Put on your mouse ears: Disney World vacations are serious business. With over 52 million annual visitors, Walt Disney World is the most popular vacation resort in the world, and aims to immerse every guest in its Disney way of life. With nearly 30 onsite hotel locations, a multimodal public transportation system (including buses, boats, and a Monorail), six parks, and a commercial downtown boardwalk, Disney’s second and arguably most successful park endeavors to be its own little world.
Walt Disney was a true visionary, the mind behind Mickey Mouse, the first ever feature-length animated film (Snow White), and, of course, the immersive amusement parks that now scatter the globe: Disneyland, Tokyo Disney, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Shanghai Disney and Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney World, Walt’s last project, opened in 1971—five years after its founder’s death. It’s home to four themed parks—the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom—all joined by two water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach) as well as attractions like Disney Springs.
The longer you stay, the cheaper the daily cost of admission to Disney World’s parks. Disney World sells up to seven-day passes, but first, consider how much time you really want to spend there (especially when nearby non-Disney attractions beckon such as Universal Studios and Cape Canaveral). Avoiding peak dates—around national holidays and holiday weekends, spring break, and most of the summer—will also help save money, especially if you want to stay within the park itself.
Disney’s 29 onsite hotels range from “Value” to “Deluxe” accommodations. Deluxe Villas, distinct from deluxe hotels like the Grand Floridian, offer apartment-style lodging with a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and space for up to nine guests—a great option for large parties and long stays. Yes, Disney hotels are more expensive than nearby off-World alternatives, but they come with serious perks like free parking and “Extra Magic Hours.”
Travel + Leisure has all the tips, tricks, and secrets you need to plan the best Disney World vacation in the most magical place on earth.