On a whim, my husband and I decided to go on an impromptu road trip to Florida. He had a few days to spare and hence wanted to go on a short vacation. We had a lot of places that we wanted to see, but finally decided to visit Orlando and see Disney World! 🙂
Walt Disney World is really huge. I was quite shocked to learn that it’s as big as the city of San Francisco and twice the size of Manhattan! It’s like a city in itself. Walt Disney World, Orlando consists of 4 theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. We decided to visit Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom this time, since seeing 4 parks in one go would be super exhausting.
We visited Magic Kingdom on Day 1 of our Orlando vacation. So many things to do, so many rides to go on and so many places to see, but not enough time. Where do you start? Well, I’m here to help you do just that. I’ll share some tips, tricks and experiences that helped us through our stay and might help you plan your disney vacation better as well.
Here you go….
1) Enter the park as early in the morning as possible.
If you enter the park early, you can see and explore so much more. You can even ride your favourite rides more than once. The crowds are lesser at that time and you can enjoy the place in peace. And what’s better than getting your picture clicked in front of Cinderella’s castle without a million people in the background!
2) Visit the parks on weekdays or preferably mid week!
I tell you this out of experience since we have seen the difference between visiting a theme park on weekdays and weekends! It gets crazy on weekends. The minimum wait time for any ride on weekends or holidays are at least 60-90mins. Standing in the sun for that long gets really exhausting and super frustrating. If you really want to enjoy your time at the park, plan your vacation in advance so you don’t have to deal with huge weekend and holiday crowds.
3) Visit in the cooler months.
At least that’s what I plan to do next time. We visited Disney World in September assuming the weather would be pleasant since it was officially Fall. But NO! There is no Fall season in Florida. It was mind blowingly hot and no amount of hydration helps since your body can’t even retain the water in such heat. If it was so hot in September, I can only imagine how hot it might be in the summer months. Make sure you hydrate yourself constantly and don’t miss out on cooling yourself down every now and then. The heat took a toll on my body and I was terribly dehydrated. Make sure you don’t let that happen to you!
4) Plan your visit to all the popular rides well in advance.
Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train have some of the longest lines. So as I have already mentioned, getting into the theme park early is key. The popular rides should be the first ones you should try, since the crowds are lesser in the morning. These rides get super crowded around mid morning and afternoon when the lines get longer with a minimum wait time of 60-90 mins. You can revisit these rides again in the evening when the crowds start thinning out. Mornings and late evenings are the best times to visit all the popular rides. Keep your afternoons easy with smaller and less crowded rides.
Having a FastPass+ is definitely a blessing! You can just walk past huge lines without standing and waiting in the punishing heat. The wait time with a fast pass is surprisingly bearable and saves you a lot of time!
6) Sunset Rides
Rides like Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Railroad are super fun during sunset. Cinderella’s Castle will be lit up and the weather would have cooled down in the evening. You can watch the sunset and the beautiful lights while riding the coasters along with the amazing feeling of a cool breeze hitting your face whilst at it. It makes the whole experience very enjoyable!
7) Delicious Disney treats!
Disney World has some amazing food stalls and restaurants all over the park. Most times we head to the nearest restaurant to grab a bite to eat in between rides and don’t try the small food stalls around the park. Well, you should! These places have some amazing treats that you shouldn’t miss out on… like the Waffle sandwiches at Liberty Square, Dole Whip Pineapple Swirl (*drool*) at Aloha Isle, mickey shaped creamsicles, gummy bears, ice cream sandwiches and mickey shaped english shortbread cookies!
8) Disney App
The disney app helps you in numerous ways. You can plan your rides in advance as it shows the wait time of all the rides along with a GPS enabled map. You can find your way around the park through the app as it gets really hard to go from one section to another. We walked around the park multiple times when we couldn’t the place we were looking for. The app definitely makes it easy to traverse around the park. It also helps you manage your disney resort reservations, magic bands and tickets as well.
9) The Main Street Electrical Parade
Since we visited Disney World for the first time, we had no clue there was an electrical parade in the evening. We saw a huge group of people sitting on the streets waiting for something to start but we weren’t sure what that was. Before we could find out, the electrical parade started! It was spectacular! We thought the fireworks display was the last act of the day but it apparently wasn’t. The parade usually starts right after the Fireworks display, so get to the main street early and make sure you get a good spot. The magic of disney in the form of an electrical parade will definitely wow you!
10) Wishes Fireworks Show
The disney wishes fireworks show has always been the most popular spectacle that all disney goers look forward to. Finding a good spot to see the show is very important. So finish all your rides early and get to the front of Cinderella’s castle well in advance. This place gets really busy during that time and will be packed with thousands of people. The timings of the fireworks display will probably vary based on the season you will be visiting. It is a definite must see and will undoubtedly turn out to be the highlight of your entire disney vacation!
Disney World is an amazing place and I hope my post helps you in some way to plan your next Disney Vacation! I absolutely loved visiting Magic Kingdom and will surely visit again. It has such a happy atmosphere and you feel the joy all around you as soon as you enter. It’s true when they say “no one can escape the magic of disney”!
Have a fabulous time at Disney World. It’s after all called “The happiest place on earth” for a reason!