10+ Disney Magic Kingdom Tips {including the NEW fast pass system}

When planning a family vacation, I love to get advice from other moms that have "been there".  So today, I am sharing tips from our recent trip to Disney's Magic Kingdom.


1)  Buy your tickets ahead of time(affiliate link) Even if you are only buying one day tickets, buying your tickets ahead of time will allow you to register your tickets using the My Disney Experience app.  Then, before you arrive at the park, you can link your account with anyone you are going with and select your fast passes. If you wait to get your fast passes at one of the kiosks in the park, you may find that many of your choices are no longer available. 

To optimize your options, I recommend booking your fast passes at 7am 30 days before your visit. You'll also want to book some of your fast passes for 11am-2pm when the park is most crowded.

Note:  If you register your fast passes ahead of time, you will still have the opportunity to make changes later in the day at any of the kiosks in the park.  You can read all about the FastPass+ system here.)

Money saving tip: Kids under three don't require a ticket.


2)  Buy glow sticks, souvenirs, and rain ponchos outside the park.  The kids will love having "something that glows" during the night time parades and shows, and glow sticks are super-cheap at the dollar store.  

And if the forecast is calling for rain, rain ponchos can also be purchased inexpensively at the dollar store. They don't take up much space, and you'll be happy when you don't need to pay the inflated park prices.

Also, Disney souvenirs are cheaper outside the park, and if you don't have them with you, you won't have to carry them around all day.  

Note: There is one souvenir that I recommend buying at Disney parks -- "pressed pennies".  They are a lot of fun, easy to carry, and very inexpensive.  Pack some pennies and quarters, and have some fun pressing pennies!



3)  Bring a backpack, and fill it with everything you'll need for the day.  We always take water bottles (which can be refilled for free throughout the park at fountains or restaurants selling soda), sandwiches, lots of snacks, sunscreen, a camera, and a sweater for when it cools down at night.

4)  Dress for the day.  Wear a sunhat, sunglasses and comfortable shoes.  I also like to wear special "Disney" shirts on my boys.  It's fun, it looks cute in pictures, and it lets people know they are part of the same group.


5)  Arrive early.  It is a time consuming process to get from the Magic Kingdom parking lot to the front gate.  Also, at 8:45am there is a train that arrives at the entrance with many of the Disney characters.  They put on a little show, and countdown to the park opening.  It's really worth seeing!  Also, if you arrive early, you can head straight for a popular ride and avoid a big line up.


6)  Rent or bring a stroller.  Magic Kingdom is huge, and children will get tired.  When we were there, we rented a double stroller, and all three of my boys (4, 6, and 8) used it.  (It is also useful for carrying stuff and sitting in to watch parades.)



7)  Have a plan. You are not going to get everything done in one day, so you should make a plan that incorporates each family member's "must do" ride/activity. You'll also want to use your fast passes for some of these rides/activities.  (Don't forget to use the "My Disney Experience" app to check wait times for lines.)

8)  Take advantage of rider switch passes. If you have a child that doesn't meet the height requirements for a ride, you can ask a cast member for a rider switch pass. One parent can ride while the other waits, and the they can switch.

9) Don't just focus on the rides.  Magic Kingdom has many excellent rides, but a lot of the magic comes from the parades, the light show on the castle, and the fireworks.  Arrive at the parades early if you want a good seat.  Cast members will be able to give you advice about where you should stand and how early you should arrive.


10)  Meet some characters.  Meeting (and getting pictures taken with) characters can be magical for kids, but it can take up a lot of time.  It is important to prioritize as to which characters you really want to meet.  Then, you will want to check the schedule for character meeting spots and times, and you may want to consider using fast passes.  Also, if meeting characters is a priority for you, you may want to think about booking a character breakfast, lunch or dinner.  We make it a point to meet Mickey Mouse at Town Hall, and it is always a special moment for us.  (Note:  Don't forget your autograph books!) 

Money saving tip: If you are interested in a character meal, you may want to consider choosing a breakfast. It's a much cheaper option, and the kids are often so excited that they aren't that interested in the food anyway!


11)  Have Fun!  Don't forget that the whole point of the trip to the park is to have fun.  So... relax, take lots of pictures, and make memories that will last forever. 

What's your best tip for a successful trip to Disney's Magic Kingdom?  I can't wait to start planning our next trip!


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (If you are looking for Disney money saving tips, you might want to check this collection from a wonderful group of Disney moms and bloggers.)


