As a Disney Insider, there are some tips that I always follow when visiting the Magic Kingdom. The flagship park is the busiest, and with so much to do in one visit, it’s important to plan the day efficiently without wearing yourself out.
1. Arrive early
As the most popular of the four Walt Disney World theme parks, I always suggest getting to the Magic Kingdom early. The lines for attractions will only get longer as the day goes on, so even with Fastpasses, you’re better off having a couple of hours in the morning before the park opens to experience some of the most popular attractions. The early morning hours can also be a great time to take some pictures without crowds in them. Some of my favorite pictures of myself with family and friends in front of the castle have been taken by Disney PhotoPass photographers on Main Street right after the park opens.
2. Get Fastpasses, and use them wisely
In any of the parks, you should be taking advantage of Disney’s Fastpass+ service. It’s included in your park admission, so why not use it? Once you’ve decided to go on the My Disney Experience app and make some Fastpass selections, make sure you know which attractions would be a good use of those Fastpasses. For instance, I would never use a Fastpass for a show because they start at set times anyway, and you more than likely would not have a problem getting a seat without a Fastpass. Instead, I save Fastpasses for rides, so that my wait time can be shorter. I also avoid booking Fastpasses for early in the morning, as the park is not usually crowded enough to need one for the first couple of hours anyway.
3. Stay for Wishes, but do not leave right away after
At least one time per trip, you should definitely be staying for Wishes. It’s the best fireworks show around, and you’d probably be kicking yourself on the way home if you missed it. While you should definitely see the fireworks, make sure you do not head out of the park immediately after they’re over. Most guests will have the same idea as you, which means you’ll be spending some time in a cattle herd or in line waiting for the bus or monorail. If you really want to leave then, I suggest wandering through Main Street, and slowly making your way to the exit, so you can check out the shops or sit down and relax instead of waiting in the long lines to leave the park.
4. Take advantage of package delivery services
Some insiders suggest shopping on the way out of the park, however I prefer to well… shop all day. If you’re like me, and you can’t help just shop continuously throughout your trip, make sure you take advantage of the package delivery services that Disney offers. You can have whatever you buy shipped to the front of the park, or your Disney resort (assuming you’re not checking out the next day) for free, simply ask to have it shipped while you’re paying for the items.
5. Meet the characters
No trip to the Magic Kingdom is complete without meeting at least a couple of characters. Whether you meet Mickey at the Town Square Theater, or one of the princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall, make an effort to meet a character or two during your next trip to the park. Even if you’re an adult without children, meeting the characters is really a fun, classic experience that you shouldn’t let yourself miss out on.
6. Save shows for the busiest times
To be more efficient while you’re touring the park, I generally try to save shows for the middle of the day when the park is the busiest. Shows like the Country Bear Jamboree, and the Hall of Presidents are great attractions to visit while the lines for the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain are longer than you’d like to wait in the afternoon.
7. Take a break
Whether you go back to your resort for a couple of hours, sit down on a bench, or my personal favorite—hop on the monorail and explore those resorts, giving yourself a break from the park will help you retain energy and be ready for a night out. You may be excited to rush around to all the attractions and go non-stop, but even just sitting down on a bench with some cold water for twenty minutes or so can go a long way in you making it the rest of the night.
8. Strike a balance in picture-taking
There are three kinds of picture-takers in Walt Disney World. The ones that don’t photograph enough, meaning they come home from a ten day trip with less than 100 pictures and are therefore disappointed with themselves, the ones who take too many, meaning they never experience anything with their own eyes, only through the lens of a camera, and unless they’re professional photographers chances are the pictures aren’t even good, and the middle ground. You want to be on the middle ground—you want to come home with enough photos to remember your trip by, but you don’t want to photograph every little thing so much so that you hardly remember being in the present and experiencing things as they happen.
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9. Make dining reservations
If you plan on dining at any of the in-park restaurants, or at one of the monorail resorts, it’s important that you make reservations in advance. Tables fill up quickly, and if you have your heart set on eating somewhere specific, it’s better to be safe than sorry and to make sure ahead of time that you’ll be able to get a table.
10. Stay out late
If you’re willing to stay much later after the fireworks are over, try staying in the park until it closes, or at least late into the evening, especially on an Extra Magic Hours night. Since many guests do leave right after Wishes, the lines for attractions will be shorter, and the park as a whole will be quieter, giving it a whole different feel than it has during the day. If you’re not a fan of the hot, Florida weather, evenings tend to be a more comfortable time for visiting the parks as well.
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