If you live on the eastern half of the USA, you likely already have this figured out if you have visited Disneyworld a few times already, but with COVID a lot of people from the western half of the USA are visiting Disneyworld more than ever, because as you may know, Disneyland in Anaheim has been closed due to California’s restrictions on theme parks. So those who frequent Disneyland know that you have two parks, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. In Orlando there are four parks; Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. So, the question becomes; should I visit one of the parks, all the parks, or just two of the parks? My answer varies depending on a couple of factors.
So, it depends on first; how long will you be in Orlando? Second; what kind of experience do you prefer?
If you only have 1 day to visit parks, I would recommend visiting Magic Kingdom for most of your day and Epcot to do for a few hours in the evening. Magic Kingdom is the most similar to Disneyland in Anaheim. It has almost all the same rides and the layout is somewhat similar. Epcot can be a nice short visit because there are only a few good rides.
If you have two or more days to visit parks, I would recommend visiting ALL 4 parks. Each offers its own unique experience. Below I will briefly review each park with some photos and videos included. From these reviews, you can determine whether you want to visit all 4 parks or just 2 or 3 of them.
Magic Kingdom is the most similar to the traditional Disneyland, it has all the rides you are familiar with such as Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Small World, Splash Mountain, plus a few of extras such as Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Train, which is a Snow White themed Roller Coaster. For those of you who frequent Disneyland, there is no Matterhorn nor Mister Toad’s Wild Ride at Magic Kingdom.
Definitely make this park the main priority unless you are completely tired of these traditional rides. Get to this park early because it tends to be the most crowded and also give yourself plenty of extra time for parking. The parking lot is far from the park entrance and you either have to take a boat, bus, or monorail to get to the entrance. If you can help it, park at Epcot and take a monorail in, that way you’re not wasting time getting from the parking lot to the park and spending that same long time exiting the park back to the parking lot. Instead you park at Epcot, take the monorail to Magic Kingdom, when your done at Magic Kingdom, take the monorail back to Epcot, spend your last few hours visiting Epcot and you can easily get into your car from there. Now this only works if you actually plan on visiting Epcot. If you’re only going to Magic Kingdom, then you must park there or take a shuttle there from your hotel.
Epcot is a small, quick, fun future themed park. Definitely worth the visit. The rides that I recommend there are Test Track, a high speed race car simulator; Awesome Planet which is a slow ride up into the big ball; Soarin’ Around the World, which is large round screen where your seat is elevated right in front of it and it feels like you’re flying around the world to different famous sights, they have this exact same ride at California Adventure; Mission: Space, which is a simulated space shuttle launch, not for the weak stomach so we passed on that, and a few other small rides.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This is probably my favorite park at Disneyworld. It has an old 50s style theme as far as the streets go at the front of the park. Toward the back southwest part of the park you have Star Wars world. There you have Rise of the Resistance, a highly recommended star wars themed ride and experience, it is so popular you need a reservation done at 7am on your app before entering the park. Also Millineum Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is here.
Throughout the rest of the park you have many fun rides and attractions to visit such as Slinky Dog Dash which is a roller coaster with a cute dog on the front; there is also Hollywood Tower of Terror, which is a Twilight Themed Thrill Ride with a few sudden drops; also there is the Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, which is an Aerosmith themed coaster that is fast and goes upside down, and worth the ride.
The overall feel of this park is fun, takes you back in time and is overall worth your visit. If you can only go to two parks, I would recommend this one and Magic Kingdom.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Before I say anything else, I just want to get across that this park is not just a zoo. Yes there are animals to see, but it’s so much more, in my opinion the best roller coaster Disney offers is in this park. There are many attractions and rides to experience in this park. First there is “It’s Tough to be a Bug,” it is a show, but completely worth it; there is Expedition Everest, the best Disney coaster in existence. It’s somewhat similar to Matterhorn in Disneyland, but so much better (and not as bumpy); there is also Flight of the Avatar, this one you need to make a priority, everybody loves this attraction. it involves 3-D video and the sense that you’re flying through the Avatar’s world; the Na’vi River Journey is good too.
So as you can see there is a lot to see in each of these parks, I only mentioned our favorite attractions. So how can you best experience all 4 parks? if you have 4 days at the Disney parks, I would do one each day. Epcot is the only park that would not take a whole day, so you can go in the morning and get off earlier in the evening. All three other parks can last a whole day if you want to go on most or all of the rides. If you have less than 4 days, I recommend getting the Park Hopper pass that allows to you go from park to park in the same day.