Magic Kingdom castle image

Happy 40th birthday to the Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World on October 1, 2011!

Whenever you hear the word "Disney" thoughts of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, princesses and magic can't help but instantly jump into your mind. It almost seems impossible that at one time Disney didn't exist - what a sad world that must have been!

Disneyland California opened in 1955 to huge acclaim, but was quickly surrounded by cheap motels and urban sprawl. The natural next step for Walt Disney was to plan a new park in a different part of the USA.

Disney started buying up land in Florida which was an ideal location due to its weather conditions, meaning that the theme parks could stay open all year round. Walt's dream was to open EPCOT, his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow - designed to be a living, working city in which major American companies would develop and showcase innovative technologies. However, it was the Disneyland-like Magic Kingdom which opened on October 1, 1971 as it was seen as more of a financial safe bet, particularly after Walt Disney died in 1966.

We couldn't pass up the chance to wish the Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World a massive "Happy 40th Birthday!" so we are dedicating this week's poll to it and asking "40 years on - Is the Magic Kingdom still the best theme park at Walt Disney World?"

The Magic Kingdom, as mentioned above, was the first theme park to open at the resort and boasts the fantastic Cinderella's Castle at its core surrounded by several iconic lands. Nothing beats seeing the smile on a child's face when they see their favourite princess or hero in one of the fantastic parades, and taking a ride on Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain certainly is a magical experience.

When Epcot opened in 1982 it was slightly less ambitious than Walt Disney had originally hoped, but the theme park is still packed with innovative rides as well as the fantastic World Showcase. A ride on Mission Space or Fast Track will leave you pumped up on adrenaline.

With plans for Universal Studios Florida heating up, Disney felt it had no choice but to add a bit of competition and it was no surprise when Disney's Hollywood Studios (then known as Disney-MGM Studios) opened in 1989. A stay at the Hollywood Tower Hotel will certainly make you think twice when booking your next accommodation!

Finally. the youngest of the four theme parks is Disney's Animal Kingdom, which opened in 1998. The main reason behind this was to keep guests at Walt Disney World (and away from Busch Gardens Tampa) for longer, and the park boasts the fantastic Expedition Everest rollercoaster as well as a massive line-up of animals which can be seen in all their glory on the unforgettable Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Vote now!

Do you think The Magic Kingdom still holds up as the best theme park at Walt Disney World or do you prefer the innovation at Epcot, the red carpet treatment at Disney's Hollywood Studios or the roar of excitement at Disney's Animal Kingdom?

Why not let us know which Walt Disney World theme park you think is the best by voting in our poll below:

Which is the best theme park at Walt Disney World?

Share your thoughts

Thanks for voting in Theme Park Tourist's Big Debate. Why not let us know why you voted as you did using the comments section below?



I love the Magic Kingdom, and there's a great story behind it in the way Roy Disney ensured that his brother's Florida resort became a reality. But it's so derivative of Disneyland that it really offers very little that's new (even if it is a copy of the best theme park in the world).

Epcot, on the other hand, is the heart and soul of Walt Disney World. While it isn't a working city as per the original plan, it did retain the same spirit of innovation. It's a shame that Disney hasn't invested in the park quite as much in recent years (some of the "future" innovations are looking a little dated), but even as a retro-futuristic park it is still stunning. And there's no other theme park in the world I'd rather spend an evening in - the atmosphere at World Showcase is incredible.

Disney's Hollywood Studios has the best rides and Animal Kingdom is beautiful, but both were opened in response to competition from elsewhere and it kind of shows. I love all of Walt Disney World, but if I could only visit one park I'd make it Epcot.

In reply to by Nick Sim

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this,
like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics
to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that,
this is great blog. A great read. I'll certainly bbe back.

In reply to by Nick Sim

Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other person's weblog link on your page aat appropriate
place and other person will also do same in support of you.

Disney's Hollywood Studios will always have a very special place in my heart. When we went on our honeymoon in 2009 we were lucky enough to get chosen to open the park.

We had to take part in a short film called 'Celebrate You' which was really fun and ended with us being whizzed down Sunset Boulevard in one of Walt Disney's original cars- it was amazing!

My favourite rides are The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Toy Story Mania and we got bundles of Fast passes for the day which was brilliant!

I think each park is magical in its own way but for me Hollywood Studios comes top!

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