Our 2023 Guide to Walt Disney World for Beginners is a great starting point to plan your vacation if you are a newbie to Walt Disney World or an experienced Mouseketeer. Even if you have visited Walt Disney World before, there are many changes to how you should plan your 2023 Disney World Vacation.
Since Walt Disney World reopened, the knowledge you need to plan a perfect Disney Vacation has changed considerably. Our 2023 Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World for Beginners contains all the essential information, including the latest tips, hints & hacks.
A lot changed when the Walt Disney World parks reopened in July 2020. Many of our regular tips and tricks on planning your Walt Disney World Vacation were no longer valid and still aren’t. However, one thing that has not changed is the need to plan your vacation.
As much has changed, creating this Guide has been a big challenge. We have likely provided some information that is either incorrect or will soon be outdated. If you feel there are any corrections, please leave a comment.
If you are looking for specific information to help plan your Walt Disney World Vacation, click on these handy jumps to take you straight to the advice:
- Walt Disney World Reopening The Basics all the critical information about what has changed at Walt Disney World since it reopened in 2020.
- Walt Disney World The Basics, including the history of Walt Disney World & New Attractions Coming Soon to Walt Disney World.
- Initial Research & Reserving your Walt Disney World Vacation things might be different, but you will still need to plan your vacation.
- Essential Walt Disney World Knowledge, including DisneyGenie and Disney Park Pass.
- Where to Stay When Visiting Walt Disney World
- The Walt Disney World Theme Parks All about the big four theme parks at Walt Disney World: The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom.
- Other Venues at Walt Disney World
- Walt Disney World Transport how to get around the resort
- Dining at Walt Disney World Disney has plenty of dining options, but there are changes in 2023
- Special Events & Festivities at Walt Disney World in 2023
- Walt Disney World News & Rumors. How to keep up to date with the latest changes
Walt Disney World Reopening The Basics
On March 16th, 2020, Walt Disney World Parks closed due to COVID-19 Pandemic. The resort reopened in the summer of 2020 with significant changes to the guest experience. In 2023, the resort will be in regular operation, or at least the new normal. However, the following changes remain in place:
- You must reserve a place to visit your first park each day. Park attendance is managed through a new park reservation system. To access the park, you must have a valid ticket and reservation.
- The advice on face coverings has changed several times are may change again. However, face masks are no longer compulsory anywhere in Walt Disney World. There is no longer any additional advice for unvaccinated guests.
- Improved sanitation continues across the resort, but not to the same level introduced in 2020.
- Improved use of technology throughout the resort to reduce contact. While this was initially introduced to reduce contact, it seems it is now for efficiency purposes.
- The Disney Dining Plan remains suspended. Will it ever come back?
- Some nighttime spectaculars, shows, and tours have remained closed since Walt Disney World reopened. It appears the current list of available experiences is the new normal.
- While most restaurants have reopened, some operate for fewer hours than previously.
- Disney is operating water parks seasonally, with only one operating at any time.
Also, Disney has introduced new services to Walt Disney World, including replacements for Extra Magic Hours and FastPass+. We will discuss all these changes later in this Guide.
Walt Disney World The Basics
Most first-time visitors are not aware of the size of Walt Disney World. The resort is similar in size to San Francisco! It is the most visited vacation resort globally in standard years, with 52 million guests. While there are still some restrictions to capacity at Walt Disney World, expect 2023 visitors to be close to previous years.
The resort opened on the 1st of October 1971 and has recently been celebrating its 50th Birthday. Walt Disney World has four theme parks, two water parks, several golf courses, numerous hotels, Disney Vacation Club Resorts, a camping resort, and other entertainment venues.
- Visit our Brief History of Walt Disney World if you want to learn more about the developments at the resort.
- Did you know that Walt Disney World has more than 200 restaurants, more than any other single-site vacation destination globally? To learn more about Walt Disney World Facts, visit our dedicated page.
Recent New Attractions at Walt Disney World
There were planned to be several big new attractions opening at Walt Disney World in 2020. Unfortunately, due to the resort closure, only Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened at Hollywood Studios. Inevitably the 2020 crisis has led to some construction projects at Walt Disney World being canceled. Learn about the attractions now joining Neverland instead of Walt Disney World.
However, towards the end of 2021, 1 Big New E-Ticket attraction, two new nighttime shows, plus several smaller attractions debuted at Walt Disney World. The attractions opened as part of Walt Disney World’s 50th Birthday celebrations. The list of new attractions continued into 2022 with the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
Major attractions that have opened at Walt Disney World since 2020 include:-
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Located in the Chinese Theatre at Hollywood Studios, this is the first attraction to star Mickey Mouse in any Disney Park. Guests become part of a Mickey Mouse short as they go on a wild journey on the trackless ride system. It is tremendous fun and possibly the best “family-friendly” ride at Walt Disney World.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure should have opened in 2020. The attraction eventually opened in Epcot on October 1st, 2021. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure already existed at Walt Disney Studios Paris and is a guest favorite. The attraction is in 3D and uses a trackless ride system. During the ride, you shrink to the size of a rat and cause mayhem in Gustav’s kitchen.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT was initially slated to open in 2021. Construction resumed once the parks reopened and officially opened on May 27, 2022.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is in EPCOT’s newly renamed World Discovery Neighbourhood. The indoor coaster will star the Guardians of the Galaxy cast, including Rocket and Groot.
This fast-spinning coaster has fantastic effects and a sensational random soundtrack. The ride is popular for a good reason.
Remember, if you have not visited Walt Disney World in recent years, there are also the new attractions in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Pandora: The World of Avatar to enjoy.
New Attractions at Walt Disney World 2023
The most significant new attraction opening at Walt Disney World in 2023 is TRON Lightcyle/Run. This is anticipated to be the hottest attraction in Walt Disney World and the last of the “BIG attractions” announced to open before the pandemic.
2023 will also see the return of 2 former nighttime shows, which will replace those currently being shown.
2024 and beyond looks a little quieter at Walt Disney World, with the only significant change being the opening of the “refreshed” Splash Mountain- Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. A number of minor changes have been announced for EPCOT over the next couple of years.
Highlights for 2023 include:
- TRON Lightcycle/Run in Magic Kingdom: Now open
- Woody’s Roundup Rodeo Restaurant in Hollywood Studios: Now open
- Happily Ever After Fireworks Show at the Magic Kingdom: Now returned
- Epcot Forever Nighttime Spectacular in EPCOT: Now returned
- Moana’s Journey of Water in EPCOT: Opening Late 2023
Initial Research & Reserving your Walt Disney World Vacation
Significant parts of planning a Walt Disney World Vacation have changed significantly in recent years. However, the first steps of arranging any Walt Disney World Vacation, including researching, setting your budgets, and making your initial reservations, have not changed much.
We recommend you should always follow these initial steps:
- Set your maximum budget. There will be additional expenses as you come closer to your departure date; make sure you can still pay for them. We have created a free Walt Disney World Budget Planner among our Walt Disney World Planners. If you have a strict budget, print out our budgeting tool. When you arrive in Orlando, there will be additional expenses, e.g., gratuities and souvenirs.
- Consider where you would like to stay. There are plenty of accommodation options at Walt Disney World, but other more affordable options are offsite. Need help making this decision? This Guide might help.
- Consider how long you want to stay. We have created a guide to help you consider how long you stay at Walt Disney World.
- Research flights. Flight prices vary, and the best time to book differs from country to country. Look at travel forums to find the best time to book.
- Who is going to book your vacation? Will you book the vacation yourself or use a Disney Vacation Planner/Travel Agent?
- Research Walt Disney World via online media(including this site!), guidebooks, etc. Look into when historically offers are released for Disney World Vacations. However, don’t expect offers in 2022 to be released simultaneously or be as generous as previously.
- Do you want to visit Universal Orlando or other Orlando parks?
- Pick your dates & get any annual leave requests arranged.
- Check on the latest International Travel Advice, including vaccination requirements.
Our Walt Disney World Planning Timeline has further useful information on when you should complete each step of your vacation plan.
Important information Foreign Visitors to Walt Disney World
While entry restrictions have started to relax, there is still restricted entry to the United States. Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination is still required before entry. We recommend checking the latest guidance before booking your vacation.
Most Foreign Visitors must also obtain a Visa before entry to the United States. However, certain International visitors may be entitled to enter via the Visa Waiver Program, but they must first obtain an ESTA.
All guests must apply for visas and ESTAs well before their travel plans. You can find out more about Visas to the United States here.
How long do I need at Walt Disney World?
Usually, we recommend that most first-time visitors consider allocating a minimum of 2 days for all parks. However, you can have a great time at Walt Disney World even if you only visit for a weekend.
We have created a guide to help you decide the length of your Walt Disney World Vacation.
Should I use a Disney Vacation Planner or Travel Agent?
Authorized Disney Vacation Planner Agencies are specialist authorized Disney Travel Agents. They operate in the United States only and can plan every aspect of your vacation. There is no charge for their services, and their income is a commission from sales.
Usually, we can’t see the benefit of using a Disney Vacation Planner, but we can see why they appeal to many guests. Read our Guide to Disney Vacation Planners to learn more.
We tend to book all parts of our vacation ourselves, and if you are experienced in arranging self-travel, this option usually works out cheaper.
When should I visit Walt Disney World?
We created a guide to help you decide when to visit Walt Disney World in 2020. This advice would usually be consistent for the following years, including 2023. However, it might be a few years until the usual seasonal trends fully return, but as you would expect, peak holiday seasons are again the busiest times.
Walt Disney World Tickets
When Walt Disney World initially reopened, there were significant restrictions on the availability of tickets. However, vacation tickets are now freely available once more. All annual passes will also be available to buy once again from April 2023.
The Disney Park Pass System appears to be here for the foreseeable future. To enter any park, you must have a reservation and a ticket. Although availability is usually good, we strongly recommend checking the availability of reservations before buying your ticket.
We have created a guide that explains everything you need to know when buying Walt Disney World Tickets.
Walt Disney World Weather
While it is implausible to visit Orlando and not encounter a fair measure of sunshine, it can undoubtedly be offset with plenty of rain and the occasional storm. Hurricanes worry many first-time visitors, but it would be unusual for them to ruin your vacation.
We have created a Guide to Orlando Weather which has further information.
After your initial research, you will want to write down your vacation plans. Our Free Walt Disney World Planners are a great resource to help create a perfect Walt Disney World Vacation Plan.
Our Planners include new sections for the latest changes at Walt Disney World, including Disney Genie+ and Early Morning Magic. Our Free 2023 Walt Disney World Planners will ensure you miss nothing out on your vacation plans.
We have redesigned these planners for 2023; make sure you download this free resource.
Essential Walt Disney World 2023 Knowledge
Planning your Walt Disney World Vacation is an essential activity. Traditional key booking windows at Walt Disney World, including how you make dining reservations, have changed in recent years.
We will guide you through all the Essential Disney World Knowledge you need to plan & enjoy your vacation. Keep checking this Guide, as information changes regularly.
Keeping Guests Safe at Walt Disney World
Several changes were introduced when Walt Disney World reopened to keep guests safe. However, there has been a relaxation of all of these policies. Things have changed significantly in the last year, and Disney no longer issues any advice over extra safety measures.
Face coverings are optional, and although most guests no longer wear them, you will not feel out of place if you do. Sanitation measures are still encouraged but are not as rigorous as previously. The increased use of technology introduced during the reopening period has continued due to the efficiencies it also provides.
Disney Park Pass Reservation System
Just turning up at a Walt Disney World is no longer possible. In its place is a new park reservation system. Disney introduced Disney Park Pass during the reopening of Walt Disney World, and it appears it is here to stay. Guests must present their park reservation and a valid park ticket to access their first park daily. Guests who do not have either will be refused entry, including if they have a dining reservation.
To learn more about the Disney Park Pass System, visit our dedicated Guide.
Park Hopper tickets allow guests to visit more than one park at Walt Disney World daily. Park Hopping allows increased variation and spontaneity in your vacation, but tickets cost a little extra.
