Over the years, I have spent much time working out the best routine for our Disney vacations. One of the most important decisions you will need to make is what order to visit the parks. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve discussed in great detail what your opening park should be; I’m sure there would be no surprise that the answer for most people was Magic Kingdom. Though, just as importantly, you will need to determine which park you will end your trip with.
It’s not as easy as it sounds. You are selecting the perfect all-rounder that will give you the lasting impressions you need to go home and carry on in the real world. It can’t be something weak. You can’t just move through the options in the order of preference, leaving the least popular till last. This strategy is fraught with danger and can only lead to disappointment. On the other hand, leaving your favorite park till last can make it even harder to say goodbye; also, if you miss any of your must-do attractions, there are no further opportunities to return and get those ticked off before you leave.
This leaves us with your number 2 or number 3 park as the sweet spot. In my case, that would be EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I must clarify, Magic Kingdom is actually not my favorite park. I’ve even made a few trips where I didn’t visit MK at all. Shocking, I know. But when it comes to ordering the parks when all the contenders are present and accounted for, the castle is definitely going to start the show. Disneyland or Magic Kingdom is the best way to know you’ve arrived if you visit long enough to spend time at every stop. However, the endpoint isn’t quite as simple to work out. In California, you might remember that I like to end proceedings with a half-day California Adventure. It’s fun enough to enjoy, but I don’t have to turn my back on Sleeping Beauty Castle. Walt Disney World is another story completely, and more than once, I’ve felt like I haven’t quite worked out the best ending.
How do you approach this predicament? How do you sign off your park visit agenda, and how did you come to that conclusion? Disney’s Animal Kingdom usually is my end point; I love the place and can’t help it. Where do you bid farewell, and how do you decide?
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.