Destinations

Big kids never grow up, ask Peter Pan. It doesn’t matter if you’re 4 or 40, if you’re into Disney, or smiling in general, Disney World in Orlando is the one place it’s impossible to be sad.

Out of all the Disney parks, my favourite has to be Magic Kingdom – the happiest place on earth. I admit I cried when I saw the castle, and the fireworks, but they were genuinely tears of joy and awe.

Of course, Disney holidays are not just for families, although kids will remember this trip for the rest of their lives. Disney caters for everyone, young and old, creating stories and memories that never fade.

Flights over to Orlando are plentiful all year, and the last time I ventured over the Atlantic, I flew from Manchester. To make my long-haul journey less stressful I booked airport parking, meaning I could leave for the terminal when it suited me, in my own time, stopping if I wanted en-route, and I knew my car was ready for me when I arrived back in the UK. The deal I got was fantastic, and this has always been the case, no matter where I’ve flown from, with airport parking Stansted, also a service I’ve used and would book again.

Magic Kingdom is made up of six areas, with of course the beautiful Cinderella’s castle the centre-point. Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, New Fantasyland and Tomorrowland make up the main park, with attractions, rides and special goings on in each one. One of my personal favourites is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride – always in hope of bumping into Captain Jack Sparrow!

Your little darlings will love Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, with a make-over fit for a princess, or the magical parades during the day, creating an atmosphere of joy in the air – I dare you not to smile!

Characters bob around the park, with photo opportunities available. One tip I’d suggest is to buy an autograph book and collect the characters’ autographs as you go around, it’s fun and creates a great keepsake. Also be sure to take advantage of the free FASTPASS system, meaning less queuing, however be aware you can only book in one time slot at any one time. Another way to beat the queues is to head to the bigger attractions during parade times, as you’ll find lines are generally less.

Magic Kingdom is a theme park, but it’s not all about rides, so if you’re not into heart-thumping rollercoasters, fear not – there are shows, the aforementioned parades, and enough going on to keep everyone occupied, whether you set foot on a ride or not. There are also lots of shops to meander around, and if you’re staying in a Disney hotel, you also have the perk of being able to pick up your purchases at the end of the day, so no carrying them around.

Staying in a Disney hotel has many other perks too, not to mention the fantastic value Disney Dining Plan. This is part of your holiday booking and gives meals and drinks’ credits throughout your holiday, up to a limit, depending on your package – no need to budget for food during your park days. Ask your travel agent for details, but this is one service I would recommend, especially for families.

Disney holidays don’t come cheap, but they are certainly much more affordable nowadays. Memories like this are worth paying for, but remember to cut those costs, by using services such as parking at Stansted, and you’ll find a trip to the heart of the magic is within reach.