Thursday, October 19, 2017

Touring Plans for Magic Kingdom

When we vacation, I feel that Rich and I are a healthy mix of plans and spontaneity.  This applies to Disney as well as other vacations.  We research, we make plans and we leave a little bit open because you never know what's going to happen.  For Disney, I think it's important to have some sort of touring plan in place.  Why?  Well, there's so much to see and experience, and for most families, Disney is an expensive vacation.  You won't want to spend your vacation waiting in line or feeling that you missed out on what you really wanted to do.


You can find everything on the internet these days.  Right?  Google search "Magic Kingdom touring plans" and there you go.  Step by step instructions telling you which rides/attractions to visit and in which order, and even where you should eat!  But read through a few of them.  They're all different.  That's because those touring plans are based on opinion.  In addition, the popularity of certain attractions will change over time.

There are so many factors which will impact your visit to Magic Kingdom.  For example:
  • The time of the year and even the day of the week
  • What FastPass+ reservations you're able to secure
  • How much time you have and/or are willing to spend at the park
  • What rides and attractions you're most looking forward to

In my opinion, you should set up your own touring plans based on what you want to do.  Follow the advice of those with experience visiting Disney and it's really not difficult.  You just have to remember to keep that spontaneity factor in there too.  Be flexible.  Of course, you can walk into Magic Kingdom with no plan at all if you prefer.  Just be forewarned that guests who do this often complain the most about waiting in long lines.


Tips and Strategies to help you create your own touring plan!

Make a list of the rides and attractions you and your family want to experience.  Consult a park map and group those rides and attractions based on where they are located.  Criss crossing Magic Kingdom can take a very long time, especially when it's crowded.

Secure FastPass+ reservations for the more popular rides/attractions you want to experience.  For Magic Kingdom right now, I would recommend FP+ for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan's Flight.  Several Disney planning websites don't recommend FP+ for character meets but if that's what you want to do, please do so.  We've used FP+ for character meets and have not regretted it at all.

Plan to arrive at Magic Kingdom before it opens.  This is a tough one, I know.  If you are there when Magic Kingdom officially opens, the better chance you'll have of knocking off rides/attractions with little to no lines.  The average guest at Disney arrives after the park opens.  Because of this, attendance is quite heavy and long lines begin to form between 10 and noon.

Think about what times you've scheduled your FastPass+.  I wouldn't recommend making a FP+ reservation for the first hour the park is open because, most likely, the line will be short.  This is assuming that you follow the above tip.  There are always exceptions to this though.  For example, you really, really want to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train more than once.  If you arrive to the park at opening, you can ride it first thing with little to no line.  You can then ride again without waiting in the line that is sure to be there using your FP+ reservation.

If you have your heart set on meeting Tinker Bell and/or Mickey Mouse, both located at the Town Square Theater, I would highly recommend a FP+ reservation.  These two character meets, especially Mickey's, usually see long lines.  This is partly due to the location of the Town Square Theater, which is right inside Magic Kingdom.  As such, it attracts both guests arriving and exiting the park.

Be sure you have the My Disney Experience app on your phone.  This allows you to check wait times and manage your FP+ reservations.

If a ride/attraction has a long wait and you plan to be at the park for the day, check again later.  This is easy to do if you have the My Disney Experience app.    

What Would Sarah Do?

This is tough.  I had wanted to write out a sample touring plan but, as I stated above, there are so many different factors at play.  What if I couldn't find a FP+ reservation for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train?  The entire day would be different because that would our first stop.  So instead of writing out a step by step rides/attractions, when to go to the bathroom and eat plan, I'll give you my general thoughts.


1.  As a family of princess lovers, I would head back behind the castle (hopefully at park opening) to Enchanted Tales with Belle.

2.  Next stop would be the princess meets at Fairytale Hall.

3.  Check the wait time for Pooh.

4.  Knock off rides and character meets in Fantasyland in the morning.

5.  I hope we have FP+ reservations for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan's Flight.

6.  Check the wait time for Small World.  If it's more than 20 minutes, pass.  I'll check it again later.

7.  Lunch at Cosmic Ray's.

8.  Check wait times for Haunted Mansion, and rides/attractions in Adventureland and Frontierland.  Tour based on wait times.

9.  Afternoon parade!

10.  If it's super hot and wait times are ridiculously long, visit Country Bear Jamboree, People Mover and/or Carousel of Progress.

11.  Early dinner at Crystal Palace (or Cinderella's Royal Table.)

12.  Try to hit rides we missed earlier due to long wait times.  

Not listed are all the pop up character meets.  If the kids want to stop, we stop.

I hope this helps in creating a plan for your day(s) at Magic Kingdom.  As always, remember to have fun!


Georgina Weston said...

Love this post Sarah, it is totally true that it depends entirely on your priorities. I visited Disney for the first time in January (adults trip) and we managed to get a Crystal Palace reservation at the last minute. Didn't even know we wanted to do that. Flexibility FTW!

A. said...

Thanks for the post! We are headed there for a week next October for the first time (my kids will be 7 and 5, a boy and girl). I have no idea if my kids will want to meet a character... Right now, my daughter (4), isn't super into princesses, but loves her super-heros, etc. Any thoughts on if I should prioritize a character meet, if at all? I have a year to go, just thinking ahead :)

adrian faulkner said...

we just spent three weeks at the wilderness lodge, we pretty much had a plan set out for every day, which really does help with lots of down time by the pool planned in as well, the only thing we would do different next time is not eat every night at the restaurants (table service) as it really does take up a large portion of every evening up (plan for at least 2 hours and more for an average table service) and leaves less time for spontaneity......

Bree at Clarity Defined said...

Great post! I always find that "what should I (we) do" question so daunting because what MY priorities are would likely be different from what someone else's were/are.

When we did MK a couple years ago, I organized our FP+ to try and hit at least one priority for every person... so some adult rides for the thrill seekers, a kid ride (like Peter Pan) because I knew the adults wouldn't want to wait forever for a kid ride (and the little one would likely lose patience waiting), etc.

We did two character FP+ - one because it just fit really well with the schedule where we wouldn't mind missing it if nap time didn't work out (vs. a ride) and the other at Epcot that was Mickey & Friends so we could get a bunch at once (because I knew my brother wouldn't want to wait in line to meet a character, but I knew we'd want at least one group photo).