Surviving Magic Kingdom is not merely child’s play. Despite being in “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” no one is immune to the temperamental pressures. Excessive crowds, heat, and tantrums are unavoidable. My husband and I along with our two small children visited Magic Kingdom nearly 200 times over the last three years. Consequently, we can attest to emotional flare-ups from both the children and ourselves. Despite the facts, having a stress-free visit is possible. With a little preplanning, a magical vacation is on the horizon.
Surviving Magic Kingdom is for the Early Bird
Yes, I know, who likes to get up first thing in the morning on vacation. “The early bird catches the worm” is cliche for a reason. Here’s something to knock around your vacation brainstorming. If you have chosen Walt Disney World for a relaxing family vacation, you chose the wrong destination. Now, don’t get me wrong, necessary tools exist for a joyful, restful, Walt Disney World vacation (Hey, that’s why you are reading our blog in the first place, right?). However, sleeping until noon, hanging poolside all day, and watching fireworks at night is a waste of a Walt Disney World vacation. One can manage the same results at another Florida location.
The Magic Kingdom Welcome Show
The Magic Kingdom Welcome Show is a perfect way to start your morning. The Mayor of Main Street welcomes guests in an energetic opening ceremony sure to put a smile on sleepy faces. The show begins with singing and dancing by the Citizens of Main Street and Main Street Trolley Show Dancers. The Walt Disney World Railroad has a grand entrance featuring Mickey, Disney Princesses, and many other Disney Character favorites. The best part, if you arrive early enough (about 60 minutes before showtime), you may get chosen as the honorary family to ride on the train with the characters!
We’ve tried every Magic Kingdom arrival time between the hours of 6:30 am and 1:00 pm. Our conclusion, a huge necessity for surviving Magic Kingdom (especially during daytime hours) is to arrive at park opening.
Communicate the Plan of Action
If your other half is not aware of the plan of action, you could be in for arguments later. When the temperature goes up, patience can grow thin. If everyone in the group, including the children, understand the itinerary everything will go much smoother. Do not forget to remind children incrementally throughout the day of your next move.
Here’s a great interactive communication example:
You stop at Starbucks for a coffee at 9:00 a.m. and the kids are suddenly hungry. You have breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest Restaurant in an hour.
The kids are whining because they see cupcakes and chocolate milk from their stroller. Thank you Starbucks for perfect product placement! Time for those communication skills.
“Remember, Mommy explained that we are going to have breakfast in the Beast’s Castle after this. In the meantime, if you are hungry you may have a plain milk or water along with a piece of fruit. You may have those choices now, or you may wait until we reach the castle.” Saying “Beast’s Castle” rather than Be Our Guest Restaurant will make things a little more exciting for little ones. Also, giving the children a choice to have something now or wait gives them a little control over the situation calming them down.
Using “Beast’s Castle” rather than Be Our Guest Restaurant will make things a little more exciting for little ones. Also, giving the children a choice gives them some control which usually calms a situation. Hence, surviving Magic Kingdom tantrum!
Keep away from overscheduling the day
Overscheduling the day can be tempting. There are always so many fun things to see and do from character meet and greets to rides and stage shows. The Magic Kingdom has it all, but try not to do it all. Surviving Magic Kingdom is not about setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s about creating a magical day and building memories to last a lifetime. There’s not enough time in one day to do and see everything at Magic Kingdom.
To make yourself feel better, during the planning process, you can get overzealous by overplanning. Then on the day of your touring simply knock things off the list. The My Disney Experience app keeps this smooth, and I do it often. I get super excited as I’m planning our vacation, so I often overschedule the day. Each time I plan I challenge myself to see how much more we can accomplish with each visit. For our family, this type of planning strategy isn’t detrimental because we go nearly five times a year. But for families who only get to go once in a lifetime, once a year, or once every three years, planning in this way can ruin a vacation.
Make sure to take breaks throughout the day
Do not forget to take breaks throughout the day, especially if you plan to stay through park closing. It’s important to map out locations for breaks where both parents and children can recharge. Depending on the time of year, air conditioning could be detrimental to where you break too. If you have a stroller napper on your hands, don’t waste a good part of your day wondering aimlessly. Our post Mastering the Art of Magic Kingdom Napping for Stroller-Bound Children goes into some detail about what do to when that happens.
Do you have any tips for Surviving Magic Kingdom? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!