Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom, Orlando
This is the place to go when you're travelling with teenagers: they will love Frontierland's and Liberty Square's attractions, especially Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Haunted Mansion. The very first thing we did when we got to Magic Kingdom was to head over to Frontierland, get a fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and then go wait in line for Splash Mountain - and trust me, it was worth the wait! The flume ride through the mountain is a lot of fun, even though it's hard not to think about the 50 foot drop that's coming up! We enjoyed it so much that we managed to do it twice during the day :o) The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is also really cool, it's not hardcore enough to scare children away, but it still goes pretty fast. We were lucky because it started pouring just as we were getting ready to go on it - as a result, most people who were waiting in line disappeared and we were able to ride it 4 times in a row! The other Frontierland attractions, Country Bear Jamboree and Tom Sawyer's Island, are pretty tame by comparison but there's hardly ever any wait and both are good spots to cool off when it gets hot during the day.
The Haunted Mansion at Liberty Square is more beautiful and funny than it is scary, which is why we all enjoyed it so much. The ballroom scene in particular looked like something you'd see in a Harry Potter movie! We also went for a boat ride on the Liberty Belle Riverboat, which was quite relaxing. It offers great views of Tom Sawyer's Island, and we also enjoyed watching the steam engines work.
Adventureland and Tomorrowland are great because they include many rides that are fun for the entire family. Our three favourite attractions at Adventureland were "Pirates of the Caribbean", which has been updated to include some elements from the popular movies it inspired, "Jungle Cruise", which is not as impressive now that you can go on a "real" safari at Animal Kingdom but your tour guide's silly jokes totally make up for it, and "Swiss Family Treehouse", another Disney classic (and there's hardly ever any wait for it).
At Tomorrowland we all loved the "Indy Speedway", especially Alex who got to drive her very own race car (not bad when you're too young to have your driver's license!). The other two rides we went on, "Stitch's Great Escape" and "Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin", weren't quite as fun, but we did have a good laugh when I somehow managed to beat my nephew 232,000 to 27,300 points in the Buzz Lightyear attraction. Don't ask me how I did it, we went on it twice and I still don't understand how it works!
If you're travelling with young children, Fantasyland and Mickey's Toontown Fair are the two areas you won't want to miss at Magic Kingdom; but even for grown-ups they can be a lot of fun! At Fantasyland, you'll find all the classic rides that are oh-so Disney, beginning with the ever popular "It's a small world" and "Peter Pan's Flight" (make sure you get a fastpass for this one because the line can get really long and of all the "kiddie rides", it was our favourite one). We skipped some of the rides at Fantasyland because my niece and nephew were a bit too old to really enjoy them (I'm not sure Dumbo could have lifted Kevin!), but we did very much enjoy "Mickey's Philharmagic", a funny 3D movie with some cool "4D" effects.
At Mickey's Toontown Fair, we all went for a ride on board Goofy's Barnstormer, a rather tame but still fun rollercoaster. We also very much enjoyed walking through Mickey's and Minnie's Country Houses - it was just like stepping into a comic strip and Alexandra was psyched to get her picture taken inside Minnie's house, she's her favourite Disney character!
Magic Kingdom was the first theme park to open at Walt Disney World in 1971, and today it is the most visited theme park in the world with over 15 million visitors every year. As you enter Magic Kingdom, you find yourself on Main Street, U.S.A., which is mostly filled with souvenir shops and restaurants on both sides. Your eyes are of course immediately drawn to Cinderella's Castle, the well-known symbol of Magic Kingdom. Thanks to one of its 27 towers, the castle reaches a height of 189 feet. It's possible to walk though the castle, though there isn't that much to see besides mosaics depicting some famous scenes from Disney stories. If you're travelling with young children, you might want to stick around the Main Street area in hopes of meeting with Disney characters or catching the "Dream-Along with Mickey" show. If you're travelling with teenagers, you might want to catch a ride on board the steam train and head over to Frontierland to get a fastpass for one of the attractions there.
One thing not to be missed on Main Street, U.S.A. is the daytime parade called "Celebrate a Dream Come True". We were lucky enough to grab frontrow seats for the parade, and the characters interacted with everyone of us - Cinderella's cruel stepmother came over to look down on me (!) while Jafar, the villain from Aladdin, shook my nephew's hand (I guess he figured Kevin was big enough not to cry!). Alex got more lucky and was greeted by a princess :o)
The Magic Kingdom is the oldest and best-known of Disney's Orlando theme parks. Visitors enter through Main Street USA, a recreated downtown from an early 1900s American town. At the far end of Main Street USA is Cinderella's Castle, the symbol of the Magic Kingdom. From there, you can walk to the park's various themed areas: Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Toontown, and Liberty Square.
