Many years ago, I made a startling discovery. After several trips to Walt Disney World, I discovered there are thousands upon thousands (millions?) of people just like me! That is, people who are obsessed with planning their next trip to Walt Disney World. Hi, my name is Jimmie and I’m a Disney fanatic!
Every Disney trip I plan starts with a thought and ends with a color-coded spreadsheet! Yes, I know, not everyone is a type-A personality, but it seems most Disney fanatics are. The thought of entering the Magic Kingdom without a plan gives me the cold sweats! Here are 3 ways extreme planners rule at Disney’s Magic Kingdom!
1) Rope Drop – Rope drop is a theme park term for park opening. Prior to Fastpass+ and the My Disney Experience planning tools, this was the #1 tip to a successful day at the Magic Kingdom. Good news! It still works! The simple fact is, most people are unwilling to get up early on their vacation. Those who do gain a huge advantage over other park guests, staying constantly ahead of the crowds and long lines. Shorter lines = more attractions = happy family!
2) Fastpass+ – Fastpass+ is an attraction “reservation” made prior to your trip (up to 60 days) via the My Disney Experience website or app. With Disney on the cutting edge of technology, guests now have multiple options when it comes to planning your day, i.e. beating the crowds. There are basically three schools of thought on how to use Fastpass+ to your advantage. One is, for the aforementioned early risers, arrive at rope drop, experience as many headliner attractions (or just your favorites) as you can in the first 90 minutes to two hours. Schedule your Fastpasses (prior to your trip) for later in the day or evening after you’ve had time for a relaxing lunch and/or some rest/pool time back at your resort hotel. Using this method, you can enjoy lots of attractions in one day or your favorites more than once.
The second option works great for those who prefer to sleep in. It is your vacation, after all! As stated before, plan your Fastpass+ attractions for the afternoon/evening, and enjoy sleeping in! Plan to arrive at the Magic Kingdom prior to your first fastpass and walk right on your favorite attractions!
Finally, for those who like to tour the park “commando” style, schedule your three fastpasses early in the day (before lunch). Once you have completed all three, you can go to any of the Fastpass kiosks around the park, and schedule another! This is called “rolling fastpass”. You can continue doing this until all the daily fastpasses have run out! You could end up with 6, 7 or more fastpasses in one day!
*Bonus tip: Consider any dining reservations you have when scheduling your fastpasses, to avoid conflicts.
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3) Nighttime spectaculars – Do not, I repeat do not miss the nighttime entertainment at the Magic Kingdom! These could very well be the highlight of your trip. Almost every evening, the Magic Kingdom has three nighttime spectaculars. The Main Street Electrical Parade, consisting of 23 illuminated floats, 80 performers, and trademark synthesizer music sweetened with Disney theme songs; Celebrate the Magic, a nighttime projection show on Cinderella Castle that takes you on a journey to the heart of the most beloved Disney stories and characters, and Wishes, narrated by Jiminy Cricket. “Wishes” tells of making wishes come true, using classic Disney songs and character voices accompanied by spectacular fireworks.
Here are several tips to remember as you plan to enjoy the nighttime entertainment. First, on busy days, The Main Street Electrical Parade will run twice, once before and once after Wishes. The second parade is always less crowded.
Consider watching the parade from Frontierland. It’s less crowded and you can secure a spot closer to the scheduled parade time. Another coveted spot for watching all three is the Main Street Train Station. The pros are, it’s elevated above the crowds, it has (some) seating, and you can make a quick escape from the park at the end. The con is, you have to snag a spot 2-3 hours ahead of time.
Finally, Celebrate the Magic and Wishes are best viewed from in front of Cinderella Castle. Yes, it will be crowded, but the view is spectacular! *Bonus tip: You can use one of your fastpasses to reserve a special viewing spot, but be aware that will negate any use of the “rolling fastpasses”. Check out “3 Ways Extreme Planners Rule Disney World.”
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!