Best "Florida-only" (different from Disneyland) attractions at MK

Hi all - I just joined the group and started experimenting with Touring Plans today, so please excuse any mistakes.

We’re from Southern California and will be visiting WDW in a few weeks with our three kids - ages 9, 7, and 5. We have easy access to Disneyland (my parents live in Anaheim so we’re there often), but none of us has ever been to the Florida parks. We’re going to visit Epcot and Universal, and I think it is probably still worth it to visit the Magic Kingdom. (Agree?)

So on our MK day we’re most interested in emphasizing attractions that we can’t see in California or might have the same name but are still substantially different. Any suggestions of things to definitely see or avoid?

Thanks - I am looking forward to reading more here!

Can I ask why Epcot and not Animal Kingdom since you are DLR veterans? Is it for World Showcase? I guess I think of Animal Kingdom as a park that is completely different than anything in DLR.

Now, for your question. Yes! You must visit MK! Yes, there are many attractions in DL that are the same or better, but DL has pieces that are split off and are in different parks in Florida. For example Star Tours is in Hollywood Studios. It is fun to do the comparison, the mountains, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates- but there are a few unique attractions I would try. 7DMT, Mickey’s Philharmagic, even a ride on the Peoplemover! The 3:00 parade- The Festival of Fantasy, and the Celebrate the Magic Show (castle projection) as well as Wishes are also must do!


If possible, I’d really recommend Epcot and AK, along with MK. While I’ve not been to Disneyland since I was a little kid, I know there’s nothing like AK there, as @PrincipalTinker said. It’s a stunningly beautiful park. I’d also say MK is still worth it. You’ll have fun comparing things as basic as the park layout!

You noted that you’re going in “a few weeks”. Have you been able to make your FP+ reservations yet? If trying the Mine Train is important to you, you want to try for a fastpass as soon as possible. I’m guessing Anna and Elsa won’t be a priority, as you can meet them at DL. Same with Soarin’. As I understand it, Test Track is similar to Radiator Springs Racers, but perhaps different enough to be worth a try.

Good luck with your planning!

1 Like

Another vote for Animal Kingdom! Just echoing what the other 2 have said already… you can’t see anything like it in Cali. Expedition Everest is like part 2 of the Matterhorn but still so completely different and so much fun!

I grew up in SoCal too and my first visit to the World, I’ll admit I was a little disappointed in Magic Kingdom. It’s so similar to Disneyland but missing some of the charm and history. That being said, Seven Dwarves Mine Train shouldn’t be missed and I really enjoyed Carousel of Progress but I’m a huge history buff and lover of all things Walt. I was happy to see the Peoplemovers (oh how I’ve missed them… if we could just get the old Skyway back then I’d be in heaven!)

So nice to wake up to these helpful replies!

@PrincipalTinker and @breecan2, maybe I need to reconsider AK! No good reason for Epcot over AK. We live in San Diego and I guess we had written it off to being similar to the SD Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. We’ll be there six full days and we were thinking of three days of parks and three days to rest and swim at the hotel. (My kids are not the go-go-go type, but maybe we can get one more big day out of them.)

@theredhead, we don’t have FP+ reservations. I don’t think we can because we’re not buying advance tickets. My parents are coming with us, and my mom is a retired CM who can sign in three of us each day. And between the two of us we’ve found enough old one-day passports in drawers to get the rest of us in too. (I worked there in the early '90s and never used the free ones I received because we always knew someone who could sign us in.) I feel really lucky - we probably would have written off the trip as too expensive otherwise.

In fact, I’m just now trying to read up on how FP+ works - I’ve only done the kiosks in person at DLR so this is all new to me!

As @breecan2 mentioned, I’m kind of looking forward to MK just to see how it’s different than the park I know backward and forward! My kids might not get that kind of fun out of it, but it’s still a day at Disney!

We’ll be in Florida 8/31-9/5 (not counting travel days). Finding out that school didn’t start until 9/8 this year, and then coming to this website and seeing how low the expected crowds were for that week was our original impetus for booking the trip.


Sounds like a fun trip!! As a travel agent, I plan plan plan constantly but I love a good ol’ last minute “why not” kinda trip. They make some of the best memories! I wouldn’t worry too much about FP+ now… just stop into guest relations and talk with a cast member… I bet they’ll take good care of you :wink:

We pride ourselves on being helpful and welcoming! :grin:

You’re correct, you won’t be able to get FP+ in advance, but there might still be some available day-of at kiosks in the park. Frankly, I’m not the best source of advice on out, as I’ve not dealt with it yet (42 days!). It’s a big change from Legacy FP, that’s for sure.

Personally, I’m the go-go-go type, but it’s not an approach that works for everyone. It sounds like you have a great sense of what your family will want, and how to best balance things. I’m sure you’re going to have a blast!

I hope you do decide to do AK. It’s very different from a large, more traditional, zoo. I know that the San Diego zoo is one of the best in the country. I grew up going to the Bronx zoo, which also consistently ranks in the top 10. Animal Kingdom is something completely different. The theming in the park is beyond belief. For a long time, it was actually my least-favorite park at WDW. I finally decided to spend some time just soaking it all in, instead of dashing from one ride to the next. Doing that completely changed my perspective and gave me a new appreciation for the overall talents of Walt Disney Imagineering. It sounds like your trip will be conducive to taking your time and savoring the experience. Animal Kingdom is a great fit for that.

Should you end up skipping it, though, consider having a meal at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Even the quick service restaurant is a good choice (though I recommend Boma if you can swing it!). You’ll get a great sense of the theming, and you’ll be able to see the animals. It could work well for dinner on one of your pool-and-relax days.

1 Like

AK is such a fun experience! It has what may be the best wdw coaster ( sometimes I will argue for RnR), but the queue is amazing! Disney at its best! You may argue that the safari is just an animal viewing vehicle, but the theming is amazing! As someone that has sent a lot of time in DCA I would love to hear how you would feel about Dinoland. (Notice I did not say that Everest is the best Disney coaster- my live for CA screamin showing!)


I’m going to be the dissenting voice and vote against AK. We’re from a city with an amazing zoo, and quite frankly there is nothing concerning animals that our zoo doesn’t do far, FAR better and more varied than AK… which leaves the rides which I find other parks do better, and more of. If the OP is from Southern Cali, and by that I infer is probably within shooting distance of the San Diego zoo (a truly world class zoo, generally on most “top ten” lists of world zoos, as is our hometown zoo), you may also find AK underwhelming.

1 Like

I guess it depends on what you’re looking for. To me, animals and attractions are only one part of AK. The three shows get consistently high marks from most people I’ve spoken to, especially Festival of the Lion King. The detail involved in the theming is also astounding. Can I see tigers and elephants closer to home? Sure. But I can’t see that level of immersive theming and visual detail at the Bronx zoo (my childhood hometown zoo, also often on “top ten” lists).

Just another example of how we all do Disney differently!

1 Like

Personally, I can’t miss any of the parks! They are all different, and WDW is the sum total of all 4 to me. I’d say spend 4 of your 6 days in the parks, and go to all 4. You never know which one you will love the most!


Funny, walking around DCA and DLR I had a weird sense of “wow- a little piece of HS, or EP”- I just never had the feeling connecting AK. Thinking about it, I definitely did not think that when visiting the San Diego Zoo either. To me they are completely different experiences. I guess I just don’t think of AK as a zoo. I personally will visit AK on every trip, even two- night weekend trips. It may not have many attractions (and I do not get the Dinosaur/Indianna Jones) but it does have Everest.