There are many first timers that visit the most popular theme park in the world on a daily basis. The Magic Kingdom is truly magical, however, it can be overwhelming to complete all that it has to offer in one day. Here are ten Magic Kingdom tips for rookies.
10. Reserving Fastpasses
There are so many experiences, rides, and attractions to enjoy at the happiest place on earth. Unfortunately, many of these activities have loads of crowds that can make you want to avoid experiencing it. Don’t skip out on your most wanted ride or attraction! Log-in to your Disney account (on the official Walt Disney World website) and select your fastpasses for your party after you have purchased your tickets. Doing this will allow you to reserve a time for some of the most popular attractions and rides with a guarantee of little to no wait. Not sure which rides have long wait times? You can monitor the wait times for a few days on the My Disney Experience app (for smartphones) and get an idea for which rides you should select a fastpass for. Speaking of tickets, you’ll want to purchase your tickets before your vacation to avoid waiting in long lines at the gates. Guests who purchase tickets at the park are also not eligible t reserve fastpasses early, which ultimately, doesn’t allow them to snag the best fastpasses before they run out.
9. Reserving Dining
Disney dining is an amazing experience all on its own. It’s no wonder some restaurants, like Be Our Guest, are so difficult to try to visit on a whim due to their popularity with advanced dining reservations. If you plan to enjoy a sit-down meal at any Magic Kingdom restaurant, you should make a dining reservation ahead of time. There is a slim chance of you being able to just walk up to the hostess at the restaurant you’ve had your heart set on and actually be able to grab a table. Dining has become so popular at the parks, and this is the only way to ensure you will get to dine at your favorite place! Reservations can be made 180 days in advance online or by calling the Walt Disney world Resort.
8. Arrival Procedures
There are a few things to keep in mind if you plan to visit the parks in the morning. If you are staying at a Disney resort, give yourself at least an hour (yes, a full hour) of time if you are taking the busses. I can’t tell you how many times there are unexpected occurrences (i.e.- a large crowd, multiple resort stops before getting to the park, extra time taken to help disabled guests, etc.) that happen to those taking the bus. You should also try to eat breakfast before arriving to the park (unless you have a breakfast reservation inside the park) so that when you arrive you can enjoy the parks. Speaking of breakfast reservations inside the park, you can enjoy a nice breakfast before the park is open to the general public. Cast members will allow you to enter the park and head over to the restaurant that you have reservations at. Not only is this a great way to get your day started, but its also a fantastic photo opportunity in front of the castle without a large crowd. Another thing to keep in mind are the lines at the bag check. Since security guards take a while to check bags, you’ll want to allot time for this as well.
7. Time Saving Route
Many guests that are first timers head in all sorts of directions throughout the day to experience their favorite rides. Since the Magic kingdom is shaped in a circle, starting at one end of the circle and following it all the way through is the best way to experience the whole park and save time. Jumping from one area to the next and back can take up your time, and make it challenging to go back and forth all day. Sometimes following the park in a giant circle isn’t possible (especially if you have a fastpass, dining reservation, or have to stop to see a parade), but if you can manage it, it will save you time.
6. Character Meet and Greets
Meeting characters is at the top of many to-do lists of guests visiting the Magic Kingdom. After all, where else can you go and meet the most beloved characters of all time? Characters give us great memories and they make awesome pictures, but meeting all of them can be a bit difficult. If you plan to meet characters (and make them your priority), you will want to consider a few things. First, make sure you reserve fastpasses for those that are notorious for having long wait times (like Anna and Elsa and Mickey Mouse). You can also see the character meet-and-greet times on the My Disney Experience app (which is great to check out while you’re visiting each land in the park). Keep in mind that there are also characters that are available to meet-and-greet, but aren’t on the guide map or app (for example, Gaston, Anastasia, Drizella, and the Fairy Godmother). These characters are a little more challenging to plan into your day since they appear sporadically throughout the park. If you have a specific character in mind (that isn’t on the guide or app), just ask a cast member and they will help you.
5. Attractions and Rides
Just like the character meet and greets, attractions and rides are at the top of almost every guests to-do list. There are so many to see and experience, so you’ll want to make the most of your time to check them all out. Fastpasses for the most popular rides (like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight) are always a great idea. This eliminates some of the time you spend waiting in line. In addition to fastpasses, checking out some of the more popular rides and attractions during shows, parades, and firework displays are also a great way to experience them with a shorter wait time than usual (since most guests are watching the shows, parades, or fireworks).
There are tons of picture opportunities for guests at the Magic Kingdom! Some guests look forward to the pictures to create great memories. Disney Parks has created a great package to capture the magic in all of your photos (and with all of your friends and family). Memory Maker allows you and your family to not worry about using your camera all the time to capture magic with characters, throughout the park, and even on the rides. Any photo taken by a Disney PhotoPass photographer (or by a ride or attraction) will be stored on you’re My Disney Experience account and you get to keep digital copies of all of the pictures that were taken throughout the entire length of your stay! The money is well worth it if you take many pictures with characters or in the walkways of the park. Purchasing this in advance will also give you a discount, so be sure to look into it before you arrive!
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3. Extra Magic Hours
Any guest staying at a Walt Disney World Resort can benefit from spending more time in the parks before the general public. Each day, a different theme park is open (in the morning or afternoon) for anywhere from 1-3 hours just for Disney Resort guests to enjoy. Take advantage of this is you’re staying on property! You’ll get to check off more on your to-do list and experience attractions with less of a crowd.
2. Go to the Left
Studies have shown that guests have a tendency to travel to the right (to Tomorrowland) after passing Main Street U.S.A. If you go to the left, you’ll most likely hop on rides and meet characters with a shorter crowd.
1. Parades and Shows
Disney parades and shows are truly magical and breathtaking. If you can manage to attend the second showing of a parade or show, you will most likely experience less of a crowd. Speaking of crowds, parades and shows are high in demand and tend to always have a high level of crowds. Make sure you grab a good seat an hour prior to the parade starting.
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 Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!
Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper