This is a guest post from Linda Endersby, in conjunction with Travelzoo UK. Linda is a freelance writer and bookseller who, following 19 years in IT for a large airline, loves to write about the places she and her friends have visited. For further details about guest posts please contact me and have a quick look at my disclosure policy.
If your family are investing in the Disney holiday of a lifetime you really get more for your money with cheap flights to Orlando and the biggest of them all - Walt Disney World. Having visited Paris and California twice as well, I must stress that this is the best.
To get a proper rest when not in the parks I recommend a hotel rather than a villa but you don't have to pay top dollar for a Disney hotel. Just outside the shopping and entertainment area of Downtown Disney the hotels are international brands rather than Disney. They feature character breakfasts like the official hotels, but also have detachment if you don’t want your whole holiday overshadowed by The Mouse.
My hotel of choice each time is the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista. It’s clean, with good size rooms, a great pool area and the buffet breakfast is fabulous. Literally across the road from Downtown Disney, it’s also a great location with restaurants, shops and Disney buses on your doorstep.
The park I visit first is the original Magic Kingdom. Set across a lagoon from its car park and bus terminal, there are different options of reaching it. I always get the ferry across and the monorail back. There is something truly magical about drifting towards Cinderella’s castle rising out of the haze.
The castle is like the hub of a great wheel with the different lands leading off it, and the Magic Kingdom is THE park for your littlest ones. Characters appear on every corner and you can visit them in their own homes! The castle hides Fantasyland, the home to the magical Peter Pan's Flight, The King Arthur Carousel and the eponymous ‘It’s a Small World’ whose earworm song will haunt you all day!
My own favourites are Frontierland with Splash Mountain and Adventure land with The Pirate of the Caribbean ride that inspired the films. To be sure of not waiting too long for these and other major rides such as Space Mountain check out the Fastpass tickets that let you join a priority queue during a time slot later in the day.
Disney MGM with its Hollywood movie theme is amazing - a must for all film fans and has the best ride in the whole of Disney: The Tower of Terror, where you ride in a haunted elevator that might just lose control and send you plunging downwards!
Animal Kingdom with its safaris and water rides is great for wildlife fans and feels more restful than the other parks while Epcot is said to show Walt’s vision of the future, but having never made it there I can’t add my own thoughts!
Finally, there are the great water parks with their flume rides, slides, pools, wave machines and shady lounging areas. These parks provide a great day off from the heat and hustle of the theme parks.
Invest in a good guide and plan everything you want to see, and do allow for rest days by the pool. Walt Disney World is great fun, but everyday fun of that quality can be exhausting!