Even if you have purchased multi-day park hopper tickets, you may want to spend at least one entire day at the Magic Kingdom. After all, Walt Disney World is the “most magical place on earth”, and the Magic Kingdom is full of fun, excitement, pleasure, thrills, amusement, happiness, and, of course, unforgettable magic! This is a place where the outside world ends, and the fantasy world begins, where a person’s age is obsolete, and where only the “young at heart” exist. For those of us who are “Disney-fanatics”, there is always a sense of sadness when our Disney trip is coming to an end, but our joy returns the minute we begin planning our next most magical adventure!
1. FastPass+ Reservations
Arrange your fast pass times to include the rides and attractions that are the most popular; namely, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Peter Pan, Big Thunder Railroad, Snow White’s Mine Train, etc. Remember also, when reserving your fast passes to leave some time in between these major attractions for lunch, dinner, shopping, and less crowded rides.
2. Take Advantage of Locker Rental
Whether you are staying at a Disney Resort or not, I advise renting a locker. If you forget an important item or necessity, it’s a bus, boat, or monorail ride back to your resort or the parking lot. I do not like to carry anything but my camera bag, which holds just about everything I may need for a day at the Magic Kingdom, but it doesn’t hold an umbrella or rain ponchos, snacks, first aid kit, etc. We even bring our resort mugs to the Park, not to use, but to have so that when we return to our Resort, we can swing by the food court and fill our mugs on our way back to our room.
The locker is a lot closer than your resort or wherever you parked your car. Most items you may have forgotten can be purchased at the Park, but even an everyday item is going to be much more expensive here. Bring everything you think you may need for a full day, and if the clouds start rolling in, pick a member from your group to roll down to the lockers to retrieve your rain gear, and when the shower is over, send them back. For their effort, buy them a treat!
The locker rental fees are quite reasonable: large – $10 per day+ key deposit($5). Small – $8 per day + key deposit($5). The key deposit is refundable when you return it no later than one hour after the Park closes.
3. Choose Wisely Where to Begin Your Magical Journey
If you have not already done so, get a map of the Magic Kingdom, or download the “My Disney Experience” mobile app for your smart phone. This will make it easier for you to plan your itinerary around the Park. When you reach the end of Main Street, you will be at the central hub of the Magic Kingdom, where you can choose which land you want to visit first, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, or Tomorrowland. Keep in mind when and where you have scheduled your fast passes. You can adjust the times if necessary. For younger children, a homemade map of the Magic Kingdom with their favorite attractions highlighted, is a fun way for them to keep up.
In order for you and your family to experience all the rides and attractions in one day, try to stay in one land until you have explored it fully, then move on to the adjoining land, and so on until you arrive back on Main Street just in time for the Main Street Electrical Parade, and the brilliant fireworks display.
No Disney vacation would be complete without plenty of pictures capturing all those memorable moments. One creative way to make sure the whole family is in every picture is to let one of the Disney PhotoPass photographers take your picture. These photographers are located in several key locations in every Park, and they are professionals. The first photographer you choose will give you a plastic Disney’s PhotoPass card with an ID number on the back. Hang onto that card and use it for the duration of your trip. Each time you have a picture taken, the photographer will scan your card, take the picture, and off you go.
After you register, you can go online to view your photos, order prints, and create photo keepsakes. With the new Memory Maker option, you can also link all your attraction photos to your PhotoPass and these will be included in your Photo cd. *Quick Tip—Take a picture of your PhotoPass ID card with your smart phone or digital camera, just in case you lose it; you may also want to take pictures of any important reservation or confirmation #’s.
5. Meals and Shopping
If you have made a reservation at one of the table service restaurants, you need to arrive there at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Hopefully as your reservation time nears, you are in the land where your dining choice is located, so you will not spend a lot of time getting there. There are so many excellent choices for lunch and dinner. Just as an example, if you are following your one-day, one-park itinerary, by lunch time you would probably be near Pecos Bill’s in Frontierland, or the Columbia Harbor House in Liberty Square. Of course if your table service reservation is for lunch time, you may have to jump ahead or go back to a previous area. After your meal, you can take up where you left off. Actually, the same is true if your dinner reservation is in another land from where you are. Whichever the case, the dining options are all excellent; just let your appetite lead the way.
As for shopping, what can I say? I guess the best way to express your shopping choices at Walt Disney World are “too many to name”, from a $4000 diamond Mickey Mouse ring to an $8 autograph book. In between these two items are hundreds and hundreds of gifts, apparel, authentic Disney Park merchandise, etc. I would recommend an authentic Disney souvenir for friends back home. This would be an item that is only available at one of the Disney Parks. It makes their gift more special, because they won’t find it in a local store.
For those guests who are staying at a Disney Resort, you will want to take advantage of the “Package Pickup” Service. Whatever you purchase can be sent back to your Resort for pickup the next day. You will receive a message on your phone when your packages have arrived at your resort pickup sight. Most resorts also have a package delivery service so you can have your purchases sent to your home. This is especially helpful for guests who are flying home.
Disney photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper