Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DHS or DAK - Toddler Throwdown

Last week, in part 1 of Disney Parks Toddler Throwdown, I compared and contrasted Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot. The results were close and it truly is a personal decision - but, I like to share options as best as possible!

Here's the refresher on Disney's Hollywood Studios:

Hollywood Studios
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Set Playground - a large playground themed very well to an outdated movie..  One slide is a 35 mm roll of film, which a cast member told me most kids think is a battery!
  • Disney Junior: Live on Stage - If your little ones like Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins, and Handy Manny, this show is for you!  It has posted times and they won't let you in once they've closed the doors, so don't be late!  We missed it twice last trip!
  • Toy Story Midway Mania - for us, this is the biggest pull to the park.  At 2, Noah finally started to play a little, but he mostly just watched!
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid - Have a child that loves the little mermaid and can sit still?  This is another show, located directly across from Disney Junior!
  • Citizens of Hollywood - one of our absolute favorite experiences at DHS was interacting with a Citizen - he "taught" Noah how to ride a horse!  Of course, it was a toy horse, but he was so creative and really made our day special!
  • Character Meets - We have had the best experiences with character meets first thing in the morning - many of the characters are waiting in front of the Sorcerer's Hat for pictures and Buzz and Woody have their own meet and greet across from TSMM!
Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Animals, animals, animals!  Monkeys flying around, birds everywhere, places to walk and stroll through - it's definitely "NotAZoo" (as it was referred to when it opened in 1998), but the experiences of being up close with so many animals, with educated Cast Members to tell you more details, is a wonderful and educational experience.  There are several walking trails that you can spend plenty of relaxed time observing and enjoying!
  • Kilimanjaro Safari- This attraction is good for all ages (not recommended for pregnant women, though I rode it safely!), and offers up close interaction and observation of animals in a somewhat real environment.  It's different every time, which makes it very repeatable
  • Rafiki's Planet Watch - We love the train almost as much as the Conservation Station itself!  Air conditioned, a petting zoo outside, and up close interactions with smaller creatures and their handlers!
  • Flights of Wonder - While I've never visited this attraction, I hear repeatedly that it's incredible - if you have bird lovers, this is for you!
  • It's Tough to Be a Bug - May be scary, but at 6 months, my son was fascinated by this 3d show located in the Tree of Life
  • Tricera Top Spin - A Dumbo-like attraction located in Dino-land U.S.A. - my son loved this and we rode it twice without waiting in line at all!  Best part - the cars are double, so a family of 4 can all ride in one dinosaur
  • The Boneyard - We finally experienced this large playground - and didn't even visit all of it!  Slides, climbing areas (scared the mama of a courageous two year old, but his daddy was brave enough to climb with him), and even a "stick-less" sand pit to dig out fossils!  We burnt a lot of energy in this play area on our January trip.  Definitely comparable to the play area at DHS, maybe even better for older children (bigger slides).  
  • Finding Nemo the Musical/Festival of the Lion King - These two popular musicals play regularly.  With our rambunctious toddler, we prefer to spend time at the Boneyard and sadly skip these shows, but both of these are beloved by park goers!
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey - The special place for photo ops at Animal Kingdom.  It's fairly out of the way and I've heard it's fairly easy to get in for character meets!  The fab 5 hang out there regularly!
As you can see, both of these parks have fantastic options for children - we love Disney's Animal Kingdom and can't imagine skipping it, but I know others disagree.  Hopefully this can help you in planning - showing your options! 

Which park do you prefer with younger children?

**If you want to try the shows but aren't sure how your little ones will do, sit on the ends of rows, so it's easier to leave if necessary.  Don't worry - you won't be the only ones!**


  1. LOL..the comment about Honey I Shrunk the Kids makes me laugh. We just recorded it for my DS 7 and he is obsessed with this movie!! lol As far as favorite parks for small kids...has to be MK but we find a way to make all of the parks work as my kids are all very different ages, DD14, DS7 and DS4. :0)

  2. That's funny! MK is the definite answer - I've had a lot of people asking me about the others, so that's why I've been doing these. None come close to MK, though! #ToddlerThrowdown #Disney

  3. Of these two, I'm with you on Animal Kingdom.

    Except "It's Tough to Be a Bug" ABSOLUTELY TRAUMATIZED my 5 year old girl. :( We didn't see the warning signs - boooo! It put a serious damper on the entire trip after that - real bummer! Couldn't do anything 3D (she still hates 3D to this day, at age 7!) or in the dark after that...

  4. This looks lovely! I would love to recreate this in my home.
    Where did you get your tree blocks and mirror blocks? Links to where such toys
    can be purchased would be a great help. Educational Toys for Toddlers