Guests will still need to make a Disney Park Pass Reservation for their first park each day, and they must enter this park before trying to enter another. Guests can then enter a second park during Park Hopper Hours. Park Hopping Hours are subject to change, but they are currently between 2 pm to close at all parks.
Visit our Guide to Park Hopping to learn more.
Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours
Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours are additional theme park hours exclusively for guests of Disney Resorts and other select hotels.
When Walt Disney World reopened in 2020, the previous early park entry system, Extra Magic Hours, did not return. It was subsequently announced Extra Magic Hours wouldn’t be returning to Walt Disney World but would be replaced with two new benefits.
Early Theme Park Entry is available for all Walt Disney World Resort guests and other select hotels. Guests can gain 30 minutes of early entry to any theme park daily. However, you will need a Disney Park Pass.
Extended Evening Theme park hours are only available for guests at Deluxe Resorts and a few select resorts. Guests can enjoy extended evening hours in select theme parks on select nights. Extended evening hours are typically held at Magic Kingdom Park on Wednesdays and EPCOT on Mondays.
To learn more about Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours, visit our Guide.
Walt Disney World Park Hours & Closures
Park hours usually get released around six months in advance. However, they often change as you come closer to the actual date! Click the link to get all the latest Walt Disney World Park Hours.
Walt Disney World is constantly changing, and it is almost inevitable there will be some attraction refurbishments & closures whenever you visit.
My Disney Experience
My Disney Experience is a free online guide to Walt Disney World that allows guests to plan their vacations. Through this free service, you can:
- Keep track of your plans & reservations, including those of your family & friends.
- Make Dining & Ticket Reservations
- Use the new Disney Genie service, including Disney Genie+
- Order in advance and pay for your food at Quick Service Locations
- Access maps, wait times, showtimes, park hours, and essential information via the App.
Walt Disney World encourages all guests to have downloaded the latest version of My Disney Experience on their mobile devices before entering parks. Also, they recommend having location and notifications enabled on your device.
Our Guide to My Disney Experience provides more information, including how to get the App.
Attraction Planning and Reservation Tools at Walt Disney World
FastPass+ is no longer available at Walt Disney World. There is a complex mix of free and paid vacation planning systems in its place. Disney Genie is the only part of the new services with no additional charge.
Disney Genie is a free service within the My Disney Experience app that can help design a perfect Disney World vacation. Disney Genie will generate a personalized itinerary based on your interests. Disney promises fewer waits, reduced walking, and real-time updates. Your itinerary will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Unsurprising, views on Disney Genie have been mixed! We have not found it useful, but first-time visitors might see more benefits.
Disney Genie+ is the new paid replacement for FastPass+. Disney Genie+ is optional, allowing guests to make reservations to join a much shorter line at select attractions. Guests will enter the attraction via the Lightning Lane entrance.
Selections can be completed one at a time throughout the day, but surprisingly you can only use Genie+ for each attraction once each day. Access is also included to interactive Disney PhotoPass Lenses and audio tales.
Individual Lightning Lane “á la carte.”
Some of the most popular attractions are not available on Disney Genie+. An individual fee is required to access the lightning lane for these attractions. Individual Lightning Lane is available for all guests, including those who have not purchased Disney Genie+. You can buy up to 2 attractions daily, booked one at a time.
The attractions that currently attract a fee are:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- TRON Lightcycle Run (starting April 4, 2023)
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Avatar Flight of Passage
The list of rides has changed several times since the introduction of Individual Lightning Lanes.
Visit our Guide to learn more about Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lane “á la carte.”
Play Disney Parks App
Available through both the Apple App Store and Google Play is the Play Disney Parks App. The App makes waiting in line fun, with a list of challenges the whole family can play. Plus, at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the App becomes the Star Wars: Datapad providing you with further adventures.
Rider Switch & Height Restrictions
While Disney World appeals to families of all ages, some attractions are unsuitable for young children. Many attractions have height restrictions for safety purposes, which are enforced strictly.
However, if the kids are too small to ride, it does not mean adults and older siblings can’t. Rider Switch, also known as child swap, allows guests with small children to take turns riding while another adult stays with the child.
Single Rider Line
Happy to ride on your own? Don’t want to pay extra for the Lightning lane? Then the Single Rider Line is available at Expedition Everest, Millennium Falcon – Smuggler’s Run, Test Track, and Rock N Roller Coaster. Often, but not guaranteed, these lines will have a shorter wait than the regular line.
To learn more, read our Guide to The Single Rider Line.
PhotoPass & Memory Maker
PhotoPass allows you to keep the highlights from your Walt Disney World Vacation. There is no charge to have pictures taken at Walt Disney World or to see them online, but you are charged to download them.
Memory Maker is a package that allows you to download and keep all the pictures you have taken in a 30-day window, including ride photographs.
You can learn more about PhotoPass & Memory Maker in our Guide
These rubber bracelets are your park tickets, room key, and room charge card; they store your photographs and manage your dining reservations. Our Guide to MagicBands has further information.
MagicBands have recently become vital to the guest’s Walt Disney World Vacation. However, this is changing as resort guests no longer receive a complimentary MagicBand. Many interactions are now available via the My Disney Experience App or the new MagicMobile service.
We thought, MagicBands would end in 2022, but a new version called MagicBand+ has been released. MagicBand+ has all the same features as MagicBand but adds new features and interactions during your park visit.
If you don’t want to use a MagicBand or fancy trying something different, opt for Disney MagicMobile. Available in the My Disney Experience app, the Disney MagicMobile service is a convenient and more contactless way to access MagicBand features, including:
- Enter theme parks (with a valid theme park reservation and valid admission)
- Connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account
- Gain access to virtual queue attractions when your boarding group is called
- Charge to your Disney Resort hotel folio during your stay
Visit our Guide to learn more about Disney’s MagicMobile.
Disabilities at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World provides extensive facilities for all forms of disability. We have created a Guide to Disabilities at Walt Disney World, containing further information on the adaptions & services available in every park.
Finding characters at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World wouldn’t be Walt Disney World without characters. After two years, they were back meeting guests without social distancing! This means hugs and autographs have also been returned.
Although slight changes exist, our Guide to Meeting Characters at Walt Disney World is a great resource. Check My Disney Experience for the latest information.
Walt Disney World Tips & Tricks
Planning your visit to Walt Disney World is essential, although it can initially feel overwhelming for the first-time visitor. We have created numerous guides here on Modern Life is Good, which provide tips on planning the perfect Walt Disney World Vacation.
If you are visiting in 2023, you might find the following guides particularly useful:
- Our Top 10 Walt Disney World Tips for 2023
- All-New Walt Disney World Mistakes to Avoid
- Disney World Park Bag What You Really Need
- 201 Walt Disney World Hacks
- Our 2023 Walt Disney World Must-Do List
Additional Walt Disney World Useful Information
Sometimes it is difficult to find the answers to all your questions before your Walt Disney World Vacation. You will find many answers in our Walt Disney World Information section. Information you will find includes:
- Tipping at Walt Disney World
- Guest Relations at Walt Disney World
- Theme Park Rules & Prohibited Items at Walt Disney World
- Dress Code at Walt Disney World
- Strollers at Walt Disney World
- Locker Hire at Walt Disney World
- What you should pack in your Walt Disney World Park Bag
- Walt Disney World Tours
- Disney’s VIP Tour Services
- Walt Disney World Firework Cruises
- Specialty Cruises at Walt Disney World
- Payment for Goods at Walt Disney World
- Baby Care Centers at Walt Disney World
- Lost Children at Walt Disney World
- First Aid at Walt Disney World
- Accessing the Internet when visiting Walt Disney World
- Lost & Found at Walt Disney World
- Smoking at Walt Disney World
- Charging your Mobile Phone at Disney World
- Celebrating birthdays at Walt Disney World
- Walt Disney World’s Celebration Buttons
- Gifts, Flowers & Cakes at Walt Disney World
- Ears to the World, Disney Show Translator
- Additional information for guests who are not fluent in English
- Ricoh Business Centers
- Pregnant at Walt Disney World
Where to Stay When Visiting Walt Disney World
There are numerous accommodation options throughout Orlando. Accommodation options include luxurious villas, budget motels & 5-star hotels. Many hotels include free transport to Walt Disney World.
