Friday, July 18, 2014

Magic Kingdom touring plan | 1 & 2 day Itinerary | Magic Kingdom Dining

*UPDATED MARCH 2017
Let's talk about Magic Kingdom! From the moment you step onto Main Street, you're transported to well, a magical kingdom. It's everything you're imagining when you set your sights on a Disney vacation. There's always something new, yet what enchanted you the last time you visited is as wonderful as you remember it.
This is the most overwhelming park to create a plan for touring. I'm happy to share what works wonderfully for us.

Below, you'll find recommended touring plans for both 1 and 2 days in Magic Kingdom (MK). We devote 2 full days to MK, which allows us to take most of it in at a moderate pace. I prefer to begin and end our trip with MK.   
2 days, with the itinerary below, allows us to fit in everything on our wishlist including thrill rides, under 10-type rides, parades, night time shows, etc. You could certainly spend 1 day & hit many attractions if you eliminate: experiences geared for younger or older than your group, same goes for character meetings aimed at gender (princesses, for example).

Key planning points: 
  • Fastpass+ allows us to enjoy popular attractions without waiting. (What is Fastpass+? Click here). Rider Switch Pass will allow you to ride height-restrictive rides, if your party includes someone that doesn't meet the requirements (toddler/baby) and it works along with Fastpass+. Your kids could ride twice with no wait, & one adult doesn't have to miss out. (More on Rider Switch Pass here
  • Arrive early to maximize the time before the crowds arrive on at least one of the days. Guests are allowed entry to Main Street an hour prior to official opening. The former Rope Drop & Welcome show has been replaced with "Let the Magic Begin" show in front of the castle. Guests may shop on Main Street. Disney Resort Guests, when Morning Extra Magic Hours are in effect (varies daily) are allowed to attractions earlier than other guests.
  • We use Character Dining for meeting characters, so you won't find much of that built into our plans. With the exception of Anna & Elsa, who are only available to meet here.
The Festival of Fantasy parade is spectacular enough that we make time for it each day. We also set aside 45min-1 hour prior to the parade/show to secure a good spot-taking turns using restrooms or grabbing snacks during this time.
Fantasyland Favorites
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the newest. Go there 1st, if you wish to ride w/out FP+. Requires 38" & Rider Switch Pass is available, so if your party includes littles, get your pass & ride Pooh or the Carousel while older ones ride the Mine Train, then switch or save it for later that day. 
Enchanted Tales with Belle is an interactive storytelling with Belle, herself. Each participant (they accommodate all willing kids) gets a moment alone (& photo opp) with Belle. The duration is long, so it's not the best option when packing-in attractions during early hours. FP+ is recommended after 10:30.
*All ages: Peter Pan, Little Mermaid Under the Sea, (indoor. a fun trip through each story)
Mickey's Philharmagic: a silly 3D concert. Great when it's raining or hot, typically low waits.
*The Barnstormer (35") (next to Dumbo) is a small roller-coaster younger ones can ride, but surprisingly thrilling for all. Casey's splash pad, with no line is across from this, especially great for younger ones. These 3 are good for a mixed ages group, but could be skipped entirely, if you're interested in packing in more thrilling rides.  
Especially appealing to under 10: 
Dumbo has a fun playground indoors that can be played on whether you are riding or not.
Pooh (indoor. trip through Pooh's imagination. the line may be more fun than the ride) & Carousel
It's a Small World (a classic. a boat ride featuring the children of the world. a nice rest.)
Tea Cups (classic)
Also:
Haunted Mansion (frightening & silly at the same time, parents of younger kids, beware). It is close to It's A Small World, just beyond Rapunzel's village (restrooms) so it can be planned along with Fantasyland attractions.

Frontierland Favorites:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (40")
Splash Mountain (40") A covered playground near the exit for little ones
Meet Woody & Jessie near exit.

Adventureland Favorites:
Pirates of the Caribbean. Creepy-ish boat ride that inspired the movie. Fun souvenir shop.
Tinkerbell meeting & another fairy (we met a spunky, Vidia)

Tomorrowland Favorites:
Buzzlightyear Space Ranger Spin: all ages, interactive shooting game to defeat Zurg
Monster's Inc Laugh Floor: indoor, interactive comedy show. great escape from rain or heat. Typically lower waits
Space Mountain: not a favorite, but a classic.
Tomorrowland Speedway: exciting for younger ones to drive!

Parades/Entertainment: 
The new Festival of Fantasy parade is spectacular!
Celebrate the Magic projection of Disney movies on the castle; it's exceptional! If 2 showings are available, choose the 2nd because it's far less crowded & transportation to the resorts is too. 
Wishes fireworks show over the castle. Also spectacular! 

