The Magic Kingdom is the first and most developed of Disney World’s four main theme parks. As a result, there are more rides and attractions crammed into its territory than the other three. It is unlikely that you will be able to do everything there is to do in the Magic Kingdom in a single day, so some strategy is required.
Magic Kingdom Time Management
If your vacation package includes staying at one of the Disney Resorts, then you are able to participate in Extra Magic Hours. The resort will provide a schedule for the parks participating in Extra Magic Hours, upon which said parks will either open one hour early or close three hours late. Plan your visit to Magic Kingdom according to these extra hours to benefit your overall exploration of the park, as well as to reduce line waiting at some of the more popular attractions.
There are four main attractions that produce serious line clog; Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Space Mountain. If you are interested in any of these rides, plan your day around them because the line wait will eat up your time otherwise. Whether you have the Extra Magic Hours available or not, the best strategy is to hit at least one of these attractions early in the morning just as the park opens, and at least one late in the evening just before the park closes. This will ensure that you will be in the line when the crowds are at their lowest numbers.
If you don’t get to these rides before noon, you can take advantage of Fast Pass. Fast Pass is a kiosk that you can slide your admission ticket or room key into to receive a time return card. This card will have a printed time with an hour window to return to the attraction to enter the fast line. When the hour window is used, you can use the Fast Pass option on another ride. It would be a good idea to set up a Fast Pass for one of the rides when you first come into the park and then go wait in line for one of the others.
Magic Kingdom Rendezvous
The Magic Kingdom is a mixture of soft easy rides that everyone can participate in, such as It’s a Small World; and fast paced thrill rides, such a Space Mountain. This is fine if everyone in your group is grown and enjoys thrill rides, but could be a problem if you have small children or are squeamish. This is especially true as the thrill rides produce the longest slowest moving lines, which doesn’t benefit those that are waiting for others to finish the attraction. In cases like this, it would be beneficial for time management to split up.
Always plan the day ahead with one of the handy maps to the park the hotel and internet provides. Figure out which attractions each member of the party would enjoy and which spark no interest at all. Set aside all of the attractions that are mutually agreeable to do together. For the remaining attractions, set aside a time, perhaps two hours, to split up and attend to your personal attractions. Schedule a clear time and rendezvous point, preferably a gift shop since it is small enough not to get lost within.
For parents with small children who want to ride the same thrill, there are stations at the thrill rides where you can do child swaps. Basically one parent rides and then swaps watching the kid while the other takes their turn. Not all of the attractions do this, as the exit points are different, be sure to make inquiries with customer service before entering the line.
Magic Kingdom Characters
Employees in character costumes come and go quickly. Florida is hot and humid, even more so when you are roasting inside an oversize character oven. It is park policy to limit the time their employees are in costume to twenty minutes or less, to prevent heat stroke. If you want to manage your time properly, you’ll have to rely on luck to get photo opportunities in the park itself. However, if you plan to dine inside the Magic Kingdom, it would be a benefit to do so at one of the character dining places, such as the Crystal Palace. These places are designed to have a succession of multiple characters posing right at your table for photo opportunities. It is an experience not to be missed.
Magic Kingdom Park Hop
As mentioned earlier, with an extensive amount of attractions, it is not likely you’ll be able to do everything in a single day. If your vacation has park hopper tickets, however, you won’t have to. Try to visit the Magic Kingdom early on in your vacation, so you’ll know which attractions you missed. If you get done early with one of the other parks, you can then hop back over to the Magic Kingdom to finish up. The Animal Kingdom theme park closes at five every day, so that would be an excellent time to revisit Magic Kingdom.
Magic Kingdom Tips
Bring comfortable shoes, because you will be doing a lot of walking and backtracking to get everything done. The last thing you want is to suffer through blisters you received by walking around on the first day. Also, bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen; the park provides these in their gift shops, but not at friendly prices.
The Magic Kingdom is a fun, wonderful, and exhausting place to explore. Pace yourself, drink plenty of fluids, and plan your visits ahead of time. Most importantly, enjoy yourself, after all, it is your vacation.