The land of pixie dust and fairytales . . . the "Happiest Place on Earth" . . . and that mouse -- Walt Disney World is all this and more to the over 50 million visitors who pour through its gates every year. Prices may be high and the lines long, but you can learn to love Disney with a little know-how. When you see kids' eyes light up as they meet Mickey or glimpse Cinderella Castle on the horizon, you'll no longer able be able to say that you don't like Disney without your nose growing an inch or two.
Attractions & Rides
Disney-savvy travelers book Fastpass to skip the lines at popular rides. Tots in tow? Take them to the Magic Kingdom to ride on Dumbo and meet princesses. Adults can travel the globe at Epcot's World Showcase or spot rhinos on an Animal Kingdom safari. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, ride Hollywood Studios' 13-story Twilight Zone. When Florida heats up, cool off on water slides at the snow-capped Blizzard Beach or snorkel with sharks (yes, real ones) at Typhoon Lagoon.
Restaurants & Dining
Kids won't want to miss character dining, from buffet breakfasts with Mickey to princess banquets at Cinderella's Royal Table. For sit-down dining, tuck into Maine lobster as fish swim by in Epcot's Coral Reef, order a sizzling steak in the Hollywood Studios' wood-paneled Hollywood Brown Derby, or eat in the jungle at Animal Kingdom's Rainforest Cafe. The themed restaurants at Downtown Disney dish up everything from Cuban food to Creole -- they're sure to please every palate (and pocketbook).
Nightlife & Entertainment
The 21-plus set can sip handcrafted cocktails at Disney's more sophisticated (translation: less sugary) lounges, like Rix (at Disney's Coronado Resort) and the Outer Rim (at Disney's Contemporary Resort). At Downtown Disney, a 24-screen dine-in cinema shows the latest blockbuster hits, while bendy acrobats wow the crowds at Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba. By nightfall, street performers appear to entertain the crowds strolling Disney's BoardWalk, furthering the Coney Island feel.
Characters & Parades
For kids, what's magical is catching the parades and getting a hug (and an illegible autograph) from favorite characters. Check the Times Guide so you can plan around the classic Main Street Electrical Parade and the fireworks at Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. Arrive early for a spot in front of Cinderella Castle for the best view. At Epcot, IllumiNations lights up the lagoon with its laser and light show, while Hollywood Studios' Fantasmic! is worth staying up late for.