Walt Disney World Guide for 2023 & 2024
By James | Last updated December 6, 2023
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Welcome, we’re glad you stopped by to explore the magic of Walt Disney World with us. We’re here to guide you on everything you need to know to get your set on your way to planning your magical trip to Walt Disney World.
Take a read of the full our post or skip down to a specific item from the section below.
Disney World Theme Park Tickets
You have a couple of options when it comes to Walt Disney World Theme Park tickets. There are four main parks – Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Then you have the Water Parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. The options you have for tickets are below. It’s worth noting that if you are likely to visit more than one park, then it may be more economical for you to purchase a 4 Park Magic ticket which lowers the average park cost per day.
Our top tip for saving big on Disney Ticket Prices
For the best prices, you will want to compare a few sites. Prices differ even from the official Disney site. You are likely to get a great deal if you shop around.
You have the following options:
- It’s as easy as selecting the date you want to start your visit and the number of days from the links and choose the type of ticket you want.
- 1 Park Per Day ticket. Visit one park per day on each of your ticket days; I.e. no park hopping
- 4 Park Magic Ticket. This allows admission to each one of the parks within a time period.
- Ticket with Park Hopper Option. This allows you to visit one or more of the four theme parks on any single day
- Ticket with Park Hopper Plus Option. The same as Park Hopper and includes access to the two Disney water parks and golf courses as described below
- Ticket with Water Park & Sports Option. The same as one park per day plus a number of visits to certain water and sports venues
Disney World History
In 1955, Walt Disney built his first theme park called Disneyland at Anaheim in California. It soon became clear that there was not enough room to expand the park in the way that Disney wanted.
The Disney company therefore bought up 27,500 acres of swamp and rough bush land near Orlando as the home of the second Disney theme park, the Walt Disney World Resort.
The first Walt Disney World park in Orlando, Magic Kingdom opened in 1971. Expansions have been going on ever since.
Some 60 years after that first park, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is the largest tourist attraction in the world covering some 47 square miles (121 sq. km) and including:
- four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- two water parks — Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon
- Disney Springs with shops and restaurants
- a sports complex – ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
- over 20 Walt Disney World Resort hotels
- golf courses and a campground – Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
- and even a cruise line
Today there are other Disney parks at:
- Disneyland at Anaheim in California
- Tokyo Disney
- Disneyland Paris
- Hong Kong Disneyland
- Shanghai Disney Resort (opened in June 2016)
According to TEA/AECOM, in 2016 they estimate that the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando took 4 out of the top 5 spots for most visited attractions in the whole of the USA, namely:
- Magic Kingdom — 20.4 million (–0.5%, down from 20.5 million)
- Disneyland at Anaheim in California — 18.0 million (–1.8%, down from 18.3 million)
- Epcot — 11.7 million (–0.7%, down from 11.8 million)
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom — 10.8 million (–0.7%, down from 10.9 million)
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios— 10.8 million, (–0.5%, down from 10.9 million)
If you are staying in a Disney resort hotel, you can take a free shuttle or water taxi to the attractions. If you do take your car then parking is free for Disney resort residents.
Many offsite hotels also offer complimentary shuttle buses to the parks.
Do not underestimate how tiring it can be for small children. Strollers (push chairs/buggies) can be hired in all the parks. Be aware that they are often ‘borrowed’ by other guests when you leave them in the parking areas outside attractions.
Try tying something distinctive to it to help identify it (the dirtier the better !!). If your stroller does disappear just ask a Disney cast member to help you (hang onto your receipt).
Disney World General Information
Walt Disney World tickets are not cheap. You could easily expect to pay hundreds of dollars for a family just for one day. It makes sense to do your homework and find out as much as possible before you visit.
The resort has introduced a number of new features as part of Disney’s “NextGen” initiative. In particular making use of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.
Like all theme parks today, Disney tickets are non transferable. Disney installed the Ticket Tag system at the four main theme parks. To enter the park you have to place your middle and index fingers into a special scanner which takes a digital scan of your fingers.
