Visiting the Magic Kingdom, the land where all is happy and carefree, can be an expensive and exhausting excursion, especially with children. It can quickly turn from the land of happiness and giggles to the land of tears and empty wallets.
However, with a little planning and some tips from those who navigate the Magic Kingdom on a regular basis, you can have a tear-free, affordable and memorable trip!
Tips from Julie Mishoe, mom of two
Download the Disney World App (My Disney Experience). It’s magical! It will not only book your fast passes for your visit, but also give you the wait times of every ride and show at the park when you’re trying to decide what to do next.
Fast Passes. You can book three fast passes before your day in the park if your ticket is registered on your Disney account. Book them as early in the day as you’re planning to get to the park. The kiosks allow you to add an additional fast pass after you’ve used your first three.
Make your own character autograph book. Get a notebook, buy some Disney stickers and let the kids build up their excitement for the trip by decorating their own book.
Pack a backpack. Bring a travel-size sunscreen, baby wipes and hand sanitizer. Roll ponchos at the bottom, just in case of a Florida cloud burst. While everyone else runs for cover, you can take advantage of shorter lines. The ponchos being at the bottom also helps cushion the bag against your lower back. Bring a refillable water bottle and food/snacks for the day; Disney lets you!
While you’re in the park: Use your app to check wait times. While you are waiting for your next fast pass to start, you should take your kids to play the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (only available in Magic Kingdom park). It is a free, interactive adventure game played throughout the park.
Tips from Earl Stephens, father of three
Get the Tables in Wonderland discount card. Formerly known as the Disney Dining Experience, this card is great for frequent visitors. It offers Florida Residents, Disney Vacation Club members and Annual Passholders 20 percent off the bill at park restaurants. Gratuity is automatically added to the bill at 18 percent. It costs between $150 – $175. (Some restrictions apply.)
Watch the parades from inside. If you go to the Columbia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom and sit upstairs near the windows, you will have a very nice view of the parades that come from the Main Street parade route. You will be able to eat lunch or dinner in air conditioning while the parade is going on.
Tips from Rosemary Anderson, mom of two
Stand out. Add a unique balloon or something that will let you find your stroller in a sea of strollers, especially when the staff moves them.
If you are just going for the day, avoid going after a rainy day. All the people staying on the Disney property will be there and it will be so crowded!
Get a silhouette of your child’s face! While your child is posing for the artist, they’ll let you charge your phone for free.
Tips from Leslie Vega, mom of two
Dodge the meal rush. Eat on off hours to avoid the lunch and dinner rush. Have a snack to hold you over and eat right after lunchtime or dinner time, when the lines have died down.
No need to arrive early. Enjoy your hotel and its amenities for a couple hours and arrive later when the crowds are diminishing and the weather is not so hot. If you make it to the park around 3pm or 4pm and leave when the park closes, you still get a good 8 to 9 hours and your kids aren’t as grumpy from a full 12 to 16 hour day.