by Daisy Diva
I know “attack” is a bit of a strong word. But “attacking” a Disney park without a plan could leave you discouraged and miserable. So I highly advise all Disney World guests come up with some sort of plan for touring each park. It doesn’t have to be super detailed, but a general strategy for touring the park makes your days easier.
My family started frequenting Disney World when my youngest had just turned two-years-old; my kids are 8 and nearly 6 now. And a lot has changed within the Magic Kingdom since then with the completion of the New Fantasyland addition. There are three big things that I like to keep in mind when creating my touring plan:
1. Where we will eat
2. What and when to FastPass
3. What rides are priorities for our travel party
Where We Eat
We have done lots of different meals at the Magic Kingdom: early morning breakfast, all quick service meals, and lunch at Be Our Guest. The lunch at Be Our Guest is far and away my favorite, so scoring an ADR around 12:30 is very important for me. Once that ADR is obtained, I keep what time we need to be there in mind when strategizing what rides to do when.
If we are on the dining plan (sometimes we are, sometimes we aren’t), then that lunch at Be Our Guest is a Quick Service credit, so I would probably try to get us dinner at either the Crystal Palace or Liberty Tree Tavern. Otherwise, a favorite of our family’s is the Pinocchio Village Haus, and we frequent it for dinner.
What and When to FastPass
Everyone FastPasses different things at different times, but we like to FastPass things that we KNOW will have a long line pretty much all the time. My favorite rides to FastPass are 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Peter Pan’s Flight. We have in the past FastPassed Under the Sea with The Little Mermaid and Buzz Lightyear, but with the right attack plan, you can hit those with short lines. I also like to choose FastPass times for late morning and early afternoon. My reasoning for this is that early morning and late evenings have short lines, no need to skip a short line. But if we wait too late, we can’t score a fourth or fifth FastPass.
I mentioned most of our priority rides when I talked about FastPasses, but there are other rides and experiences that are important for one or more members of the family. My son LOVES Goofy’s Barnstormer; my daughter loves Dumbo and the Mad Tea Party; my husband enjoys Space Mountain, and I MUST do Peter Pan’s Flight at each Magic Kingdom visit. So we try to do those favorite rides fairly early in the day when the lines are short or we can get a FastPass.
Now that I’ve laid out my thought process, I will go through what a day at the Magic Kingdom typically looks like for the Daisy Diva family. Let’s assume that we have a lunch ADR at Be Our Guest for 12:30 and a dinner ADR at Liberty Tree Tavern at 6:30. We will also assume that we have FastPasses for 7 Dwarfs Mine Train 10:30-11:30, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 2:45-3:45, and Splash Mountain 4:00-5:00.
We arrive at least 30-45 minutes prior to rope drop. We love the Welcome Show (which sadly has been moved from the train station at the front of the park to the stage at Cinderella Castle), so we like to have a good spot for viewing it.
Once the rope has dropped, we always, always, always head straight to Fantasyland. It is (debatably) the most popular land in the Magic Kingdom and gets very crowded during the day, so we like to check it off first thing. Because the lines get so long so fast, we will go straight to Peter Pan’s Flight. As I mentioned earlier, we have FastPassed this before, but since they updated the queue, I love to stand in line and walk through the Darlings’ house. From there we would hit up The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Princess Fairytale Hall for a couple of princess meet and greets, Dumbo, Barnstormer, Mad Tea Party, depending on time we may scoot to Tomorrowland for a spin on Buzz Lightyear and then head back to Fantasyland to use our FastPass for 7 Dwarfs Mine Train.
We would then head back to the New Fantasyland area for Under the Sea, meet Ariel at her grotto, and depending on time we might try to hit another ride before heading to our lunch reservation at Be Our Guest.
We will finish up at Be Our Guest around 1:30, so we would spend another 30 minutes or so riding the carousel and enjoying Mickey’s PhilharMagic before heading to Liberty Square for a rest at the Hall of Presidents. After enjoying the air conditioning, we would exit the Hall of Presidents and set up our brief residence right in the curve from Frontierland to the hub to catch the Festival of Fantasy parade. Either myself or my husband will take the short walk to Sleepy Hollow for a funnel cake and/or ice cream cookie sandwich to enjoy while waiting for the parade.
After the parade, we will head to our next two FastPasses: Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road and Splash Mountain. Then we would take in the rest of Frontierland and Adventureland…the Magic Carpets, Country Bear Jamboree, and Pirates of the Caribbean (if we can get our kids on it…they are not fans). If we have time before our dinner reservation, we might do some shopping on Main Street or go visit Mickey and Tinkerbell before dinner at Liberty Tree. Usually after dinner, we have done everything on our must do list and we can start repeating any of the rides we didn’t get to do earlier. Usually we divide and conquer—my husband goes with our son to the thrill rides while I go with our daughter to repeat our cycle of Dumbo and Tea Cups.
Sadly, my kids are terrified of loud noises, so we don’t typically take in the full Wishes experience. Instead we tend to do another ride or go to another viewing of Mickey’s PhilharMagic.
Here are my top three tips for touring the Magic Kingdom:
· Arrive before rope drop and stay until the park closes. You can leave for a break in you need it, but we don’t usually leave.
· The park is the most crowded and lines are the longest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. So plan your FastPasses for this window so you are skipping the longest lines. We also save shows and stage performances that don’t get a long line for this time period as well: Mickey’s Philharmagic, Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, etc. These shows aren’t longer than 20 minutes, so the line won’t be longer than the show itself!
· If you don’t have dining reservations, try to avoid eating at peak times. Waiting until noon to eat lunch means you will be with hordes of other people eating lunch as well. Go for an early lunch at 11:00 or a late lunch at 2:00. Same for dinner…wait until 8:00 and the restaurants won’t be quite as crowded.
Happy park touring, Diva readers!
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