Magic Kingdom Park
Best for: Magic Kingdom Park is where Walt Disney World began and is still full of timeless fairy tale magic. Fireworks cascade over Cinderella’s Castle at the new Happily Ever After night-time spectacular, The Haunted Mansion is ghoulishly good, and Main Street USA swells with music, and even smells of fresh cookies.
The lowdown: In this pocket of childhood memories, you’ll float, rather than walk towards your first view of Cinderella’s Castle. Mickey’s PhilharMagic and “it’s a small world”, both beloved rides, are practically run on a mix of nostalgia and children’s smiles. Book into the Be Our Guest restaurant and make sure you try their cupcake, topped with curiously-named ‘grey stuff’; just like they say in the Disney song, ‘it’s delicious’!
Top tip: Embark on Disney’s version of the three-peak challenge: ride Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – one after the other.
Live the fairy tale
Discover a world where Cinderella doesn’t vanish after midnight and – oh, boy! Is that Mickey Mouse? Stay at an on-site resort near the Magic Kingdom and discover the magic at Walt Disney World.Plan your trip
Best for: No one should miss out on the fun at Epcot, Walt Disney’s mash-up of science project and world fair. Split your time between 11 countries, meeting Mulan in China, Snow White in Germany and Aladdin in Morocco and then experiment with space and speed on the big rides at Future World. Soarin’ Around The World is the ride everyone talks about. With the help of a big screen and piped-in scents it takes you flying over the wonders of earth.
The lowdown: Little tiddlers will love meeting their favourite Finding Nemo friends in Turtle Talk with Crush, where they can discuss current affairs with the wise surfing turtle himself through an ocean window.
Top Tip: Epcot’s impressive Spaceship Earth monument photographs well at sunset, which is also a lovely time to visit. Stay late and watch IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, quite possibly the best fireworks display at Disney.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Best for: Bringing film to life in a blaze of attractions, shows and state-of-the art sound, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is for movie lovers.
The lowdown: Toy Story Land is a newcomer to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but the classic favourites, like the Tower of Terror and the Fantasmic! evening show aren’t going anywhere. The Star Wars area will attract anyone who is ready to Jedi. The riotous Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith is always ready for an encore, whilst stage shows from the casts of Frozen and Beauty and the Beast will enchant little fans. If you want to stop for lunch, enjoy home-style cooking at the 50’s Prime Time Café, where ‘Mom’ will make sure your children eat their greens.
Top tip: Whip your youngsters into shape with a dose of Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, where they’ll learn to channel their energy into forces for good instead of evil. Book them in as soon as you get to the park as the slots fill up quickly.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Best for: Part safari, part theme park, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park has a yeti and a tribe of Avatar’s Na’Vi as well as white rhinos, tigers and cotton-top tamarins.
The lowdown: Your family will love watching the uproarious celebrations at the Festival of the Lion King, whilst even the most intrepid might lose their cool when they discover the big-footed surprise hiding within Expedition Everest or the monstrous Banshee on Avatar’s Flight of Passage. Hungry as a horse? Tiffins restaurant is a popular stop for lunch.
Top tip: The Kali River Rapids are the most pragmatic way to cool off in the middle of the day, but be warned: on this white water adventure you will get more soaked than a washed sock.