15 Tips & Tricks for a Magic Kingdom Visit
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own.
Before our Disney World trip, I researched, read, and soaked up as much information as possible to hopefully be prepared and at least look like I knew what we were doing. I found a LOT of information, most of which was very helpful. But, reading and studying is always way different than actually doing it all!
Of course we tweaked lots of the tips I found to work best for our family, and we figured it out as we went along. I feel like we were very prepared, and the whole trip went quite smoothly.
So, here are 15 tips to make your Magic Kingdom trip the most magical, stress-free, and memorable family vacation possible.
1. Try and take as little as possible into the park
We had a stroller, one backpack, and a small cooler bag. We didn’t want to be bogged down by stuff while we were in the park, and we are very minimalistic packers anyway. Everything we needed during our two days in the park was able to fit into the backpack, with some food items in the cooler.
Check out my post about 10 Minimal Necessities for your Disney Park Backpack for more details.
Major tip: Make sure your backpack isn’t too big that you can’t fit it on a ride with you! Every time we ALL rode a ride at the same time or we parked the stroller, the backpack came with. So, making sure it wouldn’t take up too much room was important.
2. Get there early and leave late
Since we were only there for two days, we wanted to make the most of our time in the park! Both days, we got there before the park opened and stayed until it closed. It makes for long days, but it is totally worth it!
You paid for it, might as well use it. Amiright!?
Plus, everyone WANTED to stay all day! We were having way too much fun to consider not staying as long as we could.
Disney lets you into the park along Main Street, USA all the way up to Cinderella’s Castle before the park officially opens. You can walk up the street, take it all in, snap some photos, and place yourself in front of the area of the park you want to hit as soon as the ropes drop. Also, if you get there early, you’ll get to open the park with Mickey and his friends, beat the crowds, and get on some rides that usually have long lines all day.
For example, we were in the park before open on a Saturday. As soon as that rope dropped, we were beelining to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train line (this ride is usually at least 90 minutes wait AND that’s on a good day!). We entered Fantasyland at 8AM, and Hubs and Bubs were riding that train by 8:25AM. Then, Bubs and I were riding it at 8:40PM thanks to Child Swap!
Staying late has it’s perks, too!
Fireworks, special performances, and less crowds for enjoying rides. Bonus, if you’re their during Christmas season, all of the decorations will be lit and the castle looks AMAZING!
Read about our Two Day Itinerary to make the most of your park visit!
3. Get the My Disney Experience app
Disney KNOWS what they’re doing!
This app is awesome and keeps track of your FastPass+, shows wait time for rides, where bathrooms are, when shows will be, where characters are located, and so much more! You can link your park tickets to your account, then log in with the app for access to everything you have planned.
The map of the park alone, was great! The kids and I spent hours prior to arriving on our trip looking at the map, finding characters, and zooming in on rides, getting excited about being there.
4. Make the most of FastPass+
There is a lot of information out there regarding FastPass+ and how to use it! I got to the point where I was overwhelmed! Eventually, (well 30 days prior to our visit) I just got on and did them! It’s really not that hard, and with the My Disney Experience app, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
You can reserves three FastPasses, per person, per day at one time. My biggest tip in this area is…. Acquaint yourself with the app and the rides in the park you will be visiting. The rides with the longest wait times, are the rides you want to get FastPasses for!
Be forewarned, you might not get FastPasses for some of the rides. When I got on to reserve ours, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight had no FastPasses available for the days we would be in Magic Kingdom. We had even heard from some friends that had just been there that they didn’t even get to ride Seven Dwarfs. That’s where getting to the park early comes into play like I mentioned above!
But, we were able to get FastPasses for Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, meeting Mickey Mouse, and more. And, once you use your three for the day, you can get onto your app and grab another, use it and then get another, then another, etc.
5. Take advantage of Child Swap
Sort of like the FastPass+, Child Swap allows parents, with kids that are too little for a ride, to take turns riding without having to wait in the crazy line again.
Being as Little Miss couldn’t ride some of the rides, like Splash Mountain, Seven Dwarfs, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or Space Mountain, one of us would ride with Bubs, get the Child Swap pass, and then the other would ride pretty much right after. AND, Bubs would get to ride again! Just remember to tell the worker as you get into the line. They will hand you a slip that the other parent will trade in when it’s their turn.
