What are the must-do items, and which ones can you can pass on? I’ll also provide strategies for FastPass+ rides, and where to go when you just need a break!
Must Do: Festival of Fantasy Parade
See tons of Disney characters without having to wait in line! It runs right in front of the Castle, and down Main Street USA, but those areas are generally pretty crowded. Instead, watch from Liberty Square. This is closer to the beginning of the parade, the crowds will be smaller so it will be easier to get a good spot, and you’ll be finished with the parade sooner than everyone else. Watching in Liberty Square also gives you the most escape routes to other parts of the park once the parade passes.
Must Do with Daughters: Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table
Do you have girls who love princesses? Reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table (CRT) in the Magic Kingdom are a must. You get to eat inside of Cinderella’s Castle and typically get to meet Cinderella, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Snow White, Ariel, and Jasmine as they come to your table while you eat. It’s expensive (breakfast is cheaper), but it’s an awesome experience to eat inside the castle, and if you tried to meet all of the princesses separately, it could take all day. You can also get into the park early if your reservation is before the park officially opens.
CRT is one of the toughest reservations to get at Disney World, but there are always cancellations in the two weeks before your trip. If planning on your own, use Mouse Dining to help score a reservation. Using mouse dining, I’ve been able to get in every time.
Pro Tip: There is also a princess character meal at Epcot (Akershus Royal Banquet Hall) if you can’t get into CRT, or it fits your schedule better.
Pro Tip: The only meet and greet for Frozen’s Elsa and Anna is at the Royal Sommerhus in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.
Be Our Guest Restaurant – Fun to do once
The Beast’s castle from Beauty and the Beast looks amazing at Be Our Guest, and is worth a meal there to check out. Go at breakfast (cheaper) or lunch when it’s a quick serve. You’ll still need a reservation, but you’ll have more opportunity to wander around all the different rooms to see the decor. It was fun, but going once is plenty – even breakfast was pretty expensive here.
Want to Dance with Belle? ROAR!
Enchanted Tales with Belle recreates the story of Beauty and the Beast using kids to play the various roles. Just as in the movie, Belle dances with the kid that plays the Beast. So how do you get to play the Beast? When they are handing out parts of the play, the kid that roars the loudest gets to play the Beast.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – probably not worth it
This boutique will give your daughter the princess makeover of her dreams, and if getting a picture of your daughter all decked out is important to you, then go for it! But for most people though, I wouldn’t recommend it mainly due to the cost. Packages range from $75 – $200, and take away from time you could be doing other things in the park.
Go to Magic Kingdom on a Party day, but don’t go to the party
During the Halloween and Christmas party season, people won’t buy a regular ticket AND a party ticket, so that means Magic Kingdom is less crowded on party days before the party crowd can enter the park at 4p. Without a party ticket, Magic Kingdom closes at 6p, but let’s be honest – if you have kids under 5, you wouldn’t be there much longer anyways.
Kids of any height can have fun at Magic Kingdom!
There are 34 rides/attractions in MK, and only 6 have height restrictions (<20%), so you can be any height and have a blast. But, once a kid is 40 inches (in shoes), they can ride on everything but Space Mountain (44 inches). My just turned 4 year old was exactly 40 inches on our last trip, and she’s a little short for her age. Rides with height restrictions will measure if your kid looks close.
Tip: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a legit roller coaster, AND has a slightly shorter height requirement at 38 inches. Beware though, it’s the toughest fast pass to get at Magic Kingdom, so without a fast pass, you’ll need to head there first thing when the park opens.
Best first roller coaster for kids – The Barnstormer
If you want to ease your kid into roller coasters, go on the Barnstormer first. It’s the smallest roller coaster in the Magic Kingdom, has the lowest roller coaster height restriction at 35 inches, and only lasts about 30 seconds. Don’t use a fast pass on it though – just go early or keep watching the standby wait times – we’ve never had to wait long for it. My oldest rode at 3.5 years old and was scared at first, but loved it by the end. My youngest rode at 2.5 years old, and was honestly a little frightened, but that’s probably more of a personality thing. Here’s my oldest’s first ride:
Aladdin’s Magic Carpets vs. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
When picking your FastPass+, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Dumbo the Flying Elephant are the exact same ride, with different themes. FastPass+ Aladdin because there’s not much shade in that line. Save Dumbo for when you need an afternoon break and can let the kids go in the indoor playground.
Pro Tip: Astro Orbiter is a more grown up version of both of these rides. Still no height requirement, but it goes WAY faster. Don’t ride if you are prone to motion sickness – it got me a little!
How to maximize FastPass+
Get to the park when it first opens – you won’t need a FastPass+ for the first thing you do, so do something that will have a longer line later in the day.
Book all three of your FastPass+ as early in the day as possible, that way you can book more when your first three are used.
Keep an eye on the My Disney Experience App throughout the day for specific rides you want and strike when the wait times are shorter.
Don’t Waste FastPass+ on these Rides/Attractions:
Just because you can get a FastPass+ doesn’t mean you need one. These lines are generally short enough – especially if you keep an eye on the lines throughout the day.
- The Barnstormer
- Aladdin’s Magic Carpet
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Mad Tea Party
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Any show (Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor)
Absolutely get FastPass+ for these Rides/Attractions:
These kid-friendly rides have longer lines, so it’s worth the FastPass+:
- It’s a Small World
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Jungle Cruise
You’ll also want a FastPass+ for the traditional roller coasters, but you may be able to sneak into one of the “Mountains” with a shorter line if you keep an eye on wait times:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (toughest FastPass+ to get in the Magic Kingdom)
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Best Place for a Break and Air Conditioning!!
If you need a quick break during the day to re-charge where it’s cool and dark, you’ve got a couple of options:
- Country Bear Jamboree – Animatronic singing bears (a personal favorite)
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic – 3D movie
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor – interactive animated movie
- Hall of Presidents – great for a little kid’s nap, but don’t expect a toddler to survive it
But if you need a full on BREAK – go to Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Once in line, you route into an indoor playground where they give you a pager (like you get at a restaurant), and the kids can roam free in the enclosed area while you chill. You don’t even have to go on the ride when they call you.
Baby Care Center at Magic Kingdom
Located next to The Crystal Palace Character Buffet, there is a place for Moms to nurse or feed infants. It’s a medium sized room with recliners and low light, so while there’s not a ton of privacy, it’s a great place to get out of the heat and minimize other distractions. It also has supplies for purchase.