Magic Kingdom

In this section of the Florida write-up, I am focusing on the Magic Kingdom. This is probably the best known Disney park, with the Cinderella’s castle, rides and attractions.

(For information, the 12 Hints and Tips for Walt Disney World would be quite a useful pre-read! 12 Hints and Tips for Walt Disney World

If you’re staying off-site, getting to the Magic Kingdom is either a boat trip or monorail ride from the car parking lot. The boat trip will probably add 15 minutes to the journey, but the views are amazing. Having said that, the monorail is my personal favourite! Either way, it gives you chance to sunscreen up!

Getting to the Magic Kingdom for the start of the day is a must do as there is an opening show either in front of the entrance, or (in 2017, due to building work) in front of the castle. It is the perfect way to start the day, so give yourself enough time to get there.

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Reaction to the opening show!

The park is set out in a number of different sections, each with a different theme, but all with rides, characters, mini shows and attractions. Depending on who is in the group, will mean different parts suit different people, However, for the younger people, the area (Fantasyland) behind the castle is most suitable. This is because there are a number of child specific rides such as the merry-go-round, Small World and Winnie the Pooh, as well as a lot of characters! However, use the map/app to plan what suits you the most.

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The map of the Magic Kingdom

If I had to suggest three things for the Magic Kingdom, they would be:

Dole Whip

These are sold next to the Tiki Room show in Adventureland. While there was a 20 minute queue, it is well worth it. Pineapple juice beneath ice cream – delicious!! Also, the pineapple ice cream itself is pretty good!

Shows/Parades

There is generally a parade mid afternoon and various shows in front of the castle and on Main Street throughout the day. You’ll probably bump into the shows on your travels. However, the parade is brilliant for the little ones, especially if you can get in some shade (not great for photos!)

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The Move it Shake it parade

Crystal Palace breakfast

The lunch option is more expensive and the food was not particularly suited to British tastes. However, the buffet breakfast is lovely and having breakfast with Eeyore, Winnie, Tigger and Piglet is amazing. You aren’t rushed at all and it just adds a bit of magic. Book your table as early as you can and if you get an early slot, you are in a perfect position to get brilliant pictures in front of the castle!

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Big Bear hug!!

As you can imagine, the park is pretty large so a pushchair may be needed, and there are loads of places to park it as you go in for rides etc. The park itself is flat so it is easier to walk for little legs! If you have smaller travellers, the bathrooms are decent sized (if you are a dad taking daughter to the toilet!). Also, pretty much every toilet block had a baby change bench for men to change nappies.

Finally, the fireworks are pretty amazing,. Whilst it does get busy, even if you get in front of the castle 5 minutes before the start, you’ll get a good view. You’ll just have to fight the crowds to get back to the car (via the monorail or boat!) It took us an hour to get to the car after the end of the fireworks, so bear that in mind with tired legs!


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12 Hints and Tips for Walt Disney World

Given that there are 4 main parks (plus 2 water parks) within the Walt Disney World complex, I thought that it would be a good idea to give some useful hints & tips which can be used in all of the parks. Think of it as a One-Stop-Shop guide.

Over time, I’ll write more detailed guides for each of the parks to help anyone going in the future.

Book your park tickets in advance

For some reason, they are cheaper in the UK and bought in advance. While you need to be careful who you buy them from, there tends to be some deals on so be a little patient.

Parking

Parking costs $20 a day (in February 2017) unless you stay at a Disney hotel, and then it is free. You can use the receipt all day so if you want to park-hop or go back to the hotel for a bit, that is fine. Also, remember where you park – the car parks are huge and the last thing you want is to forget where you have parked when you’re hot and tired!

Get there early

The queues for the first couple of hours of the day are pretty small and you can do a good part of the park before the crowds get in. Generally it is the cooler part of the day also, so when it gets too hot and the crowds are too big, you don’t feel bad for going back to the hotel for a couple of hours.

Plan

Have a plan for what you want to get out of the day. Do you want to see the characters, or do the fast rides etc? The parks are too big and it is too hot to be wandering aimlessly around the park and it will only lead to arguments.

Security

Walt Disney World is an amazingly safe place, but generally because of the airport style security. It does lead to queues when entering the park, but it is for a reason. Plan accordingly, and make sure you leave your selfie-stick at the hotel.

Fastpasses are your best friend

Once you book your park tickets, link up the tickets to an account and the app and book your queue-jumping fastpasses. You can generally save half an hour on each fastpass, so use them on the busy rides. Also, use them early in the day and when you run out (you get 3 a day) you can get another one.

Food & Drink

$3 for a bottle of water?! Pack your own drinks and snacks and you’ll save a fortune! If you have a decent breakfast, you’ll be good for most of the day, but remember it does get hot so freeze a couple of the bottles you take so you have ice cold water in the afternoon.

Character meals

If you were to splash out on one thing at Disney and you have a child, do a character meal. It is wonderful to see the child interact with a character and just makes the holiday a bit more special. The best value meals are the buffets, especially the breakfast ones as they tend to be a bit cheaper.

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Character meal breakfast at Hollywood Studios

Photopass

There are a host of Disney photographers willing and able to take photos for you free of charge at certain scenic points/character attractions. These link through to your Disney app and so you generally don’t have to take that many photos during the day. Even if you aren’t linked up the the Disney app, they are happy to take a photo using your phone.

Wifi

The Walt Disney World parks have really good Wifi throughout and so you can remain connected throughout the day. This means that you can access the Disney app and update Fastpasses and look at the photos throughout the day. Just be careful of your battery!

Footwear and Clothing

Make sure you plan accordingly. It will be hot and you will be on your feet most of the day, so light clothing and decent shoes are a must.

Suncream

I think that this is obvious…don’t ruin the holiday by having sunburn! Top up as the day goes on.

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Not a cloud in the sky!

There are loads more and it would be good to hear some other hints/tips in the comments section! Hopefully this will help you enjoy Walt Disney World a bit more!


To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

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