Our original plan was to rent an RV and hit the road. I don’t own an RV or a camper, but have always loved the idea of a house on wheels! After doing some research, I quickly realized a 20 hour road trip with my four year old and one year old may not be the most relaxing way to celebrate!
Big Papi happened to be online at the right time and snagged a great deal on airline tickets to Orlando. We all agreed that anywhere sunny and within reach to a beach would work for all of us!
We had a great time. I could babble on about how we laughed for a week, had a great time running around Orlando, danced in the car to our “theme song” and met some interesting people. We will save all of that for another time. Let’s focus on how to make the most out of one day at Magic Kingdom.
I have a princess’ lovin’ four year old. After deciding our destination was Orlando, I knew we had to have one day at Magic Kingdom. We all knew we weren’t ready to do a full blown “Disney trip” and visit all the fun parks, but knew we had to take “B” to meet the princesses. Everyone was on board to tag along and let B have her special day. I learned a few things from this experience and wanted to share with my fellow swmo mommas.
- Download the app: Step one, download the “My Disney Experience” app. The app will allow you to purchase your tickets, view the schedule of shows and attractions, make your fast pass selections (we will talk more about that later), and view your dining options and make reservations if necessary. My two absolute favorite features of the app are the map and the “wait time” tab. Magic Kingdom is a big place with lots of people! The map has gps and displays your current location in the park and where you want to go. It tracks your locations as you walk, making it easy to see exactly where you are, where you are headed, and how far you are from your destination. The wait time feature is also a huge help. You can organize the wait time list by the name of the attraction, wait time or location. My B girl loved all the characters, rides and attractions, but like every other girl, she had one goal in mind—Meet Anna and Elsa. To say you have to wait in line to meet the Frozen duo is an understatement. With the wait time feature, I was able to keep an eye on the wait time most of the day and decide when was the right time for me to bite the bullet and get in line (side note, I got in line around 6 p.m. and waited nearly 2 hours, had a fun time chatting with the other crazy parents and B is still grinning from ear to ear over that experience).
- Fast passes: The minute you decide you are going to visit a park, purchase your tickets and start planning your fast passes. Each general admission ticket comes with three fast passes. I played around with this for weeks prior to our big day. If you are spending more than one day at the park, you will have more flexibility with your fast pass selection. I knew we had one day and wanted to make the most of it. If you are traveling with Anna and Elsa fans and know meeting them will be on your “must do” list, try to get a fast past asap. Unfortunately, I waited too long and was not able to snag one (keep in mind they only give a certain number of passes for each attraction). I broke our party into two groups when making our final fast past selection: riders and non-riders. The riders had fast passes to ride Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. The non-riders (or whoever was hanging out with B) used their fast passes to meet Mickey, ride the Buzz Light Year (non-scary) spinning ride and meet Belle. There are also fast pass kiosk throughout the park. I did not use those, however, I am sure they are a helpful tool as well.
- Cinderella’s Royal Table: If there is room in your budget and you are traveling with a little one that wants to meet ALL the princesses, I would suggest reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table. It is a bit pricey, but B was able to hug, get autographs, take photos and giggle with 6 different princesses. Not only was this the highlight of her trip, it also saved hours of wait time allowing us to visit other attractions rather than standing in line all day to meet everyone. If you decide this is a good option for you, call and make reservations ASAP. I called two months prior to our trip and they had one reservation left at 9:25 p.m. It is also neat to go inside the castle. If you don’t attend this dinner, you are not allowed to go in the castle, just walk through it.
- Princess attire: There will be lots of princesses running around all dolled up after a visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. It is very cute and the little girls love it. This was not in our plans this trip, however, we did pack an Elsa dress (but any princess dress will do, that is just our current favorite) for B to wear to dinner and to meet Elsa. Just fold it up and stuff it in your back pack and pull it out when your princess decides she needs a wardrobe change. However, I would skip the heels or flip-flops and keep the tennis shoes on all day. There will be lots of mini-princesses running around in dresses and tennis shoes, so don’t worry, sneakers and dresses are fashionably accepted.
- Souvenir pennies: We have all seen the penny machines where you insert 2 quarters and a penny and out comes a flattened penny with a fun picture. These are around every corner at Magic Kingdom. The good news is this is a great souvenir for your little ones and are very affordable! This gets you out of the (million) souvenir shops for just 51 cents! A friend gave me this piece of advice and it was a great tip!
- Plan for a down day: This was a big fun day, but it was also majorly exhausting. We arrived at 10 a.m. and did not leave until midnight after the parade. Thanks to my family, Rhett, our one year old, did not have to endure the full day, but Robbie, B and I did. It was fun for all of us, but also very tiring. We hit the beach the next day and I would highly recommend you plan for some down time. Everyone will need it.
- If it is an option, bring help: Having Mimi, Big Papi and two fantastic uncles there was priceless. We were able to divide and conquer the lines, the characters and take turns caring for our little man, Rhett. Thanks to them, Rhett was able to call it a day and escape the crowds and the heat when nap time rolled around. I would definitely recommend bringing help if you can. We couldn’t have done it without them.
Do you have tips you want to share? We would love to hear from you in the comment section. Most of my tips are good for “girl moms.” I would love to hear from the mommas that didn’t spend their day on a Princess Scavenger hunt! This trip, Rhett was most interested in the food and the grassy area where he was finally able to crawl (the kid never stops moving).
Magic Kingdom was just one day of my birthday celebration. Interested in seeing more? Take a peak at this fun video for a quick recap of the entire trip!