Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Disney World, a Place Where Dreams Come True

By Laura Jones

Imagine a place where you can throw your worries out the window, relax, and enjoy everything that it has to offer. There are so many magical things to do that most families can’t fit in, in one week. At Disney World, people of all ages can have fun. Between the four theme parks, two water parks, and many other thrilling attractions, everyone can find their own little happy place. Disney World really is where “dreams come true,” and if you want to feel like a kid again, this is definitely the place to go.

Last summer I went on an eight day vacation to Disney World for my fourth time with family and friends. We all are well over the age of 18 and still had a blast. There is no such thing as being too old for Disney. We spent the entire day in the parks, from 10am-10pm. It sounds crazy, and extremely tiring, but it was completely worth it because we got to spend every minute of every day enjoying what Disney World had to offer. No time was wasted and our feet may have been a little sore at the end of the day, but no one seemed to mind.

The best thing about Disney resorts is all the discounts and advantages that are included. There are plenty of deals and you can save a significant amount of money on park passes. If you purchase a “Park Hopper” pass, it can last up to five days and entitles you to go to any theme park, any day throughout the duration of your stay. If you decide that you want an extra day or two, as a guest at any Disney resort, you can buy an extra day for about five dollars per person! It sounds unreal, but just last summer I was able to do this.

Disney World in the summer is the most popular time for most families to go because children are out of school, but you have to keep in mind that it is extremely hot. Be prepared to sweat and deal with Florida sun’s strong heat. During this time of travel, you also have to remember that there will be very long lines for attractions. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, too. If you don’t mind the hot weather, then vacationing to Orlando, Florida during the summer is perfect for you. If you choose to vacation in the winter months, you will definitely experience cooler temperatures. However, whatever month you choose to visit Disney World will guaranteed be a memory that will last forever.

There’s so much to do and there are so many choices at Disney World, it’s hard to make decisions. Animal Kingdom, one of Disney’s newest theme parks, is divided into seven areas: Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, and Dinoland. According to Disney World’s website, this park shows Walt Disney’s passion for nature and conservation, and it leads the way in animal care, education, and research. It is so unique because it holds 1,700 animals from 250 species, across 500 acres of land. The most popular attraction is the Kilimanjaro Safari, which is so much better than the one at Six Flags Great Adventure. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest animal-themed park in the world! Here’s a fun fact from the Disney World website: Did you know that to keep 1,000 animals happy it takes about 3 tons of food a day? That’s a four and a half year supply for the average person.

Magic Kingdom, a fairy tale wonderland, is spread out across 107 acres through each of these magical lands: Main Street U.S.A, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown Fair, and Tomorrowland. One of the most popular attractions at Magic Kingdom is the “It’s a Small World” ride and Cinderella’s beautiful castle, where at one point in time, guests were allowed to dine inside it. You can travel through this theme park while really putting your imagination to the test. There are parades that occur daily such as the “SpectroMagic” and “Celebrate a Dream Come True”, as well as nightly fireworks. Here’s another fun fact from the Disney World website: Did you know that Walt Disney wanted to be sure that the business of the park would never intrude on the show, so he had built approximately 1.5 miles of Utilidors-the access tunnels beneath Magic Kingdom?

Epcot is the theme park at Disney that is sprawled out over 300 acres, twice the size of Magic Kingdom, and is divided into two parts: Future World and the World Showcase. Future World is full of attractions that are inspiring and educational and has a wide variety of shows as well. According to the Disney World website, Epcot focuses on innovations and technological advancements. The icon of Epcot theme park is called Spaceship Earth and looks like a huge silver golf ball with an actual ride inside it. The World Showcase features shops, attractions, and restaurants that portray 11 countries including: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. This park also has nightly fireworks called “IllumiNations: Reflections of the Earth.” Epcot is a place you won’t want to miss! Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that while Walt Disney was generating new ideas for Disneyland Park in California, he thought about building an International Street? That idea grew to become the concept behind the World Showcase area in Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios, formerly known as MGM Studios, is an amazing theme park that offers behind-the-scenes opportunities of Hollywood. This park has action shows, breathtaking attractions, and backstage tours. According to the Disney World website, the Hollywood attractions date back all the way to the 1930s and 1940s in the four areas of Hollywood Studios. One of its newest attractions is the American Idol Experience where you can sing up on stage and audience members vote for you. This park is one that makes you feel like you’re up close and personal with Hollywood fame. Here’s a Hollywood Studios fun fact: Did you know that the icon of Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park is a 122-foot-tall blue and gold sorcerer Mickey hat, like the hat Mickey Mouse wore in the 1940 classic Disney film Fantasia?

Whichever path you choose while vacationing in Disney World, you are going to have a magical and memorable experience. Walt Disney World is truly a place where dreams come true, for people of all ages. Embrace this imaginative and delightful place in sunny Orlando, Florida, and you’re guaranteed to experience a vacation you will never forget.

Laura Jones is an undergraduate student at St. Thomas Aquinas College, majoring in Communications and minoring in Performing Arts. She plans on getting an internship this summer with a radio station and hopes to pursue a career in the radio, television, or magazine industry, while singing on the side.

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