What’s the Best Part of Each Disney Theme Park?
The Walt Disney Company owns and operates six different theme parks in the United States, not counting water parks (which Universal Studios does).
Last night, I was planning a vacation in a few weeks when I started debating something in my head.
What would you choose if you were to describe the strongest selling point for each park?
Here is what I consider the best part of every Disney theme park in America.
Disney California Avengers – Avengers Campus
I went back and forth on this one, as I don’t view the decision as cut-and-dried.
On the one hand, Radiator Springs singlehandedly saved Disney California Adventure after a tragic first decade in existence.
Folks, if you weren’t around for the drama, imagine Bob Chapek as a theme park. Now, imagine a decade without the situation ever improving.
Yeah, that was Disney California Adventure (DCA). Unfortunately, then-CEO Michael Eisner went cheap on Disneyland Park’s younger sibling, a mistake that will live in infamy.
When Cars Land opened in 2012, the park suddenly changed its perception overnight. Guests flocked to DCA and still mob Radiator Springs Racers to this day.
Still, Avengers Campus matters more. It just does, and I’m saying that as one of the people who is first in line to defend the movie, Cars.
Disney mimicked a story from a forgotten Michael J. Fox movie called Doc Hollywood and turned it into a nostalgic celebration of Route 66. I love Cars.
Do you know what Cars lacks? Superheroes. And Supervillains. And practitioners of the mystic arts.
Avengers Campus hosts magical displays, character greetings with MCU icons, and multiple E-ticket attractions.
The future of DCA has arrived, and it could kick Thanos’ tail.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Pandora – The World of Avatar
I say badly wanted to say the animals. Really, I did.
Let’s face facts, though. Animal Kingdom had struggled to appeal to mainstream theme park fans before Pandora – The World of Avatar debuted.
Since then, Pandora has secured a place at the top of Animal Kingdom’s food chain, even above those lazy lions I always see napping on Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Pandora’s two attractions, especially Avatar Flight of Passage, dominate attention and claim the longest lines at the park.
Also, Pandora’s Floating Mountains have surpassed the Tree of Life as the pinnacle of Imagineering at Animal Kingdom.
I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that Pandora changed everything for Animal Kingdom. Attendance increased by 25 percent overnight!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
The glow-up at Hollywood Studios honestly isn’t something we talk about enough. This place was deader than any lingering hope of Jacksonville Jaguars fans.
Now, visiting Hollywood Studios is like going to the mall on Black Friday…every day!
What changed? Disney added Toy Story Land and the first Mickey Mouse ride ever.
Also, after years of speculation, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge finally opened to the public.
As usual, the internet got this one loud wrong, as early reports wondered where the crowds were.
That’s the thing about theme parks. Outsiders struggle to understand how crowded the parks are at any given time.
The data-supported truth about Hollywood Studios is that it’s turned into THE theme park at Walt Disney World.
Magic Kingdom may sell more tickets, but that’s because it’s larger and offers exponentially more attractions.
Hollywood Studios packs more people into the park per capita. And most of them head straight to Black Spire Outpost.
This station on Batuu functions as neutral ground between The First Order and The Resistance. Frequently, famous players like Rey and Chewbacca appear.
Guests delight in the realism of this unprecedented storytelling experience, and it has launched a sustained boom period for Hollywood Studios.
Disneyland – The History
I could theoretically use the same answer here. After all, both parks host versions of Batuu.
However, that would be a lazy approach and kinda cheating. Also, I think the one at Hollywood Studios is slightly better. Sorry, Disneyland diehards!
Instead, what stands out to me as a Disney fanatic is the fact that Disneyland started it all. Well, technically, a mouse did, but you get the point.
The Happiest Place on Earth serves as the proof of concept for all theme parks in the world.
While some folks argue that a Christmas-based park came before Disneyland, the irrefutable truth is that Walt Disney made the concept famous.
Without Disneyland, 90 million people wouldn’t have watched a (disastrous) introduction to the theme park.
That television broadcast functioned as free advertising for the emerging industry.
In the decades that have followed, Disneyland has frequently reinvented itself, as demonstrated by Galaxy’s Edge.
However, many rides from the park’s 1955 opening day remain open to the public, as do some restaurants.
You just cannot beat eating the same fried chicken dish that frequently made Walt Disney’s day!
EPCOT – The World Showcase
EPCOT qualifies as the most challenging park to evaluate currently. It’s theoretically still in the middle of redefinition.
Unfortunately, progress has stalled due to the unforeseen event of the pandemic. So, nobody knows whether Spaceship Earth will get its makeover.
Similarly, we have no idea whether other previously announced projects will ever see the light of day.
What we do know is that Walt Disney expected an international hub at the park. He sought a place where people from different cultures could come together and break bread.
The World Showcase has honored that vision better than anyone could have possibly expected.
Every day, guests roam from country to country thanks to the remarkably detailed pavilions on display here.
Where else could you walk past an abandoned pyramid, a Chinese temple, and the Eiffel Tower?
Similarly, how many places have you visited in your life where you could have authentic Italian, Chinese, and Mexican food within a few steps of one another?
EPCOT has thankfully brought back its cultural representatives, restoring that missing element during the pandemic.
Now, the people you meet at the World Showcase reflect the cultures on display here as well. And don’t even get me started on the festivals!
Magic Kingdom – Tomorrowland
I thought long and hard about taking the easy way out here. An equally accurate answer is “the attractions.”
The sheer depth of high-quality rides and shows at Magic Kingdom breaks my brain. I’ve spoken with people who work for other parks. They’re totally intimidated by this place.
Still, Magic Kingdom has recently undergone a redesign at Tomorrowland. This new version of a futuristic world has elevated the themed land…which was already excellent!
Now, Tron Lightcycle Power Run provides the new skyline with its unique shell design. It’s like a glow-in-the-dark parasol that hides a roller coaster.
While all the themed lands at Magic Kingdom excel in their own ways, I think of Tomorrowland first and foremost due to its attractions and visuals.
For what it’s worth, I also considered Main Street, U.S.A., which I suspect would be many of your answers here.
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Feature Photo: Disney