Pitting Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios parks against each other might feel like an effort in futility for some Disney enthusiasts.
Both Florida theme parks operate under the Walt Disney World Resort umbrella, but it has been said that Magic Kingdom is for children, while Disney’s Hollywood Studios caters more to adults. If you’re limited to visiting one park because of time or budget, here’s what you need to know.
Themes of Magic Kingdom vs. Hollywood Studios
Although the parks come with a healthy dose of the Disney atmosphere, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are distinct in their themes:
Magic Kingdom is quintessential Disney. It has a handful of fantastical lands with a broad range of characters from classic Disney films — Cinderella, Snow White and the like.
Hollywood Studios leans more heavily into Pixar, with such attractions as Toy Story Land and Pixar Plaza. “Star Wars” lovers will be drawn to Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios.
You may also want to take into account the difference in crowd volume. In 2022, for example, 10.9 million people visited Hollywood Studios while Magic Kingdom welcomed about 17.1 million visitors — about 57% more people.
Generally, Magic Kingdom experiences heavier foot traffic. It’s the more popular theme park — after all, it features the iconic Cinderella Castle — so you may want to factor that in if you’re looking for smaller crowds.
Rides at Hollywood Studios vs. Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom has more rides than any other Walt Disney World park, including Hollywood Studios. Magic Kingdom boasts 23 rides, while Hollywood Studios has nine.
In terms of newer attractions, Magic Kingdom is home to TRON Lightcycle/Run, a darker thrill ride based on the movie “TRON: Legacy.” Meanwhile, Hollywood Studios has Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Each park also has kid-friendly rides and attractions, although since Magic Kingdom has significantly more rides, it also offers the greatest variety of kids’ rides. Magic Kingdom includes classic Disney rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, Tomorrowland Speedway and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Meanwhile, at Hollywood Studios, younger visitors have options like Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Toy Story’s Slinky Dog Dash.
Shows at Hollywood Studios vs. Magic Kingdom
Both theme parks offer unique shows, including daytime experiences and nighttime spectaculars.
Hollywood Studios hosts the “Fantasmic!” musical, with Mickey Mouse directing the show from center stage. At Magic Kingdom, the famous “Happily Ever After” fireworks show serves as an iconic backdrop to Cinderella’s Castle.
Restaurants inside Disney Magic Kingdom vs. Hollywood Studios
Magic Kingdom offers 39 dining options, from table service to walk-up counter service options. At Hollywood Studios, visitors will find 30 dining options — certainly enough to choose from throughout the day, but still fewer than Magic Kingdom.
When it comes to fine dining, Magic Kingdom wins the match. You’ll find a three-course French menu at the Be Our Guest Restaurant, or you can reserve a table on a ferryboat cruise while enjoying dessert and an unbeatable view of the fireworks.
Additionally, Magic Kingdom offers two character dining experiences — Cinderella’s Royal Table and The Crystal Palace, where you’ll dine alongside Winnie the Pooh and friends. Currently, there’s one Hollywood Studios character dining opportunity at Hollywood & Vine, where you’ll be greeted by Minnie and friends.
Magic Kingdom vs. Hollywood Studios: Which is better?
Magic Kingdom easily comes out on top in terms of the number of rides and live shows. It can take more than a day to experience them all.
But Hollywood Studios offers a couple of lands that are highly unique. If someone in your group is a die-hard Pixar fan, for example, it isn’t hard to imagine they’d prefer Hollywood Studios over Magic Kingdom.
Additionally, those who are part of the “Star Wars” fandom might clamor to visit Hollywood Studios to experience Galaxy’s Edge and the immersive experience that Batuu offers.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for: