June 4, 2012

How to Tour the Magic Kingdom (Part 1)

I hate crowds and I hate hot weather.  So why am I crazy enough to keep going back to Walt Disney World where they have both?!  Plain and simple - the Disney atmosphere far outweighs these negatives.

To spare myself from the worst of the crowds and the hottest temperatures, I created my own touring plan for the Magic Kingdom back in 2005, and it hasn't failed me yet.  I'm going to share it with you in two parts.  You may disagree with my logic, and that's okay... because it means a few less people for me to deal with crowd-wise if you're somewhere else in the park.  ;o)

This touring plan for the Magic Kingdom works best for those who want to avoid crowds, long lines and the brunt of the heat:

Early Morning:

  • Wake up EARLY!  It's hard, especially when you're on vacation, but so worth it!
  • Get to the Magic Kingdom before opening.  If you're staying at a Disney Resort, be at the bus stop an hour before park opening.
  • Watch the Opening Show (which begins 10 minutes before official park opening time!)
  • If you've completed all of the above, you're ahead of the game!  Now you'll be able to accomplish A LOT within the first hour of park opening.
Morning Touring:
  • Once you're in, hit your "must-see" attractions in Adventureland and Frontierland.  
    • Most people (due to being right-handed) head to the RIGHT.  If you ever stand at the "hub" in front of Cinderella's castle.  Look at the entrance path to Adventureland, then turn around and look at the entrance to Tomorrowland - it is nearly twice as wide!  Walt Disney knew that most people head to the right and planned for it in his park design.  Smart man!
    • We head to the left and enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with very little wait time.  (The cues for Splash and Big Thunder are both outside... better to do them both now, than to wait outdoors in the afternoon heat!)
  • Continue touring the park in a Clock-wise motion moving on to Liberty Square.
    • We ride Haunted Mansion and then go straight to Fantasyland (we'll come back later for the Riverboat and Hall of Presidents).
  • Next up is Fantasyland!  
    • Grab a FastPass for Peter Pan's flight (unless the wait is less than 20 minutes - but often it's not).  While waiting for your FP time to begin, hit the less popular rides like Small World, Mickey's Philharmagic (great way to sit and enjoy some air conditioning!), and the Mad Tea Party. 
    • There are many other fun rides in Fantasyland such as the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella's Carousel, Dumbo and Goofy's Barnstormer.  Try them out now if the wait is 20 minutes or less.  If the wait is longer and a FP is offered - grab that.
      • My rule of thumb is "Go ahead and wait in a line if the time is 20 minutes or less.  If the wait is longer, grab a Fast Pass or come back in the evening."
    • I understand Fantasyland is under it's expansion construction right now.  I will certainly update my touring plans as each phase is complete.
  • If you're into Character Hunting, you may want to check out a Character Schedule and plan your attractions around the Character meet and greet times.  
Hopefully you will have been able to complete your must see's in these first 4 "lands" before lunch time!  Now it's time for a break!  Either have lunch in the park or head back to your Resort hotel for lunch and a swim or a nap.   If you're eating lunch in the parks, I recommend Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square.  (HINT: Many people don't realize the Columbia Harbour House has two floors.  If the first floor seems crowded, head upstairs for a more quiet setting to enjoy your meal!)

Continue reading about this Touring Plan in Part Two!


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