One of the questions I am often asked is “what park do we visit first?” The answer is that it depends on you! There is definitely an optimum order to visit Disney Parks but that order varies from family to family.
For first time Disney World guests, I often suggest Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is quintessential Disney and there is nothing quite like the first time you walk through those gates, see all the color and Cinderella’s fabled castle as the happiest music on earth fills your ears! I dare you not to tear up just a tad!
Believe it or not though, Magic Kingdom is not the right first park for everyone. No two people are alike and just because people are the same age or gender doesn’t mean their eyes will both twinkle at first sight of “the Castle.”
My dad, who often visits Disney World with us joins in for Magic Kingdom because he’s a loving grandfather but it’s not as much his cup of tea. The moment he steps foot into Epcot’s Future World, however, we get to see grandpa turn into a little boy! He lights up when he sees the exhibits inside Innoventions and he compares almost everything he encounters to “science fiction!” Epcot is the right first park for him and for those of us who love watching him transform into his Disney-self.
I hear all too often that people think Disney is just for kids. I hope by now we all know that’s not true. It certainly can be “just for kids” but that’s just one way to experience a place that offers four unique theme parks, two water parks, a shopping district, multiple themed resorts and hundreds of restaurants.
My mum and her sister love visiting Disney their own way. They head straight to Epcot’s World Showcase and can easily spend an entire day there. They love the cultures, music, unique foods and entertainment! Eating fish and chips at Yorkshire Fish Shop in the United Kingdom Pavilion is like riding Dumbo at Magic Kingdom for these ladies. It brings back memories and makes THEM feel like kids again. It’s a great way for them to jump start their Disney World Vacation—why NOT start there!
Often older kids and teenagers are more interested in getting their thrill on right away! Hollywood Studios is a great first park choice for them. Thrilling attractions like Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and Lights, Motors, Action! are all located in this one smaller park! One of Disney World’s most popular attractions, Toy Story Mid-Way Mania is located here too as well as all things Star Wars! It’s easy to see why starting your vacation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a must for many families.
Time at Disney World is at a premium so it makes sense that people try to decide what things they can forego—just make sure Animal Kingdom IS NOT one of them!
Many people assume Animal Kingdom is simply a large zoo but they couldn’t be more wrong. The park itself is huge and stunning! From the awe-inspiring size and detail of The Tree of Life, the park’s central icon, to watching an animal undergo medical treatment inside Rafiki’s Planet Watch, this park is an animal lovers DREAM!
Animal Kingdom is also the park that celebrates African culture, music and wildlife—it’s just too much for the World Showcase! Sure, you can see animals in your local zoo when you get home, but can you be startled by a white Rhinoceros at your elbow?! Only, Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction can give you that real life, African safari experience. It would take you two weeks on safari in South Africa to see the animals you’ll witness on this one ride alone! My family has has to spend our first burst of energy at this amazing park—perhaps yours should too!
Whatever your touring style, there is a right first park for you! Look over park maps and talk with your travel agent about which park is the best first experience for you and your family. There is magic at Disney World for everyone–sometimes you just have to know where to start.
Naomi de Jager-Lipscomb – Naomi@travelwiththemagic.com