I do not want to call myself an “expert,” but after working for Disney World, completing the Disney College program, and visiting multiple times a year since I was in the womb…I learned a thing or two.
Yours truly recently stopped over at EPCOT for a quick night in the parks and received various questions regarding Disney World and more. Rather than answering DM’s or comments, I wanted to share my responses with all of you and provide some tips for traveling to the happiest place on Earth! Let’s dive into it.
If you’re a total newbie, there are 4 main parks at Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. DisneyLAND is in California. People tend to mix these up all the time. The four main parks are EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. There are also two water parks- Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
Here are the easiest ways to remember the parks:
- EPCOT: World Showcase- famously known for drinking around the world, also home to the Land, and Spaceship Earth (commonly referred to as “the golf ball”)
- Magic Kingdom: Cinderella’s Castle. the park of all parks so to speak. This is the most famously known park of the four. If you only visit one park, you will most likely choose to visit this one. This park has an amazing firework show every night and is home to many rides including the Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Animal Kingdom: PANDORA and SAFARI RIDE. The new Avatar land PANDORA recently opened at this park.
- Hollywood Studios: Formerly known as MGM, is home to the famous Tower of Terror as well as Aerosmith’s Rock n Rollercoaster. Toy Story land recently opened at this park, and there is also a Star Wars section being developed now.
Okay, now that you have a better understanding of the parks… let’s talk about getting there!
Depending on where you are traveling from, you may have a road trip or a plane ride. As a jersey girl myself, I have to fly to Disney World. Look for discounts on airfare or use some points to book your flights! I pay for a discount flight service annually.
Here are some of your Disney questions answered:
Q: “Best Disney food and drinks?”
A: There are so many good choices for food and drinks at Disney! Some of my MUST HAVES include:
- Mickey Waffles w/eggs (Disney world resorts)
- Margaritas with black salt rim in Mexico (EPCOT)
- Chicken Platter in Morocco (EPCOT)
Q: “How do you afford to go to Disney so much?”
A: Disney is expensive; I am not going to sugarcoat it. There are definitely ways to get the cost down for your trip and here are just a few:
- Do not visit during Peak season. Visit during off times of the year. Ticket prices are less, hotel prices go down, and the parks are less crowded!
- Book budget airfare. Fly Frontier or Spirit to save some extra dough! You’d be surprised at how cheap the airfare is during weekdays!
- Travel light to avoid extra baggage fees!
- Bring protein bars/snacks for the hotel. Snacks at Disney can really burn a hole in your pocket. To put it into perspective, a pretzel from the Germany pavilion at EPCOT is $10. yes $10 for a soft pretzel.
- Bring a reusable water bottle- Less plastic and opportunity to refill verses spending $4 on a bottle of water.
- Stay at a Disney hotel if possible. Off Disney property accommodations will require you to rent a car or take an uber to the parks. If you rent a car, parking at the parks is roughly $20 a day. Disney hotels provide a transport service that will pick you up at the airport, take you to and from the parks, and will bring you back to the airport after your stay! Less stress and you do not have to worry about a DD.
Q: “Tips for taking kids?”
A: Yours truly grew up visiting Disney World and let me tell you, as a child it is magical and I DO REMEMBER all the fun I had even as a 24 year old now. BRING THE KIDS. You will have so much fun making memories with them. While I do not have kids of my own, I do have some helpful tips for traveling with them.
- Buy your tickets online in advanced, and book fast passes. Fast passes are FREE and will get you on your favorite rides at a certain time. This eliminates having to wait in long lines for a popular ride.
- Hats, sunscreen, sunglasses… all a must. Florida gets HOT. Depending on what time of year you visit, you will want to be comfortable and you will want to protect yourself and your children from the sun.
- Pack water bottles and snacks for the park. You can bring in packaged food and drinks with you. If your child is a picky eater, you may want to do this. Personally, I love the Disney food, but every one is different!
- Get to the parks early. Be prepared for the walking to tire your children out. We typically walk around 12 miles during a Disney day. Those little legs will get tired. Be prepared to take breathers. The benefit of staying at a Disney hotel is the transportation back to the hotel. You can return to the park later after a dip in the hotel pool or a mid-afternoon nap!
- The fireworks are magical. If your child is not scared of fireworks, I highly recommend making a point to watch them.
- Utilize photo pass! Disney has a great photo service and photographers throughout the parks capturing memories. If you see a photographer, ask for a photo. They will scan your ticket or magic band, and you can purchase these photos later on. Definitely worth it to get those family group shots so everyone can be included!
Q: “Which park is your favorite?”
A: DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE! …jk I really love Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. Magic Kingdom holds a special place in my heart as this was my childhood favorite. I grew up smelling Main Street and enjoying a Mickey Premium ice cream bar. I worked at Magic Kingdom the most during my Disney College Program. As I got older, I developed a love for EPCOT. Drinking and eating around the world, a laid-back atmosphere and less “childish” park. Those are my top two, but to be honest I LOVE THEM ALL.
If you are buying park hoppers, I recommend hopping from Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios in one day. Magic Kingdom and EPCOT are parks for full day passes.
When you are not at the parks, there is always DISNEY SPRINGS! This really fun downtown area is great for dining and shopping. Disney Springs is open until around 2 am, so it is a great place to visit after you’ve had your fun at the parks!
I hope this post helps you plan a fun Disney adventure. My inbox is always open, so please feel free to send over your questions! Have fun at the happiest place on Earth! 🙂