This article is written by my great friend Valerie.
At Affording the Mou$e, I am dedicated to saving families money on their Disney vacations. But, let’s face it, time is money. This is especially true at Walt Disney World, where you’re paying a premium to spend your time in the parks. In light of that, here are a few of my favorite touring tips for the Magic Kingdom that will make your day run smoothly and allow you to maximize your time in the park. Many of them are general touring tips that apply to all the parks, but several are specific to the MK:
- Prioritize your day. Make a list of the “must do,” “wanna do,” and “skip if we run out of time” attractions. Hit the must dos first (or secure a FastPass), then move on down the list. You won’t see it all. Make peace with that now.
- If you have children 5 or under, you’ll almost certainly want to take or rent a stroller. Even my six-year-old occasionally wants a rest from walking. We usually bring our own, since Disney’s rental prices are so high, but the rental strollers are very roomy and push like a dream.
- Get to the park at least thirty minutes before it opens to get through security before the opening ceremony and rope drop. The opening show is fun to watch and always gets your day at WDW started off right! Then you’re able to follow the slow-moving rope up Main Street and to your first attraction of the day.
- Designate a FastPass “runner” to hold everyone’s tickets. This person can head immediately to an attraction and gather a FP while everyone else continues on to another attraction. Always have a FP in your possession. (You can get another FP as soon as the time window on your first FP begins.)
- If you have a young child who isn’t tall enough to ride an attraction that the rest of the family wants to ride, ask the Cast Member at the entrance about doing a “child swap.” One adult can wait with the child while the rest of the party rides. Then, without waiting in line again, the adult who sat out can ride while one of the previous riders waits with the child. Here’s the best part: up to three people can ride a second time with the adult who got stuck with babysitting duty! (Older kiddos will love this!)
- Visit Fantasyland first—especially if you have young children. This will likely be their favorite land, and it gets very crowded very fast. The slow-loading rides (particularly Dumbo) get backed up quickly.
- When an attraction has two lines, take the one to the left. Most people naturally go right, so the left line is usually shorter.
- If you don’t mind splitting up your group, consider using the single rider line when one is available. You won’t ride with your party, but you’ll board much quicker.
- If you have a toddler who need a short nap, but it doesn’t warrant taking the whole group back to the hotel for the afternoon, hop into one of the cool, dark theatres for a quick rest. My favorite in the MK: Hall of Presidents.
- Watch the afternoon parade from Frontierland, where it starts. Grab lunch at a nearby counter service restaurant. Then, after the parade passes, head back to Pirates of the Caribbean or the Jungle Cruise for no waiting! (Note: Ask a CM about current parade routes, as these change from time to time.)
- If you’re not interested in the parade, this can be a good opportunity to ride some of the rides that typically have longer lines, since so many guests are viewing the parade.
- Take earplugs if you have a child who is sensitive to loud noises. A pen flashlight can help those who are afraid of the dark in certain attractions as well.
- Looking for a specific character? Call 407-824-2222 and a CM will help you.
- If you need to get across the park quickly, try using the Walt Disney World Railroad. There are stops on Main Street (at the park entrance), in Toontown, and in Frontierland.
- There’s no need to rush out of the park after the evening fireworks. The gift shops on Main Street will stay open as guests are moseying out of the park. The monorails, busses, and boats will be extremely crowded…might as well relax and enjoy your time in the park rather than waiting in line.
- When leaving the MK at the end of the evening, take the monorail to the Resorts, rather than the one to the TTC. The line is MUCH shorter, and it eventually goes to the TTC also.
This is just scratching the surface, but a good place to start. If you need help creating a custom touring plan for your family, drop me an email!
Valerie Gibbs is first and foremost a Disney enthusiast. She is passionate about helping families plan affordable Walt Disney World vacations. For personalized assistance, touring plans, and customized itineraries, you can contact her at: [email protected], or visit www.affordingthemouse.com.
Disney World is the Most Magical Place On Earth. Be sure to learn how to make the most of your trip by reading the Disney World Training series. You can also browse all the articles I have written in an easy to use outline. And if you are ready to book your trip, be sure to read about the perks of using an authorized Disney vacation planner (plus it’s FREE!).