Knowing the right tips for visiting the Magic Kingdom can really make a difference in making your visit a magical one.
For most people, visiting the Magic Kingdom is a once in a lifetime trip. Or for some, maybe it’s only a couple visits a lifetime.
You want to make sure you’re prepared to have the best time possible, right?
Well, we put together this list of tips to help you make your visit as magical as possible!
Check them out below!
1) Plan Your Visit
Planning your day at the park is the most important thing when it comes to making sure you get your money’s worth. Especially if this is a once in a lifetime trip or a park you rarely get to visit.
Some questions you might want to answer are:
Are you driving yourself to the park or taking a hotel shuttle?
What should you bring to the park with you?
Do you have an idea of what time you want to be inside the park?
Do you want to get in as soon as the park opens?
What are you planning to do for food while you’re there?
Do you know what ride you want to ride or what fast passes you want?
Are you staying for the fireworks?
2) Come Prepared
Here are some things you might want to bring with you:
These items are more expensive to buy in the park compared to a grocery store.
There have been plenty of times where I have forgotten to pack sunscreen or an umbrella on my trip. And that can end up being a costly mistake. The cost is about 3 times as much once you’re inside the park compared to Walmart or Target.
There are also items that are not allowed in the park so make sure to leave them at home or the hotel.
Some of the banned items include:
- selfie sticks
- costumes for adults
- strollers larger than 31 inches wide and 52 inches long
- stroller wagons
- smoking and vaping
- loose ice in coolers
- weapons of any kind including toys that resemble those weapons
- folding chairs
- alcohol, marijuana, or any illegal drugs
3) Know What Time You’re Getting There
Most people only have a day at the park and try to do as much as they can in that one day. That usually means getting to the park as soon as the park opens and staying until the fireworks end in the evening.
It’s important to know that when the park opens at 9 AM, there will be some congestion getting into the park.
There will be lines of cars waiting to pay for parking. And then you’ll follow the same cars into the parking lot as cast members direct you to your parking spot.
Once you’ll park, you’re going to want to line up for the tram that takes you to the ticket and transportation center. Even if you can’t make the first tram you see, there is usually another tram waiting behind to pick up the next group of visitors.
Since we know the park well and we know how far the walk is to the Ticket and Transportation Center, we sometimes will just walk if it’s not too far.
Once you get to the Ticket and Transportation Center, you will need to get through security. Plan on having your bags checked and walking through metal detectors. Getting through security can add another 10 – 20 minutes before you make your way to Ticket and Transportation Center.
So you already have your tickets and you’re ready to finally get to the Magic Kingdom. You now have 2 options for getting there.
The Monorail or the Ferry Boat
In my experience, the Monorail is the best way to get to the park. You get a better view of the lagoon and everything around the park. But early in the day, the line gets backed up. In this case, the Ferry Boat is not a bad option.
Getting To The Park Later In The Day
If you’re getting to the park in the afternoon around 4 or 5…
Getting in is a breeze!
There won’t be long lines for the tram, security or monorail.
And you won’t be as tired at the end of the night compared to being there from open to close.
We recommend trying this out if you have more than one day at the park and you don’t feel like you have to ride every ride.
4) Know The Schedule Of Events
It’s important to know the events that take place throughout the day so you can plan the rest of your day based on what you want to see.
The best way to see the times of parades and character meetings and the fireworks is to look on a map of the park or look on the My Disney app.
There is a parade in the middle of the day around 3 o’clock. If you want a good view of any parade, you’re going to want to start saving spots early. People take this stuff seriously and will wait over an hour to get the best views.
Since the Magic Kingdom discontinued their nighttime parade…
The only night event is the Happily Ever After fireworks show towards the end of the evening.
The fireworks show is definitely amazing to see and you won’t see many others like it. So we suggest you go and try to get a good spot about 30 minutes to an hour before the show starts.
5) Get Your Fast Passes
You’re going to want to get your fast passes as soon as you know what day you’re going to visit the park. This is important because the most popular rides will always run out of options and have fewer times available.
Some of the popular rides I’m talking about are:
- 7 Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Big Thunder Mountain
You’re guaranteed 3 fast passes at first. And due to high demand… You’ll most likely only be able to get 1 of the rides listed above for your first 3.
The 7 Dwarfs Mine Train is almost always completely booked up to 60 days in advance. This is because visitors staying at the hotels on Disney property get to book their fast passes 30 days before the guests not staying at a Disney hotel.
6) Know Where To Eat
There are plenty of eating options while you’re inside the theme park.
And be prepared…
All of those options are pretty expensive.
Here are some fast-casual and a little less expensive options:
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
- Pinnochio Village Haus
- Columbia Harbour House
You can expect to get normal lunches of chicken nuggets/burgers and fries to cost about $10 – $15 without a drink. The drinks currently come in one size that is close to a medium cup size and costs a whopping $3.99.
