Magic Kingdom Plans – You Did What Before 9 AM?
Ok, so you’ve found your way to this post because you are trying to get ready for a magical trip to Disney World. Let me start with saying that a good plan is key. My wife is the planner. I’ve learned to watch her do her thing, be amazed, and then have fun and be flexible. We’ve grown into planners as we’ve gotten older. We’ve been to Disney World without too much of a plan before. It’s led to stress, unhappy kids, and well, it’s led to planning out the details. Do you have to make a plan? No, but the magic you see on tv commercials quickly fades into lines, heat, and unhappiness without a plan.
Many ask us how we can fit it all in. What about the kids (age 8, 5, and 3 on this trip), don’t they fuss about the plan? The answer to that is “no”. The kids strive when we have a plan. They’ve learned that mom has a solid plan to get the most of each day. This is one of my favorite plans ever. It left us high-fiving and kicking our heels together as well moved from item to item on our itinerary.
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Making Magic Happen Park Planner – Magic Kingdom Edition!
Here is the plan for the day:
7:00 Park/Unload/Activate DDP at Contemporary: walk to MK
7:50 Picture in front of the Castle 🙂
8:10 Reservation at Crystal Palace breakfast Buffet 5 DDP Credits (reservation # here)
Head to ride: Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Small world, Pirates of Caribbean
9:35 FP opens Splash Mountain: (Rider swap)
9:40 Jungle Cruise FP
10:20- 11 am Meet Aladdin and Jasmine, Trade Pins at Agrabah
Mid Morning Snack ( Dole Whip or churros)
10:40 FP Big Thunder (Rider Swap)
10:55- 11:55 FP Magic Carpets of Aladdin
1:20 Tony’s Town Square Lunch 5 DDP credits (reservation #)
Shop on Main Street, Get a cold drink 🙂
2:40 Flagpole Reserved Area Festival of Fantasy Parade (3 pm)
3:45 Head out to contemporary/ check in to room/change
4:55 California grill podium for 5:05 2 signature credits= 4 (481001557096) 3 OOP Kids
6:20 drop off/ pick up stroller in the room – Back to the Magic Kingdom!
6:40 fantasy land rides, Astro Orbiter, People Mover after dark
8:15 on the dot! FP Seven Dwarfs Mine train
8:30 get drinks/ snacks ( popcorn bucket) and reserve spots for fireworks
9:15 Happily Ever After Fireworks
10:35 Watch Electrical Water Pageant from room
Did it happen exactly like that?
A lot of it did. We made some impromptu changes when we saw some wait times grow (particularly that of 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, we had a Fast Pass for that later on anyway). But let’s start at the beginning of our day. We got up around 6 AM. We checked out of our timeshare at 6:30 AM (car loaded the night before except for one bag). We drove to the Contemporary Resort. We had already checked in early via the app and made note of the early arrival. Upon check-in, onsite our room was already ready but we were committed to our plan and would come back later. We checked our baggage (all 17 bags…don’t judge…3 kids, clothes for a week without a washer and dryer…need I keep going?) with the valet. My wife was inside getting everything lined up, activating the Dining Plan (be sure to check out our Favorite 1 Day Dining Plan on the Deluxe Plan), and of course looking through the pin trading book behind the desk (just ask for it, sometimes it will have a great find in it). We found ourselves completely checked-in with the car parked by 7:15 AM.
We walked from the Contemporary Resort to the Magic Kingdom. Along the way, you have a bag check/stroller check station with little to no wait. We made our way into the Magic Kingdom by 7:40. On this particular day the park didn’t officially open until 9 AM but for those that have dining reservations you could get in early. Our reservation at the Crystal Palace was for 8:10 AM. We casually strolled down Main Street, found a great spot for a family pic with the Disney photographer and got an amazing photo. We walked over towards the Crystal Palace and still had time before check-in. We stopped to admire this little guy eating his breakfast.
