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Ask It: What Park To Skip?

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What park to skip?

This week, we’re introducing a new feature on Twitter and the blog–Ask It! Every Wednesday, we’ll put a poll on the TouringPlans Twitter account. Voting will be open until midday on Sunday, and the results (with commentary) will appear here on the blog.

This week, we asked you:

If you had three days at Walt Disney World and no park hopper, what park would you skip?

With more than 1400 votes cast, the final results were (in order from least to greatest):

Magic Kingdom, 4%

Epcot, 11%

Animal Kingdom, 37%

Disney’s Hollywood Studios, 48%

Skipping Animal Kingdom means missing the awesome Tree of Life Awakening. Photo ©Disney.

Numbers for people considering Magic Kingdom or Epcot were predictably low, making this really a two-horse race between Animal Kingdom and the Studios. In many ways, both parks can be seen as “half-day” parks, depending on your personal likes for attractions. If you are interested in headliners, Disney’s Hollywood Studios really is the better option, with Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Star Tours for thrills, plus Toy Story Midway Mania! as a not-as-high-thrill headliner attraction. Although Expedition Everest can hold its own with that lineup, the other “thrills” at Animal Kingdom (DINOSAUR and Primeval Whirl) aren’t that big of a draw, and aside from Kilimanjaro Safaris, finding actual noteworthy rides can be tough. Unless you’re a big fan of stage shows (or really love Star Wars to spend time in Launch Bay), once you’ve had your fill of the headliners at the Studios, there isn’t much that people will be clamoring to do or see until the evening entertainment with Fantasmic! and fireworks. On the other hand, it is possible to fill up a day at Animal Kingdom, if you enjoy spending time wandering and looking at animals interspersed with some amazing stage shows and some of the best savory snack options outside of an Epcot festival. Evening dance parties at Animal Kingdom are wonderful and the Tree of Life Awakening is awe-inspiring. But the lack of a major evening show at Animal Kingdom does harm its appeal for some families.

When deciding what to visit and what to skip, it is important to know the group you are traveling with. For my daughter, the lack of a playground area at the Studios is a major negative in her book, and as I don’t do most thrill rides, our choice would be Animal Kingdom. For other members of my family, the Star Wars emphasis and thrill rides would send them happily on their way to the Studios.

Star Wars at Hollywood Studios may sway your decision to spend your extra day there.

Some people who commented mentioned that when Star Wars Land opens at the Studios, it will be a major impetus for them to head for the Studios, but there were not any comments in the same vein about when Pandora: World of Avatar opens. My personal prediction is that in the time between the opening of Pandora at Animal Kingdom and the opening of Star Wars (and Toy Story) lands at the Studios, there will be an even larger shift towards Animal Kingdom. Even if people aren’t interested in Pandora, there will still be a desire to visit Animal Kingdom because of perceived value that more attractions provide. Add Rivers of Light into the mix, and Animal Kingdom will lose its “half day park” status.  Once the new expansions open for the Studios, I would expect that it may be an increased amount of people willing to skip Epcot, unless it finds some way to make every day a festival day or reinvent itself as it goes through its early mid-life crisis.

Do you agree with the votes on Twitter? Have some reasons for what you would choose? Let us know in the comments. Here’s this week’s question, going live on the TouringPlans Twitter account:

If you could have dinner in/near Walt Disney World tonight, would you eat at a…

  1. Theme-park restaurant
  2. Disney resort restaurant
  3. Disney Springs restaurant
  4. Restaurant off property


See you next week for more Ask It!

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Julia Mascardo

Former writer, editor, and social media manager of TouringPlans. Embarking on new adventures with husband, kid, and cats.

14 thoughts on “Ask It: What Park To Skip?

  • For us, it would be to skip Animal Kingdom. While Hollywood Studios is really reduced, they still have a few headliners seem far more interesting than anything at Animal Kingdom. We’ll probably end up spending more time at Animal Kingdom than Hollywood Studios, but I think we’ll rank those HS attractions higher than Animal Kingdom when all is said and done.

  • Right now, today, I would skip Animal Kingdom. If Avatar land and Rivers of Light were up and running today then I would be unable to choose.

    In that case if someone offered to fly me to Orlando, pay for my hotel, and give me a free three-day ticket I would decline it all and just wait until I could save enough money to pay for my own trip and visit all four parks.

    If I’m going to do Disney World I’m going to do it right!

  • I don’t want to miss any park 🙁

    If a choice really had to be made the HS would have to wait until next trip.

  • It’s actually a very silly question. If you only have three days, and you want to see all four parks, you suck it up and add the park hopper option. Compared to the total cost of a Walt Disney World vacation, adding that option is a minuscule amount. If you’re that concerned about money that you can’t afford a park hopper, then you probably shouldn’t be going to Walt Disney World.

    • Disagree. The time I lose for transportation from one park to the other negates any value of the Park Hopper for me. (We’ll see how the direct buses fare – I’m not holding my breath.)

      Hollywood Studios is my cut – four days in the parks next week, and I’m not going (MK twice). My husband doesn’t care for the big rides, and with the elimination of things like the animation class, the construction going on for Star Wars…that means he’s holding the bag while I do RNR and ToT and then we wait in line for Star Tours for an hour. No thanks.

      • Long Transportation time? Take uber, taxi, or drive a car!

        Some people in your party don’t like specific big rides? They can either see a show that you miss or wait in line with you and “chicken exit”.

        Star Tours has an hour wait? The touringplans forecasted waits are max 33 minutes during the current crowd levels of late Jan/early Feb; and by the way, the FP+ secondary checkpoint is rarely enforced…

        Construction inconvenient? The car stunt show, back lot tour, honey i shrunk the kids playground are attractions actually missing…

    • Disney sells a ticket which costs as little as $29.29 to add a parkhopper to a 3-day ticket;
      Or for a regular price it’s $58.58 for a parkhopper option.

      Using a figure of $1000 per person for food, tickets, travel, and lodging that’s about 6%.

      …… Basically if you WANT to park hop because of specific attractions (Exp Everest and Safari and Fantasmic / Star Wars fireworks / TSM) Then the cost shouldn’t hold anyone back.

  • Other than particularly (and hopefully temporarily) sad state of DHS, I’d have to say I’d vote Epcot as it stands now – and I truly loved it when it opened (as the EPCOT Center). There’s just been such a habit of taking its attractions and making them less good over time. Seeing the Imagination Pavilion “update” over the years that just keep making it less and less imaginative?. Test Track’s added “design your car” aspect is great, but the actual ride is so much less interesting than when the “test” car was being put through all the different types of test stations. Horizons? Wonders of Life pavilion (Body Wars was fun, but Cranium Command is the one I still mourn for).

  • If now were 6 years ago, I’d pick Animal Kingdom as the park to skip in a heartbeat. DHS was a delight for me. I love the Golden Age of Hollywood theme. I loved the One Man’s Dream museum and film attraction and the backlot tour. I adore the Great Movie Ride. Midway Mania, Rock & Roller Coaster and especially Tower of Terror are spectacular. Hell, even the Muppet theater is awesome. Not to mention I’m a huge Star Wars and Indiana Jones fan. However, DHS is a mere shadow of its former self right now — so little to see. What is there is still great, but it feels like an incomplete park right now, and I don’t know if it will maintain the atmospheric feel it has once all the changes are complete.

    Now, in comparison, Animal Kingdom never suffered from the closure it had to make to work on Pandora. It is just getting bigger, but it’s still got everything that made it fun to start with. It’s by far the biggest of the parks, but despite this doesn’t take much time to see. (especially as crowd levels are lower.)

    Epcot… oh wow. I love all Disney’s theme parks. I don’t know how I could skip Epcot, despite the sorry state of futureworld. Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, Soarin, all of the world showcase.

    It’s close, but in their current state I have to pick DHS. Priorities are MK, Epcot and AK. When Pandora and Star Wars are operational, that will have to be revisited, Epcot might end up the unfortunate loser.

  • I’d have to get a park hopper if I only had 3 days – there are at least 2 must do’s for me at every park! AK – Dinosaur, Kali and Kilimanjaro; HS – TSM, Star Tours; Epcot – Soarin, Test Track; MK – too many to list!

  • For me, it all comes down to what attractions I can’t miss whenever I got to WDW. There are too many to name at MK. At AK, Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Dinosaur fall into that category and at DHS, it’s Tower of Terror, Rock n Roller Coaster and Toy Story Mania. But there’s really nothing at Epcot that I classify as a “can’t miss” attraction. So Epcot would be my choice.

  • I voted for AK, but I understand the DHS sentiment–for me, I could ride ToT and RRC a half-dozen times each for the day & be happy. Or do they day, grab a nap and a nice dinner at a resort restaurant, and come back for the night time shows.

  • Not being an animal person, I find Animal Kingdom very dull. If it weren’t for Expedition Everest, we would probably never make the effort to go there. DHS, while it has some good rides, isn’t really worth a full day. If I had no hopper and 3 days, I’d probably skip both of them and do 2 days at MK and 1 at Epcot in between.

  • Very surprising to me that Epcot had so few votes. I think that DHS is the obvious choice TODAY specifically, but once it’s back at full strength, I don’t think my love for Illuminations would be enough to overcome the steadily shrinking and aging list of attractions there.

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