52 comments:

  1. Great tips! My daughter LOVES the pressed pennies too! We're headed back to WDW in a few week and can't wait!

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  2. awsome tips
    i'm dying to take my daughter she loves the disney princesses but my oh thinks she still to young to really apreciate it he wants to wait a year or two shes 5 now i never been either so it will be a first for mommy as well we go to florida every year even saw the Disney cruise ship while having dinner at a restarant my dd was two and a half then and ill never forget once she saw those ears and goofy hanging off the back she squeeled with delight yelling "mickey boat mommy mickey boat" it was the last day of our vaction and in my opion the highlight of it. i looked into the cruies but they are really expensive as well and my oh doesnt like boats much.

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    1. This is our third trip with the kids, and I think my boys were perfect ages this year (4, 6, and 8). They were old enough to really enjoy it, but still young enough to get the "magic" and enjoy the characters, parades, etc... It's so much fun! I hope you get to take your daughter when she is still at an age that she loves princesses. :-)

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  4. Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

    Walt Disney World Resort in Florida

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  5. Great reminders!

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  6. The glow stick tip is great! I actually found Mickey Mouse glow sticks at Dollar Tree the other day! Sure beats paying park prices for something that glows!

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    1. Those sound like a lot of fun. I'll look for those next time!

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  7. Great idea to buy Disney stuff at the outside stores to bring into Disney for the kids. I have seen on my phone that there is an app for Disney characters. The app locates them. Does it work?

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    1. I've never tried that app, but it sounds good. We try not to spend too much time waiting in line for characters. We usually just visit one or two.

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  8. We love the magic kingdom its our favorite place! Thanks for the tips and info!

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  9. My parents always took us when we were young. I loved the parades, and meeting the characters was a huge part of the enjoyment. Its easy to forget how much kids love those things as an adult.

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  10. Shannon Collins21 March 2017 at 21:17

    Great tips for west coast families new to the world of WDW! Thanks so much for all the great info!

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  11. WDW is so overwhelming compared to Disneyland so this is super helpful!

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  12. Thanks for sharing! Love these posts! :)

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  13. I am so used to the old system. Thanks for the tips!

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  14. Thanks for the tips, especially about the Fast Passes!

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  15. Not sure how I feel about the Fast Pass + system! I guess I'll feel better about it once we've tried it the first time!

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  16. Great tips. Thanks for the tips on the newest pass system!

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  17. So many great tips. We'll have to put them to use when we go this summer.

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  18. Definitely keep in mind if we get the chance to travel to WDW

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  19. Love teh information i n part one; will download the app.

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  20. #10 is the best...even after all the crazy planning and scheduling you're there to have fun! Just sit back and enjoy watching your kids have fun is the best part.

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  21. These are all great ideas that I will def. use. Thanks for the tips.

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  22. I totally agree with buying glowsticks outside the park and bringing them in. It makes you feel like you're part of the light-up magic!

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  23. Thanks for the tips! I have been to Magic Kingdom and have never seen so many strollers in my life! Seriously! I met Goofy! So fun!! kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you. Happy Spring!

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  24. Thanks for awesome information!

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  25. Good to know. We haven't there -- yet . . .

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  26. I always recommend buying things such as glow sticks outside the park. I was that mom forever saying no. Then, I found glow sticks in the dollar section of Target. I tucked some in my bag and pulled them out when it got dark. My kids were so excited! I don't like saying no but my budget doesn't allow for overpriced glowy things. It was so much fun to surprise my kiddos with as many glowy things as they could pile on themselves.

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  27. Yes! Also, stock up on Disney swag at the discount store and break them out at Disney so you don't have to pay the huge mark-up.

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  28. Great tips! We went as an extended family for the first time last year and had a great time it went better than I thought it would with the little grandchildren. I didn't give much thought to the pressed pennies but I think this might be a great souvenir starter for all our trips with the little ones, not taking up much room and pressed with a symbol that will remind them and they have those machines mostly everywhere we've gone so far.

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  29. All very great tips! Have fun and enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth! *0*

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  30. These were great tips. Thank you.

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  31. Some of the best things at Disney aren't ride-based! I love making a point to have dinner one night at a place with a show or routine. Great tip.

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  32. When you first go, take empty water bottles. Then fill them when you need them. Lighten up that backback!

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  33. Thanks for the tips! Looking forward to planning our trip!

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  34. Kimberley jansen16 April 2017 at 00:37

    Hoping to use these tips one day! (Somehow I commented on an Easter post. ... oops)

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  35. My Disney Experience app to check wait times for lines. I will definitely download the app.

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  36. I like to get the photo CD... it is so much cheaper than buying pictures and theirs are always far better than ours even though we have a good DSLR. As a matter of fact, we now just carry our phones and let them take the pictures!

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