Situated in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, this is the largest of all Disney Parks with a staggering four theme parks, two water parks, a giant mall, 21 resort hotels, golf courses and much more.
Opened in October 1971, Walt Disney Resort started with Magic Kingdom, and soon expanded with Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, plus the water parks Disney Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.
Walt Disney Resort’s land parks
At the centre of Magic Kingdom is Cinderella’s Castle (main photo) with six themed lands surrounding it in true Disneyland style from Tomorrowland to Adventureland. Fans of Beauty and the Beast will be delighted to visit the Enchanted Forest in Fantasyland featuring Beast’s castle and Belle’s cottage.
Disney Hollywood Studios focuses on the movies, and houses six themed areas. They include Pixar Place (above) dedicated to Pixar greats such as Toy Story, and Hollywood Boulevard, inspired by the streets of LA. Hollywood Boulevard even has an exact replica of the Chinese Theatre in LA, and inside you can journey through classic films in The Great Movie Ride.
Epcot is separated into Future World, themed around science, and World Showcase, themed around Earth. What is especially interesting about World Showcase is the way Disney characters are presented with global culture combined. It is here you can meet the princesses such as Belle in a gorgeous Parisian setting, or Mulan in a traditional Chinese setting.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom merges the zoo with a theme park. Here, families can enjoy the company of macaws and kangaroos in Discovery Island, watch a Festival of the Lion King stage show in Africa land, speed through Himalayan mountains on a train in Expedition Everest (above) and explore dinosaurs and prehistoric life in DinoLand U.S.A.
Walt Disney Resort’s water parks
Should the Florida heat require some cooling off, then a water park might just be for you. They are unique to any international Disney Park: choose between Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
Typhoon Lagoon (above) is one of the biggest water parks in the world themed to a typhoon storyline. Here, you will find everything from wild rapids to calm rivers depending on your mood. The calmer areas, for example, allow for snorkelling where you can explore Florida’s tropical sea life.
The star attraction at Typhoon Lagoon is Mayday Falls, a glorious soft foam waterslide with a view. The Wave Pool is another popular water attraction which pushes waves up for surfers of all levels.
Blizzard Beach (above) features fantastic slushy slopes with zip lines, waterslides and a white-sand beach. Many of the rides are on top of an artificial hill called Mount Gushmore, including Summit Plummet, the fastest free-falling water slide in the world. Be sure to also visit Downhill Double Dipper with its side to side racing tube. After all that adrenaline, there are plenty of white sand beaches to sit down and unwind, not to mention the Lottawatta Lodge ski lodge with pretty outdoor seating.
Walt Disney World Resort, Florida is a big trip that can be enjoyed by groups, families and couples. There is something to cater to all tastes, and we recommend visiting at least two of the land parks and one of the water parks if time doesn’t allow for experiencing all.
For tickets, hours and directions, visit disneyworld.disney.go.com.
PHOTOS: WALT DISNEY WORLD, FLICKR USER JENNIFER LYNN (PIXAR PLACE), INSTAGRAM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.