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Planning a trip to Disney World

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Old
12-26-2012, 07:18 PM
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WTFetus
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Planning a trip to Disney World

Trying to plan a trip for my family to Florida (Disney World). I'm thinking about 4 days there (excluding plane days). From what I'm seeing, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom don't seem too important. I'm thinking of 2 days at Magic Kingdom, 1 day at Epcot, and 1 day at Universal Studios. Any recommendations or critiques would be appreciated (like if I should go to Animal Kingdom, if 4 days isn't enough, if 1 day at Epcot isn't enough, etc).
Also, any places I should check out for admission tickets? I was thinking of just buying it at the window, but if I could get cheaper ones...

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12-26-2012, 07:36 PM
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duckchobbins
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Magic Kingdom
Universal Studios
MGM Studios (they may have changed the name, it's the one with the Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith coaster though)
Waterpark of your choice, or Sea World if that's not your bag.

You definitely don't need two days at Magic Kingdom. You can do everything worth riding at least once, and still manage to do Splash and Space Mountain multiple times.

Universal Studios has always been one of my favorites, and now it's even better than it was before.

MGM has the Indiana Jones show, a stunt track driver show that's like an hour long, the night time Fantasm show which is way cooler than it sounds, plus you got the Muppets 3D, back lot tour, Aerosmith coaster, Tower of Terror, and the Star Wars MOM (my personal favorite ride of all parks).

I am a big waterpark fan, but I realize not everyone is. Plus, they tend to get super jam packed in Florida. Like I said though, Sea World is actually quite fun. The shows are entertaining, particularly the night shows, and they've added a couple big coasters.

EDIT: Also, I'm not a huge coaster guy. Really anything north of 40mph I usually don't touch, so these opinions are coming from someone who won't go on the bigger stuff. I figured if you're going with younger kids that you'll likely be avoiding big coasters too.


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12-26-2012, 07:47 PM
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Animal Kingdom is one I could miss, I like Hollywood studios though and it would win out of the two. I like Tower of Terror over Expedition Everest.

Epcot - be prepared to have a worn out group, that is a huge park and is a lot of walking. Younger kids may not be as entertained as an older group would be. Illuminations is a must.

I think unless its extremely busy period, Magic Kingdom needs two days if you have kids that want to see parades and fireworks and yet hit all of the rides and shows. If the kids are older and it is a lighter traffic time of year you can eliminate many attractions and get it done in a day.

Your Disney plans hinge a lot on the ages of those in the group. It would help if we knew that. Any discussion of Universal needs 2 days if you want to go to both parks. If you only have one day for Universal, Islands of Adventure is the better of the two. (EDIT: Especially if you have a harry potter fan in the house)

As far as prices, for single day tickets they pace with one another and i think a single day is around $85/person per day. You will be much better off buying a multiple day ticket for disney if you know you will use all of those days for sure. (I think multiple day tickets require at least 3 days)

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12-26-2012, 08:38 PM
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Drop one of the days at Magic Kingdom (one is enough) and go to Sea World. Two great coasters (Kraken and Manta) and a couple decent shows.

Don't you have all of this stuff in your home state though?

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12-26-2012, 08:48 PM
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Thanks for the insight guys.

I'm a big waterpark guy too, but it isn't necessary for this trip. I go to Water World and Raging Waters in California at least once a year anyway. None of us are rollercoaster buffs either, every ride in Disneyland was pretty much just right for all of us (under 40mph). I was thinking of ignoring Hollywood studios because from what I can tell, it's mostly just shows (aside from like Star Tours). Correct me if I'm wrong though.

Our group is pretty old. Most of us are 20+, the youngest is 18.

Islands of Adventure was the one I wanted to go to (heard the whole Harry Potter thing was pretty fun). The other theme park at Universal seems like it's the same as the one in Hollywood Studios in LA, and we just went there last summer. The reason I thought I needed 2 days at Magic Kingdom was because we didn't have enough time to do everything in 1 day at Disneyland, though we probably could have saved time with better organization.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bizarro Bandwagoner View Post
Drop one of the days at Magic Kingdom (one is enough) and go to Sea World. Two great coasters (Kraken and Manta) and a couple decent shows.

