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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Are You Going To All Four Parks?

Yeah!  You’re going to Walt Disney World!  Are you going to all four parks? 

For some travelers, this question brings confusion.  Four parks?  I thought there was only one. . . you know, the one with the Castle.  Must be a first time traveler when getting this type of response.

For others, this question elicits an expression of either biting one’s lip or putting hand to face to indicate thinking and decision making.  Yep, it can be a tough question.

Of course, the Magic Kingdom—the one with the Castle—gets the most visitors.  I was talking to a Cast Member at Hollywood Studios during our most recent trip about how Magic Kingdom was crowded while Studios didn’t feel crowded.  She explained that a slow day in terms of crowd at the Magic Kingdom was a big crowd day for them.  Ah, got it.  Seems that the Magic Kingdom gets guests from a radius around Orlando.  You know, the ones that come and stay at the coast then make a day trip to the Magic Kingdom and then say they went to Walt Disney World.  While we enjoy the Magic Kingdom, it isn’t our favorite park.  On our last trip, we skipped Fantasyland entirely in terms of rides and attractions.  That wasn’t our plan, but we just never made it that direction and there was no disappointment.

Recently, a family with young children asked if they could “skip” Disney’s Animal Kingdom, thinking that there wouldn’t be enough there to keep their children “entertained.”  Think again!  Disney’s Animal Kingdom gets a bad rep with “it’s a half day park” or “it’s just a zoo.”   And, while you can tour the park in less than a day if you wish—by skipping shows and attractions, it is definitely not just a zoo.  Guests figure that out once they visit.

We’ve also heard guests refer to EPCOT as “boring” and have heard others say that they haven’t spent much time there and want to explore more.  EPCOT is one of our favorite parks and on our last trip, we were there two evenings and one full day.  Boring?  No way!  There’s so much to see and do there and yet it doesn’t feel like you are rushing from one ride or attraction to another.  We like that.

Hollywood Studios sometimes gets confused with Universal Studios.  I think it happens when people shorten the title to just Studios.  This confusion leads some to think that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is not a Disney park.  But it definitely is!  We spent two days at this park during our most recent trip.  And, for our next trip, this will be the only park we visit.  Why?  Favorite rides, shows, and characters.  It’s easy to plan a day here with show times.  We usually have a more relaxed pace at this park.  After the initial rush to get Toy Story Mania Fastpasses, the rest of the day is cake.  11:30 Indiana Jones, followed by 1:20 Lights, Motors, Action and what we do before and after is up to us.  Easy!

Our advice, let the length of your stay determine the number of parks you visit.

We’ve taken long trips where we could visit each park and some more than once.  And, we’ve had short trips where there just wasn’t time for all parks.  The decision about which park to skip wasn’t easy, but knowing that we would return made the decision easier.

If planning for a “once in a lifetime” trip, then by all means, hit all 4 parks!  We won’t even ask you about the water parks or golf courses!

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