Disney World is truly a whole WORLD onto itself. It basically even comes with its own language…FastPass, rope drop, dole whip, advanced dining reservation…huh? Disney World is 49 square miles. It’s a full-blown city complete with its own transportation system. Within that city lies theme parks, hotels, stores, restaurants, and so many magical experiences. When it comes to planning a trip, it can be very overwhelming for people new to Disney. While you can find in-depth information on every last corner of Disney’s domain, that amount of information can make it impossible to see just enough about each element to make the big decisions on where to spend your time during your Disney World Vacation. To get a quick feel for which theme parks might be right for you, we’ve compiled an overview of the top experiences and things you need to know about each park.
- For each park, we’ll list the areas. Each park is broken down into areas or lands to help guests navigate better.
- Major Attractions are the major and most popular attractions that most people want to visit when they consider that park.
- We’ll also list out how much time we think this park takes. Some parks have more to do than others.
- Finally, we’ll give you our best recommendations for who loves each park. From toddlers to foodies there’s something for everyone.
The most iconic of the 4 parks centered around Cinderella’s Castle. A walk up Main Street is a walk down memory lane for anyone who visited Disney as a child.
Main Street, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, New Orleans Square
- Childhood favorites like Dumbo, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Peter Pan.
- Big kid thrill rides on the “Mountains”: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain.
- New fan-favorite on the Fantasyland roller coaster: Seven Dwarves Mine Train.
The Magic Kingdom can easily be a two-day park. If you are skipping the big rides or skipping the little rides, you can do it in a day. If you want both, we’d plan on two days.
Magic Kingdom is a great park for the whole family. It tends to be the favorite park for anyone with little kids or any group that has mixed ages of kids since there is such much to do at varying levels. This has the most options for riding together if there is a baby in tow. It’s also a favorite for guests who love the nostalgia from visiting in their childhood. Magic Kingdom is the place for parties…if you are wanting to experience the Halloween party or Christmas party, the Magic Kingdom is where all the action happens. Magic Kingdom is not the favorite for those who are looking for great restaurant options (outside of Be Our Guest), classic character meals, cocktails, or more adult themes.
Disney’s fantastic take on wildlife centered around the Tree of Life from which springs delights from both the natural world and other worlds like Pandora.
Africa, Asia, Dinoland U.S.A., Discovery Island, Pandora World of Avatar
- Navi River Journey and Flights of Passage in Pandora
- A screamin’ ride down Mount Everest
- Family-favorite Kilamanjaro Safaris where you can see the savannah up close and personal.
Most guests find that Animal Kingdom can be done in one day.
Animal Kingdom is best for nature-lovers. The park is beautiful and the experience more relaxed than many of the other parks. Many young children enjoy this park because they love animals. Animal Kingdom changes throughout the day and takes on a special feel at night. It also has great quick service food options. We personally think that Flight of Passage is the coolest ride- maybe at ANY of the parks. We’d do a day here just to experience it. It’s that amazing.
A show-stopping park that brings the best of the movies to one place! Great shows, beloved stories (like Toy Story & Frozen), and thrilling rides make it a performance you won’t forget.
Star Wars Land (Fall 2019), ToyStory Land, Sunset Blvd., Pixar Place & Mickey Ave., Streets of America & Commissary Lane, Hollywood Blvd. with Echo Lake.
- Slinky Dog Roller Coaster
- Family-favorite ToyStory Mania
- Rockin’ Roller Coaster & Tower of Terror
- Star Tours & two new rides coming to Star Wars Land in Fall 2019: Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run and Star Wars Rise of the Resistance.
With Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land), Hollywood Studios will easily be a two-day park. We anticipate that for a long time after Galaxy’s Edge opening, just seeing that land will take most of the day. If you are not wanting to experience Galaxy’s Edge, most guests only need 1-day for this park.
Hollywood Studios is a favorite with Star Wars fans (of course) as well as those who love real thrill rides. It’s also a favorite for any group that loves shows. Hollywood Studios has a lot of shows (most indoors) that also give a lot of rest from the sun. Hollywood Studios is not always best for very young riders, as most of the rides have height requirements and multiple shows get to be too long for their enjoyment. We recommend this park for ages 5+.
A beautiful park where you can globetrot around the World Showcase pavilions, dive deep into the oceans at an aquarium, or take a ride on the iconic-domed Spaceship Earth into the past to celebrate the future with fun technology.
World Showcase, FutureWorld with the Land Pavilion and Seas Pavilion
- Design your own car on Test Track
- Soar around the world on Soarin’
- Float through Frozen before you get to meet Anna & Elsa.
Epcot is currently a one-day park. It’s also an evening favorite for those who park hop. This park will see many major attractions new attractions coming in the next few years.
Epcot is best for culture-lovers. This park has the most restaurants and shopping. It has several street performers and unique character meet-and-greets. Epcot is also great for Frozen fans and the only place you can meet Anna & Elsa. It also has the best-value princess meet-and-greet character meal. Epcot is beloved for the different year-round festivals, which do not require an additional ticket. Many guests come just to eat (and drink) their way around the World Showcase during the Food & Wine festival. Currently, it is not great for ride-lovers. Many young elementary kids get bored in this park. It is often the favorite park as families get older…we recommend it for teens and adults.
Now that you have a rough feel for what parks there are, you may want to know a little more about the rides and experiences available at each park that interests you. For that, we have a gift for you: our 4 Park Comparison Cheat Sheet. It’s every ride in on one quick sheet so you can better see which parks holds the most magic for you. To get your copy, download it here.
About The Traveling Compass:
The Traveling Compass is a full-service luxury travel agency. Our success is built on a foundation of unmatched expertise and outstanding customer service. Our travel agents specialize in international travel, corporate incentive trips, destination weddings & honeymoons, multigenerational travel, luxury leisure, and family travel. We are also Authorized Disney Vacation Planners with experience assisting families that have children with special needs or large families or groups with complicated dining reservations for over 20 guests. Our personalized travel itineraries are designed to help discerning, time-pressed travelers plan the most elaborate vacations, down to the smallest detail. As luxury travel agents, we are dedicated to creating and facilitating travel experiences that expand awareness and give each person a real sense of the country and culture they are visiting. It is our mission to make sure you have the travel experience of a lifetime, every time.