No one is quite sure why one medium-sized city in Florida has developed into the theme park capital of the world. But starting in 1971 with the grand opening of Disney World it has become exactly that, and as a result has become a total dreamland for any family vacation where rides and entertainment are paramount. The amusement parks located around the city are open year-round, and offer a wide variety of themes and attractions. Disney World is still the original though, and is perhaps the best-loved. As it has now come to encompass four separate parks, it’s difficult to experience everything in the limited span of a single holiday. Perhaps this is why some families keep coming back, year after year.
The Magic Kingdom is, of course, the first name on everyone’s lips. Situated around Cindarella’s iconic castle are six distinct zones: Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland, Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Main Street USA. Each of these has its own character and is populated by entertainers, rides, restaurants, and shopping that match the theme. Some of the most famous attractions are Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash and Space Mountains, and the Haunted Mansion. This is where you’ll run into countless actors dressed as heroes and princesses of all of your favorite films, which make for classic family photo material.
Another park under the Disney World umbrella is Epcot, a science and technology wonderland that celebrates human achievements and innovations, and is represented by the spherical “Spaceship Earth.” For inquisitive kids (and adults) that are interested in astronomy, technology, natural forces, the human body, or geography, this is the place to be. There’s also a surprisingly good wine and food festival every year.
The largest Disney park in the entire world is the Animal Kingdom, which attracts around 10 million visitors a year. This massive zoo, aquarium, and nature preserve complex is a testament to conservation efforts and has been lauded as a success story in research and even reintroduction of species into the wild. White rhinos, previously extinct in Uganda due to poaching, now roam once again as a result of transferring calves from Animal Kingdom to the Ziwa animal sanctuary there. It’s hard to not love this place.
Finally, there’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s answer to the rival Universal Studios theme park. Live stunts, animation galleries, shows, rides, tours, and more will keep the whole family entertained. This is a place where adults and kids can learn about the history and production of cinema in an engaging and entertaining way.
Whether you have kids or not, Disney World should be near the top of your list of attractions in the US. Getting to Orlando has never been easier, even from Europe. It’s easy to find economical flights to Florida online on a variety of different carriers from locations around the world. Book them now and start dreaming of your fairytale vacation.