Fluff - Epcot vs. Hollywood Studios vs. Animal Kingdom

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AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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Fluff - Epcot vs. Hollywood Studios vs. Animal Kingdom

If you could go to one park in addition to Magic Kingdom, which would it be? (Children ages 3,5,7) If you did not want to go to Magic Kingdom and were only going to one park, which would it be? What other must see attractions would you go to in Orlando?

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

Epcot is nice and educational as well. Went in December with my daughter's second grade class. Haven't been to Animal Kingdom in about 6 years so can't comment on that one too much. Alana was 2 at the time and couldn't do much so we headed to the Magic Kingdom.

There's so much to do in Orlando it is ridiculous. Downtown Disney has lots of fun restaurants and the kids would probably like Rainforest Cafe or T-Rex Cafe. DisneyQuest is there too but the 3 y.o. may be too little to enjoy it. We just went to Wonderworks and had a great time there. Fun Spot is dirty so I wouldn't waste my time in that place again. Oh, and if you're looking for a reasonable character dinner, Cinderella at the Grand Floridian was very reasonable. Just be sure to make reservations way in advance.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

Epcot totally

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

Thanks for the advice.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

If you could go to one park in addition to Magic Kingdom, which would it be? (Children ages 3,5,7) If you did not want to go to Magic Kingdom and were only going to one park, which would it be? What other must see attractions would you go to in Orlando?

When we went in Oct. 2011 we went to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. I'm really happy with the choice. The kids had a great time there and many of the things we still talk about from the trip revolve around the animals we saw at Animal Kingdom so it was definitely memorable.

I had also been to all the other parks many times before and had never been to Animal Kingdom myself, same with my parents, so that played into the choice (this was my kids first trip to Disney).

DH and i spent another day and took the older three to Harry Potter at Universal, but I wouldn't bother going there outside of the fact that my oldest was very into Harry Potter at the time.

We had fun in downtown disney too..got the kids faces painted there shopped around, had a good dinner out one night. Was fun.

I forgot, my picture in my sig is from our trip that year! Boy, its out of date...i should update it Smile

ETA: Oh and we went to Medieval times one night too, my kids LOVED it, but that's not for everyone.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

What restaurants in Downtown Disney do you think are the best?

ETA - Thanks for all your help and advice.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

What restaurants in Downtown Disney do you think are the best?

ETA - Thanks for all your help and advice.

I can't tell you much about the restaurants. We went to House of Blues for dinner, it was my dad's birthday. We all enjoyed our meal there and we had awesome views out the back window. It was easy to slip outside with the kids while we were waiting for our food. Its not a disney themed restaurant or anything like that.

Here are some pics from that evening...because I'm shameless about sharing pics LOL



GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

What restaurants in Downtown Disney do you think are the best?

ETA - Thanks for all your help and advice.

Rainforest Cafe or the T-Rex restaurant are both great for kids. Rainforest Cafe has animated jungle animals and the T-Rex has animated Dinosaurs, and even a little sandbox area where the kids can dig for bones. They are both a little pricey, but most everything around there is. Even if you don't eat there at least walk the kids through them, they both allow people to walk around and look even if you aren't eating. They are always pretty crowded so if you go there put in a reservation or plan on waiting for an hour. Planet Hollywood also lets you walk around and look without eating, but don't eat there because the food is really nasty. Make sure you go to the Lego store in Downtown Disney they have huge figures made from Legos that are really cool.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

I think with kids that age I would do Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom has some really cute shows that kids that age would like. The Lion King and Finding Nemo shows are really awesome and exciting enough to keep their attention. They are both live shows. It also has a huge play area to dig for Dinosaur bones and stuff that gives kids a little free play time. Epcot is nice but it has more science type stuff that might be a little over their heads at that age.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

And i have to ask...have they updated EPCOT at all? Like is it still futuristic for the 1980s and 90s? Or is it futuristic for 2010?

I haven't been since the 90s and i've always wondered this.

I did miss getting to go to the different countries. I loved the food you could get at Epcot because of this!

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

The Lion King show at the Animal Kingdom was AWESOME!!!! If you go there, definitely don't miss that show. When we went in October (with T - 4 years old) we went to the Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom and had a blast.

I haven't had the experience of taking a little one to Epcot, but I do remember that as being my least favorite part of the parks when we went when I was a kid. I thought it was kind of boring. Of course, I was 13 and probably totally obnoxious at the time, so it may be way better than I remember, and it also may have changed since then.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"KimPossible" wrote:

And i have to ask...have they updated EPCOT at all? Like is it still futuristic for the 1980s and 90s? Or is it futuristic for 2010?

I haven't been since the 90s and i've always wondered this.

