Walt Disney World is the largest of all the Disney Parks.  In fact it’s not just one theme park, but four: Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot.

Walt Disney World is also home to two water parks Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, a shopping centre, Disney Springs, a mini golf resort, a real golf resort, dozens of hotels, and the ESPN sports centre. It has its own solar power centre and recycling plant. It’s home to the largest car park in the world and the largest bus network in the United States. 

In other words it’s huge.

Travel With Kidz specialist Erin Ross knows from personal experience and years of helping other families travel to the happiest place on earth, that the key to a family visit to Disney World is planning.

Here are her five top tips to help you plan for you visit Walt Disney World in Florida.

1. Choose your “must do’s”

Jump online and check out what attractions and rides each park has and get each family member to choose their top two or three “must do’s”.  This is a great way to involve the kids  in planning, and get them excited about, the adventure but it also means you can plot out your day in each park before you get there.

Everest in lights at Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is spectacular. Credit: Janeece Keller

2. Book Fast Passes

The parks are pretty huge and often the lines are long so if you can book some Fast Pass’s for your top attractions then lock those in as well.  These open up via the MyDisneyExperience app 3 months in advance. Depending on how much time you have in Orlando, be prepared that you might not get to every single ride and attraction but as long as you’ve got your bucket list ones ticked off then any extras are a bonus.

3. Stay for a week

You could easily spend at least a week here. If not more. And let’s be honest, getting to Florida from anywhere in Australia isn’t a quick trip.If you stay for a week you’ll all have time to get over jetlag and you won’t feel like you have to miss out on visiting a particular park. In fact, one of the reasons you should head to Disney World in Orlando rather than any of the other Disney’s around the world, is that you can stretch out the experience for longer and make it a major part of your family holiday.

4. Stay at a Disney Hotel

Disney World has more Disney Hotels than other parks and buses go from the hotels to every resort every 15 minutes. Families who stay at Disney hotels can access the Disney Magic Band system. These clever bands, attached to your wrist, allow you to pay for everything in Walt Disney World. They give you access to the parks and fast passes and they even open your hotel door.

Disney magic bands

Disney magic bands. Credit: Family Travel

5. Pick when to go

Walt Disney World crowd levels can vary and change, and are largely driven by the local American market school holidays, and then by holiday periods around the world.

Months to avoid are: August (the weather can be stifling and stormy), July (peak season for northern hemisphere holiday makers), June (another summer month and the average likelihood of rain on any given day is 50%)

The best months to visit are: September, November & December when the weather is cooler and the crowds are smaller.