Don't you have all of this stuff in your home state though?
None of us are big rollercoaster fans though, so the rides in Sea World might be too much for us.
We do have most of this stuff in LA, but they don't have everything I don't think.

Based on the responses though, 1 day at Magic Kingdom will probably do. That leaves 3 days for other stuff. I'm thinking 1 at Universal (Islands of Adventure, Harry Potter), 1 at Epcot, and 1 more somewhere else?


Last edited by WTFetus: 12-26-2012 at 08:58 PM.
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12-26-2012, 08:56 PM
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Not sure if the group is into drinking, but Universal property has a thing called City Walk with a bunch of bars and restaurants. They have a Pat O'Briens which has a dueling piano bar which my bro and I found to be very fun.

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12-26-2012, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 17futurecap View Post
Not sure if the group is into drinking, but Universal property has a thing called City Walk with a bunch of bars and restaurants. They have a Pat O'Briens which has a dueling piano bar which my bro and I found to be very fun.
Not too big on alcohol, but I'll check it out. I heard the Drinks Around the World at Epcot was pretty good.

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12-27-2012, 01:01 AM
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My family really loves Epcot we usually spend most of our time there but we always go in November during the Food and Wine Festival which makes walking around the countries more fun. Idk if you've done Soarin' in Disneyland but I definitely recommend getting to Epcot early and getting fastpasses for it before they are all given out.
Also we find it easier to get park hoppers and break the day up into two or three parts. MGM and Animal Kingdom are really only good for a few rides, so we go to either of those parks in the morning and go on the big attractions like Rock and Rollercoaster, Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, Everest Expedition, etc. Get a meal in and head back to the resort for relaxtion at the pool or room, then head back out and spend hours at Magic Kingdom and Epcot because they have more to offer IMO. I suppose it all depends on what interests your group.

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12-27-2012, 01:08 AM
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Ah I see you're not really into the thrill rides. Toy Story Mania is definitely worth checking out though, its a lot of fun. If you do get park hoppers you should check that out. The rest of MGM (other than RnR and ToT) is mostly shows though. So it sounds like you could skip MGM and Animal Kingdom

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12-27-2012, 02:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Affinity View Post
Ah I see you're not really into the thrill rides. Toy Story Mania is definitely worth checking out though, its a lot of fun. If you do get park hoppers you should check that out. The rest of MGM (other than RnR and ToT) is mostly shows though. So it sounds like you could skip MGM and Animal Kingdom
Thanks for the recommendation on splitting two theme parks in one day. Seems to make a lot of sense since there isn't too much I'm interested in some of them. I think I can safely say I'll do 1 day Magic Kingdom, 1 Day Universal Studios (Islands of Adventure), and 1 day of Epcot. Maybe a 1 day split between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. From looking at the website, I'm really only interested in the two expeditions, river rapids, and dinosaur from the Animal Kingdom, and Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, Fantasmic, and maybe some live show from Hollywood. Seem pretty doable?

Aside from Universal Studios, all 4 of the theme parks are somewhat close together right? Like California Adventures and Disneyland?

Also, any recommendation on a close-by Marriot? A friend works there so I can get a discount, I just have to let him know which one. I'm thinking of the Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista, seems pretty close to the park.

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12-27-2012, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WTFetus View Post
Aside from Universal Studios, all 4 of the theme parks are somewhat close together right? Like California Adventures and Disneyland?

Also, any recommendation on a close-by Marriot? A friend works there so I can get a discount, I just have to let him know which one. I'm thinking of the Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista, seems pretty close to the park.
Disney World is a huge place... they do provide transportation between all the parks if you wish. If you pay for parking at one park you can use the same parking pass for another park the same day. You can get between MK and Epcot by Monorail and between MGM and Epcot by Boat. All parks are also linked by Disney busses. All disney transportation on property is free.

There is a cluster of 3 Marriott hotels called Marriott Village Map Link (Courtyard/Fairfield/Spring Hill) just off the Lake Buena Vista exit of I-4 that has you close to downtown disney and the parks along with being near a nice outlet mall. It's near the intersection of SR 535 and Vineland Ave. However be prepared for lost of traffic getting in and out of that area in the evenings. There is also Marriott World Center Map Link resort off of SR536 (World Center Dr) that is convenient to Disney and will be very convenient to disney and easy for traffic in and out of nearby areas. Also easy to get to attractions off of 192 (Old Town, etc). Universal is about a 15-20min trip down I4 from both. Disney is 5-10 min.

There are so many hotels in the area that you will find dozens and dozens of Marriott properties.


Last edited by TBLightningFan: 12-27-2012 at 11:56 AM. Reason: Added Map Links
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12-27-2012, 12:02 PM
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I love Epcot, the world showcase is a blast. Of course being able to drink booze in every country helps a bit too. You could spend a day just walking around the WS drinking, eating and checking out the shows and stuff that they do. Future World (the other part of Epcot) has some nice rides, but overall there are better places in Disney.
Hollywood Studios has some of the best rides (Tower of Terror, Rockin Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania). If you don't care for the shows that they have, you can probably get the park done in half a day though.
Magic Kingdom is a great time, they also just opened up most of the new Fantasy Land expansion. I typically do about a day and a half at MK.

If you want to do Disney in 3 days, you may want to do the following:
Day 1 - MK
Day 2 - Epcot
Day 3 - Day: DHS, Night: MK. If you're really ambitious, you can also stop at Animal Kingdom to ride Expedition Everest.

If they have Fantasmic at DHS on the night you are going, you can switch that up if you want to see that. It's also cool if you want to see the fireworks at MK from a different perspective to go to the Contemporary resort and have dinner at California Grill or 'Ohana at the Polynesian. It's a different perspective on seeing the fireworks.

If you need help give these forums a try:
http://wdwmagic.com
http://www.disboards.com/

Both would probably help you out more than people here. I've been to Disney a few times and I love the place, but I usually go for about two weeks.


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12-28-2012, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WTFetus View Post
Also, any recommendation on a close-by Marriot? A friend works there so I can get a discount, I just have to let him know which one. I'm thinking of the Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista, seems pretty close to the park.
I have been going to Walt Disney World 2-3 times a year since 1996 and since 1998 I always stay onsite at various Walt Disney World Resort Hotels. My favorite is a Deluxe Resort called Disney's Boardwalk Inn. Now there is nothing wrong with staying offsite, however there are some things you need to know about doing that. Even though they are advertisted as being close to the parks that's actually close to the various entances into Disney World that they have. Then you need to drive to the specifc park you want to visit. Plus after paying to park you have to take a tram to the park entrance gates, if you parked far away. When parking at the Magic Kingdom you park at their lot which by the Transportation & Ticket Center, then from there you take the Express Monorail or Boat to the Magic Kingdom.

Also each morning a specifc WDW park will open 1 hour before the scheduled opening time for guests who stay onsite for AM Extra Magic Hour. So because you would be staying offsite you are not allowed to enter the park during this time. The Cast Members check for everyones Key To The World cards which are the room keys for the onsite guests. Plus on select nights one park would stay open for 3 more hours past the scheduled closing time for PM Extra Magic Hours. The same rule applies like in the morning, with the difference being anyone staying onsite must show their Key To The World cards before going on the attractions which will remain open. When staying offsite I don't believe they know when the WDW parks are opening earlier and closing later.

As for tickets I say it's best to purchase them at the ticket windows before entering the parks. When it comes to Disney World tickets they have options such as paying extra to make sure those tickets never expire. If you don't purchase that your tickets will expire 14 days after purchasing them. Also if you plan to visit more then one WDW park in a day you need to pay extra for their park hopping option.

