Disney World: A Complete Review and Guide to All Four Magical Parks
Updated: May 10
This month we made our 8th visit to the most magical place on earth, Disney World!
My love affair with Disney began when I was just three years old, and my parents took me for the very first time. I was utterly mesmerized by the magic and begged my parents to take me back again the following year. And now, years later, I'm still just as obsessed!
On this visit, I was determined to hit all four of the magical parks in just two days, and let me tell you, it was a whirlwind adventure! From the classic attractions at Magic Kingdom to the high-octane thrills at Disney's Hollywood Studios, I was on a mission to experience it all. And while it may sound daunting to tackle all four parks in such a short amount of time, with a little planning and strategy, it's definitely doable! *We recommend our clients give each park a dedicated day, especially those with younger kids and first-time parkgoers.
In this blog post, we've compiled a comprehensive guide and review of all four parks so that you can make the most of your time at Disney World, whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned pro. From the must-see attractions to the best restaurants and hidden gems, we've got you covered!
Know Before You Go
When you're planning a trip to Disney World, it's important to be prepared! Here are some need-to-know tips and packing essentials to make the most of your time at the four magical parks.
First things first, after you purchase your park passes, be sure to make your park reservations for each park day. This is especially important now with the new reservation system in place due to COVID-19. Note: if you have a hopper pass, you can visit the second park in the afternoon without making a second park reservation.
Next up, let's talk about Genie+ service. This service enables you to skip the lines on select attractions and shows, making your park day even more magical. After visiting a second time using the year-old service, I finally got it down and have some pro tips to share. I recommend you purchase your Genie+ service in advance during your Disney World planning process. Then, make sure to log in at 7 am to obtain your Genie+ service for each park day.
After riding your first ride or two hours after park opening hours, you can book another Lightning Lane pass. It's best to book your first Lightning Lane for the morning so you can utilize the Genie+ service to your full advantage throughout the day. Additional info on Lightning Lane can be found on the official Disney World website here.
Now, let's talk about packing essentials. Snacks are a must-have, especially if you have picky eaters or want to avoid long lines for food. Bringing a reusable water bottle is also a great idea, as you can refill it at water fountains throughout the parks. Hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and a small microfiber towel can keep you clean and refreshed throughout the day. And remember a packable rain jacket, as Florida weather can be unpredictable. Finally, be sure to bring some to-go meds like Tylenol/Advil and Pepto Bismol, just in case.
With these need-to-know tips and packing essentials, you'll be ready for a magical adventure at Disney World!
Let's dive into the first park on our list, Magic Kingdom! As the most iconic park at Disney World, Magic Kingdom is a must-visit for any Disney fan. One of the most recognizable features of Magic Kingdom is Cinderella Castle, which serves as the park's centerpiece. As you make your way through the park, you'll be transported to different worlds and time periods, from the Wild West of Frontierland to the futuristic world of Tomorrowland. Each land is meticulously themed with attention to detail that truly immerses you in the experience.
Upon first entering Magic Kingdom, you'll encounter Main Street USA, which is designed to resemble a turn-of-the-century American town. Here you'll find shops, restaurants, and plenty of photo opportunities. If you're looking for souvenirs, be sure to stop by The Emporium Shop, which is the largest gift and souvenir shop at Disney. Everything you could ever want is in this store. Plus, at the end of the night, Main Street is the place to be for viewing the Happily Ever After fireworks show. This stunning display features projections on Cinderella's Castle, along with music and pyrotechnics. Be sure to stake out a good viewing spot early, as this show draws large crowds.
Now, let's talk about my favorite rides at Magic Kingdom. Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Caribbean are all must-do attractions. Plus, on this trip, I finally rode Big Thunder Mountain at night for the first time, which was amazing! If you have little ones, be sure to check out Fantasyland, which is home to rides and attractions based on classic Disney movies like Peter Pan, Dumbo, and It's a Small World. And if you're a fan of Disney princesses, be sure to stop by Princess Fairytale Hall for a chance to meet and take photos with some of your favorite characters.
When it comes to dining, there are plenty of options at Magic Kingdom. This trip, I finally got to eat at Be Our Guest, the Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant I've been trying to get a reservation for years! The highlight of my dining experience was seeing the Beast himself, who made an appearance during the meal. As for the food, we opted for the three-course meal for lunch. We had Escargot de Bourgogne, Duck and Pork Terrine, and Endive and Roquefort Cheese Salad for appetizers. For entrées, we had Duroc Pork Chop and Center-cut Filet Mignon. And for dessert, we enjoyed a trio of Raspberry Macaron, Dark Chocolate Truffle, and Chocolate Tart. Everything was absolutely delicious, and I would highly recommend these dishes to anyone dining at Be Our Guest.