During our recent visit to Magic Kingdom, in Florida, I shot a load of random video.
We had all risen at the crack of dawn to take advantage of the early start – dubbed the Magic Hour when you can get into the park a whole hour earlier – and raced like zombied loons to be there literally as the gates opened.
And we were totally chuffed with ourselves for managing to get there without forgetting one of the kids, biting one another’s heads off or losing our sanity.
Then as we’re in the park, it dawned on us that the early opening was only applicable to two of the ‘lands’ in the park – the two lands we’d visited the day before. Doh.
Sure it tells you this on the website when we got home and checked, but no one mentioned it at the hotel and it doesn’t make it clear on the leaflets you’re handed out when you arrive.
There were actually people guarding the entrances to the lands you couldn’t get into, shooing you on. So not such a magic hour after all!
BUT. We had a fabulous time.
Oh and for all those people who KEEP landing on my blog Googling ‘what’s in the Disney castle’ or variations of, the answer is in the video. Hint: It’s NOTHING! There is some make-over studio for girls in which they can be turned into princesses. But nothing you can wander into and ‘do’. Which my kids think is a HUGE oversight.
Plus, Mia’s “I dunno” in this video while queueing for food cracks me up every time!
Other tips for visiting Magic Kingdom:
Use the free Fast Pass system. It is brilliant.
Basically it means that at many of the bigger rides you can jump the queues (the huge, huge queues) and head straight to the front.
I mean why wouldn’t you?
All you do is insert your park ticket into one of the Fast Pass machines located near the ride and you will be issued magic slip of paper which gives you a one-hour window in which to return.
Return during your time slot and go to the Fast Pass entrance.
However, note there is a limit to the number of passes you can have at one time. When you get your first Fast Pass, the time you can get your next one will be printed on there.
If you do take advantage of the Magic Hour or if you just arrive super early, make sure you head for the rides you can’t get a Fast Pass for.
In fact, go get a Fast Pass first, then go on the rides you want, and then you’ll be ready to take advantage of your Fast Pass – uninterrupted fun.
We headed for the Speedway driving in Tomorrowland which has horrendously long queues as the day marches on.
Queues at the entrance to the park are quite long as there is a bag check and also you have to scan your fingerprint when entering. So it takes time. It’s to stop people selling their tickets on or passing on to others.
Watch out for your park ticket demagnetising. You’ll first notice when you can no longer get Fast Passes issued. But the cast members helping out around the Fast Pass stations are really helpful, then at the end of the day just visit guest services and they will help out.
Bring a rain mac. We experienced a couple of quick downpours, but they lasted about 10 minutes then the sun came back out.
You will be charged $8.50 for a cover all poncho at the park so just pack a cheap one – you don’t want to be paying $34 for a family of four just for a quick fix.
At the moment, huge swathes of Fantasyland are hidden behind boarding as there is a massive expansion programme under way. What they are doing looks like it will be fantastic, but we did find it quite unsightly while we were there.
Make sure you plan plan plan. Know where you want to head before you arrive. Get hold of a park map and literally map out your route. When you’re trying to make decisions in searing heat with one child hanging off your legs and another nag nag nagging yo, you will be SO glad you did.
Also find out where the indoor attractions are so you can plan some air conditioned time during your day (the likes of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Hall of Presidents, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor).
Disneyland is amazing. Just amazing.
So take time to just stand there and admire the attention to detail, the spectacle of it all. You could spend so much time rushing around that you miss the little things.
And above all remember why you’re there. I saw so many families getting stressed out and shouting at their kids who wanted to do THIS and THAT and EVERYTHING, TWICE, THREE TIMES.
Imagine how Magic Kingdom would feel if you were a kid, then try and chill out!
But most of all enjoy x
You can see more photos from our Disney adventure here.