However, do you want to stay near the action? Nothing beats staying in a Walt Disney World Resort. Walt Disney World Resorts provide unique theming, accommodation to suit a range of budgets, several perks & the opportunity to stay in the middle of the action. No matter who you are traveling with, there will be an accommodation option that will suit you, but it is more expensive than staying offsite.
All Walt Disney World Resorts are now open! While there has been some loss of benefits, all guests will have access to Early Park Opening, and Deluxe Resorts will have access to Extended Evening hours.
If you want to learn more about a specific resort, Our Guide to Walt Disney World Resorts has information on all the resorts at Walt Disney World.
The Walt Disney World Theme Parks
Walt Disney World has four theme parks, each with its unique ambiance. All four parks are large and have traditionally taken at least two days to complete.
Admission to all parks is with a park reservation and a valid ticket. You will not be allowed access without both of these in place. A park hopping option is available after 2 pm with an appropriate ticket.
Downloading and accessing the My Disney Experience App to find park maps and up-to-date information is essential.
The Magic Kingdom was the first theme park to open in Walt Disney World on the 1st of October 1971. Today it is the most popular theme park in the World. Visit our Guide to the Magic Kingdom for further information.
Epcot opened on October 1st, 1982. It covers 300 acres and is twice the size of the Magic Kingdom.
Epcot was undergoing a multi-year enhancement project before the resort closure. The project includes many new attractions but also the closure of some historic attractions. Several changes have been made to these plans, including delayed or canceled construction projects. However, you will encounter significant building work when you visit.
You can learn more about Epcot in our Beginners Guide.
Dedicated to Show Business, the park opened on 1 May 1989. Disney launched the theme park in response to Universal Studios opening in Orlando.
Hollywood Studios has been undergoing massive renovations in recent years and has some of the best attractions in Orlando. Don’t miss Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.
Read more about the park, including tips and tricks, in our Guide to Hollywood Studios.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom was the 4th park to open at Walt Disney World on April 22, 1998. It is the largest park in Walt Disney World, covering over 400 acres.
Read more about the park, including tips and tricks, in our Guide to the Animal Kingdom.
Other Venues at Walt Disney World
Water Parks at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World has two water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Since the resort reopened, only one park has been operating at once. Check My Disney Experience for which park will be open when you visit; for Summer 2023, it will be Typhoon Lagoon.
Reservations are not currently required for Disney Water Parks.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach, themed around a ski resort, opened on April 1st, 1995. Legend has it that a freak snowstorm in the area led to Florida’s first ski resort. When the snow eventually melted, it was converted into a water park. The majority of the major attractions at the park are hosted atop Mount Gushmore, an artificial hill with an elevation of 90 feet. Only the bravest guests will ride the park’s flagship attraction Summit Plummet. The attraction stands 120 feet tall, and the near-vertical drops create speeds up to 60 miles per hour.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, themed around a storm-damaged tropical bay, opened on June 1st, 1989. It is the 2nd most-visited water park in the World. The park includes one of the World’s largest wave pools. The park had two shark reefs where guests could snorkel, but this attraction closed in 2016.
During the summer of 2023, Typhoon Lagoon will operate Disney H2O Glow After Hours. This hard ticket event is likely to be extremely popular.
Entertainment Districts at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World has two main entertainment districts: Disney Springs & Disney’s Boardwalk.
Disney Springs consists of over 150 stores, restaurants, and entertainment locations. Previously known as Downtown Disney, the conversion to Disney Springs was completed in the Spring of 2016.
You can learn more in our Disney Springs dedicated Guide.
The Boardwalk is a quarter-mile promenade with a smaller selection of dining, shopping, and nightlife options. It is also the home of the Boardwalk Inn & Villas. It looks like a Mid-Atlantic seaside village from the early 1900s.
Golf at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World is the home to 3 Championship Golf Courses and a smaller nine-hole walking course. Arnold Palmer Golf Management manages the Disney golf courses. Golf and FootGolf are open and available on a regular schedule at Walt Disney World golf courses.
There are two themed miniature golf complexes, Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland. Each compound has two separate courses.
ESPN Wide World of Sports
The ESPN Wide World of Sports opened in 1997 and is a 220-acre athletic complex. This state-of-the-art facility houses over 60 sports and annually hold thousands of events.
Disney’s Wedding Pavilion
Disney’s Wedding Pavilion opened in 1995 at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
The site can hold up to six weddings daily, but there are additional wedding venues at Walt Disney World. To learn more about weddings at Walt Disney World, click this link.
Additional activities at Walt Disney World
Tours, a big “Disney moneymaker,” returned slowly to Walt Disney World. Many tours have not returned, and the current offering seems to be all for now.
We recommend checking the latest Disney World Website and My Disney Experience information.
Walt Disney World Transport Options
Getting around Disney World is easy. Walt Disney World has its own fantastic internal travel network. However, it is worth remembering that direct routes are not available to all locations, taking longer than driving. You will usually have to change at a Theme Park or Disney Springs to travel to another resort.
To learn more about transportation options when visiting Walt Disney World visit our Guide to Walt Disney World Transport.
Driving at Walt Disney World
Many guests choose to hire a car in Orlando; this is your only realistic option if you stay in a villa. Orlando roads are excellent and well-signposted.
Parking is not free at Walt Disney World unless you have an annual pass or are a Disney Vacation Club Member. Complimentary parking has also been returned for Disney Resort Guests.
Visiting Walt Disney World Without a Car
In my opinion, you don’t need a car when visiting Walt Disney World. We have created a guide to navigating Walt Disney World Without a Car, which shows how easy it is. However, you should note that Disney’s Magical Express is no longer available to transport guests for free from Orlando International. Alternative, paid shuttles do exist, as well as taxis.
Dining at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World serves a lot of food, an awful lot of food. There are over 6,000 food items available at more than 475 different locations. Since the resort reopened, there have been several significant changes to dining.
Perhaps the most significant changes are the suspension of the Disney Dining Plan and a new 60-day Advanced Dining Reservation window. Most locations are now open, but some venues have reduced capacity and hours.
Additional changes include mobile check-in, promoting mobile ordering, digital menus, and encouraging contactless payments. We have also noticed reduced menu choices in many restaurants, and allergy menus have been significantly reduced. Snack options have also significantly been reduced across Walt Disney World.
We have created a Guide to Dining at Walt Disney World with all the latest information.
We also have two additional guides which contain helpful information:
- Mobile Ordering at Walt Disney World. Perhaps the most fantastic time-saver at Walt Disney World, order your food in advance at quick-service restaurants.
- Food Allergies and Intolerances when visiting Walt Disney World.
Special Events & Festivities at Walt Disney World
Special Events & Festivities are scheduled at Walt Disney World throughout the year. These special events help make every Disney Vacation extra special.
Unfortunately, many of these events were canceled or postponed in 2020. An increasing number of events were scheduled in 2021, but often these have been slimmed-down versions. Since 2022, most events have returned to their previous or similar form..
The four annual festivals in Epcot have returned to a more regular structure but now tend to operate for an extended period. In 2023 the following full festivals will be held:
- International Festival of the Arts.
- International Flower and Garden Festival.
- International Food and Wine Festival.
- Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
Halloween and Christmas parties have returned to the Magic Kingdom. Throughout 2023 Extra Hour Events are getting scheduled in select parks. These hard ticket events offer a unique experience with reduced crowds.
As we approach the 100th Birthday Celebration of Disney Studios, there will likely be further announcements. Watch the latest announcements on My Disney Experience and the Walt Disney World website.
Walt Disney World News & Rumors
Walt Disney World is constantly changing, and every month there are announcements of new developments or rumors of changes to the resort. The rate of change in recent years is faster than ever.
Visit our Walt Disney World News Section for all the latest news & rumors.
Read More about Walt Disney World
We will update our Guide to Walt Disney World for Beginners in the coming months. Please keep checking back and let us know of anything you would like to see included in future editions of this Guide. If you have spotted any errors, please let us know.
Are you planning to visit Universal Orlando? Our Guide to Universal Orlando Resort is a great resource to help your planning.
Happy vacation planning!