Disney is synonym of magic. That’s the way it’s always been, and the way it will always be. This is what we hope, at least. Its wonderful length features have brought cheer and fantasy to millions of kids throughout the world, and the family visit to its sensational theme parks has always been the promise we have longed at some point of our lives.
With so many themed regions around the planet, we could be spending a whole life trying visit all of the Walt Disney World Parks to satisfy our inner child. However, if we would have to choose only one destination, our money would go to Orlando. Sure, Anaheim, California, was the original place where the good ol’ Walt envisioned for the first time his vision of bring Disney magic to roller coaster and Ferris wheel fans. But the location of this true touristic magnet in the East Coast is an indispensable visit for those who want to spend their vacations in the Sunny State. The variety of available options for the Disney character fans is huge, with 6 theme parks including a safari and two aquatic areas.
We decided to visit its two oldest parks from all of them, the ones that still cherish all the essence of the old days Disney spirit: Epcot and Magic Kingdom.
Undoubtedly the eternal unknown of all parks, Epcot is frequently despised as the less interesting one due to its decidedly divulgative vocation. Born as a prototype of the Utopian city conceived by Walt Disney himself, the unmerciful passage of time and the arrival of that same future that Walt tried to foretell have in some way mislead some people into think that Epcot is nothing more than a relic from the past (quite ironic, isn’t it?) whose absence of attractions oriented to the thrill-seekers makes it lost interest.
Nothing further from reality. Of course, if you are looking for awesome roller coasters, loopings and scream head down, Epcot is not precisely the perfect place to be. Its charm resides in other factors.
On the one hand you will find Future World, the avant-garde showcase that made the park popular when it opened its gates in 1982 as a delicious example of both naive expectations and relentless faith in humanity’s technological effort.
Attractions like Test Track, where visitors are allowed to “create” their own vehicle modifying aspects as power, efficiency or maneuverability in order to “test” it afterwards in an exciting race against the rest of the guests, is one of those nice and quiet experiences you cannot find in other parks. The flight simulator Soarin’ and, above all, Spaceship Earth, the perfectly recreated journey through human history of communications in a huge sphere, are the two other must-do of the day.
Details such as the presence of completely functional futuristic bird houses located in the park’s avenues put a smile on your face and transmits the same enthusiasm that brought Epcot alive long time ago.
On the other hand, World Showcase is an impressive recreation of some of the most beautiful countries and environments of Earth. Visiting Epcot es the closest thing to travel around the world without needing a passport…unless, of course, you prefer to buy one the lovely Epcot passports on sale that you can stamp at selected locations inside the park. We couldn’t resist to get one!
The exquisite attention to detail of these 11 environments is just stunning. For a moment you would think that you’re getting into a Moroccan bazaar, a typical British alley, the surroundings of a Japanese palace, a traditional boulagerie francaise or the streets of an Scandinavian town.
The architecture, design, gastronomy and, to sum up, the general atmosphere of superb neatness displayed in every single one of these ambiances is exceptional. Nobody should miss it.
One morning in Epcot is one morning well spent. Resist for a few hours your thirst for adrenaline and treat your senses with this wonderful glance to the future that could have been while discovering by foot (or boat) some of the world’s most perfect reconstructions. You will not regret it.
Of course, no visit to this area would be complete without spending at least one day in the most iconic, famous and, yes, magical park of all. If you could only choose one Disney park, the one that represents the purest form of its spirit, it has to be Magic Kingdom.
Its succesful approach has been implemented throughout the whole planet, from USA to Japan and France, as the best ambassador Walt Disney could have dreamed. Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Frontierland…epitomes of that kind of family-friendly fun that transports you to the inside of the most classics Disney films, either getting lost in Alice’s Labyrinth, visiting the evil dragon-queen that lurks the depths of the Sleeping Beauty Castle’s dungeons, trying to pull out the Sword from the Stone or riding the well-known Flying Dumbos…it’s just impossible not to enjoy like a child while exploring these exquisite sets, waving the characters that roam the park and admiring every single detail.
For sure, the most courageous ones can test their valor with the fan-favorite indoor roller coaster Space Mountain, The Haunted Mansion or, our favorites, the widely popular “mine trains” Big Thunder Mountain and the more recent Seven Dwrafs Mine Train. Unmissable all of them.
Magic Kingdom treasures that challenging combination of passion, excitement and childhood memories that offers a superb time to people of all ages. Indispensable.
Transport and accommodation
If money or transportation is not a problem, the most desirable option is to book into one of the marvelous Disney hotels available to its wealthiest guests.
Located in Buenavista Lake, practically next to the main parks doors, these temples of magic are by far the perfect choice to make the most of your time in holidays. Nevertheless, if saving is your main priority or you don’t own a vehicle, it’s very convenient to find a room in one of the numerous hotels that fill the surrounding roads not only to Disney parks, but to other unmissable family entertainment classics such as SeaWorld and the two Universal Studios parks.
Even if the overall quality of these lodgings is variable, most of them offer early bird free shuttles that take you to the Disney parks almost every morning.
The variety of these restaurants, attractions and other family-friendly entertainment choices surrounding most of Orlando main roads make this option an experience to remember.
LOCATION: Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida, 32830
PARK HOURS: Magic Kingdom: 8 AM-1 AM (August)
Epcot: 9 AM-9 PM (August)
Disclosure level 1: The author received NO compensation to write this article. The author received a complimentary day press pass to access the park and experience it firsthand. This didn’t influence the author’s opinions or the decision to run an article about this location. The opinions stated are the author’s own and the links provided are information-only.