This post is a continuation of my previous post rating my Favorite Disney Theme Parks – to read that one click here!
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!
Onto the Top 3
#3 ~ Magic Kingdom
I’ve had a love hate relationship with Magic Kingdom for years however unlike most the older I get the more I appreciate the park and the more that I enjoy it… The Magic Kingdom is still the “flagship” Disney Park as Cinderella Castle is always one of the most photographed things in the entire world as well as the fact that Magic Kingdom continually has the highest number of theme park visitors in the world at nearly 20,000,000 annual visitors!
Magic Kingdom has more attractions than almost any Disney World Theme Park and these attractions come in many varieties from the classic dark rides in Fantasyland to the thrill rides of Tomorrow and Frontier lands! Magic Kingdom features three spectacular entertainment options in the Festival of Fantasy Parade, the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes nighttime firework show! Over the past 5 years I believe that the Magic Kingdom has made some very nice changes to the park. From New Fantasyland to the Festival of Fantasy Parade in many ways the park is firing on all cylinders!
The Magic Kingdom is a great park however there are still a few things that it would work on to make it an even better park. 1st Magic Kingdom is extremely crowded always there really is not one time of the year that the park is slow and Magic Kingdom’s crowd flow is frustrating at best… The Hub Expansion was nice however this park always feels unbearably crowded to me, even getting into the park is more challenging than any of the other parks… Other “weaknesses”: Tomorrowland is very “old” it doesn’t feel very futuristic I still love it but think it could use a refresh; Frontierland gets quite crowded and could also use a facelift; Adventureland needs to ditch the Aladdin and get rid of the big spinner which is an eyesore…
The Long and Short of it
The Magic Kingdom is the most compete theme park in Walt Disney World however I think an expansion and re do of Tomorrowland, a new nighttime parade and a new firework show would be very beneficial. I hope that Magic Kingdom will receive these upgrades by its 50 Anniversary like Disneyland did for its 60th!
#2 ~ Epcot
Epcot has had a reputation about being “an adult” park and a “boring park” for years however from the very first trip that I remember, Epcot has been my favorite park in Walt Disney World! Epcot has some amazing attractions from the newly opened Soarin’ Over the World, Test Track a fast paced ride for the thrill seekers and a brand new Frozen Ever After Ride! Not to mention Epcot is the most beautiful Disney Theme park in America!
My favorite thing about Disney theme parks is the details from the background music that switches from land to land to the incredible detail of each land. I believe that Epcot executes these details better than any Disney theme park in America! Nothing transports you to a new place better than World Showcase where in a 1.2 mile stroll you will travel to 11 different counties! A day at Epcot is not complete without a meal in world showcase at one of the many fantastic restaurants that feature foods from Mexico to Japan or Morocco or many others! Not to mention watching Illuminations Reflections of Earth a nighttime firework and Laser Lightshow on the world showcase lagoon!
Epcot’s biggest flaw is Future World which is half of the park; the entire “land” is not bad however there are many outdated or unused pavilions that really need to be utilized to their fullest potential… With all of the construction in Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom combined with the newly opened Frozen and Soarin’ attractions I do not see Future World getting a refresh in the next 2 years however I am hoping that once Hollywood Studios finishes construction Epcot is the next park to get some love…
The Long and Short of It
Epcot is far from “perfect” and most would argue that the Magic Kingdom is “better” however when I think about a list of “favorites” I think about the place that I want to spend the most time in or the place that I do spend the most time in on my precious vacations and nearly every trip I spend the most time at Epcot, when I was living in Disney I went to Epcot nearly everyday for a month straight! Epcot is ever changing because of the different cultures that are represented! It also has the benefit of having the Flower and Garden Festival in the Spring and the Food and Wine Festival in the Fall which add to the Epcot is the best park at Walt Disney World “idea”
#1 ~ Disneyland Park
From the moment I walked into Disneyland Park for the first time I fell in love with it. I know that sounds silly however it is the truth… There is quaintness and a charm that Disneyland has that know other theme park has. It is very cliché to say that “Disneyland is the park where Walt Disney walked” but it is true and you can feel his presence in the park in so many ways my favorite is the fact that the light in Walt’s Apartment is always shining!
Disneyland park has 8 of the best lands in any Disney Park anywhere and it is lead by my favorite of any Disney Park New Orleans Square which has the best Pirates of the Caribbean as well as the Haunted Mansion which are two of the best classic attractions! New Orleans square also has the Blue Bayou, Café Orleans and the French Market which all are fantastic dining options and not to mention some of the best shopping too! Disneyland also has a wide variety of thrill rides in the ever-popular Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space or Hyper Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain! One of the best things about these attractions is that they are highly themed and have many details that go way beyond the basic thrill ride amusement park.
At nighttime the entire park transforms into an even more perfect park with the super popular and super fantastic Paint the Night Parade; a new nighttime parade that used over 1,000,000 LED Lights as well as an amazing soundtrack! Following the Paint the Night Parade is the Disneyland Forever fireworks these were each created for the 60th Anniversary celebration and they are both incredible!
Disneyland Park like the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios is under major construction for the creation of Star Wars Land however unlike the Disney World construction projects Disneyland Park still feels like a complete park and the construction does not really affect the park like it does others.
The Long and Short of it
Disneyland Park a “practically perfect” park, and with the addition of Star Wars Land its going to be even better! Disneyland has the best cast members, great dining, awesome attractions and its full of the little Details that make a Disney Park a Disney Park. If I could only go to one Domestic Disney Park for the rest of my life it would be Disneyland Park! If you are a Walt Disney World fan and you haven’t been to Disneyland GO you will not regret it!
Thank you very much for taking the time to ready about my favorite Disney Theme Parks! I cannot wait to explore the 6 international parks in the future as well as see all of the exciting changes in the 6 American Parks!