We checked in around 8:05 and had a seat on the porch. We were called in shortly after 8:10 AM. We got to our seats, ate a great breakfast (it’s hard to mess up a breakfast buffet), met all the characters and casually made our way out of the restaurant. By this time it was about 8:55 and the park was about to open. If you didn’t know already, the folks at Disney allow people to come in and start filling out Main Street and the main hub near Cinderella Castle. They don’t allow you to go into any of the park areas like Tomorrow Land or Adventure Land until the park officially opens (unless you have a dining reservation in that area of the park). So by this time, there were quite a few people in these areas waiting to go into the lands.
Interesting Fact: Did you know that most people enter the park and go towards Tomorrow Land first? If you come in and go left (towards Adventure Land or even further towards Fantasy Land) you’ll find much less traffic early in the day.
So now it’s 9 AM and the park has officially opened. Our first Fass Pass options open at 9:35 AM (which puts the closing window at 10:35 AM). We push through and head over to Peter Pan as our first ride. We literally walk through the line and find ourselves on the ride within 5 minutes or less (this is a big win for those of you not willing to wait 60-90 minutes later in the day). When we get off of Peter Pan we go ahead and ride It’s A Small World (a favorite of our family). Once we are off of these two rides it is still only about 9:15 AM. We walk over to the Prince Charming’s Carousel and get right on that ride as well. We are off of it by 9:20 AM and move towards 7 Dwarfs Mine Train — we are checking wait times along the way for what is nearby.
**This is where our first few changes came in.**
We had a Fast Pass for 7 Dwarfs Mine Train later in the day and elected not to wait in the lines it had already accumulated. The wait was already up to 60 minutes. If this ride is super important to you and you don’t have a Fast Pass for it later in the day you may want to consider going straight for it once the park is fully opened. We passed it up and went over to the Little Mermaid attraction “Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid”. The wait was under 10 minutes (which is about how long it takes to walk the winding line with no one in it). We were off the ride by 9:30 AM. When we exit the ride we notice that the wait to meet Ariel is only 10 minutes. We get in line to meet her. The actually wait is more like 20 minutes. You’ll find that many of the character wait times tend to be off because some people are in and out and some take F….O…Rever…….! Either way, we had now met Ariel and it was only 9:50 AM.
Now I know the post is called what we did before 9 AM….so let’s recap. By 9 AM we had checked out of one place, checked in to the Contemporary Resort, checked our luggage, walked to the Magic Kingdom, gone through security, took a family photo, ate at a character breakfast, met all the characters in the Hundred Acre Woods, was ahead of the crowds coming in as the park opened and was on Peter Pan. Now between the hours of 9 AM and 10 AM we had: ridden Peter Pan, ridden It’s A Small World, ridden Prince Charming’s Carousel, ridden Under the Sea, met Ariel, ridden Splash Mountain, ridden Jungle Cruise and had only used one Fast Pass! Now if you look at our itinerary we planned to meet Jasmine and Aladdin around 10:20 AM. Well, at this time it’s right around at 10 AM. We were in Adventure Land and stopped for some Dole Whip! We ate our snacks with snack credits from our Deluxe Dining Plan. Jasmine and Aladdin arrived at 10:20, the girls and mom jumped in line while my son and I went for pin trading in the same area. After the girls met the characters we split once more (we don’t like to split but it is only fair to the little one who can’t ride everything the older two can). Mom went with the older two kids to Big Thunder Railroad while the little one and I road Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Now the time is about 11:05 AM. We had ridden quite a bit and had an amazing snack!
We had some time built in to take it slow, ride anything that had a short wait, pin trade and go with the flow. The next thing we “had” to do was check in to Tony’s Town Square by 1:20 for our Festival of Fantasy Dining Package. We literally did whatever on the walk from Adventure Land to Main Street. There was some pin trading, some store shopping, some photo taking…and some just following the kids as they moved from thing to thing that grabbed their attention.
