Animal Kingdom is my favorite park at WDW
As a Disneyland local and “regular” – shall I even say native, given that it’s been a favorite spot of mine since I was a young child – it’s always fun for me to visit Walt Disney World and reflect on the differences between the two Resorts. While there’s often a joking rivalry between “Team World” and “Team Land” Disney fans (and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t “Team Land”, but that’s mainly because I grew up there and what I’m used to 🙂 ) – it’s really not a fair comparison of two places that are just entirely different in what they have to offer, but both have different benefits and perks, sharing in common the Disney flair and great service.
First of all, a few praises for Walt Disney World, and a few things they have that I wish Disneyland would adopt:
-The Cast Members were absolutely amazing. Everywhere we went, from the janitorial staff to the food to the lifeguards to security, across the parks and resorts, the quality of Guest Service was phenomenal. I’ll be honest, in the past I’ve given the nod to Disneyland on quality of Cast, but this trip was some of the best Disney service I’ve had in a long time. I especially want to give a shout out to First Aid for helping me with a sick child – which a separate blog post is coming soon on how to cope when your kid get sick on vacation! 🙂
Beautiful Pandora – World of Avatar
Nothing quite like Spaceship Earth at night in Epcot!
-Some of the best rides Disney has to offer are here – Expedition Everest, Kilamanjaro Safari, Rockin Rollercoaster, and the attractions at the new Pandora were some of my favorites. Flight of Passage is incredible (though I had a lot of motion sickness issues on it and probably would not wait 3 hours as is common in standby lines 🙂 ) and the whole Pandora land is beautiful, we all really liked it, and that’s coming from people who are not huge Avatar fans or followers. Overall, Animal Kingdom is my favorite Disney park outside of Disneyland, California.
Preshow to Flight of Passage in Pandora
It’s not uncommon to be up-close and personal with amazing animals on the Kilamanjaro Safari!
-The food is incredible and an experience unto itself. While I think my overall #1 hat tip restaurant still goes to Napa Rose at DLR, Epcot’s World Showcase is incredible and somewhere I could spend a week on its own dining and drinking. California Grill is my East Coast favorite counterpart restaurant to Napa and we found some regular diners and fans there, even one from California! A separate post on the ins and outs of WDW Dining and the highlights of our trip is coming soon.
Candlelight Processional at Epcot is beautiful!
-World Showcase deserves an extra shout out – it’s so neat to be able to sample other countries without traveling there. The theming is so well done, the cuisine authentic, and I LOVE that the Cast in each country is visiting and native to that place and a native language speaker.
The France Pavilion is one of our favorites in the World Showcase
– Annual Passholder line and Guests Without Bags lines – Disneyland really needs both these concepts! It speeds up security and the entrance process immensely! So nice!
Annual Passholders’ Entrance at Every Park
Challenges or things that I’m not as big a fan of?
-WDW is massive… it’s a big shock to those of us used to hopping regularly and easily from one park to another. The bus system, extra time for dining and transportation, sometimes over an hour, takes getting used to and planning.
-Along with that note, the need to plan in advance for dining and Fast Passes 6 and 2 months in advance has pros and cons – if you do it well, you save a lot of time and there’s less to think about when you arrive. On the flip side, you don’t always have park hours or exact schedules available when you make those hard to get dining reservations 180 days out or even plan when to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 60 days out… this can lead to some hectic or exhausting days, trying to make an early breakfast after being out late the night before, rushing to a dinner after a long morning when you’d rather relax or take a nap… however, big disclaimer, working with a Disney Travel Agent 🙂 can help mitigate this a lot, and I’d recommend using one, whether myself or another you know and trust, to help ease this part of stress especially at a place like WDW.
-The Magic Kingdom has some great attractions and dining -I do prefer Splash Mountain to the Disneyland version, Mine Train is fun, and Be Our Guest is very neat to see, along with Liberty Square and all the classic Disney attractions like People Mover, Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree, and Tom Sawyer Island. However, it’ll just never compare to Disneyland for us, and we tend to spend the least amount of time here compared to the other parks and amenities.
Need to be fair to Magic Kingdom – the castle is beautiful!
All in all, Walt Disney World is a place we’ll continue to return to! Our kids (ages 4 and 7) are spoiled at Disneyland but still had a blast, trekked through every day still wanting more, and wanted to live there! 😉 For all we’ve done, there are still so many different resorts and other experiences we have yet to try! Stay tuned for more posts in the week ahead on our Resort Stay, Dining Experiences, and What to do If your Kid Gets Sick On Vacation. If you have any questions about your upcoming Disney stay or our considering one, I’d love to help! I work for an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner agency! My planning services are complimentary when booking through me and the pricing is identical to anything you get dealing with Disney directly. I know we are already planning our next family visit!