Disney World includes four main theme parks—Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom—as well as two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
But which is the best park to visit at Disney World?
This depends on a few factors, but the most important factor is age!
With so many parks and attractions to choose from, selecting the right park for each age group is crucial to ensuring an enjoyable and memorable visit. Each park caters to different interests, preferences, and age groups, providing experiences that range from whimsical and enchanting to thrilling and adventurous.
By selecting the appropriate park for each age group, families can optimize their time at Disney World, ensuring that every member has an unforgettable experience tailored to their needs and desires.
In this article, we will explore the different parks within Walt Disney World Resort, focusing on the unique offerings that cater to various age groups. We will provide an overview of each park, highlighting key attractions, entertainment, and dining options, as well as tips for navigating the parks with different age groups.
Magic Kingdom: The Ultimate Park for Young Kids and All Ages
Magic Kingdom, the first park to open at Walt Disney World Resort in 1971, was inspired by Disneyland in California. It’s a classic Disney park, embodying the spirit of imagination, fantasy, and enchantment. Divided into six themed lands—Main Street, USA; Adventureland; Frontierland; Liberty Square; Fantasyland; and Tomorrowland—Magic Kingdom offers a wide variety of attractions, shows, and experiences that appeal to visitors of all ages.
Key attractions for young kids
- Cinderella’s Castle: The iconic centerpiece of the park, Cinderella’s Castle is a must-see for young kids. Guests can explore the castle, dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table, or watch the breathtaking nighttime fireworks display.
- Main Street, USA: This nostalgic entrance to Magic Kingdom transports guests to a turn-of-the-century American town, complete with shops, eateries, and a charming atmosphere.
- Fantasyland: Home to classic attractions like “it’s a small world,” Peter Pan’s Flight, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Fantasyland immerses young kids in their favorite fairytales and Disney stories.
- Adventureland: This exotic land features attractions such as the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, providing young adventurers with thrilling experiences.
- Tomorrowland: With attractions like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and the Tomorrowland Speedway, young kids can explore the exciting world of the future.
Nostalgia and thrills for kids at heart
- Classic attractions: Magic Kingdom is home to many beloved, timeless attractions like Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which continue to captivate older kids and adults alike.
- Newer additions and updates: The park has also introduced fresh experiences, such as the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and updated versions of classic attractions like the Jungle Cruise, ensuring a perfect blend of nostalgia and modern excitement.
Entertainment and dining options at the Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom offers a variety of entertainment options, including parades, stage shows, and character meet-and-greets. Guests can also enjoy a diverse array of dining options, ranging from quick-service eateries to sit-down restaurants and character dining experiences.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Ideal for Ages 6 to 12
Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which opened in 1998, is the largest of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort. With a focus on animal conservation and the natural world, this unique park combines elements of a traditional theme park with those of a wildlife preserve. Themed areas include Africa, Asia, Discovery Island, DinoLand U.S.A., and Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Key attractions for kids aged 6 to 12
- Kilimanjaro Safaris: Embark on an exciting expedition through the park’s African savanna, encountering real-life animals such as elephants, giraffes, and lions up close.
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail: This self-guided walking tour offers the chance to observe gorillas, hippos, meerkats, and other fascinating creatures in their natural habitats.
- Avatar Flight of Passage: Kids who meet the height requirement can experience this thrilling 3D attraction that simulates flying on the back of a banshee through the breathtaking world of Pandora.
- Kali River Rapids: Prepare to get soaked on this white-water rafting adventure, which highlights the importance of preserving Earth’s natural resources.
Slower pace and spread-out layout
Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers a more leisurely pace compared to other Disney parks, with a spacious layout that encourages exploration and appreciation for the natural world. This park is ideal for families with kids aged 6 to 12 who want a more relaxed and immersive experience.
Educational experiences and conservation efforts
The park provides various educational opportunities, such as animal encounters, interactive exhibits, and knowledgeable Cast Members who can share information about wildlife and conservation. Disney’s Animal Kingdom also supports various global conservation initiatives, making it an inspiring destination for eco-conscious families.
Entertainment and dining options
Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers live shows like Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo – The Musical, which are suitable for all ages. Dining options include quick-service eateries, sit-down restaurants, and even character dining experiences like the Tusker House.
