December 5, 2016
This Week’s Ask Ashley Question
One of the questions this week came from Joe from Staten Island, New York. Joe asked:
One of my favorite rides in all of Disneyworld is It’s A Small World because it’s a classic and there’s never a long wait! What other things would you recommend experiencing at Magic Kingdom? Is there a wrong way to do Magic Kingdom?
Ashley’s Answers: Insider Tips for Experiencing Everything Magic Kingdom Has to Offer
Thank you so much for your questions Joe! I love “it’s a small world” too; it’s one of my many favorites! Also, because today is Walt Disney’s birthday (he was born on December 5, 1901), I want to take a moment and share some history of “it’s a small world”:
- It was created for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. After it’s stint at the Fair, it was moved back to Disneyland Park reopening on May 28, 1966.
- Walt oversaw the attraction in support of the Unite Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- It was recreated as one of the Opening Day attractions at Magic Kingdom Park on October 1, 1971. Since then, it has been replicated and added to each Disney Park around the world!
Personally, I love that Disney has included “it’s a small world” in every park worldwide; because, some guests may not have the opportunity of going halfway across the globe to get the chance to experience a true classic. Additionally, for many Disney pros and Disney fans alike, “it’s a small world” is often a [family] tradition (i.e. because it was Grandma’s favorite ride, it is Mom’s favorite ride and because it is Mom’s favorite ride, it is your favorite ride).
Tip #1: Experience the Favorites
The best way to be sure to experience the popular attractions is to make FastPass+ reservations. The Top 3 Attractions to make a FP+ reservation for are: Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Peter Pan’s Flight is longtime classic that can have a considerably long wait time at 60+ minutes; the queue is interactive, but can be tough for the little ones to wait through. Jungle Cruise is a top attraction; but, the waits may be longer on some days and shorter on others. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a brand new attraction, located in Fantasyland; as a result, it can have a longer wait as well. Jump online at your 60-day window and secure these FP+ reservations!
Skip the FP+ selections for attractions such as Mickey’s PhilharMagic and Monster’s, Inc. Laugh Floor as they accommodate large audiences. Also and depending on the time of year, it may also be a good idea to skip the selections for Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion as well.
Remember, there isn’t a tiered system for FP+ selections at Magic Kingdom because of the multitude of attractions to choose from; so, with a little bit of pre-planning and scoping out of the MPB site, you will be ahead of the game when it comes to making your reservations!
Lastly, the best way to schedule FP+ reservations is to schedule your early morning to midday reservations prior to arriving at Walt Disney World Resort. By making the plan this way, you can then pick additional FP+ selections once you’ve exhausted your existing reservations (subject to availability of course). So even though you may be tempted to secure that perfect location for Wishes fireworks viewing, you may want to think twice when scheduling.
Tip #2: Make Dining Reservations and/or Have a Plan for Dining
Did you ever think you could arrive at Magic Kingdom at 7:45a.m. prior to park opening and be able to leisurely stroll down an empty Main Street U.S.A. to breakfast? Do you want the coveted picture in front of Cinderella’s Castle with no one else in it but you and your family? Well, you can do both! The early morning hours are the least crowded when it comes to many things at Magic Kingdom, dining reservations especially. So are you interested in a coveted reservation at either Cinderella’s Royal Table, The Crystal Palace, or even Be Our Guest? At 180 days prior to the first day of arrival, you can book dining reservations for your entire trip! Work with your travel agent, like Magical Vacations and Beyond, prior to 180-day mark and they can book them for you! Additionally, if you are only getting the regular Disney Dining Plan, breakfast at Be Our Guest is considered a Quick Service meal credit, not a Table Service like at dinner; keep that in consideration when budgeting your meal entitlements.
Another suggestion is to eat at off-peak times as the Quick Service locations can get considerably busy during lunchtime, adding more lines to your day as well as the potential difficulty in finding somewhere to actually eat your meal. Do you normally eat an early lunch? Do the same thing here. Normally have a typically timed lunch? Plan on eating a bit earlier and maybe getting a snack in the afternoon to curb your appetite until dinnertime (even bring pre-portioned snacks with you). Of course, you can always do the opposite and eat a bit later than normal and bring a snack for between breakfast and lunchtime too.
