By: Rachel Sandall
This article originally appeared in the summer 2010 issue of B Wedding Magazine.
You may have to share your Disney holiday with a throng of five-year olds and families on Spring break, but for an unforgettable honeymoon, surely ‘the most magical place on earth’ is a great place to start!
There are theme parks, and then there’s Disney World. It’s just not right to compare Disney World with the Six Flags and Knotts Berry Farms of the world; it’s like comparing Pizza Hut with a pizzeria in Tuscany. Not even in the same league.
Disney World is essentially a 30,500 acre stage, where every detail from the garbage cans, the multi-million dollar attractions, the man-made lakes and the fake rocks are choreographed to transport the visitor to another world…the glorious wide world of Disney. You don’t travel to Disney World for the thrilling roller coasters, you go for the experience, the invaluable experience of feeling 10-years-old again. Because at Disney World, you will see grown adults scarfing down cotton candy, humming It’s a Small World, posing for pictures with Mickey Mouse and laughing (out loud!) at jokes told by The Muppets, without the slightest bit of apprehension, because that’s just what you do here!
Many couples might find the idea of standing in lines with screaming 8-year-olds way too scary, afterall, Disney was built for children. But founder, Walt Disney, wanted his theme parks to be something that everyone could enjoy, whether they were 9 or 90. So all you have to do to have a wonderful honeymoon at Disney is carve your niche among the craziness.
Disney World is the most visited recreational park in the world, so the key to a successful Disney getaway is to go off season. Fall and early spring are the best times to go. Lines are shorter, prices are cheaper and temperatures will be milder.
Navigating Disney World.
Disney World is made up of four theme parks, two water parks and 24 resorts and covers 47 miles; thus it’s best seen over several days. There is a monorail which can take you between some of the main parks, but busses are the main form of transportation. Plan on 20 minutes between each park. Here is my recommended itinerary:
Day 1: The Magic Kingdom. This is the most well known part of Disney World. This is where you will find the Disney classics like the teacups, It’s a Small World and Cinderella’s Castle. Come about 11:30am and stay for the magnificent fireworks display, which happens nightly.
Day 2: Epcot. The second most popular theme park in Disney is Epcot. Here you will find Disney’s tribute to international culture and innovation. Walt Disney wanted it to be the ‘place of tomorrow’…the reality is more ‘what yesterday thought tomorrow would look like.’ Most of the buildings have a distinct 1980’s futuristic look (think 1977 Star Wars), but this adds to the charm of the park. One of the best attractions in all of Disney World is the Mission:Space ride. Visitors are invited to NASA and blasted off to Mars, this is as close to space as most will ever get!
Day 3: Disney’s Hollywood Studios & The Animal Kingdom. Both of these parks are full of great experiences, but can easily be done in one day. Hollywood Studios pays tribute to the golden age of Hollywood in the 1930-40s with Art Deco inspired buildings, neon lights and the classic glamor of Hollywood starlets like Rita Heyworth and Judy Garland. My favorite ride (maybe in all of Disney!) is the Tower of Terror, which is based on a the old show The Twilight Zone. The Animal Kingdom is the largest park in Disney and is essentially a zoo, but with the Disney touch. You can go on a safari through African landscape where you will see real lions and rhinos in their “natural” habitat. You can see tigers in their Asian jungle home or see a gorilla up close and personal.
Day 4: The Water Parks. Disney has two water parks. One is Blizzard Beach and the other is Typhoon Lagoon. Here you will find wave pools, shark reefs (complete with real sharks) and some of the tallest water slides in the world.
Where to Stay:
The resorts in Disney World are as elaborate as the parks. Whether you stay in the 5 star Grand Floridian with it’s immaculate Victorian theme or the frontier themed Fort Wilderness Campground, you are bound to have a memorable experience.
Disney has divided their resorts into three price-ranges; deluxe, moderate and value. Even the lowest range of Disney hotels will be pricier than those outside the park and will likely offer less value. For more value for your money, stay on the only street of independent hotels in Disney World, Hotel Plaza Boulevard.
The Hilton in Walt Disney World. We stayed at this 4 star hotel and found it to be a perfect spot to explore Disney World. It’s one of the best locations on Hotel Plaza Boulevard and has frequent shuttles to all the Disney Parks. This is also more of a business and conference hotel, so there were less children and families than a lot of the other hotels. The other great part of the Hilton is that it’s right across the street from Downtown Disney, where you will find shopping, restaurants and nightlife.
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