Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
1) Magic Kingdom (with great classic rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion plus a fantasyland expansion that looks great, this will be the park to beat)
2) Epcot (science and World cultures all in one park. What else can one ask?)
3) Disney Hollywood Studios (the combination of movies and theme park is a great concept, and the new Star Tours seals the deal)
4) Animal Kingdom (the lesser of the four theme parks in my opinion. The tree of life is a work of art, but this is the park with the lowest number of rides in Disney World; rides are the main reason that I love the Disney parks)
3 & 4- distantly- Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, pretty interchangably. I do love them both, but not anywhere near EP & MK.
3. Animal Kingdom: Hope you like walking, cause you'll be doing a lot of it. Beautiful park, but the lack of attractions kills it. Still beats the Studios for the Anandapur area alone.
2. Magic Kingdom: A beautiful place where magic is around every corner, but it feels kind of odd being there alone. Avoid unless you're in a group.
1. Epcot: hands down, the best theme park on Earth. If I was told I could spend three days at one Disney Park, it would be this one. The perfect mix of education and entertainment. And the music... amazing. The best orchestral themes you'll hear on the entire resort. From the opening medley of 'Legacy,' urging you onwards, to the mischievous adventure of the Energy Paviollion. I get chills everytime the music swells in the finale of Spaceship Earth, my favorite ride in WDW. And, of course, Illuminations is the best nighttime entertainment you'll find in O-Town.
2. MK - The Magic Kingdom is a classic and has many of the Disney stalwarts in The Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain. Terrific castle and a great place. Why isn't it number one? I can't shake the simple fact that Disneyland does pretty much everything better. More attractions. Better versions of Pirates, Space Mountain and Fantasyland. Better food. If Disneyland didn't exist, MK would be number one. Second isn't bad though.
3. Epcot - 15 years ago I would have unquestionably placed Epcot as the best park at WDW. Now, it can only place 3rd. IMHO, virtually every attraction has gotten worse. The original concept of a World's Fair has fallen by the wayside to become another attempted thrill park... a poor one at that. The problems with the new Journey to Imagination are legend. Test Track, while a solid ride, lacks the imagination that powered the amazing World of Motion. Mission: Space is another glorified simulator that has little of the wonder in Horizons. The new Spaceship Earth has a terrible, hokey ending that destroys the awe that existed in the previous classic. Worst of all, The Land is a mall now thanks to the egregious cash-in that is Soarin'. The warm, relaxing feeling one used to get sitting downstairs by the fountain is gone. People now rush through to board a nonsensical carbon copy of a ride that was specifically designed for California. Absolutely terrible.
World Showcase is a wonderful place, but the ridiculous lack of anything new in 23 years makes it a bit of a relic. Epcot still has tremendous food and is a terrific park to walk around in, but it just isn't the same. Hope management can return it to some of its' former glory.
4. AK - The Animal Kingdom is an amazing theme park... in concept. However, in its' present state it pales in comparison, not only to the other Disney parks, but to the place it ripped off - Busch Gardens. Tampa has better rides and far better animal exhibits. 13 years have passed and little growth has occurred at AK. The only two reasons I have to go there are for Dinosaur and the Safari. Kali Rapids is a pathetic excuse of a ride. After seeing what Disney was able to accomplish with a freefall ride and log flume with The Tower and Splash Mountain, this is simply poor. I also will never understand the acclaim given to Everest. An attraction that fails as both a dark ride and a coaster. The Matterhorn, a 50-year-old ride, is still the superior version. The lack of care for the Yeti only exemplifies the problems with AK. I just don't see this place leaving the bottom for awhile.
Hollywood Studios - Tower of Terror, enough said!
Animal Kingdom - I love the slow pace of it all :)
Magic Kingdon - Where the magic happens :P
Epcot - Too many countries, not enough rides :L
2> EPCOT : Breathtaking in design and concept. Great mix of education and entertainment. ( Edu-tainment ! ). Has , possibly, the very best firework displays of them all.
Joint 3 >Animal KIngdom & DHS : I know it's a cop out but it really does depend on my mood at the time of going. Both Parks have good qualities and a blend of rides and attractions.
AK boasts probably, the pick of the coasters at Disney in Expedition Everest . It also has Kali River Rapids. ( not everyone's favourite "rafting" ride but I like it) and animals.
DHS with perennial favourites like Tower of Terror and any number of shows makes for an easy day.
I just can't separate the two Parks I'm afraid.
The most well-themed park and well thought-out:
1. Magic Kingdom
2. Animal Kingdom
2) EPCOT - a firm favourite since I was a kid, and this rates top for some reasons - seems to have a slower pace than MK; not so many screaming kids; bigger walkways so less crowding; amazing architecture and cuisine; top of the range technology exhibits...So I love EPCOT, but it doesn't have the same initial impressive effect...it's a calmer day.
3) AK - Obviously I love Everest / Dinosaur / Bugs Life and lots of the other attractions, but the paths are so small and there's quite a few bottle-necks that it can be quite claustrophobic at times. Also it's a shorter day so there's always a rush to get everything done.
4) DHS - I'm surprising myself at placing this park last. T of T is one of my favs, along with Rock n Rollercoaster, but as a whole park I am often left wanting more. I don't find there's quite enough to interest me for the whole day, and on my last visit I was reeeeally put off by the abhorrence that is Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey…what a waste of space. There’s also a few other areas that need attention.
Can I pose a sub-question? What about favourite areas / shops / restaurants in Downtown Disney? If you only had one afternoon….. Cirque du Solei for me, hands down…
2. Hollywood Studios- I like it because its small and easy to get around, and boasts a one-two punch of my favorite attractions: Rock and Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. I'm also a big movie buff, so I have a soft spot for the Great Movie Ride.
3. EPCOT- I'm kind of torn here: I love the variety of restaurants and different beers, and I'm a big fan of just walking around World Showcase. But, I just think some of the attractions themselves leave a lot to be desired. It's a good park if I just want to leisurly walk around, sample some adult beverages, and enjoy the scenery. I also LOVE The American Adventure. But, if I'm looking to experience a lot of
attractions, it just doesn't do it for me. I remember as a kid really enjoying things like Horizons and the originalJourney into Imagination, but those don't exist anymore, alas...
4. Animal Kingdom- Don't get me wrong: this is more than just a zoo. It's definitely state of the art. But, most of the animals they showcase here I can see at my local zoo in Jacksonville, FL, with a few exceptions. But, I really do enjoy the set up and the safari ride is second to none. Expedition Everest is also a state of the art attraction.
Overall, I don't dislike any of the parks, but that is the order I would rank them in personally.
By annual attendance, the rankings are:
Never Been to Animal Kingdom.
Prior to 20000 Leagues Removal:
1. Magic Kingdom
2. Disney (MGM) Studios
After 20000 Leagues removal:
1. Disney (MGM) Studios
2. Magic Kingdom.
But I'm sure you all saw THAT coming.
These are all very close to each other as I love all things Disney
2. Magic Kingdom.
3. Epcot -- used to be last place for me, but rising of late with my kids really digging the updated Spaceship Earth, Innoventions, Kim Possible, and Living with The Land.
4. Animal Kingdom. Still really good, but too spread out. You absolutely have to be in the right place at the right time to hit the shows much more-so than the other parks.
2) Magic Kingdom - Classic rides, fun for the whole family. The full Disney experience is here. Lacks "real" thrill rides. Will forever live in the shadow of Disneyland.
3) Disney's Animal Kingdom - Beautiful park. Expedition Everest is arguably Disney's best coaster. Sort of like a zoo on steroids. Also features two great shows. Although one of Disney's most ambitious parks, still doesn't have enough rides. Closes too early.
4) Disney's Hollywood Studios - Identity crisis. Has one of the best attractions in the world (Tower of Terror),a great indoor coaster, and a much-improved motion simulator but still feels rushed and incomplete. Shows are generally mediocre.
2) Magic Kingdom has always been a favorite of mine, but is in desperate need of some noticeable changes. Perhaps once Fantasyland reopens this park of what I would consider 5 mini theme parks will top my list again.
3) Animal Kingdom needs a lot of work. It is however beautiful and has the most potential to rival Tokyo Disney Sea. It is perhaps the most cohesively themed theme park in the World and could easily be the best.
4) DHS is absolutely a mess. The shows are extremely old. The rides are few. While the park has some of my favorite attractions, it is in most need of tlc to make this a real Disney park. I always get the feeling that I am trapped in an 80s version of Hollywood, with no consideration whatsoever for making it more current. And lets face it, Hollywood is always ever changing!
As for rankings based on everything, Animal Kingdom is top for a reason- it rates high on rides, attractions, and food! Disney does not do counter service the best (I mean its ok, but it is a little hit or miss). You really can't go wrong with any of the counter service there. Add, in my opinion, three of the top 5 shows at Disney World and you got a park.
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort