Are you planning a trip to Disney World soon, and you’re stuck deciding between Epcot vs Magic Kingdom? Well, in this article, I’ll help break down exactly what each park has to offer everyone in your family, from toddlers and teens to young adults and even senior citizens.
Epcot vs Magic Kingdom for Toddlers
Let’s begin by discussing what Epcot has to offer for toddlers.
Epcot is often seen as a mature or adult-oriented theme park. Unfortunately, that means little ones are shadowed. But, Epcot does have some highlights that toddlers will enjoy. For example, there are unique characters you can meet compared to Magic Kingdom. At Epcot, you can say hello to friends like Aurora, Mulan, Anna, and Elsa. When it comes to toddlers, keeping them entertained is key. The characters are certainly entertaining!
There are a few attractions that toddlers can enjoy at Epcot, like The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Living with the Land, and Journey Into Imagination with Figment. Although, with certain rides like Journey Into Imagination With Figment, there are some loud noises and dark moments. If you are concerned about whether your toddler will like the ride, chat with a Cast Member and they can help
Toddlers will love the aquarium after riding The Seas with Nemo & Friends. This can help introduce children to the world around them while seeing dolphins, manatees, sea horses, and more. The space is quite open, so you can let your child wander around and play. Then, you can enjoy the show Turtle Talk with Crush, an interactive show where guests can talk to Crush the turtle from Finding Nemo.
You might want to bring your own snacks when visiting Epcot. The park has a ton of food options, but not all of them are toddler-friendly. There are a few quick-service restaurants where you can grab traditional chicken nuggets or apple sauce, but it might be easier to bring your own food if possible.
If you need a place to rest, you might be out of luck. There are benches around Epcot, but more often than not World Showcase does not have nearly enough shade – especially if you are trying to keep a baby cool. Make sure to bring a sunshade, hat, sunscreen, and a cooling towel to keep young ones comfortable.
Magic Kingdom is where the fun starts for many families. With the Cinderella Castle, rides, characters, shows, and more, there is no wonder why the park is so popular.
There are significantly more toddler-friendly rides at Magic Kingdom compared to Epcot. We have seen small children on rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, and Under the Sea: Journey of The Little Mermaid. Your toddler will have plenty of rides to choose from!
There are some slow-moving rides toddlers may not be suitable for, including Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean. On these rides, there are loud noises, dark moments, and some drops. Of course, if you feel your child is comfortable with them, then you are welcome to let them ride along! Should there be a ride your child does not want to hop on, ask a Cast Member for a Rider Swap Pass.
If your toddler loves characters, they will adore the stage show at Cinderella Castle and the parade. They are colorful, easy to follow, and packed with your favorite Disney characters. From Mickey Mouse to Buzz Lightyear, there is a lot to see!
Parents will enjoy sitting on benches around the park when toddlers need a rest. We suggest trying a shady spot in Adventureland or Liberty Square. Magic Kingdom has more trees than Epcot, so it is less difficult to find a cool area.
Epcot vs Magic Kingdom for Kids
For kids, Epcot is similar to the toddler experience. However, there are a few more attractions and shows that are suitable for this age range. For example, rides like Test Track, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and Frozen Ever After are up for grabs. Kids will love the effects, speeds, and themes of these rides. But, rides like MISSION: Space might be more suitable for older children.
The festivals that occur throughout the year also become more fun for children. Most festivals have an interactive scavenger hunt, where you can receive a prize at the end. For example, you might walk around World Showcase trying to find all of the hidden Remy figurines.
Kidcot is another year-round offering that lets children learn about different cultures through interactive games and activities. Each country typically has a Kidcot station, and your kid could leave with a souvenir they made themselves! Look for Kidcot spots in the My Disney Experience app or ask a Cast Member.
Epcot added new play areas in recent years, with a new green space near Test Track. Parents can sit back while letting their children play and make new friends. Who knows, maybe your child will have a new pen pal!
Club Cool is an experience almost all members of the family will love, especially children who love sugary sodas. You can test Coke sodas from around the world. Trick your family to drink Beverly, a very bitter soda, or enjoy unique flavors like Cucumber Sprite.
Similar to toddlers, children might find food options limited. You can either bring your own food or look for some classic park food. There are so many international food dishes available, you could have your kid taste a new dish and introduce them to new cuisines.
Similar to toddlers, there is so much available to see and do for children at Magic Kingdom. It was as if the park was made with them in mind! As mentioned before, there are plenty of easygoing attractions for timid guests. But, rides like Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad could be a huge hit with this age group. We have also seen plenty of children riding ‘big kid’ rides like Space Mountain.
Fireworks are sure to be a hit, as children can tolerate louder noises than toddlers. They might not enjoy waiting that long though, so make sure you have the plan to keep them entertained while you wait for the nighttime spectacular.
Similar to toddlers, children are often pickier eaters. The food at Magic Kingdom is more palatable for kids, with hot dogs, ice cream, chicken nuggets, and burgers not far away. To make things simpler, consider using Mobile Order and plan your meals ahead of time. That way, you can focus on the fun and not wait in line.
Epcot vs Magic Kingdom for Teenagers
Epcot starts to become more appealing to teenagers, as they can tolerate more mature and educational themes. Teenagers will love thrill rides like Guardians of the Galaxy, MISSION: Space (Orange), Soarin’, and Test Track. However, they might not like slow rides like The Seas with Nemo & Friends or Journey Into Imagination with Figment.
