Visiting the Happiest Place on Earth

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (left) and quarterback Tom Brady (right) celebrated their Super Bowl LIII victory Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, at Walt Disney World Resort. The pair participated in a parade with Mickey Mouse, waving to cheering fans as they traveled down Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom Park. (Kent Phillips, photographer)  

Most kids dream of visiting the one and only Disneyworld in Florida at some point in their lives; however, that vision may never become a reality until you are an adult.

You will be surprised to know that the park is full of families as well as childfree adults as well. And despite there being significant debates online about adults flying solo – the reality is that the park runs so efficiently to accommodate people from all walks of life. The secret? Have a plan for your visit. Here are the top ten tips by Hermoine Macura-Noble to ensure your trip to the happiest place on earth remains just that, a comfortable and fun time for all.

Location, location, location: The first thing to know is that Walt Disney World is quite large at a massive 40 square miles and features four parks, two waterparks and more than 100 restaurants.  Where you choose to stay is very important to avoid the crowds. There are hundreds of hotels close by to Disney World; however, the ideal hotels to stay at are the ones that feature transportation options to and from the parks. These include Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the Four Seasons Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter and Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

Also, the new Disney Sky-liner travels from Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four hotels: Disney Art of Animation resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and the new couples only Disney Riviera Resort, scheduled to open in December 2019.

Disney Skyliner will begin carrying guests high above Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Sept. 29, 2019. The state-of-the-art transportation system will feature custom cabins that glide through the air, conveniently transporting guests between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and the new Disney’s Riviera Resort, scheduled to open in December 2019. (David Roark, Photographer)

Flights and Tickets: The best way to plan your trip is to book way in advance and reserve not only your flight and hotel for at least two months in advance, but also your rides and meals. You can even arrange for your wedding to be held at Disneyworld. As for entry tickets, standard tickets allow entry to one park and start at around $100 or more a day. The price for a single-day ticket varies based on when you are visiting and which park you want to visit. If your goal is to do everything at Disney World, the best option is the Park Hopper tickets — a multi-day ticket that lets you go from park to park as often as you would like in one day.

Guests celebrate opening day of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Aug. 29, 2019, with cups of Blue Milk and Green Milk. The frozen beverage is available inside the immersive new land at Walt Disney World Resort. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Getting around Disneyworld: There is a bus network that connects you across the Disney World map. Plus, some buses go between the parks and to Disney Springs and the waterparks. There are also a few hotels that sit right on the monorail loop to the Magic Kingdom park. The monorail stops at the ticketing and transportation center, where guests can catch a separate monorail to Epcot if needed. There are also two main boat networks: one for Epcot and Hollywood Studios and another for moving people from Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge to Magic Kingdom. There is also the new Minnie vans which are a premium service you order through Lyft. The vans will take you anywhere on the Disney World property, as well as to and from the airport.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad takes Magic Kingdom guests on a wild ride in a runaway train through an abandoned gold mine in Frontierland. Magic Kingdom is located at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Garth Vaughan, photographer)

Disneyworld App and Fast Pass access: The online Disneyworld app is a lifesaver – Many people visit Disneyland and end up in waiting lines for hours because they have no idea about the app and how it works. So make sure you get it and book your rides, food and preferences as soon as you can. The app allows you to book three Fast Pass rides, attractions or character meet-and-greet experiences per day up to 60 days ahead. Once you have used them, you can get more Fast Passes at any of the four Disney parks, if available. Being able to manage Fast Pass selections quickly is the key to not waiting in line.

Extra Magic Hours: Extra Magic Hours is a pass that allows guests staying at certain Walt Disney World Resort hotels to enjoy specific attractions in the four theme parks, before or after regular operating hours. To see when and where the Extra Magic Hours benefit is offered, ask the hotel or resort before booking.

Tennis star Serena Williams visits Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. Williams met two members of the Resistance, Rey (left) and Vi Moradi (right), while experiencing the new land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as part of a family vacation at Walt Disney World Resort. (David Roark, photographer)

Early Morning Magic Pass: If you want to splurge a bit, you may want to consider getting the Disney Early Morning Magic Pass which is different from the Extra Magic Hours pass above. Early Morning Magic will cost extra, but the Fantasyland version grants access to some of the most popular rides in the Magic Kingdom before the park officially opens. Early Morning Magic is $99 for adults in addition to the cost of a park ticket for that day. You will get unlimited access to these high demand rides which are often booked out: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan from 7:45 am to 9:00 am.

Disney Memory Maker Advance Purchase: If you want to make sure you get the best memories from your trip at a reasonable price, try getting the Disney Memory Maker Advance Purchase. You will get access to unlimited pictures taken throughout the parks, as well as unlimited digital downloads.

Eerie lighting, fall dŽcor and Mickey Mouse-shaped Jack-O-Lanterns set the stage at Magic Kingdom for MickeyÕs Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The family-friendly after-hours event offers trick-or-treating, meet and greets with favorite characters in costume, plus the must-see ÒMickeyÕs Boo-to-You Halloween ParadeÓ and ÒHappy HalloWishesÓ fireworks display. MickeyÕs Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a special ticket event and takes place on select nights each fall at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Ways to save money and time: If you are on a tight budget, try to get groceries delivered to your hotel and eat before you head out for the day. You can also bring your snacks and drinks to the park during the day. Also, if you want to avoid waiting in lines to enter the park, try to come without any bags. The security guards have to check all bags for safety; however, there is a line for people without bags, and that is usually easy to pass through. Many people wear clothes with zip pockets for their phone, credit cards and cash and dash through this entry point.

Walt Disney World Resort guests can discover the newest, most spectacular fireworks show in the history of Magic Kingdom Park with “Happily Ever After.” The stunning nighttime extravaganza features more lasers, lights and projections than any Magic Kingdom Park show before it. Characters and scenes from more than 25 Disney films are featured through state-of-the-art projections, enchanted by more than 50 choreographed spotlights, brilliant lasers and plenty of awe-inspiring fireworks. (Steven Diaz, photographer)

Do not miss the Magic Kingdom fireworks: This is probably one of the most beautiful aspects of Disneyworld – the majestic firework and light show display on the Magic Kingdom castle. Watch all the characters of Disney come to life as you sing along to their theme songs with the crowd. The program usually runs every day at 9pm and is a must-see. It is crowded; however, the Disney team are highly organized so you can be in and out after the show within one hour. There are some properties where you can also select a room that features a balcony where you can view the fireworks from there too. But to be honest, the show is best experienced up close.

By Hermoine Macura-Noble
Special To The Times Kuwait




Hermoine Macura-Noble

The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East  and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.