Festival of Fantasy Parade
Recommended 2-day tour of Magic Kingdom:
(Scroll down for a 1 day plan)
Day 1: Magic Kingdom
{eat breakfast in room/en route}
Bus from WDW resort by 1hr 15min before park opening. (bus from Moderate & Value Resorts. Deluxe resorts on the Monorail require less time). Offsite guests, adjust & plan driving/parking accordingly.
You are now allowed into the park vs. waiting outside the park. The rides won't be open until the park is open.
There is a show in front of the castle at official park opening time.
Park Opening: Head directly to Fantasyland.
Depending on how much you want to fit in before the masses begin arriving at 10am, stop for a photo in front of the castle & maybe Starbucks on Main St.
Choose 5-7 rides in Fantasyland to ride. 
Hit Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 1st, Winnie the Pooh, Ariel (Under the Sea)

Barnstormer (35"),  Dumbo
Tea Cups & Carousel
Meet Rapunzel at Fairytale Hall
Meet Ariel (wearing her fin) in her Grotto, *if you don't plan to dine at Cinderella's Royal Table or Akershus at Epcot.
(Mickey's Philharmagic, It's A Small World, and Enchanted Tales with Belle are not a good use for this time because they are longer in duration.)

QS Lunch: Be Our Guest (Beast's castle) when it opens (10:30-11am). Advanced reservations HIGHLY recommended.

12:00-1:00: FastPass+ Enchanted Tales with Belle (next to Be Our Guest) an interactive storytelling with Belle. A personal favorite; I've teared up each time my son was chosen to dance with her.
1:00-2:00: FastPass+ Peter Pan's Flight. A fantasy ride that appeals to all ages.

2pm: Get a good spot for Festival of Fantasy Parade. Send at least a couple people from your party to secure a spot. Check with cast members to be sure you're in a spot that won't get blocked off.
3pm: Festival of Fantasy Parade

Grab a snack during the parade or when it's over if you want to hold off on dinner.
4pm: FP+ one of the Mountains or the Mine Train for after the parade
Longer, indoor attractions at this time of day are always a nice retreat from the sun (Mickey's Philharmagic, It's A Small World, Haunted Mansion). 

Dinner (recommendations below)

Certain attractions have extra nighttime appeal: Haunted Mansion, a stroll through Rapunzel's village (restrooms) when the lanterns are lit are nice options, Dumbo gives a nice view of the castle all lit up. 

If you are finished in Fantasyland, & feeling ambitious, try getting Bonus Fastpass+ (or short standby waits) for rides in Tomorrowland like, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Monster's Inc Laugh floor, or Indy Speedway.

The Electrical Parade is a classic & fun for the littles, but not a can't-miss. If you want to sit awhile, sit en route. If not, hit the rides while crowds are tied up watching it. The 2nd showing (if scheduled) is less crowded.

IF you'll be viewing Once Upon a Time (castle projection show) or Wishes fireworks, the best spot is central Main St. between the end of the shops (Casey's & Plaza Ice Cream Parlour) and the Partners statue. There's a tad bit of an incline in the street so you can see well. The 2nd showing (if scheduled) is less crowded & so are the lines for transportation afterward.

Day 2: Magic Kingdom
Revise this itinerary based on Day 1-add repeats, remove attractions you've done.

Arrive: depends on how much you want to fit in before the crowds without FP+
Adventureland
Pirates of the Caribbean
Jungle Cruise

Frontierland:
11am Fastpass+ Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
12pm Fastpass + Splash Mountain

1-2pm: Lunch: Pecos Bill or Turkey Legs (cart) Frontierland

2pm: Get a spot for the parade, if you want to watch again
3pm: Festival of Fantasy Parade
IF NOT PARADE again, you may want to choose Fastpass+ directly after lunch or Meet a character that you won't be meeting at Character Dining while crowds are busy at the parade.

Tomorrowland
4pm Fastpass+ Space Mountain (44")
Check standby lines or retrieve Bonus Fastpass+ for:
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
Monster's Inc Laugh Floor
Tomorrowland Speedway (32")
(We aren't fans of Stitch's Great Escape or the Astro Orbiter)

If you skipped the Festival of Fantasy Parade today, you may be up for the dancing with The Incredibles in Tomorrowland.

7ish: Dinner
Try for Bonus Fastpass+ or buy souvenirs
If you stay until the park closes, consider waiting until 30 minutes after the park closes for the very special Kiss Goodnight on the castle. You'll be glad you did. You'll feel like you're not supposed to be there, but it's allowed. You'll feel like an insider. You'll cry because you don't want to go home tomorrow!

If you only have 1 day for Magic Kingdom:
Arrive 30 min before park opening. You'll be allowed onto Main Street to shop, get coffee at Main Street Bakery (Starbucks), take photos. Attraction lines will begin building as they let patrons in the park, so you may want to head to the most popular attraction immediately. Disney Resort Guests will be allowed onto attractions earlier than park opening when Extra Magic Hours are in effect (varies daily). 
Head straight to Fantasyland (after your castle-without-crowds-around photo) & ride as much as you can before 10:30am. (We fit in 5-7 rides when it opens at 9am because there's no wait)
Hit Seven Dwarfs Mine Train &/or Peter Pan's Flight 1st.

Note: Enchanted Tales with Belle, Mickey's Philharmagic, It's a Small World, & Haunted Mansion (Liberty Square) take more time than the others, so I don't suggest trying to fit them in unless you have extra time before lunch.

QS Lunch: Be Our Guest (Beast's castle) Make Advanced reservations OR arrive close to when it opens (10:30-11am)

12pm: FastPass+ for Enchanted Tales with Belle after lunch 
(No Beast or Belle? Finish Fantasyland by 11am. Ride Haunted Mansion & head to Frontierland for lunch at Pecos Bill. Reserve FP+ for Splash & Big Thunder Mountains. FP+ Space Mt.)
3pm: The Festival of Fantasy parade is spectacular. Get there 45min-1hr prior for the best spot. Skip entirely if you'd rather hit more attractions, as standby lines are shorter when crowds are at parades.
Head to Frontierland through Liberty Square:
4: FP+ Splash Mt.
5: FP+ Big Thunder Mt. Railroad
Hit Pirates of the Caribbean (Adventureland) on the way to Tomorrowland 
Try getting a Bonus Fastpass+ for Jungle Cruise (Adventureland), Space Mt, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Monster's Laugh Floor, or the Speedway all in Tomorrowland.  
Electrical Parade is a classic and okay, if you want to sit. Bring glow sticks for the young ones. 
Try to stay for the nightly Fireworks show over the castle. The projection show on the castle is decent, but not nearly as magnificent as the original Celebrate the Magic show it has replaced.
Magic Kingdom Dining
If your heart is set on eating dinner in the castle Cinderella's Royal Table or Beast's castle (Be Our Guest), you'll want to set your alarm for 6am EST on the 180th day before your arrival to try scoring an ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation) online (or 7am EST for phone reservations). If you're staying at WDW Resorts, you can book dining for your entire trip beginning 180 days prior to the 1st day of your trip. If you're using the Dining Plan, Cinderella's Royal Table requires 2 TS credits.

Breakfast: 
We eat in room/en route. I bring Larabars & Kids' Cliff bars, tortillas & Justin's PB pouches, bananas, & fruit pouches from home. 
Starbucks is on Main Street, we take the time to grab something there.
Gaston's Tavern (Fantasyland): cinnamon rolls (1 Snack credit)
Crystal Palace (Pooh & Friends character meal): if you want a (typical) buffet breakfast.
 
Lunch pick: Be Our Guest (Beast's castle) Fantasyland
At lunch, the food is tasty & requires 1 QS credit. (My kids get Croque Monsieur sauce on the side & the Pork is another favorite. The "Grey Stuff" cupcake is a "delicious" dessert option.

Dinner:
Quick Service:
Pecos Bill (Adventureland) is usually where we land because we enjoy the Mexican-American menu w/ample toppings bar-including Guacamole!  Turkey Legs are available in a cart in Frontierland.
Try Columbia Harbour House (Liberty Square) for seafood
Hit Casey's on Main Street for hot dogs 

Table Service:
Crystal Palace: if you have a Pooh & friends fan among you, this is a decent buffet meal.
Liberty Tavern: early American food (Turkey, Mashed potatoes, etc.) served family-style in a Colonial environment.

*Note: MK is an easy (air conditioned) monorail ride from delicious meals at Deluxe resorts such as Grand Floridian, Contemporary,  Polynesian (my favorite). You could certainly choose to take a break from the park and eat at one of them.

Snacks:
Sundaes at Plaza Ice Cream Parlour (Main Street) & Sleepy Hollow Refreshments (views of the castle at entrance to Liberty Square) for "homemade" cookie sundaes & stuffed waffles & ice cream treats.
Dole Whip or Dole Whip Float at Aloha Isle (Adventureland
LaFou's brew or a Cinnamon roll at Gaston's Tavern (Fantasyland)
Mickey-shaped Ice Cream Bars (where else?!)

MORE DISNEY WORLD TIPS: 






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