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Walt Disney World Resort picture in Orlando-Walt Disney World
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  • Amusement Parks, Cafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping Type
  • More than Full Day Time to Spend

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Based on 8 interviews

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  • Recommended
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Excessive, exhausting and expensive, Walt Disney World Resort is above all else enchanting. Composed of four theme parks (the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom), two water parks (Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Disney's Blizzard Beach), 21 hotels and the Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex, this sprawling property features iconic sights and rides like Cinderella Castle, "it's a small world," Spaceship Earth and the recently opened Pandora – The World of Avatar. Even Anaheim's Disneyland can't compete, according to some. 

Of course, there is one major drawback. Walt Disney World park tickets are expensive, regardless of whether you're visiting for just a day (kids and adults ages 10 and up can enjoy the Magic Kingdom for $109 to $129, depending on the day, while tickets for kids ages 3 to 9 cost between $103 and $123) or several days (a two-day package, which only includes entrance to one park per day, costs $209 per adult). Meanwhile, one-day water park tickets cost $54 to $65 each. Most suggest you visit this expansive property over the course of several days to justify the high entrance fees. If you have limited time, consider skipping the parks in favor of exploring Disney Springs, which is free to visit.

Another disappointment to some: the abundance of people. During school recesses, all of the parks are packed with tourists and locals, meaning pathways can feel congested and ride lines may be hours long. To avoid these issues, try visiting on a weekday when school is in session. Or, stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, where all guests have access to Extended Magic Hours (or extra attraction hours for one or two parks). Select Disney resorts also include dining plans in vacation packages.

Walt Disney World Resort is located in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida, about 17 miles southwest of downtown Orlando. Each theme park has different hours, but all open by 9 a.m. and close between 7 and 11 p.m. Water park hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. If you're staying at one of Disney's accommodations, you'll have access to complimentary bus, ferry or monorail transfers. Parking lots and stops for LYNX's Nos. 50 and 56 routes are also available, but extra charges apply. Disney Springs and all parks offer shops, restaurants, restrooms, sitting areas and live entertainment like parades and fireworks shows. Check out Walt Disney World Resort's website for further details.

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#1 Walt Disney World Resort Excessive, exhausting and expensive, Walt Disney World Resort is above all else enchanting. Composed of four theme parks (the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal ... Read more » Handout / Handout / Getty Images

#2 Universal Orlando Resort Whether you're traveling with little ones, teenagers, friends or your significant other, odds are you'll find something to enjoy at Universal Orlando Resort. This sprawling entertainment area features ... Read more » Brett Kiger / Flickr

Paladin27 / Flickr

#4 Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex As much a part of Orlando's culture as Mickey and Minnie, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is another alternative to the city's crowded theme parks. Though it ... Read more » Purdue9394 / Getty Images

#5 SeaWorld Orlando While Mickey's house and Harry's wizarding world are certainly magical, many vacationers find Shamu's lair equally enchanting. And if you're short on time, you might want ... Read more » jimfeng / Getty Images

#6 Golf If you're not coming to Orlando to explore its theme parks, chances are you've come to visit its links. More than 170 golf courses – many of which have ... Read more » ivanastar / Getty Images

#7 The Mall at Millenia Popular brands like Apple and H&M rub elbows with high-end boutiques like Prada and Versace at the The Mall at Millenia. Providing a nice change of pace from the overpriced ... Read more » inazakira / Flickr

# Downtown Orlando Read more » Gina Pricope / Getty Images

#8 Gatorland Let's face it: Orlando is not the place for a cheap getaway with the kiddies. But this 110-acre preserve of alligators, crocodiles, snakes, toads, turtles and more is an ... Read more » Danita Delimont / Getty Images

#9 I-Drive The International Drive Resort Area is one of Orlando's most diverse regions to visit. Situated less than 10 miles southwest of downtown Orlando, this area features a variety of ... Read more » Philipp Meier / Flickr

#10 Harry P. Leu Gardens Despite the fact that most vacationers spend their time pounding the pavement, trundling tots from one amusement park ride to the next, Orlando is actually a great place to stop ... Read more » scott.zona / Flickr

#11 Orlando International Premium Outlets If you enjoy shopping, then no visit to Orlando would be complete without perusing the city's outlet malls. Although several are available in the International Drive Resort Area, some ... Read more » DJ A. / Flickr

#12 Fun Spot America Although these amusement parks are not as well-known as those found at SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, Fun Spot offers a plethora of rides, including ... Read more » Rain0975 / Flickr

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Harry P. Leu Gardens picture in Orlando-Walt Disney World
Orlando International Premium Outlets picture in Orlando-Walt Disney World
Fun Spot America picture in Orlando-Walt Disney World

While visiting Walt Disney World Resort, take in one of the parks' fireworks shows, which are offered at various times every day. Handout / Handout / Getty Images

Take your pick between a variety of movie-themed attractions at Universal Orlando Resort, including Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Brett Kiger / Flickr

Interact with aquatic animals like dolphins, otters and stingrays at Discovery Cove. Paladin27 / Flickr

Prepare to launch your vacation into overdrive at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Along with perusing historical NASA exhibits, you can see what it's like to get behind the controls during the Astronaut Training Experience. Purdue9394 / Getty Images

SeaWorld Orlando's main draw is its animal exhibits, but thrill seekers will likely enjoy the park's three rollercoasters: Kraken, Mako and Manta. jimfeng / Getty Images

Golf courses abound in the Greater Orlando area. For some of the best fairways, tee off at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge, the Villas of Grand Cypress, Orlando or the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. ivanastar / Getty Images

Need a day away from Mickey and Minnie? Find refuge at The Mall at Millenia, where high-end boutiques like Prada and Versace rub elbows with everyday retailers like Victoria's Secret and Gap. inazakira / Flickr

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Experience alligator-centric activities like zip lining above a breeding marsh, feedings and gator wrestling at Gatorland. Danita Delimont / Getty Images

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Harry P. Leu Gardens features 50 acres worth of camellias, roses, ferns, azaleas and more.  scott.zona / Flickr

Orlando boasts an array of outlet stores, but some of the best can be found at Orlando International Premium Outlets. DJ A. / Flickr

This amusement park may not be as well known as those found at Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort, but Fun Spot America – the only family-owned theme park in Central Florida – regularly draws in visitors with its unique rides, including a virtual reality rollercoaster and Orlando's only wooden rollercoaster. Rain0975 / Flickr

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