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Vote of the week: Which park to pick at Walt Disney World?

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Published: August 5, 2010 at 6:23 PM

ORLANDO, Florida - So we've finally made it to Orlando on our 2010 Summer Roadtrip, with plans to hit up Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter next week.

But after that?

Well, we're going to have to find time for Walt Disney World, of course. (My little trip to Epcot today doesn't count, and besides, the rest of the family's a bit jealous that I chowed down on fancy pizza without them. So I'll need to spend some time at Disney with them next week.)

But where to go? What to do?

Hey, this sounds like a fun vote of the week!

Let's make this the question - you've got one day, and one day only, to spend at Walt Disney World, with no park-hopper ticket at your disposal. Which park do you pick, and why? Does a specific attraction lead you to one park? A place to eat? Is there one park you feel works better than the others as a one-day destination?

For example, as Los Angeles residents, we'd be more inclined to pick Epcot or Animal Kingdom in this vote, since the Magic Kingdom's so like Disneyland and Hollywood Studios includes many elements that we can find in Disneyland and California Adventure, or just driving around L.A.

What about you? Please vote below, and tell us in the comments why you made your pick. (Update: To clarify, this would be the park you most want to visit, not the one you think I should.)


Have a great weekend, and thanks again for reading Theme Park Insider!

Readers' Opinions

From M. Ryan Traylor on August 5, 2010 at 6:28 PM
EPCOT. Although not a thrill park, it's got Soarin' and plenty of food. This is also a great park to relax in.
From Joshua Counsil on August 5, 2010 at 6:36 PM
Whatever you pick, keep Magic Kingdom as a last resort. After visiting Disneyland, Magic Kingdom seems redundant and disappointing.

Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Disney's Hollywood Studios, in that order. However, that's not taking your kids into account.

From Joshua Counsil on August 5, 2010 at 6:38 PM
Also, I feel that MK will win the vote. People often don't consider the other parks as Disney-ish. Shame.
From Formula 40 on August 5, 2010 at 6:38 PM
Went to Epcot already. I'd go to AK if the Yeti was fixed. I'm not really into shows so there's not much else to do at DHS to stay there all day. So I'd have to say Magic Kingdom.
From Joshua Counsil on August 5, 2010 at 6:45 PM
One more note before I take off.

Why Magic Kingdom is weaker than the other parks:
- You live near Disneyland, which is similar yet far superior.
- The dining options are mediocre.
- The live shows are nearly nonexistent.
- You should put off visiting until the Fantasyland refurbishment is complete.
- MK is the most visited park in the world; plus, it's summertime. Crowds will be intense.

From Jack Curley on August 5, 2010 at 7:14 PM
Epcot is the park that I think of when I think of WDW. All of my most vivid memories from my childhood visit to WDW are from Epcot. Sure, the countries didn't interest me much back then, but now they're an added bonus to a park I already loved.
From James Rao on August 5, 2010 at 7:50 PM
Robert, go to Epcot. It is without question the greatest theme park in the United States. And since you get to ride Soarin' all the time back home skip it this trip and head to Test Track first (get fastpasses, but don't ride). Go straight from Test Track (fastpasses in hand) and into Innoventions East and experience the Sum of All Thrills. You should be able to craft several "rides" with minimal waits before your Test Track fastpasses come due (make a jet with six inversions if you want a shot at the highest possible score). If your kids are like mine, Sum of All Thrills will be their favorite adventure of the day.

Also, make sure to try the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventures at some point. They are very addictive, and really a lot of fun. And for goodness sakes, let your kids hold the Kimmunicator!

(You can check out my Rao Family Adventures thread for lots of info on Epcot - it truly was my family's favorite stop when we visited The World back in May).

From Justin Kermgard on August 5, 2010 at 8:47 PM
I choose Magic Kingdom simply put its the Original Disney World park. Sure it has alot of the same attractions as Disneyland in California but its the only 1 of the 4 parks that is the most magical. Maybe its just me, but to me the magic is felt when you first board either the ferry boat or monorail at the Transportation & Ticket Center to ride over to the Magic Kingdom entrance. When you first see the castle in the distance across the "Seven Seas Lagoon" along with the other memorable Magic Kingdom attractions(Space Mountain, Astro Orbiter, Big Thunder Mountain & Splash Mountain) it definitely creates a feeling of enchantment and excitement with the anticipation of what your are going to encounter. Even if you've been to all the Disney parks many times, the one that keeps you coming back to Disney World is and always will be Magic Kingdom.
From Jay Glenn on August 5, 2010 at 8:58 PM
Magic Kingdom is the the Disney experience. You must go there. If you MK is worse than DL, consider this, WDW has 4 theme parks to spread the attractions at while DL only has 2, of course DL will be packed but MK is more open and you don't feel conjested.

Everything for the family is here
Young Kids- Fantasyland
Big Kids- Pirates, HM, Buzz
Teens- The big kid rides plus the 3 mountains
Adults- Anything they wish.

MK hands down.

From Jose Vazquez on August 5, 2010 at 8:58 PM
Well all options really pend on the individuals and family. Magic Kingdom is more family oriented and has many elements that can keep you in the park for most of the day. EPCOT is a much more scenic destination that primarily caters to adults with the world showcase and has some worthy rides for the younger ones. Now Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios seem to attract the thrill-seekers and have definitely upgraded with Mount Everest in AK and Toy Story Mania in HS.

With all taken into account the best park to spend the day goes to: EPCOT. My personal favorite park is Hollywood Studios but in overall experience EPCOT wins. Why? Well it has enough rides/attractions to keep guests in the park while letting families unwind by touring the World Showcase. Magic Kingdom can technically be parallel to Disneyland and HS/AK are fantastic but are primarily known to be 1/2 day parks.

From Anthony Murphy on August 5, 2010 at 10:10 PM
I said AK just to give you a bit of a challenge since its the park with the most growth and potental. Of course, I think you went there last year right?

EPCOT is a good pick too, but you have already been there.

From 173.161.119.117 on August 5, 2010 at 10:41 PM
Epcot. Future World gets you some rides & World Showcase lets you experience different countries. I think Epcot gives you the biggest variety of food so you should be able to find something for everyone. I like Illuminations the best of fireworks displays.
From Tyler Stover on August 5, 2010 at 10:54 PM
Test Track and German food. Why is this even a question?
From Rob P on August 6, 2010 at 2:26 AM
All four parks have their own indigenous qualities and I love all of them for that reason.
What swayed me to choose Magic KIngdom was this :
Who is Disney's most iconic figure ?
Who do you think of first when someone says " Disney World " ?
It's him isn't it ?
It's the Mouse isn't it ?
It's Mickey. Whether you like it or not.
And where does Mickey live ?

Then there's the most iconic structure at WDW. It has to be Cinderella's Castle, Even though the giant silver orb of Spaceship Earth at EPCOT would challenge it I still think of Cinderella's castle first.

So , for me, it has to be Magic Kingdom.

If you're travelling tens or hundreds or thousands of miles to WDW then the pull of Magic Kingdom is too strong. You surely can't help but be drawn ( even sub-consciously ) towards it. It's in your psyche. It's the essence of WDW.
Even those from Anaheim will be too intrigued. They'd have to check out the differences. To compare it with the wonderful original they have at home. They wouldn't be able to resist. They couldn't go all that way without knowing.

It's Magic you see.

From Kevin G on August 6, 2010 at 5:10 AM
My vote went to Studios for one reason - The single best ride/attraction in any park I have been to is Tower of Terror. I could not go to Disney World without going on this ride at least 3 - 4 times. If the TOT was not there, then I think you have to choose MK. There is nothing like the initial feel of walking down main street when you arrive.
From Tiffany Alfonso on August 6, 2010 at 6:14 AM
Epcot - lots of shade, lots of variety of food, and best of all, it's educational! Oh, and if Muetti goes with me, we'd end that day with her favorite ride - Soarin'!

(It's my favorite park, by the way.)

From KJ Simpson on August 6, 2010 at 6:53 AM
Epcot!
There would not be a moment's hesitation. It's head and shoulders above any other experience for me. The attractions, the pavillions, the people, the food, the feel, the overall experience- it has it all.
From Hollis Burks on August 6, 2010 at 7:30 AM
I would go with Hollywood Studio, but it is a personal preface. I love the Tower of Terror, Rocking Rollercoaster, Toy Story, and my favorite, The Great Movie Ride. It’s all about the rides for me and the Tower of Terror and Rocking Roller Coaster are the best one, two punch of any of the Disney parks.
From Brian Emery on August 6, 2010 at 7:40 AM
Joshua C – “Spammer of the Year…..” I am going to pick MK just to piss him off…. I would have picked DHS because I have only been there once and it would be nice to see it again…

But when someone blatantly tries to force their unwanted opinion down our throats…
Opinions and like noses son, everyone has one….

From Victoria Jurkowski on August 6, 2010 at 8:04 AM
When I went to WDW with two kids under 7 they both enjoyed Hollywood Studios the most. they've been to Disneyland and thought MK WDW was terrible. They only spent the morning in EPCOT and were already bored. they found little to do in AK because the rapids, everest, the dino coaster, and dinosaur were all too scary for them so AK was pretty much just a zoo. If your kids are the same way, you should probably go to Hollywood.
From TH Creative on August 6, 2010 at 8:18 AM
EPCOT.
From Joshua Counsil on August 6, 2010 at 8:21 AM
Ouch, Brian. As someone who has visited this site since 2001, I didn't know my opinions were unwanted.

Didn't mean to blatantly force my opinion across. Rather, I tried to make a logical case for Disney's smaller parks. I was a bit passionate about this one because it upsets me that everyone in favour of the Magic Kingdom uses the same argument to defend its position: "magic". They don't mention the crowds, lines, criss-cross queues without themes, mediocre food, lack of live entertainment, or any other factors that always seem to detract from the "magic". In my experience, I have witnessed more screaming parents and children at this park than any other (not to mention child beatings). I've also seen line-jumpers, verbal fights, clothing that shouldn't be allowed in public, and other sights that I haven't experienced at the less popular parks. I don't think it's a coincidence, either. MK is the world's most popular park; it's bound to attract some idiots.

I'd love to hear somebody defend the Magic Kingdom against the other three parks with an argument not involving the word "magic".

From Rod Whitenack on August 6, 2010 at 8:45 AM
I would pick Animal Kingdom because I've never had the opportunity to ride Expedition Everest, but after I learned here at Theme Park Insider that the Yeti (the main attraction for me) has stopped working and Disney has no plans to fix him, then I would have to decline.

Instead I'd have to pick the Magic Kingdom because I have a hard time, mentally, with going to Orlando and not riding the Haunted Mansion. I've done it before. I've visited Epcot on a one day trip, and it was great, but the whole time I'm dealing with the knowledge that the Haunted Mansion is so close but I can't ride it.

From Amanda Jenkins on August 6, 2010 at 8:53 AM
I don't think I could pick just one. I love so many aspects from each of them. I would probably have to break down and buy a one day park hopper. That way I could just ride my ultimate favorites at each one, then enjoy a wonderful meal at Epcot, and decide which fireworks to end the day with. I know it is not the best price to get a one day park hopper, but I would probably just have to close my eyes when I gave them my credit card :)
From Brian Emery on August 6, 2010 at 9:05 AM
No Problem Josh…. I actually voted for DHS because it is different… Shows and a few rides… And like I said, we only have been there once… Kingdom (not using the Magic word) does get overclouded. There is a lot to do there such as: Haunted mansion, Splash and Space Mountain, Big thunder, TS Island, Pirates of Caribbean, Fireworks, But I do believe you have to be ready for a long day at Kingdom..

Plus it is not the easiest past to get to.. Tram or boat ride plus the parking shuttle…

From 98.169.4.136 on August 6, 2010 at 9:45 AM
I think part of the problem here is that people are answering this poll in two different ways. Some are answering it as to which park Robert should visit with only one day, while others are answering as to which park they personally would visit if they only had one day.

I answered using the latter criteria, and I had to choose Magic Kingdom. The logical reason for my choice is that I have 7- and 5-year-old daughters, neither of which are tall enough to ride some of the attractions in the other parks. I think the 7-year-old can now ride everything in the Magic Kingdom, and the 5-year-old everything except Space Mountain.

If I answered for Robert, my answer would be, "Go back to EPCOT and take the family before you have a mutiny on your hands!" (I'm making a wild assumption that his kids are older.)

From Joshua Counsil on August 6, 2010 at 11:49 AM
Nice touch, Brian. Maybe I'll henceforth refer to it simply as "Kingdom".

Anonymous:
I was keeping Robert in mind when I chose Epcot. He lives in California and visits Disneyland frequently, so Magic Kingdom, to me, would be a step down for him. If you've been following his theme park insider summer road trip reports, he's talked as much about customer service and food as he has rides. I find the customer service and food, among other things, excellent at Epcot.

From Manny Barron on August 6, 2010 at 12:31 PM
Without a doubt Epcot. It's just so unique compared to anything else. World Showcase and Future World have excellent theme and the attractions are fun too and not just the big 3(Test Track,Soarin,Mission:Space)but I really enjoy the Seas,Gran Fiesta Tour, and Living with the Land as well as some of the attractions and movie attractions. Roller Coasters are overrated, and Epcot rules.
From TH Creative on August 6, 2010 at 2:16 PM
Joshua Counsil writes: I was keeping Robert in mind when I chose Epcot. He lives in California and visits Disneyland frequently, so Magic Kingdom, to me, would be a step down for him.

I Respond; The nominations for STUPIDEST POST EVER are ...

From James Rao on August 6, 2010 at 3:56 PM
Pick on Josh Day, eh?

Well, Josh, FWIW, I agree that the Magic Kingdom, in and of itself, is a step down from Disneyland.

Regardless, EPCOT is THE park to visit if you only have one day. And I am forcing that opinion down everyone's throat!

(Did I place, TH?)

From TH Creative on August 6, 2010 at 5:36 PM
No ... you're tied.
From James Rao on August 6, 2010 at 6:46 PM
Even better.
From Tony Duda on August 6, 2010 at 8:19 PM
I would pick Magic Kingdom because it is the park I visit least and it is full of all the classic Disney experiences and attractions. Robert asked what would we visit, not what do we recommend for him or anyone else to visit.
From 69.122.222.53 on August 7, 2010 at 1:04 AM
Is there really one person here on this entire thread that would only go to one park? (Yes i read the question). With that said, everyone here would buy the park hopper pass and run around like little school girls pushing people out of the way to be the first to ride everything. And if not shame on you.
From 82.9.115.58 on August 7, 2010 at 2:07 AM
It always irks me as to why EPCOT gets so many votes. Why does this awful park get so much love?

So who votes for EPCOT? Typical Americans, who never go anywhere apart from theme park sin their own hometown, that's who.

Have you never heard of Tokyo DisneySEA? It's basically World Showcase but with superior theming, and added thrill rides and family attractions. Why would anyone want to walk around EPCOT World Showcase with no rides to go on? Yeah, the food may be great, but we don't all go to theme parks for food, do we, especially not when there's drive-thru McDonalds's on every Interstate junction.

EPCOT Future World has Test Track, Mission: Space, and Soarin', and of those, any true theme park connosiuer will queue for Test Track, but the other two are take it or leave it IMO, especially since you can search for the onride POV of any ride on YouTube instead of forking out an extravagant amount of cash for this horrible waste-of-time theme park named EPCOT.

Now, other Disney parks at WDW are all very good, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios are all worth the admission fee and worth the probable wait times for popular, newer rides like Midway Mania, the mountains as MK, and Everest.

However, the best Disney theme parks are not even in America. The absolute best is Tokyo DisneySEA, and the best MK-style park is either Tokyo Disneyland or Disneyland Paris.

I wonder if any of you Americans will ever venture out of your comfort zone to actually experience other theme parks apart from those in your precious USA.

From James Rao on August 7, 2010 at 9:15 AM
Well, Anonymous Poster 82.9.115.58, if you had even a small measure of literacy at your disposal, you would have noted that the question for the poll was: "...you've got one day, and one day only, to spend at Walt Disney World, with no park-hopper ticket at your disposal. Which park do you pick, and why?"

Last time I checked, Tokyo DisneySea is not part of Walt Disney World, therefore it is not an option for us to choose.

But then I guess literacy and manners are not required in whatever precious little country from which you so venomously emerged...

From Amanda Jenkins on August 7, 2010 at 9:37 AM
Well said James!!! I couldn't have phrased it any better myself.
From 32.179.102.113 on August 7, 2010 at 1:33 PM
The Disney Waterparks were not on the list, but I might consider choosing one of those with a Universal Trip and this is why. When purchasing a Disney ticket, you get a discount for more than one day..... but you have to pay extra to make your ticket apply for waterparks also. I'm wondering if it would cost more to buy a two or three day ticket and then add on a waterpark costs when you divide it than the base ticket of just going to the waterpark. This is why I think I would be considering the waterpark (Typhoon Lagoon would be my preference of the two).
From 32.179.102.113 on August 7, 2010 at 1:46 PM
Typhoon Lagoon ticket is $46 on the website I visited. One day regular (Magic your way) ticket is $82. Yet to go to the waterpark with a multi day ticket you have to add more money to your ticket to have the "Water Park Fun & More" option. According to the site if your going for 5 days.... you have to add $10.80 per day for that add on. That means you just added $54 to go to a park one of your days that only costs $46 to get in! Plus your giving up one of your other parks UNLESS you pay even more extra to get the benefit of a park hopper (I welcome your feedback if I am wrong). All these add ons is why I'd probably want to buy a water park ticket separately anyway..... which is why I might choose to bundle my waterpark visit in with a visit to other parks rather than Disney itself.
From Katie White on August 7, 2010 at 2:37 PM
Well Epcot is just boring to me, Hollywood Studios is god but I don't like watching shows, Animal Kingdom has a few good rides, but Magic Kingdom has better rides and my favorite Disney rides are at MK.
From 32.179.102.113 on August 7, 2010 at 2:51 PM
out of the 4 choices provided, I would probably go with Epcot. The last time I was there I did not get to see everything. I also find that park unique as it is the most "adult" of the Disney World parks in my opinion. Every park has it's faults and it's perks.... this is the one I'd choose.

Also, where is the sale on Sassy Pants?..... I lost mine.

From TH Creative on August 7, 2010 at 3:53 PM
Check out Kitty Rao flashing the claws at the Anon! Suh-weet!
From James Rao on August 7, 2010 at 8:03 PM
I am Kitty, hear me roar!
From TH Creative on August 8, 2010 at 1:58 PM
Magic Kingdom edges out EPCOT -- must have been the Jungle Cruise that tipped the balance toward MK's favor.
From Rob P on August 9, 2010 at 12:54 AM
Nah....it was just the Hippos tipping the scales.
From 204.155.16.114 on August 9, 2010 at 4:49 AM
Those hippos will do it every time!

I agree with a few comments above to go to one of the waterparks. They are both amazing and really inexpensive too. The downside of course is being surrounded by lots of people with questionable swimwear. But hey, that could be an upside too if you are like me and like to point and laugh at people.

From Joshua Counsil on August 9, 2010 at 8:05 AM
I'm glad that vicious anonymous poster showed up. I don't know how much more pummeling I could handle.

I would love to visit Tokyo DisneySea. Hell, I would love to just visit Tokyo. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong - there are plenty of major international cities/states outside of the U.S. that I would love to visit that happen to include incredible theme parks. The problem is traveling expenses. For a round-trip flight to Tokyo, it would cost me $1200-$1500. Compare that to Orlando, which is a 26-hour drive. With 8 friends and two cars, it costs us about $60 each in gas (we don't stop to sleep - we just switch off drivers). So, yes, the U.S. is a bit of a comfort zone (for my wallet). And I'm Canadian, for the record.

From 173.162.139.169 on August 9, 2010 at 9:23 AM
if it was me by myself it would be EPCOT with the studios a close second.

With the family it has to be MK and there isn't a close second.

From Dan Barnes on August 9, 2010 at 2:29 PM
DHS. I could ride Tower of Terror and Rock-N-Roller Coaster all day.
From Tony Duda on August 10, 2010 at 9:38 PM
Wow, there have been 1114 votes on this question so far. Except for the ballot stuffing "best" polls, this must be the most voted on question in years.

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