Finally if you are able to get a good deal at a Marriott brand I would recommend the Fairfield Inn & Suites in the Marriott Village. It's located next to the Courtyard you mentioned, however the difference is Fairfield Inn & Suites offer a free breakfast and at Courtyard they charge you extra for breakfast.
http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...riott-village/

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12-28-2012, 04:51 PM
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We needed three days at Universal, can do it two though, one only you might be missing a bit. Really two parks there.

Also look into renting a house, there are some real deals there.

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12-29-2012, 08:55 AM
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Can you get a discount at the Marriott Cypress Harbour or Grande Vista? I've stayed in both hotels several times, and although the room cost may be higher than the cost at the Marriott Village, these villas are fully equipped with a kitchen, which for us saves a lot of money not having to eat out at restaurants, and being able to cook what you want. Also,as a family of 4 the 2 bedrooms offer a great sleeping arraignment, which may be good for you with an older crowd.

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12-29-2012, 12:10 PM
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If you are going to Disney download the Disney Parks App so you can see the wait times of all the rides (in which ever park you are in). I just went in November and it came in handy a lot.

EDIT: Also, try and make a reservation at the Hoopdee Do Revue at Fort Wilderness. It is a bit pricey, but it is all you can eat ribs and fried chicken and all you can drink beer and wine.

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12-29-2012, 03:37 PM
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I am a huge Disney fan. Yeah, this grown man has been to Disneyland (California, Walt's original) and Disney World in Florida. I've been to Disney World multiple times and have plenty of insight. Private message me if I don't write enough down for you.

Alright, do NOT stay down there for 4 days. You will hate yourself on the flight home. Disney World is not like any other place in the world. You definitely want to soak it up as best you can. I don't know where you are from but if you are only used to going to Six Flags parks I can't assure you that you'll want to appreciate not only the architecture inside the Disney Parks but also the atmosphere. If I were you I would spend no less than 7 days there. I would even recommend two weeks. Disney World is the size of the city of San Francisco, at least the property is. In my opinion, do this:

Magic Kingdom - Don't miss this classic. Ride everything, see all the shows, don't miss the night time parade and especially the fireworks. Ride Pirates of the Caribbean, that is the most wonderful ride of all. See the shows as well. Check out Hall of Presidents, Carousel of Progress and even Country Bear Jamboree. Go through the Haunted Mansion.you'll want to soak up the magic. Yeah, I said magic, just go there and experience it, you'll "get" what I mean.

Epcot - Take your time here. Spend a whole day, like the Magic Kingdom. Check out Future World and then enjoy the World Showcase that highlights all the countries.

Hollywood (formerly MGM) Studios - Go there. You will need close to a day. Don't miss the Tower of Terror. Unbelievable.

Animal Kingdom - Possibly the most beautiful of all the parks. The Tree of Life in the middle of the park has attention to detail on the bark that you want to check out. Ride the Dinosaur and Expedition Everest rides. Amazing. See the shows, see the Animals. It is a glorified zoo in many ways with a Disney touch. It is much different than any other zoo. Spend a full day there.

That's your 4 major parks. It'll take 4 full days to do them and you might even want to purchase a 5 day "hopper" pass because you'll want to do things over again on the 5th day and hop from park to park. You can do that.

Also check out the water parks. There is Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. I've been to Typhoon Lagoon. It is amazing. The best and longest lazy river I have ever seen. The biggest wave pool I have seen. Again, this is Disney and it isn't your normal waterpark. You will swear you are actually on a tropical island the way it is themed. I don't know how they do it.

If you have spare time, check out Downtown Disney. Lots of shops and restaurants there.

Alright, that is Disney World and it is impossible to see it all in less than a week. I am not kidding.

If you stay another week there is lots more to check out:

Universal Studios: Go there, trust me. Don't miss it. It is split up into two different parks. The first park is Universal Studios. They have great rides there. E.T., The Mummy, Simpsons, Men in Black, etc. But the better park is next door called Islands of Adventure. That is epic. They have the Hulk, Spiderman, Jurassic River Adventure, Poseidon and the wettest white water rapids I have ever been on. But the best part is the Harry Potter section. Soak up that atmosphere. If you enjoyed the movies it is almost like being in Disney World and soaking all of that up, you will FEEL like you are in the movie. Check out the rides there too.

