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Magic Kingdom vs Hollywood Studios: Differences & Which One Is Better?

Each Walt Disney World theme park is designed to deliver a unique and enchanting experience; however, some guests may prefer certain parks over others.

Occasionally, parkgoers must choose between Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, which can be challenging without knowing what each park offers.

Magic Kingdom is Disney’s iconic fantasy park packed with classic Disney characters, immersive rides, and mesmerizing entertainment. Hollywood Studios is improving as the years go by, adding more thrills and magic to its movie set aesthetic. Children and Disney fanatics might prefer Magic Kingdom, while thrill-seeking movie buffs will have a special place in their hearts for Hollywood Studios.

This article compares the features of Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom and provides tips on deciding between them.

What Are the Differences Between Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios?

Photo of Railroad Office at Magic Kingdom.

The differences between Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios come down to themes, rides, entertainment, and food.


Each theme park at Disney World has a unique atmosphere specially curated by Disney Imagineers to create a distinctive impression and evoke different feelings. 

Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are two parks with thoughtful and impressive theming that leave guests with memories that last a lifetime.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is composed of enchantment, wonder, and a few pinches of pixie dust.

The park is built around the iconic Cinderella Castle, towering over an immersive world devoted to classic Disney films, characters, and nostalgia. 

The magic is equally divided between six themed areas: Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Main Street, and Tomorrowland.

Children and adults who love Disney movies will be in their element at Magic Kingdom. 

Here, they will see their favorite fantasies come alive, shake hands with the characters they admire, and experience real-life magic that was once behind a screen.

Hollywood Studios

And Action! 

At Hollywood Studios, parkgoers step out of reality and onto classic Hollywood sets that capture the imagination and fill you with wonder. 

There are five themed lands in Hollywood Studios: Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake, Pixar Place, Animation Courtyard, and Sunset Boulevard.

Star Wars fans enter a familiar galaxy far, far away to enjoy otherworldly attractions, encounter galactic creatures, surround themselves with space gear, and blast off among the stars.

Guests can also “look alive” while exploring Toy Story Land (the toys sure do!) as they meet beloved characters in a world that looks like someone knocked over Andy’s toy box.


Both Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios host a variety of rides that appeal to everyone. 

Each park is geared to a different audience, but both offer fun for the whole family.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom features rides that are family-friendly over anything else – even the thrill rides are only moderately intense.

Children will rave over the kid-friendly rides, including favorites like “it’s a small world,” Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and Peter Pan’s Flight.

Teens and adults looking for a little more action might enjoy the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, or Splash Mountain, which incorporate twists and turns, dark excursions, and daring drops.

Guests can visit the Walt Disney World official website for a complete guide to Magic Kingdom’s ride selections and height requirements.

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios delivers the right amount of intensity, catering to those who love an adrenaline rush alongside popular films,  music, and television.

Hollywood Studios’ most notable thrill rides include the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

These attractions are dark, loud, and complete with epic drops.

Some rides, like Slinky Dog Dash, keep the thrills alive but dial down the fear factor, while the vibrant Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway presents the perfect option for kids who want a gentler riding experience.

Parkgoers can check out Hollywood Studios’ full ride selection and attraction regulations on the official Disney World Website.


Both parks provide plenty of amusement through stage shows, character experiences, and live entertainment.

Magic Kingdom

Disney’s Magic Kingdom is bustling with characters waiting to greet visitors. 

Some of these character experiences include meeting Mickey at Town Square Theater, meeting Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall, or meeting Winnie the Pooh and Tigger at The Thotful Spot.

There are also some amazing shows at Magic Kingdom, such as Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, or the must-see Disney Enchantment fireworks that burst each night over Cinderella’s Castle.

Guests who want to hug their favorite Disney character, share a laugh with the not-so-scary Mike Wazowski, or see Tinkerbell glide across the glittering night sky, will enjoy their visit to Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

For more information on Magic Kingdom’s entertainment and attractions, parkgoers can head to the official website.

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios has its own spread of character experiences featuring pals from Disney and Pixar. 

Some of these character events include the opportunity to Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight, Meet Sulley at Walt Disney Presents, or Meet the Toys in Toy Story Land.

There are also breathtaking stage shows at Hollywood Studios like Disney’s For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, or Muppet Vision 3D.

Fireworks also boom across the sky in shows like Disney’s Fantasmic. 

These shows are perfect for those who want to belt out the lyrics to “Let It Go” with Elsa, watch Indy and Marion work through some impressive stunts, or experience the wonders of the Muppets’ 3D movie-making invention.

Visit Disney’s official website for details on the entertainment available at Hollywood Studios.


Food fuels fun, so guests should know the ins and outs of what’s on the menu at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Magic Kingdom

With over 42 different dining establishments, Magic Kingdom has several menu items at every price point.

The more expensive and highly-rated eateries, like the Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Beast’s Enchanted Castle or Cinderella’s Royal Table in Cinderella’s Castle, deliver an unforgettable experience but cost as much as $60 per plate.

Tasty and budget-friendly options like Magic Kingdom’s Tony’s Town Square Italian Restaurant range in price from $15 to $35.

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café and Gaston’s Tavern have fast and inexpensive meals for $15 and under.

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios also provides guests with just under 30 different places to eat, drink, and be merry.

The fancier dining options include the 4-star Hollywood & Vine and The Hollywood Brown Derby, serving high-end American food at $35 to $60 per adult.

Hollywood & Vine serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner alongside Disney characters, while The Hollywood Brown Derby transports guests into the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The 50’s Prime Time Café and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano offer American and Italian dishes ranging from $15 to $35.

Visitors can drop by places like Catalina Eddie’s or Fairfax Fare for meals under $15.

Which is Better: Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios?

Woman standing in front of the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios

Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are both top-rated parks, so determining which is better is a tough call. 

Technically, Hollywood Studios scores slightly higher than Magic Kingdom according to highly regarded sources like Concierge, Travel + Leisure, and Lonely Planet; however, formal ratings aside, deciding which park is better ultimately comes down to personal preference.

How to Decide Which Is Better: Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios

To decide which park is better, guests should consider what kind of vacation they’re looking for. 

Some things worth factoring in are the length of stay, the nature of the group, and the favorite aspects of the Disney franchise.

Magic Kingdom might be the better choice for first-time visitors or those who only have time for one park. 

It’s home to some of Walt Disney World’s most iconic features, like the Cinderella Castle and other classic attractions, so it’s arguably a must-see venue. 

Guests who are more interested in the show business aspects of Disney might prefer Hollywood Studios, especially parkgoers who are die-hard Star Wars fans.

A big part of Disney World is the rides, so guests should think about what appeals to their group.

For the most action, Hollywood Studios has more options geared toward adults or families with teenagers.

For tamer Disney-oriented rides, Magic Kingdom is the better choice, and families with younger children will find more to explore.


Both Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios host wonderful rides, attractions, and amenities. 

Magic Kingdom is best suited for parkgoers who want classic Disney magic, whereas Hollywood Studios is designed for those who enjoy Disney’s daring and cinematic side.

Deciding which park is better is ultimately up to individual preference. 

When choosing between Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, guests should consider how much time they have, their travel companions, and the kind of experience they’re ultimately looking for.