To celebrate our new 9 Days for the Price of 7 Ticket, here’s a guide to making the very most of 9 magical days at Walt Disney World Orlando!
Day 1: Magic Kingdom Park
Get up and out as early as possible! With an average of over 45,000 people cramming themselves into the park every day, you want to get there before the crowds really hit. But as its your first day I’m sure you’ll be raring to go anyway!
Tip: Try to visit on a day that doesn’t include Extra Magic Hours in the morning, unless you’re staying at the Walt Disney World Resort. Extra Magic Hours allow Disney hotel guests to get into certain parks an hour before they open to visitors, so the park will already be pretty busy by the time they let you in.
Use your FASTPASS to make sure you get round all the rides on your Wish List without spending hours in the queue. The most recommended rides to use the FASTPASS on are Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain
Dont miss the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square – a haunted house ride that’s actually more funny than scary. It’s a firm favourite of millions of Disney fans and consistently rated this as one of the world’s best theme park attractions.
Its possible to make reservations at some restaurants up to 6 months in advance. So if you want to eat at some of the Magic Kingdom’s most popular restaurants, you may want to book your table as soon as youve got your tickets!
If there are two showings of the night-time parade, go for the second one. Most people will go to the first, so use that time to go on rides while most people are at the show, then watch the second parade when many visitors have left the park.
No day at Magic Kingdom would be complete without the fireworks to finish it off! To get the best views, make sure youre near the front of Cinderellas Castle at least half an hour before they start.
If you want to visit the shops on Main Street, the best time to shop is when the fireworks are over, as the shops stay open for 2 hours after the rest of the park has closed for the evening.
Day 2: Have a Beast of a time at Animal Kingdom
Grab some breakfast at the Rainforest Cafe just before the park entrance. A feast of sights and sounds will keep you entertained while fuelling up for the day ahead, including a tropical thunderstorm, all kinds of wildlife and a huge aquarium full of tropical fish.
The best place to get close to the animals is The Oasis, the first area youll come to when you enter Animal Kingdom. Here youll see all kinds of critters from anteaters to exotic birds, all living in a lush tropical rainforest.
Keen to see the wildlife before the crowds hit? Head to the Africa area for the Kilimanjaro Safari – an open-air jeep expedition to see some of Africas most incredible animals like elephants, lions, giraffes and rhinos.
Prefer to get straight to the thrill rides? Make your first port of call Expedition Everest in the Asia area where youll fly round the misty mountain at breakneck speeds – just watch out for the Yeti!
Dont miss the 145ft Tree Of Life in the Discovery Island zone, which has over 300 animals hand-carved into its trunk. Plus at the bottom of the tree youll find the Its Tough To Be A Bug show – a must-see for fans of A Bugs Life!
Where else to head to in the park kind of depends on your favourite animal-themed Disney movie. If you love Finding Nemo, youll find a fab musical that brings the film to life in DinoLand. If Simba stole your heart in the Lion King, head to Camp Minnie Mickey for the Festival of the Lion King, where you can sing along to all the songs from the film.
Animal Kingdom closes a bit earlier than the other Disney parks to keep the animals in a regular routine, so remember to factor this in when planning your day.
Day 3: Breakfast with the Disney Characters followed by Epcot
Start your day by breakfasting with your favourite Disney characters! The Character Breakfast is the perfect chance to meet and have photos with Mickey and friends without competing with the theme park crowds. (Note: This need to be booked in advance as places are very limited)
Try to arrive at Epcot early afternoon as youll want to stay at the park til about 8.30pm, when youll need to bag a good spot to watch the firework displays at closing time.
Eat just before you get to the park, and try to get around the rides before hunger strikes. This means you can then play our favourite game of around the world buffet! Sample pork and egg rolls in China, bratwurst in Germany and sushi in Japan, before washing it down with a pint in Great Britain.
But before you attempt to eat your way around the world, make sure you get to Mission: Space and Test Track for a more-interactive-than-usual approach to rides
Day 4: Cool off at Blizzard Beach
Probably the most important thing to take to Blizzard Beach, apart from waterproof sunscreen, is a tightly-fitting swimsuit or pair of trunks! You dont want them coming off in the wave pool or halfway down a slide
Adrenaline junkies should head for Summit Plummet – this stomach-churning near-vertical slide starts off on a 120-ft sheer drop, then whisks you through a dark tunnel before you splash land at the bottom. Look at the digital clock to see your top speed!
Most of the bigger, scarier rides are for people over 48 inches (122cm) in height. However, children under 48 inches have their own area of the park, with smaller waterslides like Tikes Peak and a snow-castle fountain. Head here if you have little ones with you.
If you fancy something a little more mellow, you can float around Cross Country Creek, a lazy river that winds its way around the park. Grab a rubber ring and relax, enjoying the scenery along the way. You can even use the Creek as a stress-free way to get around the park itself.
There are plenty of huts dotted around the park where you can grab snacks and drinks. If you’re a bit cool after getting out of the water, head to the Warming Hut, where you can warm up with Southern-inspired barbeque food and toasted sandwiches.
