Throughout my life I have been fortunate enough to travel quite frequently. My most frequented destination has been Disney World where I also participated in the Disney College Program. During the college program I was able to practically live in Walt Disney World for 5 months. I have also been able to visit Disneyland Resort in California on multiple occasions.
None of the Disney Parks in the United States are “bad” however each as their strengths and weaknesses and some are better than others. I’ve been to each of them more times than I can count from being a little child visiting the parks, to visiting with large groups to traveling solo in my early twenties and I believe that ANYONE can have a fantastic time at each of them!
However I like rating things therefore I’ve decided to rate the Disney Theme Parks in America – I plan to visit the international parks in the coming years however as of right now I will just rate the six American parks Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studio’s and Animal Kingdom in Disney World and Disneyland Park, and Disney California Adventure in Disneyland Resort! These ratings are 100% my own opinion and therefore I say to take each one with a grain of salt!
#6 Hollywood Studios
I truly believe that 5 years from now Hollywood Studios will be the 2nd most visited park in Florida. As of right now though Hollywood Studios is going to be the “black eye” of Walt Disney World as a majority of the park is under construction and the park does not really have a proper theme.
The biggest strength’s of Hollywood Studios includes Sunset Boulevard, Pixar Place, Star Wars Fireworks and Star Tours: The studios has a great line up of E-Ticket attractions with Tower of Terror, Rock in Roller Coaster, Star Tours and of course Toy Story Mania!
The Studios also excels in Table Service Dining with some of the best themed restaurants anywhere with: 50’s Prime Time Cafe, Sci-Fi Diner, as well as my favorite the Hollywood Brown Derby!
Hollywood Studios has a long list of weaknesses right now as a majority of the park is closed due to Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land Construction… This includes the construction walls and the confined feeling of the park, lack of secondary supporting attractions, and many other logistical problems… The park also could use an updating of shows as Fantasmic, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage and the Indiana Jones Stunt Show all feel very dated… The park also has the worst Quick Service Restaurant options in any Disney theme park… I always suggest skipping these and heading over to Epcot where the options are a lot better.
The Long and Short of it
Hollywood Studios is still a fun park and I would not recommend skipping it if you are heading to Disney World anytime soon. However this park is currently in a transition and you can tell from the moment that you walk into the park that it just doesn’t feel as complete as many other Disney Parks… I would recommend going to Hollywood Studios later in the afternoon and planning to have a meal there at one of the better Table Service restaurants like 50’s or the Brown Derby, the schedule your fast passes for the E-Ticket attractions later in the evening and stay to watch the new Star Wars Firework show!
#5 Animal Kingdom
Over the past few years the Animal Kingdom has gone through some massive construction projects and in 2016 the Animal Kingdom is opening a few of these with nighttime offerings in the new nighttime safari, Rivers of Light Show as well as Tiffins the new signature restaurant! However it is sill a hotbed for construction as Pandora the World of Avatar is not set to open until late 2017…
It is all in the details at Animal Kingdom – this park is my favorite to photograph as it is always changing because of the massive size of the park and the fact that the Animals “control” the park… Animal Kingdom also has some fantastic attractions in: Expedition Everest the attraction that completely transformed Animal Kingdom and broke the “its just a zoo” stereotype, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur, the Festival of the Lion King Musical, and the Finding Nemo the Musical just to name a few! Animal Kingdom also has some great dining options in Yak and Yeti, Tusker House, Flame Tree BBQ and the “newer” Harambe Market restaurant!
Animal Kingdom is still under construction and Pandora the World of Avatar will not open until at least 2017 – Rivers of Light as had an abundance of problems and is delayed greatly as well: Not to mention that stereotype that Animal Kingdom is a half day park that it is still trying to shake off!
The Long and Short of it
Animal Kingdom like Hollywood Studios is under construction and will be for the next year, however unlike Hollywood Studios, a majority of this park is still open and it has many new experiences that just opened this year! Animal Kingdom is finally going to be a theme park that is open at night which is very exciting as this park is so beautiful at night – Not to mention its list of awesome attractions and the fact that Animal Kingdom is the most detailed park in Walt Disney World!
#4 ~ Disney California Adventure
California Adventure or DCA was the most difficult park for me to rate, it could honestly go anywhere from 2-4 on my list of favorite parks and if the “rumored” Marvel land expansion happens this park my become my 2nd favorite! In the relatively short lifespan of California Adventure it has gone through some massive changes that I believe have made this park excellent!
California Adventure is loaded with E-Ticket attractions: Soarin’, Radiator Springs Racers, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Tower of Terror just to name a few! Not to mention the incredible and jaw dropping Cars Land and Buena Vista Street; Paradise Pier and that it incorporates the Grand Californian Hotel into the park which is a really awesome touch and very unique to any other park on this list! World of Color is also a very unique show that can only be found at California Adventure!
DCA lacks Table Service Dining options, Hollywood land is very outdated, and Bugs Land is a little boring especially when it is situated right next to Cars Land… Another minor complaint is that almost the entire park shuts down when it rains, I understand that it “doesn’t rain” in Southern California however on my last visit to Disneyland it rained 3 of our 5 days, it was quite frustrating trying to enjoy DCA in the rain as the park wasn’t really built for the rain – yes a small complaint but still a weakness for me!
The Long and Short of it
DCA is a fantastic park and in someways it “hurts” me to place it at #4 on this list… However it is laking in several areas and it is not as complete as other Disney Parks. With that being said DCA is a “must do” if you are a Disney Fan Cars Land is the best thing Disney has done in many many years, Paradise Pier is an absolute blast, I love Carthay Circle, World of Color is amazing, I could keep going on and on about this park! Just wait and see what I have to say about the others!
This post is very long so I am going to cut it at the halfway point here! Please check back in for my top 3 Disney Theme Parks!!!
Thank you very much for taking the time to ready about my favorite Disney Theme Parks! I cannot wait to visit them all again and it is very exciting that there are 6 more Disney theme parks around the world to explore!