Updated: May 21, 2015
What are the different theme parks at Disneyworld?A trip to Disneyworld can be the memory of a lifetime for you and your family. Planning a trip to Disneyworld can be a nightmare for you and your family. Disneyworld, unlike Disneyland in California, is a VERY big place. Good old Walt bought a couple of blocks in Anaheim many decades ago, but when the idea of a larger park in Florida came around, they thought big - very big. Disneyworld takes up almost 30,000 acres - over 40 square miles of space. Figuring out how to get around the resort and what to see is no easy task. Disneyworld features 4 main theme parks. The first is called the Magic Kingdom - this is the main Disney park, with the castle, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, etc. The second one is EPCOT Center (which stands for Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow), this is the park with the huge silver ball/globe as you enter the park, and the international pavillion (World Showcase) in the rear.
Disney-MGM Studios was Disney's answer to the nearby competitor, Universal Studios. It combines an amusement park around the working studios of Disney, where TV shows, movies, etc. are filmed and produced. The last park is the newest - Disney's Animal Kingdom. This is a hybrid between a zoo, nature conservatory, and amusement park. Finally, Disneyworld also features two water parks to help you cool off on those hot Florida afternoons - Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Both parks feature wave pools, endless rivers, water slides, fountains, and general water based entertainment.
Planning Your Disneyworld VacationDepending on what you want to see and how much time you have, you could spend as little as two days at Disneyworld or as many as 10 days. Some people go to Disneyworld just for the Magic Kingdom experience -- ie, the classic Disney park without all the extras. Two full days at the park will get you on pretty much all the rides, and 2 or 3 times on your favorites. But guess why Disney built all those other parks? Not only do they collect $50+ per person for an admission ticket each day, they also pickup another $200 for each night you stay at their hotels, and another $100-$200 per day in food costs. The more parks there are to see, the longer you stay, and more money Disney collects. One of their techiniques to making you stay longer and visit more parks is by spreading popular attractions around the various parks. For example, EPCOT is home to the popular Test Track ride, along with Soaring and Mission: Space. EPCOT doesn't have a lot of other exciting rides, but people make a day of it anyways to hit these popular rides and then see the other attractions as well. Same thing at MGM Studios - you'll find Star Tours and Tower of Terror there, along with the Fantasmic show, with a number of other minor attractions. And the newest ride, Expedition Everest, is tucked away in a corner in Animal Kingdom instead of at the Magic Kingdom park -- so that way an extra day and extra park visit is needed to ride the latest, greatest ride.
Another fun place to hang out is Downtown Disney. This large outdoor mall has stores, restaurants, and other entertainment venues. It is especially popular at night, with Pleasure Island clubs for adults, and Cirque du Soleil shows. Located close to all the hotels, you can get there by bus or boat.
Disney Water ParksThe two Disneyworld water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, add to the dilemna. Most people don't need to visit both parks, but during a hot summer visit, a day off to cool off is hard to pass up, and the thrill rides in these wet worlds are just as much fun as the rides at the other parks. The easiest way to see the various parks is with the Park Hopper ticket (you can also add the optional water park ticket). These passes let you go to any park, any day, and switch between parks during the day as well. This allows you to do a few things, like go to the Magic Kingdom in the early morning and afternoon, then hop over to MGM Studios in the later afternoon and catch a few rides and see Fantasmic, without having to devote an entire day to Disney MGM Studios. Or you can spend a half day at Animal Kingdom, then beat the afternoon heat at Blizzard Beach. How much do Park Hopper tickets cost at Disneyworld? The best news about Disneyworld tickets is that they get cheaper and cheaper the longer you stay. For example, for an adult, a 3 day Park Hopper ticket costs about $252. The 7 day ticket costs $271, and the 10 day ticket costs $277 -- so you get 7 additional days of park visits for only $25 more than the 3-day ticket price. Basically, if you stay more than 3 or 4 days, Disney lets you visit the parks at no extra cost besides the expense of lodging and food. This is a pretty good deal if you can afford a few extra nights lodging and food. You might even look into getting some groceries and preparing a few simple breakfasts and bag lunches in your room, reducing your food expense significantly and allowing you a few extra days vacation at minimal incremental expense.
So keep these thoughts in mind when you begin planning for your Disneyworld vacation - think about what parks you want to see, how many days you want to stay (keeping in mind that additional days after 3 will cost you almost nothing in entrance fees), then decide what hotels you want to stay at. In our other guides listed below, we will take a look at each park in more details, with tips on saving time in line and getting on more rides, suggested itineraries, and what rides not to miss, and which you can afford to skip. We will also look at the different hotel options at the Disneyworld resort - how much they cost, where they are located, what benefits you get at one property vs. another. And we will look at how to get around the resort using the monorail, boats, and buses. Keep reading!
- Magic Kingdom Guide
- Disney MGM Studios Guide
- EPCOT Center Guide
- Disney Animal Kingdom Guide
- Disneyworld Hotel Guide
- Disneyworld Transportation System
- Downtown Disney Guide