Friday, July 18, 2014

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

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 certain character meetings.

Key planning points: 
  • Fastpass+ allows us to enjoy popular attractions without waiting. (What is Fastpass+? Click here). Rider Switch Pass allows 2 adults a turn to ride height-restrictive rides without waiting twice, if your party includes someone that doesn't meet the requirements (toddler/baby) and it works along with Fastpass+. Your kids may ride twice without waiting for the 2nd ride. (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. All 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-cast members are at entrances to different lands with scanners to verify resort guests.
  • Use early hours to hit: 1. Fantasyland (1st stop: Mine Train or Peter Pan's Flight) or 2. the mountains (Space, Big Thunder Mt. Railroad, Splash Mt.)
  • We use Character Dining for meeting characters, so you won't find much of that built into our plans. 
  • 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)
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!

The new Festival of Fantasy parade is spectacular!
Happily Ever After is a brand new nighttime show at the castle combining projection and fireworks

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.
Guests are allowed into the park an hour before opening to roam Main Street, get in line outside of the land you are headed into first. On EMH (Extra Magic Hours) mornings, all park guests are allowed in early but only WDW resort guests are allowed into the lands beyond Main Street.
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 (She's not at the Character Meals) 
Meet Ariel (wearing her fin) in her Grotto
(Mickey's Philharmagic, It's A Small World, and Enchanted Tales with Belle are longer in duration so not the best use of time)

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.

IF you'll be viewing Once Upon a Time (castle projection show) or the 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+
Jungle Cruise
Pirates of the Caribbean

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.

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")

If you skipped the Festival of Fantasy Parade today, you may be up for the dancing with The Incredibles in Tomorrowland  or you may want to catch Move It Shake it on Main Street in front of the castle and dance with characters. 

7ish: Dinner
Try for Bonus Fastpass+ or buy souvenirs
Check out the brand-new Happily Ever After nighttime show at the castle combining projection on the castle and fireworks. 
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  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 Dining Reservations OR arrive close to when it opens (10:30-11am)

12pm: FastPass+ for Peter Pan's Flight or 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.  
Try to stay for the brand new Happily Ever After castle show combining fireworks and castle projection. 
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.

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. A Venti drink requires 1 Snack Credit on the Dining Plan.
Gaston's Tavern (Fantasyland): cinnamon rolls (1 Snack credit)
Crystal Palace (Pooh & Friends character meal): if you want a 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. Tuna Nicoise is my go-to lunch here. The "Grey Stuff" cupcake is a "delicious" dessert option.

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:
Cinderella's Royal Table (in the castle) Quickly "sells-out", reserve in advance. Meet the princesses and enjoy the ambiance.
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.

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?!)


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  2. Every night magicians gather in the lobby and session with each other. It is another easy way to make new friends and learn a few new tricks of the trade.ivan amodei


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