Know Nothing About Disney World? Start Here.
As a person who not only visits Disney World constantly but also writes Disney-focused content in a Disney-focused community, sometimes it’s easy to forget who I write this blog for.
Normal people with lives, careers, families, commitments, and 2.4 million things to juggle. People who don’t always have time to keep up-to-date with every little detail.
When I’m always talking with cast members, passholders, and frequent visitors, I sometimes start to think that everyone already knows everything.
But when I overhear conversations (and, let’s be honest, sometimes arguments ) in the parks, it serves as a great reminder that there’s a TON of info out there and not everyone has the time or inclination to learn everything beforehand. Heck, if you’re visiting for the first time, you might not realize any of these options are available or even necessary.
So if you’re a total Walt Disney World newbie? I’m here for you.
Let’s start with the basics.
Walt Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida (Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, mostly, if you want to get specific, but technically, Disney property lies within multiple counties).
The Walt Disney World Resort area is roughly the size of San Francisco.
There are four parks:
- Magic Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Animal Kingdom
One shopping/dining/fun district:
- Disney Springs
Two water parks:
- Blizzard Beach
- Typhoon Lagoon
Two mini golf courses:
- Winter Summerland
- Fantasia Gardens
Four “actual” golf courses:
- Lake Buena Vista
- Oak Trail
And around 25 Disney-owned hotels (this number includes Disney Vacation Club villas). There are also at least a dozen non-Disney hotels on property.
Disney World is often referred to as The Happiest Place on Earth; however, that’s actually Disneyland. Walt Disney World is The Place Where Dreams Come True.
Yes, there’s a lot of info to take in, but we can totally do this the more magic, less stress way: bite-sized blog posts!
What do you want to learn more about next? Let me know in the comments!
First time headed to Disney World and wondering how you would actually plan a day (I am the wander about and do as whimsey dictates person). Also, how much time should I plan on travel to/between parks?
Finally, does Animal Kingdom actually have a zoo like area to visit, or is it all set up as a ride in a truck through the park?
There are SO many different ways to plan a park day, and it all depends on what works best for you. Some people like to secure their FastPasses and meal reservations and plan everything around those time slots. Others like to get to the park first thing in the morning, ride all the rides that generally have longer wait times, and then go about their day from there. I’d start by making a list of things in each park you HAVE to see and experience.
Plan on at least 30 minutes of travel time between parks. Disney property is huge! The bus ride doesn’t usually take more than 20 minutes; however, sometimes you have to wait for a bus to arrive and sometimes you’ll sit on the bus for a little while before taking off. If you’re trying to make it in time for a show, FastPass, or a meal reservation, give yourself as much time as you can – maybe even an hour.
Animal Kingdom is a really great park! The truck ride you’re referring to is the Kilimanjaro Safari, which is a neat experience. AK is not like other zoos; you won’t find rows of cages with critters in them. The habitats are designed to look like they would in the wild. There are multiple places to experience animals starting at the front of the park. There are also two walking trails near the back of the park – Gorilla Falls and Maharaja Jungle Trek. Both feature lots of gorgeous animals – tigers, gorillas, hippos, birds, zebras, meerkats, etc. Rafiki’s Planet Watch is also excellent: there’s a petting zoo and tons of educational information. While the Safari is open until park close, be aware that the other animal-related experiences in the park close early – often between 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM.