Which park should I choose? We frogs get that question a lot when planning a Walt Disney World vacation, and understandably so. With four distinct parks to choose from, there's something for everyone. Whether it's deciding what to prioritize for a quick two-day trip or which park to visit twice in a week-long vacation, the Frog Family has lots of different factors to go over. Leap likes the outdoors, so a morning at Animal Kingdom is usually in the works. Tad is our resident thrill-seeker, so he likes Hollywood Studios the best. Our own princess, Lily, is all about the fantasy of Magic Kingdom. Myself? Well, I never say no to some international cuisine and beverages at EPCOT.
With four very different atmospheres, we can never pick just one for the whole family. We try to fit in time at each of the parks for everyone's favorites. There isn't always one set plan for which parks to prioritize because it comes down to what is best for your family. Read on for our frogtastic tips on which park to choose at Disney World!
What Park Should I Choose at Disney World?
For the Classic Experience
If you're looking for the classic trip that really says "I went to Disney World," you can't go wrong with the park that started it all — Magic Kingdom. Tadpoles often can't believe they are at Disney World until they see that iconic Cinderella Castle. For many parent and grandparent frogs, we remember our trip to Magic Kingdom all those years ago, and it is the park that has remained mostly the same over its 50 years (that's right, Disney World is celebrating its 50th anniversary!). Even with a focus on magic and fantasy, the distinctly themed lands provide lots of different atmospheres for all to enjoy. With its nostalgia and whimsical Disney fun, Magic Kingdom is a must-do for most frog families!
For the Thrill Seekers
With rides such as Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, Disney's Hollywood Studios provides a thrill for coaster lovers. This park has a variety of adventures that throw you right into your favorite movies. With the addition of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, there are lots of epic rides to enjoy (Slinky Dog Dash, here we come!). Teenagers and pre-teens like Tad will likely find the most interest in Hollywood Studios, where action and adventure provide a nice contrast to the other parks.
For the Foodie Family
Enjoy the tastes of the world with incredible international cuisine at the World Showcase in EPCOT! With four themed festivals throughout the year (starting with the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival in the fall), you are almost guaranteed to be visiting during one of them, which always have amazing food and drinks. Extra booths are even added to offer dishes from countries not physically represented in the park. With plenty of options even for picky eaters (and lots of adult drink options), everyone in the family can look forward to the great tastings at EPCOT. It's not often you can say you tried food in Germany, Japan and Mexico, all in the same day!
For the Leisurely Pace
For a different kind of pace to your Disney vacation, we recommend Disney's Animal Kingdom. There's so much to see and learn, you can't help but feel like you're on a jungle adventure! We always take a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris and love to spot all our favorite animals. There are many trails throughout the park that allow us to see animals up close. While journeying through your wild day, we suggest participating in the Wilderness Explorers, a free, at-your-own-pace activity where you learn animal and nature facts and earn badges. The focus on nature helps us to relax and take in the day at a leisurely pace. With plenty of incredible rides to keep your family entertained, such as Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest, there is something for the whole family. A day at Animal Kingdom has the perfect balance of fun and spending time outside — exactly what we like from a vacation!
For the Royal Tadpoles
We know the big question that will be asked by young princesses and knights alike, "When can we see the princesses?" No shock here — your best bet for a royal day is at Magic Kingdom! Nearly all the princesses can be found somewhere in the park (check out our guide to finding the princesses at Disney World). If your young tadpoles want to dress up like their favorite princess, we recommend doing so on your Magic Kingdom day (along with a regular backup outfit, just in case). The princesses make their way through the park several times a day in the Royal Princess Processional and will also greet guests from the top of the train station. Frogs of all ages can enjoy seeing the princesses and having royally awesome interactions that will not be frogotten.
For the "Star Wars" Fans
For the ultimate "Star Wars" experience, you have to devote a day to Hollywood Studios. With the classic Star Tours attraction and the incredibly immersive Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, your fellow Jedi or Sith won't want to leave. You can now pilot the fastest ship in the galaxy with Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and have a thrilling immersive experience escaping the First Order with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. You can spend hours just discovering all the incredible details this themed land has to offer. And be sure to stick around until park close! Seeing Batuu at night is a truly incredible experience.
When planning ahead, consider reserving one of the special experiences. You can craft your own lightsaber at Savi's Workshop, build your own droid at Droid Depot and enjoy a drink at Oga's Cantina. Reservations are available 60 days in advance and often fill up quickly. Day-of availability is rare, so if these "Star Wars" experiences are a priority, make sure to book well ahead of time.
For Families with Young Kids
For families going to Disney World with small tadpoles, we recommend Magic Kingdom. It has the most kid-friendly rides and shows, and has the least amount of attractions with height requirements. It's always difficult when getting to a toadally awesome attraction, only to find out that the little one is not tall enough to ride. Magic Kingdom has so many elements that are perfect for all ages. There's even a designated area, Storybook Circus, just for the little ones. Here's to riding Dumbo five times!
For the Lifelong Learner
One of our favorite things about EPCOT is that you can learn about different cultures from around the world in World Showcase, tadpoles and frog parents alike. (There are even Kidcot stations with fun tadpole-friendly activities in each pavilion!) And you can't froget about EPCOT's festivals that hoppen year-round. We're always learning new things about horticulture, art, food and holiday traditions.
Different Ticket Options at Disney World
So you've chosen your parks to prioritize, but which tickets should work best? Base Tickets are admission to one theme park per day. Once you get your tickets, you book your Disney Park Pass Reservation for each day of your visit. If you go to Magic Kingdom for your first day, that is the only theme park you can go to that day.
The Ticket with Park Hopper Option allows admission to more than one theme park per day. You book each park pass at the park you want to start your day at, and then you can go to another park starting at 2 p.m. (park hopping is subject to capacity). You could start at Magic Kingdom and then could go to any park(s) for the afternoon.
The type of ticket depends on the trip you are planning. Park hopping allows for more flexibility, since we know plans always change. For instance, we might start at Animal Kingdom (often the first park to open and close) and then park hop to EPCOT for the evening. Families need to weigh if the extra cost of the park hopper option is worth it for them. Some families get the base ticket and make sure they get everything done in that park for the day.
Then, you also need to decide if you wish to utilize the Disney Genie+ service! If you're not a fan of waiting in long lines, you can opt to add the Disney Genie+ service to your tickets (or purchase during your trip for each day you want to use it, one day at a time) and skip the lines for over 40 attractions.
For frogtastic savings, purchase tickets through Undercover Tourist with lots of customizable options to fit your vacation.
Which park at Disney World is a must-do for your family? Let us know in the comments below!