A guide to Walt Disney World Resort

By Eloise Barker

Photography by ©Disney

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TRON Lightcycle / Run

In this digital frontier circuits are like freeways and Lightcycles race on ribbons of light, transporting you across the Grid on this high-speed adventure that knows no bounds. So, join the virtual queue and buckle up for one of the fastest coasters at any Disney theme park in the world.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind brings a whole new stardom to EPCOT. If you’ve got your eyes on the next intergalactic flight, racing through time and space, take on this next exploration and be spun through your paces.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT

Step straight into the film and follow Chef Remy on a wild adventure through Gusteau’s Restaurant… What could possibly go wrong? This dark ride uses exciting ‘3-D’ effects to bring Disney’s film Ratatouille to life.

Where to stay?

Budget: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Stay for: This cheerful hotel is lovingly loyal to Disney theming. Little fans of Finding Nemo, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Cars will be delighted with the colourful on-site décor here – the poolside pops with colourful guppies and coral centrepieces, plus it’s the largest resort pool in Walt Disney World Resort. Take the state-of-the-art Disney Skyliner and glide across to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Know this: The rooms’ mini kitchens – complete with cutlery, including Ariel's favourite utensil, the dinglehopper – are very useful for meal times.

Budget: Disney’s All Star Music Resort

Stay for: Disney’s All Star Resorts are great value for groups to use as a base. The All Star Music Resort is no more than 20 minutes from the parks by the regular shuttle, and kids will love the family rooms, decorated Disney-style, and the pizza room service. You can use both the resort pools and dip your toes in the big Disney's Art of Animation Resort pool, too, where underwater speakers warble Disney hits while you swim.

Know this: Each building is themed around a different musical genre, so you could end up sleeping next to a pair of giant cowboy boots.

Mid-range: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside

Stay for: This big resort is heaped high with Southern hospitality. You can even toast marshmallows on an outdoor fire pit. With multiple pools, there are plenty of places to swim, including a waterslide. You’re just 15 minutes from the rest of the world at EPCOT and you can take an atmospheric river boat ride to get there.

Know this: Rent a bike to help you travel around the resort with breezy ease.

  • Disney’s All Star Music Resort.
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.
  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort.

Mid-range: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Stay for: Enjoy tropical rooms and sandy beaches. Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is set around the lagoon of ‘Barefoot Bay’ and themed like a series of pirate-plundered islands. There are hammocks scattered around the lagoon, ready for daytime downtime.

Know this: Try booking the special pirate-themed rooms: for those who are in need of treasured sleep in place of beauty sleep.

Luxury: Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Stay for: Quietly spread out amongst parks and lakes, Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa has enough space for a golf course and plenty of activities, from tennis to treating yourself to Disney nail art at the spa. The vast complex is themed around the famous New Yorker country retreat. It’s bucolic and comes with paddocks and ponies, yet it’s only walking distance from busy Disney Springs.

Know this: You can stay in a special ‘treehouse’ suite, and pretend you’re a classy version of Tarzan.

Luxury: Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Stay for: This massive hotel has a striking Victorian-inspired design, and is decked out in old-style Florida clapboard. Horse drawn carriages pass by and an orchestra plays mood music in the lobby. Catch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the hotel’s marina; the Magic Kingdom Park is just ten minutes away by monorail, or a calm water taxi journey.

Know this: Come Christmas, the hotel erects a giant gingerbread house and a preposterously tall Christmas tree. Mary Poppins pops in for character breakfasts – well, if it’s good enough for Mary…

  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

And after all that...

Discover Disney Springs

Can you feel the love tonight? Yes, yes you can at Disney Springs. When the parks close for the evening, there’s no better place to go for a date, have a family evening or a meal with friends. Prepare to be consumed with entertainment, from DJs with your steak at STK Orlando, to pagodas made of sushi at Morimoto Asia, to taking a vintage Amphicar for a dip in the lake. You can bag designer brands in Disney Springs town centre and haul the world's largest collection of Disney merchandise at the World of Disney shop. Buy a squillion variations on the Mickey Mouse ears and wear them proudly for dancing at the House of Blues.