Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla., is possibly the most-visited destination in the United States. Operating at full capacity, it can accommodate more than 600,000 visitors in its many venues.
Although some consider this a destination for children, Disney World has become a popular destination for all ages, including groups.
Recently I returned from a travel industry meeting at WDW. We were housed in the premium Disney Yacht Club Resort. Rooms were spacious, tastefully decorated and well equipped with a work desk, sofa, comfortable beds, refrigerator, flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi service.
A gift shop, access to several on-property restaurants and boat transportation allows for a quiet, laid-back environment. It has a superb conference center, making it a great choice for meetings, weddings and family gatherings. I must warn you that the complex is sprawled over a large area and you may want to request a room near the elevators.
I also took a tour of WDW’s newest resort, Art of Animation. This moderately priced property is geared for families and the budget-conscious, young-at-heart couples.
The themed family suites, including “Finding Nemo,” “Cars” and “Lion King,” accommodate up to six people. These suites have three separate sleeping areas (a private bedroom, queen sofa and table that converts to a bed), two bathrooms and a mini-kitchen. Their price averages $249 per night. If you don’t need a suite, “Little Mermaid” standard rooms are available at a lesser rate. For those familiar with WDW, Art of Animation is located next to Pop Century Resort.
Very much to my liking and close to Epcot is Port Orleans contemporary resorts. The Riverside resort is reminiscent of a rural Louisiana bayou. You can boat on the Sassagoula River, take a carriage ride and dine on tasty Southern cuisine. Guests can choose from five room categories ranging from standard to various river views accommodating four to five people.
Port Orleans French Quarter resort puts you in its namesake, New Orleans. The main lobby is located in the Mint building and accommodations are disbursed over seven buildings. Rooms are decorated in bright, Mardi Gras colors and provide sleeping accommodations for two to four people.
Guests can meander over cobblestone streets while enjoying the Magnolia trees, New Orleans-style jazz music or the lazy river flowing through. It also has a food court for casual dining.
Being contemporarily priced and near to favorite attractions, you can expect to find more children at these sister resorts. Room rates range from $145 to $184 per night.
The Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom has four theme parks, two water parks, 23 hotel resorts plus eight non-Disney resort properties, five golf courses, two spas and a campground on its 30,000 acres.
Though Walt Disney was known for his imagination and creativity, he probably never dreamed it would transform into such a large, beloved destination.
For more information about this destination, visit www.disney.com. I also recommend you contact a Disney Specialist at your favorite travel agency who can help plan your magic vacation or meeting.
Rose Alston is a certified travel and master cruise counselor. She operates a business in Fairfield and can be reached at [email protected]