Busch Gardens - It's over an hour away in Tampa, but still worth a trip if you can make it.

Sea World - Worth a day to check it out. There are only three of them in North America. Very unique.

Gatorland - I loved it. If you have an afternoon to kill you could check it out. Lots of gators of all shapes and sizes. I enjoy it.



That's central Florida in a nutshell. You can also check out places like the Titanic Experience which is a nice walkthrough with a tour guide. It is located down the main strip where a lot of shops are in Orlando.


Hope you enjoy it. I'm jealous, but I love giving tips to others because it sort of bridges the gap until my next trip down there. One thing you'll find out especially at the Disney parks is that there is never a time when you think you are in an amusement park. You honestly feel disconnected from the rest of the world when you are there, as if reality is another world and you are in a fantasy world. I have heard that staying on site in one of the hotels makes it that much sweeter. We always stay in a time share two miles away. Enjoy.

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12-29-2012, 04:13 PM
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I went to Disney World and checked out all the parks aside from MGM, as well as Sea World, and Sea World ended up being the best time for my friend and I. Smaller lines and much better shows (IMO) and worth a day to check out.

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12-29-2012, 05:27 PM
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I would recommend Hollywood studios, they have the Tower of Terror (should go on it during the night), Aerosmith coaster ride, as well as the Indiana Jones attraction, all of which is great. For tickets, you should check local shops. I forget the process, but you can buy and sell passes with days still left on them. Much cheaper that way if you're only spending one/two days at each park.

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12-29-2012, 05:34 PM
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I suggest going to all four theme parks on Disney property. There is plenty to do and I always feel I don't get to spend enough time there after 4-5 days. In the Magic Kingdom they just opened a new part of Fantastyland that is beyond amazing, and they are still working. I also suggest going to downtown Disney for a night for example after going to Animal Kingdom due to it closing a little earlier most days. They just opened a new splitsville which is neat. I usually end up skipping the water park because I've been to them many times before and my party usually isn't to keen on water parks in general but swimming with the sharks is cool at Typhoon Lagoon. Feel free to DM any questions.

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12-29-2012, 06:13 PM
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If you don't like thrill rides, why not go to Discovery Cove? My wife and I loved it there, all you can eat and drink once you're in, snorkel with stingrays, lazy river, and interacting with a dolphin. Oh and a pretty cool bird sanctuary.


Last edited by Bizarro Bandwagoner: 12-29-2012 at 06:14 PM. Reason: Forgot the birds
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12-29-2012, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
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If you have spare time, check out Downtown Disney. Lots of shops and restaurants there.
Each time I'm at WDW I always visit Downtown Disney at least three times. While I'm there the World of Disney is one of my favorite places to shop at and one of my favorite places to eat is Earl of Sandwich, which has to be the best place on property to eat in terms of cost which is not expensive. Plus when eating there if you are a member of CAA or AAA they give you a 15% discount, all you do is show them your membership card when paying.


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12-29-2012, 08:18 PM
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If you go in an off-peak time you'd be surprised by how much you can do and how quickly you can do it. Of course it depends on the age of the kids.

We went on a cruise that stopped in Port Canaveral and did the original Universal Studios park in probably 4-5 hours. (as that's all the time you really have to get back to the boat) It was right after Halloween and *no one* was there. I don't think I've ever seen a theme park that dead before.

in Disney, depending on how many "shows" you want to see, both Animal Kingdom and the Studios are half-day parks. If you stay on property and it's off-season where the parks close early, they also have the additional hours for one park a day. So instead of closing at 6 or 7, a park may stay open until 9 or 10 (this is useless in the summer because the hours might end up being 11PM to 2AM or something like that)

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01-18-2013, 11:50 PM
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WTFetus
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Just came back a few days ago. It was pretty awesome. If I had to rank them, I'd go
1. Magic Kingdom (despite it being exactly like Disneyland)
2. Islands of Adventure
3. Animal Kingdom
4. Epcot
5. Hollywood Studios

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