EPCOT vs Magic Kingdom: Which Disney park is best?

When you’re booking a trip to Disney World, there are a few questions that must be answered. 

At the forefront of these – especially now that simply having a ticket isn’t enough – is how many days, how many parks and which parks take precedence over the others. 

Do I need to go to Animal Kingdom? Should I do all my days at Hollywood Studios and ride the Star Wars rides ’til I drop? What about the water parks?

Who knew there would be so many decisions to make at the happiest place on earth?

And then of course we have two Disney World OGs: Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.

Should we do multiple days in the Magic Kingdom? Do we want to go to EPCOT? Which park is better?

These core questions force something of an existential crisis.

In this article, we break down some of the internet’s most frequently asked questions about these two popular Disney parks.

Read Also: Does Disney own Harry Potter? The Wizarding World that almost never was

Cinderella's Castle during Disney World's 50th Anniversary celebration
Magic Kingdom is a staple for any visit to Disney World. Pictured: Cinderella’s Castle during Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebration (photo by John Gullion/HeyOrlando.com)

Which park in Disney World is best?

But first things first, I’d like to offer my thoughts on the Walt Disney World Resort hierarchy as a whole.

I’m frequently asked what I think is the best Disney park. 

For me? I like them all – not equally – but each has its place. And you’re likely to have a great time no matter what you choose.

So the answer, for me, is subjective based on who I’m with and what I want to do. 

I have a lifetime of memories tied up in the Magic Kingdom. So if I only had a single day, that’s likely the park I’d pick. I’d ride a few rides, like fan favorites Space Mountain, The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. I’d get in a few photo ops in front of the Cinderella Castle. And I’d soak up the magic of the experience. 

I also love Star Wars and the Toy Story Land rides and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, so Disney’s Hollywood Studios probably has the most rides I’d enjoy outside of nostalgia factors.  

Animal Kingdom is also cool. Especially with the semi-recent addition of the World of Avatar.

I like Pandora and Africa and Asia and one of the best zoo environments I’ve ever seen. Still, I can’t imagine a scenario that if I only had a single day, I’d use it in Animal Kingdom. 

That leaves us with EPCOT – which had been long neglected by Disney execs in my opinion. But could I see myself spending one day at Disney spending it in EPCOT? Yes. I could. 

And of course, there are plenty of opportunities for a character meet and greet in each park for young children (with your favorite Disney characters like Snow White and Mickey Mouse). So that’s basically a wash.

Read Also: Epcot vs Animal Kingdom: Which Disney World park is best?

Are there any rides at EPCOT? What rides are a must?

For a land built on the idea of a better tomorrow, maybe a disturbing utopian tomorrow, EPCOT was really beginning to show its age.

I’m thrilled they’ve added the Ratatouille ride to Paris – it’s good, not Mickey & Minnie Runaway Railway good, but good. 

And I’m really looking forward to the Guardians of the Galaxy ride, scheduled to launch in summer 2022.

Add the planned Coco upgrades to the Mexico Pavilion and Disney has really invested in making EPCOT a better experience. 

Still, there’s more work to be done. 

Soarin’ the World remains a favorite, but the pre-flight videos could use a bit of a facelift. 

I’m amazed that the Journey into the Imagination with Figment is still running. And I expect that once the current projects are done, it will be targeted next. 

I know Spaceship Earth is an iconic dark ride, but I found it more than a little disturbing. Maybe it’s the frequent stops – I think to help passengers on and off who need assistance. On the ascent, we were stuck in a reclined position surrounded by the animatronics for more time than I wanted. 

EPCOT’s major selling points are the more popular attractions: Mission Space, Ratatouille, Soarin’, Frozen Ever After and to some degree the Test Track

I fully expect the Guardians ride will jump to the top of the list when it’s finished. Disney is on an amazing heater with all of the parks’ new rides.

Epcot at Disney World
For adults, EPCOT may be a better option than the Magic Kingdom due to its chiller atmosphere and excellent food and drink options (photo by PixieMe/stock.adobe.com)

Which Disney World park is better for adults?

In my opinion, EPCOT remains the best park for adults.

What makes EPCOT the best park, however, isn’t the rides … it’s the World Showcase, featuring different countries from around the globe.

And for this purpose, I recommend the International Gateway park entrance located between the France and United Kingdom pavilions. 

On our most recent trip, we toured EPCOT with another family and vowed to return to explore more of the restaurants – and adult beverage options. 

Our favorite restaurant in Morocco was undergoing repairs at the time, so we returned to the excellent Chefs de France. Our friends had sushi and we sampled beers in Germany and Norway

On so many of our Disney trips, we’re focused on trying to maximize the experience, get as much out of the day as possible.

The international portion of EPCOT is a great place to cut loose the agenda, relax and enjoy simply getting away.

It’s a good choice for those looking for great food with plenty of special events offered throughout the year.

Is Magic Kingdom bigger than EPCOT?

No, the Magic Kingdom is not bigger than EPCOT. At 300 acres, EPCOT is almost twice the size of the Magic Kingdom. 

Again, covering that much area can make for a long day for little kids. The walk from The Seas with Nemo and Friends to Frozen Ever After is like a trek across the sun. 

Which park is better: Magic Kingdom or EPCOT?

When you have small kids, the answer is fairly simple. Spend multiple days in the Magic Kingdom. Then head to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. And last, if you have enough time, do EPCOT. 

If the kids are older – or if you’re visiting the World without kids at all – then the equation changes. 

EPCOT, I think, offers the best time for adults or families with older children. If you’re in this category, I’d encourage you to find a place better than EPCOT even as it is going through a transformation.

Which Disney World theme park do you prefer? Are you planning an upcoming Disney Trip? Which parks do you plan on visiting? Let us know in the comments below!

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