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Magic Kingdom or Epcot?

Walt Disney World: Can only afford one park in my budget and can't decide which...

From Joshua Denson
Posted May 7, 2011 at 4:53 PM
Hi all!

Been a long time reader of this amazing site and have run into a bit of a conundrum that I hope to solve through here. I'm heading down to Orlando for my 25th birthday on the 22nd-24th. I've already made plans to visit Universal on the 23rd (on my actual birthday because universal has always been my favorite theme park ever since I first rode Spiderman) and on the 24th I'll be visiting Hollywood Studios (which I've never been to). I've got enough in my budget to visit one more theme park on the 22nd and I've narrowed it down to two: Magic Kingdom or Epcot. For the life of me, I can't figure out which one to visit. Epcot has more thrill rides, but MK has more, for lack of a better term, Disney to it. It's going to just be myself and my girlfriend on the trip so, please, anyone with any kind of help on which to visit, I would be very grateful. Thanks a lot!!!


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From TH Creative
Posted May 7, 2011 at 5:12 PM
Do you drink?

From TH Creative
Posted May 7, 2011 at 5:12 PM
I have decided to acccept my persona as the Keith Moon of TPI.

From Joshua Denson
Posted May 7, 2011 at 5:44 PM
Haha. We do but looking at more of the rides aspect of the two parks. Would rather not pay the money to get in the park then spend even more in the park just to drink when my hotel is right across the street from CityWalk...

From James Rao
Posted May 7, 2011 at 8:17 PM
I'd pick Epcot over any park in the United States.

Make sure you remember to visit the Sum of All Thrills in Innoventions East, stop by Club Cool for some free soda (avoid Beverly), jaunt over to Beaches and Cream for lunch (and a No Way Jose), and don't forget to get your dinner reservations ahead of time (I recommend the Tokyo Dining restaurant).

Also, a choice spot (front and center) for viewing Illuminations is worth the wait. Grab a sweet pretzel w/almonds from the Norway bakery and settle in about 60 mins ahead of the show. You won't regret it.

From susan brewer
Posted May 7, 2011 at 9:22 PM
If you can in any way possibly afford a hopper pass and go to universal at the start or end of your time you will be much better off. Research the Disney website and find out which parks are open the latest. I would start at whichever opens the earliest and make my way through ending with whichever is open the latest. It is a tough call to decide which to end with...all three have amazing shows; Epcot's illuminations is fireworks, laser and music, Magic Kingdom is amazing fireworks at the castle and Fantasmic is the only one that actually has a theatre to sit in and is laser projected on water.

Even though you aren't staying on grounds(I would research that cause you can often get the Value hotels for amazing deals and the passes are reduced)either way you can use the transportation to get from park to park...ie...from studios take the boats that go round trip to Beach Club/Boardwalk and they take you right to Epcot. You can then easily take the monorail at the front of Epcot(follow the signs) to Magic Kingdom and cover three parks if you choose. Just make sure that you get to the parks crazy early and get fast passes for any of the "major attractions." That's part of the problem when you don't stay on-grounds, cause the fast passes can be given out early in the day and then you're stuck waiting in long lines. Check the tickets to see when you can get another fast pass and take advantage.

You will really be disappointed if you only do a park a day cause each one alone just does not have enough to fill up a day...especially Hollywood studios (make sure to grab the show times asap...especially for the car show at the back of the park...so to organize your day). Absolutely make restaurant reservations now...even multiples since you may change plans, you can always cancel. FYI The front section of epcot closes early so hit that first...don't waste your time at the Michael Jackson show it was really lame. Definitely use the single line at fast track. Probably the biggest suggestion is during the standard meal times and when the electric parade is going on, make a beeline to the major attractions...the lines are often shorter, and whichever park you start with in the morning, after of course getting a fast pass...make your way to the farthest end of the park and go forward. In the word showcase most of the attractions are 360 degree movies except for two cutsy rides at Mexico and Norway. Good Luck

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 7, 2011 at 11:13 PM
EPCOT. Much more fun for a 25 year old!

From James Koehl
Posted May 8, 2011 at 5:14 AM
Susan, I have to respectfully disagree that DHS is not a full-day park. If you can't spend an entire day there and just barely see everything, either you are 1) skipping some things,2) rushing frantically to see everything, thus not enjoying much of anything, or 3) it is an extremely uncrowded day. Even Animal Kingdom, if done so that you actually enjoy the many animals and don't just walk by them quickly ("Oh, look, a zebra. Let's go. Oh,look, a gorilla- saw one on tv- let's go.") Take the time to smell the roses- and at AK, you can probably smell something else, too!

From Joshua Denson
Posted May 8, 2011 at 6:37 AM
Therein lies another issue. We probably won't be arriving in Orlando until 2pm. Epcot closes at 9 while MK closes at midnight that Sunday. By that time, I fully expect all fastpasses for both parks to be gone so I'm prepared to wait in whatever lines await us. I'm just trying to get as much out of whatever park I visit that day as I can.

I also have to respectfully disagree that DHS isn't a full day park. There's quite a few rides/shows that I'm greatly looking forward to as well as the new version of Star Tours (being an avid Star Wars fan, I plan on riding that until I can't walk haha).

From susan brewer
Posted May 8, 2011 at 4:24 PM
My suggestions for DHS I suppose is based on the fact that you are 25 and I msde assumptions, My 25 year old has no interest in the Little Mermaid show or Beauty in the Beast or muppets for that matter....now Rockin Roller Coaster, Star Wars, and Tower of Terror he would do repeatedly until he dropped...but at that age leizurely "doing the parks" well...not!! lol I still think you could get a "deal" on a two day hopper...close one park and make a beeline for Magic Kingdom...and do the other two parks the following day....just one persons opinion....

From Joshua Denson
Posted May 8, 2011 at 5:48 PM
And I totally appreciate it! I personally grew up on the muppets so I'm completely stoked about seeing that and I also grew up on Disney movies which is why I can't make up my mind on magic kingdom or epcot. I've looked into the park hopper passes and it doesn't seem like it's going to fit into my budget. I greatly appreciate the suggestion though!

From Tony Duda
Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:28 PM
Seems like MK is the only answer to me. The midnight closing time is the reason. No matter what you do all day at MK, from 10pm to midnight is PRIME riding time. The wait times are in minutes, the crowds are greatly reduced and the weather is perfect. Get some fast passes early for Space Mt and other top rides to make it better. There still should be late return times available. Have fun. I'll be there that same weekend (assuming it's May, you didn't say).

From Joshua Denson
Posted May 8, 2011 at 10:21 PM
Yep. May 21st is when we're leaving here in St. Louis so only 12 days now :) been wanting to go to Orlando for almost 6 years now, but something requiring money always seems to come up. So each day that passes, gets me even more excited. I think I've YouTubed almost every ride in all the parks I'm planning to visit in those 3 glorious days I'll be down there. Anyways, I've really been thinking the same thing. Any ride that may be packed when we first get to the park will be completely dead by 8-9 and we'd almost have free roam of the park then. Plus, as lame as it may sound coming from a 25 year old, I wouldn't mind the "kiddie" rides MK offers. Pure nostalgia :)

From Kelly Muggleton
Posted May 9, 2011 at 1:23 AM
I would pick MK over Epcot every time.
As controversial as it may be, Epcot just doesnt do it for me...but I do love Illuminations.

Going myself in late August and I think it will just be DHS and MK for us then. Personally DHS is my preferred choice of Disney park...or AK...or DHS...or AK....

From Rob P
Posted May 9, 2011 at 1:53 AM
EPCOT and Magic Kingdom are both fantastic parks and this choice is a tough one. But if you're going to have to choose then it has to be MK. It is the quintessential Disney park ; WDW's flagship and the one with the best mix of activities and attractions. It has something for everyone and offers that ultimate Disney experience.

TH wrote : I have decided to acccept my persona as the Keith Moon of TPI.

Does this mean you chain yourself to your computer and each time you log off you put your boot through the screen and kick it across the room ??

From Josh Denson
Posted May 10, 2011 at 1:11 PM
Definitely starting to lean towards MK. If nothing for just the nostalgia. Went there when I was very young (6-8 years old. Can't remember exactly). Just want to be able to take it all in :)

From Robert Niles
Posted May 10, 2011 at 1:37 PM
The closing time issue is compelling, but, absent that, I would pick Epcot over Magic Kingdom this year simply because of the construction at the MK. Wait until 2013 when the new Fantasyland is complete to visit that park, and enjoy Epcot in the meantime.

From Ed Newman
Posted May 10, 2011 at 8:20 PM
I think Tony Duda (and others) make a very good case for MK based on the midnight closing time. MK has so many unique rides and experiences that really capture the Disney "magic". 5 or 6 that immediately top my list are Pirates, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain (great theming), Haunted Mansion, Philharmagic, and Splash Mountain. In my experience, some of those rides are even better late at night.

I know that there are those who say MK may not be exciting for a 25 year old. But I am in my mid-40s and still enjoy MK. And this is coming from a person who also loves the big coasters at other major theme parks (visited over 25 of them since the 1990s). My wife and I even have season passes to our local Six Flags park (SFOG).

With all that having been said, I think your girlfriend's preference should play a major part in your decision. If she is more of a Disney fan, then MK would be your best bet (especially if she has never been to MK).

Either way, have a safe and enjoyable trip. Post a trip report if you get the chance.

From James Rao
Posted May 10, 2011 at 8:27 PM
Don't forget the TTA PeopleMover...especially after dark.

Although I still prefer Epcot despite the fact that it closes earlier. After park closing you could go to the Disney Boardwalk and dance the night away!

From Terri Pierce
Posted May 10, 2011 at 9:08 PM
Prior statement, I have only glanced at this topic...

With that said-

I saw someone making the point of late night at MK. I personally love this park ESP after dark! Its a one of a kind experience.

I would say if you visit WDW often choose Epcot but if this is your only chance in a long time and you will not be returning choose MK. Why? Because MK gives that DISNEY experience that is unique to this park. As much as I love Epcot I feel like everyone should experience MK often to leave that Disney feeling behind. Like I said though, if you have recently been to MK or plan to go again in the future choose Epcot- I love this park and it offers trill for the mind and body.

From Tony Duda
Posted May 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM
Ed hit on the most important point, do whatever your girlfriend wants, your life will be much better.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 11, 2011 at 8:13 PM
Peoplemover after dark is magical.

Its a hard question because Magic Kingdom becomes very cool at night when all the little kids are asleep. Also, the park has a ton of rides so there never is a really long line.

I just said EPCOT because it is really fun if you are over 21!

From Tyler Bell
Posted May 12, 2011 at 5:08 AM
IF you love rides, and have Kids got Magic Kingdom, also MK gives you the true "Disney" feel.Also MK tends to stay open longer than EPCOT.

From Kurt Larson
Posted May 14, 2011 at 12:25 AM
MK because... and not to sound lame... but it's magical.

I'm still trying to find the spirit of EPCOT. I know people love it, and I'd like to... but my girlfriend and I just don't find it as exciting as the Magic Kingdom.

Just my two cents... I'm kind of a buffoon anyway.

From Josh Denson
Posted May 14, 2011 at 7:48 AM
I must be a buffoon as well because the plan is to go to MK on Sunday! My thinking is the same as yours...MK just seems to have the "magic" about it that I can't pass up.

From Tony Duda
Posted May 14, 2011 at 5:46 PM
The construction is not affecting the rides, all the Fantasyland rides are operating. Toontown is closed but that was a small-child area and 25 year olds won't care. There is so much to do that a one day visit will seem not nearly enough. The midnight closing time still is the big factor to me.

From Carrie Hood
Posted May 15, 2011 at 12:28 AM
To be totally frank, it depends on what you personally like. Magic Kingdom has great nostalgia factors but as an older adult it can get dull after a time, if you haven't been there recently it will probably hold more appeal to you.

Epcot is another animal, if you enjoy culture and learning (plus drinking around the world) then that's the place to go. The thrill rides are less the MK which boasts 3-4 thrill rides upon the moment of your arrival.. which Epcot boasts 2 at max.

On a personal level and as an Ex-Orlando Resident.. I adore Epcot myself. You always learn something new, the rides are always amusing in a new way and the food/drink is always top notch. However if I hadn't been to Magic Kingdom in many years, even as an adult, I would personally think that would be more fun.

Look Online. See what appeals to you best, then make your own personal choice. ^.^

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted May 15, 2011 at 9:16 AM
Man, that's a tough decision...if I had to choose I'd go with Epcot. It's just such a wonderful, beautiful place. But I am getting to be an old geezer so my priorities have changed. More into taking things slow and enjoying the atmosphere these days. Have a great time! :)

From Pat Bartkus
Posted May 15, 2011 at 12:04 PM
I would get a park hopper pass. I would spend part of the day in Epcot's Future World and the rest in the Magic Kingdom with the late closing. The second day I would do the Studios and then go over to Epcot's World Showcase in the late afternoon. It will be two very busy days, but if you are there when the parks open, prioritize what you want to see, use fast pass as much as possible and minimize time spent eating, you can cover a lot of ground.

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