And, while you’re waiting for Daddy and Brother to ride Seven Dwarfs, you get to ride the Tea Cups with Mommy 🙂
6. Have a plan for your day
When scheduling our FastPasses, I based them off of sections of the parks as well. I didn’t want to have a FastPass+ scheduled for Splash Mountain then one for Space Mountain and have to run across the entire park to make them on time.
So, we started our first day focusing on Liberty Square, Adventureland, and Frontierland, with our second day in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. That doesn’t mean we stuck to just those areas all of day one and two (we made it into Fantasyland around lunch time on day on), but that is how I planned the FastPasses, and where we started off for the days. That way we hit everything without excessive amounts of backtracking.
7. But don’t overthink it and just go with the flow
Just because you have something planned out doesn’t mean you can’t just wing it!
I like having a plan just so I can better know what to expect. I have members of our family that don’t handle huge crowds well and get a little anxious, so mapping things out works for us. BUT, there were times the kids HAD to ride It’s a Small World, and so we did!
Another example, we just stumbled upon the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party as we made our way to a ride, and it was the perfect distraction for some impatient peeps.
8. Bring your own lunches and snacks
Our backpack was loaded with fruit snacks, crackers, and applesauce pouches, and cookies for snacking while waiting in lines. Our little cooler bag had bananas, drinkable yogurts, apples, and jam packets, so we could make sandwiches with the loaf of bread we had stashed in the bottom of the stroller. We ate breakfast at our hotel each morning before leaving for the park. Then, we just made sandwiches for lunch when it was convenient or everyone was hungry.
This helped us save money, but also time because then we weren’t waiting in lines for food instead of rides.
We did buy some Disney treats while in the park! I recommend the Dole Whips in Frontierland, the caramel apples and cookies from Big Top Souvenirs in Fantasyland, and the GIANT pretzels from Prince Eric’s Village Market in Fantasyland.
9. Continually check dining reservations
For dinner we made a dining reservation for one of our nights. I was able to score an awesome reservation that we didn’t think was even possible, because I got onto my app almost everyday just to check on the dining reservation section. Luckily, something opened up and I was there to snatch it!
Check out my post about why continually checking the dining reservations can pay off for more details!
10. Use the app to order dinner
For our other dinner, we stayed in Magic Kingdom and used the My Disney Experience app to order our food for pickup. So easy!!
After finally deciding on eating at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and walking over there, we were informed that due to how busy it was, they weren’t letting anymore guests into the building, UNLESS you were there to pickup your My Disney Experience order. So, we got onto our app and ordered!
We had our food not even 10 minutes later and were sitting inside eating! Easy, quick, and convenient.
11. Have a back up phone battery/charger
Between using my Disney app, taking pics and videos, and sending pics to the grandparents, my phone was usually dying by 3 in the afternoon. Luckily for us, I had found this awesome Anker portable charger on Amazon that was compatible for my iPhone and the Hubs Galaxy S7.
12. Buy souvenirs before the park, but splurge a little
This helped us save some time and money. We knew the kids would want to pick something out in the park, and we budgeted for that, but I did most of the buying online before we got there. It also worked out that we went in mid December and I was able to hit the Black Friday sales for everything. Before the trip, I got everybody new t-shirts and sweatshirts that were, of course, Disney themed!
In the park we let the kids each pick one thing they really wanted. Our first day we spent a little time looking through some of the shops. On day two we let them decide and purchased what they wanted. Little Miss chose a Princess Minnie and Bubs picked an awesome Christmas lights necklace.
13. Be patient and flexible
There is a lot of excitement and bustle while you’re in the park. Plus, if you stay from open to close, like we did, it’ll make for some tired kids, AND some tired parents. Remember your patience and to be flexible in your plans.
For example, when Little Miss gets hungry she turns hangry, hence the backpack full of snacks. She was also exhausted each day because she didn’t sleep well from a cold. So, naps were required.
A plus to being so exhausted… you can sleep anywhere!
14. Hit up Disney Springs the day before your first park day
We had debated whether would be make time for Disney Springs, and I am so glad we did!
We ended up visiting Disney Springs the evening before our first park day. We ate dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, explored the Lego Store and others, and really got into the Disney spirit.
There is enough at Disney Springs to spend quite awhile there! It was a great way to start off our Disney visit.
15. Make a countdown chain!
That’s right, a paper chain!!
They’re an awesome way to countdown to your trip!!
Red, white, and black were for Disney, then we had some other fun things, including Christmas, to countdown to after we got back. Everyone was excited to rip off another link each day as we got closer to Disney!
If you have any tips or tricks feel free to comment them below! And, if you have any questions comment and I can answer them!