When you are on a magical Walt Disney World vacation, time is of the essence. Most families plan a vacation that lasts between five and seven days, giving them approximately one full day in each theme park. Typically the Magic Kingdom is stop number one on any family’s touring plan. With so little time and so much magic to experience, it may seem like a daunting task to try to fit it all in. Here are some suggestions for making the most of a single day in the Magic Kingdom!
1. Arrive VERY early
It is an ABSOLUTE MUST that you arrive at the Magic Kingdom AT LEAST 30 minutes prior to official park opening time. There are several reasons for this. First of all, the line at security will only grow as opening time approaches. Arriving early will ensure you proceed quickly through this line. Additionally, there is a 10 minute welcome show each morning approximately 20 minutes prior to official opening time. It’s very magical and not to be missed. Finally, arriving early will allow you to take advantage of some premium park touring time. Depending on the time of year, you should be able to ride between three and five “headliner” rides with little to no waiting. The only other time of day to experience these low level crowds are shortly before park closing time. Check out “You Snooze, You LOSE! – 6 Things You’ll Miss If You Sleep In at Walt Disney World.”
2. Prioritize your agenda
There is no way that with one day in the Magic Kingdom it will be possible to experience every single attraction. It’s very important that you make a list of priorities with your travel party in mind. Are you traveling with princess fanatics? You’ll want to spend a lot of your day in New Fantasyland. Do you have thrill seekers in your group? You’ll want to hit the three “Mountains” (Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain). Make a list of your “must do” rides and make a point to get to those before proceeding with anything else.
3. Book your FastPasses
Take your list of “must-do” attractions and at 60 days in advance of your vacation book three Fastpasses for rides on your list. Fastpasses are worth their weight in gold on a busy day in the Magic Kingdom, so choose wisely. Check out “How NOT to Wait in Lines on Your Disney Vacation: 7 Time Saving Tips” for suggestions on which attractions need Fastpasses and which you can ride any time…
4. Make a plan
Using your list of “must do” attractions and your list of Fasspasses, come up with a tentative plan for your day. If you follow tip number 1, you can expect to accomplish at least three of your non-fastpass “must-do” rides in the first hour. You can use the time between the first hour and your Fastpass ride times to hit some attractions that are generally less busy.
5. Skip the sit down dining
If you truly only have one single day in the Magic Kingdom, you may want to consider eating quick service meals rather than a table service option. Any table-service dining option is going to take a minimum of one hour, and in most cases closer to an hour and a half, particularly for character dining. Quick service dining, including the time it takes to wait in line and order, should take no more than 30 minutes (if you follow tip #6!)
6.Eat at “off” times
Even if you skip the table service meals, you might get stuck spending a lot of extra time eating if you try to eat with the masses. Eating at “normal” times will ensure long queues at most counter-service locations in the Magic Kingdom, along with difficulty finding a table. In order to save time, eating an early lunch (around 11) or an early dinner (between 4 and 5) will be beneficial.
7.Plan to Stay Late
Disney’s nighttime shows like the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular and the Main Street Electrical Parade at the Magic Kingdom are NOT TO BE MISSED! Your one day in the Magic Kingdom would not be complete without staying to experience these amazing displays of Disney Magic. Don’t leave the Magic Kingdom without seeing at least one (or preferably both) of these!
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