Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is not just a theme park, but a huge resort complex covering 47 square miles. The resort contains four separate theme parks, three water parks and 99 holes of golf on several different courses. Miles of outdoor recreation are available including hiking, biking, boating and swimming.
It has three separate areas containing shopping, dining and entertainment facilities as well as a fourth area with nightclubs. A fairly new addition to the resort is the state of the art sports complex where Disney hosts a wide variety of sporting events. Finally, there are about 18 Disney owned and operated hotels and several non-Disney hotels in the resort. All this combined with many other attractions in the Orlando and central Florida area can be quite overwhelming.
No other Disney resort comes close to the size and diversity of Disney World Florida. If you have previously visited one of the other Disney resorts such as Disneyland California, Disneyland Paris or the new Disneyland Tokyo, you should still visit Disney World in Orlando, Florida. All other Disney resorts consist of a single theme park and are quite small compared to the massive resort complex in Florida.
Each of the other parks are no larger than the Magic Kingdom theme park in Disney World, which is only one small part of the complex. Remember, that only the resort in Orlando, Florida is referred to as Disney World or Walt Disney World. The other parks are usually called Disneyland. The size and diversity of the Disney World resort ensures that it will probably remain the number one vacation destination in the world for years to come.
The four theme parks are the heart of Disney World, but there are many other attractions including three full-sized water parks. Typhoon Lagoon is a tropically landscaped 56-acre water park based around a huge wave pool that covers 2.5 acres and holds 2.75 million gallons of water. At certain times the pool is even used for surfing. Blizzard Beach is Disney’s newest and largest water park and the most interesting. It is made to look like a snow-covered ski-resort and offers the most slides and the most thrilling attractions. River Country, the first water park built at Disney World, is actually a roped-off section of Bay Lake and is designed to give the feeling of “an old swimming hole.” It is the most tame and relaxing. Spending a day at one of the Disney World water parks can be a pleasant break from the theme parks as well as a great way to cool off from the hot Florida sun.
Disney World offers lots of outdoor recreation. It has five challenging 18-hole golf courses as well as a 9-hole beginner’s course and a 36-hole miniature golf course for family fun. If you prefer tennis there are many courts throughout the resort including Disney’s Contemporary Resort Racquet Club. Water sports are plentiful including water-skiing, parasailing, fishing and many types of boat rental. For the extremely adventurous, there is the Richard Petty driving experience where you can drive an actual Nascar racing car. The car has about 600 hp and can attain speeds of up to 160 mph. The main parks consist of:
Magic Kingdom , the first theme park built at the resort, has rides, shows and attractions divided among seven fantasy areas. This is the place to find all your favorite Disney characters and attractions.
Epcot , the second theme park built at the resort, is divided into two areas: Future World and World Showcase. The attractions in Future World are based on modern and futuristic advances in communication, transportation, energy, agriculture and much more. World Showcase allows you to explore culture, cuisine, shopping and entertainment from many countries including Canada, UK, France, Japan, Morocco, US, Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico. The Disney-MGM Studios offers behind-the-scenes looks at the making of movies and popular TV shows and provides live original shows. There are also a number of thrilling rides or attractions based on blockbuster movies, which provide exciting stunts and amazing special effects.
Animal Kingdom is the newest and largest theme park to open in the Disney World resort. This 500-acre park is divided into three areas: The Real, The Mythical and The Extinct. The Real area features live animals in exotic landscapes and provides a safari-like experience. In The Mythical area, guests come face-to-face with magical and make believe creatures. In the Extinct Area, dinosaurs come to life.