Magic Kingdom is everything you've imagined since you were a kid. At least that's how I see it. When we first walked through those doors (after passing a thorough security check) and you walk down Main Street U.S.A, at the very back your eyes spot the magnificence of Cinderella's castle...THE castle. The castle that is featured in the introduction to every single Disney movie you've ever seen. That moment, was just priceless.
We prepared, read, and planned our trip fairly well, however, there are things that we were glad we knew in advance and others that we wished we knew. I put together a list of my favorite "must do" things and other tips that can help you navigate this world of magic.
1. TAKE THE MONORAIL OR BUS.
Parking is a nightmare. The parking lot is sooooooo huge that you can literally lose your car if you don't pay attention. If you are staying in a Disney Resort, you will have complimentary transportation to the parks. Use it! the buses are reliable and the monorail is fast. The bus stops are easy to find and secure. If you are not staying inside Disney, consider Uber or a taxi service like Mears.
2. GET THERE EARLY
Our first day at Magic Kingdom we decided to be there before the park opened so we had time to do everything we wanted to do. Their opening times vary depending on the season, so make sure you check online or at your hotel for the weekly schedules. The bus service picked us up at 6:45 a.m. and we got to the park a little after 7 a.m. for a 8 a.m. opening. You go through security faster and get prime viewing for the opening show at the Cinderella Castle.
3. PLAN AHEAD
Get the Disney Experience App on your phone if you can. It's free and it will help you navigate the parks via GPS location (it's great when you have to find a bathroom fast). It will also allow you to view your fast pass itinerary and manage any reservations you have. I recommend that you have a list of the rides you would like to ride and pick them in advance. Remember, you can't possibly ride everything unless you are going to the same park multiple days. So, plan ahead, use your fast passes wisely and don't get overwhelmed.
you might want to also READ THE DO'S AND DON'TS WHEN VISITING DISNEY (HERE).
4. STAY FOR THE FIREWORKS
One of the most magical moments while visiting Magic Kingdom was to see the fireworks at the end of the night. They were absolutely beautiful and, well, magical. I know that after a LONG day of walking, riding, walking, and more walking, you and the little ones will be exhausted...BUT please, believe me when I tell you...go to your hotel and take a nap in the afternoon and come back for the fireworks at night! You'll be glad you did.
5. DINE AT CINDERELLA CASTLE
Make your reservations in advance for Cinderella's Royal Table. This was one of the best meals we had, not to mention it was super fun for the little one! When you come in, you get to meet Cinderella herself and take a picture with her while you wait for your table. When they call your name, they will escort your royal family up to the Royal table (this is all inside the iconic Disney Castle). The room is spectacular. You really feel as if you are in a real castle, dining with real royalty. Once you are seated, the other princesses will come to your table to greet you, take pictures and sign your autograph book. One by one, we met Snow White, Ariel, Jasmine, and Aurora. It was fantastic.
6. HAVE A CINNAMON ROLL AT GASTON'S TAVERN
Just delicious! Stop by Gaston's Tavern when you are in Fantasyland and order their giant, succulent cinnamon rolls. You can share one or two with your group (they are big). Don't forget some coffee! Even though this is a "tavern" it's still alcohol free. Sorry folks.
7. GET LOST IN TOM SAWYER'S ISLAND IN FRONTIERLAND
This is not really a ride, but I thought it was pretty great. You are taken to this little island (literally) by riding on a raft (literally) across the river. Once there, you can take your time to explore on your own. Get lost. Yeah, simply get lost and imagine your own adventure. There are several caves and secret passages to fuel your imagination to high speed. Be brave and go across the barrel bridge, or simply just hang out and people watch while playing checkers and watching the riverboat go by.
RIDES YOU SHOULDN'T MISS
Everyone is always going to have different favorite rides, but for me, here's my list of favorites:
THE HAUNTED MANSION
This ride was simply breathtaking, and just amazing. It could be a little scary for small children, but if they can take seeing some ghosts and ghouls, do it! I waited since I was a child to do this ride, and it was everything I dreamed.
PETER PAN'S FLIGHT
was really beautiful and magical. You feel as if Tinker Bell for real gave you some pixie dust and you fly! You fly above London and towards Neverland. Beautiful animations and special effects. Get fast passes for these as they fill out fast and lines are long, hours long.
Obviously, you still have to check out the classical rides like:
Definitely wear a rain poncho when riding this one! you'll thank me later!
The Seven Dwarfs mine
A family favorite. This is a trip down the Seven Dwarfs mine, where you can see them working, and singing merrily. The movement and facial expressions of are lifelike, and you are transported to their world in a way you don't expected. A combination of a somewhat fast roller coaster with the sweetness of Snow White's story. You can actually see her dancing inside their house if you pay close attention at the very end!
Big Thunder Mountain
It's a Small World
Ever since I can remember, I've known the tune of "It's a Small World"...don't ask me why; so when I saw the line was slightly shorter than normal (it was late and raining... it's usually a couple of hours wait) we jumped in and enjoyed the ride. It's a classic! yeah, the animated characters are obviously old and you can tell the ride has been there for many years, but it was absolutely beautiful. A must do.
Mad Tea Party
Another spinning classic you can't leave without riding! I have to admit... the teacups are small to fit 4 people. It was tight and spinning quite fast. Next time, we'll do two per cup.
Pirates of the Caribbean
You'll be surprise where you can spot Captain Jack Sparrow. That guy is everywhere! have fun riding and searching for Jack. It was actually very nice and well done.
Space Mountain and of course, the Disney Railroad.
Sorry folks, I didn't get a good picture of the train or Space Mountain. But, my daughter loved both. Space mountain is VERY fast, dark and goes around ... in space... or so it's supposed to feel. Pretty nice thrill ride. The train is just a train that goes from station to station, slowly crawling it's way around the park.
Tomorrowland was fun too, especially Monsters Inc Laughing Floor (yeah, I was chosen to speak up with the microphone while talking to a cartoon character on the stage... my daughter thought it was quite funny as my face turned tomato red), I also enjoyed Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress; a quiet little ride that takes you on journey throughout the decades of progress and how technology has evolved.
Oh I almost forgot! we LOVED dining at Belle's Castle and riding the little Mermaid Undersea Adventure.
LEAST FAVORITE RIDE:
Although most things in Tomorrowland were OK, the Tomorrowland Speedway -where you ride the little go-carts and race other people- is NOT my idea of fun. The whole place smells like smoke and burnt rubber, the carts are very difficult to control, and the pedal is very hard to press. My whole body was hurting after riding that go-cart. Wouldn't recommend it at all.
Overall, Magic Kingdom was fantastic. Something that I wish everyone could experience at least once. We were fortunate to visit when Christmas decorations had started in late November so we got to experience the extra magic...it was also Mickey's birthday! so it made it even more special.
Tell me your tips and your favorites too! Please comment below.
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