I did miss getting to go to the different countries. I loved the food you could get at Epcot because of this!

It does have some updated stuff like you can go on a simulated roller coaster ride and you pick the track (height requirements though), and in the Imagination part it has cameras that can put you in the video game and things like that. So it does have some neat things and there are some things the littler ones can do, but I think it is geared more to a little bit older kids. Rocco was 6 when we went last summer and most of the stuff he needed help doing it just wasn't stuff he could just do on his own. The countries are neat but it is a lot of walking with little ones.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

Thanks for all the great ideas. DH made reservations at the Rain Forest Cafe, so hopefully we will like that. I am both excited and nervous. A friend of ours knows someone at Disney that works there. He was able to get us free tickets at one of the three parks other than Magic Kingdom. We might still do Magic Kingdom on one day, and the free park on another day that we are there, or we might just do Epcot. Still deciding. I appreciate all your tips as this will be my first time at Disney World.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Thanks for all the great ideas. DH made reservations at the Rain Forest Cafe, so hopefully we will like that. I am both excited and nervous. A friend of ours knows someone at Disney that works there. He was able to get us free tickets at one of the three parks other than Magic Kingdom. We might still do Magic Kingdom on one day, and the free park on another day that we are there, or we might just do Epcot. Still deciding. I appreciate all your tips as this will be my first time at Disney World.

Learn how to use Fast Passes... it really helps a lot! With 3 little ones it would be best for one parent to go ahead to what you want to see next and get fast passes while the other parent stays and does something else with the kids or walks slower at their pace. It also helps if you kind of make a plan ahead of time on the things you want to do most and map it out so you aren't going back and forth across the park.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Learn how to use Fast Passes... it really helps a lot! With 3 little ones it would be best for one parent to go ahead to what you want to see next and get fast passes while the other parent stays and does something else with the kids or walks slower at their pace. It also helps if you kind of make a plan ahead of time on the things you want to do most and map it out so you aren't going back and forth across the park.

What are Fast Passes?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

What are Fast Passes?

You go and get a ticket and it gives you a specific time to come back instead of waiting in line. Depending on how busy they are it is usually about 30 mins to an hour from the time you get the ticket.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

We really like Planet Hollywood and I don't think the food is "gross" at all. Much better than at Rainforest Cafe actually (where you are totally paying for the environment). House of Blues is good but probably not exciting for little kids. Fulton's Crab House has amazing food if you are able to sneak away for a date night. There's also a really good Mexican restaurant in Orlando called Agave Azul (Welcome to Agave Azul Mexican Restaurant and Bar in Orlando Florida) with amazing food and very reasonable prices. Figured I'd mention it because you aren't likely to stumble upon it as it isn't a "touristy" type of place.

Fast Passes are a must for the more popular rides. You pick up a pass (by scanning your ticket) and you are given a time to return for that attraction. The wait is typically much longer than 30 minutes though. For example, for the Soarin ride at Epcot we picked our pass up around noon and were given a 6-7 PM time frame.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

For example, for the Soarin ride at Epcot we picked our pass up around noon and were given a 6-7 PM time frame.

For real?? That is crazy. I almost feel like I need this as a practice trip to learn the ropes, then come back next year to really know what I am doing.

Next question (You all have been SO helpful). If anyone has been to both Downtown Disney and Gattlinburg/Pigeon Forge, is it the same idea? One more, are you able to bring your purse with you on rides?

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

I think I brought my backpack on every ride at MK and Epcot. It wasn't an issue. Pack snacks in case the kids get restless in line.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

For real?? That is crazy. I almost feel like I need this as a practice trip to learn the ropes, then come back next year to really know what I am doing.

Next question (You all have been SO helpful). If anyone has been to both Downtown Disney and Gattlinburg/Pigeon Forge, is it the same idea? One more, are you able to bring your purse with you on rides?

There are only a few rides that you wouldn't be able to take a purse, and they aren't ones that your little girls would be able to ride. Most rides have a place under or in front of the seat to stow things. You CAN take food and drinks into the park if you want to take a backpack with snacks and juice boxes or something or even pack sandwiches for lunch to save some money. Also be aware that you can go to any of the food vendors in the park and ask for ice water and they will give you a FREE cup of water.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

For those ages I would say Animal Kingdom over Epcot and second would be MGM/Hollywood studios.

Animal kingdom has more rides and activites for their age groups and a whole "dig site" area to play around in. My son, 3, loves the safari ride! Its a bugs life 3-D show is a little scary for maybe teh 3 yr old, but the others will probably like it.

I used to work at MGM years ago and we live 10 minutes away from Disney Smile

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

Thank you for all the tips and advise. We had a nice time. We ended up going to Epcot and Animal Kingdom as well as Down town Disney.