Epcot: A World of Adventure for Teens and Adults
Epcot, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, opened in 1982 as the second theme park at Walt Disney World Resort. The park is divided into two main sections: Future World, which focuses on technological innovations and the environment, and World Showcase, which celebrates the cultures, cuisines, and traditions of 11 countries. Epcot offers a unique blend of educational experiences, cultural immersion, and thrilling attractions that appeal to teens and adults.
Key attractions for teens and adults
- World Showcase: Explore the pavilions representing 11 countries—Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada—each offering authentic architecture, shopping, dining, and entertainment.
- Spaceship Earth: This iconic, slow-moving dark ride takes guests through the history of human communication and innovation, from the Stone Age to the digital age.
- Test Track: Design your own virtual concept vehicle and then put it to the test in this high-speed attraction that simulates a thrilling automotive proving ground.
- Soarin’ Around the World: Experience the sensation of hang gliding as you soar over breathtaking landscapes and iconic landmarks from around the globe.
Cultural experiences and global cuisine
Epcot offers a diverse array of cultural experiences, such as live performances, art exhibits, and interactive displays. In addition, guests can enjoy authentic global cuisine at various restaurants and kiosks throughout World Showcase, providing a unique opportunity to sample dishes from different countries.
Annual festivals and events
Epcot hosts several annual festivals and events that cater to various interests, including the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, and the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Each event offers unique entertainment, food, and activities that enhance the park experience for guests.
Entertainment and dining options
Epcot provides a wide range of entertainment options, from live performances and cultural shows to nighttime spectaculars like Harmonious, an impressive display of fireworks, fountains, and projections. Dining options range from quick-service eateries to award-winning fine dining restaurants, offering something to suit every palate and budget.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Lights, Camera, Action for the Whole Family
Disney’s Hollywood Studios, originally named Disney-MGM Studios, opened in 1989 as the third theme park at Walt Disney World Resort. Inspired by the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age and the magic of film production, the park offers a unique blend of thrilling attractions, live shows, and immersive experiences that transport guests into the world of movies, television, and theater. With something for everyone, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a perfect destination for the whole family.
Key attractions for various age groups
- Toy Story Land: Step into the world of Andy’s toys in this colorful, larger-than-life land featuring attractions like Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Toy Story Mania! Ideal for young kids and families, Toy Story Land provides a whimsical and immersive experience.
- Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Embark on an intergalactic adventure in this immersive land that transports guests to the remote planet of Batuu. With attractions like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge appeals to fans of all ages.
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: This thrilling, spine-chilling attraction drops guests into the eerie world of the classic TV series, The Twilight Zone. With its unexpected drops and supernatural storyline, this ride is perfect for thrill-seekers and older kids.
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith: Buckle up for a high-speed, adrenaline-pumping roller coaster experience set to the soundtrack of Aerosmith hits. This attraction is sure to please teens and adults looking for excitement.
Live shows and entertainment
Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers a variety of live shows and entertainment options that cater to diverse interests. Don’t miss out on the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, which showcases daring stunts and behind-the-scenes insights into movie-making magic. Fans of Frozen will love the sing-along celebration, “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration,” while the Disney Junior Dance Party entertains the youngest guests with their favorite characters.
Dining options and themed restaurants
The park features a range of dining options, from quick-service eateries to themed restaurants that transport guests into their favorite movies and shows. Enjoy a nostalgic meal at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, where you’ll sit in vintage cars while watching classic sci-fi clips on the big screen. For a more upscale experience, savor delicious dishes at The Hollywood Brown Derby, an iconic replica of the famous Hollywood landmark. With so many choices, there’s a dining experience to suit every taste and budget.
Water Parks: Making a Splash at Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon
In addition to the four theme parks, Walt Disney World Resort also features two unique water parks: Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Both parks offer a fun-filled day of aquatic adventures, from thrilling water slides to relaxing lazy rivers, ensuring that guests of all ages can make a splash.
- Key attractions for different age groups
- Tike’s Peak: A play area designed for young children, featuring smaller slides and water activities.
- Summit Plummet: A thrilling, near-vertical water slide for adrenaline junkies and older kids.
- Teamboat Springs: A family-friendly raft ride that accommodates up to six guests.
- Cross Country Creek: A relaxing lazy river perfect for all ages.
- Dining and relaxation options
- Lottawatta Lodge: A quick-service restaurant offering burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
- Polar Pub: A poolside bar serving refreshing drinks and snacks.
- Beach Haus: A shop where you can rent cabanas, towels, and purchase swim essentials.
- Key attractions for different age groups
- Ketchakiddee Creek: A play area designed for young children, featuring mini slides and interactive water features.
- Crush ‘n’ Gusher: A thrilling water coaster suitable for older kids and adults.
- Castaway Creek: A relaxing lazy river that meanders through the entire park.
- Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool: A massive wave pool that provides fun for all ages.
- Dining and relaxation options
- Leaning Palms: A quick-service restaurant offering a variety of food options, including burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
- Let’s Go Slurpin’: A bar serving tropical drinks, cocktails, and light snacks.
- Singapore Sal’s: A shop where you can rent cabanas, towels, and purchase swim essentials.
Which Disney World park is most suitable for older children?
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is an excellent choice for older children. The park features thrilling attractions like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Additionally, the immersive lands of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge provide excitement and entertainment for older kids who are fans of these franchises.
What is the ideal Disney park for 7-year-olds?
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great option for 7-year-olds. The park offers a combination of exciting attractions, such as Avatar Flight of Passage and Kali River Rapids, and educational experiences like Kilimanjaro Safaris and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. The park’s slower pace and focus on animals and nature make it enjoyable and engaging for kids in this age group.
Which Disney World park is the top choice for adults?
Epcot is a popular choice for adults, offering cultural experiences and global cuisine through its World Showcase. The park also features attractions that cater to more mature audiences, such as Spaceship Earth, Test Track, and Soarin’ Around the World. Epcot’s annual festivals and events, like the International Food & Wine Festival, further enhance the adult experience.
What age range is most suitable for Disney World?
Disney World is designed to be enjoyed by people of all ages, from toddlers to seniors. Each park offers attractions and experiences that cater to different age groups. Magic Kingdom is the ultimate park for young kids and kids at heart, while Animal Kingdom is well-suited for ages 6 to 12. Epcot and Hollywood Studios offer attractions that appeal more to teens and adults, but still have plenty to entertain younger guests.
Which is more toddler-friendly: Epcot or Hollywood Studios?
While both Epcot and Hollywood Studios have attractions suitable for toddlers, Hollywood Studios might be a more toddler-friendly option. The park features Toy Story Land, which offers attractions like Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania! that are designed for younger guests. Additionally, Disney Junior Dance Party and the “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” are enjoyable live shows for toddlers and their families.
Is Epcot a worthwhile experience for younger children?
Yes, Epcot can be a worthwhile experience for younger children. Although the park is more focused on cultural experiences and attractions for teens and adults, there are still attractions that younger guests can enjoy, such as The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Journey Into Imagination with Figment. Younger children can also appreciate the entertainment and food options available throughout the park.
Which Disney park can be skipped if needed?
Deciding which Disney park to skip depends on the interests and preferences of your group. If you have limited time or are focusing on the interests of younger children, Epcot might be the park to skip, as it caters more to teens and adults. However, if your group enjoys a mix of attractions and experiences, it’s worth trying to visit all four parks to get the full Disney World experience.
Which is the preferred park for adults: Epcot or Magic Kingdom?
While both parks have their unique appeal, Epcot is often the preferred choice for adults. The park offers cultural experiences, global cuisine, and attractions that cater more to mature audiences. Magic Kingdom, on the other hand, is more focused on classic Disney attractions and experiences that are ideal for young kids and families.
Which park is a better choice for adults: Epcot or Hollywood Studios?
Both Epcot and Hollywood Studios have their unique offerings for adults. Epcot is known for its cultural experiences, global cuisine, and attractions like Spaceship Earth and Test Track. Meanwhile, Hollywood Studios offers exciting attractions such as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, as well as immersive lands like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The choice between Epcot and Hollywood Studios for adults ultimately depends on individual preferences and interests. If you enjoy exploring different cultures, trying international cuisine, and attending annual festivals, Epcot may be the better choice. However, if you’re more interested in thrilling attractions, blockbuster franchises, and live entertainment, Hollywood Studios might be the preferred option.