Into the Story at Walt Disney World
By Carrie McLaren
Have you ever dreamed of stepping into one of your favorite movies? Those dreams can become reality when you visit the Walt Disney World Resort, where Disney classics come to life.
Art of Animation
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort offers a larger-than-life experience, with guests surrounded by the stories of ‘Finding Nemo,’ ‘Cars,’ ‘The Lion King’ and ‘The Little Mermaid.’
You can swim in the Big Blue Ocean pool and hear Nemo and friends talking underwater or enjoy a nighttime movie under the stars in the Pridelands with Simba nearby. In Radiator Springs, kids of all ages can experience life-sized cars of Lightning McQueen, Mater and more. You can even go for a swim at the Cozy Cone motel pool.
With 2,000 family suites, each sleeping up to six, and an additional 864 standard rooms located in The Little Mermaid area, the resort provides families with magical, fun experiences. Be sure to join in for the nightly dance party in the lobby every evening; it’s fun for the whole family and a great way to end a busy day at the parks.
The memorable experiences continue at each of the theme parks, too. At Epcot’s ‘Soarin,’ you’ll take flight to experience the sights, sounds and even smells of California. As you soar over the orange groves, you’ll discover scents of citrus and as you reach the Redwood trees, you’ll be surrounded by these magnificent trees.
In Epcot’s Future World, you can create a virtual car and see how it performs at the Test Track against others. You’ll reach top speeds, test the brakes and even match your vehicle against the most extreme weather conditions.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Kids can defeat the enemies at the Jedi Training Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s a must-see event for Star Wars fans ages four to 12, but get there early -- spots for this interactive experience fill up quickly every morning.
Visitors to Hollywood Studios also can watch potential Star Wars Padawans in action with shows throughout the day. Afterward, climb aboard Star Tours-The Adventure Continues ride for the ultimate experience. For a great souvenir, stop by Tatooine Traders and make your own light saber.
For those who love the stage, the American Idol Experience could lead the way to stardom. Choose your song wisely and perform in front of a live audience and you could be on your way to Hollywood.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, you’ll explore the world from a bug’s point of view at the It’s Tough to be a Bug show. Home to more than 1,700 animals across 250 species, don’t miss exploring the African savanna aboard the Kilimanjaro Safaris, where you’ll see lions, giraffes and elephants grazing the lands, providing phenomenal photo opportunities. For the ultimate experience, sign up for the Wild Africa Trek – a VIP, privately-led tour of the safari with an up-close look at the wildlife in the park.
At Magic Kingdom Park, step inside the fantasy tale of ‘Beauty & the Beast’ at the ‘Be Our Guest’ restaurant. The iconic ballroom is beautiful and the attention to detail is phenomenal. With quick-service dining available during the day, the restaurant is a sit-down service meal at night. Guests have the opportunity to dine in The West Wing, the Rose Gallery and the ballroom. ‘Be Our Guest’ is also unique in that at dinnertime, guests may order wine and beer with their meal – a first inside the Magic Kingdom Park.
When you’re done with your meal, stop by the Enchanted Tales with Belle experience where children can help retell the classic love story of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and even meet Belle.
For pirate fans, don’t miss The Pirates League. Transform into a scallywag with a pirate beard, sword and temporary tattoos. Be sure to take the personalized pirate oath to receive your official pirate name. For the princess in your family, visit the Bippity Boppity Boutique in Cinderella’s Castle for a royal makeover complete with makeup, nail polish, a new hairdo and a tiara and princess dress.
The stories and experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort help families create fantastic family vacation memories. It doesn’t get much better than watching your child’s eyes light up when they see – and interact with – their favorite characters come to life.
To plan your own magical vacation, go to WaltDisneyWorld.com