But it comprises a mere few dozen acres among WDW's 35,000 acres. That's 47 square miles, roughly the size of two Manhattan islands, filled with four theme parks, two waterparks, 30 resort hotels, six golf courses, two shopping-dining-entertainment complexes and--are you still with me?--enough other diversions to keep tens of thousands of "cast members" (Disney-speak for employees) busy catering to tens of millions of guests annually.
Disney World is a phenomenon that has made an indelible mark on travel and tourism and changed the very notion of what it means to take a vacation and be entertained. It can be a wonderful source of pleasure and a great way to gather with friends and family for treasured, shared moments. But it is so enormous that, without proper planning, it can also be a powerful source of frustration and disappointment.
Before you proudly proclaim to anyone within shouting distance, "I'm going to Disney World!" take the time to learn all you can about the resort's incredible palette of options so that you can take full advantage of them. Gather your vacation mates for planning meetings well before you leave. Develop a rough itinerary, make restaurant reservations where practical, and do consider some of the other parks and attractions outside the Disney complex.
Whatever you do, don't try to do everything. Disney World is much too big now for vacationers to do it all. Save your energy and patience for the parks and attractions you can reasonably accommodate, and save the parks and attractions you miss for your next vacation. After all, half the fun is in the planning and getting to tell people, "I'm going to Disney World!"
The Theme Parks
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney's Hollywood Studios (Used to be known as Disney-MGM Studios)
- Disney's Animal Kingdom
- Typhoon Lagoon
- Blizzard Beach
- Magic Your Way Ticket Program
Learn how to navigate through the different options, save some money, and land the best deal for your vacation.
- Guide to Walt Disney World Hotels
Before you get to Disney World, you'll need to make plans, including hotel reservations.
- Your (Free) Magic Carpet Awaits
Read about Disney's program that offers complimentary ground transportation between Orlando International Airport and its resort to guests staying at its hotels.
Learn about Disney World's advance planning program, including My Disney Experience, MagicBands, and FastPass+. Discover how to minimize your waits and maximize your fun by taking advantage of Disney's free program. Yes, you read that correctly. It's free.
- Orlando Theme Park Vacation Deals- Learn about the latest special offers for Disney World and other Florida parks.
- How to Make the Most of Fastpass
Learn how to bypass some of the queues.
- Walt Disney World for Wimps
A comprehensive, park-by-park guide for thrill ride-wary guests planning a trip to the resort.
The Best of Walt Disney World
Disney World Dining
- Top 10 Best Restaurants at Disney World
- Disney World Character Dining
- Disney World Dining Reservations
- What is Disney World Free Dining?
Exclusive About.com Videos
- Five Best Rides for Kids at Disney World
- How to Meet the Disney Characters
- Tips for Eating Healthy at Disney World
- Expedition Everest
- Tips for Navigating Lines at Disney Parks
- Walt Disney World's Best Restaurants
- Splash Mountain
- Tips for Staying at a Disney World Hotel
Disney Cruise LineYou can combine a visit to Disney World with a Disney cruise, which docks in Port Canaveral, Florida, about an hour away from the resort. Read my profile of the Disney Fantasy, one of the ships in Disney's fleet.
New at the ResortNew for 2013
Limited Time Magic- Find out about the special events planned throughout 2013.
New for 2012 and 2014
New Fantasyland- Learn more about the major expansion.
New for 2012
One More Disney Day
You can celebrate leap year by visiting the Magic Kingdom for 24 hours straight. Plus you can win vacations and take advantage of a special hotel deal.
Disney's Art of Animation Resort
The new Value Resort will draw inspiration from movies such as Cars and The Lion King.
Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Resort
Families, especially those with little princesses and princes can stay in splendor in the new Royal Guest Rooms.