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ESSENTIAL PARK DETAILS

Sometimes you need to start with the basics. Where is Walt Disney World? Is the Magic Kingdom at Disneyland? How many parks are at Universal? On this page we answer these basic questions to help you get started on the right track. If you want some additional guidance, just let us know. We are here to help you through your entire journey, no matter where you start. 
 

WALT DISNEY WORLD ESSENTIALS

LOCATION

Orlando, Florida. It’s in Lake Buena Vista to be exact, but the Orlando airport is the one you’ll fly into, so we’ll go with Orlando.

THEME PARKS

There are four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) and two water parks (Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon.)

  • Magic Kingdom is the one with the castle and all the “mountain” rides. It has been around the longest and remains a classic.

  • EPCOT is the one with the “golf ball” and includes the World Showcase, where you can get a lot of great food and good drinks. It hosts three yearly festivals with specialty food, drinks and entertainment.

  • Hollywood Studios is the one with Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. It used to be called MGM Studios. 

  • Animal Kingdom is the one with the big Tree, or Tree of Life. It has some of the best rides and is about way more than just animals.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

You can visit Disney Springs, a shopping and dining district, plus golf and mini golf courses. 

TICKETS

Tickets can be purchased for multiple days and parks. There are different types that allow you to switch parks during the day (Park Hopper) or to visit the water parks along with the theme parks (Park Hopper Plus.)

SKIPPING LINES

Walt Disney World uses a free system called FastPass+ which lets you make advance reservations to skip the line for rides. 

HOTELS

More than 25 resorts are located on Disney property and run by Disney. These are called “on-property” resorts and come with special benefits like getting into the parks early and making FastPass+ reservations for rides 30 days earlier than non-Disney hotel guests. 

There are also numerous “good neighbor hotels" close to Disney property, and some come with similar benefits to on-property resorts. 

TRANSPORTATION

Walt Disney World has its own transportation system that includes a monorail, boats, ferries, busses, a gondola system, and even its own taxi system - the Minnie Van. All come at no cost to ride, except for the Minnie Van. 

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO ESSENTIALS

LOCATION

Orlando, Florida and is actually in Orlando, like the name says.

THEME PARKS

Universal Orlando has two theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure) and one water park - Volcano Bay. All of the parks are very close to each other, and you can easily walk between the two theme parks. 

  • Universal Studios Florida is the original park. It is home to Diagon Alley (part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter).

  • Islands of Adventure was added later and is home to Hogsmeade (part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter). It is also home to some of the more famous sights like the Jurassic Park land and the Incredible Hulk ride. 

  • Volcano Bay is their newest park (it opened of 2017) and is the sole water park. 

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Universal Orlando is also home to Universal CityWalk Orlando, a shopping and dining district. This district also serves as the entrance to both theme parks. 

It is also home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an immersive land that spans both parks and is connected by a ride - the Hogwarts Express. 

TICKETS

Tickets can be purchased for multiple days and parks. There are different types that allow you to switch parks during the day (2 Park Park-to-Park) or to visit the water park along with the theme parks (3 Park Park-to-Park).

SKIPPING LINES

Universal Orlando has a system called Express Pass which lets you skip the line for rides. There are two types: the standard version lets you skip each ride once, whereas the Unlimited Express Pass lets you skip the line as many times as you wish. There is a cost for this pass.

HOTELS

Eight hotels are located on Universal Orlando property. These hotels come with special benefits like getting into the parks early and the premier hotels (most expensive and nicest) offer a free Unlimited Express Pass. 

TRANSPORTATION

Universal Orlando has its own transportation system of boats and busses to transport guests to the parks. It is free to all. 

DISNEYLAND ESSENTIALS

LOCATION

Anaheim, California. That’s in the greater Los Angeles area. While LAX is the biggest airport nearby, the closest and most convenient is actually John Wayne Airport (SNA.) Trust us - with LA traffic, the closer option is better.

THEME PARKS

Disneyland Park and California Adventure are both located at Disneyland. Both parks share a common entrance area, making transit between the parks super easy. You can walk from one to the other in two minutes

  • Disneyland is the one with the castle and all the “mountain rides.” It is the original Disney park and is now also home to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

  • California Adventure is the newest US Disney park. It includes Cars Land, Pixar Pier and will include the new Avengers Campus (in late 2020). 

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Disneyland is also home to Downtown Disney, a shopping and dining district. 

TICKETS

Tickets can be purchased for multiple days and parks. There is an additional add on that allows you to switch parks during the day (Park Hopper.)

SKIPPING THE LINES

Disneyland has a system called Maxpass which lets you get a digital "pass" (a.k.a. a Fastpass) to skip the line for rides. Once you enter either park for the day, you can use the Disneyland app to make reservations for rides in either park that day. It can be purchased for a daily fee. You can also access a paper Fastpass system for free. This system works exactly the same as the Maxpass system, you just have to visit a kiosk in front of the specific ride to make your reservation.

HOTELS

There are 3 resorts located on Disney property and run by Disney. These are called “on-property” resorts and have the special perk of getting into one park early each morning. Only Disney resort guests get early access to California Adventure.

There are also also numerous “good neighbor hotels” nearby. Some of these hotels are located right across the street from the parks and are therefore a shorter walk to the entrance than some rooms at the Disney resorts.

TRANSPORTATION

Disneyland is small enough to be walkable. There is a monorail system that transports guests between the Downtown Disney area and Disneyland Park. Unlike the Walt Disney World monorail system, you must have a valid theme park ticket to ride it.
 

 
 
 

That covers the basics (or should we say the bare necessities?), but this information is just the beginning. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed or just want someone to point you in the right direction as you begin planning, we offer a free 1x1 consultation, called an Embark session, with one of our Adventure Experts. Just click here to get started.

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