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Walt Disney World can be magic for everyone.


A trip to Disney World doesn't have to be all three star hotels and three-hour queues; you just need to do Disney the new luxe way.

WORDS Rebecca Lawson

Whether born with a silver spoon in the mouth or a wooden one, children the world over all want to visit Walt Disney World, but most parents dread it, and it’s easy to see why. Tired children, massive crowds, huge queues and never-ending shops selling Disney products can be daunting to the hardiest of family travellers, but never fear – with a well-structured attack plan and a good dose of luxury thrown in, Disney can be the ultimate family getaway.

It is notoriously difficult to find a true five star property within a Disney park, but iconic brand Four Seasons has come to the rescue of five star parents the world over by opening a brand-new resort right inside Walt Disney World, Orlando. The resort is located in a gated residential community called Golden Oaks, which comprises million-dollar family homes – just don’t let the kids know that you can actually live in Disney World. Although it is located on Disney-owned land, the property is run by Four Seasons and is the only real luxury offering inside the park – and any five star family knows that the Four Seasons Group are pretty good at running highend properties.

While staying at the resort, mum and dad will enjoy all the little luxuries expected in a Four Seasons property, but perhaps one of the biggest perks for parents and kids is that most rooms in the resort offer spectacular views of Magic Kingdom and you can settle back and watch their nightly fireworks display from the comfort of your own balcony – no crowds to dodge or tired children to haul around.

The kids will also love breakfasting with Goofy as an onsite photographer captures each moment. At the Disney Planning Centre, cast members are available to help plan your stay so you don’t miss out on any of the good bits, or queue too long in any of the popular bits. They will organise tickets and even make dining reservations for you. Getting around the parks is easy from Four Seasons, too – complimentary shuttle buses run regularly, but if you like to do it in style, there are also cars for hire.



Above: There is nothing three star about the Four Seasons Orlando.
Below: Children's toiletries.

You’re here to see the parks, but if the kids (or you) need a day off, there is no reason to leave the resort. The two-hectare ‘Explorer Island’ will keep the little ones cool and busy winding down the lazy river around the ‘ruined’ mansion, dodging the rapids, racing down the two water slides and shooting dad with the water cannons. When it’s time to dry out, drop the kids at the Kids For All Seasons complimentary kids’ camp, while you relax in the resort’s brand-new spa, adults-only pool or 18-hole golf course.

If you have a (really) big family, or just want loads of space to spread out in, you may consider hiring the Royal Suite. On the 16th floor, you’ll enjoy views to kill, but the biggest problem is you may not find your way out again! It can be configured with three separate living areas and a total of nine bedrooms, so you have plenty of room to take your household staff with you – after all, when you’re on a Disney holiday you need all the help you can get, and who wants to travel without their nanny, PA and stylist?

If you want to experience Disney the most exclusive way possible, the age-old adage applies: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. The Cinderella Suite, located in the upper wing of the iconic Cinderella Castle cannot be booked for any amount of money – you have to be invited to stay in its hallowed walls, just like Tom Cruise and daughter Suri were back in 2012 – but that’s part of its appeal.

Originally intended as an apartment for Walt Disney and his family, the space was left unfinished when Walt died in 1966 before the park was completed. Although the apartment is actually quite small, it’s unparalleled views of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks, stained glass windows depicting the story of Cinderella’s rise to royalty, pumpkin coach mosaic on the floor made of 30,000 Italian tiles, and authentic glass slipper on display are sure to get you feeling the fantasy spirit. Never fear, however, the 24-hour concierge and flat-screen TV hidden expertly in a magic mirror will make sure you don’t feel like you’ve gone back to medieval times.

The sheer size of Orlando’s Disney World is enough to overwhelm even the hardiest of travelling parents. If you think tackling one theme park is tough enough with littlies in tow, then think of this; Disney World is made up of seven – that’s right, seven – theme parks, each with its own theme and an endless list of rides and attractions that the kids have to see. But it needn’t be as hard as it sounds. Just book a VIP tour.

Your VIP Tour Guide will plan an itinerary around what you want to see. They’ll pick youup in a private vehicle from your hotel, whisk you around to the rides you want brave in as many parks as you want to tackle in a day. You can skip the lines, enjoy rides more than once without queuing, enjoy VIP seating at shows, and get all the tips and tricks from your guide. It’s a super-deluxe service, and at up to $500 an hour, you’ll want to enjoy every second.

Stay: Four Seasons 

Info: Disney World 

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