‘unforgettable happens here’, and you can understand why when you see what’s on offer. Study up on what’s in store with this ultimate run-down to help you plan your perfect stay.

Dedicate at least one full day to each park, and then simply return to your Disney Resort hotel to rest up and get a head start on the fun the next day.

The perfect five-day holiday itinerary

DAY 1 – Get ready for the magic

After being collected at Orlando International Airport by Disney’s Magical Express, a complimentary transfer service for you and your bags, check in to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a colourful storybook landscape seen in Disney Pixar films like Finding Nemo and The Lion King.

Take time to settle in to your The Little Mermaid Standard Room (there are four themed rooms/suites on offer) and then take the complimentary bus transfer to Magic Kingdom Park where Disney stories come to life, from voyages with pirates to timeless tales with princesses.

Catch the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular before returning for dinner in Landscape of Flavours five distinctive food shops.

Your must-see checklist at Magic Kingdom Park:

  • Splash Mountain
  • Space Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

DAY 2 – Blast off into space

Take the complimentary transfer to Epcot this morning and have breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall with Cinderella. Then stay at Epcot to test out a high-speed car and blast off into space.

If you have little princesses in tow, make sure you head straight from the new Frozen: Ever After ride to the Royal Sommerhus to meet Anna and Elsa in person.

In the evening, the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show charts the fiery creation of the Earth to humanity’s triumphs to a glimpse of the future.

Your must-see checklist at Epcot:

  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • World Showcase

DAY 3 – Meet the stars

It’s an early start this morning to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours, offered exclusively to Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests (see below to find out more), so surprise your little ones with a special wake-up call from Mickey Mouse.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios you can experience the thrills of stage and screen while blasting to galaxies far, far away, playing games with Toy Story pals, and rocking on a wild rollercoaster ride.

Also make time for the kids to take part in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. Under the tutelage of a Jedi Knight, the recruits learn how to use the Force to wield Lightsabers, before coming face-to-face with Darth Vader.

You’ll need to register at the kiosk located outside the exit to Star Wars Launch Bay – it’s first come, first served so get in early as this one’s popular.

Your must-see checklist at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • Fantasmic!

DAY 4 – Animals galore

Today it’s all about Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, where you will venture into the realm of exotic creatures from the real world and those of your imagination. A highlight is Finding Nemo – The Musical, a 40-minute musical based on the Disney Pixar movie.

After dark, ride off in an open-air vehicle to tour a lush African savanna, to glimpse real African animals in their natural habitats during an 18-minute expedition into the Harambe Wildlife Reserve on Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Have dinner at Disney Springs, which is filled with shopping, eating and entertainment venues.

Your must-see checklist at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park:

  • Festival of the Lion King
  • DINOSAUR
  • Kali River Rapids

DAY 5 – It’s all about the water-slides

Make the most of some more Extra Magic Hours, then grab a towel and make a beeline for Disney Water Parks – Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney’s Blizzard Beach – waterslides, wave pools, and more.

At the end of the day do some souvenir shopping at World of Disney store at Disney Springs, and stay on to catch the captivating La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil.

Your must-see checklist at Disney Water Parks:

  • Humunga Kowabunga
  • Cross Country Creek

Stay and play

There are a total of 26 amazingWalt Disney World Resort hotels to choose from right in the middle of the magic, giving you the opportunity to stay longer and see much, much more.

VALUE FOR MONEY: $

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Enjoy larger-than-life themes and family-friendly rates in a fun-filled Disney Resort hotel featuring comfort, convenience and amenities. There are generous guest rooms, pizza delivery, themed feature pools and a playground and arcade.

MODERATE: $$

Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts

A themed setting that’s close to all the magic and comes with loads of extras at budget-friendly rates, with family-friendly guest rooms, themed feature pools with waterslide, a health club, bicycle and watercraft rental.

DELUXE RESORTS: $$$

Disney’s Contemporary Resorts

In addition to its ideal location, you’ll find an eye on design with some of the finest Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms and suites on offer.

Choose from standard rooms, suites or club-level rooms (available at select locations), and get Disney Character Dining, themed feature pools with waterslide, a health club, bicycle and watercraft rental.

DELUXE VILLAS: $$$

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas

Savour the comforts of home in spacious villas created for multigenerational travel. Most have kitchens and in-room washer and dryer, with a choice of one- and two-bedroom villas. And of course there’s all the other benefits including Disney Character Dining.

Benefits to staying at a Walt Disney World Resort

Our favourites are Extra Magic Hours, giving registered hotel guests extended theme park hours, with access to select attractions at one Theme Park each day beyond the standard opening hours, and MagicBands, colourful, waterproof wristbands that you touch to a sensor allowing you to unlock your Disney Resort hotel room, enter theme and water parks (with valid admission), charge food and merchandise to your Disney Resort hotel room during your stay, as well as unlock your pre-reserved places at shows and attractions throughout the Walt Disney World Resort!

 

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This article appeared in issue 25

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