Budget at least a full day for the Magic Kingdom. It involves a lot of walking and you will have to spend a fair amount of time waiting in lines for the rides.
A few of our favorite highlights from our two days in the Magic Kingdom were Space Mountain (indoor roller coaster), the Haunted Mansion, and getting autographs from all of the Disney characters. Anna loved the parades, the Mad Hatter's spinning teacup ride and the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. We also saw a couple of shows and .
There are restaurants and food stands spread throughout the park. If you want a fancy meal, you may need to make a reservation in advance, as the number of upscale sit-down restaurants is limited.
At the end of each day, the Magic Kingdom has a fireworks display above Cinderella's Castle.
If you are looking for a break from reality for a vacation, you cannot beat the Magic Kingdom. Space Mountain is the best roller coaster ever. If you are afraid of heights it is awesome because it is inside and dark so you cannot tell how far up you are. Also because of the darkness, you cannot see what is coming next. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was great.
Pirates of the Caribean was closed the day we were there.
Make sure you take advantage of the Fast Pass which is kind of like making reservations at a restaurant. You come back at a set time and don't have as long of a line to wait in.
If you are alone, you can also jump way ahead on many rides. Just listen for them to yell "single rider".
Make sure you take your own food and lots of drinks. Rent a locker near the entrance. You can even ride the train back to the locker.
The Magic Kingdom was my favorite of all the Disney parks. Part of the reason is because it had a nice mix of rides, shows, restaurants and activities. The Magic Kingdom like all of the other Disney parks is loaded with stores and places to buy memorabilia. I had a great time in the evening hours before dinner exploring some of the shops. My favorite was a glass shop which had colorful glass dragons in the window and a man doing a glass blowing show in the back. I think the children all liked this park because of the rides. I got Sebastian to ride his very first roller coaster here and Patrick and I coaxed Thaddeus and Sebastian into going on Splash Down Mountain. Patrick really loved the Carousal of Progress and Mike Wazowski's Laugh Floor the most. There's loads of places to eat here, The Crystal Palace is great and so is Cosmic Rays. There's a train that goes around all of Magic Kingdom, a monorail that will take you through Space Mountain, Dumbo, Aladdin's Magic Carpet, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Safari and so much more to do and see.
Make use of the magic hours if you stay in a Disney hotel, they are the best hours to go on the most popular attractions with very little wait.
If you have a choice que on the left as it is normally the shortest.
Use the parades as a distraction to get on the rides with slightly less of a que.
Pal Mickey is a cool way to find out about the parks and keep children entertained in long ques.
Pin Trading is a good way to interact with cast members and it can be good fun!
In Animal Kingdom, the animals are more active early on in the day so go and see as many as you can.
If you park a car tie something to the radio transmitter or something to make it noticable in a huge crowd of cars.
Use the free transport if you stay in a disney hotel as it saves money on petrol and it is a very easy way to get places.
The Magic Kingdom has special events and parties spread out throughout the year:
-Night of Joy (Friday and Saturday night first weekend of September)
-Mickey's Not Too Scary Halloween Party.(certain weeknights and weekend evenings through Sept. 14th-Nov. 2nd)
-Mickey's Merry Christmas Party (certain weeknights and weekend evenings throughout December
-Pirates and Princesses Party (Wednesday nights and weekend evenings in August)
The parties are great because they limit park admission so there are no lines for any of the rides, you're not getting crowded by other tourists, the encourage both children and adults to show up in costume, and they pass out special treats for free throughout the park, admission is cheaper than a regular park admission (only $40-50 for adults and even less for children under 12 compared to the regular admission price of $69 per adult). The party hours are from 6:30pm- midnight and Main Street stays open until 1:00am for shopping.
The not so great thing about them is if you are one of the park guests during the day, paid full admission price expecting to spend the whole day at the Magic Kindgom and watch a fireworks show (they are very good shows) and get kicked out at 6:30pm. So be sure to check the Magic Kingdom calendar to make sure park hours are what you expect them to be during those months (August, September, October and December)
If you decide to go to one of these parties, try to book one of the weeknights. It's less crowded and more enjoyable. Friday and Saturday nights tend to be busier night for the parties.
Magic Kingdom is the first of the 4 themeparks that was created by Mr. Walter years back. The rides which you can find here are mostly less intense compared to the other parks. There are lots of things to see and do for people of all ages. Seeing Cinderella's castle is really magical. Its huge, flamboyant facade which turns into different colors at night makes it a "must have" photo for every visitor.
The main event when visiting this park is the Fireworks display which is held every 9pm at Cinderella's Castle (time permitted). The streets gets too crowded by 8pm. So, make sure that you pick a good spot to have a nice view of the fireworks and for you to have better photos too!