As Blizzard Beach is a water park, it closes fairly regularly for maintenance, so make sure you check before your holiday whether closures are planned. If it’s closed, don’t worry – Disney has another water park called Typhoon Lagoon which is also buckets of fun!
Day 5: Enjoy the Ride(s) at Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios has a great mix of thrill rides and shows which will enchant kids of all ages! Don’t forget to use your FASTPASS here to avoid wasting hours in queues.
For a guaranteed adrenaline rush, make sure you ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (0-60mph in under 3 seconds people!).
Prefer some less frenetic rides? Try Toy Story Mania – a 4D ride n’ shoot game starring your favourite Toy Story characters!
As you’re walking around, keep your eyes peeled for the comedy scenes that spontaneously burst out in the park streets at random times of the day.
Don’t miss the shows, but arrive early (especially in peak season). There are all kinds of awesome shows at Hollywood Studios, such as Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones and Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show – there’s definitely something for everyone!
Day 6: Ride the Waves at Typhoon Lagoon
If it’s a hot day (which it probably will be!) make it your first priority to bag some lounge chairs in the shade. There aren’t many so they go quickly – and trust me, you’ll be glad of them after a few hours in the heat!
Are your whole group planning to take on the rides? Then it’s a good idea to hire a locker to keep your personal stuff safe while you enjoy the park
Tackle the big rides as early on as possible, and you should be able to get round pretty much all of them in the first couple of hours. Leaving the rest of your day to revisit your favourite ones as well as taking some time to relax and eat!
Feeling peckish? Take a glance at one of the park-wide menus, which will help you to decide where you want to eat without having to wander round every restaurant before making your decision.
Bring your own towels if you can as they aren’t free (but you can rent them if need be for about $2)
Wear water shoes! Particularly good for little ones, they’ll save your feet getting burnt on the hot pavements –and you’re allowed to wear them on the slides
If you’re in the surf pool when the whistle blows, take any small children (and grown adults too for that matter!) by the hand and hold on tight!
Make sure you’re wearing “appropriate” swimwear. Many of the rides don’t allow swimwear with buckles etc., and remember that some rides shoot you out at 30mph so wear anything loose or flimsy at your peril!
Most importantly, check the weather before you decide to visit as Typhoon Lagoon will close in the event of storms.
Day 7: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex & Miniature Golf
Morning – Mini Golf
You’ve conquered the main parks – but the fun’s far from over. It’s time to explore the rest of Walt Disney World!
The mini-golf courses at Disney World are perfect for chilling out after the frantic activity of the parks. There’s Fantasia Gardens and Fairways – based on Disney’s classic animated film Fantasia, or Winter Summerland – Santa’s holiday destination for his off-duty elves.
It’s advisable to do your mini-golfing in the morning as a lot of guests come here after a day at Blizzard Beach, so the afternoons can get pretty busy.
Make sure to read the description and tips at each hole before you tee off – they’ll help you to achieve a better score and avoid those hazards!
At the end of your game, don’t forget to check the score board – you may find you have the best score of the day! If so, be sure to write your name and score on the board.
Afternoon – ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
These state-of-the-art facilities host over 60 sports and thousands of events for athletes of all ages and abilities.
This is a great place to head if the weather isn’t looking too promising – possibly in the event of those afternoon thunderstorms Florida can be famous for!
It’s advisable to drive here, as buses only run from a few of the resorts and parking is free.
Grab a bite to eat at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill and catch up on the day’s sports highlights on the big screens, or pick something up on the go at one of the concessions located throughout the complex.
Gamers can’t miss the PlayStation Pavilion, which has 64 gaming stations and a kiosk featuring Singstar! You’ll also find brand new games that aren’t yet available to the public.
Day 8: Discover Downtown Disney & DisneyQuest
DisneyQuest is an indoor interactive theme park in the Downtown Disney Area, so it’s the perfect place to head on a rainy day. Though beware, everyone else will probably have the same idea so the crowds will be bigger! Weekends are also busier as local kids come to visit the arcades.
DisneyQuest opens at 11:30am, so you’ll finally get to experience that Disney World rarity that is the LIE-IN!
As with all the parks though, try to get here for opening time and head to Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold and CyberSpace Mountain first, as these rides usually get the biggest queues!
There are a lot of excited children around (particularly at the arcade) so it can get pretty noisy! Adults looking for some peace, quiet and comfortable chairs can take some time out in Wonderland Cafe.
After a hectic few hours, you’ll probably be ready to escape the throngs and explore the rest of Downtown Disney!
Take a stroll down the waterfront and take a look at some of the restaurants, entertainment and unique shops – in fact, you’d be well-advised to save your gift shopping for Downtown Disney as many shops here have merchandise that’s not available anywhere else.
Don’t forget to get a photo with the snoring Lego man, who sits on a bench outside the Lego store!
Tip: There are no car parking charges at Downtown Disney and you can also get free transport (by bus or boat) to and from all Disney resorts!
Try to park at the West Side car park – the Marketplace car park is closer to the shops but can get more crowded
Day 9: What to do on your last Disney Day?
From experience, there’s always one park you’re dying to go back to, rides you didn’t get to try or attractions you might not have got to see. So make the most of your last day and head back to that park you feel has more to explore, to enjoy the Disney Magic one final time!