What you're about to read is the all-new fifth edition of The Everything® Family Guide to the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios, and Greater Orlando. This travel guide was written to help you make the most of your vacation experience. Unless you're planning to spend several weeks and an absolute fortune, there's no possible way that you'll be able to experience everything the Greater Orlando area has to offer. Therefore, you'll have to make decisions about which theme parks you want to visit, which attractions within those theme parks you want to experience, what shows and parades you want to see, and which restaurants you want to patronize.
The WDW Resort is a city unto itself, but it's a 30,500-acre (47 square-mile) city unlike any other found on this planet. Yet, with everything that already exists in this ultimate vacation destination, less than one-quarter of the total acreage of the resort complex has been developed. Thus, in the years and decades to come, you can bet that the WDW Resort will continue to evolve and provide many future generations with a taste of Disney magic and the wholesome family vacation experience that Walt Disney himself (along with his brother Roy) intended for all who visit this unique resort.
Located less than a fifteen-minute drive from the WDW Resort is another fast-growing tourist destination, which is the second most popular theme park complex in the Greater Orlando area. Universal Studio Resort offers some of the most incredible rides, shows, and attractions found anywhere in the world, yet here you'll find a very different type of vacation experience.
Originally, when Universal Studios Florida opened, it was a single, medium-sized theme park that could be experienced within a day. Now, this park has expanded dramatically, and as you'll read later in this book, it continues to go through massive construction and development. As a result, vacationers can easily plan on spending two or three full days experiencing everything there is to see and do at Universal Studio Resort, which now comprises two theme parks, the City-Walk area, and three resort hotels.
Located in between WDW and Universal Studios is the third most popular theme park attraction in Orlando — SeaWorld. This marine park offers an up-close look at marine life, like dolphins and whales, plus it features an assortment of marine-related rides, shows, attractions,tours, and adventure camps.
Inside this book you'll find detailed descriptions of all the activities and things there are to see and do at the WDW Resort, Universal Studios Florida Resort, SeaWorld, and other popular tourist attractions. There are all sorts of tips and suggestions on how you can save money while making the most of your vacation.
To help you choose which rides, shows, and attractions are most worth experiencing while visiting the Magic Kingdom (and all of the theme parks at the WDW Resort), this book offers a star-based rating system. The ratings are based on the age group for which each attraction will hold the most appeal. For each ride, you'll see a chart listing several age groups, plus a one- to three-star rating for that attraction
These ratings are only recommendations. If you have a mature-nine-year-old, he or she may very well enjoy a ride, show, or attraction that's more suitable for an eleven- to fifteen-year-old. As a parent, that's a judgment call you'll need to make based on the information provided within this book and after seeing the ride, show, or attraction for yourself once you get to the theme park.
This book is “unofficial,” which means that it is in no way authorized or sanctioned by the Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, or any other attraction, travel agency, hotel chain, restaurant,or airline. Thus, this book has the freedom to tell it like it is, and to offer you money- and time-saving advice that you won't find in any other travel guide or vacation-planning book.
As you read through this book, know that the various theme parks and resorts are constantly evolving. New rides, attractions, shows,parades, shops, restaurants, and activities are always being updated,changed, or canceled. Thus, when you actually visit Orlando, don't be surprised if you encounter something new and different that's not described in this book.