Tip #3: Experience the Magic
One of everyone’s favorite things about Magic Kingdom is the magic that consumes you as soon as you enter the park! For some the magic begins as soon as you see Cinderella’s Castle or even the top of Space Mountain! But, one thing guests may miss is the show that happens just before rope drop each morning, the Welcome Show. The show features the Main Street Cast Members as well as Mickey and friends as they sing and dance to count down the official opening of the park. There truly is something special about starting your day seeing Mickey Mouse! Plan on being at the park at least 30 minutes earlier than opening to catch the show.
So you caught the Welcome Show, ate a great early breakfast, scheduled all of your FastPass+ reservations early and even got to see the 3 o’clock parade (at 3:00p.m.). The day was a great success! What was the best thing growing up after a successful day? Why a goodnight kiss from your parents of course! Leave it to Disney to do the next best thing. If you’ve made it to Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, why not just stay a little bit longer? Remember, “Just another 5 minutes mom”? As Magic Kingdom is closing, “When You Wish Upon a Star” pipes out of the speakers as the castle twinkles. The final touch is the heartfelt mark of appreciation as a friendly voices thanks guests for visiting. It truly is the best end to a perfect day.
The Kiss Goodnight takes place at the very end of the night, when the Magic Kingdom is closing. It’s a special way for Disney to say goodnight to guests. When You Wish Upon a Star plays as the castle twinkles. A friendly voice over the speakers thanks guests for visiting and sends them on their way with a truly heart-warming goodbye. It will make you sad to leave, but excited to return. It is the perfect way to end your day at the Magic Kingdom.
Tip #4: Do NOT Stress
Book Your Vacation with a Travel Agent
My final advice is NOT to stress. A vacation is supposed to be relaxing, no need to let inexperience equate to unnecessary pressure. A great way to alleviate the stress and gain some knowledge about the parks and resorts prior to arrival is to book with an Independent Disney Vacation Specialist; they WANT to help you have the best vacation and truly get the most out of the Most Magical Place on Earth! Want to know which are the best dining locations, the best attractions, etc.? Not sure how to incorporate the interests of both children? Looking for a back-up plan? Ask Ashley!
Have a plan. Line up your first 3 FastPass+ reservations 60 days prior to arrival. Come up with a list of shows and other attractions that are important to you before you arrive. There’s truly nothing worse than standing in the middle of Tomorrowland not knowing where to go from there or maybe riding Astro Orbiter when you really wanted to catch The Haunted Mansion instead. That actually leads to my next point: Be familiar with the layout of Magic Kingdom’s hub and spoke design. What is the hub and spoke design? Each of the individual lands (i.e. Adventureland, Fantasyland, etc.) are the spokes and Cinderella’s Castle is the hub. Because of the design of the park, it is incredibly easy to get from one land to another. Look over the layout prior to arrival and you should be able to save some valuable time.
If you do find yourself at a loss and not sure what to do, utilize the free My Disney Experience App. The app includes a plethora of features including character locations, bathroom locations, menu listings, wait times, as well as your pictures and the ability to make and/or change reservations. The app can deplete your battery, so Disney has begun to incorporate what are known as FuelRod Stations where for $30 you can get:
- A portable charging battery
- 6″ USB Type A to micro-USB cable (for most Android devices)
- One Apple 30-pin to USB cable
- One Apple Lightning to USB cable
In Magic Kingdom, the FuelRod Stations are located at Big Top Souvenirs in Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Pecos Bill Inn and Cafe in Frontierland, and Curtain Call Collectibles on Main Street U.S.A.
Lastly, plan some downtime. Trust me, it’s important. Sometimes, just sitting down in the shade on a sunny day is all you need. Other days and if you’re staying on property, a trip back to the resort is the better option. Nap anyone? Otherwise, there are some great attractions that will not only get you off your feet, but will also get you into the air conditioning.
Explore the options. Devise a plan. Book with an Independent Disney Vacation Specialist. Book with Magical Vacations and Beyond!
What about you? Do you have any family traditions at Walt Disney World? What are your must see attractions in Magic Kingdom during each trip? What are you looking forward to most at Magic Kingdom when you first arrive?