Magic Kingdom

Can Walt Disney World keep everyone happy? – Magic Kingdom

If there is one thing that Walt Disney World is, it is fun for ALL the family.

During our holiday we saw the parks being enjoyed by everyone from young couples to multi-generational families, complete with t-shirts with their family name on and badges displaying how many visits they had made. I even saw one with “60 visits”.

Travelling with two boys, aged 4 and 9, plus a girl of 6 we often come up against one of them not wanting to join in and whilst they all individually had their favourite attractions, none of them ever felt excluded or left out.

Walt Disney World is a champion of family time with four theme parks and two water parks, each with unique theming and attractions, plus dining shopping and entertainment experiences, there really is something for everyone at Walt Disney World.

Magic Kingdom

Possibly the most iconic of the four theme parks, Magic Kingdom is home to Main Street which leads to Cinderella’s stunning castle.

Magic Kingdom

If you are staying in a Walt Disney Hotel, make sure you get there during the parks Magic Hours to take advantage of watching the magical opening of the castle and the chance to get on the rides queue free.

Magic Kingdom

Tomorrowland

The kids favourite rides in this park were almost all in Tomorrowland and top of the list was Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, where you fire lasers from a cannon to defeat Emperor Zurg.

Buzz Lightyear Spin

The Monsters Inc laugh floor was another hit and the ‘Monster of Ceremonies’ was Mike Wazowski. He’s convinced that he can fill the laugh meter, but Roz isn’t quite so sure of this plan and the cleverly use jokes submitted by the audience and live interaction for this funny show. Isaac now does a mean impression of Roz too.

Monsters Inc Laugh Floor

A surprise hit was the Carousel of Progress, with its catchy tune and moving auditorium that followed the progress of a family from the 1920’s through to the present day. We also enjoyed the Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Speedway and Stitch’s Great Escape.

Fantasyland

It was in Fantasyland where we met our first Disney characters and the kids looked forward to doing this as much as they did the rides. The animated characters interacted with the kids and gave them hugs and high-fives whereas the princesses would stop and have a long chat with the kids which really made their day.

Goofy

It was also here that we visited Enchanted Tales with Belle, where we headed into Maurice’s workshop and then stepped through a magical mirror straight into the Beast’s library, where we meet Belle and Lumiere to experience an interactive fairytale.  Sebby played the part of the Chip perfectly to really become part of the story.

Belle and Chip

Top Tip: Make sure you seek out the photopass photographers outside for some Disney magic too.

Lumiere

Next up was Journey of the Little Mermaid which made you feel like you had actually gone underwater to Ariel’s world in a giant clam shell, followed by the chance to meet the lady herself.

Ariel

Fantasyland is home to some of the more gentle rides and the only rollercoaster that Sebby could ride as he fell just below the 41″ (102cm) limit. They all adored Dumbo, possibly more as the queuing system involved getting the chance to play in a large circus themed soft play area.

Dumbo

‘It’s a small world’ was also a hit although I still have the song going round and round in my head!

It's a Small World

Other rides included Winnie the Pooh where you road around his ‘Blustery Day’ story, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mad Hatters Tea Party (teacup ride), Seven Dwarfs Mine train and Prince Charmings Regal Carousel, plus the chance to meet Princesses such as Merida, Rapunzel, Tiana, Cinderella and Princess Elena of Avalor, who is Eliza’s new favourite.

Princess Elena of Avalor

If you find yourself needing to shelter from the rain, or cool down then I also recommend Disney’s Philharmagic show, a 4D cinematic delight!

PhilharMagic

Adventureland

Adventureland was where we found ourselves during our first Floridian downpour – a sight to behold in itself. We decided to find some shelter and headed into the Enchanted Tiki Room.

Tiki Room

This was a completely unexpected hit, with bird hosts Jose, Fritz, Michael and Pierre taking us through a show in a tropical pavilion full of flowers, tikis and audio-animatronic birds singing and telling jokes.

Pirates of the Caribbean

“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates’ life for me.” – No visit to Disney would be without visiting the Pirates of the Caribbean and it was clear that it was a popular ride, but the queue moved quickly into cool underground caverns. It is a calm river ride, with one small drop and lots of realistic animatronic pirates around every corner – the eagle-eyed may even catch sight of Captain Jack Sparrow.

Also in Adventureland are the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, the Swiss Family Tree House to explore and the amusing Jungle Cruise.

Jungle Cruise

Frontierland

Frontierland is home to two of the three larger rollercoasters in Magic Kingdom; Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain, neither which we could persuade Isaac or Eliza to try, so we consoled ourselves with playing in Tom Sawyer Island and watching the Big Bear Jamboree.

Big bear jamboree

Liberty Square

We probably spent the least time here as there are only three attractions, but it is set in the colonial era of America and is home to the relaxing Liberty Belle paddlewheel boat which takes guests on a cruise around the Rivers of America and the intimidating Haunted Mansion where you board Doom Buggies for a journey through the mansion which tells the story of a Black Widow bride and her many husbands. Only Isaac and Hubby were brave enough for this one.

Haunted Mansion

Main Street

Main Street is where you will find shopping heaven, with shops that sell everything from Pandora charms to Minnie Mouse ears, clothing, costumes and even a hairdressers, plus the chance to find Tinkerbelle.

Tinkerbelle

It is also the location for the Disney parades…..

Disney Parade

and of course, the finale fireworks!

Magic Kingdom Fireworks

Please do pop over and check out my top 10 tips for visiting Walt Disney World and keep an eye out for the next installment……..

Disclaimer:  This post is in partnership with Walt Disney World and Mumsnet. I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity and all opinions here are my own.

Magic Kingdom



Magic Kingdom

10 things I wish I had known before our holiday to Walt Disney World

Most people booking a holiday to Walt Disney World in Florida would be planning for months, reading reviews and getting hints and tips on things to see and do but we had just a few days notice before our trip.

I have to say that the staff were amazing and more than happy to answer any questions we had and wearing our “1st time at Disney” badges certainly helped, but here are the things I wish I had known before our trip:

1. The My Disney Experience App

Available on iTunes and Google Play this app is the ideal companion for any visit to Walt Disney World, but be warned, it does drain your battery on your phone so I would recommend taking a powerbank for any on-the-go phone charges.

It is simple to use, simply create an account and you can manage your booking, plus it will give you opening times, park maps, parade times, locations of rides, real-time queue lengths, allow you to book restaurants and ride fast passes and display any photopass photos you have had taken.

My Disney Experience App

2. Magic Bands

The magic band is a watch-like band you wear on your wrist which is linked to your My Disney Experience account. You use it to unlock the door to your room, gain entry to the parks, get your photo pass pictures, gain fast pass access to rides and even pay for your meals.

Magic Bands

We were allocated grey ones, but you can request different colour ones before you arrive or pay extra for themed ones which are available in the shops on site. Plus, they are fully adjustable to fit both children and adults!

3. Fast Passes

The FastPass+ system is better than any we have in the UK by far. Not only is it free to use, but it lets you reserve access to select attractions, entertainment and more up to 60 days before check-in when you have a Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation (30 days in advance with standard entry tickets).

Fastpass+

You are given three FastPass+ per day initially, so book three early ones and once they are used you can book three more. Most rides were bookable when we were there, however, new ones such as Pandora; Avatar Flight of Passage and the Na’Vi River journey were fully booked throughout our stay, so I would advise you book these before you get there.

Avatar

To use the FastPass+ system, simply scan your Magic Band at the fastpass touch point – simple!

Magic Band

4. Dining Plan

I have to admit that the dining plan confused me at first, but that is possibly because we had been travelling for 13 hours when the member of staff was trying to explain it to me.

It is, however, a great value way to budget for meals whilst you are staying at Disney and is the equivalent of staying half board and is FREE for holidays booked by 19th October 2017, for stays from 1st January 2018 to 30th November 2018.

Walt Disney World

For each night of your stay, each guest receives:

  • 1 waiter service meal
  • 1 self-service meal (can be used for breakfast or lunch)
  • 1 non-alcoholic drink per meal
  • 2 selected snacks
  • Refillable mug (can only be used at the hotel)

There are over 100 locations to choose from and character dining is included with the waiter service meals. Self-service meals are great for casual dining or pit stops in the parks and snacks are available at Quick-Service restaurants and outdoor food carts throughout the resort, including drinks, popcorn, crisps, ice cream, sweets, biscuits and fresh fruit.

Character Dining

In fact, we didn’t have to pay for extra food for the entire time we were there.

Epcot had the best variety of food as they had traditional restaurants in the World Showcase area from Norwegian, where we enjoyed a meal with the Princesses, to Chinese, Japanese and even a traditional English Pub – the Rose and Crown.

