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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Touring Magic Kingdom--Williams Family Style

For almost every guide book written about Walt Disney World, there is a recommended touring plan. Various web-sites even offer touring plans and schedules. After 5 trips, soon to be 6, as a family to Walt Disney World, we have found what works for us. . . and even that changes a bit trip to trip depending on interests, time allotted, and crowd levels.

Here's how we make the most of Disney's Magic Kingdom:

It helps that we are early risers. Okay, two of us are early risers, we just drag the other one along. Being early risers mean we are at the park before "rope drop." So after waving to the steam engine as it makes it way into the station and swaying to the "Good Mornin'" song we head through the tunnel and right down Main Street USA.

This is where the pre-planning kicks in. If we have more than one day at the Magic Kingdom, we go left to Adventureland. The boy rides Magic Carpets of Aladdin (see photo below) while the husband takes off to get Splash Mountain FASTPASSes. If there is not a line yet at Magic Carpets, the Cast Member will often let you ride more than once. . . or twice! We meet back and ride Jungle Cruise followed by Pirates of the Caribbean. If it is time to get another FASTPASS, the husband goes off to get them at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Saving the FASTPASSes for later, we make our way to Fantasyland and take in all the rides, except Dumbo. If you want to ride Dumbo, this has to be your first stop (same as above except you go to Dumbo first rather than Magic Carpets. This also applies to Astro Orbiter if that is the preferred centrifugal force attraction for the youngest person in your party.)

Riding the iconic Dumbo The Flying Elephant.

The front row of Magic Carpets of Aladdin has the
control to go up or down.

After Fantasyland, we get lunch, head back to Frontierland to use our FASTPASSes for Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain, and in that order. We then head back to the hub, check to see if we are in time for a parade or show or celebration then head to Tomorrowland.

In Tomorrowland, we take in Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Monster's, Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club and possibly Carousel of Progress--"It's a great big beautiful tomorrow."

That leaves us with Toontown and our other favorites for another day.

If we have only 1 day at the Magic Kingdom, we follow a similar plan, but add in Toontown right after lunch. Then take the Walt Disney World Railroad to Frontierland to take in the mountains.

Some things we have learned:
1. Know the layout of the park before hand. We overheard a family pushing a stroller through the hub when the adult female said pointing to Tomorrowland, "I wonder what's over there." Know what's over there and know if you want to go there.
2. Have some decisions made before heading to the park. What are the priorities? I'm not suggesting the type "A" Excel Spreadsheet in a 3 ring binder (yes, we have seen this!) kind of plan. . . just an idea. Then leave some room for magic. . .
3. Use FASTPASS--it can save you loads of time. (See FASTPASS post.)
4. Get there early and ride the slowest loading rides first--Dumbo, Magic Carpets, Astro Orbiter. (You'll have to choose one)
5. Come to terms with the fact that you will most likely not be able to do/see everything, especially traveling with children. They get tired, hungry, cranky, etc. This will keep the magic in your vacation.

A fireworks photo in front of Cinderella's Castle.
Check the Times Guide for the Dream-Along With Mickey show
on the stage in front of the Castle.
The fireworks is about 23 minutes into the show.
Williams Family at the Magic Kingdom, Nov. 2009.

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