On our most recent trip to Orlando, we spent a lot of time lazing around our hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes (read reviews on TripAdvisor | book here). But we knew it wasn’t really a trip to Orlando without at least one day at Disney World. There are many Disney parks to choose from, but we decided that Magic Kingdom for toddlers was the best choice. It has some of the best rides for tiny travelers!
Below are my top 12 tips for getting the most out of one magical day at the Magic Kingdom.
1. Reserve the first 30 minutes for family photos
The beginning of the trip is when everyone is excited and fresh, and it doesn’t hurt that Main Street is where you enter and probably one of the most Instagrammable areas of the park.
2. Take the ferry instead of the monorail
The ferry is a beautiful and exciting way to ride up to the entrance.
3. Bring your own snacks and drinks
You are welcome to bring your own food. Plus, all the stalls and restaurants will fill a child sippy cup with water for free.
4. Arrive at the park at 2 p.m. after they nap
If you still have a napping child, try to arrive the park around 2 p.m., after they have a nap. There is a lot of advice online to come to the park right when it opens, but there is nothing quite as beautiful as the fireworks at night over Cinderella’s castle. If you come that early in the morning, your toddler will most certainly be burned out by the evening. But if you arrive around 2 p.m., it is early enough to catch the 3 p.m. parade (check the schedule for the specific day you plan to attend as the parade time sometimes changes).
5. Download the Disney app
Make sure you download the My Disney Experience app on your phone for up-to-date wait times, an interactive map and your FastPass+ reservations. Learn more about how FastPass+ works.
6. Choose your date and buy your tickets in advance
Once you select your date, you can choose up to 3 FastPass+ reservations through the My Disney Experience app. Our absolute favorite ride was It’s a Small World. Without a FastPass+, the line would have been 80 minutes. With our FastPass+ we only had to wait 10 minutes! Rides like Little Mermaid and Peter Pan have the longest waits, so make sure you prioritize those.
7. Use your 3 FastPass+ reservations back to back
When you finish using your three FastPass+ reservations, you get another one on the spot with the app. So don’t spread them out throughout the day like I did! Make the FastPass+ reservations back-to-back when you first arrive at the park. That way once you use them, you’ll have another round of FastPass+ reservations to use on available rides.
8. Don’t pooh-pooh the simple rides
9. Bring a change of clothes
If you decide to dress your child up like a Disney character, make sure you bring a change of clothes. Tinker Bell isn’t so cute if she has ketchup and chocolate stains all over her outfit!
10. Check for free hotel shuttles
Check to see if your hotel offers a free shuttle. Ours did!
11. Make restaurant reservations at least 1 month in advance
Make a reservation at one of the nicer sit-down restaurants and make sure you do it at least a month in advance. You will really appreciate sitting down to a nice meal instead of squeezing in at one of the overcrowded eateries. We dined at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant at 8 p.m., then walked right outside to enjoy the 9 p.m. fireworks.
12. Have a plan but stay flexible
Make a plan for the day, but don’t be upset if it goes off the rails! There is so much to do at all of the parks and it can be overwhelming for children and parents. Just enjoy every moment you can.
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