I won't lie. It really makes me sad when I hear someone is visiting Disney World and skipping Animal Kingdom. Or Hollywood Studios. Or Epcot. Yes, Cinderella's castle IS Disney World...but the other parks have value too.
If you've never been, maybe you wonder why each park is so special. What makes it so amazing. I've got the answer! I'm going to share a bit about each part and what makes it unique, and a must do!
Animal Kingdom is more than a glorified zoo. It's a completely immersive trip through Africa, the enchanting world of Pandora, a trek through Asia, an adventure in a prehistoric area, and so much more.
While many people don't want to spend a day here, and there's quite the mindset of this being a half day park, that's simply not true. There is a LOT to do at Animal Kingdom. My suggestion though in the warmer months is to start at Dinoland. There's simply no shade there like there is in much of the other park of the park, and it gets hot quickly during the summer.
Wondering what to do? Here's a FREE touring plan! Check out what we love doing.
What else do I love? The amazing nature trails! The Wilderness Explorers! The waterfall behind the tree of life. Quiet places to rest and relax in nature. Shopping that you just can't do elsewhere. While it's no longer there, and I pray it returns, there was something so special about walking to Africa and the band there drumming and blowing their whistle, the crowd joining in the dances. I was always too shy to do it, but my feet were sure tapping!
Hollywood Studios also has a bit of a reputation for a half day park, but also for one not for the littles. Perhaps that's true in a way, there's not as much for the smaller set to do, but this doesn't mean it's a half day park. Between the shows, the strolling around, unique shopping only at this park, and Star Wars, there's a lot to see and do you just can't find anywhere else.
If you visit Hollywood Studios, I encourage you to stop at Walt Disney Presents. While it's much smaller than it used to be, there are incredible things from Walt Disney's childhood, early career, and things used by Imagneering to create other parks. Often One Man's Dream is playing, a short documentary about Walt. It's so moving. I cry every time. Narrated by the talented Julie Andrews, this just shouldn't be missed. After all, without Walt, there would be no Disney.
Wondering what our family does? Here's another FREE touring plan!
It really depends on what you like to do as to if EPCOT is an all day park for your family or not. I think Disney has realized this, which is why over the last few years they've really made an effort to do more for children. The Kidcot stations have evolved, there are new rides (with more rumored!) and the Moana area that's being created sounds pretty cool.
One of the fascinating things about EPCOT is not only the international tour you can get, with culture, foods, shops, and fun no where else, there's also a chance for hands on activities that outdo the other parks. There are beautiful gardens to stroll, a fantastic miniature train set up, the aquarium has some neat things, there's the ginormous heavy ball floating on water, you can DIY a race car, see yourself in the future...there's a lot to see and do.
When we go, this FREE touring plan has a few of our favorites too!
Best for last? Nah! Just everyone starts with Magic Kingdom, so I ended with it. Here you are going to find something for every age. You get to be immersed in some of your favorite stories, meet beloved friends, have some thrills, chills, spills (ok, splashes, but it didn't rhyme!) and experience the sight everyone associates with Disney...the castle.
While here, walk through the middle and look at the breathtaking mosaics of Cinderella's story. Now, look again. Those 500,000 pieces were all pieced together by hand. BY HAND. During twilight, look up at Rapunzel's tower and watch the colors change. As you wait in line for Prince Regal's Carousel, see the story above. Or, just click here to take a peek.
There's so much to do, this really is a full day even two day park. But if you don't want to wait in lines, check out what we do in this FREE touring plan. It links to other age specific (also FREE) touring plans.
After that mini introduction, what do you think? Are you convinced that none of the parks are worth skipping? If you have a favorite, I'd love to hear it! Pop by and join me on Facebook and tell me your favorite place to visit at Disney. I'd love to hear your least favorite too, and why!
Can't get enough fun facts about your favorite place on earth? Me either! So here are 5 facts about Disney World that you might not have known!
1. While many of the rides at Magic Kingdom were copies (or similar versions) of Disneyland, Space Mountain was an original Disney World attraction. After its success, a version was opened in California.
2. Big Thunder Mountain is based on Monument Valley, Arizona. Each of the six passenger cars has a different name. Can you ride them all?
3. Magic Kingdom isn't just bigger than Disneyland, Caldarella's castle is much taller than Sleeping Beauty's! Aurora's castle is only 77 feet tall, Cinderella's is 189. Maybe Prince Phillip should expand a little?
4. Artificial smells are piped throughout the park, and vary depending on which section you are in!
5. Magic Kingdom is smaller than Animal Kingdom's parking lot! Aren't you so glad for a bus that drops you off near the entrance?
6. Prince Regal's Carousel was built in 1917.
Aren't those some fascinating facts? Next time you are chatting with another Disney fan, see how many of those they know!