It’s your worst nightmare, a haphazardly planned trip to Orlando that only leaves you one day to visit the happiest place on Earth. It’s crunchtime and you have to make a decision on which park to visit. How do you decide? If you can only visit one Disney Park, here’s the best way to choose which one you can’t miss.
Choosing one park to visit during a trip to Florida is not an easy task. Each and every one of us is different; we have different interests, expectations and dreams of what a trip to Disney means for us. While we can’t know everyone’s past, present and future, here are a few helpful tips on how to choose the one park to visit on this hypothetical trip to Orlando that left you with only one day to explore all Disney has to offer.
If You’ve Never Been To Disney Before
Recommendation: Magic Kingdom
If you’ve never visited any of the Disney parks around the world and have no plans to visit a park anytime in the near future, there’s only one best answer, Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is the place where all our childhood dreams live. All the shows we watched as children, the classic characters we grew up with and all the attractions we’ve heard about for the past 20, 30 or 40 years live at the Magic Kingdom.
Stepping into the gates, walking down Main Street and seeing Cinderella’s Castle for the first time is a feeling that cannot be explained, experienced by watching TV or understood by hearing someone recount it. Everyone, at some point in their lives should probably experience this magic at least once for themselves.
If You’re A Fan Of Walt’s Quirky Side
If you’re a huge fan of Walt Disney you know he had his quirks. Walt’s Florida Project centered around the Magic Kingdom and his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT), where we’d all live, work and play in a perfect bubble community. EPCOT didn’t turn out exactly as he’d hoped but it is truly an amazing park with tons of attractions for foodies and thrill seekers alike.
There is no place in the world like EPCOT. No other Disney location has a similar style park so Orlando is your only chance to experience it. If you must choose one park to visit at Disney World, EPCOT is a good choice. With eleven countries to explore, EPCOT’s World Showcase is a great place for a leisurely stroll while munching on interesting cuisine, drinking funky cocktails and learning a bit about each country through a host of cultural shows and attractions.
If You Love Star Wars
Recommendation: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
I like Star Wars, but there are some of us who absolutely love the franchise. Those who grew up in the 70s and 80s dreaming of being a Jedi; who slept on Star Wars sheets for a good part of a decade and who have seen every single Star Wars movie, TV show, cartoon and spin off ever created. If this sounds like you then you will be sorely disappointed if you miss the new Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios.
Just like the magic you’d feel walking down Main Street for the first time, Star Wars fans will instantly feel part of the galactic universe when stepping into Galaxy’s Edge. The rides, restaurants and top notch Star Wars theming is something you won’t experience anywhere else and therefore a good choice for you if you’d like to unleash your inner Jedi master.
If You Or Your Kids Are Obsessed With Animals
Recommendation: Animal Kingdom
Like EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a quite a unique park. Part safari park, part theme park, part petting zoo, Animal Kingdom has it all. It’s the perfect place for your kids to have an adventurous day roaming through the jungle like paths and spotting various species from around the world. There are thrill rides, Expedition Everest, amazing shows, Festival of the Lion King, and of course a 110 acre wildlife reserve which is home to 34 species of African animals. Animal Kingdom is a can’t miss for animal and nature lovers.
If You Have One Long Day
Recommendation: Visit two parks
Yes, you can definitely visit more than one park in one long day at Disney. Two parks in one day can be easily conquered, while even three parks in one day is doable.
Generally if you are planning to visit more than one park in a day it is best to choose from either EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom. Since each of these parks likely contain a handful of attractions that are on your must-see list, it is possible to tackle a couple locations in a day.
For example, head over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and grab your boarding passes for Galaxy’s Edge bright and early. Check out a few other attractions while you wait for your time slot then in the late afternoon or early evening head to EPCOT to stroll around the World Showcase, snack on traditional cuisine before the end of the night. Generally speaking, most attractions around the World Showcase do not have long wait times so you’d likely have time to hop into a few shows as well.
Incorporating Magic Kingdom into a multi park day is possible but not necessarily recommended. Magic Kingdom is massive and it is the most difficult park to reach with the parking lot being set far away from the park entrance. Taking the monorail or ferry from the parking lot to the park entrance adds quite a bit of time to your day.
To save some time, consider taking advantage of the free bus services, Skyliner or Monorail from one park to another to eliminate time spent moving your car.
However, nothing is impossible. If you take advantage of Extra Magic Hours or you’re visiting on a day when the parks are open extra late you can likely find the time to visit both Magic Kingdom and another Disney theme park. Just be sure to get an early start, where comfortable shoes, book your FastPasses in advance and map out the attractions you want to visit during your one day at Disney.
Which is the one Disney park you can’t miss? Share your choice in the comments below.