We may have mentioned this before, but in October 2017 we spent two weeks in Orlando on our honeymoon. During that time we spent a week onsite at Walt Disney World and both fell in love. Sure, the rides aren’t the best in the world, but for us the theming and experience walking round took our breath away. Today, we’re each sharing our five best themed areas in Walt Disney World.
1. Sunset Boulevard – Hollywood Studios
I think this area is simply stunning. Inspired by the real Sunset Boulevard in California, it’s a place I one day hope to visit – if I can manage the flight! – and I loved getting a feel for what it could be like. The first time we entered the street and saw the Hollywood Tower Hotel at the bottom I was in absolute awe. The shops, the shows and, of course, the rides all add to the bustling atmosphere of what I’ve always imagined early to mid 20th century America might have been like.
My stand out memory from our honeymoon is actually sitting at the top of Sunset Boulevard with a beer in my hand, my wife sat next to me with some fruity Starbucks drink (it was a strawberry acai), just admiring the view as the sun began to set – simply heaven.
2. Tomorrow Land – Magic Kingdom
This was a hard one for me to narrow down as I loved everything about Magic Kingdom, but Tomorrowland blew me away. Full of amazing rides and experiences – from the thrill of Space Mountain, to the childish fun of Buzz Lightyear and relaxing rides on the people mover to the incredible Carousel of Progress, which was the surprise ride of the park for me. I just love Tomorrowland – it’s got a little bit of everything!
3. Asia – Animal Kingdom
What’s not to love here. Everest is a wonderful, beast of a coaster, the rapids are epic, the quick service at Yak & Yeti is delicious and there are even monkeys! It’s a stunningly awesome area that genuinely takes you to a different place, exactly what good themed areas in Walt Disney World should do.
4. Pandora – Animal Kingdom
I’ve never seen Avatar but I don’t think it matters when it comes to Pandora. The floating mountains are epic and this is, without a doubt, one of the prettiest areas I’ve seen in a theme park. The queue for Flight of Passage was over three and a half hours during our visit so we missed out on the experience, but Na’vi River Journey is a lovely ride with the most amazing animatronic I’ve ever seen. Pandora is also a great place to lose your sunglasses – just ask Charlotte!
5. World Showcase – Epcot
Charlotte thinks I’m cheating by choosing this, as it’s such a big area and is probably better classed as lots of smaller, individually themed areas, but I say sod that – it’s my list so it stays!
We didn’t spend as much time as we wanted here and I reckon if we’d spent more time at World Showcase it might have been higher up my list. We spent a few hours there one day, and an evening at the food and wine festival but we ran out of time to explore each pavilion as much as we wanted to. Food and Wine festival is an amazing experience and we loved tasting food and alcohol from lots of different countries. Our night ended in beautiful surroundings watching Illuminations by the Rose and Crown. This was how we ended our time at Walt Disney World and it was truly an unforgettable night. Or maybe it’s just because we got drunk and had a laugh.
1. Main Street, USA – Magic Kingdom
This is by far one of my favourite themed areas in Walt Disney World. As the heart of Magic Kingdom, you can’t help but smile the second you scan your magic band and enter through the turnstiles. The theming is beautiful and genuinely transports you to another place. As soon as your feet hit Main Street, you know you’ve arrived at Disney. Add the wonderful shops, talented streetmosphere performers and incredible view of Cinderella Castle, and you have all the ingredients of a perfect theme park area. We got an early dining reservation on our first day which allowed us to enter Main Street before the crowds. This was an unforgettable experience and one I hope to do again someday.
2. Asia – Animal Kingdom
I know Carl chose this too, and it’s easy to see why. With Everest creating a stunning backdrop this is another area that takes you somewhere else. What stands out to me about Asia is the details. The pathways, decorations and buildings were all beautifully themed and truly took my breath away. Animal Kingdom in general is just a stunning park and Asia encapsulates everything about what makes it so special.
3. New Fantasyland – Magic Kingdom
Another Magic Kingdom choice for me. What can I say? I just love this park. When I had visited Walt Disney World before our 2017 trip, this area didn’t exist, so I was super excited to explore it. Although I loved Be Our Guest and the Tangled toilets, it was Prince Eric’s Castle and Under The Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid that did it for me. The whole area is gorgeous and takes me right back to my Ariel-loving childhood.
4. Sunset Boulevard – Hollywood Studios
I know it gets some flack for its lack of rides these days, but I’ve always loved Hollywood Studios. I think this is the park where we spent the most time just relaxing and taking it all in. There’s a few great places to get drinks so we found ourselves chilling with a beer or wine more than a few times in Hollywood Studios. I think the whole park is well themed but I do have a soft spot for Sunset Boulevard, I think it’s the view of Tower of Terror at the end of the street – it’s just iconic.
5. Adventure Land – Magic Kingdom
This choice was going to be World Showcase, but as I said to Carl, it isn’t technically a themed land. I didn’t feel we saw enough of the individual pavilions during our last trip to fairly judge any one better than the others. Frankly, we were too busy eating and drinking our way around the world at the Food & Wine Festival to take much notice of the pavilions – ooops.
So my last choice is Adventureland. It’s an area I had no real recollection of visiting when I was younger and which I fell in love with the minute we walked in. It helped that our first visit was in the dark during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – it looks great in the dark. Also, it’s the only place in Magic Kingdom where you can get a Dole Whip so there’s that.
So there you have it, our five best themed areas in Walt Disney World. Which is your favourite?