Rex had some Thoughts on Islands of Adventure a few days ago in which he named IOA his favorite theme park. At the end of his blog, he asked which park was my favorite, correctly narrowing the options down to the Magic Kingdom or IOA. Below is my brief response.
Rex is correct to say that Magic Kingdom is at the very top for me in terms of my favorite overall park. However, the overall issue of comparing parks is very tricky. It reminds of a classic Law & Order episode. McCoy (the attorney) is trying to win a motion before a judge and he makes the compelling arguement that the constitution is not a static thing. It is alive and constantly, even if very slowly, morphing as the years go by and our understanding as humans in society changes. For me, the same is true with the parks. My list of favorite parks and rides is always being altered, maybe not in drastic ways, but is never going to remain constant. IOA will always be a favorite, as will the Magic Kingdom. Spiderman will always be one of my favorites, if not my favorite, but the Haunted Mansion is awfully close. Who would have thought that Dinosaur would have jumped to the top of my list? Yet, it is one of my favorited rides in Orlando.
So, with that in mind, the Magic Kingdom is impossible to beat for the "another world" experience. There really is something magical about that place that cannot be topped or duplicated. As I have told Rex many times, just walking in, standing around, and walking out is worth my admission ticket. IOA has some of that same feeling, but not near as much. The port of entry creates a tremendous anxiousness and makes my heart start beating, but not to the degree of seeing Cinderella Castle down Main Street. However, once you add the unbelievable quality of thrill rides at IOA, that are in themselves amazingly themed, then you have the scales being more evenly weighed.
Lastly, we cannot forget the most important factor of all when ranking parks – experience. The sentimental value, for me, is huge. Rex and I just have an incredible history with IOA, from stumbling across it during an early trip to becoming somewhat obsessed with Cap's Diner, I don't think we have missed a year of visiting the park since our first encounter. So, IOA is unique to me in that sense, it is by far the park that me and Rex are most familiar with and have the best memories.
So, which is my favorite? I'm not even sure myself, but these two parks will continue to be the ones by which every other theme park is judged. I can't wait to get back!