Fireworks at Disneyworld shouldnt be miss especially at Magic Kingdom. Make sure to find a good spot (along Main St.) wherein you can seat and have a good view of the changing color of Cinderella's castle. From blue to orange, from plain to stary stary night design. Areas within the castle gets too crowded easily so better yet get a seat early.
After the Firwworks display expect a clogging walkways! Slower traffic and jam packed train!
Make sure to get hold of your belongings and your loved ones :-)
Disney run a VERY tight operation and have thought of literally everything. At one tiny moment in our visit we paused to look at the map and some man was there from nowhere trying to help. After a parade there is no evidence that it ever took place because of the clever ways in which they clean up. Whilst waiting in line - there is not much chance of getting bored because you are entertained... everything has been thought of!
The best advice I can give (especially those with young children). It is a VERY large park. Before you go get a guide/map and decide on the things you want to do and make a bee-line for them - when Disney opens the majority of people start around the park in a methodical manner ie - first thing they come across first! We headed to meet the characters - we were first there, no queues and viola job done - later the queues were horrendous.
In advance find out what's popular and go there straight away to get yourself a fast track. The ticket will tell you what time to go back to the ride and when you do you jump the queue!
It is huge and if you have very small people and no buggy you will be very pleased of renting a stroller (in 2004 $8/15 single double)... they also come in handy as seats for them to watch the parades.
NB for small people - work out before you get to rides whether there is a height restriction and if so whether or not your child(ren) reach it. The worst thing is if they see a ride, want to go on it and then can't - There aren't many ride unsuitable for the very little folk though!
There is an additional charge for parking at the time is was $6/7.
It is impossible to go to Disney and not be sucked into some of the magic. Our (at the time) 2year old, on the steamer back to the car park, opened his eyes, saw a shooting star and informed me it was Tinkerbell.... I believed in the Disney magic!!!
This was my third visit to the Magic Kingdom part of Disneyworld and I've been to Disneyland in Anaheim, California several times, the first time was when they still had lettered tickets (A through E) that you used to go on the rides.
I always have to go on the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean (updated to include a few Captain Jack Sparrow figures and at least one Captain Barbossa from the movie) and Space Mountain usually more than once. And although some people might find the Mad Hatter's Tea Party a little lame, you wouldn't say that if you had me and Kat spinning the cups ;-) We also had fun on Aladdin's Magic Carpet ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the WDW railroad was a nice relaxing ride. And somehow we never did go on It's a Small World, one of the classic Disney rides.
Not worth the wait: Stitch's Great Escape (boring, at least for adults), Jungle Cruise (line way too long without a FastPass, ride pretty boring)
Tickets have climbed a bit since my last visit, it's now $67+ tax for adults, $56 + tax for kids 3-9, under 3 free. The price per day decreases if you buy a multiday ticket. The Magic Kingdom stays open the latest of the four parks at DisneyWorld with even later hours on the weekends. So if you get a late start or you have enough stamina to go all day, schedule the Magic Kingdom for Friday or Saturday.
If you are going with young kids, I'd highly recommend reading up on the rides before you go so you know which ones your kids will and won't go on. When I took my nieces I was unpleasantly surprised when the older one balked at anything that was in the dark, although I did eventually get her on the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean she wouldn't budge on Space Mountain.
"Fast Pass. This ticket is the way to get on the rides and attractions you want to see without waiting 2 hours in line. Just look for the "FP" symbol on the Disney park map, go to the ride then insert your Park ticket into the fast Pass kiosk. A Fast Pass ticket is issued with the return time on the piece of paper. Go out and see other Disney attractions and then you can return to the attraction during the hours stated on the Fast Pass ticket with little to no wait. **NOTE: Don't try to jump the line from the regular waiting time to the Fast Pass line. You will be asked for your ticket and they actually do check to be sure. Some highly popular rides, such as Epcot's "Soarin'" can have waits as long as 4 to 5 hours and some rides will not offer anymore Fast Pass tickets because they have exhausted their supply for Fast Track times.
Make sure you check the bottom of the current Fast Pass to find out when you can get another Fast Pass for another attraction.
The Magic Kingdom is probably the best theme park for kids. The rides are not as large as the ones at some of the other parks.
Our favorite rides ( photos below) are : Splash Mountain , the boat ride down the mountain, Thunder Mountain, the rollercoaster through a mine, and Space Mountain, the roller coaster in the dark.
All of those rides are popular so it is best to either go to them directly, first thing in the morning before most people get there, or to get a "fast pass" ticket which gets you ahead of the regular line. Last time we went ( May 2006) , we headed directly for Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain which are next to each other and rode each one three times.