You would also find that you no longer have to get your hand stamped if you park hopped. You just present your ticket and used the finger scanner to gain re-admission on the same day. Children under 10 did not have to use the scanners.
This has now been replaced by the RFID scanners in conjunction with new card style tickets and MagicBands.
When you rent a stroller, wheelchair or electric convenience vehicle (ECV), you rent it for the whole day. If you park hop you cannot take your rental out of the park so remember to keep your receipt to avoid having to pay again. A security deposit is required for ECVs.
Note if you hire strollers or ECVs at Disney Springs then you will have to leave a substantial deposit using your credit card.
If you are planning on visiting for more than one day then consider buying a “Length of Stay” rental ticket which will make it quicker to pick up a rental on each visit and has a cheaper daily rate.
Note that there are limited supplies of wheelchairs and ECVs so it may make more sense to rent one for the duration of your vacation from an outside company.
Disney Resort Residents
RFID technology has been rolled out at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Originally you had a “Key to the World” Card but this has now been replaced by MagicBands.
To access your room you just have to place your MagicBand in front of the lock instead of sliding it into the mechanism. You can also use your MagicBand to pay for merchandise.
The same technology has been introduced at the park turnstiles speeding up access into the parks and to reserve FastPass+ time slots.
If you are staying in one of the onsite Disney resort hotels then you will be able to take a free Disney shuttle bus to the various attractions.
Many offsite hotels also offer complimentary shuttle buses to the parks.
Disney resort guests are also able to take advantage of the various Disney Dining Plans which could save you 30% to 40% on your food budget.
Walt Disney World was the first Florida theme park to introduce the idea of a “front of queue” pass for guests which they called “FastPass”. Unlike some of the other parks like Universal Studios and SeaWorld who charge for their special passes, the Disney FastPass is free but is limited in some ways.
The idea of a FastPass is that you can effectively pre-book the time you visit an attraction and if you then turn up at the attraction during that time window, you do not need to queue.
Whilst in theory it is a great idea, some guests are not happy with the idea of other guests effectively jumping the queue but with the introduction of similar passes at other parks, the concept of the FastPass is here to stay.
As part of the NextGen initiative, Disney have now rolled out a FastPass+ for resort guests alongside the original FastPass using a plastic card containing an RFID chip. This has in turn been replaced by a wristband called a MagicBand.
Guests With Special Needs
If you need a wheelchair to get around and have not brought one with you, then you can hire them at the parks.
On some rides there are special ‘cars’ that can accommodate a wheelchair, on others you will have to get out of the chair. Also you and your party can bypass the lines for most rides and get special seating at the shows.
Service Animals and Pets
If you have a service animal or intend to bring your pet on holiday with you, there are some restrictions at Walt Disney World.
Read more about service animals and pets at Walt Disney World.
My Disney Experience Mobile App
Disney Mobile Ordering allows you to pre-order meals and snacks from a number of quick service restaurants throughout Walt Disney World without the need to stand in line. All you need is the official Disney My Disney Experience mobile app linked to a credit card.
Whilst in the park you can place and pay for your order from a growing number of quick service restaurants.
From the mobile app, click the “Order Food” button from the “My Plans” menu, select the restaurant, review the menu and add meals and snacks to your order. Finally, confirm your order (payment is not taken until you actually arrive at the restaurant and confirm again).
When you arrive at the restaurant you press a “Prepare my order” button in the app to signal you are at the restaurant at which point payment is taken. The restaurant staff then prepare your food which means if you arrive when the restaurant is busy you may still have to wait a few minutes for your food to be prepared.
Where your order is ready you receive a notification in the app and then you go to a special dedicated pick-up window to pick-up your order, bypassing the regular lines and the registers.
Note if you have any special dietary requirements, need to ask questions or wish to use any discounts, then you cannot do that using Mobile Ordering, you need to continue to use the regular lines.