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Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando Theme Parks at a Glance

A “rendezvous” with the most well-known Disney characters. A rollercoaster ride through space. A journey of discovery into the future. A safari across the African savannah. A test of courage on one of the fastest free fall slides in the world, followed by sunbathing on white-sand beaches. And all of that within the space of a few days. Walt Disney World is where children’s dreams come true – and where grown-ups have the opportunity to rediscover the child in them. Below is an overview of some of the key highlights:

Magic Kingdom Park

This Walt Disney Theme Park comprises no fewer than six themed lands. The classic among Theme Parks, Magic Kingdom is also one of the most-visited in the world. The Walt Disney World Railroad takes visitors on a circular tour around the park in a vintage steam train. One of the stops is Main Street U.S.A, where at the far end stands Cinderella Castle, the park’s landmark. Jungle conquerors and pirates of all ages can expect to experience exotic adventures in Adventureland. And Frontierland is the perfect place to transform into a cowgirl, a native American or even into the fictional hero Tom Sawyer. Those who do not dare enter the Haunted Mansion on Liberty Square can opt to see the Hall of Presidents instead. Fantasyland is where children can meet their favourite characters and take flight with Peter Pan or Dumbo, or venture under the sea with mermaid Ariel. Tomorrowland offers a rollercoaster ride up to Space Mountain as well as a journey to infinity and beyond on Buzz Light-year’s Space Ranger Spin. In short: Magic Kingdom Park that fulfils its promise!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Welcome to the world of Mickey‘s sorcerer’s hat, which is the iconic emblem of the blockbuster movies and TV shows inspired park. Located right by the entrance, on Hollywood Boulevard, is one of the park’s greatest attractions: the Great Movie Ride, a twenty-minute long ride through iconic Hollywood moments. Passengers aboard the dark ride can marvel at the Indiana Jones stunt show on Echo Lake – or audition in front of a live audience at the theme park’s “American Idol Experience” attraction. Fans of Kermit, Miss Piggy and Gonzo won’t want to miss seeing their favourite characters in the Muppet-themed area of Streets of America, whereas a host of Disney characters “reside” in Animation Courtyard. Adrenaline junkies will love the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith on Sunset Boulevard: the coaster accelerates from 0 to 57 miles per hour in under three seconds! And the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a drop tower dark ride, provides for the ultimate adrenaline rush. Just like in the movies!

Fotos: © Disney

Epcot

Epcot is divided into two areas: Future World and World Showcase. Future World is made up of various pavilions that focus on technological innovations. Mission: SPACE is one of the most popular attractions and simulates what it might be like board a spacecraft bound for Mars. The Land is dedicated to agriculture, and you can even take a Journey Into Imagination With Figment the playful purple dragon. “Spaceship Earth serves as the symbolic structure of Epcot and is devoted to the topic of human communication. World Showcase contains eleven pavilions, each representing a different nation. The pavilions are set around a lagoon which visitors can enjoy walking around to experience the sights, sounds and tastes and of all 11 countries. Every evening before the park closes, a large fireworks display IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is staged from the centre of the lagoon, a truly spectacular way to end the day at Epcot.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Explore nature and adventure in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which is also the largest Disney Theme Park in the World. Dedicated to the conservation of wildlife, the symbol of the park is the 145 feet tall Tree of Life. Disney’s Animal Kingdom consists of six themed areas. Oasis is a zoo featuring a variety of animals and leads up to Discovery Island, the park’s main hub. Home to the Tree of Life, Discovery Island is also inhabited by a large number of animals. The Africa area gives visitors the opportunity to travel in an open-sided safari vehicle from where they can watch giraffes, elephants and lions roam freely in the park’s savannah. Pandora – The World of Avatar is where you can take a boat through a bioluminescent rainforest or fly on the back of a banshee in Avatar Flight of Passage. The Asia area is where guests can ride on Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain rollercoaster and try to escape a Yeti. The focal point of DinoLand U.S.A is dinosaurs, but park guests can also immerse themselves into the world of (lost fish) Nemo in Finding Nemo – The Musical. In short, anyone looking to combine adventure with wildlife is perfectly catered for at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney Water Parks

What could be nicer than spending a hot day splashing, playing and relaxing in and by the water? Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is home to one of the world’s largest outdoor wave pools. Legend says a huge typhoon wreaked havoc on a tropical island paradise. Waterfalls and slides ‘erupt’ from the iconic Mount Mayday. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is where park guests can learn to surf, swim in one of the pools or sunbathe on a sandy beach. Visitors can also float down the scenic Castaway Creek lazy river that encircles the entire park.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach, the second of Disney’s Water Parks, was born when Florida’s first ski resort was to be opened after a snowstorm. However, the snow melted quickly and left behind a mountain with waterlogged hollows, which is the 90 foot high Mount Gushmore. The green slopes of Mount Gushmore house Summit Plummet, one of the highest water slides in the world. Taboggan Racers is where visitors can race each other on mats down a 250 foot long slope. Set at the foot of Mount Gushmore is a one-acre wave pool. The peak of the mountain can be reached by chairlift. It seems fair to say that Disney’s Blizzard Beach is a winter playground in the middle of sunny Florida!

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Text: Sandra Casalini