Cosmic Ray’s has a reputation of being the busiest fast food restaurant in the world. So I would recommend avoiding it if you don’t want to wait forever and not find seats.
Pinnochio’s Village Haus is a neat spot if you have kids. It’s connected to the It’s A Small World Ride and you can see people getting on the ride through a large glass window. It’s another restaurant that can get very cramped and busy.
Columbia Harbour House is the least busy of the 3 restaurants and serves an almost identical menu. There are some fish options for anyone that likes salmon and lobster. We like to think of it as the quietest and most laid of the 3 restaurants… but you’re never really safe from crowds anywhere in Disney World. This place can get packed too if the park is busy.
The character dining places are very expensive and will cost you over $200 for a family of 4. But if you have small children that would love to meet Winnie The Pooh and his friends, then the Crystal Palace is a good option for one of your meals.
7) Leaving The Park
Make sure you have an idea when you want to leave the park. This is especially important if you have young children that need to get to bed at a certain time.
Most people plan to stay for the fireworks and most people leave after the fireworks. And there is nothing wrong with that. The fireworks production is amazing and there’s nothing else like it.
But since most people leave after the fireworks…
You must plan for at least an hour to exit the park at the end of the evening. I have been there during times where it took 2 hours… I have also been there when it takes less than an hour.
But to be safe, plan on taking an hour just to exit the park and get to your car in the parking lot.
This is simply due to long lines waiting for the monorail and trams at the end of the night. And there’s probably going to be bad traffic exiting the parking lot too.
There are thousands of people trying to get home at once.
8) Buy Your Tickets In Advance
There are several benefits to purchasing your tickets before you leave for your trip. There are sometimes promotions going on for park hopper deals and you get a better bang for your buck by purchasing in advance. You just need to make sure the offer makes sense for you.
At the time of this writing, a current deal is the Mid-Day Magic Ticket for as low as $79 a day. You would just have to be ok with waiting to enter the park after 12:00 PM. And that still leaves you a lot of time in the park!
Another pro to buying your tickets in advance is the ability to set your fast passes through the Disney App as soon as you purchase your ticket. You can set fast passes up to 30 days in advance. This can help you get some of the more popular rides at a decent time of the day.
Still need to book plane tickets? Check out this article if you’re looking for the best sites for travel deals.
9) Stay At A Disney Hotel
You might want to think about staying at a hotel on Disney property if you don’t have reservations yet. Disney hotels are much more expensive compared to the other hotels in the Orlando area. But you’re paying for convenience and the Disney atmosphere when staying at an onsite hotel.
One benefit of staying on property is that you can use the Disney bus system for free rides to any attraction. It’s a nice feeling to not have to worry about driving!
But if you would like to drive yourself, then parking in the theme park is free! That alone saves you $25 each day you are there.
Another benefit relates to something we mentioned earlier in the Fast Pass Tip. Staying at a Disney hotel allows you to book your fast passes up to 60 days in advance. Everyone else only gets to book their fast passes 30 days in advance.
So this gives you first dibs on the hard to get passes like the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight.
Pretty nice, right?
But that’s not all…
Our favorite benefit of staying at a Disney hotel is getting Extra Magic Hours at the parks. Extra Magic Hours are when the park’s open one hour earlier or stays open 2 hours later for all guests staying at an onsite hotel. There is usually one park selected each day to host Extra Magic Hours.
So Extra Magic Hours means smaller crowds and shorter lines while you visit the park!
If you can afford to stay at a hotel on Disney property, it might be worth the extra money.
Here is a great article if you would like to learn more about Extra Magic Hours.
10) Use The Disney World App
If you haven’t downloaded it yet, make sure you download the Disney app as soon as you purchase your tickets. The Disney World App can help you with a lot of things while you’re there.
It’s the place where you can book Fast Pass reservations in advance. Or you can use the app to make reservations at the Be Our Guest Dinner or the Crystal Palace.
Or you can place a credit card on file so you only have to scan your magic band when purchasing anything at the park.
Traveling with kids?
If you plan on taking any pictures with Disney characters…
The cast members scan your ticket or magic band to upload your pictures to the app. So make sure you save those memories!
And don’t forget to use it to check for wait times at all the attractions in the park!
The app uses your phone’s GPS feature to let you know where you are in the park and the wait time for all attractions.
You can also use the app to place online orders at the fast-casual restaurants that allow it. Skipping the lines at Cosmic Ray’s or Pinnochio Village Haus can save you 30 minutes on a busy day!
Ok, you get the point…
There’s a lot you can do with the app.
Make sure you have it downloaded before you enter the park. It can be a lot of help for someone that doesn’t know the park well.
We hope you have a magical time at the Magic Kingdom!
And we hope these tips will help you out in planning your visit.
Have you already visited the park?
Do you have any tips that you think we should add to this post?
Tell us about it in the Comment Section!