Some of your earliest memories are likely to involve the magic of Disney and its lovable characters. Now imagine them coming to life as you experience the parks and resorts! From the moment you step onto Main Street USA and spot Cinderella’s Castle at the end of the road, you should start feeling butterflies. From this point onwards, expect to squeal when you see a Princess ready to pose with you around Magic Kingdom, Minnie Ears glued to your head throughout the duration of your trip, along with a smile that won’t leave your face.
Where to Stay
Rest your head on the comfortable beds at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and you’ll be a Sleeping Beauty in no time. The finest of the Disney resorts, this Victorian-inspired grand property features its very own stop on the monorail, which is just one station away from Magic Kingdom. With heated swimming pools for both adults and children, restaurants where you can enjoy character Afternoon Teas and breakfasts, an orchestra playing every evening, plus spectacular views of Walt Disney World across its lake, why not be their guests for an extra-special touch to your holiday. INFO: Rooms start from Dhs2,108 per night, excluding taxes, +407 824 3000, disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/grand-floridian-resort-and-spa
Alternatively, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a slice of island paradise with tropical palm trees, vibrant interiors and an almost-romantic ambience. The resort features views of Magic Kingdom and the daily fireworks in the evening, the chance to watcg Disney movies under the stars, pools and play areas, along with an array of restaurants and bars. INFO: Rooms start from Dhs1,660 per night, excluding taxes, +407 824 2000, disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/polynesian-resort/recreation/
Keep in touch in Disney’s Parks and Resorts with its free Wi-Fi, so that you can co-ordinate your plans with your pals – and make everyone back home jealous with plenty of regular Instagram snaps! Don’t forget to download the ‘My Disney Experience’ app before your trip, which features maps of the park, the locations of characters, all of your Disney PhotoPass pictures and FastPass+ access.
Where the Magic Happens
There are four parks to discover at Walt Disney World. Magic Kingdom, the most famous of them all, is where you’ll find Cinderella’s Castle at the end of Main Street USA. Rides including Space, Thunder and Splash Mountain, along with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train can all be found here. In addition to this, Beauty and the Beast fans can enjoy an encounter with Belle – be sure to keep an eye out for Gaston outside his Tavern, too! There are attractions galore, especially for The Little Mermaid and Pirates of the Caribbean fans out there. Make sure you’re there for the daily Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, complete with a fire-breathing dragon and the chance to see all the Disney characters you love. Don’t miss the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular in the evenings, complete with fireworks and a chance to hear all of your favourite Disney songs.
Escape to Epcot
This park houses the brand new Frozen-themed attractions. Take a ride in a boat on Frozen Ever After around Arendelle and relive the magic of the movie, including a chance to see Elsa singing Let it Go. You’ll also be able to meet the Ana and Elsa here, too! Other Epcot must-tries are the Soarin’ ride, where you’ll glide above the wonders of the world (get ready for a fully-sensory experience), and the Test Track for the rollercoaster-lovers out there.
Animal Kingdom offers a Kilimanjaro Safari where you’ll see everything from lions and giraffes to rhinos and elephants, all in the middle of Orlando! If big cats weren’t exciting enough, head to Expedition Everest for a real adrenaline rush with a high-speed rollercoaster that even goes backwards! A whole new area, ‘Pandora – The World of Avatar’, is opening on 27 May at this park, too.
Head to Hollywood Studios
You’ll find two of the scariest rides at this exciting park, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster starring Aerosmith, where there’s plenty to see and do for guests of all ages. Get competitive with the Toy Story Mania! ride, enjoy the Star Tours simulator, and wait for the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show in the evening where moments from the film come to life with fireworks galore. Don’t forget to catch the epic Fantasmic show, either, with projections of films on dancing fountains, fireworks and heroes, princesses and villains.
Your Disney Magic Band is loaded with three free FastPass+ passes allowing you to skip the queues at rides in the parks. All you need to do is book your park tickets in advance online at disneyworld.disney.go.com
Bella Hadid and sis Gigi both headed to the magical world of Disney recently!
Time difference: Orlando, Florida is nine hours behind of the UAE
Getting there: Emirate has direct daily flights to Orlando from Dubai, with a flight time of 16 hours and 10 minutes and fares starting from as little as Dhs5,560 (economy). To book, visit emirates.com