Simplifying Walt Disney World
Cinderella Castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom

Simplifying Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World has evolved from a theme park to a week-long resort destination. And just as you would plan for a trip to Chicago or New York, you need to plan for Disney. This is why so many people either give up on a vacation to Disney or they come back feeling like they chased their tail (or the mouse’s) the whole time.

Before jumping in to the planning phase, families need to know if this is the right vacation for them in the first place. Following is a quick and easy explanation of what to expect at Walt Disney World.


What Is It?

4 Theme Parks (also called “the parks”)

2 Water Parks (require additional tickets)

1 Entertainment/Dining/Shopping District

How Much Are Tickets?

Example: 2 Adults, 2 Kids (Under the age of 10)

Ticket Type: Multi-Day Ticket of 4 days, allowing one theme park per day*

Least Expensive Dates = $1,545 (w/tax)

Most Expensive Dates = $1,616 (w/tax)

*Single and other multi-day ticket options available, as well as upgrade options 


Disney has over 30 options available for accommodations, ranging from campsites to Polynesian bungalows.

Prices Start From $100 to $350/night, depending on category of hotel.

Disney’s hotels (resorts), also referred to as “onsite hotels”, offer a complimentary airport shuttle, plus transportation from your hotel to the theme parks. If you have a car, there is a nightly parking fee. Check the Disney website for Special Offers.

There are a large number of non-Disney (offsite) hotels, condos, and rental homes in the Orlando area. Most require a car to get to the parks, which averages around $250/week when rented at Orlando International Airport. All the big hotel chains are here if you’d like to use loyalty points.

What Is There To Do?

Each theme park offers rides, shows, live entertainment, specialty and casual dining, character interactions, and nighttime spectaculars.

FastPass+ – Disney offers each guest 3 FastPass reservations per day for certain rides, shows, and character meetings. Each reservation gives you a 1-hour window to arrive for the attraction with a minimal wait. You may obtain more FastPasses after you use the first 3.

Dining Plan – Guests who book a room and ticket package, may also purchase a dining plan. These plans are pre-paid options that provide guests “meal credits” to be used each day of their trip.

My Disney Experience – Disney provides a planning app to keep track of FastPasses, dining reservations, and to check wait times for various rides.

Walt Disney World is a remarkable vacation destination that combines high-energy attractions with unique experiences. While there is certainly something for everyone, taking the time to explore what suits your family will be time well spent. Now that you know the basics, it’s time to start planning!

Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Wooden Walkway and Bridge

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