If your teenager has some souvenir money, they will enjoy searching the many stores and booths. There are lots of unique items available, from hard-to-find candies to figurines and clothing. Disney merchandise comes from all over the world at Epcot, so you can easily spend hours searching shops for that perfect piece.
Teenagers are also able to sit through theater shows in World Showcase, like Canada Far and Wide and Impressions de France. These shows are often longer, more than 15-minutes, so young children or fidgety toddlers might not sit still.
Your teenager can expand their culinary taste with the many booths and restaurants available. Throughout the World Showcase, they can taste dishes from Japan, Mexico, France, and more. If you visit during a festival, there are smaller booths with bite-size portions from more countries.
We believe you’ll find things to do at Magic Kingdom no matter your age. For teenagers, they might want to hop on one of the three mountain-themed rides (Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad) or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. They’ll also love to compete against their family or friends on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. However, they might not like timid rides like It’s a small world or Dumbo.
Teenagers can have more independence at Magic Kingdom, as the park is more manageable to navigate than Epcot. While Epcot is in a figure-8 position, it often takes longer to walk around. If your teenager wants to ride Space Mountain but you want to ride the PeopleMover, you can likely trust them to hop on the ride and then meet them after.
Surprisingly, most of the park food at Magic Kingdom has large portions. If you have a very hungry teenager, having a larger meal can sustain them for a few hours before needing to refill. Quick service restaurants like Pecos Bills have the best portions and often many toppings.
Fireworks and late night events are easier for teenagers. You can expect them to be ready for a nighttime spectacular and then hopping on a few rides immediately after. They might not want to watch castle shows, which are geared towards younger audiences.
Epcot vs Magic Kingdom for Adults
Epcot is a Disney park with an older theme. Focusing on technology, progress, and education, adults tend to like Epcot more than most other parks. Plus, with the variety of food, drink, and theme options available, the park is more engaging.
If you enjoy lounging while having a drink or a light snack, you cannot have enough of it at Epcot. Your inner foodie will sing while trying new and exciting cuisine from far-off places. Or, you might dive in on a margarita in the coveted La Cava del Tequila restaurant in the Mexico Pavilion.
We believe that most rides at Epcot are enjoyable for both teenagers and adults. There is one exception – MISSION: Space (Orange). This is one of the most nausea-inducing rides at the park, so many adults let the teenagers go ahead while they enjoy the milder Green version of the ride.
As mentioned before, there is not nearly enough shade at Epcot. Adults can tolerate the lack of shade more, so walking around the park is often easier. But, should you get a little heated, stopping into a lounge or shop is only a few steps away.
You cannot go wrong visiting the original Disney World park. Whether it is walking and shopping on Main Street, USA or riding the Haunted Mansion, there is something for every adult at Magic Kingdom. Just let your inner kid shine!
Many of the rides are designed for younger audiences, but many adults can still have fun on thrill rides. Even then, riding slow-moving rides like Peter Pan’s Flight or the PeopleMover are enjoyable and get you out of the heat for a while.
If you have read this far, you know that the park food is pretty straightforward. But, there are some unique dining experiences with elevated food. We suggest trying Be Our Guest or the Jungle Cruise Skipper Canteen restaurants. Then, you can go back to feasting on iconic turkey legs or churros.
While the castle shows might not be your type of thing, the fireworks show is hard to beat. We always get a few tears in our eyes when cherishing the memories made after a long day at Magic Kingdom. We suggest you do not skip on this, as it is the cherry on top of a perfect day.
Epcot vs Magic Kingdom for Seniors
For seniors, Epcot is a toss-up. The park often has you walk long distances with little shade or seating areas. But, transportation like the Friendship Boats are available for a portion of a day. They’ll take you from the entrance of the World Showcase to the end, over by the American Pavilion.
There are plenty of food and drink options to spice up your trip. There are also restaurants that provide elevated classics, like the Le Cellier or Biergarten restaurants. We like planning one table service restaurant during our park days, as it helps get us out of the heat (eating tasty food helps too).
The rides are acceptable for most seniors. But, some might want to stay away from disorienting rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, MISSION: Space (Orange), or Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind. These rides feature either 3D elements, G-forces, or turning ride vehicles.
Seniors will also love the shows around the World Showcase. They can see Japanese drummers or an Italian mime, who are all entertaining. There are show times available in the My Disney Experience app and at each country pavilion.
This park has a sense of nostalgia and enchantment that brings out the kid in everyone. They might not enjoy going on roller coasters or thrill rides like Space Mountain, but there are plenty of easy going rides to hop on with children. Seniors will likely enjoy rides like the PeopleMover, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
Restaurants like the Crystal Palace and Liberty Tree Tavern offer a different style of park food that suits most palates. Crystal Palace offers decadent options like prime rib, while Liberty Tree Tavern serves favorite Thanksgiving-style meals, including turkey and mashed potatoes.
While we recommend everyone sees a fireworks show during their visit, it is understandable that a senior might want to sit down or take a break after the midday hustle. We suggest having an afternoon break either by going back to the hotel or sitting at a restaurant. You can also reserve premium fireworks packages, so you can sit and eat desserts while fireworks sparkle above Cinderella Castle.
Epcot or Magic Kingdom – Which Park is Best?
After breaking down the choices between Epcot vs Magic Kingdom, here is the ultimate question: is Epcot better than Magic Kingdom? Well, I strongly believe that the Magic Kingdom is the best park for all ages. While Epcot has plenty of rides and food, Magic Kingdom has a greater variety of ride types that suits most guests. The food is also less exotic and more generally acceptable. There are plenty of entertainment options and rides that suit every age group as well.
This article was written by Angela and edited by Michael.
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