EPCOT vs Animal Kingdom: Differences & Which One Is Better?
EPCOT and Animal Kingdom offer unforgettable experiences where Disney World visitors are introduced to the scientific discoveries, international cultures, and natural environments unique to each park.
These two Disney theme parks are vastly different adventures; however, it’s impossible to make the wrong decision when choosing between them.
When figuring out which is better for your Disney vacation, it’s useful to compare the attractions, dining options, size, and pace at each park.
EPCOT focuses on technological innovation and cultural experiences while hosting many of Disney’s best restaurants. Animal Kingdom’s main theme is the conservation of the natural world, offering immersive rides and animal encounters. The attractions at Animal Kingdom are geared toward nature lovers and families with children. In contrast, EPCOT attracts a more mature crowd with its world-class cuisine, educational attractions, and laid-back vibe.
This article compares EPCOT and Animal Kingdom by looking at each park’s most popular rides, restaurants, and amenities.
Which Is Better EPCOT or Animal Kingdom?
Whether EPCOT or Animal Kingdom is better depends on individual preferences and the nature of a group.
The two parks offer completely different experiences and cater to different audiences.
There are several factors to consider when comparing EPCOT and Animal Kingdom, including size and capacity, rides and attractions, dining options, and other entertainment.
How Busy Are EPCOT and Animal Kingdom?
EPCOT and Animal Kingdom have nearly the same number of guests on average per day.
EPCOT welcomes 34,000 visitors daily, and Animal Kingdom hosts 38,000.
Due to each park’s maximum capacity, however, EPCOT can feel much less crowded.
EPCOT can welcome up to 110,000 parkgoers, whereas Animal Kingdom can accommodate 60,000.
These numbers may be surprising as at 580 acres (234.7 hectares), Animal Kingdom is nearly twice the size of EPCOT.
Despite its size, Animal Kingdom can actually feel busier and more crowded than EPCOT because most of the property is used to house the 2000 animals that live there.
EPCOT has incredible rides for guests of all ages, but Animal Kingdom comes out on top in this category.
Animal Kingdom features classic roller coasters, safaris, and state-of-the-art attractions.
The rides are focused on fun and adventure, sending visitors soaring through the air or into the heart of the Serengeti.
EPCOT’s rides provide wonderful experiences but aren’t the typical thrills associated with a theme park.
The park is centered around edutainment – the combination of education and entertainment – so the rides mainly explore Earth’s history, famous locations, and missions into space.
Best Rides at Animal Kingdom
Disney Imagineers constantly improve ride selection at Animal Kingdom.
The latest addition to the park, Avatar Flight of Passage, is out of this world, literally.
Found in Pandora – The World of Avatar, riders soar through the sky on the back of a Banshee while experiencing 4D effects.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is another must-try at Animal Kingdom.
On a steel-framed roller coaster, passengers rip through the Himalayas, trying to escape the clutches of the mythical Yeti who guards the Forbidden Mountain.
The most famous attraction in Animal Kingdom is the Kilimanjaro Safaris, where guests traverse through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve to see lions, elephants, giraffes, and more right in the heart of Orlando, Florida.
Every safari is different, meaning guests can tour the Reserve as often as they’d like without seeing the same things twice – they can even venture into the savanna at night to witness the wildlife’s nocturnal habits.
Best Rides at EPCOT
EPCOT’s most iconic feature is the giant silver golf ball housing the ride Spaceship Earth.
Inside the geodesic sphere, guests travel through time on a continuously-moving swivel chair, learning about developments in human communication, beginning with the Stone Age and ending with 1970s America.
Next up is Soarin’ Around the World, a simulated hang glider tour around the natural and human-made wonders of the world.
Sights of the Taj Mahal and Great Pyramids are made complete with 4D effects like smell, sound, and raised seats.
EPCOT’s newest and most exciting ride is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
In this action-packed adventure, the reverse-launch roller coaster sends riders into space to explore the galaxies; however, just as this interstellar tour is about to end, the movie’s heroes appear and recruit guests for a mission to save the cosmos.
Giving an award for best rides is tough, but when it comes to dining experiences, EPCOT is, without a doubt, the winner.
In fact, EPCOT easily has some of the best restaurants in all of Disney World, not to mention the food and beverages offered in the international pavilions at the World Showcase.
Between the number of restaurants, the variety of cuisines, and the services offered, guests can spend a whole day just eating (and drinking) their way through EPCOT.
But don’t count Animal Kingdom out yet!
Competing with EPCOT’s dining options is a tall order, but Animal Kingdom holds its own.
With internationally-inspired table service and casual dining options, visitors will not be disappointed.
Best Restaurants at Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom’s premier sit-down restaurant is Tiffins.
Inspired by the international theme of Animal Kingdom, Tiffins serves African, Indian, and South American cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere.
Next door to Tiffins is the Nomad Lounge.
Sit outside and enjoy the lush views of Pandora while sampling exotic drinks and delicious appetizers.
The Yak & Yeti is a parkgoer favorite at Animal Kingdom.
Dine at the foot of Everest in a quiet village home-turned-restaurant known for its pan-Asian cuisine.
Best Restaurants at EPCOT
A long-time favorite at EPCOT is Monsieur Paul, located in the French Pavilion.
Its upscale atmosphere is perfect for anniversaries, romantic getaways, and quaint celebrations with friends.
Nothing can compare to the impressive German buffet at the Biergarten Restaurant.
Inspired by Oktoberfest, this restaurant serves Bavarian classics like schnitzel, bratwurst, and spaetzle while live polka bands play.
Hop over to the Japanese Pavilion to experience traditional Omakase dining at Takumi Tei.
Hailed as the best Japanese restaurant in EPCOT, Takumi Tei’s sophisticated selection of food and beverages makes it a must-visit for serious foodies.
EPCOT and Animal Kingdom are neck and neck when it comes to entertainment.
The parks base their performances on their individual themes, creating an array of unique experiences.
Animal Kingdom’s focus on wildlife translates into zoological attractions and shows inspired by different ecosystems.
Visitors can learn about exotic animals, trek through jungles, or watch musicals based on Disney’s favorite animal characters.
With the World Showcase, EPCOT allows visitors to travel the globe in a day.
Guests can learn about other cultures, experience traditions, and see international performances.
Best Entertainment at Animal Kingdom
Visitors along the Maharajah Jungle Trek will see tigers, water buffalo, Komodo dragons, and more!
Complete with ruins and idyllic landscapes, the Maharajah trail will transport parkgoers to South East Asia.
The Festival of the Lion King is one of the best shows at Animal Kingdom, dazzling guests with singing and acrobatics in a Cirque du Soleil-like performance of The Lion King.
An underwater alternative to the Lion King is Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!
In this retelling of the popular Disney/Pixar film, guests follow Disney’s favorite clownfish as he searches the ocean to find his son with the help of puppeteers and intricate set designs.
Rounding up Animal Kingdom’s best attractions is Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail.
Accompanied by meerkats and hippos, guests can encounter gorillas in their habitat and watch as Disney Cast Members feed the gorillas by throwing fruit at them!
Best Entertainment at EPCOT
EPCOT is divided into four main sections, World Showcase, World Discovery, World Nature, and World Celebration.
One of the most fascinating neighborhoods in EPCOT is World Nature, home to SeaBase, a 5.7 million-gallon (21.5 million-liter) aquatic habitat where guests can spot sea turtles, sharks, reef fish, and so much more.
SCUBA-certified visitors can dive nearby at EPCOT Seas Adventures – DiveQuest.
The World Showcase contains 11 pavilions representing different countries, and each features entertainment based on its country of origin.
Reflections of China is a beautiful depiction of Mainland China shown on a 360-degree screen.
Leaving the film, guests can catch an unforgettable show from Chinese Acrobats.
The American Adventure is an animatronic retelling of American history.
Guests are led through the Revolutionary War to the Great Depression by hosts Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain.
EPCOT and Animal Kingdom have an incredible variety of attractions, dining options, and adventures.
The two parks stack up well against each other, coming out almost tied – but depending on the interests of visitors, one park may be more appealing than the other.
Both EPCOT and Animal Kingdom have a similar number of visitors each day, but Animal Kingdom has a smaller capacity, feeling busier and faster-paced when compared to EPCOT.
When looking at attractions, Animal Kingdom has more classic theme park rides that appeal to a wider audience; however, EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth is one of the most iconic at Disney World.
EPCOT is also home to some of the best restaurants and culinary experiences in any Disney park, and guests who want a slower pace filled with new experiences would be happy here.
The entertainment options at each park are incredible, and the production value of shows, quality of performances, and ingenuity of interactive experiences are nothing short of magical.
No matter which Disney World theme park guests choose to visit, they’re sure to have an amazing time.
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