We checked into Tony’s Town Square around 1:15 and they were a bit behind. We decided to shop in the attached store. We were eventually seated around 1:35. The parade start time was 3:00 PM that day. We ate our lunch (on the Deluxe Dining Plan). And moved out to our “VIP Viewing Area” as Disney calls it. We were in the round-about on Main Street near the flagpole. The view was amazing. Check out our full review of the Festival of Fantasy Dining Package here. We think you’ll love it!
After the Festival of Fantasy Parade, we made our way back to the Contemporary to have our bags brought up to us. The time was now 3:40ish PM. We pin traded for just long enough that we were caught in the rain on the way back and despite our rain gear (ponchos, stroller cover, etc – read Dad’s Gear Summer Edition here) we still got drenched…well, 3 of us did. The girls were well protected in the stroller. We were well protected with all of our gear but the rain and wind were CRAZY!!!!!. We got to the room and called for our luggage. This was the first time we had seen our room at the Contemporary.
Next on our agenda was to settle into the room, change clothes and eat dinner at the California Grill for our 5:05 dinner reservation. You’ll notice this is a 2 credit per person signature dining restaurant. We have some tips to not waste your credits on cheap kids food in our Deluxe Dining Plan – Is It Worth It post.
We went up for a magical dining experience. If you’ve not seen the Magic Kingdom from the California Grill — it is definitely recommended. The food is quite amazing as well. It is definitely one of our favorite Disney restaurants.
I almost forgot to mention our stupid a** cake experience. Yeah, did you know you can order custom cakes from Disney to add extra magic to a dining experience? Before you do that, you better read this.
You’ll see on our itinerary that we had some goals for the park before our next Fast Past so we left the restaurant instead of watching the fireworks from the top of the Contemporary (which we have done and you can read about here). We then went back by the room to grab the stroller and back into the Magic Kingdom and to Tomorrow Land with a quick stop at Tea Cups.
We love the Tea Cups ride. We always end up in 2 cups..the “spin so fast make you sick cup” and the “not so fast” alternative cup….
Tomorrow Land after Dark
We love Tomorrow Land after Dark and with that in mind, we rode Astro Orbitor with all the lights.
We rode the People Mover to see all of Tomorrow Land’s cool features and lights.
The next thing up on our list was to use our Fast Pass for 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. This was our youngest’s first time to ride it. She was a little terrified but also pretty excited. It was a success! That Fast Pass window opened at 8:15 PM and because we wanted to get a good spot for the Happily Ever After firework and projection show we showed up a bit early to ensure we would get out quickly enough to do so. We were off the ride by 8:30. My wife and kids went to secure us a great spot while I went on a snack run to refill our popcorn bucket (oh yes, we buy the refillable day 1…cheap refillable snack that we refill 2-3 times per day), grab drinks and what else…hot Mickey-shaped pretzels.
All completed, in time for the Happily Ever Firework show. I know many people love this show. I am seriously missing the Wishes show. It was so much better to me. If you remember there used to be a castle projection show, then Wishes firework show, then another castle projection show. I guess I am well on my way to being old…
The night ended and we made it back to our room to watch the Electrical Water Pageant as we hoped. It was neat, the kids loved it. Don’t change your plans to make it happen. Our room at the Contemporary was bay view and we watched it from our balcony. The day was a success.
FYI — many of you are probably hyperventilating on the fact that we missed some seriously cool rides. You are correct. We CHOSE to skip a few rides as this wasn’t our only Magic Kingdom day. We spent 3 days in the Magic Kingdom on this trip. 1 day for each of the other parks and 3 days for the Magic Kingdom. We love many of the other rides but chose to enjoy our days, food, and pace to the extent of being “OK” with missing some rides if need be.
The kids have yet to complain about missing rides. We do our best to hit their favorites.
If you liked this plan then you’ll love our Hollywood Studios 1 Day Plan.
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