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If you have time for only one Florida theme park, visit the world's number one family vacation destination, Walt Disney World Resort. Comprised of four theme parks, two water parks, more than 20 on-property resort hotels, three spas, five golf courses, a wedding pavilion, sports complex and an entertainment-dining-shopping complex called Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort is virtually inexhaustible.

Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom
Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Things to see and do at Disney World? First, buy Disney theme park tickets and Walt Disney vacation packages from a travel agent or the Disney World website.

We recommend spending a week here, using Magic Your Way tickets with the Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options. A Walt Disney World Dining Plan helps save money at fast food outlets and sit-down restaurants.

Resort hotels

With campgrounds and 8,000 rooms, Walt Disney World accommodations range from value to deluxe villa resorts.

Families like the themed value resorts, like Disney's All-Star Music Resort, which has family suites for up to six people, as well as a music-themed food court, playground, games arcade and pools.

Unique accommodations include Treehouse Villas at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge overlooking African wildlife.

Best Friends Pet Care is a luxury pet resort, which accommodates 270 dogs, 30 cats and small pets like birds and hamsters. Located across from Disney's Port Orleans Resort, it includes covered outdoor runs and play areas, a grooming salon and gourmet treats.

Disney tours

Disney Institute offers a Backstage Magic Tour that looks at the art, landscaping and costumes behind attractions and events like Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade. Through Walt's Eyes describes key moments in Walt Disney's life during tours of Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

It's a Small World ride
It's a Small World ride
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Holiday D-Lights and Yuletide Fantasy are two Disney Christmas tours that focus on holiday lighting and decorations.

Attractions and rides

In one visit, you can cruise past singing dolls in It's a Small World in Magic Kingdom, take a simulated flight to Mars in Future World, dine on French cuisine in World Showcase, watch a 3-D Muppet movie in Disney's Hollywood Studios, photograph giraffes on a Kilimanjaro safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom and take a virtual jungle cruise in DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney.

Whew! And that barely scratches the surface of the things you can see and do at Walt Disney World.

Star Tours

Star Tours - The Adventures Continue offers 3-D interactions with Star Wars characters. You can select from 50 different Star Tours adventures, so every ride is different.

Adrenaline-addicts love Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, an indoor ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios, which brings passengers from zero to 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour in 2.8 seconds.

Kilimanjaro Safaris ride in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Kilimanjaro Safaris ride in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

To save time at popular attractions, Disney's FASTPASS tickets allow you to bypass lines and board rides at assigned return times. If you stay at designated Walt Disney Resort hotels, you get extra time in the theme parks. Just show your Disney Resort identification and admission ticket to get park entry one hour before opening and up to three hours after park closing.

Golf courses

Four 18-hole championship courses and a nine-hole family-play course entice golfers. All Walt Disney World Resort golf courses are certified National Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries.

A "mouse trap" shaped like Mickey's head highlights the Magnolia Course. Mickey's profile also appears on Disney's Osprey Ridge Golf Club's practice green.

Shows and entertainment

Disney shows are equally varied. Gaze awestruck at illuminated floats in the evening Main Street Electrical Parade.

Marvel at jugglers, acrobats and dancers at Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba and enjoy top recording artists at House of Blues, both at Downtown Disney's West Side.

Spaceship Earth at Epcot Center
Spaceship Earth at Epcot Center
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Special events

Year-round festivals and special events highlight the Disney World calendar. In March, Atlanta Braves Spring Training takes place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is held from early March to mid-May. Disney's Hollywood Studios Star Wars weekends are popular between May and June.

Epcot Summer Concert Series is held in the America Gardens Theater from June through August. On the 4th of July, you can celebrate Independence Day at Walt Disney World Resort. September festivals include the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and Disney's Hollywood Studios Night of Joy.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is held at Magic Kingdom in October. In November and December, you can celebrate Christmas at Disney World with Holidays Around The World at Epcot and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in Magic Kingdom.

How to get to Disney World

Walt Disney World Resort is located 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Orlando, in Lake Buena Vista. Driving directions: turn off Interstate 4, west of the Florida Turnpike.


Walt Disney World: www.disneyworld.com

Visit Florida: www.VisitFlorida.com

More things to see & do at Walt Disney World Resort:

Disney Water Parks

Walt Disney World Romantic Getaway

Family Fun at Disney Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World with Kids