Belle

Throughout the park we had the option of many different foods and the kids enjoyed things from Nachos and Chilli, chicken strips, pizza, burgers and salads.

Tips: You are expected to tip between 18-20% at table service restaurants and this is displayed at the bottom of your dining plan receipt. It worked out approx $30 for the five of us at each table service meal. There’s no need for tipping at counter service venues.

5. Disney Memory Maker

Getting photo’s of all the family together is always a challenge as one of us is always behind the camera. Disney’s Memory Maker solves this and is something that a lot of english theme parks could learn from and costs an additional $149.

Chewbacca

It is an incredible new way to enjoy unlimited digital DisneyPhotoPass photos captured at hundreds of locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort, including select attraction and dining locations. We had pictures taken all over the parks and the photographers are easy to spot in their uniforms.

Tinkerbell

The photos are conveniently connected to your online Disney account with a touch of your MagicBand or card and you can even have Magic Shots one which featuring Disney Characters and effects, added to your photos.

Frozen

6. Travelling between parks

Did you know that Disney World is occupies 47 square miles – the size of Greater Manchester?

Disney provide buses to and from each resort from each hotel which run approximately every 20 minutes. I cannot fault the service at all, the buses were fully air-conditioned and each driver we met was happy and jovial. They do get very busy though, especially at the beginning and the end of the day, but the adults always gave up their seats for the kids.

Disney Bus

If you want to travel between Magic Kingdom and Epcot, there is also the Monorail system which operates between the two and some of the Disney Deluxe resort hotels.

Monorail

7. The Weather

One thing I was worried about before our holiday was the weather as August is hot, hot, hot in Florida.

Disney know this and I was surprised to see that most queuing areas were not only undercover, but also had giant fans to keep the air moving and you cool. Indoor rides were all air-conditioned and if you were starting to get too hot, sitting in a cool theatre for half an hour for a show was the perfect way to cool down.

The Little Mermaid Show

Even shops and the toilets (restrooms) were air-conditioned too, plus cold water was available at water fountains throughout the park.

I have heard stories about the rain in Florida and we did see heavy showers and thunderstorms most afternoons, however, not only is it a relief from the heat, the rain is warm so is actually quite pleasant and apart from one afternoon, they last less than an hour. We did buy poncho’s for the worst showers though as it is far too warm to wear rain jackets.

Disney Rain Mac

8. Plan Your Stay Around Extra Magic Hours

On designated days, the Disney parks open early or stay open later for guests staying at Disney Resort hotels. These are called ExtraMagic Hours. Plan your stay with these in mind and you will get crowd-free access to the best rides. We walked straight onto three or four during this time and it is also the best time to book the Jedi Training Academy.

Jedi Training

9. Take a Buggy

Sebby is 4 and can walk quite a distance but by day 3 he was shattered and wanted carrying everywhere.

Disney is hard on everyone’s legs, especially when cramming it into seven days like we did, so I would recommend you take a buggy or hire one. It costs $15 per day for a single and $30 for a double and was a real blessing.

Walt Disney World

Even with the buggy, Sebby was asleep by the time the evening shows were on and we still had to carry him from the park entrance back to the bus, but it really saved our shoulders!

10. Take a break!!

If there is one thing Disney is, it’s full on!

On days in the main parks, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, we were at breakfast at 7am and in the parks for magic hours by 8am up until the evening shows, meaning we were not back at our hotel until 10pm most nights.

Most people have two weeks to enjoy a Disney break and I would strongly recommend that you take a day to relax in between park visits, or go for half a day and return to the hotel in the afternoon to chill by the pool, as it did get to the stage where the kids were very tired and grumpy!

Art of Animation Hotel

Our hotel, the Art of Animation had the largest resort pool in Walt Disney World and a large splash park area as well as a play park and a large outdoor cinema screen which shows some Disney favourites al fresco in the evening.

Art of Animation

There are also two waterparks to consider too: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

Typhoon Lagoon

We visited Typhoon Lagoon and the kids adored floating down the lazy river, jumping over huge waves in the giant wave pool and playing in the splash park, whilst Hubby got to release his adrenalin side by hurtling down the huge water slides.

Typhoon Lagoon

What do you wish you had known before a trip to Walt Disney World?

Disclaimer:  This post is in partnership with Walt Disney World and Mumsnet. I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity and all opinions here are my own.

10 top tips for visiting Walt Disney World