Magic Kingdom, Disney World
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Magic Kingdom is the most crowded of the Disneyworld parks so beware, you will experience too much buzz! The park has rides, shows, character visits, parades, and fireworks! You will have fun, whether child or adult! The unique thing about this theme park is that it's based on imagination and beauty, as opposed to thrill rides. There are a few thrill rides but most of the rides take you into another world and that is their joy. It's good to plan ahead because the park is often crowded. Firstly, try to visit during offpeak times- definitely avoid school holidays. Weekdays and weekends are both incredibly crowded. Most important advice of all, be the first at that park! Arrive at the parking lot half an hour early. By the time you catch the shuttle and boat/monorail, the park will have opened. Then you'll have a few hours of non-crowded ride time. These will be your best hours at the park because you can catch any of the rides with a wait time of only about ten minutes or less. Go to the most popular rides at this time because any other time of day the wait will be too long: Splash Mountain (bring a poncho because you get soaking wet), Buzz Lightyear, Winnie the Pooh, and any new rides. Or just choose the area of the park that most interests you and ride as many rides as you want with no wait times! Also, choose your three FastPass rides right away so you can have them set up and plan your day around them. The park is fairly big so wear good walking shoes, and bring or rent a stroller at the park (this costs around $15 and the strollers they rent you are great).
Many of the food places have awful food. The best place to eat is the Diamond Horseshoe, a counter-service restaurant that is beautiful inside and serves real carved turkey, in sandwiches and salads.
If you have a very young child, three or under, choose the non-scary, non-dark rides at first so you don't turn them off the park from the beginning. These are: It's a Small World, Mad Tea Party (you can control how much the cup spins), Buzz Lightyear (a little scarier), Monsters Inc Laugh Floor (a show), Liberty Square Riverboat, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Jungle Cruise, and Town Square Theater to meet Mickey and the princesses. Avoid Snow White's Scary Adventures and Stitch's Great Escape- way too scary. Winnie the Pooh is super fun but does have one slightly scary part. If you can stay for the fireworks, it is worth it, though it is quite hard to wait out the busy afternoon hours of the park when all the lines are long. Things you can do for some downtime in the middle of the day are: ride the railroad around the park through the greenery, ride the Transit Authority Peoplemover through Tomorrowland, take the riverboat, and go see shows. At some point, the piped in music starts to drive you mad! Run as fast as you can from Tomorrowland and find a quiet spot by one of the bridges between the lands. Here you can have a snack and just unwind. Bring some snacks so you don't spend even more time in lines when you need food. Also you will save a ton of money.
Everything is colorful at Magic Kingdom- the flowers, the water everywhere, the castle towering above, the architecture in Liberty Square and Fantasyland, and the tropical vegetation and exotic atmosphere in Adventureland. Some things are so great they are not to be missed: Mickey's PhilharMagic, which is an amazing 3D show featuring favorite songs from the Disney movies; It's a Small World, a classic ride that shows the wonder in the world through costumed dolls and magical lands; Pirates of the Caribbean (absolute must-do!), Magic Carpets of Aladdin (this looks tame but it's actually really fun to be high up over beautiful Adventureland), Jungle Cruise (the humor is terrible but the atmosphere evoked by the ride is worth it), Splash Mountain (despite the fact that you get wet, this thrill ride is super fun), Monsters Inc Laugh Floor (this is very cleverly done), Buzz Lightyear (amazingly colorful ride), Astro Orbitor (this looks tame but is actually pretty exciting at the end), and Mad Tea Party (the whole group will have fun on this one). Rides/shows that we didn't think were that great: Space Mountain (it's 100% dark), Peter Pan (you don't see much), Carousel of Progress (very slow-paced and old-fashioned but some kids like it).
If your child is three or under, Magic Kingdom can work because it has plenty of non-dark, non-scary rides. Though young kids will find the lines very frustrating. Teens find this park boring. If your child is four or over, I'd recommend Epcot over Magic Kingdom- it's more fun because it's less crowded.
Have fun! When you stay in Orlando, choose a resort. This will add so much to your vacation because the resorts in Orlando are amazing, like those in Hawaii. And if you bid on priceline, the cost is often the same as a boring old hotel room. One of my favorites is Hyatt Grand Cypress. Leave a whole day open to spend at the resort. This is a great way to combine mellow activities with theme park mania on your vacation. Other things you could do on a rest day are: sit by the lake at the Harry Leu gardens, walk around the small, fascinating Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, or eat at a French cafe and sit by the rose garden and fountains in wonderful Winter Park town. There are some fantastic playgrounds in Winter Park, such as Azalea Lane Playground. Once you've rested for a day, check out one of the other Disney parks such as Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios, or one of the Universal parks such as Islands of Adventure.
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Magic Kingdom opens at 9am and closes at 9pm. Some days it opens early or stays open late for Disney hotel guests. Florida residents can find highly discounted passes on the park's website (for three days between Jan and June). Other guests can save money by buying multi-day passes. Cost for just one day is over $100.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.