It’s one of the most magical words in the English language. Disney. When you hear it, you immediately think of Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, but beyond that, we associate Disney with warm memories of childhood, with a guilt-free attitude towards joy, happiness, fun, and comfort. It’s a place of fantasy, where dreams actually can come true, and where the complications of modern life disappear. We will take you through all four Orlando Disneyworld Parks, and show you the unique points of each.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is perhaps the least well-known of the 4 different Orlando parks, but it has some fantastic, legendary rides. The most famous one is The Tower of Terror, a ride where you are whisked to the top of a tower, and then dropped down at a maximum speed of 31 miles per hour, and the terrifying part is that this happens inside the dark tower, where you can barely see the outside light.
If you are not a fan of rides, there are many great shows at the park which are family friendly, including Indiana Jones Spectacular, a live action re-enactment of the famous Raiders of the Lost Ark movie, Fantasmic, a nighttime special effects show, and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.
The most famous of all Disney Parks, and perhaps the most famous theme park in history, Magic Kingdom opens up to stunning Cinderella Castle, a castle modeled after the Bavarian King Ludwig II’s masterwork, Neuschwanstein.
Magic Kingdom has many great rides, including Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, It’s a Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. One of the most famous rides that has withstood the test of time is the Haunted Mansion, a whimsical yet haunting ride through a dark, Gothic mansion where you encounter ghosts, skeletons, and strange voices. The exterior of the building is impressive, and the best time to do the ride is at night, when the dark lighting both outside and inside makes for a very interesting attraction.
The Animal Kingdom is essentially a giant animal conservatory, with theme park rides and shows thrown in for good measure. Opened in 1998, and the newest of the parks, it has tirelessly promoted animal rights and as one walks through the park, you can feel the genuine love that the park’s employees hold for animals and the environment. There is a spectacular variety of animals on display, including komodo dragons, pythons, foxes, tarantulas, alligators, rhinos, elephants, cheetahs, gorillas, and hippos. The park is divided into geographic sections, mainly Africa, Asia, and the U.S.A. The best shows are Festival of the Lion King (located in Africa), It’s Tough To Be A Bug (located in Discovery Island), and Finding Nemo – The Musical (located in DinoLand U.S.A.).
If you like technology and world cultures, Epcot is the park for you. The entrance is presented by the gigantic Spaceship Earth Globe, which is also beautifully illuminated at night. Epcot is divided into two main sections, a futuristic world aptly called Future World, and also the World Showcase, which features a collection of 11 pavilions relating to different cultures around the world.
The most famous rides at this park are Spaceship Earth (educational ride showing past, present and future of technology), Mission: Space (a thrilling centrifugal simulator, to simulate the forces of lift-off for astronauts on board a space shuttle), and Test Track (where you get to create your own vehicle and make sure it’s as fast as possible).
It's a Small World After All
Orlando’s Disney World is an extraordinary collection of four distinct theme parks, each unique and thrilling, and their geographical proximity to each other means that you can spend time in all of them in just a few days. A recommended itinerary if you want to see most of the park and ride 80% of the rides will be Animal Kingdom for a day, Magic Kingdom for two days, Epcot for two days, and Hollywood Studios for a day. For Florida residents, the best pass will be the seasonal annual pass (350 USD per person with blockout dates), but if you’re short on time, a four day pass will be enough to see all four parks. Whether it’s technology, nature, fairy tales, or the magic of Hollywood, there is something in each park for everyone, be they kids, adults, or even the elderly. Disney is a place for memories and dreams, and just having fun is merely the beginning of the adventure.
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