I’ve got to preface this with a note that my next update will be about the new Pandora land at Animal Kingdom and I’m super geeked about how the previews went. But more about that next time. Cause it’s about to get real. GET REAL. I think it’s fair to say that most people spend an above average amount of time planning their Disney trip. And with vacation season here, I’m laying it all out there. I am going to take you through exactly what I would do to get the most out of one day at Magic Kingdom. Top to bottom, here’s how to get it done, including fireworks tips you don’t want to miss 😉
First off, buy your tickets in advance to get your Fastpasses. If you aren’t familiar with these, take 10 steps back and restart some of your Disney planning. We do almost all rides exclusively on Fastpasses because that saves tons of time. Staying on Disney property? Book 60 days ahead. Staying off property? Reserve them 30 days ahead. I’ll integrate all of my planning tips around this.
I personally book Fastpasses ONLY based on time availability. Meaning, I will look at the park open time, and then book 3 passes in time order. So say the park opens at 8. I’m booking on for 8-9am, one for 9-10am, and one for 10-11am. I never book any for the afternoon because it means there is going to be a portion of your day that you will be forced to wait in standby lines. You can book your afternoon Fastpasses once your morning ones are up, pending availability. Hold here on the Fastpass discussion. The hard and fast rule any Disney expert, cast member, or visitor will tell you is get to the park early. But let’s look into exactly what that means.
I have a consistent rule that I need to leave one hour prior to when I want to be at our first ride. Twenty minutes travel time (approximately the same from a resort), time to go through security, plus time to ride the monorail/ferry to Magic Kingdom, plus time to enter the park and walk to the ride. From there, if we have visitors, I always stop to see Mickey Mouse, who is located immediately to the parks right at the entrance. I do this for a few reasons: wait times for Mickey never get shorter as the day goes on (they are usually 15-30 minutes that early), he is the only Mickey who can talk with the guests which is amazing, and I feel there is something magical about starting the day off by seeing him. So assuming your first Fastpass is 8-9 and you got there on time, by 8:30ish you can head over to your first Fastpass ride.
Now you’ll need to know which rides you want Fastpasses for. If you are going strictly based off of wait times, Seven Dwarves, Peter Pan, and Space Mountain have the longest waits every day. If you are going strictly kids themed, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Meeting Princesses, or Dumbo can get busy. Based off of that, any of those options are going to put you either in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland for the morning. So while you are not riding those, you would want to head towards Enchanted Tales with Belle or Dumbo in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland Speedway or Buzzlightyear in Tomorrowland. Other rides to hit up: It’s A Small World, Philharmagic, Winnie the Pooh (usually has a moderate wait but super cute waiting area), the Carousel, or Mad Tea Party (teacup ride). Dumbo also has a fabulous playground in the waiting areas. Sometimes we go to play there without even going on the ride.
Personally, I do not suggest booking Fastpasses all over the park throughout the day. Stick to one or two areas and allow yourself flexibility to change plans if needed. After that third Fastpass is up, personally I’d add a Fastpass for one of the following based on availability: Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, or Haunted Mansion. Whichever of these is not a Fastpass, head towards the other ride while you are in your allowed hour of Fastpass window.Following that, Fastpasses are priority for Jungle Cruise (always popular) and the Pirates of the Carribbean. We usually go in the Tiki Room show because who doesn’t like air conditioning. And it’s pleasant 🙂
TIPS: Typically I add a new Fastpass immediately upon exiting a ride. Make sure to have everyone in your group linked together in one account online so you can add everyone to your Fastpass party at the same time. For goodness sakes have the Disney app downloaded on your phone so you can check wait times and add Fastpasses as you desire. Don’t forget if you have a wee one who can’t ride the big rides to do a rider swap – one parent waits with the child outside the ride. The other parent is given a ticket which allows the waiting parent to ride immediately after by going through the Fastpass line. Did you know your kids can ride a second time with the second parent? 😉 Bring your phone charger and charge during lunch or dinner if necessary.
Also, if you happen to see a character not in their normal/prelisted spot, but they seem to be taking pictures with guests, get in that line! Character lines are guaranteed to be long but sometimes a pop up with work in your favor. Don’t be afraid to be flexible! That’s how we were lucky to get this shot on Grandma’s first day at Magic Kingdom. ❤
For fireworks, pick out a spot typically 30-60 minutes before the show. Don’t forget to have snacks and drinks on hand for the wait. After the fireworks, you will endure the biggest test of patience of the day when (basically) every person in the park leaves at the same time. It’s stroller people vs. non stroller people! Everyone feels like they are trying to escape some impending doom! I didn’t realize it at the time but the Disney Photopass folks managed to catch some pics of us the last time we left as the fireworks ended. You didn’t know Rey was short for Rachel? Well now you do. Here’s me talking to the kids right before fireworks start. They best stay with me.
This one was 40 minutes after fireworks were done and I’m still in line for the monorail:
Then a lady staring at her phone in the monorail line told me to watch it with my stroller. My double stroller with two kids as I wore the baby. Here’s what I said:
Here’s what I was thinking:
An hour after fireworks we were on the monorail to the parking lot. HOORAY!!!! Cause I just love to get down.
One last tip….One of the biggest reasons kids have meltdowns is because Disney is overwhelming and they don’t know what’s coming next. Have them check out the maps and rides ahead of time so they have some sense of direction. Take notice of your little ones patience in enjoying the magic! Mickey truly does make dreams come true! ❤ ❤ ❤
Have a magical day and see ya real soon!