Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios for kids age 5 and 7?

We are making our first trip to WDW in February! We are very excited but overwhelmed by all there is to know to prepare for our trip!

We have 4 days total. We are spending 2 at MK and 1 at Epcot.

We want to spend our first day at either AK or HS. Our flight gets in to Orlando at 9:20am, so we’ll have a late start, but want to make the most of that day and visit one of those parks.

We have a 5 year old boy and a 7 year old girl. Any advice one which park would be best (AK or HS) for their ages and a late morning start on our first day in WDW?


I would lean towards AK. I think it would be a more relaxing first day, and it has a lot more things that appeal to younger children. Plus, with the earlier park closing time, it will “force” you to get back to your room earlier so that the kids will have more rest time to recover from the trip so that they will be ready for MK and EP.

Also, I am assuming that you mean Hollywood Studios (per the post text) as opposed to Universal Studios (per the post header). If you did mean Universal Studios, then definitely go for AK, as a late start at US would not make for a fun day, especially if you want to do the Harry Potter stuff.

Yes, I did mean Hollywood, not Universal! Thanks! I changed the heading.

I would also vote for Animal Kingdom. And be sure to catch Finding Nemo the musical and Festival of the Lion King!

I think it would depend on whether or not your kids are big Frozen fans or not. With the “For the 1st Time in Forever” singalong and Wandering Oaken’s Snowground, HS is the only place outside of MK where you can catch Anna and Elsa (for now).

With those options, plus the Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid shows, HS was a don’t miss for our family.

Another vote for AK. I went to AK on our arrival day and I was amazed at how it cleared out later in the day and this was the end of July. I love HS but the kids and the DH always struggle to find as much to do. I do second what @JonMcIntosh said about the Frozen show at HS. It is really good. If you go to HS, don’t miss it.

The only things we did this trip at AK were Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King. If I had to choose between AK and HS, it would be HS. My DS and I loved Toy Story. I also enjoy Muppets, the Great Movie Ride, and Beauty and the Beast. DS loves Rock 'n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, but your children may be a little young for those? My DH and DS both enjoyed the Lights, Motors stunt show. I would say that if you are arriving late morning, be sure to get FPP for Toy Story.

Tough call; it really depends on your kids. DHS offers age-appropriate shows (and rides the 7yo may be able to ride). AK has all of the wonderful animal exhibits (AND Nemo and Lion King - two of the best live shows in all of WDW). When I was that age, I think I would have liked the animals better, but especially if you have DDs who are into Frozen, DHS may be the better choice…

It’s a toss up… My ds5 is obsessed with TSMM! He’s also getting into Star Wars so dhs is fun for him… I feel like we can do everything there in a day, not rushing at all!! Now AK has the safari he likes but he seems to be less interested… like I said it really is a toss up but I think starting your trip off at either is a good idea :slight_smile:

One problem with a late arrival at HS and a young SW fan is that you will not be able to sign him up for JTA. You will be able to see the show, but will he be disappointed if he cannot participate?

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Very, very easy. DAK all the way. In terms of shows, DAK has the best live shows on property, better food than DHS, better theming, and it’s a toss up on attractions although DHS is lagging there too now with closed attractions and of the remaining attractions there are a couple you want be able to do as a family. As of now and while I like DHS and would have a tough time skipping it, I’d rank it in last place.

It really depnds on what your children like. If you know that they love animals, and finding nemo and the lion king, than I would go with AK. However if they love frozen and meeting characters than I would head to Hollywood studios. There is plenty to do either way

Character meets (phinneas and ferb, mike and sully, the incredibles, etc.)
Frozen sing a long
Frozen funland thingy :smile:
the seven year old could probably do star tours, not sure about the 5 year old
beauty and the beast

Finding Nemo
Festival of the Lion King
Animal exhibits
Wilderness explorers
Tough to be a bug
Kali river

ak is certainly a more relaxed day, but I think you can’t lose whichever you pick, it just depends on which your kids would like more.

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Don’t forget the Boneyard at AK - kids seem to want to stay there forever!

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My kids - all older now - would say AK. We all love the shows and the beauty and laid back feel of the park. But the great news is no matter which you choose your kids will love it and not even know or worry about what they other park holds! First day of the first trip is so magical, it doesn’t matter which park!

I would say, don’t forget Toy Story Midway Mania at HS, which for us, turned out to be the most fun attraction that we were all able to do together.

Totally depends on your kids, and whether they prefer – in terms of interests – movies /stunts, etc., or nature/ animals, etc. Personally, my kids (similar ages) prefer AK, but we really are zoo people and we love the whole aesthetic too. They have fun at HS too, but won’t do ToT or RRC, so apart from Toy Story, playground, and shows, there’s not that much for them (though still too much to accomplish all that we want, ha ha.)

I vote for AK too. Kids loved the animal trails, Safari, digging in the boneyard, and lion king show. Nice relaxing day compared to the other parks. Dhs is more stressful with the high profile headliners and conflicting show times.

Don’t forget DHS has Jake. Seeing him was a not to be missed for my son. And the Disney junior show.

If you think your kids might enjoy Wilderness Explorers, then AK’s the best bet.