If you’ve decided to visit Walt Disney World on a tight timeline, you might be concerned about choosing the best parks for the time you have available. One of the advantages of Walt Disney World is there is so much for families and friends to enjoy. From water parks to recreation areas, the Most Magical Place on Earth has it all. The problem is that most of us won’t have time to enjoy everything in one trip and are often faced with the harsh decision of where to visit and what to leave till next time. First, let’s look at some of the highlights of each of the four major Disney theme parks in Orlando and see if you can identify which might be most beneficial for your traveling party.
It’s the original park that Walt Disney dreamt of opening in Florida; unfortunately, he never had the chance to see it. Magic Kingdom is the most similar to Disneyland in its atmosphere and design. A similar layout, centered around Cinderella Castle, will give you all those magical vibes you’ve been hoping for. This is a fantastic place to enjoy parades, fireworks, characters, and dining. Magic Kingdom has an air of enchantment that isn’t rivaled in the other Walt Disney World parks and is a great place to visit for any fans of the fantastical stories of Princesses and also serves well for families with adventure-lovers on board thanks to iconic attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain. If this is your first experience with a Disney Park, Magic Kingdom is a must-do experience.
Once seen as a more educational park, EPCOT has been looked down on for many years, thought to be for an older audience. Changes made to the park over the last 15 years have seen that stigma slowly fade away with more attractions and character inclusion than ever before. The heart of EPCOT is its World Showcase, an area where guests can enjoy a snippet of life from other countries around the globe. Experience shows, music, food, and drinks from faraway places while being in awe of the architecture, detail, and cast members that host them. Throughout the rest of the park, fans can enjoy attractions featuring Figment, Guardians of the Galaxy, Finding Nemo, Frozen, and soon, Moana. EPCOT is an excellent park for anyone looking for a twist on the Disney experience. It’s a perfect way to indulge in the unique creative environment they provide without as much of the typical character fanfare.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The third park to open in Walt Disney World was Disney’s Hollywood Studios (then called MGM Studios). This is a perfect destination for anyone searching for a bit more action in their Disney days. This park is home to two of the newest ‘lands’ in the region, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. Both areas are themed to perfection, providing immersive environments to explore the worlds of these fantastic characters. Guests can also enjoy famously exhilarating attractions like Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, as well as the acclaimed nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic! Hollywood Studios has fewer appearances of the traditional Disney characters like Mickey and the Gang, though it is a great opportunity to spend your time with some of Disney’s other franchises, like Indiana Jones in the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
If you are looking for a taste of adventure, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the place to be. See some of Disney’s most beloved animals on Africa’s Kilimanjaro Safaris, then head on over to Asia, where you can climb to the top of Mt Everest on Expedition Everest or sail down the Chakranadi River on Kali River Rapids. Head back in time to drive through the prehistoric world of DINOSAUR before venturing over to Pandora – the World of Avatar for an out-of-this-world experience with the Na’vi. Animal Kingdom is a lovely fit for fans looking for more than a typical theme park experience. The food in this park is infused with an aromatic fusion of flavors unique to each region, allowing guests to enjoy the authenticity of each area. The overarching animal theme ties in beautifully at every turn, thanks to the care and guidance of Disney’s zookeepers and animal experts, who ensure that all the animals are well cared for and content.
Did one of those parks spark your excitement more than the others? If so, that would be the right place to start. If you have never visited a Disney theme park before, I would highly recommend adding Magic Kingdom to the top of your list. However, if you have had your castle moments or visited Disneyland and are looking for a fresh experience, you might be better off heading for one of the others.
On one of my recent trips to Walt Disney World, we only had two days available, and my husband was joining us (my two teenagers and I) for the first time in a while. I was so happy with my selections of EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom for those two days, giving my husband a taste of what a less traditional Disney vacation feels like. Should you be looking for two parks unique in nature and attractions, these two would be my recommendation.
Planning for a Disney vacation on a limited timeframe? Don’t miss our One-Day Guides to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, and be sure to reach out to our experienced agents at Dreams Unlimited Travel for more advice and expertise.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.